Group V – Hyperactive and Hypersensitive Remedies


Group V includes homeopathic remedies that are hyperactive or hypersensitive and irritable. They include Chamomilla, Cina, Arsenic album, Ignatia, Magnesia carb, Zincum, Stramonium etc….


Arsenicum Album. [Ars]

      The last group of drugs includes all the outstandingly nervy children, and the key to the whole group is ARSENICUM ALBUM. ARSENICUM children are possibly the most attractive of the children. They are very highly strung, usually finely made, finely built, often with a very fine skin and fine hair; they are delicate-looking children.

They are always very nervy, very easily scared, very easily frightened, anything unusual will frighten them, they are afraid of being left alone in the house, afraid of going out alone, terrified of the dark, and they always have a very vivid imagination. They suffer from night terrors and wake up in the middle of the night terrified, jump out of bed and wander through the house to find somebody to talk to.

It is always the feeling of some horrible occurrence hanging over her, very often she does not know what it is and is just terrified. When comforted and consoled, she will quieten down and go to sleep again, particularly if taken into the parents bed and has somebody near.

They are usually of a variable colour and tend to be rather pale but flush on excitement. They are not sallow. It is a rather fine skin, and when flushed they often get hot heads, and cold hands and feet on excitement or over-exertion.

In spite of their delicate appearance these ARSENICUM children are always restless, always doing something, and not just sitting about looking at their fingers. They may take up a thing do it for a while, then go on to something else, but they never spend their time doing nothing.

When they are nervy they go from their mother to their father, from their father to the nurse, then back to their mother. Each one gives them a certain amount of comfort but not for long, and they turn to someone else.

In spite of their restlessness and their activity, they get completely exhausted. They will be all right for a couple of hours, busy, happy, occupied, rather restless, and too mentally active, then suddenly become completely exhausted, grow pale, tired and lie down. Often they become depressed, and in a nervy, frightened state, feel they are going to be ill and want to have somebody near.

These children are inordinately tidy. A small girl will keep her dolls in a most astonishingly tidy condition. Even small boys, who normally break their toys and leave them lying about on the floor, if of ARSENICUM type, will put them away and be distressed, not because the toy is broken but because it is in a mess. They are upset if they spill jam over themselves and get into a mess, and their distress is out of all proportion to the cause.

Another very definite thing about them is that they are liable to catch cold, particularly from exposure to cold, and these colds are fairly typical. They usually start as an acute coryza, with watery, excoriating discharge, very violent attacks of sneezing and a tendency for the cold very rapidly to spread on to the chest.

In 24 hours the history of an acute coryza develops rapidly to bronchitis. With that extension the ARSENICUM child becomes hoarse between the development of the coryza and the onset of the definite bronchitis.

The other ARSENICUM types get a very similar mild coryza without any hoarseness at all, without any sign of bronchitis but they suddenly develop an acute asthmatic attack.

The asthmatic attack in ARSENICUM children is a very typical, very tight, dry, spasmodic asthma and it is always accompanied by acute terror. It is always terrifying for a child to get asthma, but ARSENICUM children are almost beside themselves with terror.

They are liable to get asthmatic attacks either early in the afternoon abut 1 p.m to 3 p.m. some time after lunch, or early in the morning any time after midnight.

Another typical asthmatic characteristic is that the attack subsides the dryness seems to disappear and the chest gets flooded with mucus with quantities of white, frothy sputum. When the attack is subsiding the dry whistle disappears and the chest gets moister. ARSENICUM will clear up the whole trouble.

ARSENICUM children are very sensitive to cold, and exposure to cold is certain to upset them. It either provokes an acute respiratory attack, or an acute digestive attack. These children get digestive upsets very easily; from exposure to cold, and also from over-indulgence in any watery fruits. Melons, strawberries, any of the juicy fruits may give the ARSENICUM child acute gastritis, usually with diarrhoea.

ARSENICUM children are extremely chilly, and in most of their chest and general conditions, they are thirsty with a desire for cold drinks, but when suffering from gastritis or gastroenteritis, the condition is aggravated by cold drinks.

The gastritis may be brought on by ice cream, and a mixture of fruit and ice cream is particularly dangerous for ARSENICUM children. During the acute stage of gastritis the pain is usually severe and is eased by warmth, either warm fluids or external heat applied to the abdomen. When a child likes warm drinks and is made easier by them, one should not ignore ARSENICUM.

Another point about these acute abdominal attacks is that the child is rather delicate and one that can go downhill extremely rapidly; an ARSENICUM child with an acute diarrhoea will become collapsed in a few hours.

With this collapse they are restless, worried, anxious, and liable to have constant small stools, little spurts of diarrhoea, and a marked aggravation of the exhaustion after each stool. The child appears absolutely grey, cold and sweaty. Nearly always in the ARSENICUM diarrhoea the stools are offensive.

In summer after over-indulgence in strawberries, etc., the children have been perfectly well the previous day and the next morning they are in a collapsed state after purging all night. It is remarkable how quickly the ARSENICUM children recover if given ARSENICUM.

In acute cases with violent onset ARSENICUM CM every fifteen minutes will clear up the trouble immediately. But ARSENICUM in low potency is not effective. The patients do not have enough vitality to respond to low potencies, and in extreme cases satisfactory results are unlikely from potencies of under 10 m.

There is also a general hyperaesthesia in the ARSENICUM children. They are over-sensitive to everything, to smell, to touch, to noise, to excitement; smells will make them all jumpy and nervy, excitement will give them a nightmare.

They are highly strung children. If pushed at school they are liable to get chorea; and if they are not very gently, quietly handled they develop periodic headaches, recurring once in 7 or 14 days, violent sick headaches lasting anything up to from 24 to 48 hours and they may last two or three days making the child completely prostrated.

It is always an intense congestive headache with intolerance of noise light, or disturbance of any kind. And this is one of the ARSENICUM contradictions, with these congestive headaches they want their heads as cool as possible.

The child feels its body may be cold, sweaty and damp; it has extreme nausea; it is restless and frightened, wants to be well covered-and yet wants its head cold, cold cloths, Eau de Cologne applications – anything to keep it cool.

ARSENICUM is less valuable in skin conditions than might be expected. It is more valuable in some of the chronic conditions than in the acute dermatitis. The secondary syphilitic eruption is the kind of condition in which ARSENICUM is indicated.

Alternation of asthma and skin conditions is a very definite ARSENICUM indication; where asthma and diarrhoea alternate it is useful. A case of recurring headaches in which asthma developed cleared on ARSENICUM. ARSENICUM very definitely has these alternations, but more frequently in adults than in children.

Chamomilla. [Cham]

      The symptoms of CHAMOMILLA are almost identical to those of ARSENICUM and yet they are entirely different drugs, and entirely different children. First there is hyperaesthesia, over- sensitiveness to noise, pain, people; there is exactly the same hyperaesthesia in CHAMOMILLA.

There is the restlessness of ARSENICUM, moving from one person to another, never still; and exactly the same in CHAMOMILLA, the child goes from one person to another and is never completely still never at peace. And yet the two types are different.

In CHAMOMILLA there is extreme hyperaesthesia, the CHAMOMILLA pains are more intense probably than any other pains from which patients suffer; but the reaction is entirely different from that in ARSENICUM. CHAMOMILLA cases have an absolute frenzy of rage; they resent it; they resent having it; and they are furious that the doctor has not cleared it off at once. A CHAMOMILLA child is liable to strike out at you because it is hyperaesthetic.

There is intense restlessness in the CHAMOMILLA child, it goes from one person to another, and each time it is dissatisfied with the person it goes to, and as it leaves them it is quite liable to strike at them. It is quite different from the soothing that the ARSENICUM child gets from each one.

The CHAMOMILLA child who is over-sensitive to noise, does not get the nightmare the same night, the child is wrought up into a perfect frenzy, liable to scream and stamp when disturbed. It is quite a different reaction.

In the ARSENICUM case the child is restless, always moving about whilst the CHAMOMILLA child is better from motion, but particularly better from being carried about-it is passive motion. Jogging about an ARSENICUM child will probably terrify it.

Jog about a CHAMOMILLA child and it will probably stop screaming and begin to crow. You stop and it wants you to go on, and if you do not it will pull your hair. The reactions are entirely different although the symptoms in the Materia Medica are almost the same.

The CHAMOMILLA child is never still, it is never satisfied with any thing it is doing. But it is not a question of passing form one occupation to another. It is a question of getting tired of one thing and throwing it away. It never puts away its toy in a cupboard, it just tosses it down, and picks up something else; if told to put the first toy in the the cupboard it is liable to yell.

Another constant factor about the CHAMOMILLA children is that they get more excitable as the day goes on, more irritable, more difficult to manage, and they are liable to be particularly trouble-some about 9 p.m. The CHAMOMILLA child often is quite impossible after it is put to bed until about midnight, then it appears to wear itself out and falls asleep.

All these children who get into a fury tend to get flushed with red faces and hot heads, but the CHAMOMILLA child tends to get flushed on one side of the face, it is flushed generally but one side will be redder than the other.

CHAMOMILLA is almost universal for the teething child, but it is a mistake to give CHAMOMILLA to any teething child, the indications for it are quite definite. A teething child who needs CHAMOMILLA tends to get much more fractious at night and to have very swollen, inflamed, tender gums, and they tend to be one- sided with a marked flush on that side of the face.

The tender gums are made much worse by any application of heat and they are very much better from cold applications. They are much worse in a hot room, and the attack is liable to subside about midnight. It is worth noting that the toothache pains of CHAMOMILLA have entirely different modalities from the other pains.

CHAMOMILLA children are subject to attacks of acute colic possibly because their parents give in to them; they see something they want and scream until they get it, and that evening they go down with acute abdominal colic-mostly the fault of the parents. These attacks of colic are accompanied by a lot of wind and very much relieved by hot applications.

With these attacks of colic they are liable to get bouts of diarrhoea, with the typical green CHAMOMILLA diarrhoea stool. A CHAMOMILLA child with colic and diarrhoea gives the best illustration of CHAMOMILLA irritability they scream the place down. It is painful, fairly acute colic, and the child makes it very clear that it is in pain.

Another contrast between CHAMOMILLA and ARSENICUM children, is that CHAMOMILLA children are usually hot-blooded. They have very hot heads, very often hot and sweaty, and they are liable to have burning hot feet which they push out of bed at night.

CHAMOMILLA children are ungoverned children, and they have mostly been allowed to get out of hand, but in addition the CHAMOMILLA child in a tantrum of temper can get into such a state that it gets blue in the face starts careful convulsions from pure rage. So one has to be a little careful about the handling of the true CHAMOMILLA child.

One typical CHAMOMILLA child, about three years of age, when in a rage was liable to beat her head against the wall, merely because it distressed her mother.

One night about 10 p.m. after she had been quite impossible for the previous hour and her mother had left her to scream, she had gone into a convulsion. She was practically unconscious, dusky in the face, and twitching all over. So one has to be careful about the wholesome neglect of the CHAMOMILLA child.

Quite a number of CHAMOMILLA babies, teething and with acutely inflamed gums, develop convulsions, and this indicates an explosive nervous system in the CHAMOMILLA child which should be watched.

Teething children do well on a low potency. A few doses usually stop the disturbance, CHAMOMILLA 12 to 30, two hourly, in the average case, but in a violent attack repeat every half-hour until they quieten down.

CHAMOMILLA is also useful for acute otitis in children. It is an extremely painful condition, and in most cases the child does not want to be touched, and is intensely irritable, very often screaming with pain. If the trouble has been brought on form exposure to cold CHAMOMILLA is one of the greatest standbys in the small child, particularly if the one-sided flush is present.

CHAMOMILLA has cleared more acute otitis in small children than any other single drug. And it clears up clears up without any puncture of the drum. But the child must have the CHAMOMILLA make-up as well as the otitis, or CHAMOMILLA will not work. the nervous system has to be all on the fret, and the child has to be irritable and touchy.

The PULSATILLA child develops otitis media from the same cause exposure to cold – has the one-sided flush – but it is a PULSATILLA child, not a CHAMOMILLA one, and CHAMOMILLA will not do it any good. These are the two commonest drugs for acute otitis in children.

Cina. [Cina]

      The next drug is CINA which makes a very interesting comparison with CHAMOMILLA. Most people start with a dose of CHAMOMILLA. Most people start with a dose of CHAMOMILLA and if it does not get results they give a dose of CINA. This is not a very scientific way of proceeding. It is better to know clearly what the CINA picture is like and where the difficulties arise.

The outstanding mental distinction between the CHAMOMILLA child and the CINA child is that in CINA there is a degree of obstinacy never met with in CHAMOMILLA. The CHAMOMILLA child is always unstable; the CINA child can be as obstinate as a mule. That is the main mental distinction.

In CHAMOMILLA there is the irregular flushing of one cheek and pallor of the other. The whole face may be red but more likely there is irregular distribution. In the CINA child much more commonly there is a circumscribed red patch on the cheeks, and very often a noticeable pallor about the mouth and nose.

The next distinguishing thing about them is that although both dislike being handled and resent interference, in CHAMOMILLA it is much more mental resentment whereas the CINA child definitely tender to touch.

There is very often the same description of the two that they will scream when handled, but once the preliminary discomfort of handling is over the CINA children are quite peaceful and they allow themselves to be carried about and it will quiet them down; whereas in CHAMOMILLA they want distraction all the time, and are always wanting to be doing something new.

The CINA child will want to be carried because the steady, passive motion soothes him.

Another point which distinguishes CINA from CHAMOMILLA. CINA children are very apt to vomit, as are the CHAMOMILLA types, but almost immediately after the CINA children have vomited they are hungry. Often the CINA children will cry for more food immediately after a meal, and the CINA child often suffers from nightmares, and night terrors if it he had a late meal.

Another distinguishing factor between CHAMOMILLA and CINA is their diarrhoeic upsets. Both types have attacks of diarrhoea. The typical CHAMOMILLA green stool is absent in CINA. The typical CINA stool is a very white, watery stool.

A constant characteristic of the CINA child, both in its digestive upsets and in general, is its relief from pressure on the abdomen. If it has colic it will turn over on to its tummy, if carried about while it has colic it will turn over the nurse’s arm so as to get pressure on its tummy. If it is restless at night, it turns over on to its abdomen.

CINA children are always chilly and are sensitive to any draughts of air. These children are liable to irregular muscular twitchings, particularly after any excitement, and often in the muscles on the face.

In the slightly older children mental characteristic of the CINA child is that they are frightfully touchy. They have of complete inability to see a joke of any kind particularly if it refers to themselves.

CINA children all have a hyperaesthesia of the head, the head is sensitive to jarring, and they have a hyperaesthesia of the scalp. To soothe down a CINA child never stroke its hair. They have an inordinate habit of yawning, and keep yawning as if they would dislocate their jaws, and in some cases a definite history of acidosis links up with the tendency to yawn.

Two other points which indicate the possibility of a child needing CINA. One is that with their intestinal upsets they become very restless and liable to get meningeal irritation, with constant agitation of the head rubbing, it into the pillow. Even without definite meningitis they tend to develop a squint – an internal squint.

The other point is that all these CINA children appear to develop an irritation of the nose, it is red, itchy, and they pick at it – and that is quite apart from getting thread worms or anything of the kind. A yawning child picking its nose always indicates the possibility of its needing CINA.

Magnesia Carbonica. [Mag-c]

      MAGNESIA CARBONICA and CINA are the two most commonly indicated drugs for diarrhoeic attacks accompanied by peculiarly white stools. In addition MAGNESIA CARB. is an interesting drug in children.

The ordinary MAGNESIA CARB. child is a sensitive, nervous type and as a rule they come for treatment either as very young children or at about ten years of age.

The most outstanding feature of the MAGNESIA CARB. children is their lack of stamina. Some of them are quite well nourished but they all have very poor muscular power. In an ordinary healthy child the muscles are quite firm, but the MAGNESIA CARB child has soft, flabby muscles, and any physical exertion tires him out.

There is exactly the same sort of mental reaction. The older child at school gets mentally tired out and comes home with a severe neuralgic headache. The pains are violent, they may be in any part of the head, and tend to come on at night.

They are accompanied by very marked sleeplessness, the child cannot get to sleep at all, and a strange feature is that they are better if the child is up and moving about.

MAGNESIA CARB. children always have very definite likes and dislikes in food. They have a marked craving for meat, and anything with a meaty taste. And they have a complete aversion to vegetables of any kind. In small children there is an intolerance of milk; they get sour vomiting, and pasty, pale, undigested stools, which are usually white and soft putty-like.

If the digestive disturbance goes further, there are watery stools which are usually excoriating. The type of child is very liable in an acute enteritis to develop an attack of bronchitis or definite broncho-pneumonia.

In their bronchial attacks the MAGNESIA CARB. children tend to get stringy sputum, which is very difficult to expel. It is not unlike the KALI BICH. sputum in appearance, but they have great difficulty in expectorating it at all.

MAGNESIA CARB children tend to have a very dry skin. In small children it is particularly noticeable, they get a dry almost scaly, skin, and a peculiar dry, almost coppery-coloured, scaly eruption of the scalp, almost as if it has been pained on to the scalp.

The adolescent MAGNESIA CARB. children are always dead-beat in the morning, even after a good night’s sleep. It is an effort to get them off to school.

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.

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