Living in a modern ‘civilised’ city in the western world brings it’s own pressures and entrapment. A busy city brings many opportunities into one’s life. There are opportunities for education pathways, a wider experience of culture and many different career choices. The downside of modern life may also mean greater expenses and much pressure to earn enough money to take advantage of all the options for recreation and quality of life that surrounds a family in a vibrant metropolis.
Homeopaths can help to alleviate these particular stressors with the Poale Family of remedies. This family is better known as the grasses and contains the homeopathic remedies made from Bamboo (Bambusa), Wheat (Triticum vulgare) and Sugar (Saccharum). Wheat and sugar are currently being decried as toxins within a healthy diet, yet the majority of foods served over the counter in café’s contain a good dollop of each and most of the aisles in the supermarket also contain both of these ingredients. Like salt, it is a good bet that we are overdosing ourselves or perhaps trying to self-medicate on a daily basis. Let’s take a closer look at the themes of these three remedies and why they have been some of my most commonly prescribed remedies within my clinic this year.
Bambusa arundinacea (Bamboo)
I have used this remedy both acutely and constitutionally in my clinic. Acutely it can act almost as a specialized rescue remedy, as long as it matches the characteristic picture of Bamboo. Grass plants contain a lot of Silica. This is the mineral that makes their structure strong so that they can stand upright. If you think of a stand of Bamboo, this is an extremely strong grass with a very thick stem that contains a large amount of the mineral silica. It is extremely strong and tends to be a difficult grass to snap or break.
This remedy is needed for circumstances when a strong person is almost bent over but not quite broken by a situation where they are having to provide a huge amount of support to those around them, particularly their family members. They don’t break. They are too strong for that. They will however, feel like they are going to break and strongly desire some support themselves.
The nature of grass is to spread wildly and to be free to do so. Grass wants to be unhampered by restrictions and to grow where it wants to. Similarly a person needing Bamboo will also desire to be free of the situation that they are in so that they can have the space to follow their own desires and create. These people however tend to be very dedicated to their family members. They would never leave their family but will present with feeling caged and exhausted.
The cases that I have had in my clinic when I have prescribed this remedy have all had the common trait where the client has themselves gone through or had to support their partner through some kind of stress over a long period of time. This could be because of a child with behavioural issues, or when the partner has gone through a terribly stressful event where they have not been able to continue to do their share of the household duties for an extended period of time. The clients have often had to assume not only the extra care and chores required to run the house and care for the children but also often the complete responsibility of providing financially for their family. This level of support may have gone on not for a matter of weeks or months but more likely for years leaving them in an overworked and overloaded state.
After taking Bambusa, without exception, the recipients have all had a renewed sense of energy and been able to throw off their exhaustion. Their own desire for some support for themselves has dissolved and they are able to take on their responsibilities with a renewed sense of vigour. Physical ailments that have been eased or alleviated by this remedy include electric shock/tingling sensations in the legs, excessive perspiration and back pain. A bamboo stem is hollow and strong just like the vertebrae around the spinal cord and bambusa is well known for it’s positive effect in back pain, particularly in the lumbar region.
Triticum vulgare (Wheat)
Surprisingly I do not give this remedy just because someone is wheat intolerant. The client must also match the particular picture of wheat, and also the grass family as described in the previous section. This is a great remedy for mothers who in carrying out their duty of care to their children forget to look after themselves.
These clients present in the clinic, with the responsibility of also providing the ‘bread’ (finances) for the family. They are overburdened and exhausted by the cycle of providing the means for putting food on the table, for paying the mortgage or rent, for providing for the needs of a family. They are often concerned about the health of their children and love the company of their children but tend to be very irritable with them due to their tiredness and especially when faced with housework.
Some of the common physical symptoms that have responded well to a prescription of triticum vulgare are sinus and hayfever allergy symptoms and lower back pain. In one particular case, the person was on a daily dose of triticum vulgare for several months while their sinus and hayfever and energy levels continued to improve dramatically helping them to avoid an operation to clear their nose. Although they were not cealiacs there seemed to be a clear inflammatory response in their system to eating wheat products and while on the remedy they found it easier than before to remove wheat from their diet.
Is it any wonder all the cafe’s stock mainly wheat based food and everyone heads in for their fix trying to self medicate for the modern life. Wheat (the substance) on ingestion is often inflammatory for the body and can create opiates in the body…giving us that ‘ahhhhh’ feeling, taking us out of our misery. Addicted anyone?
Saccharum officinale (Sugar)
This is the remedy for self-love….when their is none. There can be many causes for this state but often it will start in childhood where there wasn’t enough physical or emotional connection from the parent to the child. There might have been an absent parent or a very busy one and the child did not get much attention. A saccharum remedy state can also be activated by using lollies to reward behavior.
As a child, the client will present with a real craving for sugar and sweets and a craving for attention. They can be contrary and defiant and there can be aggression and hyperactivity. They may also suck their fingers and be very clingy to mum. This remedy can also be indicated if there is a family history of diabetes.
As an adult, they can present as craving for love in all the wrong places and from the wrong people. They can have a keen desire for affection and attention from their partner. They can also feel lonely and forsaken. Is it any wonder that they turn to sugar to fill the gap?
I have used this remedy successfully many times in my clinic with children who match the above picture. My clinic used to be next door to a dairy and the children who were good candidates for this remedy would pester their mother throughout the consultation to go and get some sweets from next door. They would not be satisfied with being told “No” and that word could often result in a tantrum. The children who did need sugar would often not be interested in any other food in general.
One of my adult cases that responded well to Saccharum was able to end an unhealthy relationship and move away to begin a new chapter of their life. That person’s childhood had been characterized by abandonment from her mother which was felt most keenly.
Our modern life is often characterized by both financial and time pressure and the busier the parents are trying to pay the mortgage and extra expenses of raising a family well, the less quality time they have to be truly present with their children. Often that ‘quality’ time is affected by exhaustion and irritability and a secret desire to attend to their own needs, which have all gone on the backburner. The Poale family of remedies provide some useful solutions to the enslavement and addictions of modern living.
Lee-Anne McCall – Auckland
Jessie Coleman – Whangarei