A middle-aged man with very sharp features and shiny nails consulted me for his complaints of indigestion with which he had been suffering for last 3-4 years. He would pass a lot of wind and felt bloated most of the times. His bowel movements were unsatisfactory and were the cause of his main worry as he had to go many times to the toilet. He had been on numerous medicines both homoeopathic (like Nux vomica, Lycopodium, Podophyllum etc.) and allopathic and none had given him relief for long. Hearing this I asked one of my students to take his case in detail.
His Past history revealed that the patient had always been very sensitive to cold since his childhood. This sensitivity to cold had subsided ever since he had been having his complaints of dyspepsia.
At the age of 10 years he had suffered with typhoid.
When he was about 12-13 years old he had an attack of pneumonia.
About 4 years back he had suffered with Malaria. Soon after he had got rid of malaria he had started suffering with these complaints.
The Family history was strongly suggestive of cancerous background as many of his relatives on both the maternal and paternal sides had died of cancer. This patient was also having this fear that as he was not responding to treatment, was he also moving towards some such cancer? So the patient was having a marked “Fear of Cancer”.
His Generals showed- Appetite: Changeable, sometimes more and sometimes less; Thirst: Good; Desires: Cold drinks; Urine: Normal; Sleep: Good.
The student of mine who took the case said that he felt that the patient was suspicious in nature as he would always cross check what he had said and what was being written. But my observation of the patient and his body language did not match with that. I have often seen (as for example we see in the cases of Lachesis) that all the patients with suspicious nature have a fluttering glance that is to say that when answering the question put to them they glance around in differing directions before answering/ or while answering. This means that they are not sure of the person sitting opposite them. This furtive glance will only be seen by the movement of his or her eyeballs moving side to side. This was not so in the case in front of us, rather he seemed to be an extremely cautious person. I asked the patient how did he do his work in the office? He said that he always plans out and does the work accordingly so that there are no errors in it. This confirmed my understanding of his nature.
On further inquiring about his habits he replied that he had never stuck to one job for long and would often change them. Even in his nature he felt that his moods would change often. He also could not hold on to any decision for long (Changeability).
The patient clearly had a tubercular appearance as was evidenced by his sharp features, shiny nails, his sensitivity to cold. This feature of his was his soil and this continued unabated till we find a suppression of his original state with which he was born after the appearance of Malaria. Even though he had had typhoid at the age of ten years his sensitivity to cold had not been affected by that. Later he had suffered with pneumonia an explosion of his tubercular background. It was only after the appearance of malaria that we find changes in his soil as his sensitivity to cold gets suppressed and is replaced by a new set of symptoms of the GIT. It is this junction that needs to be explored, where we find contamination developing in the soil, where we find a sudden change in the direction of the symptoms. This is the most important area that needs to be covered whenever we have to prescribe in any chronic case. In moments of pleasure I call this as Crossroad prescribing i.e. the crossroad where the patients symptoms have taken a new direction.
The essence of the disease we call malaria is changeability (there is an intermittent febrile condition, with stages of chill, heat and sweat, in other words the pattern is always changing). The disease has also left its imprint on the patient as we can see in the physical level his changeable appetite; his state of mind also reflects this feature.
At this moment while I was explaining the case to all my students the patient suddenly said that at times when his stomach complaints get better then his problem of cold (coryza) increases. This shows his suppressed tendency still manages to show at times and shows his strong vitality.
He was prescribed
Malaria Officinalis 200 unit dose
To be followed by placebo
The patient responded very well to the drug and has gradually been improving in all his GIT complaints with the return of his suppressed tendencies. The case is still under observation.
It will be helpful if we always bear in mind that we should always take a detailed history of the cases which come to us and while doing the anamnesis watch out for such turning points or as I call them with pleasure the Crossroads.
I share my experience with the profession with one of the lesser known and used drugs with the above article and especially stress upon the aspect of Changeability which is not only a key feature of the disease (as we learn from out study of Clinical Medicine) but which, I have found after carefully going through all my successful cases of this drug, to be an important feature of the symptomatology and the Personality profile of the drug Malaria Officinalis. I would also like to point out that Craving for Cold drinks and Lemonades or Sour are also strong indications in favour of Malaria Officinalis.
From the desk of: Prof. L. M. Khan, M.D.(HOM.)
HOD, Deptt. Of Organon, Homoeopathic Philosophy, Chronic Disease & Psychology,
National Institute of Homoeopathy, Kolkata, India.