2007 July

Saccharum-album_David's Case

by Jenny Tree
David’s Case

Main complaints:
The child will only drink warm milk and eat sweets.
Aversion to all vegetables and meat.
Growing pains in the long bones of his legs, < night.
Has grown very fast – 6 inches in the last 4 months, on starting school.
Skin is dry. It itches, but there are no eruptions. Scratching ameliorates.
He wets the bed at night – always has done.
He began to lose his milk teeth at four years of age. Some were rotting.

Shy. Sits on his mother’s lap with his arms around her neck. Sucks his thumb.
Has a rather foolish grin on his face. Seems to not really ‘be here’ – not attending or interested.
Maybe he is a bit dreamy. His eyes are not focussed properly although he has no complaint and does not wear glasses. I sense a great stubbornness, peevishness, but it may be shyness. He doesn’t talk to me at all – so I have no idea what he is interested in. He avoids questions, and refuses to answer. He is self-contained, does not interact with me, but demands his mother’s attention. I feel he certainly doesn’t want to be here. He asks if he can go home now. I get the feeling he would be very happy breast-feeding.

Mother works for social services. David goes to grandmother after school. She gives him sweets, chocolate. Mother says he is very passive, except about food, and then he is completely intransigent. He only wants warm milk, maybe with Weetabix in it if his mother is really insistent. She seems tired, worn out, with little authority and little to say. I guess she is worn out with the struggle to get food into him. There is a father in the family, but not once is he mentioned. She says David likes to watch TV. There is a crisis as he has just started school and has to have school lunch with the other children. He will only take milk in his flask and chocolate to eat. His sandwiches return every day uneaten. He is getting angry with the other children, and doesn’t want to go to school.

Pregnancy was the first after five years of trying to conceive without fertility treatment, and the last. She hated it, and the birth was painful and long. She was tired for a long time after the birth. He was breastfed for four months, and weaned onto bottles, followed by bottled or tinned food. He spat this out and cried for milk, which he has drunk ever since. Although she is a loving mother, she is also very anxious. She seems very apologetic about his diet.

I need a remedy for a baby, for he is a five-year-old baby. His body is growing fast, but he is refusing to grow up. He wants only milk and sweets. I see here his stubbornness and his timidity. He wants to be held. There are lots of toys in my room, but he is not interested. He seems rather sad and cross, and his face pale, unnourished.

Rubrics: very simple:
Desires warm milk
Desires sweets
Aversion vegetables
Capriciousness in children
Holding, desire to be held
Morose, cross, peevish
Home, desires to go

Saccharum officinarum

These rubrics show Saccharum album. I dismissed Chamomilla and Cina as he was not bad-tempered enough generally. I considered Calc-phos because of his prodigious growth, and Mag-carb because he looked like an ‘orphan’. Bryonia was an interesting possibility too. But I stuck to Saccharum album because it repertorised fully and fitted the case perfectly. With hindsight I see that the Graminae was a good family to choose.


Initially he had: Saccharum album 30c daily for two days.

There were temper tantrums at first. Then he decided he would take banana to school for lunch, with chocolate. He gradually widened out his choice of foods. His hair became smoother and silkier, and his skin stopped itching. I think he was well on the way to becoming diabetic and this is one of the symptoms. The bedwetting gave way to dry nights and at this point he became a more interested and interactive child.

Because we don’t expect it, we fail to see that an addict’s behaviour is very akin to that of a young baby. There is the intense, one might say, monomanic, concentration on a single substance, to the extent that the rest of the world is a blur. The sleepy, clingy state exists when one person and one substance meet all one’s needs. Babies grow out of this state, but the addict uses many tactics to remain cosseted in it – from clingy dependent behaviour to anger, rage and jealousy. Most addicts have eating disorders; if the eating disorder is not in itself an addiction. And of course society is busily breeding whole generations of sugar addicts right now.

In the 1930s a Canadian dentist, Dr. Weston Price, undertook a study of many tribal peoples, from the Outer Hebrides, to the Inuit of North America, to the Swiss Alps, to the African Masai. His legacy is in a book, “Nutrition and Physical Degeneration,” and the Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation. He showed how, in peoples who never used a toothbrush, a healthy body and dental arch can be maintained by a ‘native’ diet, regardless of what that might be – oily fish, seal and walrus for the Inuit; fish and oats for the Outer Hebrideans; milk, organ meats and occasional blood for the Masai. Food and exercise seemed to him to contribute to healthy living. He noticed that the children of the first generation, who altered to a Western diet, eating sugar and refined carbohydrates, displayed narrowed dental arches, and teeth that tended to have gaps or to grow in all directions.

I found it interesting that a foodstuff could so quickly alter the DNA. It is in this area, the physical structure of the body that we can actually see the fingerprint of the miasms – the diseases of our ancestors. Perhaps we should consider sugar as just such a miasm, or at least a causative factor for the syphilitic miasm. Grant Bentley, an Australian homeopath, has worked on the appearance of the miasm in the facial structure. See his books "Appearance" and "Circumstance and Facial Analysis". Dr. Price also showed that where the parents altered the diet back to a sugar-free diet, the next generation of children returned to strong bone structure and wide dental arches. Sugar leaches minerals, particularly calcium, from the body, and can cause osteoporosis, and general thinning of the bones.

Melissa Assilem and Tinus Smits have done a lot of work on Saccharum from the viewpoints of behaviour and the effects of vaccination. I found it interesting to revisit Saccharum in the light of the Grasses family – the Graminae or Poaceae, because from this family we gain all of our staple foods: wheat, oats, rye, barley, corn, sugar, and yet they are under-represented as remedies.

Some remedies that you might recognize within the family are:
Anatherum muricatum [wrongly called Anantherum until now] - Vetiver
Arundo - the reed.
Avena sativa – oats
Bambusa – bamboo.

Bambusa ventricosa

Our grass remedies have been strongly contaminated by the fungi that live in them – Ustilago that lives on corn, and Claviceps, which we know as Secale, living on rye – and responsible for the St.Vitus Dance and witch-hunts of the Middle Ages. It is perhaps the fungi that are responsible for the gaiety, the sense of intoxication and delusionary states in our grasses provings.

The grasses have ecological dominance on the earth, making up 20% of land vegetation. Agriculture started with the gathering of wild grasses, and continued later with the sowing of pasturage for the newly domesticated animals. Man changed from hunter/gatherer to pastoral society, and settled societies depend on the staple foods – cereals that belong to the Graminae family. We use the family to provide thatch, matting, pipes, scaffolding, building materials, animal and human feeds, paper, baskets, perfumes, musical instruments, volatile oils and alkaloids. In short we are utterly dependent on this plant group.

Sugar Cane: Saccharum officinarum or Saccharum album: Natural Sweetness
Sugar cane is a grass resembling bamboo, but the stems are full of sweet sap, containing cane sugar rather than the silica that fills the bamboo. Unlike fruit, cane sugar contains no acids and no flavouring. It is simply sweet. In America, it became the most important reason for the slave trade . We see the themes of domination and enslavement in the form of addiction and addictive behaviour.

Sugar consumption has risen from 2 kg per head per year in 1700 to 60 kg. per head per year in 2000 – this includes every child! 60 kg per year for every child! Unbelievable? ADDICTION IS EASY.

The Biochemistry Of Sugar
All edible plants contain fibre, protein, fat, starch and sugar. We produce specific enzymes to convert fibre and starch into sugar, in the forms of fructose and glucose, which is then made available in the bloodstream as a source of energy. Refined sugar is almost pure sucrose. Sugars are anything that ends in -ose: sucrose, fructose, glucose etc.
Sucrose alters the metabolism
In digesting bread or fruit, the body has to work to make the sugars available. Sweets, cakes, and sweet fizzy drinks make the energy available in a rush instead of a drip, and the stomach has little work to do. The sugar instantly meets the body’s energy requirements and the rest of the food becomes simply the vehicle for the sugar energy.
Enzyme inhibition→ chemical addiction
If energy needs are met by sugar, the body stops producing starch- and fibre- converting enzymes. Then it is no longer easy to digest starchy foods and vegetables. This is partly where wheat intolerance comes from. So food industries cunningly reduce the fibre content in prepared foods and increase the sugars. The addict/victim becomes hooked on a constant flow of fast sugar. This is a chemical addiction.
Sugar or fibre? Feast or famine?
In the face of high consumption of white sugar, the enzymes required to digest wholemeal bread are absent. If you eat enough dietary fibre, you don’t crave sugar. If you eat both sugar and fibre – you gain weight and simultaneously suffer from malnutrition.

The physical state of Sacc-alb shows the malnutrition:
There is dryness everywhere – skin, nails, hair, vagina, feet, stool and tongue.
There is weakness: after stool, after eating, after eating sweets.
There is emaciation.

The Themes of the Grasses might be seen to be:
v Feast or Famine. All or nothing. Monomania.
v Fighting within the family – sugar fights carbohydrate for dominance. [Sugar and cereal carbohydrates are all Gramineae]
v Nurture or domination
v Enslavement / Addiction
v Empty, weak and without support: full, heavy, clinging, dominating.
v The Road of Excess leads to a Palace of Wisdom [Sex, food, attitude]] to excess.
v Formication, itching, crawling, prickling sensation. Something alive and moving inside.
v Knotted sensation
v Heaviness, weight
v Burning pains, consumed by fire. [Ardent, passionate, intense]

The state of anorexia/bulimia is often one of feast or famine, all or nothing, leading to physical and emotional emaciation. Saccharum lacks emotional nutrition. Roger Morrison classes Saccharum album as a Carbon, giving these themes.
• Delusions: deserted, forsaken, neglected by parents, unloved.
• Homesickness.
• Yearning for approval.
• Desire to be fondled.
• Sinking through the bed; falling
• Wants to sleep with parents
• Sensitive to noise, pain, criticism
• Easily startled
• Timid.

We also know the ADHD/Hyperactive patient’s picture of Saccharum. A child or adult, who exhibits anti-social behaviour, has violent tantrums and is unapproachable when angry. He is irritable when hungry and capricious about his food, often desiring one food only, sweet drinks and sweets. He restlessly cruises around, touching everything, but showing little real interest. The opposite behaviour is seen in the dull, apathetic patient, the clingy, podgy, nail-biting teenager who expects the mother to answer for her; who can’t decide what subjects to follow in school; has loads of fear – the dark, being alone, and of failure. This picture is really close to Lac-humanum, especially with the fear of falling/failure, which is shared by the Carbon group as well as the Milks. The link is sugar, which may be classed as a carbon as well as a grass.

Roger Morrison says: “Saccharum album has a type of internal alienation. The patient may feel forsaken or inexplicably unconnected, which brings about an agitated state. There are also many fears related to the dark and being alone. The remedy has a strong materialistic streak, being greedy for sweets, hates to lose possessions, and equates love with material gifts. The patient becomes excessively demanding when attention and materials are not forthcoming, resulting in discontentment, restlessness and angry outbursts. As children they terrorize the house.”

Saccharum Food Desires
Desires: fried potatoes, sweet foods, pastries, chocolates, warm milk, sweets after dinner.
Desires: acid, salt, mustard
Averse: vegetables, warm food

The Syphilitic Miasm can be seen in the rubrics: Anaemia from anger, and Ulceration, gangrenous.

The Empty Addict
Sugar addiction is often considered to be an adolescent problem. It is often supplanted by alcohol addiction. Saccharum album is as good a support remedy for addicts, as is Avena sativa.

Addiction can be to: cigarettes, alcohol, sex, sweets, drugs, sweet drinks – cola, bread, cakes, pastries.

I gave Bambusa [another member of the Graminae] to David’s mother, with good results, working on the idea that bamboo flowers very infrequently [one child only], and that flowering completely exhausts the plant. It may flower as a last ditch effort through lack of nutrition.

I have often wondered about the panda’s relationship to the bamboo. The panda is monomanic in its eating – only bamboo will do! And pandas find it notoriously difficult to conceive. A methanol extract of bamboo injected into rats during testing lowered their fertility. Maybe pandas’ fertility is in rhythm with its food’s flowering!

Bambusa, from Bernd Schuster’s proving shows themes of weakness and needing support, silliness and laughter, stress and exhaustion from giving birth, with refusal to nurse the child and irritability towards it. Bamboo contains a large amount of silica, which gives its strength. This is what the remedy is seeking – backbone and the strength to hold its head up. Silica also has difficulty in assimilating the beneficial nutrients from food, leaving the patient weak and timid.

Other remedies we may consider when treating eating disorders often have a connection with sugar, diabetes, milk, hypoglycaemia and allergies. Not least of these is coeliac disease, with its sensitivity to the gluten contained in cereals. 15% of insulin dependent diabetics are also coeliac sufferers. One child I treated was pale, irritable, pot-bellied, with diarrhoea and recurrent mouth ulcers. His mother had brought him as he was preferred to defecate in his pants [aged 11] and was being bullied at school. His eating disorder included an aversion to wheat, pasta, and oats. Chamomilla sorted both the child and the mother, who was a diagnosed coeliac [the child being undiagnosed.]

We must be aware of the five fold increase in Type 1 Diabetes over the past 20 years in the under fives. Bristol University has a long-term study carried out in Oxford, which shows that diabetes in the under 15s has doubled in 20 years. They say the changes are not just genetic, but must be environmental. The National Diabetic Foundation attributes the environmental factor to our houses being too sterile for children to be able to build up immunity to cope with infection. [sic]

Being able to see beyond this short-sighted and facile explanation, we homeopaths can make the connection between vaccination and diabetes. It is known that the Pertussin vaccine raises insulin levels. Children should be given a fruit drink before vaccination to give the insulin something to work on. Additionally, increased levels of late-onset diabetes can be attributed to the rise in ‘flu jabs given to the elderly. Babies of course have their health compromised as soon as they are given any vaccination – how can they possibly build up their own immunity?

Lactic acid has a history of use in treating diabetes in pregnancy. It has many symptoms of hypoglycaemia, as well as [juvenile] rheumatism. It shares with Saccharum album and Saccharum lacticum the use of inappropriate and sharp language, sarcasm and contempt. Roger Morrison notes a three year old to whom he gave Sac-lac in potency, using sarcastic language. Lactic acid has voracious appetite, and has to eat frequently – cannot fast. Scholten found these patients craved milk, porridge, sour milk, buttermilk, and sweets. There are all the symptoms of great nausea in pregnancy, which might be causation enough to produce a Lactic acid baby! A floppy, starving, whining, sad little baby or child, who is constantly on the breast.

Saccharum lactis has the melancholy and homesickness we see in both the carbons and the sugar remedies, with fear of falling, and great physical exhaustion. Too tired to eat or sleep. The hunger comes on at about 11am and is not > eating. There is a great desire for sweets and thirst for ice-cold water.

Saccharosa Lactose

Vermeulen says: "Lacticum acidum seems to be the eternal child; Saccharum the spoiled child; Saccharum lactis the abandoned child; Lac felinum the alternately dependent and independent child; Lac caninum the fearful yet aggressive child; Lac caprinum the sexually precocious but backward child clinging to its mother; Lac humanum the indifferent, controlled child."

There are of course many remedies that we can consider when treating eating disorders, and we should not forget the spider group. Spider patients like to feel empty, and so may refuse to eat. Tarentula is in bold type in the rubric. However they tend to drink copiously. I remember a cunning, manipulative 17-year-old brought to me because of amenorrhoea and hypoglycaemia. She had no periods because she practically starved herself. She picked at her food, ate with her fingers, and was thin, irritable and quick in her movements. She was a dancer, and had been a good gymnast of Olympic standard on the ropes and rings. She loved company, parties, smoking, music, the drug speed, and simply did not eat, but carried out a punishing dance schedule. These are all spider remedy traits. Her liking for ropes and rings might have pointed me to Aranea ixobola, but I gave her Tarantula, which helped her periods to return and her body to accept some food.
All in all, when we are looking at eating disorders in children, we are actually encountering the eating disorders of their parents and a societal lack or distortion of emotional nutrition. Jamie Oliver opened a can of worms when he investigated School Dinners. He showed how far our food practices have slipped – in just a generation. Simply, with better nutrition, children are happier, confident and perform better at school. They are more themselves, because they have a strong sense of themselves. But we are an easily addicted society, and a chemical addiction is hard to resist. So let’s work miracles with our homeopathy, feed our children well, and love them to bits.

Jenny Tree
Haarlem NL

Categories: Remedies
Keywords: saccharum album, addict, bambusa, Bernd Schuster, Vermeulen, Roger Morrison, anorexia, bulimia, Melissa Assilem, Tinus Smits, Grant Bentley, Weston Price, Graminae, Poaceae, sugar cane


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jan calvert
Posts: 10
Reply #2 on : Fri October 31, 2014, 13:44:32
Thanks Jenny, an interesting and thought-provoking piece

Posts: 10
Re: Excellent Article
Reply #1 on : Fri November 30, 2012, 18:43:07
This is an excellent article on Saccharum Off.

The amount of research and correlation done by Jenny is commendable