Judyth: My closest friend is ten years younger than me. I warned her that menopause was not for the faint of heart. I can’t really describe your peri-menopause or menopause, because it varies from woman to woman. But hot flashes are frequently the most disturbing, if not maddening. I paid my dues.
Bob: So did I… bundled up in flannel PJs and a sweater to brave the “the wind tunnel.”
Judyth: Bob’s continual reminders that it was my internal thermometer that was discombobulated rather than the actual temperature did not win him any points! But he did grasp enough how miserable and desperate I was to continue donning his Arctic gear with just a grumble. I survived on cross drafts from wide-open windows (and sliding doors) plus my faithful companion, a ceiling fan. Not to mention the occasional pleasure of sticking my head in the freezer, just momentarily, of course. I still vividly recollect putting on and taking off layers what seemed like every five minutes. And my hot flashes weren’t nearly as severe as those of some of my patients. Those warm waves are now pretty much a distant memory, but familiar enough that I can truly empathize with my sisters who are still driven crazy by them. I do believe that homeopathy can be a girl’s best friend at this time of life. We have been able to ease the plight of many a women during the change of life. Here is just one case from our practice.
I Wake Up Drenched in Sweat
Chris is a civil rights lawyer from New Jersey whom we have treated by Skype. She first came for help a fourteen months ago at the age of fifty. “I’ve been peri-menopausal for five or six years. I have night sweats. I started taking Bupleurum and Peony from Chinese medicine, which worked for years. Now they’re not as effective. I’m still not in menopause. I wake up drenched in sweat periodically. I can’t get to sleep or I wake up and then can’t get back to sleep. I’m five feet tall and weigh 140 pounds. I was able to lose eight pounds, but I’ve been stuck at this weight for a year even though I exercise faithfully.”
“I forget things. My mother died of Alzheimer’s. It’s nothing serious but my memory is not what it used to be. My pajamas become damp and I get sweaty. I throw off the covers. I can feel that my body temperature is elevated. The hair around my neck is drenched and there is a sheen of sweat on my body. I feel hot inside, too. Like burning. I’m on fire. I just can’t get cool. Can’t get relief. My skin feels sensitive—like hot fabric sticking to me. Like a pot boiling…like I’m gonna explode.
“My internal temperature goes way up. To a bursting point. Like I’m gonna burn up.”
“Exploding or bursting. Like I’m gonna burn up. Ignite. Like the heat inside will burst out of my skin… or the top of my head… or my stomach. Exploding, bursting open, shattering, cracking. Like when a balloon bursts. It flies through the air. Some of the pieces fall into the ground. Some of the pieces scatter… the pieces just scatter all over the place. You have to collect all the pieces. It could be willy nilly. Little pieces of rubber all over the place. Scattered. It happens randomly. Goes all over the place”
“The reason I said scattered is that they’re all over. Not one nice, little neat pile. They go where the force of gravity takes them. Blown about. No pattern. No rhyme or reason. Not done intentionally. Random. No control over it.”
We asked about the opposite sensation: “collected… orderly…organized.
“There’s control. I feel so frustrated, upset. I don’t know whether to scream or to cry. I work with an immigrant population with a high poverty level, crime, and gang violence. I want to make a difference in people’s lives. It’s a lot of hard work. Some days I feel I’m changing the world and others I feel like I’m not doing anything.”
“In my 30’s I suffered from irritable bowel issues. Random diarrhea for no reason. That, too, was frustrating. I never knew when it was going to ‘happen’ — gas, cramping, rumbling. I went to a chiropractor for years for help with numbness of my right hand and leg.”
“I can be extremely organized. My daughter calls me anal. I’m compassionate. A good listener.”
Suspecting that Chris needed a homeopathic plant medicine, we asked about her relationship with plants.
“I love plants. I have them everywhere, inside and outside—my bathroom, bedroom, living room, dining room, kitchen, front yard, backyard. Even my office is filled with plants. I think I associate them with my mom because she had a ton of houseplants growing up. I’ve been told that I have a good sense of humor… that I could be a standup comic. I’m loving, compassionate, kind. I can find the positive in almost everything. I do expect a lot of myself and others.”
We asked Chris whether the sensation of scattered, which had come out prominently earlier during the interview, was one she had felt at all during her life.
“I absolutely felt that way when my brother was killed in an accident. Also when my husband became ill. Those words, now that you mention it, describe how I felt at various stressful times of my life. Everything out of control. Chaos. I like to be in control. I wonder how to put the pieces of my life back together. It’s a scary feeling. Makes me feel like a little kid again. Broken. The parts are not put together the way they’re supposed to be. Flung in all directions. It goes back to the whole scattered idea. Stuff is everywhere. Trying to collect it. Put it all back together. Then what if you can’t collect it? If you are missing pieces?”
A Clear Sensation Case
This is an ideal case for prescribing, based on Dr. RaChris Sankaran’s Sensation Method. First: the kingdom. This is clearly a plant prescription. Chris is a sensitive, plant-loving woman who often uses the word “random” and who, again and again, elucidates perfectly the sensation of the Leguminosae (pea) family. Think of pods popping open and successfully reproducing themselves by scattering seeds hither and yon. We were hiking in Argentine Patagonia last February in very hot, dry weather. The trail was filled with trees that were literally overflowing with brittle, brown, four-inch-or-so-long seed pods. The crackling sound in the air was almost deafening. That was an unforgettable, firsthand homeopathic Leguminosae experience.
Patients needing medicines from this family use just the words that Chris used: scattered, split, broken, dispersed, even confused. Other words that the patient may use are: fragmented, divided, cut off, separate, coming apart, disconnected, unattached, spread in many directions, ripped apart, disseminated. The opposite polarity is being bound, held together, attached joined, bonded, connected, united, coming together. The most well-known member of this family in the homeopathic materia medica is Baptisia tinctoria—the keynote sensation being a feeling of having one’s body parts scattered all over the bed. Several other members are Melilotus, Copaiva, Physostigma, Lathyrus, Indigo, Chrysarobium, Trifolium repens, Robinia, and Mimosa pudica. The very act of dispersion of seeds is a brilliant and highly successful mechanism of self-propagation.
There was no question of which family to choose from in Chris’s case, however there are many members of the family found in the homeopathic literature. Chris’s frustration suggested the malarial miasm. There were a number of references to chaos and feeling out of control, but that could also be related to the theme of the family rather than to the cancer miasm. We chose a Leguminosae that was known for the digestive symptoms that Chris had experienced: Robinia Pseudacacia in a 200C potency. This is also known as False Acacia or Locust tree. It is an important timber tree in the southern Alps. One of the first American species to be imported to Europed, a seed of the tree was planted by Jean Robin, herbalist to King Henry IV of France in 1601 in Paris. This explains the name Robinia. The tree is highly valued for its ability to hold together damp soil. The inner bark contains a poisonous protein substance, robin, which is a strong emetic and purgative.
Homeopathically, Robinia’s chief sphere of action is the gastrointestinal tract, which explains Chris’ previous tendency to bowel complaints. Patients needing this medicine can also experience profuse, debilitating, exhausting perspiration, like Chris.
The Response to Robinia
“The remedy took care of the night sweats. I never woke up drenched in sweat. None of that happened. I was sleeping better until recently when I experienced a lot of stress at work and a cut in federal funding for our agency leading to a loss of support staff. This is frustrating. Work has been crazy. I a running ragged. Everyone says I’m really high energy, but I feel worn out. My dreams have been work-related as well.” We waited on the remedy and recommended stress-reducing relaxation techniques.
“The remedy did the trick with the night sweats even though we had a heat wave for a month straight. The worst sweats used to be right after my period. That hasn’t happened with the last two cycles. Sleep is better. I’m meeting regularly with a personal trainer because I still struggle with my weight. I would say the night sweats are 100% better.”
“Still no night sweats. I’m snoring. Looks like we will have our funding restored, which is a relief.”
“The remedy is working great. I’m not snoring anymore. I’ve lost fourteen pounds. I am not waking up in the middle of the night and making lists anymore but I could feel more rested in the morning. “
“I was hot and sweaty for a couple of days with my last period, but not like it used to be. Just uncomfortable. Not drenched in sweat. I’ve lost twenty-seven pounds. Just another five pounds to go. I feel a lot better about my body. Much healthier, more fit, stronger. My annual physical exam went well. My cholesterol and the rest of my blood work are fine.”
“Overall I would say I’m 90% better. Even my snoring. I’ve lost thirty-three pounds. I’ve gone down from a size ten to a size four to six. I weigh just eight pounds over what I weighed in the nineties. I see my personal trainer twice a week and do hot yoga once or twice. I’m as fit as I’ve been my whole life.”
Chris has needed Robinia 200C four times during her course of homeopathic treatment. It is considered an unusual medicine and this is the only time we have prescribed it in thirty years. This case is a great example of how much progress is possible when the similimum (single best match among all the medicines) is found.