Group II – Poor Physical or Mental Growth


Homeopathic remedies for poor physical or mental growth in children, include Baryta carb, Borax, Natrum mur, Sepia, Carbo veg and Aurum met. …


Baryta carbonica. [Bar-c]

      The second group are all very much of the same type; they all apply more or less to the backward child, either a case of delayed development, or a definite mental defective. The outstanding drug in this group is BARYTA CARBONICA, which is more typical of the backward child than any other drug in our Materia Medica.

The characteristics of the BARYTA CARB child are very definite it is a dwarfish child, dwarfish mentally and physically. I have never seen a BARYTA CARB child who was up to standard height, but they may be up to standard weight. The next glaring characteristic is that the BARYTA CARB child is always an excessively shy child.

That shy characteristic covers quite a lot of the BARYTA CARB child It is nervous of strangers; scared of being left alone; very often it is terrified of going out of doors; a town-bred child going to the country is terrified in the open fields. They often get night terrors without any clear idea of what the terror is; and they always have a fear of people.

Another characteristic linked with that fear of people is that the BARYTA CARB. children are always touchy; they do not like being interfered with; they are very easily irritated. The next thing is that throughout their lives they have been late in everything-late in speaking, late in walking, late in dentition slow in gaining weight.

Another marked feature is an exaggeration of the normal child’s forgetfulness. Every child is forgetful, every child is inattentive, but in the BARYTA CARB. child this is very much exaggerated. If they are playing they never stick to it for any length of time, they pick up a toy, play with it, and drop it; you may hold their attention for a minute or two, then they turn round and look at the nurse or mother or whoever happens to be there.

They pick up a thing from your desk and fumble with it for a minute or two, and the next moment they are playing with the handle of a drawer. It is that lack of concentration that is the outstanding characteristic.

As they get older the same report comes from school-the child is inattentive, never concentrates on a lesson, appears to learn something today and has completely forgotten it tomorrow. The mother would teach the child its alphabet a dozen times over and ten minutes after it knew it, it would be allowed to go out and play and half an hour later it was all forgotten.

Another thing is that they are very easily tired out; any attempt at sustained effort exhausts them. When they are young they become cross and irritable as they get older any sustained effort brings on very troublesome headaches-usually a frontal headache with a feeling as if the forehead were bulging and sitting right down over the eyes, and it is awful effort for them to keep the eyes open.

The next point about them-and it is pretty constant to all the BARYTA CARB children is that they are liable to get colds, and their colds are characteristic. They always start as a sore throat, and most BARYTA CARB. children have hypertrophied tonsils.

To the hypertrophy of their tonsils can be linked the other glandular tissues; the BARYTA CARB. child very probably has enlarged cervical glands, possibly enlarged abdominal glands. With the enlarged abdominal glands linked the fact that the child stands badly, there is often marked lordosis and a very prominent abdomen.

With the abdomen condition is the symptom that the BARYTA CARB. Child is usually worse after eating-more inattentive, more irritable, more touchy, and very often more tired after eating.

The next thing about them-linked with the tonsillar hypertrophy is that if that get enlarged tonsils and get cold they are very liable to develop a quinsy. Here is a tip that is worth remembering. To a typical BARYTA CARB. child with an acute tonsillitis it is wiser to give a dose of BARYTA MURIATICA rather than BARYTA CARB. during the acute phase; and very often they will need an intercurrent dose of PSORINUM after the BARYTA MUR. before reverting to BARYTA CARB.

It is quite easy to tack on the PSORINUM to the BARYTA CARB. because many of these children tend to get a crusty skin eruption on the head and crusty margins to the eyelids, they may have a definite blepharitis, and most BARYTA CARB. children are worse from washing-all of which are definite PSORINUM symptoms also.

They are very liable to get intensely irritable skin eruptions, but with intense irritation, and that again is liable to be worse after they have been bathed.

As would be expected with that type of child with low physique, they are chilly, are if they are exposed to cold their tonsils become affected. One other features of the BARYTA CARB. children is a marked tendency to salivation; dribbling is a common characteristic of mentally defective children.

Above are the keynotes to the “mentally defective” group of drugs, and of these BARYTA CARB. is by far the most commonly indicated. Following that come other drugs mentioned previously starting will BORAX.

Borax. [Bor]

      The feature that makes one consider whether a child is a BARYTA CARB or BORAX type is the manner in which the child is frightened. They are both scared children and they are very often quite similar to look at, but whereas in the BARYTA CARB. child anything strange in its surroundings scares it, in the BORAX child it is any sudden noise in its vicinity which simply terrifies it.

The tendency to salivation and dribbling is equally marked in BORAX, but in the majority of BORAX children one is dealing with a definite stomatitis, and associated with the salivation there are white spots on the tongue pearly spots round the margins of the tongue, spots on the lips and on the inside of the cheeks.

There is a very similar history in regard to night terrors in the BORAX, child but there is usually an exciting cause in these cases; the child has been doing too much during the day, or has been overexcited in the evening, and then it is almost sure to have a marked night terror.

With the BORAX child there is not the same degree of inability to learn. The child is simply idle. If he would give his heart to it he could learn, but he is just idle. These children never settle to anything, and even at play they do not persevere but get bored and change from one thing to another.

Another thing that distinguishes them from BARYTA CARB. types is that BORAX children are much more irritable, and their irritability does not end up in weeping as it very often does in BARYTA CARB, but it ends up in a violent passion the child kicks and screams.

The next point which distinguishes the BORAX child from the BARYTA CARB. child is that the BARYTA CARB. Child tends to get a generalised skin eruption, or a very definite crusty eruption on the scalp, but the BORAX child is much more likely to get herpetic eruptions-very often herpetic spots about the lips, or a generalised rash of small herpetic spots on the body.

BORAX cases are also more liable to get acute digestive upsets than BARYTA CARB. types which have the typical chronic constipation, the hard stool. BORAX is liable to sudden attacks of diarrhoea and vomiting. Another characteristic of BORAX which distinguishes it from BARYTA CARB. is the peculiar BORAX sensitiveness of fruit, with violent colic after eating fruit colic followed by diarrhoea.

Associated with the tendency to inflammation of the mucous membranes, acute stomatitis etc., it is very common in BORAX children to find either enuresis or pain on micturition; pain on micturition is much more common, and very often it is without any definite urinary infection.

Another thing that distinguishes the BARYTA CARB child when a little older is that the BARYTA CARB child gets depressing frontal headache from over-study; whereas the BORAX child tends to become sick, and tends to get definite nausea from intense concentration.

Then there is the final clinching points in connection with the BORAX child, and that is the notorious BORAX aggravation from downward motion.

BARYTA CARB children often get train-sick BORAX children will get train-sick and car-sick too, but BORAX children have a peculiar terror of downward motion, and it is that terror much more than the actual feeling of discomfort which is the characteristic of the BORAX children.

It occurs in numerous circumstances; the typical pointer is the child who screams time it is laid down in bed if the nurse does not lower is very gently; but it is equally marked in older children who scream on going down in a lift. it is the peculiar terror rather than the physical discomfort, which distinguishes BORAX from any other drug.

One useful practical tip is in connection with air-sickness. There are various drugs fro train-sickness and sea-sickness but BORAX acts in the majority of cases of airsickness, because it is the sudden dip which upsets most people and particularly the terror of falling. Air-sickness has been completely overcome by three or four doses of BORAX before travelling by air.

BORAX is like BARYTA CARB in being sensitive to cold, but it has much more sensitiveness to damp than BARYTA CARB.

BORAX is one of the sodium salts and immediately one considers the sodium salts one thinks of the possibility of the others, and by far the most commonly indicated of these is NATRUM MURIATICUM.

Natrum muriaticum. [Nat-m]

      In children the majority of NATRUM MUR. cases are rather under- sized and underweight. At first sight they are a little difficult to distinguish from the BARYTA CARB child with its shyness, because the NATRUM MUR. child appears to have a very definite dislike of being handled; it has a very definite dislike of being interfered with and is liable to burst into tears, which is not unlike the shy terrified reaction of BARYTA CARB child.

But on closer investigation the reaction is quite different. It is not shyness in the NATRUM MUR. it is much more a resentment at being interfered with. The NATRUM MUR. child cries, but cries much more from rage than from terror. You can very often stop the NATRUM MUR. child’s crying if you are sufficiently firm but try to soothe it and it gets worse.

A NATRUM MUR. child will be nearly in convulsions with screaming when its mother tries to soothe it, whereas as soon as left alone it will settle down and sit in a corner and watch you. The BARYTA CARB will sit in a corner and play with anything within reach it has an entirely different mentality.

Another thing which distinguishes NATRUM MUR from BARYTA CARB is that though they both tend to be awkward in their movements the BARYTA CARB child is awkward because of inco-ordination it is clumsy but the NATRUM MUR. child knocks things over because it is in too big a hurry.

There will be a history of delayed development in the NATRUM MUR. child particularly that the child was slow in learning to speak. It may also have been slow in starting to walk but that is not nearly so constant. Often the NATRUM MUR. child’s speech is faulty, but it is much more a difficulty in articulation than a lack of mentality as in the BARYTA CARB child

The next characteristic of the NATRUM MUR. child is that it is probably small and underweight. In contrast to BARYTA CARB. where there are a mass of enlarged cervical glands, the typical NATRUM MUR. child may have very small shotty enlarged cervical glands in a thin neck. The BARYTA CARB types have a chain of quite large glands running down the anterior border of the sterno mastoid; the NATRUM MUR children have small shotty glands at the back of the neck and the neck itself is rather skinny

The NATRUM MUR. child does not tend to run to the same degree of crusty skin eruptions as the BARYTA CARB child NATRUM MUR. cases get an eruption restricted to the margin of the hair, rather than spreading over the whole scalp.

There is not the same tendency to salivation in the NATRUM MUR. child and instead of the small patches found in a BORAX mouth in NATRUM MUR. the tongue is sensitive and is red places and white in places, not with the little white vesicles of BORAX types but with the irregular mapping which is associated with NATRUM MUR. either in children or in adults.

As the NATRUM MUR children grow older, they develop school headache; when under pressure, working too hard, attempting to concentrate too much, they get headaches. The headaches are almost identical with the BARYTA CARB. headaches; they are frontal headaches with the same feeling pressure down over the eyes, and they are brought on by intense effort-particularly mental effort.

The temperature reactions in NATRUM MUR. are definitely different from those of BARYTA CARB. In NATRUM MUR. often the child is chilly sensitive to draughts, will shiver from a change of temperature and will start sneezing from a change of temperature; but he is very sensitive to heat-stuffiness particularly and to exposure to the sun, and is very liable to develop a sun headache.

The majority of these NATRUM MUR. children have a definite salt craving. It is most unexpected that children should have the excessive desire for salt recorded in the Materia Medica. But in practice one meets case after case in which there is a very definite salt craving in these children-they will steal salt as other children would steal sugar.

Another thing to look for in children needing NATRUM MUR. is a very marked tendency to develop hang-nails, splits up the side of the nails which are extremely sensitive, very painful and very difficult to heal. It is a small point, but it is quite useful in practice.

A distinguishing points is the appearance of the skin. Typical BARYTA CARB. children usually have very little colour, they are sallow, rather earthy looking. BORAX children often have considerably more colour in the cheeks, the skin is a little more yellow, not quite so earthy looking and a shade more inelastic, thick and greasy.

NATRUM MUR children probably are a little darker still, they flush a little more easily, they perspire a little more easily and there is a slight increase of the greasy appearance.

Sepia. [Sep]

      When considering skins the next possibility is SEPIA, which has the same kind of sallow greasy skin; and SEPIA is a drug which is far too much neglected in the treatment of children.

The outstanding feature of SEPIA, children is their negative attitude to everything. They tend to be depressed, moody, indolent, disinclined for work, and not even interested in their play. If pushed they are liable to sulk or weep.

They are usually nervy children, scared of being alone, very often afraid of the dark, and yet they dislike being handled. very often they have a definite dislike of going to parties, and there is a point which is sometimes confused with BARYTA CARB a dislike of playing with other children.

It is the thing that later develops into the typical SEPIA dislike of meeting friends, and is often confused with the BARYTA CARB dislike of people altogether, but mostly it is pure indolence in the SEPIA children, and once they get to a party they are perfectly happy.

The next point is that these SEPIA children, although so lazy and indolent, are definitely greedy, and SEPIA should always be considered for a definitely greedy child. Another thing common to SEPIA children is that although they loathe to go to a party, when they get there and start dancing they wake up at once and are perfectly happy. It is astonishing the effect of dancing on SEPIA children. The heaviest, dullest child when dancing at a party will become an entirely different being, will suddenly come alive. It is a useful tip and the parents may give it when asked.

Another odd symptom which appears occasionally in children and is a definite SEPIA lead is that these slow-developing children very often acquire the habit of head-nodding. when faced with a head-nodding child always think of the possibility of SEPIA, do not dash off at once to one of the typical chorea drugs.

Various other points are fairly common in the SEPIA children. For instance, they are nearly always constipated, and associated with this is usually a tendency to enuresis. And one thing which is very constant in SEPIA children is that the enuresis takes place early in the night.

Usually if these SEPIA children are lifted about 10 p.m. they remain dry the rest of the night; it is in their first sleep that they lose control.

At the later age, in the sallow, dull, greedy, locked-up child, there is a history that she is developing fainting attacks, and these are induced by standing, or by taking up any fixed position in a close atmosphere- standing in school, standing in church, kneeling in church-the SEPIA child is very often liable to faint.

All these children-like all SEPIA patients – are sensitive to cold children are particularly sensitive to weather changes, and the typical SEPIA child will develop a cold from changes in the weather apparently without any contact with infection.

Another useful lead towards SEPIA in children is that they are very often upset by milk. If a SEPIA child gets a digestive upset and is put a milk diet he will certainly become constipated.

Associated with their sallow, greasy skin, SEPIA children tend to sweat profusely, and are liable to develop very itchy skins without much sign of an eruption and without comfort from scratching.

Aurum metallicum. [Aur]

      With this sallow, dispirited, sluggish type of child, with that depressed, negative attitude one should always consider the possibility of gold, AURUM METALLICUM, or one of the gold salts. The typical AURUM child is always an undeveloped child. It is not so much a question of undersize and underweight as that it simply does not grow up.

The typical Aurum child of 5 years of age is probably about the level of a 3 – year- old. The majority of cases needing AURUM are boys and in majority of these case there has been some failure of development – an undescended testicle, a very poorly developed scrotum, something which indicated that the child was slow in developing even if developing satisfactorily. It is type of symptom for which one might consider BARYTA CARB.

AURUM children always give the impression of being lifeless. They are always low spirited, rather miserable, lifeless, and they are absolutely lacking in go. They have no initiative at all and give the impression of finding everything a frightful effort.

The report from school is that they are backward and that they have very, poor memories. One of the odd things about them is that, in spite of being dull, depressed, miserable, lifeless sort of creatures they do respond to contradiction; the child has no go in him and he makes some statement which is contradicted and he flies into an absolute rage; it is the one thing that stirs them up.

Another constant factor which is rather surprising in this type of child despite the impression of being sluggish, is that have a weird hyperaesthesia to pain, they are terrified of it and extremely sensitive to it. And, in spite of their sluggishness, they are very sensitive to noise and have a very acute sense of taste and smell.

They are liable to very persistent very troublesome catarrh.They have very definitely infected hypertrophied tonsils, practically always with a lot of offensive secretion in the tonsils, practically always with a lot of offensive secretion in the tonsillar crypts. They get hypertrophied adenoids, again with very offensive nasal discharge; with this they get attacks of acute otitis with perforation of the drum, and very often a stinking, purulent ear discharge.

If they are forced to exert themselves they very easily get out of breath and suffocative attacks with acute difficulty in breathing, without any obvious physical cause.

Another odd characteristic of the AURUM children is that they are frightfully sensitive to any disappointment; they will grieve over it for days, quite out of all proportion to the normal child’s reaction. And associated with that is the other typical AURUM symptom that the child sobs in his sleep without waking up, and apparently without having been distressed the night before.

Carbo vegetabilis. [Carb-v]

      A drug which also has a very definitely sluggish condition and is sometimes a little like AURUM is CARBO VEGETABILIS although the cause is entirely different.

CARBO VEG. children are definitely sluggish but it is more a physical that mental sluggishness and results from physical stagnation, not from any lack of brain capacity.

They are slow in thinking they are dull mentally; they have a slow reaction time; and they are lacking in go of any kind. They are very easily discouraged, rather dispirited and miserable sore of children, and if they are pushed they become peevish, but it is a futile sort of peevishness without much bite in it.

Associated with the general mental sluggishness there is always sluggishness of circulation. They are very often heavy sallow complexioned children, and they have bluish extremities bluish fingers, bluish toes, and the extremities are always cold.

Douglas Borland
Douglas Borland M.D. was a leading British homeopath in the early 1900s. In 1908, he studied with Kent in Chicago, and was known to be one of those from England who brought Kentian homeopathy back to his motherland.
He wrote a number of books: Children's Types, Digestive Drugs, Pneumonias
Douglas Borland died November 29, 1960.