David was a 35-year-old man who was seeking treatment for allergic purpura (also known as Henloch-Schonlein Purpura). When he called to book the appointment, he struck me as a very friendly person: I can remember coming off the phone feeling a sense of ease, whereas first encounters can often be decidedly more tense. One of my teachers in school used to say “pay attention to your kinesthetic response to the case” meaning that the way the person makes you feel can sometimes be valuable information. In this case, my feeling upon first conversing with David hinted at a friendly remedy picture that connected easily with others. This impression, combined with the vascular condition he was dealing with, gave clues as to the remedy he might need. However, a homeopath should always try to keep an open mind when taking the case, so I put this first impression to the side for the time being.
Allergic purpura is a condition where the capillaries become inflamed and burst, producing an appearance of speckled bruising under the surface of the skin. When we met, David explained that this reaction had been happening for about two years, and it had started following a bout of flu, which is the typical etiology. The purpura was widespread, over almost his entire body and it had become a constant in his life. It was definitely aggravated by alcohol and spices, but he had tried completely eliminating these substances and found that the outbreaks would still occur. It was not a painful condition, but would take a bit of time to heal after it happened. He said that his goal in having the condition treated was to be able to have a beer with his friends from time to time.
In addition to his chief complaint, David experienced mild allergies in late summer, and had been receiving chiropractic treatment for a pain in the neck that radiated down the arm. He had suffered earlier in the year from a rectal polyp which had appeared suddenly and sent him to emergency with acute pain and bleeding. He’d since had this surgically removed.
He had recurring dreams of arriving to class late and not being able to get in. As for his more ‘constitutional’ symptoms, David tended to be on the warm side and did not enjoy humidity. He drank lots of water and required that it have ice in it. He was not a picky eater and enjoyed food in general. In particular he liked fried fish.
His personal health history was not as checkered as many of the people a homeopath might treat, but he did have a bout of pneumonia as a child. He had not experienced any major emotional trauma, or big shocks, but he expressed that there were some sad experiences, the accumulation of which had probably served to impact him significantly. He recounted helping a friend through leukemia about 5 years prior. He had sat with her through some difficult moments and it affected him deeply. He felt as though he had been a sort of counsellor for her, and he enjoyed helping people by talking with and listening to them. He affirmed that he was definitely a sympathetic person, affected by the emotions of others.
It sometimes happens in homeopathy that almost every symptom a person describes falls into the same remedy, and though the homeopath tries to keep an open mind in favour of objectivity, the same remedy keeps presenting itself as the solution. In this case, the remedy was Phosphorus. The symptoms and rubrics I used were:
- Ecchymosis – purpura
- Worse for spices
- Worse for alcohol
- Sensitive to the emotions of others
- Thirsty for large quantities of ice water
- Rectal polyp accompanied by bleeding
- Personal history of pneumonia
David responded very well to a dry dose of two pellets of Phosphorus in a 200C. The day after taking it, he felt sleepy and lethargic, but the following days he had an increase in energy and reported feeling clear-headed and productive. David was a good scientist and he tested his allergic reaction by deliberately consuming 3 beers later that week, which previously would have been sure to bring on the purpura. That first week he had no reaction to the beer. A few weeks later, he tested it again and the reaction occurred though it was very mild and localized to his forearm, whereas it had previously been all over his body.
After the first follow-up, I increased the potency of the prescription to a 1M, which seemed to work as well or better than the 200C and the purpura became localized to his feet, which, according to Herring’s Law of the Direction of Cure, was a very good sign, as the condition was moving from above to below. David was also progressing in his personal and spiritual life, and this was reflected quite symbolically in his dreams. He reported that he’d had a new version of the same old dream wherein he arrived to class just in time before the door closed. So it seemed that he was resolving something deep in his consciousness.
To this day, David continues to take Phosphorus about once a month and I have given him as high as a 50M, still with good results. I have not had to change the remedy for more than a year. He is mentally and emotionally very well and did not have allergies this past summer. The purpural reactions are now few and far between and when they do happen, they are mild in comparison to how they used to be. He says that homeopathic treatment has helped to increase his powers of self-awareness and to bring him into overall balance, beyond the functions of mere physiology. David has achieved his health goals for the time being and enjoys a beer with friends on occasion.
To read more about homeopathy for healthy skin, please visit my page on Skin Health.
Kerry Walker, Classical Homeopath