Group III – Skin Diseases in Children

Homeopathic treatment of skin diseases in children with homeopathy remedies like Graphites, Capsicum, Psorinum, Petroleum and Antim crud….

Graphites. [Graph]

      The third group is headed by GRAPHITES. This group is associated with children who have definite skin eruptions. Almost any of the other drugs already mentioned may be required for skin eruptions, for instance, CARBO VEG. Children have a very obstinate eczema of the scalp CALCAREA children have eczema of the scalp, CAUSTICUM children have a lot of skin eruptions.

There may also be a very obstinate eczema of the scalp with SEPIA indications. But the GRAPHITES group is the one to think of when a child has a definite skin history. There is a tendency when treating children with an irritant skin to give a dose of SULPHUR, and there have been many cases where that dose of SULPHUR has done harm and I am chary of starting with SULPHUR in these children with skin trouble.

The typical GRAPHITES child is fat and heavy. It is usually pale, always chilly, and nearly always constipated. In the majority of instances with obstinate constipation in a small child the abdomen is enlarged, a factor so constant that one does not stress it.

GRAPHITES children are always timid. They are rather miserable, and have a complete lack of assurance. The slightly older children hesitate over what they are going to reply to any questions put to them; the school report states that they are indefinite – there is the same hesitation here; and most of these GRAPHITES children are lazy; they have an aversion to work.

There is a queer contradiction in the GRAPHITES children. With the uncertainty and hesitation, laziness and general physical sluggishness, there is always an element of anxiety in the children. They always tend to look on the hopeless side of things; if they are going to a new school, they dread it. They are always looking for trouble.

The next thing about the GRAPHITES children is that, associated with their pallor, under any stress at all flush up – they have a definitely unstable circulation. And under stress, when they are excited, with this flushing up there is a tendency to troublesome but not very profuse epistaxis, which comes on under excitement that is the diagnostic point.

A constant feature of the GRAPHITES children, which at once distinguishes them from the CALCAREA children who look not unlike them, is that instead of the soft, sweaty CALCAREA skin, they have a harsh dry skin which tends to crack, particularly on exposure to cold. If these GRAPHITES children have been playing in water in cold weather they come in with their hands chapped and bleeding.

Associated with the dry harsh skin, are the GRAPHITES skin eruptions, and the type of eruption is constant no matter where it is. Cracked fingers which tend to bleed also ooze a sticky thick yellow serous discharge.

The same kind of condition arises in any of the folds in GRAPHITES types, the back of the ear, canthus of the eye, angles of the mouth the groins, bends of the elbows, round the wrists and particularly about the anus; in this site are found deep painful fissures oozing a thin, sticky, yellowish discharge.

As the discharge dries it forms thick crusts which pile up as secretion of matter continues beneath; and the crusts come off to reveal the same kind of gluey yellowish discharge, very often streaked with blood.

In my experience children suffering from asthma who have a history of skin troubles are not helped by GRAPHITES. These cases of suppressed skin troubles which develop asthma are extremely difficult and I have found that GRAPHITES fails altogether. Many other remedies have been successful such as PSORINUM, ANTIMONIUM CRUDUM, NATRUM MUR., SULPHUR., THUJA has helped quite frequently, and with no other lead it would be wise to start with THUJA.

That can be linked to one or two other typical GRAPHITES symptoms in children. They are liable to get a very persistent purulent nasal discharge, a chronic otitis with a perforation of the drum and again the same kind of yellowish excoriating discharge, with an irritating eczema of the external ear whenever the discharge runs over.

Associated with the purulent nasal discharge, many of these GRAPHITES children have marked hypertrophy of the tonsils, with offensive secretion in them, and as a result they often complain of difficulty in swallowing.

They often suffer with a chronic blepharitis and their lids are completely stuck in the morning with the same sort of gluey discharge; dried discharge adheres to the edges of the lids.

In spite of apparent fatness, they are flabby, and there is general muscular weakness. They are very easily exhausted; are sensitive to motion of any kind; and stand travelling very badly. There is a history of rheumatic pains, particularly affecting the neck and the lower extremities.

There is another GRAPHITES symptom which is sometimes useful in these flabby children- they are liable to attacks of abdominal cramp; this is not surprising in view of their constipated state. But in these GRAPHITES cramps the abdominal pains are relieved by giving the child hot milk to drink.

In the majority of cases, with the constipated stool they pass a quantity of mucus-stringy, adherent mucus. It links up with the type discharge from the skin surfaces, although it is not commonly yellow.

Another useful symptom, which is common, is that these GRAPHITES children have big appetites; they are hungry children and are upset if they go long without food; they are better for eating. But in spite of their fatness and flabbiness, there is often a surprising and very marked aversion to sweets.

In typical GRAPHITES adolescents it is still more surprising because there is the same flabby, fat, soft adolescent with, instead of the ordinary cracks behind the ear or cracks at the corners of the mouth, they have an acute acne, and one of the questions to ask is whether they eat many sweets, and if it is a GRAPHITES case the reply is that they cannot stand them at all, which is sometimes a very useful tip.

Another point about the appetite in the young children, is that they have a definite dislike of fish. Fish is a normal constituent of a young child’s diet, and it is easy to find out if they dislike it. Most of these GRAPHITES children do have a very definite dislike of fish.

Where considering children with chronic otitis, chronic discharge with an old perforation possibly with eczema of the external ear, another drug which must be considered is CAPSICUM.

Capsicum. [Caps]

      The typical CAPSICUM child is again a fat, rather lazy, somewhat obstinate child who is very definitely clumsy in his movements – I have never seen a neat CAPSICUM child. Mostly they have rather reddish cheeks, but that is not constant; they may be pale and flush up much like the GRAPHITES child.

They tend to be very forgetful. They will be sent on an errand, and will come back without what they have been sent to get. It is partly lack of attention. They are always touchy, easily offended, easily irritated.

An odd feature in CAPSICUM children is a strange dislike of being away from home. I think it is partly their feeling that they are not appreciated, partly their touchiness, and partly laziness – they have to make an effort if they are away from home, they have to be more or less agreeable and at home they are very often quite unpleasant.

The CAPSICUM children are always rather dull; they are slow at learning in school, and their memories are poor.

These children tend to have local hyperaemias. In a typical CAPSICUM child with a mild earache the whole external ear bright crimson. A CAPSICUM child with rheumatism has usually one or other joint affected, with a localised blush over the affected area.

A CAPSICUM child with a cold gets very enlarged tonsils which are very hyperaemic – bright crimson – and the child complains of a burning heat in the mouth with intense thirst.

An odd symptom sometimes met with in these children with sore throats running a fairly high temperature, is that the child is very flushed, cross, sleepless an thirsty; wants cold drinks, and yet shivers after taking a cold drink. This has been seen repeatedly in a child who has a sore throat and is going on to definite mastoid symptoms.

Where there is mastoid involvement in a CAPSICUM case-and it is probably the most commonly indicated drug for mastoiditis there is always a marked tenderness over the mastoid process, and a blush on the skin surface long before there is fully developed mastoiditis.

One of the nuisances of these mastoid cases is that they usually blow up at night, the child becomes extremely irritable, sleepless, worried, the mother can do nothing with it; it is as obstinate as a mule; she sends for you, and you have to examine it by artificial light and cannot see the blush.

Time and again I have seen these CAPSICUM children at night and could not make out the blush at all, but next morning in daylight it was perfectly obvious.

Associated with the tenderness over the mastoid area is the general hyperaesthesia of the CAPSICUM case; they are sensitive to noise; sensitive to touch, and they have a hyperaesthesia to taste.

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.