February 2015

I can't get my breath: a case of Fagopyrum esculentum - 663.66.02

by Maarten van der Meer

A fifty-eight-year-old woman comes to the practice due to tiredness, breathlessness, and the tendency to easily fall ill. She points to her chest: “All my problems get stuck here in my chest and I’m tight-chested. I’m exhausted in the evenings but I have to keep working, even though I’m so tired. I can’t afford to go on the dole or risk losing my job. I have been nursing for forty years, and I have nine more years to go before I can retire. I would give it up in a moment. ”

She has had a difficult second marriage, with many years of doubts and fights. The divorce did not go well and nasty rumours circulated about her. She tells her story with a light and superficial tone, but it is clear that everything was very dramatic and painful for her. She chatters on, as though taking a distance from herself and her situation, though one senses her emotional vulnerability. It is remarkable to see how she expresses both polarities at the same time. She talks of her second husband: “He was biased towards his own children and disrespected mine.  I have had to swallow so much from his whole family – they were all broken. I was portrayed as profiting from them, and they treated me like that. All that has become stuck in my chest.”

Her ex-partner was well-off. Before being married to him, she had to work hard, and with the little money she had, she looked after her children. Her first partner was an addict and finally ended up on the streets. At present, she lives in a small house, with little money and little space. “Before that, I never saw the bills." The shift from a care-free life to one with little money points to stages 14 or 16, Oxygeniums, Oxalicums.

“My in-laws were really mean to me, pushing me down. I don’t want any contact with them at all anymore, I am so angry with them.”; stage 15, Gentianaceae.

Her eyes are shining while she talks; partly looking like a victim and partly like someone from a Dickens novel, almost laughing at her own story.

“I am anxious about the future and about money, it is really tight. I am also worried about my children since they have so many debts. Since the divorce, I am getting colds all the time and I’m short of breath. I feel unprotected. Before that, everything was materially safe and secure, but emotionally unsafe due to the tension. Now, everything feels new and strange to me.”

She sleeps poorly, waking up every hour.

“Now, I am angry that I have been treated like that. The situation was unbearable, to not have my children accepted.

“I have always been anxious. The feeling I have for the last twenty years is “I can’t manage on my own, I need someone. I don’t do well on my own.”


She is self-reflective, has an overview and recognises the relationships between things: class 6. She looks for protection, seeking the family as a base: sublass 3. Thus, 663.

She describes work as “running, hearing everything, having your energy sucked up, the days are so heavy.” This is phase 6. Both her work and her relationship determine her life. She seeks a safe environment, but feels that she does not belong. She talks of “unfairness” and “wanting to leave”, which made her tense: 663.66. Here, both phase and subphase have an Oxygen quality: being used and abused.

This leads us to the Polygonaceae, with the remedies: Fagopyrum, Lapathum, Polygonum, Rheum, Rumex acetosella and Rumex crispus, among others.  

Due to the theme of poverty, being sucked dry, and a general sense of lack, Fagopyrum was chosen (buckwheat). Buckwheat grows on poor soil. Despite all her problems, she has the possibility to laugh about her own situation. She sees the nice things around her. One tends to almost forget her dismal story.

Prescription: Fagopyrum esculentum 1M

Follow-ups: a week later she phones to say that her respiration problem has completely disappeared: she is no longer short of breath and her energy is good. She has cried a lot, but says that that has been good for her. In the previous years, she tried to see life through rose-coloured glasses in order to survive. Now, she can actually feel her emotions, feeling grief instead of anger, space instead of breathlessness.

A year later, things are still going well, and she is no longer falling ill.

Photo: Shutterstock
Breathlessness; Image Point Fr

Categories: Cases
Keywords: breathlessness, tight-chested, used, disrespected, pushed down, fear of poverty
Remedies: Fagopyrum


Write a comment

  • Required fields are marked with *.

Maarten van der Meer
Posts: 6
Reply #2 on : Mon March 02, 2015, 18:43:20
Dear Marty, Thanks for your comment.
The prescription was made quite a while ago, before the Polygonaceae had been divided into stages and put into the system. Such cases as this one have been helpful in determining the stages.
The stages and families mentioned in the text of the case are in fact mental notes from the case-taking process, all of which are taken into consideration in the final analysis, then the most prominent characteristics are used to determine the prescription.
Maarten van der Meer
Posts: 6
Reply #1 on : Tue February 03, 2015, 19:00:37
Nice case
I'm just wondering if the the stage is being represented?
You've not mentioned how you came to stage 2, but you mentioned a couple stage possibilities. The 14 or 16 you've mentioned but it seems more the context of the situation, not how the situation is handled. And then to mention stage 15, and align it with the Gentianaceae seems very odd. I guess there's a mistake there in the editing, because I can see stage 2 there, just before you mention stage 15. Can you clarify please?