Homœopathy in the health care of infants and children
(A talk delivered to the Homœopathic Association of Kalpakkam, on 5th August 1985)
There is a general opinion that Homœopathy is very efficacious for children. This is true because the biology and psychology of children are not polluted and the Homœopathic dynamic medicine can act much quicker in such conditions. However, now-a-days almost all children are given various immunizations through vaccines—there are so many—and these do contribute to the pollution of their biology from the view point of Homœopathy. The only solution to this is that immunization also should be by Homœopathy. Unfortunately, neither the profession (of homœopaths) nor the Authorities seem to think of this seriously. The ‘leaders’ in Homœopathy in our country should come together and exert their influence with the Authorities to take to Homœopathic immunisations at least on trial basis.
The medicine for immunisation should satisfy the following criteria;
ii. Safety;——which means freedom from adverse reaction beyond limits of tolerance, such as high fever, general illness, rashes, convulsions or more serious neurological effects;
iii. Usage and acceptance; and
iv. Success, which is achieved when the infection is controlled to such an extent that further immunisation against that disease is not generally anymore called for—that is, complete eradication of a disease.
We should be able to prove that homœopathic immunisation satisfy the above criteria. Especially now since Homœopathy is recognised and almost all the States in our country have colleges which turn out diplomates and graduates in Homœopathy it should be possible to organise a band of homœopaths who would examine this proposal.
Now, where does the child health-care begin? Right from the time of conception, of course. We may even say, before conception, that is a pollution free parent. Where the parent, particularly the mother was not under the care of a Homœopath, the next best thing would be to take up treatment of the pregnant mother so as to clear away as much as possible the Miasms which the mother may be suffering and protect the child from inheriting it. [Para 284 of Organon] lf the mother has not been doused with anti-biotic medicines during the pregnancy or suffered from serious infectious diseases, exposed to x-rays, tobacco or alcohol, we can assume that she has not been polluted. Still, we should remember that pesticides used in agriculture, anti-biotics administered to cattle, poultry and other forms of animal life which are all consumed by humans do pollute the biology but these are something which we cannot help except to advise to consume as less as possible of these products. If we are able to recognise any biological pollutant which the mother has consumed or suffered infectious illnesses, we should anti-dote it. We should therefore enquire the mother-to-be, carefully, for these when we take up the care of a pregnant woman. Apart from these, we have the three great Miasms to reckon with. Dr. Leon Vannier has suggested, for clearing the Miasms which a child may inherit, the following course of Homœopathic medication to the mother during pregnancy; Tuberculinum 200, Syphilinum 200 and Sulphur 200 in interval of 14 days to be given to the healthy pregnant mother. After that Calcium carbonicum, Calcium fluoratum or Calcium phosphoricum according to constitutional requirements.
This is called ‘eugenic’ medication. Dr.Mathias DORCSI of the Vienna School of Homœopathy has modified the above and given the following plan:
first month Tuberculinum D200,
Second month Luesinum D200,
third month Cancerin D200,
Fourth month Sulphur D200,
fifth month Calcium carbonicum D200,
Sixth and Seventh months Calcium fluoratum or Calcium phosphoricum D6 as may be required.
This is a good plan to ensure that Miasms are not inherited. We may not then have occassions to inject ‘vaccines’ after the child is born. It is therefore strongly suggested that this plan is adopted and the follow-up also made for, say, three years after the birth of the child and assess the result. We do not know whether there are Homœopathic hospitals with Obstetrics and Gynaecology and whether this plan has at all been tried in India.
Now to the infant, the new-born and its development. To recognise the abnormal let us bear in mind the ‘normal’:
A new-born baby weighs bet. 3 to 3.5 kg. (depending whether from the ‘poor’ or well-to-do’), it should gain weight at the rate of 150 g. weekly during the first 6 months and at 75 g. weekly during the next 6 months from 1 to 5 yrs. The increase should be at 2.27 kg. each 450 g. Birth wt. doubled at 5 months age; Birth weight trebled by 1 yr. of age quadrupled by 2½ yrs. of age. Height - the average length of full term new-born infants is about 50 cm. During the 1st yr. of life is an approximate increase of 7.5 cm. per year until 7 yrs. of age. After this, growth in height is about 5 cm. per year for about 4 yrs. and the height at birth is trebled at 13 yrs. of age. For normal growth and development please check with the ‘guide’ appended. It would help us to recognise aberrations which should be removed by the appropriate Homœopathic medication.
The commonest diseases afflicting children, in so far as our country is concerned, may be listed as follows in order of their occurrence:
i. Mal-nutrition (not getting the right type of food)
ii. Infections (worms, fungi, protozoa, bacteria and viruses)
iii. Accidents (injuries and poisonings)
iv. Behavioural disorders (bed-wetting, nail-biting, etc.)
v. Hereditary diseases (inherited diseases; diabetes, muscular dystrophy, cretinism, etc.)
vi. Congenital diseases (physical deformities etc., during its growth in the womb)
vii. Abnormal growths of tissues like tumours.
We must recognise clearly diseases which are chronic, and how to treat them (ref. para 5 -Organon). We also know that there are two ways of fighting diseases, viz, prevention and cure. Prevention is better, easier and cheaper than cure; and perhaps even less painful. A child which gets frequent illnesses has low immunity. It has been observed that there are many cases where children under the care of Homœopathic physician also get frequent illnesses. It means that the medication was only symptomatic and not deep enough to build up constitutional immunity. The physician should check dietary errors, improper living etc. to allow his medicines work efficiently. Medicine cannot replace nutrition. Good nutrition prevents easy susceptibility to infections. A poor mother should not be advised to give proprietary ‘tonics’ or’ ‘tonic foods’. Cheap and easily available foods should be suggested. Good nutrition need not be costly. There is a tendency especially in the middle class and upper middle classes (the so-called ‘educated’ men and women) to try all foods advertised in the glamour media like TV.
They come to us and lament that despite Horlics, Nutramul, Complan and many such ‘great’ tonic foods the child does not ‘thrive’ physically. These children are accustomed to take plenty of synthetic soft drinks with chemical preservatives. The mothers should be told to be firm enough to deny these to their children. But where the parents themselves adopt this culture it is difficult. They may prefer some other physician who may rather agree with their style of life. Let them go their way. But it is our duty to advise those who would listen to. The mother should be encouraged to breast-feed the child at least upto 12 months and even more; the child gets the much needed immunity that way. There are good Homœopathic medicines to improve lactation of the mother.
Malnutrition and infections make each other worse and it is a vicious circle—malnutrition makes the child susceptible to easy infections and the infections aggravate the mal-nourished condition. This vicious circle must be broken. “He is like-wise a preserver of health if he knows the things that derange health and cause diseases, and how to remove them from persons in health” (para 4 of the Organon). Hahnemann has clearly said here that we must be “preservers of health” which means prevention of diseases. The importance of simple hygiene should be remembered always. It is the duty of the physician to stress to every patient the importance of personal hygiene and community hygiene—without exaggeration or instilling great fears or making them feel that the various bacteria and such other creatures are our enemies and should be destroyed.
The poorer classes should be told kindly the importance of keeping their environment clean; they should be advised not to allow their children to defaecate anywhere and everywhere; keep all water storages properly covered and foodstuffs also covered so that diseases carried by mosquitoes and flies are minimised. In fact these simple practices should be stressed everytime when the patient and the parents visit. If the children are told of these simple hygiene, they will surely follow even if the elders fail. We may keep large charts in the waiting hall/clinics in which the transmission of diseases through flies, mosquitoes are borne. No doubt these are taught in schools and every parent who has studied even upto the V std. would have read, but ignored or forgotten. If we keep on stressing it would take firmer hold in the minds of the parents.
The housewives may be told to ensure that garbage collected are kept in covered containers to discourage flies and even water drums at homes are kept covered; if stagnant pools of water around the homes are drained it would lessen mosquitoes.
Therapeutics are different and proper hygiene, nutrition and modes living etc. are different. Therapeutics cannot solve the latter. Kindly recall what Carrol Dunham has said in this connection.
While taking the case of the child, we should enquire for details of birth (weight, whether normal delivery, whether the child cried quickly etc.) past illnesses; nutrition history (breast-fed or not).
Next enquire whether the child has crossed the ‘milestones’ (see ‘guide’ enclosed). We have well-proven remedies for children who are ‘late’; who are sluggish and slow in development as also for those who grow too fast. Enquiries along these will help us pick up the ‘constitutional’ remedy. (recall the ‘Calcarea’, ‘Tuberculinum’, ‘Silica’, ‘Phosphorous’ child).
When enquiries about the family history—parent’s, brothers, sisters and their health. Observe the behaviour of the child in the clinic. Is it shy, timid, hiding behind the mother (Bar. c.); active and alert, restless (Ars.); shows curiosity or indifference; does not like to be touched or looked at (Ant.c., Nat.m.); responds to petting (Puls., Phos.); angry loud crying or piteous whining. What is the color of the hair? Is it curly, or grassy, dry? Does the child appear nervous and biting nails? Is it tense? (Dys.co.) Color of the tongue, shape of the teeth. Facial expression? Furrowed forehead; old-looking; sickly; flushing; hollow eyes; red ears, very red lips etc.
The child should be examined by taking off all its clothes. We must be careful in that if the child is shy or strongly objects to it we should go about it slowly. (Such shyness or objection itself would be an important rubric contrasted with a child who very willingly strips.) The physiognomy will reveal much to the carefully observing physician. (paragraph 90 of the Organon). Recall the ‘Calcarea’ with abdomen like an inverted saucer; the ‘Lycopodium’ with well-developed head (and intelligence) with puny body; look for the peculiarities of the limbs— thin legs, prominent clavicles, pigeon-chest, undescended testes, skin in folds etc. (A quick reference in Allen’s Keynotes under remedies Abrotanum, Sanicula, Sarsaparilla, Cab., Lyc. rather laborious search in the repertory provided the peculiarities observed are prominent)
We may be able to spot the remedy from any of those, viz., the behaviour of the child in the clinic as observed by us, the physical abnormalities observed in our examination of the child, the past history learnt from the parents. Very often a nosode may be of help if we discover that the child had suffered from a specific infectious disease and had never been well since. These days when almost all the children are saturated with all kinds of vaccines, it would be difficult for us to choose any specific anti-dote. It would be therefore practical to go by the presenting symptoms and proceed as the disease unfolds.
When an infant refuses to suckle, we must examine the mouth for aphthae. In a child with fever we must beware of otitis, urinary infections or shock, etc. Hence physical examination must be carried out as far as possible and that as thoroughly.
In respiratory diseases, remedies like Ant-t., Bry., Phos., Puls., Sambucus etc. should be at our fingertips. Similarly in gastro-intestinal diseases, we should recall quickly remedies like Ars., Podo., Croton, Aloe, Natrums, Veratrums.
One must have a brief ready reference at hand for spotting remedies for acute conditions. Margaret Tyler’s ‘Pointers’ is excellent in this. Whenever we have a few minutes respite in the clinic we should go through it repeatedly.
One enquiry which we should never forget to make in case of children is—history of recent or early injuries, fails, frights etc.
After all the symptoms voluntarily narrated by the patient (where it is an older child) and the parents are recorded and our own observations are noted down, we should also ask “what else?”. This question should be tactfully repeated without vexing the parent. Interrogation is a great art. More often while the parent wanders from the main topic he/she drops some important indications for our consideration.
Repertory is a mine—silver, gold, diamond or platinum all according to the digging one does— and never exhausting in providing the information. We must combine more than one— (CLARKE, KENT, KNERR, BOERICKE and many other special ones too. Books like Dr. Borland’s Children’s Types are of great help. In the first edition of Kent’s repertory there was a rubric ‘CHILDREN, affections in’ (1897 edition) which has been left out in the later editions. The rubric and the remedies are appended to this paper which may be added to your copies of the Repertory.
For your consideration I submit the following lists:
i. A list of some of the common acute diseases and their prominent remedies;
ii. A list of the ‘children constitutional’ rubrics and their prominent remedies;
iii. Remedies predominantly useful in children’s diseases according to Dr. Mathias DORCSI of Vienna.
I suggest that these lists may be carefully gone through and learnt thoroughly for quick prescription. It has helped me much and I am therefore confident that it would you too. These have been compiled from different sources, viz., Clarke, Kent, Farrington, Hans Leers and Mathias Dorcsi plus Journals.
Child health-care begins with the health-care of the mother-to-be;
Anti-Miasmatic remedies should be given to the mother; Homœopathic immunisations should be considered rather than the vaccines;
Examination of the infant/child should be thorough:
observing its ‘expression’, stature, mental and physical reactions, checking of mile-stones, nutrition history; physical examination to ascertain physical abnormalities, the color of the skin, tone of tissues, hair, perspiration, odor, abnormal or sub-normal growth and developments, warts and moles, etc.
Teach the parents simple hygiene, if they do not know it already; if they know, insist on following them; suggest cheap nutritious foods;
Do not hesitate to consult the reference books in the presence of the patient/parents;
Be very kind to the mother even if she asks questions which may appear foolish; understand her anxiety and explain things to her if you know the explanation;
Handle the child gently; respect its feelings; be gentle while examining sore spots;
Take as much time as required for thorough examination; it is a crime to make cursory examination and prescribe;
In case the condition is something beyond your capacity do not hesitate to advise the parent to refer to someone else;
Care for every child which comes to your clinic as though it is your own child; the joy of the parent is our happiness also;
Give the same amount of care and attention to the children of the ‘poor’ and the ‘poorest’ as you may to the ‘rich’;
Give care to those who need it most; you will never be poorer because of it;
Quality of the health-care means ‘doing everything which we can as well as possible’;
Follow closely the progress being made in medicine, nutrition, hygiene and other sciences and learn to adapt them to suit your therapeutic system; in severe diarrhoeas advise the mother to ensure giving salt-and-sugar water solution—ORH.
We read a lot of news about mal-nourished, under-nourished children and deaths due to that. Much of these are preventable. About the role of Physicians in preventable epidemics the Master has said:
“ . . epidemics in the beginning, are largely illnesses of isolated individuals, which could be easily subjugated: and that they only degenerate into an angel of general destruction by carelessness and ignorance. . . If I omit a prolonged spell of unhealthy weather conditions, penury and poverty, the remaining fault falls almost entirely on institutions, nurses and doctors, who alone by their combined bad behaviour are able to change a medium illness into a serious one.” (Hahnemann in 1781—1782)
There are many children living but ‘sick’. We should restore health to them. Only then will we be worthy of Hahnernann’s heritage. No other medicine is so well-suited to the children—harmless, palatable, non-addictive, easily administered—and above all truly curative—a single dose sometimes and the restoration to health opens up. It is our duty to propagate this great therapy by actually practising it as laid down and remove many misunderstandings about Homœopathy.
By caring for the ‘health’ of the child right from the conception and removing hereditary taints, we will help in bringing about a new generation of healthy citizens. “Pure Homœopathy does not camouflage symptoms. In curing the patient, it liberates him little by little. When one sees families which for several generations have had hare-lip or cleft palate which increase in each generation, and which, thanks to proper persevering Homœopathic treatment, subsequent generations are freed from; when one attends neuropathic or tuberculous families (especially if one can treat the mother during gestation) and can point to healthy descendants having healthy children; when these chronic tendencies which have a propensity to appear in successive generations stopped from the moment when the law of similars is applied; when one looks through the statistics, hears the stories of patients or the case reports of Homœopathic doctors who, from father to son, have handled generations of the same family, then indeed one penetrates the privilege of liberation, and the renovation possible to the race by the aid of a therapeutic based on a veritable natural law. And the public, like the doctors, can never feel gratitude enough for this unique method.” (Dr. Pierre SCHMIDT).
“It is not safeguard of the individual who is a passing phenomenon; it is more important to safeguard the species”. (Higinio G PEREZ).
Hahnemann—Organon, Chronic diseases, Lesser Writings.
Leers, Hans—Sammlung seltener symptom.
Dorcsi, Mathias—Symptomen Verzeichnis.
Braun, Artur—Methodik der Homœopathie.
Tyler, Margaret—Pointers to common remedies.
Borland, Douglas-—Childrens types.
Farrington, E.A.—Lesser writings.
Clarke, J.H.—Clinical repertory.
Achar, Dr. S.T.—Pediatrics in developing tropical countries.
Periodicals and Journals.