I can only think of one thing worse than pimples/acne for a young person entering puberty…warts! At a time when self-consciousness is at an all-time high, who wants to be worried about those bumpy, hideous things on fingers, arms, legs, and toes? Warts are those things that belong on the end of a witch’s nose or on the ugly toad that NO ONE wants to kiss.
Trying to explain to a concerned adolescent or parent of an adolescent that warts are simply viruses that will tend to resolve if left on their own is a bit like explaining to the toad, that yes, one day, someone will kiss you….not a lot of room for belief…especially when feelings are running at max and said adolescent is convinced that the appearance of warts is physical evidence that having them will forever leave them on the fringes of being a “normal” person like everyone else.
Where DO these notions come from and how is it that they continue to persist from generation to generation? The good news is that homeopathy can be of great help to teens who suffer with warts.
MORE THAN WARTS: A HOLISTIC HOMEOPATHIC APPROACH
The young adolescent who came to see me about her warts was a lovely young girl of 12. She came with her mom and her younger sister. Both the mom and the sister stayed for the whole consult. She spoke very easily about herself, checking every once in awhile with her mom, and although she seemed self-conscious at times, she always was honest and forthright with her thoughts and her feelings. The mom mentioned to me afterward that she had no idea that her daughter had been thinking about some of the things she had talked about. Often, with adolescent and teenage kids, I have the parent/s stay out for at least some of the consult so that the child can feel free to talk. In this particular situation, it was helpful that the mom had stayed.
MORE THAN WARTS: SLEEPLESS IN THE DARK
When I asked what J thought she had come to see me about, the first thing she said was that she was having trouble sleeping—and this surprised me as the appointment had been made by the mom with the main complaint being warts. About her sleeping problem she began with this statement. “I wanted my parents in the room. I was scared someone would break in. I’m a night person…I don’t feel like I’m tired. I lay down and I can’t fall asleep and I can get hysterical. I start crying and I can’t get to sleep without my sister…I get myself worked up.”
She stated these fears several times and in different ways. Mom mentioned that she had to have her sister sleep with her and that, although she was getting better about her fears, they were still a concern for the family as she had to have lights on and doors open. About the dark she says, “I don’t like lots of lights on but I like a little light…I start to see things in the dark…big long knives…was scared somebody was looking in…I have to have the door open all the time and I get hysterical when my dad shuts it…it feels like I’m really alone and I think they’re gone (her parents/family).” When alone she “starts seeing stuff…something’s going to happen to me…people might come into my room and kidnap me…kidnap me or take me away and tie me in a chair and put me in a dark room.” And the worst thing about that she says would be “being apart from my family.” She also had a dream that she said she had every night. “There was a cave and a man was locking my family in there. Lots of my dreams are of getting put into stuff…I’m getting locked in and left out…I don’t like being left out. I like being included in everything.”
Her concerns too could be about other children at school who might feel “left out, not included.” Mom says of her: “In school when someone else wasn’t being included, she could feel for that person. It bothered her probably because she could identify with that. She has a real compassionate side.” J then talked about her sister…”I‘m always worried about my sister…something might happen to her. I worry that she would fall and hurt herself. I like to be there, instructing her.”
REALLY MORE THAN ‘JUST WARTS’: THE INDIVIDUAL WITH WARTS
Eventually we got to the warts and she mentioned that she had them on her right foot and right knee and also on her left thumb. Her feet were often cold and her hands too; both her hands and feet could get quite sweaty. She also mentioned that sometimes she had some burning after urinating and it “feels as if I have to go again just after I’ve gone.” When I asked about what kind of weather suited her best, she said quite spontaneously “…when it’s kind of gloomy, I’m kind of happy…like when the clouds are out in the winter and it’s dark during the day.”
Although she had come to see me about her warts, J’s biggest concern was her “sleeping problem.” When I read over the notes, it seemed that her biggest concerns/fears were about not being able to sleep if her sister or parents were not there or at least within close proximity; she would start to “see things in the dark.” At 12 she still needed to have her sister sleep in the same room. She was also afraid that something could happen to her or to her family and this would leave her feeling alone, left out, not included. This feeling extended to feeling compassionate for kids at school who could be feeling left out and not included. Her concern for the safety of her sister was marked as well; she felt very responsible about her well-being and worried that something could happen to her.
With this in mind, I chose rubrics that best covered her fears of being alone, especially at night in bed, her fear of the dark, her concerns about something happening to her family, and her compassion for others.
FEAR; general; happen; something will; family, to, or to him
FEAR; general; dark
FEAR; general; bed; child fears to go to bed alone
FEAR: general; alone, of being; night
CARES, worries; full of; relatives, about
SYMPATHETIC, compassionate; children, in
To my delight, the remedy that came up was Causticum, well known as a “wart” remedy. There are several “wart” remedies in the homeopathic materia medica and it might have been easy for this family to have tried several of them, but I appreciated that they had come for a full consult as it meant that J’s warts could be helped, but more importantly, her “sleeping” problem was likely to be helped as well. I wanted to confirm Causticum as the best remedy possible, so I went to my repertory and found the following symptoms, which covered her case nicely:
Warts on hand, esp. around fingernails.
Sweat on hands, hindering her very much in knitting.
Better: COLD DRINKS [even chill]. Damp wet weather.
Frequent ineffectual efforts to urinate.
In Rajan Sankaran’s book, The Substance of Homeopathy, he describes Causticum in a way that helps to understand this young girl’s need to feel included, to be “not left out”:
Causticum is a Kali Salt (preparation). It consequently has the Kali feature of dependence on the family/group. There is a need in Causticum to have an intimate, unbreakable bond with the group—unity, solidarity. This need arises from two subconscious feelings viz. (1) A feeling of danger from outside (Fear, happen something will; Fear of impending danger) and (2) That his survival depends on the group (Fear of being alone at night).
Thus the main feeling of Causticum is that there is danger from outside to the group on which his own survival depends. Therefore, the Causticum person sees a threat to any member of the group as a threat to the group itself and hence to his own survival. This, however, is a subconscious feeling. Consciously, what he feels is anxiety for others, especially those belonging to the group. “Anxiety for others”, “Weeps with sympathy for others”. He takes great care to see that nothing happens to anyone in the group. “Cares full of; day and night”.”Cautious, anxiously”.
J was given Causticum in a 30 CH potency three times in 24 hours.
Three months later she returned looking happy and looking just a little more grown up…as can happen with adolescents in a very short time! The warts were still the same (she even had a new one on the inside of her right foot) and her hands were “really sweaty” as were her feet…“my feet always stink!” Her sleeping situation was a LOT better. She was able to calm herself better (no hysteria) and she could go to bed and fall sleep right away. “Normally I would just be worrying about something that scared me…” During this time a young five-year-old in a neighboring city had been kidnapped and murdered and it had been in the news extensively. J said “…normally I would have been nervous after hearing something like that and I would have wanted to be in my parents’ bed,” but she didn’t feel the need to do that. She told me that she had lots of energy and was working on her nutrition. She was still anxious before swim meets but felt “way more calm.” Her biggest concern at this appointment was her sweaty hands…they were “very, very wet.”
For a homeopath, this result was very good news. Although the warts were not better, emotionally she was much better and, although the sweaty hands were bothersome for J, it was good to see that the body was creating a discharge. At this point, I decided to give her a lower potency of Causticum (12CH) once a day for three days to see if it would help with the physical symptoms of the sweaty hands and feet and the warts.
I didn’t hear from them for several months, although I had encouraged a follow-up appointment within three months. I phoned and talked to the mom and it seems that the warts, sweaty hands, and feet cleared up rather quickly (within a week) and they had felt there was not much more to be said! I have not heard from them in some time, but I do see the dad now and again and he tells me that she is doing very well. I have also received several referrals through them and you can guess, of course, what they might be for…warts! Of course! And I am delighted to see each and every one of them because it isn’t always just about warts and it’s wonderful to know that homeopathy can help at more than one level.
This article originally appeared in Homeopathy Today, the magazine of the National Center for Homeopathy, and is reprinted here with permission. (To subscribe or learn more about homeopathy, contact the NCH at: www.homeopathic.org or toll-free 1-877-624-0613 or 801 N. Fairfax, Suite 306, Alexandria, VA 22314.) Great magazine for the home prescriber! And the website is absolutely chock full of resources! Check it out.