2013 May

Needing a protective home: a case of Abelmoschus

by Nili Maytal

Woman in her thirties, married, with one child. Since giving birth, she has emotional swings. She complains of waves of sleeplessness, a sense of despair, fatigue, and an inability to relax.

"Recently, we were forced to sell the house in which we lived; it gave me a sense of disintegration. I feel I don’t have an inner home. It brought me back to my adolescence period, where I was a kind of savior. It was very important that everything will be ‘ok’. I was watching other’s distress without taking sides. I felt like I came into this role and that it is my existence; there was, however, very great distress there, feeling alone. At some point, I was sexually harassed by a familiar figure. I felt like I was giving my body and my soul. I felt extremely lonely and anxious, and even a loss of reality; like a shuddering of reality.

“There were moments of anger. I'm not so good with anger by itself, anger that comes from some sort of breaking down. I make a constant effort to be fine, even if there is no such possibility. I also have a sense of ‘no chance of succeeding, the criteria are really high’.

“I felt that I had two personalities, one on the outside and one on the inside. The one on the outside was opinionated and assertive, and seems to have power to stand up for herself. The inner one feels somehow very fragile and very needy, longing to be seen."


Throat: recently, phlegm “in all the colors of the rainbow” from my mouth.

Stomach: Bloating. Diarrhea during periods of sleeplessness, together with loss of weight. Feeling of fullness versus shrinking.

Rectum: a tendency to constipation.

Perspiration:  especially on the face, sometimes on the palms.

Female: Headaches on the first day of menstruation. Difficulty falling asleep before menses.

Sleep: "At night, my body is half asleep, with a great restlessness. Sometimes, I fall asleep a little and then wake up. When I wake up, I feel I haven’t slept. There are periods when my body feels highly charged and I cannot fall asleep.”

Food and Drink
Desires: salty, stews, vegetables and fruit. Cold water, more than ever before.
Aversion: occasional disgust for meat.
Aggravation: strong desire for coffee, but causes constipation or diarrhea; “At times, when I was lacking sleep, I felt as if the nerves edges wouldn’t get sleep, as if they will not be able to calm down.”

Fears: “Someone breaking into my home; I could not protect myself and my family. I fear that someone from the outside will come and do harm. I cannot talk or read about acts of violence, it brings up a sense of inability to protect and defend myself. The issue is of protecting as a mother.”

"The point is about going out and then I can’t find the way back in. I need something to help me in coming in and going out.


Sleep: falling asleep, difficult
Generals: Food and Drink - coffee  aggravates
Generals: Food and Drink - cold drink, cold water – desires
Stomach: fullness, sensation of
Mind: Sympathetic
Mind: Harmony - desire for

The issues concern motherhood, nurturing and defending, accompanied by a sense of loneliness since childhood. She has the need for harmony, for everything to be OK, for self-efficiency and independence.

The “home” theme of the carbon family also comes up. Loneliness, isolation and lack of protection inside the home indicate the sense of the missing father. The unrefreshed and fatigued feeling in the morning, with insufficient sleep, is known in Magnesium carbonicum.

Prescription: Magnesium carbonicum 30CH


Sleeps a little better.

Prescription:  Magnesium carbonicum  200CH

Two months later: yellow-green mucus with sinus congestion in her forehead. Now, there is diarrhea, whereas she previously was constipated.

She got sick; a wet cough with much phlegm mucus and great exhaustion. The constipation had been released, and her body is very tired. She is able to fall asleep but wakes up after few hours and has difficulties falling asleep again.

Prescription: Magnesium carbonicum 200C

The same evening, she felt better in terms of the fatigue and cough, though still suffering from a stuffed nose and blockage in the stomach. After three days, she is better.

After a week: the bloating and constipation improves: "My stomach is in better shape, it is a significant improvement. I don’t feel the bloating anymore. My appetite is better, which makes me feel good.

“My sleep is better, but not totally. I get tired during the afternoon and the evening. It takes me a while to fall asleep, even an hour or two. I wake up every night around 3am with tension in my body. I might make motions in the middle of the night, I really need to move."

The problem gets worse before the menstrual cycle and with lack of sleep.
“I am very nervous before the cycle, as if the body reaches a peak of stress. When the menses comes, something calms down. There are moments, or hours, of despair: there is no point to life, no desire, and no motivation. Nothing seems ok to me, or excites me. I feel able to separate myself, but I still need to be mature in front of my family. My fears are much less than they were. "

Three months later: back pain has returned. "I feel a lot of anger. I do not flow with things, as though I have no patience. I feel that people have dumped their own problems onto me, things that have been hard on them for years. I could not find myself in all this, and internally, I feel like a little girl who needs a mature and protective figure.”

She is moving away from where her parents live, which brings in turn the feeling of separateness. Along with this comes a sense of guilt about abandoning her parents, as if she is giving up her responsibility. Feelings of anger also surface about the need to manage on her own; "Something in me is dependent and in great need for maternal containment and understanding."

Nearing the menstrual cycle, the tension in the body and the mind increased, as well as the difficulty  of falling asleep. The menstrual bleeding was much less than normal, barely any blood at all.

"I have difficulty sleeping at present; I sleep a certain time, usually two hours and then I wake up, and I feel how tight my body is. It is as though I have a scream inside me." Her stomach is bloated again.

At this point, I decided to re-examine the case. It was clear that a significant change has been made since the first meeting, but I felt that there is still a core issue that never changes. Themes kept repeating: the nurturing element, the family issue, separation versus independence, loneliness inside the home as well as the sleeping issue.

Here, it occurred to me to consider a remedy from the plant kingdom. The language of the patient, with her high sensitivity and adaptability, and the issues of a place, of a home makes one think of plants. On the physical plane, she has an assimilation problem, manifested in the digestive tract. She has attachment issues, with the need for a very intimate contact. Pathologies arised when she moved home: she felt cut off from her roots, which brought on disproportionate states of fear. All these symptoms led me to look for a plant remedy.

At this point, I used the periodic table of the plants from Michal Yakir "Wondrous Order". I turned to the fourth column with its “nourishment” themes, themes of attachment versus separation, basic nurturing, issues of motherhood, protection, vulnerability, and dependence as opposed to building an independent life.

In the 4th column, we find the Malvales family in which the themes of nourishment and the separation from the “mother” are played out at an infancy stage and early childhood.                                                                                                         

Prescription: Abelmoschus 30C one dose

I chose this remedy because of the boundaries issue: exploring and breaking them (the remedy has a huge fear of penetrating insects), setting limits versus feeling invaded. These were reflected in her restlessness at night and her inability to relax, closing her house, her lack of confidence at work, the feeling of disintegration and blocking herself, and closures in her relationships.  Vithoulkas writes that this remedy can be easily confused with Phosphorus and Calcium carbonicum due to its fears, which increased dramatically at night. There is not much information about the remedy but, in this case, the aggravation at night is prominent.

Conclusion: her main issue, as seen in the table, is to take on the nurturing role for the family, to the extent of losing one’s identity. To be the family "savior" while losing onself in the process. There are digestive issues and a high level of anxiety, aggravated at night.


Two months later: since the remedy "I can separate more easily. I can support myself as well. I have a greater sense of security, support and love. There is more of a “me” inside. For the first time in my life, I could really speak with my family and despite the difficulties, the conversation did all of us good.

“Today, I feel that I can be where I am without apologizing about living life at my own pace. I have a sense of being wrapped, listening to my own rhythm. I think there is something unique in me; I can’t participate in the race of modern life.

“As a child, I felt that there were things beyond the visible. Maybe I had created this world, in an attempt to create harmony, since I felt unseen. Apparently, I was lacking something. I felt so very alone, I felt sad. It is the same feeling that moved me to try to create a sense of softness in our home, of sharing, relationship, and communication, to be there for each other.

“Today, I am more accepting, more in the present. I am less hard on myself; when I am nervous, I accept it. I can allow myself to receive help.

“At night, there is a huge improvement. I sleep better. My tiredness is more muscular and less in the bones.”

After that consultation, we spoke on the phone every few weeks. She sleeps well at night and her stomach issues are gone.

She received an additional dose after four months.

A year later(during which time she received one more dose): “I can sleep, really rest. I have much softness for myself and the world. I allow myself to hang out, to have fun and to do things for myself.

“For many years, I took on the role of being a bridge for the family. I am now able to take a few steps back and let them create the bridge by themselves. It is a breath of fresh air for me.

“I let go regarding my work. I’m less tense and my system does not run on guilt anymore. I can enjoy life without guilt.”

Photos: Wikimedia Commons
Jewish quarter, Jerusalem; Mattes
Abelmoschus manihot; ja:user:sphl



Categories: Cases
Keywords: mood swings, disintegration, fragile, protecting the home, separation from mother, boundaries
Remedies: Abelmoschus


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