2013 September

Unaffected by small perturbations: a case of Viola tricolor

by Roma Buchimensky

A twenty one year old student comes, in August 2010, for a problem of tonsillitis recurring several times a year (not only in winter), with white pustules. It is very painful swallowing and lasts 1-2 weeks each time. After sexual intercourse, 18 months ago, he had a bout of urethral exudation with irritation of the glans penis.

In Grade 2: headaches, splitting pain, worse from noise. He missed six months of school. He is currently doing a masters degree in physics and wants to become a theoretical scientist.

Patient (P): “My immunity should be raised. I constantly feel that I’m about to get sick.

“I have two sisters. At home, the atmosphere is tense: my grandmother is irritable and it affects others; there are frequent quarrels. Soon, I will travel abroad to study, and I am anxious; I don’t have butterflies, but scorpions, in my abdomen. I get diarrhea when I’m anxious, before exams or before a date with a girl. Lately, I am trying to learn to control my emotions and teach myself to remain calm.

“During the last half-year, I lived with a friend, but had no corner for myself, which is very important for me. I am an introvert and I find it difficult to work when many people are around. I like to be left alone. I like to go on treks and to the theatre. I prefer to have few friends, just a few close ones; ‘three musketeers… three comrades’.[1] I’m old-fashioned in my relationships; I’m a gentleman with both girlfriends and friends. I am sensitive and easily hurt. In my free time, I play the guitar and listen to classical music. I like to be out in nature. I am emotional and am trying to overcome it. Once, my doctor said that I would develop a hernia and I fainted. I find it difficult to swim free style because the water gets into my ears.

"My mom began labour after the nurse took her blood pressure and left her alone with the tourniquet inflated. They cut my umbilicus incorrectly. I toe-walked as a child, and was late in starting to speak.

"I am irascible. Lately, I have little patience for things that I don’t want, be it people, society, or being compelled to do something against my will. I won’t speak with a person I don’t like. I am indifferent to the opinion of people I don’t know. I care only about my tightly knit group of friends. I like the United States less and less: people are hypocritical and robot-like. I also don’t like the education and healthcare systems. I need my own corner.”

RB: Tell me about your corner?

P: “Nobody can disturb me (hand gesture: tremulous hand), otherwise I cannot concentrate on my stuff, and I become irritated: a flashing in the head, eyes wide open, needing to take a breath in, a feeling of a small explosion in the head, something has been destroyed, concentration is gone, anger. I wait for it to pass, cannot continue the train of my thoughts, disappointment, chest, weakness in arms and legs, helplessness… I don’t control the situation. I would like to distance myself but cannot. I haven’t fulfilled my mission. Worry, irritable, vacillation, I want to go back.”

RB: Does it remind you of anything?

P: “Of the wind or a violin (spontaneously). A childhood dream: waves, a point that expands and contracts, it happens simultaneously in three of my senses (sight, hearing, touch).”

He displayed a dependent relationship with his healthcare providers, with an anxiety about his health.



The essential theme of the case is his desire to be alone and sensitivity to being disturbed. This corresponds directly to the vital sensation of the Violales order according to Rajan Sankaran[2], including the aversion to being disturbed, avoidance of people, morose disposition, and, on the physical level, sharp, lancinating, stitching, tearing headaches. The general oversensitivity and the two-sided sensation (disturbance and avoidance thereof) arguably support the assignment of the case to the plant kingdom.

The theme of ‘three’ is strong in the case: three siblings, three musketeers, three comrades, three senses.

In terms of known symptoms of the remedy[3], we observe the introspective, morose quality, with disinclination to talk, sadness about domestic relations, hypochondriasis, and physically, an affinity for the urinary organs (swelling of the prepuce with itching). The indifference of the remedy here appears to be directed toward the outside world rather than to close friends.

During the ‘passive case-witnessing’ phase of the interview[4], the theme of his need to have his own corner arose repeatedly. We thus began the ‘active-passive’ phase of the interview, enquiring about his experience of having his own corner. In his reply, he referred back to his headaches without being prompted. At the same time, his speech became somewhat incoherent, he mentioned being unable to reach his mission, and brought up the sensation of vacillation, which mirrored his prior hand gesture. All together, these suggested that he was expressing himself in the source-language of his remedy. Finally, in the ‘active-active’ phase of the interview, he referred to the violin, and spontaneously retold a childhood dream in which the theme of three arose one final time.

A possible central theme of the remedy is that of the wave[5]: the remedy displays various wavelike (wavering, staggering) sensations, including:

Head; waving sensation (89)
Heart & circulation; waving, undulation; heart (8)
Heart & circulation; palpitation heart; wavelike (1)
Generalities; wavelike sensation (163)
Generalities; pain; undulating, waving (86)

This, in this context of the dream about a wave, may reflect an emergent aspect of the remedy that may turn out to be quite central to it.

From the point of view of Michal Yakir’s table of plants[6], we see the following characteristics: The Violales order belongs to the fifth column of the table, which represents the split between the feminine and masculine evolutionary impulses, namely unbounded emotions and the mind which tries to control them (for example, the Viola odorata symptom: Emotions predominated by the intellect). This relates to the patient’s mentalized reaction to his oversensitivity to outside stimulation.

There may be an interest in the exact sciences or a preoccupation with marginal details, with a rigidity and respect for rules, against a desire to become individual and fulfill one’s unique vocation.

The anxiety before exams relates to the early stages (rows of the Plant’s Table) of the ambition for success in the world, which is characteristic of the fifth column: specifically, stage four represents penetrability due to immaturity, with respect to setting up boundaries, provoking a reaction of withdrawal and disconnection.

Finally, the state of the external world penetrating and being resisted by the rigid mind can be likened to a string of a musical instrument, which when disturbed by an external force releases the disturbance vibrationally in the form of a musical wave. In this sense, the wave is both the expression of the disturbance and the manner of its resolution (cf. the aversion of Viola odorata to the music of the violin), so the theme of the wave and the wavering sensation may characterize the entire Violaceae family.

Prescription: Viola tricolor 9c once daily


Six weeks later: headaches after beginning school-year at university. Occasionally tired: “I keep myself busier than before.” Twice had the beginning of tonsillitis, but it did not become full-blown.

“I can work more easily with people around me.”

Prescription: continue Viola tricolor 9c once daily.

Eleven weeks later: had a bout of tonsillitis, but not as severe as usually.

Your favourite composition?

“Bach’s Chaconne in the guitar version by Andrés Segovia”.

Prescription: raise potency to Viola tricolor 12c once daily.

Sixteen weeks later: “No tonsillitis, apart from occasional very dull pain at the back of my mouth on the left, but it doesn’t develop into anything more. I handle stress much better, and I’m more comfortable emotionally. I worry less and enjoy life more. I enjoy my studies a lot.”

What is your specialty within physics?

I study states that are unaffected by small perturbations.”

Prescription: raise frequency to Viola tricolor 12c twice daily.

Evolution of the case over the next 2.5 years:

Good energy, mood, appetite. Virtually no acute illnesses; any hint of them is addressed with the remedy. “I’m more confident in myself.” (Noticed by a girl-friend).

The remedy was given daily, then twice daily, in gradually increasing potencies. He used to be clingy and anxious about his health, now, he is much more independent. He has chosen to discontinue treatment.

I would like to thank David Nortman, N.D. for his assistance with the presentation of this case.

Circular diffraction ripples at Point Reyes Lighthouse; Wing-Chi Poon; Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0
Viola tricolor; Wisniowy; Wikimedia Commons; public domain


[1] The Three Musketeers is a novel by Alexandre Dumas; Three Comrades is a novel by Erich Maria Remarque.

[2] Sankaran R. Schema, 2007 version, p.23

[3] Mainly from Allen’s Encyclopedia

[4] Chauhan D. The Scientifically Intuitive Case Witnessing Process: The Journey of Three Steps

[5] Zandvoort van R. Complete Repertory, 2013

[6] Yakir, M. Wondrous Order: Systematic Table of Homeopathic Plant Remedies

Categories: Cases
Keywords: control of emotions, aversion to disturbance, irascible, waves, violin, desire to be alone
Remedies: Viola tricolor


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