Author: Dr Manish R Panchal
Rheum, a demanding child
by Dr Manish R Panchal
Case of demanding child
My small nephew, a 2 year old, came to stay with us during vacation along with his mother in 1992. He had developed a cough which was at times very severe, coughing like an old Koch’s patient. When he coughed everybody in the house would get scared.
He would keep holding his genitals, no matter what his mother did. She tried scolding him, tried to forcibly remove his hand, tried to make him wear two trousers to refrain him from holding himself, but it was all in vain.
He would not allow his mother to be away from him, even when she had to go for a bath or go to the toilet . He would scream and shriek calling his mother to come out immediately. He would start banging at the door of bathroom and toilet with much force and equally forceful was his demand for the mother to come out. His Mother had to come out quickly, there was no other way to manage him. He could not be pacified by any of us, nor by diverting his attention.
Sometimes at night he would wake up from sleep and demand that he wanted to travel by “double-decker bus”. He would just keep on repeating that again and again with much force and shrieking. No matter what you do, you cannot divert his attention from what he wants. He demands with much shrieking and in a forceful manner.
Once he wanted chocolate, he just kept demanding it forcefully – “I want chocolate, I want chocolate, I want chocolate”. You just cannot divert his mind from chocolate to something else, say for toys, etc.
This kind of behaviour was going on since quite sometime and now he developed this severe cough . He coughs like an old Koch’s patient, hence it was scary for all of us in the family.
The important features I considered were;
1. Shrieking , demanding immediate attention .
2. Shrieking , obstinate …… chamomilla .
Chamomilla is a known remedy for children who are angry, irritable, shrieking, and demanding instant attention.
Remedy : Chamomilla 1m , single dose & Sac-lac for 2 days. (I never knew about his holding the genitals being so prominent that time, even his mother never mentioned it. In fact during the course of time I found out only by observing him ).
There was absolutely no change either in his severe cough nor in his behaviour. It was now necessary for me to understand his case more deeply than before.
1. The most peculiar feature was his demand for one particular thing.
e.g mother, double-decker bus, chocolate, holding his genitals.
2. The second peculiar thing was his way of demanding things; e.g. forcefully with much shrieking and screaming, banging the door so that it had to be given immediately. The mother had to finish her bath quickly or leave it mid way and come out, so intense was his banging on the door.
1 Craving for particular object : rheum ( Phatak’s Rep.). Particular means pertaining to a single person or thing.
2 Impetuous : rheum ( Synth Rep). Impetuous means vehemently/ passionately/ impatiently asking for anything.
If we see these 2 rubrics, rheum is one of the remedy which draw our attention. Later I observed and even his mother pointed that he usually perspires on his nose which is also found in rheum.
Phatak writes : Impatient ; child asks for different things vehemently with crying. Impetuous desire for particular objects.
Remedy: Rheum 1m, single dose & Sac-lac for 7 days.
The severe cough immediately reduced in intensity and after 3 days was completely gone. There was no noticeable change in his behaviour till he stayed with us for 2 weeks. He had in between gone to his aunt’s home for 2-3 days. There also he would not allow his mother to go for a bath or toilet. He would bang the bathroom door forcefully and shrieks and shrieks and shrieks calling his mother to come out immediately. The mother had to come out immediately, so intense was his shrieking. He kept holding his genitals at aunt’s house no matter what you do. This again confirms our choice of the remedy. Then gradually over a period of 5-6 months his entire behaviour and mental state completely improved. There was no holding of his genitals nor holding to his mother or any other thing. His impetuous way of demanding whatever he wanted with much shrieking also completely improved. In this period rheum was repeated twice in 1m potency. The entire family now heaved a sigh of relief. It’s now more than 10-12 years and there is no relapse of his peculiar mental state. He was showing indications of Sulphur like his father, uncle and grandfather.
Rheum lies between chamomilla on one side and mag-carb on the other side. So at times they are extremely demanding, irritable and
violent, seeking immediate attention like chamomilla. At other times they behave like an orphan demanding nothing like mag-carb. So we have two sets of symptoms, one like chamomilla and other like mag-carb.
1- Shrieking in children.
- Asks for things vehemently with crying.
- Impetuous desire for a particular object.
2 - Asks for nothing.
- Requires very little sleep and not much food.
- Play; aversion to.
- Indifference to everything.
The situation of rheum is of a child whose parents leave him and go to work. While they are away the child demands nothing like an orphan, but when parents are back he must immediately get what he asks for.
The other characteristic features of rheum are:
1. Sourness - stool, sweat, vomiting, breath, body smell sour. No amount of washing will remove the sourness.
2. Sopping wet hair - sweat on the scalp, constant, profuse; whether asleep or awake, quiet or in motion, the hair is always wet (Allen). Sweat about nose, mouth or upper lip. Sweat stains yellow.
3. Appetite for different things, which, changes to disgust at the first mouthful. Aversion to fat, insipid food, coffee (not sweetened with sugar), mother’s milk, sweets. Craving for sweets. Worse from unripe fruit, milk, eating prunes.
4. Colic is severe, compelling one to bend double; < uncovering arm or leg.
5. Diarrhoea only during active exercise, shivering with stool.
6. Tendency to frown.
Dr. Manish R. Panchal.
Centre for Homeopathy
1, phalguni apt., 39/36 erandwane, prabhat road 9b, pune 4,
Maharashtra state, India.
1. Synthetic repertory, 1984, Indian Books and Periodicals Syndicate, new delhi.
2. Phatak materia medica, reprint 1982, Indian Books and Periodicals Syndicate.
3. Clarke’s materia medica, B. Jain Publishers, new delhi.
Keywords: rheum, hyoscyamus, Chamomilla, holding the genitals