The following case history is of a woman to whom I gave a little-known remedy chosen exclusively on the themes which came up during the consultation and which had an unexpectedly good result.
Case: Mrs. V, born 1960, first consultation: 13-02-2002
Mrs V.’s main problems are food binging and obesity. She also suffers from epilepsy: a combination of petit mal and absences. During an attack she is confused and absent-minded, she goes through the motion of swallowing and she rubs her hands together compulsively. Sometimes, she begins to sing during the attack (Crocus, Teucrium e.g.). Preceding the fit, she sometimes has the sensation of heat in the upper abdomen. Her medication is Trileptal 300 mg. twice-daily, one tablet; on this medication she is free from fits. The epilepsy started ten years ago, after she and her first husband divorced.
They have one child, an autistic son with a slowly progressive muscular disease (Morbus Becker). She and her second husband have one daughter, who is now six years old. She describes her parental home as being unsafe. Her parents were into the partner-swap scene, so they were emotionally unavailable for her. She was made to feel like a nuisance, always “thoroughly belittled”, and told that she was worthless. Her first husband treated her the way her parents did: “You are worthless, a good for nothing person”; he continually verbally abused her.
She does not dare to make real contact with people for fear of being hurt again. “I am so sad and that just continues. I am good at suppressing my feelings but the tears are very near the surface.” As a child, she was very shy and did not dare to assert herself.
The main issues she talks about are the grief and the incomprehension she suffered in the past. With her in-laws, she has the same feeling of not being understood or appreciated. Her present marriage is good.
She is a solid, round, obese woman, who looks younger than her age; she gives the impression of a child. She is loquacious and apparently very open but one can feel the tension and the grief underneath the surface. The loquacity is very apparent and I make a note of this as being a striking symptom.
- Recurrent right-sided otitis media
- Since a fall from a staircase at the age of five, she has a fear of heights and of descending a flight of steep stairs (Borax, Sanicula).
- In the evening, she suffers from abdominal distention.
This is a woman who has been treated like a child for almost her whole life. You could say she was emotionally abused. Her biggest problem, her binging, has been an obsession for a long time. She has bottled up the grief about her youth and her first marriage. During the consultation, she recounts her history openly but the emotions are controlled and not shared. Striking symptoms are the singing during an epileptic fit, the loquacity and the grief about the fact that as a child and later as a grown-up she was never acknowledged or taken seriously.
At first, I thought of Teucrium because in its symptomatology it has this ravenous appetite but in the case history I missed any mention of worms or nasal polyps due to allergic problems. When she told me about her preference for the herbs lavender and thyme, I started to consider other members of the Lamiales family or extracts of them.
After doing some research on the Lamiaceae, via a report that the Dutch Masi-group had made on this family and information from Jan Scholten, I came up with the idea of thymolum – an extract of thyme. Thymolum, like Teucrium, has the symptom: loquacity. In this case history, we find the theme of not being acknowledged (Lamiaceae), the years of pent-up feelings, the epilepsy, and the increased appetite expressed in binging. Because in this case the accent of the physical ‘complaint’ was on the epilepsy, I chose Thymolum, although I had never heard of this remedy and thus certainly knew nothing about the remedy picture.
Prescription: Thymolum MK, one dose, on three successive days. Then, when needed, which turned out to be before her periods.
Follow-up after 6
"I now eat three times a day, with a couple of snacks in between; these days I enjoy eating and haven’t been binging. ‘I am not allowed to enjoy eating’ has turned into ‘I enjoy eating’. I have been kinder to myself; I even bought myself a bunch of flowers. I don’t punish myself anymore. My whole life, I’ve heard what I did wrong, now I want to enjoy life. I lost three kilograms without having to exert myself. I have more self-respect.”
She is less restless and more powerful.
Follow-up after 3
During the last months she again lost weight (7 kg), had no binging sessions and felt wonderful. “I am going to follow a course on chiropody.” She quit her job as a chairwoman. Again, she starts talking about the fact that she feels much stronger and that she has more self-respect. “I feel like a different person, I am more open towards others. I don’t let people hurt me. Why should I visit people I don’t like? I don’t want to be disappointed anymore !”She takes the remedy when she has the surge to binge, usually pre-menstrually, when her pent-up grief surfaces and she wants to weep. During the treatment the weeping became less. “I feel stronger than ever.”
She calls to tell me that all is well. She is feeling great and does not find it necessary to come for a consultation, so we agree that she will ring me if she has a setback. She takes Thymolum once a month. During the treatment she has lost 17 kg. On the next visit to the neurologist, she will bring up the subject of cutting down the anti-epileptic medication.
In retrospect, it is possible to bring out Thyme in the repertorisation but it did not actually happen in that way. I was acquainted with the themes of the Lamiaceae and thus stuck to that plant family and found Thymolum.
The chemical formula of the substance that is extracted from the Thyme species and the Monarda species is: C10H14O
Thymol was first discovered by Caspar Neumann. He was the first to extract Thymolum from thyme oil, in 1719. In 1842, Lallemand was able to purify it; he called the substance Thymol. Thymol is found in Thyme, Horsemint, and Carum Ajowan. Thymol is used as an antiseptic and disinfectant, and as such is considered superior to carbolic acid. Its applications are:
- Externally for wounds, ulcers, and abscesses
- As a preservative
- It was used for inhaling during infections of the air-passages. In diphtheria, it was used to give relief to the patient.
- When in contact with mucous membranes, it has an irritating effect and a nasty taste.
When taken orally in a large dose the pure substance will bring about nausea, which hardly ever results in vomiting. Some of the testers experienced a transitory (passing) heat in the stomach region accompanied by diarrhea resembling typhoid fever, which is reminiscent of the feeling my patient had before an epileptic fit: heat in the stomach region. Other striking symptoms of the use of Thymolum are: an increase in urine production and urine has a greenish color; this is also mentioned in the repertory: URINE, color, greenish, on standing. Still larger amounts of Thymolum can bring about a coma.
Thymol can also be used as a remedy for expelling tapeworms. The external use of Thymol in various skin affections like scalds, eczema, psoriasis, lichen, etc. and internally as an inhalator (see above), are the most important medical applications of this substance.
Photos: Wikimedia Commons
Thymus vulgaris faustinii, Garden, Nied, Frankfurt/Main, Germany; Fritz Geller-Grimm
Keywords: grief from not being acknowledged, food binging, obesity, loquacity, singing during epileptic fits