A Comparitive Study: The Mental Symptoms The leading mental symptom in this proving was an emotional sensitivity.
This symptom was reflected in various mental themes.
Sensitivity to music with a corresponding deep sadness and one prover remarked that whilst listening to her church choir she was overwhelmed by emotions. There was also a sensitivity to the remarks and reactions of others and this was expressed as “sensitive to others energies”. Provers did not want to disturb anyone as they were worried about peoples’ reactions. The outcome
of this immense sensitivity was causeless weeping and a marked irritability. This was expressed by the provers towards people in general and loved ones in particular and often resulted in disproportional rage and anger.
This sensitivity, irritability and rage in turn led to an aversion to company and desire for solitude which in some cases, lasted many weeks after the proving. Another theme was one of absentmindedness, decreased concentration and prostration of the mind which progressed to a carelessness and clumsiness. Provers complained about being accident prone. An aversion to mental exertion and social interaction was the consequence of not being able to process thoughts accurately and this was described as “my brain is not functioning” and “it is as if my brain is filled with treacle”. There was numbness and dullness of mental activity. Many delusions were also experienced which could also be explained by the dull mental activity.
For example: a delusion of being detached; a delusion that everything that she does is wrong and that everything she writes is a lie; a delusion that her head was confused by a cloud.
Other delusions: hearing noises, thieves in the home. This theme of paranoia or impending danger was also reflected in the dreams. Dreams of shark attacks, drowning, robbers and fire were all recorded.
In comparing the following remedies, in terms of the mental symptoms, to that of Peucedanum galbanum, one can see many similarities and differences.
Sep: develops a deep sadness and despair which is often reflected as an indifference to loved ones. Because Sepia feels forced to undertake things against their intention. It is a chronic situation in which they feel dominated and restricted from having their own way (Sankaran,1997). Their immediate family is their greatest emotional strain and they are sad without any apparent cause and inclined to weep every few minutes. = similar to Peucedanum galbanum, Sepia has a desire to be left alone and they avoid any contact with friends, however, in contrast to Peucedanum, they develop a fear of loneliness. Vermeulen (2002) describes a mental and emotional stasis with confusion, absentmindedness and difficulty in thinking. As a means of avoiding their problems they keep themselves occupied and this too, gives them a feeling of independence. They are always better when busy (Vermeulen, 2002).
Nat-m.: closest to Sepia in that they both have disappointment in love. In Nat-m. the disappointment comes from a feeling that they will be betrayed or let down by a loved one. Fears being emotionally hurt and therefore become reserved and unapproachable. For this reason, irritability, anger, bitterness and malice often develop and they find themselves dwelling on past disagreeable occurrences.
Sensitive to (sad/sentimental type) music. Their grief is silent and they are responsive to others grief, which they absorb and brood over when alone. < any consolation (Vermeulen, 2002).
In describing the Nat-m. nature, Vermeulen (2002) uses these citations from Hahnemann, “He avoids company because he foresees that he might easily annoy others.” and “From the looks of everyone, he concludes that people pity him for his misfortune, and he weeps.” This can be compared to the sensitivity Peucedanum galbanum had to the reactions of others.
Sulph.: relates to Peucedanum galbanum in that they too are often in a state of confusion or mental dullness with an inability to collect thoughts and ideas. They are averse to business (Kent, 1989). Vermeulen (2002): mainly two types of Sulphur.
1st type is the philosophical, theorising Sulphur which typically has many ideas but has no time or finds it too much trouble to realise his ideas.
2nd type is the practical, idealistic Sulphur who has great ideas and usually surrounds himself with people who are willing to work hard to implement his great plan. Sulphur does differ from the Peucedanum in the way that they are typically self-centred, pedantic and opinionated and they love debating for the sake of argument. They need to be the centre of attention and thus develop ailments from embarrassment. A Comparitive Study: The Keynote: The physical symptoms of Peucedanum galbanum were vast and expanded throughout all the major systems. Allergy-type symptoms were a major characteristic of the proving with tingling, itching and pain being the most significant symptoms. Peucedanum galbanum’s head pain was unique in that it could always be pinpointed to a particular part of the head. In many cases there was wandering pain, which began in a localized area and extended forward. The most common examples of this were: pain in vertex ext. forehead; pain in occipitut ext. r. temple; pain in vertex ext. eyes; pain in occiput ext. eyes (l.). The nature of the pain was typically sharp and the intensity of the pain induced vomiting in two
of the provers.
Peucedanum galbanum had flushing of heat to the head and a heaviness of the head, with difficulty holding it erect and a desire to rest it on something.
Sep.: similar in location to Peucedanum galbanum but not similar in nature. Boericke (1999) describes a stinging pain outward and upward, mostly to the left or in the forehead. The pain can be + nausea and vomiting, as was found in Peucedanum galbanum. The headache in Sepia is often related to the menstrual cycle in females, with < during menses. There are hot flushes in an upwards direction typically during menopause. Nash (1994) describes the heat as originating in the pelvic organs and spreading over the rest of the body. He also explains the headache as coming in terrific shocks, so as to jerk the head in spite of the patient.
Nat-m.: headache described as a hammering, bursting pain over the eyes < reading/motion/light/noise; > lying in a dark room/pressure; (Vermeulen, 2002). Nat-m. has head pain which is similar in location to Peucedanum galbanum but the nature of the pain is dissimilar. The headache is blinding and aching as if a thousand little hammers were knocking on the brain. It typically occurs in the morning, after menses and from sunrise to sunset. Anaemia, eyestrain and menstruation are leading causes of the headache. Pain + nausea and vomiting; (Boericke, 1999).
Sulph.: headache is a beating pain < for stooping/+ vertigo. The heat is located at the top of the head in Sulphur. Similar to Peucedanum galbanum, there is a heaviness felt in the head but in Sulphur it is located at the temples and not the whole head. The headaches recur periodically (Boericke, 1999).
Peucedanum: itching in scalp/face/eyes/nose/ears/throat/in various spots on the skin of the torso and extremities. Eyes dry and itchy with pain behind the eyeballs. Keeping the eyes open is difficult.
All the eye symptoms < cold. Nose itchy + sneezing/catarrh/congestion/post nasal drip. Itching in the Eustachian tube and a stopped sensation in the ear. Painful mouth ulcers and vesicular eruptions occurred on the inner side of the cheek, the hard palate, the mucous membranes and the tip of the tongue. In the throat, there was dryness, itching and inflammation and redness of the tonsils.
“As if a foreign body or lump in the throat” with a feeling of obstruction and constriction which caused pain and difficulty on swallowing. The nature of the pain varied, some experiencing a cutting pain, some a burning pain and others a sore pain. Cold liquid > pain in throat.
Sulph.: throat symptoms very similar to Peucedanum in that there is also a pressure in the throat, “As from a lump”, but, in Sulph.: “As if a splinter or hair in the throat” not present in the proving substance. Sulphur, also has redness, burning and dryness of the throat. (Boericke, 1999).
The left side of the lower abdomen in Peucedanum galbanum was the most affected with symptoms of pain, swelling and a sensation of fullness. Abdominal distension was marked in several provers.
The nature of the pain varied amongst provers. Cramping, tenderness, and sore pain were all mentioned. Some female provers related the nature of the pain to a premenstrual cramp.
Nat-m.: abdominal distension with a cutting pain.
Sep.: acid dyspepsia and bloating (Boericke, 1999).
Sulph.: SENsitive to any pressure on the abdomen due to an internal feeling of rawness and they have a unique sensation as if something alive is moving in their abdomen (Boericke, 1999).
Peucedanum.: Constipation and diarrhoea both. The diarrhoea was frequent, painless and very sudden. One vegetarian prover got diarrhoea from the smell of meat cooking. Constipation with ineffectual urging was a very common symptom.
Sep.: constipation with large hard stools and “As if a ball in the rectum”.
Sulph.: morning diarrhoea which drives them out of bed.
Nat-m.: has a painless and copious diarrhoea which is preceded by pinching pain in the abdomen and constipation with dry crumbling stools (Boericke,1999).
Peucedanum.: two of the provers with a regular menstrual cycle, had their menses too early. The menses arrived between 10-14 days earlier then expected. It was also described as intermittent thereafter. Pain was the next significant symptom and it presented as cramping pain over the uterus which was worse for touch. The sexual desire was either increased or diminished throughout the proving.
Sulph.: menses scanty, too late and short. Headaches precede Sulphur’s menses.
Sep.: predominantly a female remedy and their ailments are generally related to hormonal changes. Amenorrhoea or scanty menses are common. Sepia has a unique bearing down sensation “As if everything would escape through the vulva” and they feel they must cross their legs to prevent this happening. < before or after menses and during menopause (Vermeulen, 2002).
Nat-m.: similar to Sepia in that they also have bearing down pains which are worse in the morning. The menses are irregular and usually profuse (Boericke, 1999).
Peucedanum.: The main symptom in the chest = oppression. Pain was the next most frequent symptom, with the main complaint being on the left side of the chest and the left mammae around the nipple. The pain wandering and < movement. Palpitations were experienced by a few provers.
Fluttering palpitations are common to Nat-m., with the heart and chest feeling constricted. Stitches are felt all over the chest.
Sep.: violent, intermittent palpitations with a beating in all arteries. They have an oppression of the chest in the morning and evening. Sulphur, too, has oppression as of a load on the chest, + burning.
The chest feels heavy and the heart too big, with stitches and palpitations occurring (Boericke, 1999).
Peucedanum.: The pain in the extremities varied from an aching pain to a rheumatic pain to an intense shooting pain like an electric shock. Most provers noted the pain to be wandering in nature.
Pain experienced in the hip, thigh, knee, leg, foot and sole of the lower limb and in the shoulder, forearm, elbow, hand and fingers of the upper limb. Pain in the (r.) Sternocleidomastoid muscles,
Many provers felt they had injured their neck while sleeping or through the duration of the day but they could not decipher how. The pain was of a pinching nature and movement to the right aggravated it. Stiffness of the muscles of the neck, mainly right side, cervical and lumbar region of the back was commonly noted and accompanied by tingling and heat. The stiffness in the cervical area extended to the shoulder. Motion of the head < cervical stiffness and pain. In Sepia the lower extremities are lame and stiff and there is a tension as if they are too short.
Sep.: heaviness and bruised feeling.
The limbs are restless with twitching and jerking during the night and day. Pain is found in the heel and there is coldness of the legs and feet (Boericke, 1999).
There is weakness in Nat-m. found in the arms and legs (knees). There is numbness and tingling in the fingers and lower extremities (Boericke, 1999). In the extremities of Sulphur there is a trembling of the hands and burning of the hands and soles at night. There is a rheumatic pain in the shoulder and rheumatic gout with itching. A Sulphur person cannot walk erect and they stoop their shoulders over (Boericke, 1999).
Peucedanum.: The skin symptoms were significant and resembled those of an allergy. Itching, tingling, pain, heat and skin rashes were all common complaints. The itching of the skin presented in small spots on the back between the scapulae. The itching was aggravated by scratching. A rash developed on the thighs which was red in colour and was accompanied by itching in small spots. Provers had a tingling or prickly sensation which typically originated in the upper limbs and spread downward to the lower limbs and was also experienced in the body and face, lips in particular.
Heat and pain often + itching and tingling.
DD.: Sep.: Boericke (1999) describes Sepia’s eruptions as circulated and found in isolated spots. Herpetic eruptions on lips, mouth and nose. The itching <scratching and < bends of the elbows and knees. They develop a ringworm-like eruption every spring.
Sulph.: H. king of anti-psorics. Itching eruptions everywhere on the skin, with scratching followed by burning/burning everywhere (feet) + needs to stick them out of bed to cool them. The orifices in Sulphur so red and appear “As if they were pressed full of blood (Nash, 1994)”.
Nat-m. differs typically developes skin eruptions on the hair margin, behind the ears and in the bends of joints. They have a tendency to develop fever blisters and Urticaria = Nesselsucht., which is itchy and burns.
DD.: Eczema is another common pathology which presents as raw, red and inflamed (Boericke, 1999). The tingling and numbness of the face, lips, tongue and nose is a symptom also found in Peucedanum galbanum.
A Comparitive Study: The Generalities If we consider the general symptoms of Peucedanum galbanum, most provers felt a change in energy levels with a marked depletion of energy in general. Lameness, lassitude and weakness were keynote symptoms and some provers described their lower limbs as being lame or heavy, as if they were made of lead. There was also an excess of energy, typically on waking, and often the excess energy levels would alternate with the depleted energy levels. Decreased energy levels prevented people from taking part in activities that they would normally take part in, and a desire for solitude developed. Provers felt lazy and had an increased desire to remain alone and not do anything. A sleepiness during the day led to provers wanting to just lie about. Many provers fell asleep whilst reading or sitting, which was unusual to them. A change in appetite also occurred. There was a marked increase in appetite and it was often described as being ravenous and continuous.
The remarkable aspect of the increased appetite was the easy satiety after eating very little. The stomach became full and distended after very small quantities of food and in some cases nausea was experienced. The thirst was diminished in the provers and drinking often brought on nausea and, in some, it caused vomiting, which relieved the nausea. A cramping pain was present in the epigastric area after eating; fruit, in particular.
A unique finding in the proving was a strong desire for meat but not wanting to eat it. This was also experienced by two of the vegetarian provers. One of them had a craving for meat but as soon as she smelt it cooking she got nauseas. She exclaimed that this particular symptom was very unusual for her. Another significant food and drink craving was one for coffee. There is a constant hunger in Sepia but it is mainly for sweet things and meat. They have a great hunger and crave acids, pickles and vinegar. They are averse to fat but are generally better for eating and for cold drinks. This remedy also has the symptom of having an increased appetite but after a little food the stomach feels full (Vermeulen, 2002). They get nausea from the sight and smell of food. There is a peculiar sensation of emptiness which is not relieved by eating (Boericke, 1999). The above two symptoms were also found in Peucedanum galbanum. In Nat-m. there is an increased thirst for cold drinks. Nausea develops after eating fish and they have an aversion to anything slimy, like oysters. They have a great craving for salt (Boericke, 1999). In Sulphur there is either an excessive hunger or a complete loss of hunger. They develop a weakness from hunger and the types of food they crave are sweet and spicy. They also crave beer and whiskey and during a headache they want pickles (Vermeulen, 2002). Food tastes too salty and causes a burning, painful, weight-like pressure in Sulphur (Boericke, 1999).
The main weather modality in Peucedanum galbanum is sensitivity to the cold. This presented as an aversion to cold weather, an aversion to cold air and water and some complaints < by the cold.
Sep.: Vermeulen (2002): too, very chilly and < cold in general, but in particular it is < head becoming cold. Sulphur is warm but sensitive to drafts of air and they can be chilly at an older age. They have an intolerance of warm closed rooms, warm beds or wraps. Nat-m. is warm, but can be chilly. They are worse for the heat and especially that of the sun but they are better for perspiration (Vermeulen,2002). The side of the body most affected in the Peucedanum galbanum proving was the left. Most of the provers had symptoms occurring only on the left. There was one exception and that was the stiffness and pain that was mainly felt in the right sternocleidomastoid muscle. Sepia is a left sided remedy, Sulphur is mainly left sided but it also has an affinity for the right side and Nat-m. has ailments on both sides (Vermeulen, 2002).
A Comparative Study: Umbelliferae: The symptoms of Peucedanum galbanum relate closely to its plant family, Umbelliferae, and to the remedies within this family. The main sensations in this family are accidents, sudden unexpected violence or attack, blows, riots, stabs and wounds and these sensations are followed by numbness, stupefaction, dullness and sleep (Sankaran, 2002).
In Peucedanum galbanum there was an anger and rage which was disproportional to its cause. Provers complained of becoming angry easily and waking up with an angry temperament. There was also cursing, screaming and many complaints of not being able to control the harsh words that were being spat out in a fit of rage. These symptoms can all be compared to the sudden attack of violence found in the Umbelliferae family. Another mental theme that was common to the proving was sadness, depression and emotional sensitivity which resulted in an aversion of company and a desire for solitude. There was also a dullness and numbness of the mental activity and a desire to avoid activities and lay about. Some provers described not being able to stay awake and falling asleep in places they wouldn’t usually or taking naps at times that they wouldn’t usually. Sankaran (2002) explains that in this plant family there is numbness, dullness, stupefaction and sleep that follows the sudden unexpected attack. Conium maculatum and Cicuta virosa are two remedies from this plant family and they, too, express similar mental themes. The keynote symptom in Conium maculatum is gradual weakening of the mind and an inability to sustain any mental effort. Mental depression is brought on by excitement (Boericke, 1999). They have no inclination for business or study. “Conium is of a slow, passive character. Complete indifference; takes no interest in anything…” (Kent, 1989: 469). An aversion to society develops from their depressed and timid nature (Sankaran,2002). Conium has an aversion to company brought on by the gradual shutting down and weakening of the mind. They become introverted and isolated and developed fixed ideas and fastidiousness (Vermeulen, 2002). Cicuta virosa has a loss of confidence in humans and a resultant estrangement from society.
There is an aversion to the presence of strangers and company. This aversion is especially prominent during menses. They think about the errors of people which cause anxiety and they turn inward and withdraw in order to escape a world of dismay. Another side to this remedy is one of naivety. They act like children by being impulsive, jesting and foolish and they often desire to play with childish toys (Vermeulen, 2002). Another mental theme in the Umbelliferae family is a feeling of being pursued and impending danger or attack.
This aspect found in Peucedanum galbanum, Con. and Cic. in the form of their delusions and dreams.
The common delusions in Peucedanum galbanum were: a delusion someone was walking behind him, a delusion that friends were strangers, a delusion that thieves were in the house and a delusion of hearing voices. The common dreams were of shark attacks, drownings, animal attacks, robbers and fires. There was also a fear of robbers. In Conium maculatum they have delusions of being pursued and dreams of accidents and riots. Cicuta’s suspicious mind leads to fears and delusions of being pursued (Sankaran, 2002). The physical symptoms of the Umbelliferae family also relate to the keynote sensation of sudden unexpected violence and attack in the form of stabbing, blows, accidents, riots, epilepsy., vertigo, fainting followed by numbness, stupefaction, dullness and sleep. In Peucedanum galbanum vertigo was experienced which was described as being intoxicating and a sensation of falling to the side. Many provers complained of being accident prone and developed bruises from clumsiness. The pain in the extremities was sudden, like shocks of electricity.
Another complaint in the extremities was one of lameness, weakness, paralysis as if the limbs were made of lead. There was tingling and numbness of the skin. The head pain was of a stabbing nature. Sudden flushes of heat to the head were also reported by many provers and this supports the “sudden” theme of the Umbelliferae family. The head was also described as being heavy and there was a difficulty in holding it erect. Provers had tired, heavy eyes, with difficulty keeping them open. Physically, Conium has muscular weakness, especially in the lower extremities which feel heavy, weary and paralysed. They have numbness and stiffness in the neck (external throat). They suffer from visual disturbances such as slow accommodation, problems focussing and photophobia. The headache is accompanied by nausea and vomiting of mucus with a feeling of a foreign body under the skull. They have tightness as if both temples were compressed and bruised semi-lateral pains. The abdominal pain is found mainly in the right hypochondrium which is described by Boericke (1999) as bruised, swollen, knife-like pains. Cicuta virosa has violent physical symptoms with its main action on the nervous system causing spasmodic affections like hiccoughs, trismus, tetanus and convulsions (Boericke, 1999). Nash (1994) says this about the convulsions of Cicuta “… the patient is thrown into all sorts of odd shapes and violent contortions, but one of the most invariable is the bending of the head, neck and spine backwards, opisthotonus.” (Nash, 1994: 267). It is understandable why this is a leading remedy for cerebro-spinal meningitis. The convulsions are usually brought on by fright, trauma to the head, getting cold or a disordered stomach.
Other physical symptoms include, strabismus, difficulty swallowing due to a spasm of the throat, spasms and cramps in the nape of the neck, tonic spasm of pectoral muscles with difficulty in breathing, curved limbs that cannot be straightened and back bent backwards like an arch (Boericke,1999). The skin symptoms of this remedy are also prominent with crusty eczema, impetigo or any other yellow, crusty, pustular eruptions particularly on the face and head (Vermeulen, 2002). Other similarities and contrasting features between the proving remedy, Cicuta virosa and Conium maculatum exist. In the female system Peucedanum galbanum had symptoms of menses occurring too early and being intermittent thereafter. Conium maculatum has delayed and scanty menses. The female has pain and swelling of the mammae before menses, which is worse for walking (Vermeulen 2002). The breasts enlarge and become painful before and during the menses, with stitches in the nipples. Peucedanum galbanum too, has pains in the nipples which are worse for touch. The libido was both increased and diminished in the proving. Conium, generally has problems with sexual interaction, in both the males and females, and they develop ailments from suppression of sexual desire (Boericke, 1999). Peucedanum galbanum has a strong desire for coffee, meat, milk, cold drinks, chocolate, fruit and salt. There was also an aggravation from the smell of meat cooking, in the proving, causing diarrhoea. One prover remarked that she was aggravated by wine and alcohol. Peucedanum galbanum is better for rest, sleep and cold drinks and worse for movement, touch, cold, mental and physical exertion. This remedy has left sided ailments.
Con. desires coffee, sour and salty things; <: wine and milk; Generally < lying down, turning or rising in bed, celibacy, before and during menses, cold, bodily or mental exertion and better for fasting, dark rooms, letting limbs hang down, motion and pressure;
Cic.: desires: cabbage/beans/peas/charcoal/wine; <: milk; < from touch/draughts/concussions; >: lying down/passing flatus; Generally this remedy l. sided (Boericke, 1999) .