Constitutional Remedies - Getting to the Core of who you really are…
Have you ever wondered why you crave certain foods, while dislike others, or why some people seem more naturally extroverted or introverted, or why you like more humid climates while others prefer to be in drier ones, or what makes some people tick, or even why some prefer spicy foods while others like more bland dishes?
Well interestingly, there is something called a “Constitutional Remedy”, which refers to one’s inherited predispositions and their “genotype”. This is what one is born with when they come into this world and is essentially what makes up a huge part of their personality. It signifies what a person is like in health. Also, there is what is called the “phenotype”, which is a state of disease that forms from an inability to deal with the shock or trauma at hand and is like a mask that the individual can wear if anything like it should occur again. It can be linked to a defence mechanism that a person employs to protect themselves from further trauma.
There are six genotypes within Heilkunst and include: Calcarea Carbonica, Lycopodium, Silicea, Phosphorus, Pulsatilla and Sulphur. The six Phenotypes are Sepia, Arsenicum, Nux Vomica, Natrum Muriaticum, Lachesis and Staphysagria.
A qualified Heilkunst practitioner has the tools to match you with your constitutional remedy which can help you better understand things about why you are averse to some things and/or prefer others according to your Constitutional type. Taking the remedies under the supervision of a qualified Heilkunst practitioner allows you to peel the layers of defences that restrict you from living your desired life of freedom and gets to the core of who you really are. Taking the right remedy that matches your unique constitution actually strengthens your immunity and gives you the ability to experience a more peaceful state of being by rebalancing the system, like a car ‘tune up’.
Thus in upcoming posts, I will go into each remedy and the keynotes of each one so that you can get a better idea of the different types and their characteristics.
In continuation of the last blog post on “Constitutional Remedies”, I will start with the Genotype remedies. Just to recap, these are the ones which represent your inherited predispositions, the ones that represent you in a state of health.
I’d like to start off with Calcarea Carbonica. This is the remedy that comes from the oyster shell and you’ll find many similarities between the constitutional type and the actual characteristics of the material to make the remedy itself. For example, Calcareas are likened to the pearl that is protected within a thick white covering (the oyster shell). Like the oyster shell, the Calcarea type has a protective shell around them which can be a thicker layer of fat and/or you may get a feeling that they have a wall around them and may take longer to get to know them. Once you get past the outer covering though, you generally find inside a wonderful spirit of one who is kind, gentle, compassionate, loving and warm. Calcareas are generally the ones that are coined with the expression of being “the backbone of society”. These are people who are dependable, reliable, calm, peaceful and generous with their time and energy. When they do things they like to be organized and often have their way and own pace of doing things, which may be of a slower pace compared to the average person due to their meticulousness and attention to detail. They love to devise their own systems and methods to doing things and can be very set in their own routines. Calcareas are said to be the most stubborn of types, resistant to changes if they can help it, which challenge their sense of safety and security. Calcareas like relatively bland foods like meat and potatoes and especially boiled eggs, and don’t do well generally with much spice or overly spicy foods. They are methodical, pragmatic and intelligent types and are less emotional. They can be highly imaginative and creative and don’t mind spending time alone. They are actually quite happy on their own, but do enjoy the company of people also, especially with those closest to them. One way to tell if someone may fit under this type is to shake their hand. If it is cold and clammy like a cold dead fish, then it is likely that they are a Calcarea type. They may perspire on their forehead and tend to have a sort of pasty white complexion, which is prone to burn in the sun. Many people will say they feel instantly warm and at ease around these types.
*I’d like to note that these are the general characteristics of this type and you may run into situations where people exhibit these characteristics and others. It is possible to move between a few remedy types for some people and generally this includes two triads. One of the triads is Pulsatilla, Silicea and Phosphorus. The other triad is Calcarea Carbonica, Lycopodium and Sulphur. Also, with the addition of phenotype remedies, sometimes it is a difficult process to really find the true constitutional type of an individual until you can peel away some of these other extra layers first. This is why it is necessary for a trained practitioner of medical Heilkunst to assist you in figuring this out as they help you heal the imbalanced parts of yourself to become a healthier you.
The next Constitutional type I would like to talk about is Lycopodium
When I think of Lycopodium, I tend to think of the story of how it originated. Back in the dinosaur age, Lycopodium or clubmoss was a huge tree, which in modern times has shrunk down in size to a tiny shrub that creeps along the forest floor. In this way, the Lycopodium type has a complex because they used to be big and now they are small so they feel the need to compensate for this lack they feel. Another characteristic of this type is that the spores will ignite if you set fire to them, which characterizes their fiery temperament. Generally, Lycopodiums are rational, intelligent and fair-minded people who tend to gravitate towards careers in politics, science, law and education. They are more sensitive than emotional and have a sweet tooth. They don’t do well with cruciferous vegetables and beans, making them prone to gas and they love starchy foods like pasta, potatoes and rice. They especially care about how they are seen by others and want to be liked by everyone. They can make great hosts and enjoy being around people. Lycopodiums may get very nervous about public speaking, but tend to do very well with it. Lycopodiums may have trouble committing, especially in intimate relationships because of a fear of being vulnerable and insecurities about failure. Generally they are popular people in their work environments and can even be bossy at times to people who have less power in their positions. This type likes to exercise their rational mind, but can appreciate emotional support while they are at home. They like to be alone at times but often want someone to be there in the other room. This represents their like for people around them but not wanting them to get too close.
Silicea Types are motivated by their ideals. They have an image in their mind of the ideal world and how they can live their lives following these ideals. They are genuinely quiet about their ideas and are fairly easy going but as soon as you come up against one of their principles, they will stand firmly in what they believe in. However, Silicas don’t care about persuading others to think like them. If you talk to a Silica type about an opinion they don’t necessarily agree with, but doesn’t affect their values, then they will often let it go without speaking up. They don’t like confrontations and if it is avoidable, then they will choose to avoid it in order to conserve energy. The Silica type is an introverted type, needing a lot of time to be alone. They have highly imagined states of what is ideal for them and it is hard for them to bring things into fruition because they get so caught up in the details of how to make it perfect. This results in a highly efficient and detailed product, once they do actually complete tasks. The Silica type does not like to be the centre of attention. If they need to speak publicly, they will do so and quite well, but it is not something they naturally gravitate to. Silica types are one of the colder constitutions and need a lot of “animal warmth”. For this reason they may love to wear hats even while indoors. Also, they often tend to be in their heads most of the time, being more sensitive than emotional and could have a hard time expressing their feelings or even knowing what they are. In an imbalanced state, Silicas can over-analyze everything and feel separate from their emotions. Silica types don’t mind eating the same thing everyday. They don’t care too much about food as they are most stimulated by ideas and being inside physically and mentally in their heads. It could be said that the Sulphur type, which I will be talking about next, is the polar opposite of this type as the direction in which their energy goes are very different. Silicas have a more inward, circular and spherical energy moving towards the centre like a cyclone, while Sulphurs have a radiant sun like energy that shoots out and affects everyone it touches. Thus, you could be in a room with a Silica type and not even know it, while a Sulphur is hard to miss and ignore! Since Silica types are quiet and like to keep to themselves, as children they are really easy to take care of. They can often be “late bloomers” though and for this reason, the challenge to the parents comes later in life.
The driving force behind the Phosphorus constitutional type is love. They are driven by love, seek love and are in love with the idea of love. A healthy Phosphorus has clear, healthy boundaries except when in love and are able to sustain their level of energy throughout the day. The mineral element of Phosphorus is highly reactive in nature and means “light bearer” in Greek. Phosphorescence refers to the illuminative glow that is given off by this element. Similarly, the Phosphorus type is generally sensitive, reactive, impressionable and prone to burn out. They can be the life of the party and be energized by the people around them, but like a match that quickly burns out, they can use up their energy reserves quite rapidly and end up being exhausted in the next moment. The Phosphorus type generally likes to be around people but it is important for them to have time alone too. They are one of the coldest types, prone to poor circulation and get cold easily. Phosphorus’ don’t like winter and cold places. Their ideal place to travel would be a hot summery place with a lot of sun. Anything shiny and new offers exciting opportunities to be explored for the Phos type and for this reason they love travel, shopping, culture and foods. If they have any physical weaknesses, typically it is in the ears, nose, throat, lungs and digestive system. They are not typically very grounded types, being more in the thinking sphere, rather than the emotive one. The Phos type loves to be in love as I mentioned before and can lose themselves in their partner, losing their sense of self and attaching their sense of identity with their partner’s. Often they just love the idea of being in love and could quickly get bored if they didn’t choose the right partner for the right reasons. You may see or experience a sense of sparkle and excitement in this type when they are inspired and they tend to be more of the creative/artistic types. They are highly sympathetic and empathetic in nature, being able to sense keenly what is happening with those surrounding them and wanting to help. Phos types are grounded in their “soul”, meaning that they are attracted to anything that feeds their soul qualities which are things that stimulate their sense of expression, feeling and inspiration. A sparkler is a perfect embodiment of the essence of the Phosphorus type.
The Pulsatilla constitutional type is all about family and finding comfort with the people they are closest to. They seek emotional reward and they are happiest when they are surrounded by their loved ones. Because of this need, in an imbalanced state, Pulsatilla is the one most likely to fall prey and put up with unhealthy, abusive relationships and even be more prone to being attracted to organizations that seek to give this emotional reassurance. Pulsatillas love every kind of physical affection. They don’t do well typically with stuffy rooms and need to have the window open at night. Initially, the Puls type tends to be a little shy but this soon changes once they know they can get some kind of emotional attention. This type loves human connection and gives off this feeling of warmth and loving. They want to be in close contact with their loved ones all the time and if they live physically away from them, this can be very hard for them and they need to communicate with them often. A child to the Pulsatilla type therefore, may feel a little smothered by them, unless they themselves are a Pulsatilla! They love being around people, making great hosts and making sure the house is perfectly clean and tidy before inviting anyone over. The Puls type is driven by their emotions, which can change direction constantly. They can be influenced easily and change their minds easily. If they experience any symptoms, they tend to manifest as something that constantly changes, whether it’s a pain or tingly feeling, it moves to different parts of the body. Since the Pulsatilla type is opposite to the intellectual mind of the Lycopodium type, when these two types are put together in a partnership, they can be very compatible as they complement each other through their opposing elements. The Lycopodium type can understand more about people and emotions, needing much emotional support while at home, which the Pulsatilla type can give them and the Pulsatilla can learn to look at things rationally and objectively, rather than being swayed by their emotions all of the time.
The word to describe the Sulphur constitutional type is PASSION. They have the desire to be passionate about their passions. In a healthy state, Sulphurs have an abundance of energy and are always in motion. Generally, you will be able to tell a Sulphur person right away because they are one of the most expressive types. If you talk to the parents of a Sulphur child, you will know right away from their reaction of asking them how they feel about their child. They will immediately say “It’s impossible! They have so much energy and don’t listen!”. I know from experience as my brother is a Sulphur. He had a charming way with people, but would always push his boundaries to the limits. He never listened to my mother when she scolded him and what was in everyone else’s possession, was his as well. Being my older brother, I often was the focus for his practice in WWF pro-wrestling in which he would practice wrestling moves like the “choke-slam” or the “rock-bottom” on me. Beneath it all though, is this tremendous warmth and generosity. I felt he genuinely cared about me but just had too much energy to handle. Sulphurs like sleeping in until late and don’t do well with getting up early in the morning unless it is to pursue one of their passions. Sulphurs don’t generally get hungry until around 11am or later, often skipping breakfast. When they do eat though, they have Voracious appetites and this does not only refer to food but with every experience they take in. They live in their own time, making them highly unpunctual people and non-comformists. They care about living life to the maximum and need to learn to channel this extra energy into more spiritual endeavours, otherwise in an imbalanced state they can be very materialistic. There are some Sulphur types who are less extroverted though and like to be in their own “quiet genius”, having deep philosophical tendencies. Einstein was likely a Sulphur type, being highly influential, genius and revolutionary in his thinking and work.
Phenotypes, as I mentioned in the introduction to this series of Constitutional Remedies, are the layers we form when a stressor stimulates the need for it and our genotype (constitutional remedy) becomes imbalanced. They are like the masks we create to prevent getting hurt again or from experiencing the same stress again. They come in a few forms, namely six that we will be talking about here and they include the remedies: Arsenicum, Lachesis, Natrum muriaticum, Nux Vomica, Sepia and Staphysagria. It is possible therefore, to have a genotype remedy along with one or more phenotypes. This is what makes the genotype hard to see in some cases. You could have for example, a Sulphur who is very concerned with cleanliness, orderliness and have anxiety issues of the Arsenicum type, making it hard to see the Sulphur clearly beneath that layer. Remember, the genotypes exhibit people in a state of health and balance, while the phenotypes represent a state that occurs after the individual goes into a state of imbalance and morphs into a diseased state due to exposure to trauma and/or repeated stressors in life.
The sepia type made from the ink of the cuttlefish, is one that has a “motherly” energy but feels burdened by all the responsibilities. That being said, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is a woman’s remedy as it can be in men too, but it tends to be more common in females. The Sepia type is invigorated by exercise and exhausted by responsibilities. They feel tired all the time by taking care of everyone else but themselves and have no energy left to do anything to help themselves. The essence of Sepia is prolapse where everything seems to sag, whether physically or in a emotional sense. There is a deep exhaustion and a need for change, but a hopeless depression that things will never change. Life is an exhaustive cycle to Sepia and it is like spinning their wheels. There is one interesting characteristic though about Sepia and that is that they are invigorated by exercise. It is the discharge they are waiting for and the one time they can be alone and work on themselves. They can also be highly creative individuals and career and family orientated, but this soon leads to burn-out after years of taking care of children and everyone else’s needs but their own. They find themselves in a sort of depression where they feel hopeless about this situation ever changing and are not able to see any light at the end of the tunnel.
The Arsenicum type is characterized by the need for perfection. In order to keep this state of desired perfection, there is a need to keep everything neat, tidy, clean, orderly in so they can be prepared for any kind of disaster. There is a fear of disease and any kind of worry they can think of to become anxious about. Underneath all the perfectionist tendencies is an anxiety, which is stimulated by fear of losing control. Thus, all of this fear and anxiety leads to physical symptoms of poor digestion, a lack of warmth, burning pains, diarrhea and skin issues. The constant worrying leads to a stuckness of blood going to the brain and not spreading out to all the fingers and toes. The picture of the Arsenicum type is one who is cutting themselves off from every kind of danger possible, so as to save themselves. There is a fear of death and anything unknown.They can be hypochondriacs, chilly and enjoy sipping on warm drinks. Outwardly, they may wear makeup if they are a woman, be dressed well, making sure to get quality clothing and have everything in place. They do not like to see disorder of any kind and are not afraid to voice it either. The Arsenicum type will like to make frequent visits to the doctor, enjoying making complaints about their health because it gives them something to worry about so they can prepare for it somehow.
“The Fast and the Furious” is a movie title that is a perfect way to describe the Nux-vomica type. They are the ones who are working endlessly on a million projects, impatient, addicted to coffee, sugar and other stimulants and trying to do everything to the maximum. They like to drive fast and are enraged by slow drivers who get in their way and at the same time with anything or anyone that slows them down. They have an eruptive temper and can be demanding in the workplace especially or to their inferiors. The Nux type lives on the level of attraction. Everything they want and need tends to be based on this principle and they will do anything to achieve what they want. For example, rather than eating the apple they think will be good for them, they will choose the sugary doughnut for quick energy and instant gratification. They do not choose to live by the things that matter to a person most in the healthy regard and will aim to go for the quick answer, with in disastrous results. The addictive and workaholic nature of this type is common in modern times where many people work long hours and are deprived of sleep, making it an important remedy to consider.
Natrum muriaticum is made from salt, sodium chloride. It is arranged in a rock-salt crystal structure. This hardened structure is a representation of this character type where they are frozen in time to all the hurtful experiences they have experienced, are not able to let them go and are hardened and closed because of it.
Thus, the Nat-mur type is one who has been hurt and has not been able to forget it, losing trust along the way. They learn to wall off their heart in hope that it will never be hurt again and isolate themselves from their friends and family. If you ask them questions about their personal life, they may be hesitant to answer or give you the least information possible. The Nat-mur type is deeply sentimental and might view life as suffering. They can be very serious about everything and take everything you say to heart. When sadness moves into a chronic state, this remedy is called upon. There is also an interesting characteristic of Nat-mur types which is that they feel better when they are by the ocean or bodies of water. They may also dream about water and have chronic sinus issues as a congested sinus can be linked to “uncried tears”. They don’t tend to like being in direct sunlight and will gravitate towards more shady areas. You can often tell when one is a Nat-mur by the way they dress and stand. They may dress in rather drab colours that don’t stand out and stand keeping distance between them and others and may have their arms crossed as a sort of protective mechanism. They want to be loved, but are too scared to allow themselves to be vulnerable because of the fear that they will be hurt again. Rejection and vulnerability is what they fear most, preferring to stay isolated and alone so they can’t be touched. These types crave salt and may have water retention.
The Lachesis type is characterized by an intensity of feeling that is looking for an outlet. For this reason, this type can be highly sexual, volatile and loquacious. They may even flit their tongue out like a snake and many people who could use this remedy are afraid of snakes, interestingly! Another important feature of the Lachesis is that their symptoms are relieved by discharges. They can have intense feelings of passion, jealousy, envy and guilt. Often these types have an intense feeling of inadequacy and it is out of an act of desperation to lash out anything weak in order to feel less of it. Thus, the Lachesis type has a very poor self-image. Lachesis can be responsible for purplish bruising and discharges with the same purplish hue to them.
Staph types have a victim complex. They believe that the world is out to get them, they have not done anything wrong and that others are to blame. This type does not know how to take personal responsibility for the events in their life and have trouble expressing their needs. This leads to feelings of resentment and a feeling of “life is not fair”, underneath a sweet personality. Some Staph types suppress their anger so much that they don’t even know when it is there and this develops physically as styes, lumps, sore throats and urinary tract infections for example. When they do actually express their anger, it has been building up for so long that there is an explosion and often the people involved are confused as to where all that anger came from. Staph types may be in abusive relationships, having a hard time leaving because they have a deep fear of confronting the truth and taking responsibility for their own lives. For this reason, they are often under the control of a more dominant figure.