Triticum vulgare: widely used in Substance, little known in Dilution
As homeopaths, it is important that we have a number of tools in our homeopathic resource box so that we can meet the needs of the varied patients we see and help them on the road to improved health. As we know, each case is different and requires an individualized approach. Some patients do not initially give us symptoms at the deep level suited to more in depth approaches to prescribing. This can be because the process of homeopathy is new to them, or sometimes the range of physical symptoms is like a ‘fog’ that we need to work our way through.
Over the last 10 years or so, I have successfully used the remedy Wheat or Triticum vulgare to deal with a wide range of complaints in my practice. Initially, this arose when I encountered an increasing number of clients, often with allergy-like symptoms and fatigue, who did not seem to fully respond to a well indicated remedy. Often, they could not explain deeper symptoms or sensations but were depleted and debilitated at some level. (I later came to recognize it as the lethargy and flatness of mood often seen when people are reacting to wheat in the diet.) My conclusion was that the patients had some sort of maintaining cause. I perceived this to be the modern “overloaded-with-processed-food” diet. In many cases, there was a specific sensitivity to wheat or dairy, but often just a combination of too much of both of these foods, and others, which insidiously creep into all processed items. Even when this diet was improved the symptoms might persist. Sometimes, I saw patients who had already been diagnosed with celiac disease (wheat intolerance) who, even on a strict diet, were debilitated by a range of often severe symptoms.
Throughout the Organon, Hahnemann refers to the need to look at and treat fundamental causes and obstacles to cure with the appropriate homoeopathic remedy.
If the physician clearly perceives what is to be cured in diseases, that is to say, in every individual case of disease (knowledge of disease, indication), if he clearly perceives what is curative in medicines, that is to say, in each individual medicine (knowledge of medical powers), and if he knows how to adapt, according to clearly defined principles, what is curative in medicines to what he has discovered to be undoubtedly morbid in the patient, so that the recovery must ensue - to adapt it, as well in respect to the suitability of the medicine most appropriate according to its mode of action to the case before him (choice of the remedy, the medicine indicated), as also in respect to the exact mode of preparation and quantity of it required (proper dose), and the proper period for repeating the dose; - if, finally, he knows the obstacles to recovery in each case and is aware how to remove them, so that the restoration may be permanent, then he understands how to treat judiciously and rationally, and he is a true practitioner of the healing art.
Useful to the physician in assisting him to cure are the particulars of the most probable exciting cause of the acute disease, as also the most significant points in the whole history of the chronic disease, to enable him to discover its fundamental cause, which is generally due to a chronic miasm. In these investigations, the ascertainable physical constitution of the patient (especially when the disease is chronic), his moral and intellectual character, his occupation, mode of living and habits, his social and domestic relations, his age, sexual function, etc., are to be taken into consideration.
This got me thinking…
What would Hahnemann say about our modern diet if he could see the supermarket shelves lined with cardboard boxes, most with wheat and thickeners added? How does food affect our ‘mode of living’ compared to 18th century life – it needed much less consideration then as most foods were in their simple form, yet it was still a strong focus for Hahnemann. How would he modify his treatment if he were practicing today? Is ‘poisoning’ with overuse of refined foods becoming a layer that needs treatment in our clients? I began to ponder the idea of a ‘food miasm’.
Previous modern practitioners (Sankaran/ Murphy/ Assilem/ Fraser & others) have suggested the idea of contemporary miasms – miasms from the modern world: synthetic hormones, recreational drug use, AIDS miasm, electromagnetic radiation, and others. It made sense to look at the abuse of some of these refined foods (wheat especially) in the same vein.
I began to give potentised wheat (Triticum vulgare) to patients who were not fully responding to other well-indicated remedies, some who had celiac disease and still had severe symptoms despite an improved diet and homeopathic treatment. Over time, I observed that just the removal of the grain was not enough and that a prescription of Triticum vulgare was needed as a way of addressing many of the remaining symptoms. I was surprised at the results patients experienced and began to build a profile of a remedy which, until then, I could find no homeopathic information on. What follows is a list of symptoms that I have seen resolve in patients, when they have taken Triticum vulgare (usually 30c), while concurrently removing the grain from their diet.
Oversensitivity esp. to criticism, easy indignation
Depression – varying degrees – usually with low confidence, weeping and tiredness
Mood swings/irritability/emotionally irrational
Lack of motivation, poor concentration and memory, feeling as if drugged or sleepy
Short tempered/internal restlessness/dissatisfaction
Lack of confidence – desire to be alone
Weakness of limbs, generalized aching
Heaviness of body/limbs
Lack of coordination, stumbling, many accidents
Headaches – varying locations – often described as a ‘hangover’ headache, dull, woolly, head in a fog, etc.
Sinusitis/post nasal drip/increased catarrh
Poor sense of smell/chronic nasal congestion/obstruction
Bad acne/singular pimples erupting
Increased prevalence of ear/nose and throat infections – tonsillitis, glue ear, hardness of hearing/blocked ears/tickling, itching ears
Classic dark rings under eyes/paleness OR flushing of face
Unexplained feeling of swelling or lump in the throat, sometimes even with choking
Bloating/distension usually intermittent or < as the day goes on
Cramps/wind/griping or sharp pains, sometimes with vomiting/nausea
Diarrhea or constipation or alternation of both eg constipation followed by diarrhea, severe cases mucus and bleeding
Gurgling or rumbling
Hungry/never satisfied feeling, then bloated after eating
Aching anywhere in the body – muscles and joints
Unable to raise limbs esp. shoulders
Lack of strength in muscles
Swelling of joints
Tendonitis, excessive pain in muscles
Itching (with or without eruption)
Dry flakey skin, eczema
Blotchy or hive-like, urticarial eruptions
Pimples occurring anywhere on the body
Increased menstrual pain
Mood changes (PMT) worse than normal, exacerbated peri-menopausally
Diarrhea and bowel pain increased pre-menstrually and
Vaginal itching (thrush)
Increased vaginal discharge (varying colours)
Urinary tract infections more common or unexplained
Increased frequency/desire to urinate, or the opposite: unable to pass urine easily
Incontinence (little warning or control) enuresis
Frequent urination at night
Sleepy during the day
Insomnia at night – restless sleep, difficulty getting to sleep
Waking after midnight (commonly around 2am) unable to get back to sleep
Waking un-refreshed or exhausted
Anxiety at night preventing sleep
Increased mucus production, constant hawking
Dry incessant cough
Constant clearing of the throat or needing to hawk up mucus
Loss of voice, often for several weeks on end – (no apparent cause after extensive diagnostic testing)
Many of these symptoms are common to our perception of allergic response or substance intolerance but many are more general.
In practice, I have treated patients who seem to do well on this remedy alone (a smaller percentage) when a range of symptoms clearly fit. Other patients do well on this remedy followed by subsequent individualized prescriptions for their remaining symptoms. Most will improve quicker with Triticum vulgare, while at the same time cutting processed foodstuffs from their diet. This gives them a clean platform from which to start, so they can become more aware of which foods they can tolerate in their diets, and how much. They often find they are able to tolerate spelt flour or breads made by the fermentation process (sourdough). In today’s world, most people find it too difficult to adhere to a strict elimination diet long term and this is one practical way we can assist them to cope using a safe, gentle mechanism. It is also empowering for the patient to see this for themselves so clearly and take control of the balance of food-related symptoms, seeking help when they need it.
J., a 52 year old woman, originally had pain on eating, accompanied by rumbling, gurgling, and vomiting. She had lost weight and had such severe chest pains, which she thought as having a heart attack. In 1994, J. was diagnosed with celiac disease. She has improved on the gluten-free diet but now, despite maintaining the diet, the above symptoms are returning and she wants to be rid of them to be able to eat some wheat occasionally.
Digestion: spicy foods aggravate her, she likes cheese, is not overly thirsty and has more regular bowel motions now than in the past.
Menses/urination: no urinary problems. Menses regular although heavier lately with cramps which > once bleeding starts. More irritable and anxious before her periods. Some night sweats – worse on the feet – generally warmer lately.
Skin: has an eczema/dermatitis with no modalities on her legs and left finger, which she scratches; it is itchy, dry, and flakey. Also, had an annoying recurrent otitis externa of left ear – itching, bleeding, and occluded.
Respiratory: tends to wheeze and cough, < in the cold. Sore throats always go straight to the chest.
Joints: sore forearms, numbness in the hands, tightness from the neck down the back (no modalities).
Mental/emotional: generally more tired lately, with low energy and motivation. She feels nervous a lot of the time and dislikes change. She has low confidence and feels easily hurt. She dislikes upsetting people, so the food problem is even more of an issue if she goes out. All emotions were > when first on gluten-free diet but have become worse again recently.
Prescription: Triticum vulgare 30C, twice a day for 7 days
One month: first three days, had a slightly fuzzy head. Some nausea and gurgling but no pain and bowel motions have become firmer. Since then, a general improvement.
Skin is clear on legs and fingers (no sign at all), ears are not troubling her at all – they had been itchy at her first appointment. Has had signs of a cold – a slight sore throat and runny nose this month, which has not gone to the chest as usual.
Pains in her arms are slightly better but still present.
The most improvement is on the emotional front: she says that she feels absolutely fine and has lost all the anxiety and lack of self confidence she was experiencing. She has not tried eating wheat yet other than on the odd occasion, which did not seem to affect her.
Two months: cancelled follow-up, leaving a message to say that she was absolutely fine and would ring me if symptoms returned.
Two years and two months later: still continues to do well. She has small amounts of wheat in her diet now; something with wheat in it, up to every second day. She has no digestive symptoms and is emotionally good. She is going on an overseas trip and would like to take some of the remedy with her ‘just in case’.
Four years after initial consultation: She calls to say that she continues to do well and can tolerate small amounts of wheat in the diet; no return of symptoms.
S., a 35 year old woman, one of the first cases of Triticum vulgare 30c.
Tiredness (3) << last few years. Diagnosis of ME 15 years ago: she wants to sleep all the time and is in bed by 20:30. She struggles to get through a day at work.
Respiratory: Frequent bronchial asthma (most winters).
Digestive: Bowel motions regular. Diet: sandwiches for lunch, lots of pasta, bursts of thirst – drinks 2-3 glasses of water at those times.
Hip pain – most days.
Sensitive skin and eczema, perspiration on face, trickles down profusely.
Genitals: Light periods
Fears: crowds, for instance in pubs or driving in cities – can only drive with her mother accompanying her. Nervous, especially about new things, interviews, etc.
Shy and quiet, tidy (3). Dislikes making mistakes – can get depressed. Has 3-4 good friends.
Mother: respiratory problems, pneumonia, sharp pains.
Father: heart problems.
Personal medical history: ME, tonsillitis, bronchial asthma
Prescription: Silica 1M 2/24 hours
One month: full review of case, only very slight change despite a seemingly well-indicated remedy. Based on her tiredness, lack of confidence, skin symptoms, wheat-filled diet, and the fact that Silica had not worked, I decided to prescribe Triticum vulgare. She agreed to remove wheat from her diet and took Triticum vulgare 30C daily for 7 days.
Three months: “As soon as I took the remedy, I started to feel better, and I haven’t had anything with wheat in it since.”
Differences: High energy, feeling more confident.
Skin is clearing, not feeling the cold as much. Went to Australia (from New Zealand) this month and didn’t notice the change in temperature on returning home – normally she would feel the cold much more. Perspiration on face has settled.
Drove in the small hours of the morning, stayed awake and was not nervous about the driving. Going to bed later than usual, sometimes staying up until midnight with no problems, which was previously unheard of.
Has a cold at the moment without it going to the chest as usual.
More tolerant, less stressed at work and able to let issues go, such as other people’s lack of attention to detail. “Girls at work think I’m playful now. Friend’s boyfriend can’t get over how talkative and confident I am. I feel really good!”
Five months: coping with extra shifts at work. Eating small amounts of wheat, for instance wraps for lunch. Feeling the heat more. Generally a big improvement.
Prescription: Triticum vulgare 30C to hold and use as needed (I did not repeat Silica as Triticum vulgare was doing such a good job!)
One year: continues to do very well. Eats small amounts of wheat. Has taken Triticum vulgare 30 twice on the return of symptoms and is thrilled with her progress over the last year.
Three years: I have posted more of the remedy to S. after a phone consultation. She continues to do well, is monitoring her diet and repeating the remedy very occasionally if she has a slip-up with food and notices a return of symptoms.
Schroyens’ Synthesis lists 3914 symptoms for the remedy Triticum vulgare, ranging through all sections of the repertory and linking in with the more general descriptions I have given. These are largely contributed by Peter and Edeltraud Friedrich. For those of you who read German, Peter also has a full proving document available. Other references found on Radar are from Sherr, and in the 1880 version of the Organon, there is a reference to disruption of menses in bake-house girls: Hahnemann prepared wheat into a remedy which brought them relief. (He truly was an amazing man, seeing it as a problem and a potential remedy even back then!)
When I began to use Triticum vulgare, I did not expect to see such a range of symptoms alleviated. My conclusion today, about the use of this remedy, is that it has a wide-ranging sphere of action in improving health, when symptoms are well matched, regardless of the cause.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Triticum polonicum; Böhringer Friedrich
Dermatitis; Daniel Ullrich
Pain au levain à l'ancienne; Zantastik
Keywords: wheat, maintaining causes, obstacles to cure, allergy symptoms, chronic fatigue