We will try in this article to make a brief review of the affections of the digestive apparatus and the troubles of nutrition of children. In order to do that we will have to speak at least in ten chapters about their pathology. But you will see that the number of medicines used for children are very small. We will have to fall back again and again on the same remedies. Among the 7 or 8 columns that we have drawn in our schema we will constantly fall back on Chamomilla, Belladonna etc.

We may say that the homoeopathic treatment of children as regards digestive system, is very simple. Here is our plan of study.

1. First of all some generalities from the point of view of constitution and temperament of the child and from the point of view of the general actions of homoeopathic remedies in children.

2. Then we will study the basic remedies which we will describe in detail always indicating the hereditary taints corresponding to the remedies.

3. Then we will give a list of principal remedies that may be prescribed in the digestive troubles and in the nutritional troubles of the infancy.

Constitution & Temperament.

Let us consider at first a child at birth. If it is quite natural that it carries with it a certain heredity and shows more or less some hereditary taints which will not be quite apparent during its birth but on the contrary these taints will become apparent as the child will grow. If we consider in the light of general homoeopathic philosophy, the child of the first infancy (infants), of the second infancy (pure), the adolescent, the adult with their constitutions, their temperaments, we will see that their hereditary taints become evident only lately.

Even at the birth, the child seems to be healthy in general with a life. It will not show any sign of very ancient hereditary syphilis coming from several generations, or tuberculous or other taints only after many years. This is not naturally exact in habitual pathology as regards here dose in whom we immediately detect clear taints, evident stigmas and also in children born of tuberculous patients. These children are sickly and they cannot live if they are not separated from the familial milieu. And this true as regards the symptoms stamped and more or less recognized by the official school. This will be still more evident when we will study the question of constitution. We may say that the child is born with a vital force which is immense and given during the birth, which will gradually diminish till death or old age.

But if a child has a certain constitution, and if it is possible, during the birth, to foresee what will be its consequences (because it is possible up to a certain point to foresee the diseases from which the child may suffer), which one can do inspite of every-thing, only with great prudence because if the constitution, a Static, is fixed; the temperament the Dynamic, is not fixed. The dynamic behaviour of the patient is completely subject to the vegetative life of the digestive system.

1. The three Osteo-articular constitutions:

Let us then consider rapidly the question of Constitution and Temperament.

The constitutions of children are well studied by Dr. A. Nebel, According to him there are three forms of static constitution: Carbocalcic, Phosphocalcic and Fluorocalcic. He also calls these three constitutions Normocrinic (Carbocalcic, Hypercrinic (Phosphocalcic) and Hypocrinic (Fluorocalcic) according to the endocrinal troubles that may be associated with them, hyper or hypofunction in a general way.

The indications of constitutions of Dr. A. Nebel is very interesting, but it is necessary that we should consider it with care because though it is certainly true from the clinical point of view, yet it is not experimentally proved.

The descriptions of Dr. A. Nebel as it was given to us in his lecture are, that one can distinguish according to the articular laxity the Fluorocalcie whose articular tissues are very lax; the Phosphocalcic has medium laxity of articular tissues and the Carbocalcic has very little laxity. These types correspond to hypophysary troubles.

The three salts of Calcium, specially indicated in children are of the first importance in Homoeopathic therapeutics of children. These three salts help to classify at least clinically the individual patient.

2. Physiological temperament.

It is also necessary to consider here the temperament as studied by Dr. Allendy. You know that the occult writers of the middle ages, the traditionalists, studied with hippocrates the temperaments under the four forms: Lymphatic, Sanguin, Bilious, and Nervous. These terms may actually no more be used from the physiological point of view. They mean nothing precisely. But Dr. Allendy has explained in his book “Les temperaments” that the above classification may again be taken up on a physiological basis. He has described four types: Atonia plastic, Toniplastic, Toniaplastic, Atoniaplastic.

He started from the very fecund idea that to understand any organism, it is necessary to take into account the qualitative element on the one hand and the quantitative on the other: The Tonus and Plasticity.

The child is essentially Atoni-plastic, because it has at the same time the tonus and plasticity. It has tonus only in vitro we may say. It does not use it always in a rapid and clear way. But on the contrary all the diseases from which it suffers are generalised on the whole organism very rapidly. It has no localising tendency.

The Adolescent (young adult) is Toni plastic, because it has at the same time the tonus and the plasticity which it generalises. It does not localise and fixes very little energy on the lesional plan.

In the Adult age, the individual has still the tonus but he begins to localise. He is therefore Toni-aplastic.

Finally the Old has neither the tonus nor the possibility to generalise. His diseases are more or less fixed in time and space. He is atoni-aplastic.

This classification of Allendy is very interesting and very true as regards children.

If we compare the classification of Allendy with that of Claude Sigaud, Digestive, Respiratory, Cerebral and Muscular, we may say that the child is before all a predominantly digestive. In the child who has only a vegetative life, the digestive system naturally plays a role of the first importance. From the pathological point of view as well as from the therapeutic point of view the 4/5th of the affections of the first infancy are related to nutrition, to digestive system and respiratory system i.e. to say to the two important apparatuses of the vegetative life.

3. The Diet.

Because the child is digestive type, there is great importance as regard diet. It would be irrational for a homoeopath to try to cure a child of its vomiting, diarrhoea, anthrepsia, if the Homoeopathic treatment is not followed by good revision of physical hygiene and of the diet of the child. The clinic the hygiene have naturally a step over therapeutics in Homoeopathy as well as in the official treatment. The child is after all a digestive type which can neither walk nor move. The movement, air and sun even, have their place in the question of digestion Therefore it is necessary when you have to treat a child for vomiting or for diarrhoea, that you should begin a good clinic.

4. Rapid and simple action of Homoeopathic remedies.

Inspite of this, the role of Homoeopathy, though very frequently adjuvant in benign cases is however very important for being taken into consideration because it may be the best system of medicine in grave cases. In a child which has digestive troubles of common type, it will be necessary to regularise the diet. When the troubles are serious Homoeopathy steps over diet. The Homoeopathic treatment will then act with some advantages, because the child has no pathological past behind it, because the troubles though serious are not intricated at first as there had not been many diseases that have stepped into one another or succeeded one after the other. There had not been successive morbid metastasis in time and space for which we will not have good results, with our Homoeopathic remedies without a thorough search in the antecedents. When we have to treat an adult we are very often forced to find out the chronological succession of the remedies indicated. As for example a woman is of Natrum muriaticum, then of Sepia, then of Lachesis and finally of Psorinum. In the case of a child we will not have any succession of remedies; there does not exist any pathological past. The child is a new organism. It has come new in the world. Generally we do not find hereditary taints in the child. These taints are there but not in vitro. We must investigate the past in the parents, not in the child. And if you add to these facts the idea that the child is extremely sensitive you will easily understand that Homoeopathy has a definite advantage over the chemotherapic treatment of the official school.

5. The past played by the morbid heredity.

Thus we arrive at the question of morbid heredity in children which leads us to study at first the nosodes from the therapeutic point of view.

Mauritius Fortier-Bernoville
Mauritius (Maurice) Fortier Bernoville 1896 – 1939 MD was a French orthodox physician who converted to homeopathy to become the Chief editor of L’Homeopathie Moderne (founded in 1932; ceased publication in 1940), one of the founders of the Laboratoire Homeopathiques Modernes, and the founder of the Institut National Homeopathique Francais.

Bernoville was a major lecturer in homeopathy, and he was active in Liga Medicorum Homeopathica Internationalis, and a founder of the le Syndicat national des médecins homœopathes français in 1932, and a member of the French Society of Homeopathy, and the Society of Homeopathy in the Rhone.

Fortier-Bernoville wrote several books, including Une etude sur Phosphorus (1930), L'Homoeopathie en Medecine Infantile (1931), his best known Comment guerir par l'Homoeopathie (1929, 1937), and an interesting work on iridology, Introduction a l'etude de l'Iridologie (1932).

With Louis-Alcime Rousseau, he wrote several booklets, including Diseases of Respiratory and Digestive Systems of Children, Diabetes Mellitus, Chronic Rheumatism, treatment of hay fever (1929), The importance of chemistry and toxicology in the indications of Phosphorus (1931), and Homeopathic Medicine for Children (1931). He also wrote several short pamphlets, including What We Must Not Do in Homoeopathy, which discusses the logistics of drainage and how to avoid aggravations.

He was an opponent of Kentian homeopathy and a proponent of drainage and artificial phylectenular autotherapy as well.