Clinical Homeopathy for Gastrointestinal Disorders
Allen M. Kratz
A question I am frequently asked is: “How does homeopathy differ from conventional (allopathic) medicine?” My response is: “A primary difference in philosophy is in how the homeopathic practitioner views the disease process.”
From a homeopathic perspective, symptoms are considered to be the body’s attempt to heal itself and/or to attain homeostasis. And, as such, they must be expressed rather than suppressed. Conventional medicine “treats” disease by essentially suppressing or overcoming the discomfort of the symptoms. As an example, hypertension has a primary symptom of elevated blood pressure, which is effectively lowered by a variety of prescribed medications. However, what is causing the symptom? Obesity? Stress? Atherosclerosis? Lack of exercise? Are we doing the person a disservice by just relying on the drug to lower blood pressure while the underlying cause(s) are ignored? This is like putting a piece of tape over the warning light in your car and assuming you have fixed the problem. Have we learned a lesson from the problems created by suppressing a useful fever in children with antipyretic drugs?
Conventional drugs certainly have their place, particularly in acute situations and can be life-saving. Where they fall short are in chronic conditions that often have a number of causative factors. Homeopathy views disease as a wholistic process and augments the body’s inherent ability to heal itself.
In self-limiting conditions that can be treated by OTC medications, homeopathy can be used safely and effectively by combining drugs that match the presenting symptoms of the condition. This match is made from the “proving” of the substance by using it in normal, healthy individuals and documenting the common responses in these test subjects. Provings are the source of the clinical comments listed below. Essentially, homeopathic drugs work by supporting the body’s effort to detoxify, cleanse, repair and heal. How they do this will be the subject of a future article.
Now let’s look at homeopathic drugs for gastrointestinal (GI) disorders. Each homeopathic substance is followed by a clinical comment. (1,2,3)
Acid Stomach Medications
* Calcarea Carbonica: The whole digestive tract seems to be sour.
* Carbo Vegetabilis: Weak digestion. Food poisoning. Gas.
* Nux Vomica: Belching accompanied by sour risings, with pressure as if stone in stomach.
* Bryonia Alba: Large stools, hard and dry as if burnt. Thick, brown, bloody stools.
* Calcarea Carbonica: Stool hard at first, then pasty, then liquid.
* Lycopodium Clavatum: Ineffectual urging. Stool hard, difficult, small, and incomplete. Constipation in pregnant women.
* Nux Vomica: Frequent ineffectual desire and urging. Small quantities. Incomplete and unsatisfying.
* Silicea: Stool, when partially expelled, recedes again. Constipation always occurs before and during menstruation.
* Veratrum Album: Large stool after much straining with cold sweat.
* Arsenicum Album: Violent and frequent with nausea and vomiting. Nighttime diarrhea recurring after eating or drinking.
* Calcarea Carbonica: Especially in children. Diarrhea of partially digested food.
* Cinchona Officinalis: After eating fruit. Slimy, watery, yellowish diarrhea. Involuntary, particularly after meals or at night.
* Colocynthis: Violent, fluid stools renewed each time after least food or drink.
* Dulcamara: Green, watery, slimy, especially in summertime when weather turns cold suddenly.
* Lycopodium Clavatum: Diarrhea in pregnant women.
* Mercurius Vivus: Slimy stools. Abdominal pain. Painful spasms in anus.
* Podophyllum Peltatum: Profuse, watery, and offensive stools, early in morning or when teething.
* Sulphur: At night or early in morning driving patient from bed. Frequent. May be accompanied by back pain, abdominal pain and/or painful spasms in anus.
* Veratrum Album: Profuse and exhausting with rice water stools and/or vomiting.
* Antimonium Crudum: Immediately after eating. Tastes of items recently ingested. Bloated feeling.
* Carbo Vegetabilis: Feels heavy, full and sleepy. Eructations provide only temporary relief.
* Nux Vomica: An hour or two after eating, not immediately. Tightness about waist; must loosen clothing.
* Carbo Vegetabilis: Belching accompanied by sour fluid from stomach. Excessive gas in stomach and intestines causes pain and cramps. Belching brings relief.
* Cinchona Officinalis: Post-operative gas pains. Excessive gas in stomach and intestines. Belching brings no relief. Abdominal pain better when bending double.
* Lycopodium Clavatum: Belching with sour fluid from stomach rising only as far as throat where it burns for hours. Noisy rumbling and/or gurgling in abdomen. Inability to pass gas causes pain.
* Nux Vomica: Difficulty belching. Sour, bitter eructations. Very irritable.
* Carbo Vegetabilis: With belching accompanied by sour risings. Belching brings relief.
* Echinacea Angustifolia: Accompanied by sour belching, better lying down.
* Mercurius Vivus: Regurgitation of acid liquid.
* Phosphorus:. With acute burning sensation.
* Antimonium Crudum: Thickly coated white tongue. Indigestion from overeating. Immediately after eating.
* Carbo Vegetabilis: Food poisoning. Overindulgence in food and/or drink. Eructations after eating and drinking. Belching provides only temporary relief.
* Cinchona Officinalis: Slow digestion. Vomits undigested food. Belches up bitter fluid with no relief.
* Kali Bichromicum: Nausea and vomiting immediately after beer. Cannot digest meat. Vomiting of bright, yellow water.
* Lycopodium Clavatum: Resulting from starchy or fermentable food, cabbage, beans, etc. Very weak digestion. Improved by warm drink and food.
* Nux Vomica: “Nervous stomach.” Overindulgence in coffee, alcohol, wine. Late hours. Sour, bitter eructations. Problems occur one or two hours after eating.
* Pulsatilla: Morning sickness during pregnancy. After cakes, pastries, or rich, fat foods. Clothes feel tight after meals, must loosen them.
* Sulphur: After eating starch food. Cannot tolerate milk, vomits at once.
* Antimonium Tartaricum: With drowsiness and vomiting.
* Calcarea Phosphorica: Accompanied by vertigo and a perplexed, confused feeling. After coffee.
* Cocculus Indicus: Caused by riding in cars, trains, planes, boats. Accompanied by faintness and vomiting.
* Echinacea Angustifolia: Before going to bed at night. Feels better when lying down. Accompanied by gas and belching.
* Ipecacuanha: Persistent nausea and vomiting with pale face.
* Nux Vomica: With sour taste in mouth in morning and after eating. With vomiting. With desire to vomit but unable to.
* Podophyllum Peltatum: With vomiting and gagging or empty retching.
* Phosphorus: Various kinds, especially in morning, evening or after meal. Craves cold things. Ice cream agrees. Ice water is thrown up as soon as it gets warm in the stomach.
* Antimonium Tartaricum: With nausea and drowsiness.
* Ipecacuanha: After coughing during attack of asthma.
* Kali Bichromicum: After beer with nausea. Bright yellow water. Cannot digest meat. Feels as if digestion has stopped.
* Nux Vomica: Periodic attacks of vomiting food or sour smelling mucus. Violent vomiting of food, sour matter, insipid matter or mucus. Worse after having drunk or eaten or in morning or at night. Often accompanied by headache, cramps in legs or feet, anxiety and trembling of limbs.
* Phosphorus: Throws up food as soon as it is eaten. Accompanied by diarrhea. With violent pains in stomach and great weakness. Desires cold water only to throw it up as soon as it turns warm in stomach.
* Podophyllum Peltatum: With nausea. Head feels full. Vomits milk; hot, frothy liquid. Gagging with inability to vomit.
* Veratrum Album: Copious vomiting and nausea, aggravated by drinking and least motion. Thirst for cold water, but it is vomited as soon as swallowed. Gastric irritability with chronic vomiting of food. Great weakness after vomiting.
Information on homeopathic companies and their available consumer information on self-care formulations can be obtained from the American Association of Homeopathic Pharmacists at 800-478-0421 or www. homeopathicpharmacy.org.
About the Author
Allen Morgan Kratz received his BSc and MSc degrees in Pharmacy from the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science. After receiving a MSc in Radiological Health from Temple University, he returned to PCP&S to serve on its faculty. His Doctor of Pharmacy degree was conferred in 1968. Academically, Dr. Kratz is affiliated with two universities. He is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Pharmacy Practice at the Medical University of South Carolina, College of Pharmacy and also a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine at the College of Osteopathic Medicine, Nova Southeastern University in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Dr. Kratz was a contributor, editor, or author of several professional reference texts including Remington’s Practice of Pharmacy (14th and 15th editions) and the United States Dispensatory (27th edition). He was appointed to the editorial board of The Merck Manual (12th edition) as the first pharmacist to serve in that capacity. He was a board member for the 13th edition as well. Cu rrently, Dr. Kratz serves as co-editor of the “Journal of the American Nutraceutical Association” (JANA) and was recently appointed editor of a new book titled Nutraceuticals and Pharmaceuticals: An Integrative Approach to be published by CRC Press. He is a member of Advisory Boards to the International Academy of Nutrition and Preventive Medicine, The Society of Natural Pharmacy and the American Nutraceutical Association. He is also the co-author of a chapter on Complementary Health Care in the 19th and new 20th editions of Remington: The Science and Practice of Pharmacy and is a frequent contributor to professional publications and peer-reviewed journals. Dr. Kratz is a member of the Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia Convention of the US (HPCUS) and is the founder and CEO of HVS Laboratories in Naples, FL. He may be contacted by phone at (800)801-9494 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(1.) Kent JT. Repertory of the Homeopathic Materia Medica and a Word Index. 6th edition, B. Jain Publishers, New Delhi, India.
(2.) Boericke W. Pocket Manual of Homeopathic Materia Medica with Repertory. 9th edition. Boericke and Tafel, Santa Rosa, CA.
(3.) Clarke JH. A Dictionary of Practical Materia Medica. 3 volumes. B. Jain Publishers, New Delhi, India.
The repertories above can be purchased either from Homeopathic Educational Services at 800-359-9051 or www.homeopathic.com or from Minimum Price Books at 800-663-8272.
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