DROSERA ROTUNDIFOLIA or Sundew is a curious we plant, which can be found in morasses, in the undrained bogs of the Surrey heaths, in the peaty heather wilderness of the Scotch Highlands. It is easily passed by and overlooked, like many of the lovely things of this world, and yet how much beauty is hidden in this plant, the leaves of which grow low to the ground and are thickly covered with minute reddish hairs ; the ruby points of which secrete droplets of fluid which sparkle in the sunshine amidst the emerald green tufts of moss.
These droplets from which the plant derives its name “Sundew” are sticky and glutinous and are used to entrap the unsuspecting insects which alight on it. The fly walks into the parlour, the leaves close over it and it gets devoured by the digestive fluid secreted by the leaves, then they open up again and wait for the next unwary visitor.
We have only two of these carnivorous, insect-eating plants in England. The Butterwort, or Purple pinguicula, which also grows in damp meadows and bogs is the native plant of this kind in Britain.
In America there is a genus of plants called Sarracenia, also a bog inhabitant which sends up stalks bearing curiously-shaped flowers with hollow petals serving as water reservoirs. Insects are attracted to it by the honey-secreting glands on the rim of the open cup or pitchers on the strength of which it has received the name of a pitcher plant. The flies glide into the water and therefore make a broth for the tropics can be seen in the hot houses in Kew Gardens and curious evil-looking and frightening flowers they are.
The North American pitcher plants were in use by the indigenous Indian tribes as a remedy for smallpox and found its way into the homoeopathic materia medica. Though some observers claim that in has been found wanting.
Our little native herb Sundew has long had a reputations among the country folk for causing rot among sheep and being a caustic and acrid plant.
And Burton mentions Sundew in his once-much-read and now almost forgotten Anatomie of Melancholy in which he says that this herb before all the rest of herbs is to be preferred in Melancholy and he will admit of no herb no earth to be compared with it.
No wonder that Hahnemann, an expert in the ancient law of herbs collected the Sundew and tried its virtues on healthy provers.
I have a copy of his materia medica published in Leipzig over a hundred years ago, before me, as I write and full of valuable hints it is too.
This herb, Hahnemann writes, is one of our most powerful medicinal plants. It was known to the ancient physicians manly for external application in skin eruptions and only occasionally was it prescribed internally.
The majority of the medical profession in the dim past only prescribed it in maximum heroic doses and threw it out of the medical books as being valueless later on. And yet Hahnemann says, it is one of our most potent remedial plants and he adds an emphatic warning not to use it in low potencies, but only to give it in single doses in the 30th potency and warms most solemnly against a repetition of the dose, provided it is homoeopathic to the disease, that it is the most like remedy. “A second dose given too rapidly will endanger the life of the patient I know from experience”, Hahnemann states. He could not put his warning more strongly could he ?.
Think what is the disease to which Drosera is the simillimum, as it produced like symptoms in the healthy prover which is Homoeopathy as we know it, and not of the smallness of the dose, that being the logical corollary.
It is that dread epidemic disease, whooping-cough, which even in this year of grace 1940 is considered a dangerous disease to young infants and children, which high mortality rate is still complicated by broncho-pneumonia. As it is usually accompanied by serious paroxysms of vomiting, it interferes with metabolism and leads to emaciation and is apt to be followed by fibrosis of the lung and even tuberculosis. In very truth, a disease to be feared and if I repeat it if treated according to orthodox methods.
And Drosera in its proving on healthy individuals produced a similar spasmodic cough similar to whooping cough, with severe retching and vomiting.
You dont believe it, do you ? Well, when sheep grazing along the borders of boggy marshes, accidentally consume the Sundew plant, they are attacked by a chronic shattering cough which in due course leads to wasting and is usually fatal to them.
One often see whooping-cough in general practice ; and it is with great satisfaction that I can report how very successful I have been in the treatment of this disease. Thanks to Homoeopathy.
Let me give you a typical example. A boy of 11 months known to have been in contact with whooping cough, was seen on first day the cough was noticed. No definite diagnosis could be made and the anxious mother was told to bring him back in the following week keeping him away from other children in the meantime. A week later, the mother reported the child had been vomiting that very morning. On examining the throat, an unmistakable whoop followed by vomiting was produced, therefore Drosera 30 was given.
Four days later, he had attacks of whoops along with vomiting every day, but had eaten well and enjoyed his food. Three days after, at the next attendance, the report was there had been no more whooping and no more vomiting, and the child had gained one ounce. The usual result during whooping-cough is loss of weight incidentally.
This was the end of the attacks, though the mother was doubtful whether it really had been whooping-cough, as the boy had been ill for only five days. Whooping-cough aborted in five days with one dose of Drosera, and the child didnt look bad after it, but continued to gain weight at his normal rate !.
It this had been the only case of rapid recovery after Drosera in whooping-cough, one would say it was just a fluke, but I have seen his happy results over and over again.
I have seen many hundred cases of whooping-cough both in general practice and at the out-patient dispensary, and I have had no complications. The disease takes, if seen at the beginning, less than a week to get rid of the whoop, the cough may continue onto the second week and that it is end. There is no interference with nutrition. What a triumph for Homoeopathy!.
It was not always Drosera that was given, Drosera was only one of several remedies which were needed. but when Drosera was require, the recovery tool place in a few days instead of weeks and months under orthodox treatment.
However. I do recall one case, when Drosera proved a failure, because the mother had soaked the childs vest in camphorated oil. on a neighbours advice. My language was firm and to the point. The camphorated oil was washed off and Drosera was repeated, with the anticipated results : A rapid recovery. You see, camphor antidotes all actions of Drosera,as Hahnemann states in his Materia Medica Pura.
Drosera has been well known to several generations of homoeopathic lay people as a specific for whooping-cough, given in low potencies in repeated doses of the 1st decimal. Its reputations rests on the authoritative writings of the late Dr. Hughes, who was a strong advocate of low potencies, mother tinctures, and 1st decimals ; but his cases of whooping-cough did not get cured under three or four weeks, instead of Hahnemanns seven or nine days. A great difference indeed ! The case of a pupil trying to be wiser than the master and making rather a hash of it !.
But this is not the whole of the story. Hahnemanns account of the proving of Drosera is full of suggestive hints, which, alas for suffering mankind has been over looked.
The following symptoms were produced in the healthy prover :.
Cough coming from deep down in the chest and the impulses of which follow one another so violently that he can hardly get his breath. Crawling in the larynx provokes coughing and cough ending in vomiting.
Is not this a picture of whooping-cough ?
Now for a few more observations of Hahnemanns : Tickling in the larynx, deep down in the fauces and soft palate a rough scraping sensation with dryness exciting short cough and hoarseness of voice, so that it is only with great effort that he can speak in a deep bass tone, great oppression of the chest etc. He recommends it on these symptoms in tubercular laryngitis which is a rapidly fatal disease ; and those physicians who followed his advice have reported cases if this kind cured by Drosera.
Now for a confirmation of the far seeing observations of a master as regards the value of Drosera in tuberculosis.
A Dr. Curie did some experiments on cats by feeding them with Drosera. Cats are known to be very resistant to tuberculosis, and yet these cats developed tubercular glands of the abdomen. One cat killed after a year was found to have tubercular lesions of the spleen, of the large intestine and lung and also of the lymphatic system in general.
A homoeopathic physician does not approve of vivisections of animals in general, as they are useless, an animal cannot produce the finer shades of differentiation between remedies : it cannot tell you of its feeling which are so important ; but these experiments of Curies are valuable, as he continued proving the remedy until gross lesions were produced, lesions in the intestines and lung, which proved that Drosera could and did produce tuberculosis in the cat.
Nobody would wish to carry on a proving in human beings for so long a period as to produce active disease with definite organic changes. Yet Curies experiments is the exception which proves the rule. It proves Hahnemanns contention that Drosera is of value in tubercular disease.
I had similar proof of this in at least one case. A young girl some years ago came along with tubercular sinuses of the fingers, the toes and tubercular spine with rigidity of the neck, sinus from the left femur. She was given Tuberculinum with nut indifferent success ; then Drosera 30 was administered with a striking result : the sinuses cleared up, the neck became pliable and the girl began to blossom forth into quite a good looking person.
She was kept under treatment for eighteen months or so, and during that time had some three or four doses of Drosera 30 and then Drosera 200.
I occasionally hear from this woman, and so far there has been no recurrence of the tubercular trouble ; and before she had homoeopathic treatment, she had been both an in-patient and out- patient at various hospitals for at least ten years.
How one wishes that it were more generally known that Drosera given in the many cases of tubercular disease of the long bones, which one finds in the hospitals up and down the country, will cut short the disastrous deformities and the crippling, the shortening of limbs, the deformities and the crippling, the many weary months of stay in hospitals could be avoided.
A homoeopathic physician does not get the chance very often of seeing cases of this kind ; they lie in orthopaedic hospitals, in the large childrens hospitals and sanatoriums.
Perhaps some day the knowledge will penetrate.
Drosera is closely related of course to the tubercular bone remedies, such as Silica, Tuberculinum and Calc. phos. ; but it has, when indicated, a most striking effect; and it is the grandest tonic that I ever came across.
My work lies largely among children, and in marasmic and emaciated infants and older children with a tubercular background, I have found no other remedy work such startling changes in a comparatively short period as Drosera. unfortunately the war has put a stop to a good many things.
My children, along with thousands of others, have been scattered all over the country, and their treatment is interrupted. My records have been stored away and I cannot get at them very easily and therefore it is almost impossible to quote chapter and verse and mention individual cases. I have to leave this to more auspicious moments.
I can only quote from memory that I have had more than two dozen cases of bad-doers, who after they were put on Drosera, simply romped ahead ; they fattened visibly before ones very eyes weekly gains of 3/4-1 lb. were common. Cod liver oil and malt was simply not in it ; it had never touched any of these children before, and was not give afterwards. And the change was astounding and unbelievable.
Some time or other I hope to give the records I have collected, on the value of Drosera in suitable cases of marasmus and malnutrition. Mind you, these were cases in poor, undernourished children of casual labourers, who could not be given extra nourishing food, extra milk. All the change that was made, was an occasional dose of Drosera and the gain in weight followed.
Believe it or not ! I have proved it again and again that Drosera is one of the most potent herbs of our pharmacopoeia and the end of the story is not yet.