February 2015

Still a child in a cruel world: a case of Ranunculus bulbosus - 642.13.08

by Richard Wagner

A thirty-nine-year-old woman from Central Slovakia comes with itching and burning eczema on her face.

She has eczema on her eyelids, around her mouth and nose. The skin is red, inflamed, aching, and very itchy. The problem appeared for the first time seven years ago; since then, the eczema has alternately worsened or improved, but never disappeared completely. She recalls having had an improvement during her pregnancy. She also notices an improvement at the seaside and an aggravation after period of stress and in springtime.

At first, an aching pustule forms, which is red and watery. The following day it increases remarkably. Sometimes it opens, producing an oozing eruption, which usually heals in about three weeks. There are a lot of such pustules on her inflamed skin.

I asked what happened seven years ago. “I don’t know what triggered it, but it started with small blisters in the corners of my mouth. It may have been caused by restlessness, fear. It was after my maternity leave. I started working, we were building the house, I was stressed and had general problems.”

I ask her to tell me more about herself. “I am debating about whether or not to have another child. Will I succeed? Will I be able to find myself a job? Until now, I have been working with my father. I live an ordinary life, my son is very hyperactive. It upsets me, I must constantly look after him. I try to calm down, reminding myself that everyone has problems, not just me, but I am very concerned about my problems. Thankfully, I haven’t had to solve anything serious by myself yet. My father is my support, also financially. What will happen when he is not here anymore? My mother-in-law is strange. She worries me – she has no sympathy with children, she just wants everybody to help. I am bothered by many things.”

I ask about emotions. “I dislike quarrelling. I don’t oppose, I keep it inside even if I feel excited and angry inside. When I’m stressed, I cry, it’s my outlet valve. I am upset when my husband doesn’t have a good day at work. I wish that there would be harmony in the family. I feel upset when there are quarrels between my parents, I wish they would be happy, too.”

What are you afraid of? “I’m afraid of disease in the family, financial and existential problems.”

I get back to the main problem. How do you respond to the itching, to new eruptions?

“When I’m not well, my skin reacts. I try to reduce it in all sorts of ways, but I’m impatient. I am sceptical, I’m worried. I am angry at myself, blaming myself for things like what I might have eaten. The eruptions appear all by themselves, I can’t find any reason. I keep trying and hoping, I am not lazy.”

My impression of her was as if she was constantly shrieking in a very low voice, as if she stood too far away. It was as if she felt that her normal speech would not be noticed by anyone. At the same time, she desperately needed to be understood by me. She had too many annoyances – mother-in-law, restless child, financial problems, feeling incapable – and she felt too overwhelmed by all the duties she had to deal with. She felt she was constantly losing, being too weak and incapable to win.  



1. Analysis according to Jan Scholten’s Plant theory

Carbon series: skin problem, dependant on father, quarrels between parents, needs protection, low self-confidence, fear of disease

Silicon series: care about relatives, has a relationship and a child, desires harmony at home

Iron series: she wants to work and support a family, build the house, financial problems

Phase 1:  starts working, a novice

Subphase 3: pleasing character, soft, yielding, works for stronger ones, suppresses her emotions, inner weakness

Stage 8: very responsible, dutiful, hard worker, too many tasks

Ranunculaceae: emotional, weepy, sympathetic, several types of emotions at the same time, ailments from vexation, burning skin eruptions.

2. Supportive rubrics in repertory

SKIN - ERUPTIONS – blisters

FACE - ERUPTIONS – vesicles - burning 

MIND - CONFIDENCE - want of self-confidence

MIND - ANGER- easily    

3. Analysis according to the Rajan Sankaran

To understand the miasm I asked the patient how she deals with her problem:

“I try to reduce it, I’m impatient, sceptical. It worries me, I’m angry about what I’ve eaten, I can’t find the reason. The eruptions appear by themselves. I never give up completely, I keep hoping, I’m not lazy.”

It is the malarial miasm, which Sankaran includes in “sycosis close” miasms. It is the basic feeling of weakness that periodically escalates into an acute form. The course of the disease corresponds to this; the eczema is alternately better or worse, however it never disappears completely.

Louis Klein defines the basic feeling of the malarial miasm as the feeling of a victim, getting stuck, a vicious circle with emotions gathering under the surface, which from time to time explode to the surface.

Understanding of the case and the prescription

The patient is afraid that she is not able to stand on her own feet. She is afraid to lose her father, her parents’ support, and is afraid to have another child. She feels unable to sustain her own family. She needs her parents’ and husband’s support.

The basic discrepancy is between the themes of the Iron series and Carbon series: how am I to fulfil the obligations of an adult, while being childishly dependant?  It is a conflict between being a child on the inside and an adult on the outside.

It is the situation of someone who starts to participate in society, starts working in the cruel world, though still being a child inside. To meet the rules, she has to suppress her emotions. It leads to somatisation, which often brings on skin diseases.

Prescription:  Ranunculus bulbosus 200C, two doses on two consecutive days

Differential diagnosis

- Magnoliaceae: skin diseases, though themes of Iron series are missing, more childish

- Papaveraceae: worldview is more desperate, perceived as a hell, war, pain

- Euphorbiaceae: burning eruptions, eczema, dependancy on stronger ones, tied by obligations, by loyalty


After two months: the eczema completely disappeared and her face is clean. During the first weeks after the remedy, she started to observe that her face is relaxed and no new eruptions were surfacing.

After fourteen months: no reoccurence of eruptions during the last year.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Ranunculus bulbosus; H.Zell;CC BY-SA 3.0


Categories: Cases
Keywords: eczema, overwhelmed by duties, quarreling parents, fear of disease
Remedies: Ranunculus bulbosus


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