Comparison Cicuta with others 


[Peter Kern]

Nux-m. very absentminded. Kent mentions the typical example of the housewife interrupted in her tasks and unable to remember what she was just doing minutes ago.

Where Cicuta feels absences and withdraws into his thoughts, Nux moschata feels extremely drowsy with a dryness of the mouth quite characteristic because devoid of thirst. Moreover, there is a tendency to fainting and to digestive bloating which is not found in Cicuta.

Nat-m. the major differential diagnosis with Cicuta and to which it can be compared as far as absences and other tendencies to be lost in thoughts are concerned.

Nat-m.keeps reminiscing on and on about sad thoughts of the past, unlike Cicuta. very reserved, just like Cicuta when on the defensive. Nat-m.also has many alimentary signs which differ from Cicuta, and above all he is improved by physical exertion, which is rarely found in other remedies.

 - Anxiety about the future

This symptom is another that leads to understanding this unfamiliar remedy which appears at the 3rd grade in the rubric and deserves our attention. It is not (or rarely) anticipation, as found in Med, Lyc or Carc, but a real anxiety about the future with a hardly disguised pessimism.

Cicuta is often interested in the fate of humanity and is very worried about its future. Sometimes, the patient is more concerned about himself with the fear of falling

ill or of the occurrence of a catastrophe. In this case, Cicuta is very close to Sulphur on the philosophical side.

Sulph. often looks like the ragged philosopher as described by Hering, but Cicuta can also be totally unconcerned with his appearance (Indifference/ External things),

which leads to the confusion between the two remedies.

Sulph always has a joy of living and convivial side, unlike Cicuta, even though the remedy can be found at the 3rd degree in the Gaiety heading under cheerfulness.

On the contrary, Cicuta is often a disappointed person who can still be in a good mood at moments, even though he might try more and more to turn his back on the world

and no longer feels concerned.

A distinctive mental sign

These notions just described set the scene. We now have to focus on the symptom which is the key to the remedy.

Mind: Shuns the foolishness of men; or Misanthropy, shuns the foolishness of men. We see here that Cic. is the only remedy in the rubric.

In Allen we find this symptom:

Contempt and scorn for mankind; he avoided them, abhorred their follies excessively, and his disposition seemed to tend towards misanthropy; he withdrew himself into solitude.

Cic. like Nat-m., is a very sensitive and bashful person. Here follows a set of characteristic rubrics in my usual format. This means the principal number is the remedy grade. The comma indicates that the remedy has a relative valorization; i.e. 3,2 means third grade, two points relative strength. With a slash, the following number is the rubrics size:

Excitement, horrible things, after hearing (1). Frightened easily (1). Men, shuns foolishness of (1/1). Mildness (1). Misanthropy, shuns foolishness of men (1/1). Narrating her complaints agg (1). Sadness, sad stories (3/1).. Sensitiveness, sad stories (3,2/1). Sympathetic (2). Talking, unpleasant things agg (1).

This short list of symptoms will enable us to explain why Cicuta needs to run away from what is unbearable to him. Let’s notice here the similarity with Pulsatilla’s gentle,

nice and very compassionate sides. Both remedies aggravated when they have to talk about their symptoms. While Cicuta seeks safety in escape and withdrawal,

Puls needs affection and will do everything to get it. Basically gentle and compassionate, the Cicuta subject feels shocked by the realities of society or human behaviors which do not agree with his own moral values.

One of my patients, whom I had unsuccessfully treated with Nat-m, then with various other remedies for his skinny, depressed and very introverted sides, was totally transformed with Cicuta. During the war in Yugoslavia, interrupting his current business and life, he volunteered to drive lorries delivering vital supplies to civil populations.

He considered it was his duty as a human being to go and bring assistance to those in need. Once over there, he was very disappointed, to the point of feeling deceived by

the behavior of a lot of these supposed volunteers. He was also badly shocked by awful stories he heard there.

Back home, he withdrew more and more, rarely going out of his home. When consulting, he hated to talk about these very personal subjects, saying he would prefer not to think about them.

Staphysagria has a romantic, nostalgic side, possibly found in Cicuta, as well as an extreme sensitiveness for “external impressions”, as mentioned in texts, that is a tendency

to easily feel offended or look on the bad side of things, etc…

The subject who needs Staph often has a personal history of injustice, whereas Cicuta is disappointed with human beings’ behaviour. Cicuta runs away from humanity’s stupidity, he’s not so affected by personal injustice. Staph also shows a strong sexual excitation, a strong desire for spicy foods and tends to produce condylomata, styes, cystitis…

We see that the Cicuta patient does not feel like going out of his home or, when he has to go out, he wants to come back as soon as possible. This tendency to stay home

is very evocative, and although it could be mistaken with the Nat-m withdrawal, two other remedies should also be mentioned:

Bryonia, has a fear of the future, is easily irritated against others and has a yearning to go home. Bry is down to earth, he does not think for one minute about mankind’s well being, his anxiety for the future is due to his fear of being deprived and the yearning to go home is linked to his aversion for movement.

Baryta carbonica likes to stay home and is afraid of the future. This is due to his shyness and his extreme lack of confidence in himself. His home, a familiar environment with well known marks, is a haven of peace which secures him. The fear of the future can be explained by the fact that Bar-c is aware of his deficiencies and lives in the future with a lot of anticipation.

Lycopodium has a great duality. He is bossy in well known situations, but becomes respectful of authority and “established order” with unfamiliar people. Cicuta is not as cowardly and rather tries to pick a quarrel with provocative attitudes to have an opportunity of loudly voicing his indignation.

Quite often patients will say “I have become vindictive and I send everyone to hell”. On the other hand, Cicuta is neither in a bad mood when waking up, nor does he show the Lycopodium domineering character. On the contrary, he will often make fun of authority which he feels rarely based on merit. Both remedies show bloating and stomach ache symptoms: Cicuta’s stomach pain may occur very suddenly. As Cicuta has also a sweaty head while sleeping, this can lead to confusion with Lycopodium.

Causticum is very sensitive to social issues. The (young) patient can easily be identified with his warts around finger nails and clearly marked food likings. He is an authoritarian who likes salt or smoked food. Cicuta is not afraid of the dark, nor does he have the need to be accompanied or have someone hold his hand when going to sleep, like the Causticum child.

Both remedies show very deep compassion and are truly able to act in favor of those in need. This will typically make Causticum cry, but I think that both remedies are quite similar here. Causticum is improved with dampness, has paretic signs (voice, urines) not to be found in Cicuta.

We have just drawn the picture of a sensitive person with high views on humanity’s future, but who is hit hard by reality which he finds sordid (more than anyone else would do).

An external aggression, may it be a shock on the nervous tissue or a simple sting, fully reveals the convulsive nature of the remedy. As far as perforating wounds are concerned, the major indications are

of course Ledum palustre and Hypericum.

With Ledum, we see coldness of the wounded areas, although the patient does not feel the cold.

Hypericum is indicated when the same trauma damages the nerves, with the presence of strong shooting pains (neuritis). Here, we see that Cicuta induces convulsions through reflex effect of the nerves, which is not at all the case with the two other remedies. However before the discovery of Ledum, Cicuta was used fairly efficiently in prevention

of tetanus. If we get back to the signs following cranial trauma (Coronaimpfung?!), Cicuta can develop convulsions, as well as convergent strabismus (not listed in the repertory), or an anxiodepressive condition.

In this case, we could think of Nat-s., especially as Cicuta can also have suicidal ideas. Like all Natrum remedies, Nat-s. is sensitive and uncommunicative, but as indicated by Vermeulen, he is the less sensitive one and the most uncommunicative of all Natriums. These people are very realistic, objective, not spontaneous, down to earth, very responsible and with a strong sense of duty, etc… Here again, Cicuta differs with his particular sensitiveness to humanity and human beings in general. Cicuta’s sense of duty is directed towards humanity, whereas Nat-s is more self centered or for his close ones.



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