We originally presented this case in “The Townsend Letter” in 2007, at which time the patient had experienced two years of encouraging results with homeopathic care. Now, five and a half years later, this patient continues to do extremely well. We include this article in the issue “The Best of Naturopathic Medicine” because autoimmune hepatitis is one for which conventional medicine has few answers. Genetic and environmental predisposition has been suggested as the etiology. The illness affects one in 100,000 individuals in the U.S. It is considered to be a chronic disease of unknown cause for which a regimen of high-dose corticosteroids, often very effective, is the recommended long-term course of treatment. Those patients who continue to deteriorate, despite the immunosuppressant therapy, may be looking at a liver transplant as their last hope of survival. Most medical practitioners would be hesitant to refer to homeopathic or naturopathic treatment. We hope that readers will be encouraged to see other alternatives to steroids after reading this article. A reminder that there are over 3500 different homeopathic medicines available to date, so it is unlikely that the next patient will need the same medicine that has proved successful here.
The First Two Years of Homeopathic Treatment of Autoimmune Hepatitis
Julie, a thirty-three-year-old mother of two from the Bay Area, first consulted us in 2005. She had begun to feel poorly eight months earlier, and was diagnosed six months previously with autoimmune hepatitis. The liver specialist prescribed Prednisone, but Julie preferred instead to do bodywork, a raw diet, nutritional supplements, Shen therapy, and homeopathy. She had already been doing the other therapies for some time when she first called us. Julie’s hepatic symptoms were classic: nausea, dark urine, bloating, and practically no energy. She experienced pain running in a band around her lower rib cage and solar plexus. Julie couldn’t seem to kick a sinus infection. It disturbed her that she couldn’t keep up with her kids.
When we pursued with Julie how she felt with the symptoms, the case began to unfold quickly. Referring to the liver/gall bladder area, Julie explained, “It feels like a tight band around there. Talking about it is bringing up the fear that there is something wrong. That I have liver cancer. Being all alone in my pain and not knowing how to make it go away. I’m afraid that my kids will lose me. That I’ll die. That there’s something that will take me out of this world and I’ll leave my kids without a mother. But I don’t express it. I have to be strong around my husband and children so I won’t scare them. I don’t want to make them worry that mommy’s sick. I was having treatments every two weeks… now once a month. But I’m still scared that the drugs won’t work and the side effects scare me as much as the disease.”
The Patient’s State
“I will feel like a failure if I can’t get my levels down to normal and be healthy without having to take the drugs. It’s a recurring theme in my life. Failed businesses, failed relationships. I’m not good enough to be loved if I can’t be perfect. If I can’t do this without the doctors who make me feel little and belittled. Like I have no voice. All I am to them is a name on a piece of paper. It doesn’t matter what you say. They want you to do it their way. Like you’re some little kid who doesn’t know anything. Someone else has all the control. Because you’re too little to know anyway.”
“Having no control over what happens to you. Being pushed to do something you don’t want to do. Not having any voice. No choice. Almost like someone sneakily leading you to do something that’s wrong. Tricking you.” This is where the case took a definite turn. The phrase “sneakily leading you to do something…” might suggest an animal medicine, depending on where the patient goes from this point. Still we followed her lead, because the case could have gone in any direction, suggesting many different medicines from which to choose. From this point on, we fed back to Julie each of the words she used, and followed her lead on the track of the energy of the case.
“Sneakily?’ we inquired. “You can’t trust them. They’ll do things that hurt other people. Someone who wants information. It might be society. Sometimes we’re so squished by society.” Now, this is unusual. What homeopaths call strange, rare, and peculiar. To go so quickly from a tightness around the liver/gall bladder area to sneakily to squished. At this point in the case taking we knew Julie would lead us to the medicine she needed.
“ We have to lie or sneak around to get what we want. Invade other people’s property. We are pushed around. Not allowed to have a voice or an opinion.” It was pretty clear by this time that Julie needed an animal medicine. The main themes of those needing animal substances are: victim/aggressor, the feeling of being forced to do something by someone stronger, survival, competition, and attractiveness. “Squished… put pressure to make smaller. Somebody putting his thumb on you and holding you there. You can’t move. And you are scared. [Here Julie came back to her initial feeling of fear about dying.] “You feel like you can’t move. You’re suffocating because they have so much power over you. They have control over you and you can’t move. You can’t do what you want to do. You have to sneak around.”
The combination of the sneakiness, squishing, tightness, and suffocation strongly suggests a homeopathic medicine made from a snake. The homeopath needs to be careful not to push in that direction, but rather to let the case evolve, because sometimes we can be quite surprised as one sensation, or feeling, transforms into another, which is very different.
“There’s a lot of pressure. You can’t breathe. Can’t get enough air into your lungs. It’s a scary thought. If you’re suffocated, you die. Then you’re no longer here on this earth. Pushed down. Like a heavy hand on your chest. Like somebody is pushing with all his weight. Expelling all the air out of your lungs. It just feels like a big weight. I just don’t want to go there. It is a sickening feeling. It disgusts me. It’s gross. I’m just not a perfect enough human being.” Another indication of a patient needing an animal medicine is a reference to “human beings” as if it were something other than herself.
“I’ve done things that society would deem as wrong (this is the second time she mentions “society.”) An example would be talking about somebody behind her back. Saying something to somebody about somebody else. And know you shouldn’t.” When a patient uses phrases like “talking behind my back” or “sneaky” or “two-faced” or “forked tongue,” these expressions are highly suggestive of a snake remedy. “Saying something to someone that you wouldn’t say to that person’s face. Being two-faced. Not being trustworthy. “
It was clear to us that Julie needed one of the snake medicines, but which one? We asked how she felt about animals. “I’m afraid of bears maybe. I’ll pick up snakes and spiders. I held a boa constrictor last year. I was actually amazed at how smooth and silky he felt. I used to play with snakes when I was little. I hauled the boa around my neck. It was heavy. I was in awe of how silky it felt. I guess there was probably a fear there that the heaviness would tighten up on you. Like you see in the movies. It was heavier on my shoulders and neck than I thought. Having the snake keeper there was reassuring. I guess that it would choke you if you were wearing it around your neck, Wrap around your neck and choke you. Take your breath away. Suffocate you.” We know that we are still on the right track here because she is repeating the words that she mentioned previously. Those needing snake medicines are typically terrified of snakes. But others, such as Julie, actually feel a kinship or familiarity with them.
“Choke you. Take your breath away. Suffocate you.” We asked Julie what that would be like. “Lots of pressure. Stopping your airway. Blocking your airway. Not being able to breathe. That would be scary.” If the snake keeper hadn’t been there, I wouldn’t have been holding it around my neck. It makes my heart pound. My stomach churns. Like I want to be sick (again, this is what Julie described earlier.)
Julie reported recurrent dream themes were of major accidents, dying and not being able to do anything about it (reminiscent of her introductory comments about her fear of dying and leaving her kids without a mommy.) “Accidents involving me or my kids. When I was growing up, friends had a fire in their house. The dream has come back again and again.”
We asked Julie what she meant by “human beings.” “We’re all just human beings. But I don’t live up to the standard of all other human beings on this planet. I’m just not enough.” Most of the snake medicines in homeopathy belong to the syphilitic or leprosy miasm, which indicates a level of despair and of feeling excluded from society. We concluded the interview in a manner that we would not do anymore, but it did reveal a bit more about Julie’s past. We asked if she ever had experienced the feeling of being excluded. She affirmed that it was very true for her, especially in high school. “So much so that I did not want to be on this earth anymore. Suicide occurred to me.” This confirmed the level of desperation and exclusion characteristic of the snake medicines, sometimes expressed as “being at the bottom of the heap” of “the lowest of the low.” These are clearly what homeopaths call “delusions” or erroneous beliefs. Not that any of it was actually true of Julie, but this is how she felt.
We asked if there were any more physical symptoms that Julie would like to mention. “I had a neck rash in July. It ran from my collarbone right up to my lower jaw. It was very tight and painful. Like I was severely scalded.” It is quite common for people needing snake medicines to have neck rashes and constriction. A common confirmatory symptom for a snake medicine is how one feels about wearing tight clothing around the neck. “No, I don’t wear them. It’s constricting around my neck.”
But Which Snake?
The themes of those needing reptile remedies are as follows: competition, survival, superiority and inferiority, secretiveness, suspicion, scheming, jealousy, antagonism with oneself, vulnerability, a feeling (true or not) of lacking morals, sexuality, and poison or venom. Those needing homeopathic medicines made from constrictor snakes refer to: constriction, tighter and tighter, strangulation, suffocation, losing one’s breath, squeezing, crushing, being engulfed, encompassed or throttled, and being closed in on.
Having read the recent German proving by Brigette Klotzsch of Python, and having used it successfully with four or five patients, that is the medicine we chose for Julie. The essence of the Python proving is “losing one’s own identity in a relationship and feeling choked or strangulated. The motherly instinct is particularly strong, confirmed by Julie’s fears that she could die and leave her children motherless.” Python was the closest match that we could find at the time. We prescribed Python in an LM7, then LM8 potency to take once a day, because this is what we had in our pharmacy. We also added an ayurvedic liver supplement, Liv 52. We were relying on Julie’s symptoms and lab values to demonstrate the effectiveness of the treatment.
“I am very happy with the recent blood test results.” Neutrophils up from 1.8 to 2.8 (within normal range.) ALT down from 162 to 150 (normal 1-40). IgM still high (3.92 and normal range is 0.40-3.00). One doctor is ecstatic.” Continued with Python LM8.
Running and playing with the kids. “It’s been a long time since I felt like doing that.” Very hopeful. No nightmares like before. Felt like I was getting a urinary tract infection, but it just went away. ALT down to 121. IgM M slightly down to 3.89. Continued Python LM8 and Liv 52.
“I am feeling good. Grateful that my health is turning around. I dreamt that the homeopathic remedy was for fear of death.” Eating 70%-*80% raw foods. ALT 93. IgM 3.84.
“My liver pain is down substantially. I feel angry only when I’m not doing enough for myself. ALT down to 50. “The doctor is very happy.”
Increased Python to LM9.
“I am ecstatic about the ALT being normal and the Immunoglobulin M is finally going down from 4.67 to 4.06.” Feeling really good. Working quite a bit. Emotional lyquite well. Normal ups and downs, but they don’t last long. Not taking things so personally. Continued Python LM9.
One Year Two Months
ALT down to 29. “ The liver specialist says I am in remission and can wait two years to see him. I will continue with blood work every three months. Continue Python LM9 and Liv 52.
One Year Eight Months
“Recent blood results were fantastic. Colds don’t amount to anything if I catch them with Echinacea. A huge improvement.. Feeling stronger. I’m no longer afraid about my health.” Continue Python LM9.
Two Years Four Months
“Feeling really good. Blood results great. IgM is down another four points. Having monthly headaches but no stronger migraines like in the past. I stopped taking the remedy for week or two and got a bad reaction to the sun.” Continue Python LM9 daily.
Two Years Eight Months
“I’m sitting on the fence about everything for the past six weeks or so. Avoiding doing things. I haven’t taken the LiverCare (previously Liv 52) for a long time. Just the remedy.” We raised the potency to Python LM10.
Two Years Ten Months
“I’m feeling much, much better, especially emotionally. I got the liver herbs again. No liver pain. Everything has leveled off. Both my kids were sick last week and I didn’t get stressed. It’s just flowing. Wonderful. I’m eating more healthy, but not 100% raw, and that feels okay.”
Julie’s ALT was going up slightly. After having considered for over a year changing the prescription from Python to Boa, we investigated further. Both are short, stocky, heavy constrictors. Their main mode of attacking prey is not by venom, but to suddenly coil around the victim and kill by asphyxiation. It was thought that the mechanism was crushing their victims, but it is actually through suffocation. They then swallow the prey, whole, usually from the headfirst. Differentiating between pythons and boas: Boas lay live young; pythons lay eggs. Pythons have the non-reptilian habit of coiling around the eggs to generate heat, in a protective fashion. Patients needing both of these snake medicines, as well as Anaconda, often describe vividly the constriction, choking, feeling engulfed, strangled, asphyxiated. Tighter and tighter until there is no more breath. We were not able, at that time, to find homeopathic cases clearly differentiating the two, but, in the interest of the case progressing more quickly, we switched to Boa 12C plussed to take daily.
Three Years Two Months
“I’m doing great. The liver values have never gone us so much. When money issues came up, I could hardly breathe. I felt a catch in my chest whenever I inhaled. It was hard to get a full breath. I wouldn’t say smothering, but close. Constricted. Like I was smothering the right side of my body. I was constricting my lungs too much. Smothering that one side of me. It reminded me of when I had pleurisy. I love taking the 12C plussed dosage rather than the LM.” This was an excellent response with a clear expression of the sensation. We continued the Boa 12C.
Three Years Nine Months
“My recent lab tests were awesome. My ALT is 28 compared to 40 three months ago. The bilirubin is down from 7 to 6. IgG 1140 from 1448. The IgM is up very slightly and the alkaline phosphatase is down from 76 to 65. I am feeling really good. Life is starting to click. Everything is flowing a lot better with the marriage. “
Four Years Four Months
“My blood work is fabulous. The IgG has gone down some, and all the other values are great. I only took the Boa twice in the past months.”
Four Years Eight Months
“It’s been four months since my last dose.” She continued the Boa 12C plussed.
Five Years Eight Months
Julie’s values had done up slightly, but were still in the normal range. She complained of very mild liver discomfort. We raised the potency to Boa 30 plussed daily.
Six and a Half Years
The ALT and GGT values had both gone up within the past month. We raised the potency to Boa 200C in a single, dry dose.
Six Years Eight Months
“The ALT went down from 390 to 324.” Boa 200C plussed to take up to once a week.
Six Years Ten Months 7/10/12
“I had only been on the 200C once a week for a week and a half at the time of my last lab results. The ALT went down from 324 to 221.”
“I’ve been good. My only complaint is more acne. The ALT went from 72 to 91 and the GGT from 24 to 91. I’m taking the remedy once a week.”
Seven Years Three Months
“I am way more patient and balanced emotionally. I no longer have angry outbursts. If the anger does come up, it dissipates quickly. My sister, whom I haven’t seen in two years, told me I’m not the same person that I used to be. She was amazed at the difference. My husband and I are a lot closer and don’t argue as much. I have a lot more patience with the kids. I just don’t have the anxiety and stress anymore. Worry about being on time just doesn’t come up anymore. The only fear I have at all is the results of my blood tests, but I know it’s irrational because I’ve been going through it time and time again and realize I can just take my remedy more often. Life just seems to flow.”
An Ongoing Commitment to Homeopathy
Julie continues to have brief homeopathic appointments three times a year. She is very satisfied with her progress, and so are we. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Autoimmune Hepatitis, heads up. If you pursue and are committed to staying the course with homeopathic treatment, this could be you!