Sammi was a 24 year old, thin, pale complexioned woman with short-cropped red hair and freckles. She came in because of chronic inhalant allergies for the past three years which had recently become much worse since moving to Seattle.
Her symptoms were a stuffy nose, sneezing, itchy watery eyes, and sinus headaches. Her ears were also chronically stopped up. Her sneezing was forceful and came in paroxysms. Her nasal discharge was thin and clear. She itched around the mouth as well. When it was dusty and dry, her cough was worse. When she was around animals it would make her sneeze and wheeze, especially cats. Cars also made her sneeze. Her sneezing would stop if she went sailing, her favorite pastime. She was employed currently as a sailmaker.
Sammi also complained of lower back pain which was worse bending backwards. The pain was localized in the sacro-iliac joints. She described it as an uncomfortable feeling that came and went. She would also get numbness in the lower back after sitting in a car or airplane seat for a few hours. Seeing a chiropractor had been helpful, but hadn’t cured the problem. Her jaw was also locked for the last month after eating a bagel. This caused her to be unable to open her mouth fully, and gave her aching pain in the right side of the jaw. Her neck was painful in the atlanto-occipital joint. Her joint symptoms would get worse if she capsized in the cold waters of Puget Sound while sailing.
Digestively, she had variable stools, with occasional constipation, and some gas and bloating after meals. She would get sharp pains in her stomach about once a month if she went too long without eating. She would also, more commonly, get shakey and lose her concentration if she missed a meal. These symptoms would be relieved by eating. Her appetite was low. She had been a vegetarian for years. She had an aversion to eggs and meat, and a desire for potatoes, potato chips, salty foods, and spicy foods. She had a strong thirst for cold drinks, especially in warm weather.
Sammi’s past medical history included a bladder infection and allergy to milk as a baby, hospitalizations for knee surgery for a torn cartilage at age 5, and food poisoning with intestinal bleeding at age 8. Her father had had tuberculosis before she was born. She also bruised very easily. Her mentrual flow was not profuse, however, and was accompanied by cramping the first day, preceded by mild PMS symptoms beforehand.
Her sleep was variable. She slept on the left side and liked to have the window open. If it was too hot she would stick her feet out of the bed. She would drool a little, especially in bed at night. She woke unrefreshed, and would get tired in the mid-morning and mid-afternoon. She was sensitive both to cold and to heat. If it was too hot, it made her sleepy and it was harder for her to breathe. If it was too cold, she found it harder to think.
She loved to travel and had been all over the world, to Russia, Europe and throughout the United States. Her hobbies were crafts and clothes designing
Please study the case now, then turn to page ___ for the correct homeopathic remedy, the follow-up and discussion.
Sammi was given Tuberculinum 1M in a single dose. In the first day after taking the remedy, she developed a very bad conjunctivitis with redness and severe stinging of the eyes. She was given three doses of Apis 30c which relieved her symptoms. One month later Sammi reported that she had only had two sinus headaches since the remedy was given. Her nasal congestion was also improved and her sneezing had diminished. Her ears were no longer plugged. She did not have any itching around her eyes and mouth as she had complained of previously. Her lower back pain went away for a week, but returned and her jaw was less locked than before. She had no wheezing and she could breathe a little deeper. She still had the stomach pains between meals or right after eating, but she had less gas and bloating. Her thirst was a little less and still for cold beverages. She reported that her sleep was better and more refreshing. She still had a strong desire for travelling, as before.
At this point it was clear that the dose of Tuberculinum (or perhaps the Apis, though less likely) had considerably reduced her allergy symptoms and improved her musculoskeletal complaints somewhat.
The next visit was three weeks later, and Sammi reported surprisingly that her allergy symptoms had suddenly returned a few days before with sneezing, sinus headaches and watery eyes. This was a shorter period of time than the remedy was expected to act. There were no apparent exposures to substances which would interfere with the action of remedy, such as camphor or other strong aromatics, allopathic drugs, dental work or the use of an electric blanket. Her relapse was a mystery, but the symptom picture was the same, so another dose of Tuberculinum 1M was given.
Sammi was next seen nearly three months later. Her allergies had been much better since the second dose of Tuberculinum 1M. She was not sneezing or wheezing and her ears were not plugged. There was no return of the conjunctivitis. Her nose still ran occasionally. She complained of headaches in the right side of the forehead and the occiput-a dull pain that came and went without apparent cause. She also had stiffness in the back and neck that was better from moving around and stretching. Her low back felt tight, and there were numb spots in the dorsal spine. Her jaw was somewhat locked again She had a little lower bowel gas. There was no craving for potato chips now. She was averse to salt, eggs and meat. Her sleep was good. She was given Rhus toxicodendron 6c t.i.d.
Two months later she returned. Her joint symptoms had all resolved after the Rhus tox, but some allergy symptoms returned after a particularly strong exposure to dust while cleaning. She had a great deal of violent sneezingaccompanied by a frontal headache. Her eyes watered, her ears were plugged and she had a morning cough. Her face felt hot and her body felt cold. She was thirsty for cold drinks in sips.. There were no food cravings. Her joints were fine. Her energy was diminished since the dust exposure. A rash on her chin reappeared which had gone away with the first dose of Tuberculinum. The Tuberculinum 1M was repeated. Within a week all her allergy symptoms had resolved and she was feeling very well. Her skin rash became temporarily worse and then cleared, leaving her symptom free.
In this case we see that the constitutional picture is that of the nosode Tuberculinum. We often see chronic allergy and asthma cases which may at some point in the case need Tuberculinum, which is the remedy made from tubercules found in cows with tuberculosis. There may be a family history of tuberculosis, as in this case, indicating the use of the nosode for the presence of the tubercular miasm.. Tuberculinum patients tend to be thin, fair and pale, with a tendency to lose weight easily. They often have an allergy to cats, and usually have strong feelings about cats, either positive or negative. They often desire smoked meat, dairy products and fat, which was not the case in our vegetarian patient. She did have the characteristic Tuberculinum desire to travel, however. Tuberculinum worked quite well for her allergy symptoms, which even though they did return occasionally, were overall much improved within six months after the initial dose. Because she was a sensitive patient, a strong exposure to an allergen was capable of causing a relapse, but she quickly improved when the remedy was repeated. With each dose her symptoms lessened and she became less susceptible to allergy attacks.
Her joint stiffness, better from motion, and her TMJ syndrome were covered by Tuberculinum, but were not improved by the remedy. They matched the typical picture for Rhus tox , especially being worse from being immersed in cold sea water and better from motion. Rhus tox very definitely helped her joints heal quickly and easily. Rhus tox also covers many allergy symptoms and was probably secondarily helpful for that part of her picture as well.
Dr. Judyth Reichenberg-Ullman and Dr. Robert Ullman are licensed naturopathic physicians and are board certified in homeopathy. They are President and Vice President of the International Foundation for Homeopathy where they teach homeopathy to licensed health care professionals. They practice in Edmonds, WA at 131 3rd Ave., N., Edmonds, WA 98020 and can be reached at (206) 774-5599. Their new book, The Patient’s Guide to Homeopathic Medicine, is now available.