A 5 year old Parsi (Zoroastrian) boy visited our clinic along with his mother in 1997. For the past 2 to 3 months, the child was repeatedly falling sick with weekly episodes of upper respiratory infection: colds, coughs, fever and enlarged tonsils despite the frequent use of antibiotics. The fever is usually high, 103 to 104 degrees F, lasting for 3 days. He has to miss school. The parents were not happy to see their lovely child being sick every week despite antibiotics; they thought there was something more to these frequent episodes of fever. Perhaps, the child had some issue which needed to be addressed, so they resorted to homeopathy to resolve his health problem permanently.
The mother describes him: “He is a very hyperactive child; he goes out of his way to tease others so that they inquire ‘who is that mischievous boy playing pranks?’ Because of his mischievous nature, he stands out in a crowd. He is not a fussy eater, except for vegetables. He is fond of meat (Zoroastrians are usually meat eaters). He’s very naughty; he will climb and jump here and there like a monkey. Once, he drank medicine syrup kept in the refrigerator for his father. He tries to show off when at a party. He imitates movie actors – how they walk, talk, etc. He is a good dancer. If someone flatters him while dancing, he will dance all the more. And if I say ‘once more Karan’, he’s so happy that he dances with much energy and passion.”
The child’s behavior in the clinic was such that he diverted our entire attention towards him even when his mother was trying to talk about him. He was purposely banging the door, kicking his feet against my desk or abruptly getting up from his chair to lie down on the examination table, reminding his mother that he was bored and wanted to go home. Saying so, he would run out of the consulting room with mother on his trail. The mother then tried pacifying him with sweet talk: “Karan is such a nice boy, everybody is fond of him,” and she brought him back inside. Once inside, she continued her sweet talk: “Karan is a very nice boy and he is such a good dancer.” He seemed pacified by his mother’s cajoling. It was obvious that you could manage him with sweet talking. Also, it appeared that the child was trying to get the attention by distracting us during case-taking.
Despite all this, he appeared to be a very lovable boy and everyone was fond of him (at home, among friends, and at school). They just adored him. It was surprising that on the one hand he is so attention-seeking and on the other hand so lovable and adored by everyone. If he is so adored by all, then why does he have such a need for attention? This is what we need to understand in this case. His falling sick often and missing school helps him to get the attention of his mother, for she has to take leave from her job to take care of him.
The mother further describes: “He is very loving and caring; he cares for his parents. He is more understanding than his older brother and is a big-hearted boy like his grandmother. He’s very fond of sharing his things with others and will share everything he has, even if he has little himself.
“In class, when the teacher asks questions, he stands and makes faces, making the others laugh, even when he knows the answer. He is extremely bold, like me. If someone tries to hit his brother, he will say, “don’t hit him, hit me.” But he is afraid to go to his room alone in evening even with the lights on; he wants me to accompany him. I guess his elder brother has frightened him about darkness. So, he makes a point of not going to his bedroom or to the bathroom alone or to be alone in darkness. He wants me.”
He is very emotional and he feels his parents should not love his older brother more than him. At the dining table, he wants to be served first, and he wants his mother to give him more food than his brother. “You have to love me first.” He feels hurt and weeps if his mother does not serve him first. “You should love me first and then my older brother.” At this point he talks to me for the first time.
“Mummy loves my older brother first. I don’t feel nice because I feel mummy doesn’t love me. I feel angry and I weep. I play better than Rohan (his older brother). I also play football nicely, whereas my brother falls while playing, he is zero. On the other hand, I am useless and more talkative in class than my brother, who is good at studying.”
mother continued: “Despite his feeling of being loved less than his brother, he
is very loving and protective towards him. If we punish or scold our older son,
Karan does not like it. However, he still feels mummy and daddy should love him
more than his brother. He is the one who wants the attention and affection the most.
“He is very fond of music, singing and dancing. He attracts everyone in the party by singing very loudly. People will applaud with shouts of “more, more” but he will look at me. If I say “once more”, he is elated and then he starts dancing and singing more energetically. He is very fond of jeans; otherwise he is not fussy about clothes. The only thing he is particular about is that he should look smart and he will check with his father whether he is looking smart.
Temperature: he needs a fan, otherwise he is not fussy. He likes to get wet in the rain though. On going to sleep, he is under the covers but later he throws them off.
Desires: fish, meat, and chicken; very fond of sweets and sugar; he wants sugar first thing in the morning, before brushing his teeth. He prefers sweet fruits, and is fond of chocolates and sweet custard.
Thirst: more in summer
Perspiration: he exerts himself so much (dancing, jumping and being a hyperactive child) that his entire body breaks out in sweat.
It was now clear that he wants more attention, especially from his mother, but it is still not clear why. The mother helped me to find the origin of this state.
She desired and was expecting a baby girl during her entire pregnancy. When a baby boy was born instead, she was thoroughly disappointed and crestfallen. She just glanced at the boy once and turned her face away, feeling absolutely disgusted, since there would be nobody to take care of her in old-age; she felt that daughters usually take care of old parents. In her own case, her mother loved her brother more than her, though her father showered affection on her. After her father’s death, her brother never cared for the mother; she took care of her. Her mother then realized that only daughters care for parents. For the same reason she, too, wanted a baby girl. Nonetheless, a few days later she came to realize how wrong she was, and from then onwards she loved him so much that she felt ashamed of turning her face away from him at birth.
During her pregnancy, for some reason, she was away from her husband. She felt that during pregnancy a wife needs all the affection of her husband but it was not possible due to her circumstances. Now, the case is complete; everything seems to fall in place. We have to now find a suitable remedy for him.
The essential features of this case are:
1. A constant need for love and attention.
2. There is a comparison with the brother. He feels he should get more love than him; says he does not feel nice if his brother was loved more.
3. A need for appreciation. When people applauded to say “once more”, he danced with more passion, especially if it was his mother saying so.
4. Marked desire for sweets in a hot patient.
Prescription: Calcium sulphuricum 1M, single dose, and Sac lac for 15 days.
Fifteen days later: no change in his health, again an episode of respiratory infection with fever and throat pain, and he had to miss his school. The parents were naturally worried. This time, his father came to meet me, asking why his son was not better and was still having to miss school. I told him we were trying to address the root cause of his problem and reassured him that he would improve, but he appeared far from being convinced. Since I was sure that we had understood the case correctly, I decided to put all my faith on the remedy.
Prescription: Calcium sulphuricum 1M, single dose, and Sac lac for 7 days.
Seven days later: no change in his health. The father was visibly upset and frustrated, seeing no improvement in his child. I tried to reassure him, while wondering why there was no change. Where had we gone wrong? Since the information we received was satisfactory, I came to conclusion there was no need to get further information about the child. There was a need to understand the case in new light. In the meantime, the father was impatiently pacing in the waiting room, wanting to resort to antibiotics again.
It then dawned on me where we had made the mistake; we had put more stress on his need for appreciation in deciding for Calcium sulphuricum. What we perceived as a need for appreciation was in fact a need for approval by his mother; she liked his dancing and singing, which made him feel that she loved him. She encouraged him to sing or dance one more time, which he then did with more energy and passion. Another important feature was his marked craving for sweets, but especially sugar.
This combination of not being loved, together with a marked craving for sugar, leads us to Saccharum officinale, which is prepared from Saccharose.
Prescription: Saccharum officinale 1M, single dose, and Sac lac for 7 days.
Seven days later: no change. Again cough and fever with enlarged tonsils. I had purchased the remedy from a pharmacy nearby, but there was always a doubt about its authenticity. The choice of remedy seemed right, but time was running out. There was no way I could now convince the parents, and with the father I stood no chance at all. The boy’s mother, however, gave me one last chance, seeing that I was sincerely trying to do my best for her son, and we finally got the remedy from another pharmacy – though in 1997 this was not so easy.
Prescription: Saccharum officinale 1M, single dose, and Sac lac for 7 days.
Seven days later: after the remedy, the whole condition of cough, fever, and enlarged tonsils with throat pain resolved completely in a day. He was breathing better. We decided to wait and to give Sac lac for 2 weeks.
Two weeks later: he continued to remain well. No further episodes of respiratory infection, no colds, coughs or fever, tonsils not enlarged, no blocked nose, his breathing was fine. His mother was happy and grateful. She then told me her husband had wanted to give antibiotics but seeing our sincere efforts for her son she thought she should continue, having persisted with allopathy for long. She remarked on leaving the consulting room. “It’s good that I persisted with homoeopathy, my son is better.”
They did not come for about 2/3 months. Then, one day, she visited the clinic for her son had been bitten by a dog. We took this opportunity to inquire about his respiratory infections and his behavior. She replied: “He has had no further episodes of respiratory infection, or for that matter not even a slight cold. He can now eat ice-cream or ice-soda at the beach without becoming sick. He hasn’t missed his school because he is in fine health. “His fights with his brother about being served food first have stopped. He no longer needs all the love and attention for himself. He no longer complains that ‘mummy does not love me’; he is okay if I show affection to my older son.”
He accompanied his mother but was not trying to get attention by distracting us. He was calmer, sitting quietly. His craving for sugar reduced to a great extent. The mother then came for treatment, the boy continued to remain well, the remedy was repeated one more time and they have not looked back ever since. I kept track of his improvement through his mother who came for herself for a year or so, though the father, who finally felt that homeopathy works, did not come for treatment. At last, everything ended on a happy note.
Understanding Saccharum officinale
Sugar has gained a back door entry in our life and we hardly realize that it can cause as much damage as other addictive substances like alcohol etc. We are yet to awake to its harmful effects because it comes disguised with such sweetness that we almost consider it as the most innocent thing. We are overloading our system with sweets (Coke, Pepsi, cakes, pastries, chocolates), which then goes directly in our blood stream with amazing speed. There is a rapid rise of blood sugar which in turn requires a rapid rise in insulin in order to normalize. It leads to a sort of continual temporary diabetic state, damaging tissues and causing heart troubles. Obesity, scurvy, rickets, acidity of stomach, itching of the anus, aggressive behavior, cornea opacity, sleeplessness, diabetes, heart troubles etc. are some of its effects. The list is never-ending.
This has resulted in our children and even teenagers and young adults growing more fat and bloated. They do not pay any attention to eating a balanced, nourishing diet. Instead they opt for refined delicacies like sweets, pastries, chocolates, munching snacks like popcorn, wafers, potato-chips etc and parking themselves in front of televisions or computers. They do not occupy themselves fruitfully in any constructive way because they have now grown used to an easy life; they shy away from any efforts, because a slight effort is too much trouble for them. Why take the trouble of making efforts? Everything in their life is provided by their parents as a compensation for their lack of love and time for them.
J. H. Clarke describes in his materia medica:
“Children, who are large-limbed, fat and bloated with a tendency to dropsy like Calc-Carb. The children are dainty and capricious, care nothing for substantial food but want little snacks, always cross and whining and if old enough, are insolent and do not care to occupy themselves in any way. Everything is too much trouble. Violent temper, irritable, quarrelsome and bilious, sanguineous temperament.
Important physicals are:
1. Appearance: very pale (anemia), fat, obese and large-limbed with profuse night sweat, sometimes mostly on head like Calc. Can be thin & emaciated if there is anorexia.
2. Appetite: ravenous soon after eating. Has to eat in morning after waking or eats in between meals or anorexia with little or no appetite in morning but ravenous in evening.
3. Thirst: large quantities of water.
4. Sweat: profuse especially at night, mostly on the head.
5. Craving: sweets, sugar, pastries, chocolate; can be better or worse by sweets.
6. Tongue: thick white coating, so thick it causes stiffness of tongue. Also cracks and fissures.
Photo: Jürgen Weiland
Keywords: respiratory infections, hyperactive, desire for attention, desire for appreciation, feeling unloved, desire sweets