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Winter 2005 issue #7

The Mystery of Anaemia and the Abuse of Iron

Part Two
By Cornelis van Dalen ND DipHom

In part one of this article, it was intimated that modern investigations reveal that every second woman between the ages of sixteen and forty-five suffers from iron deficiency. Since the earliest days of modern medical science when iron was found to be present in blood, the cure for anaemia has been sought through the ingestion or the injecting of iron into the blood in various compound forms.

Nutritional perspective
Modern times have brought a greater understanding of what appears as the physical/mechanical aspects of the body. The knowledge of nutritional substances has also been greatly enhanced. In part one of this article it was indicated that crude substances in food is not necessarily ‘digested’ to form the body, in the accepted nutritional sense. The carbon in the food is not the carbon in the body. Food we eat is not digested as such, but destroyed and etherealised, and the body builds from the universal forces streaming into the body, and not built from the crude food. Material substances in food once they are etherealised may be thus described as an analogue for what really builds up the body – that being the universal forces streaming into the human.

This highlights the dilemma of crude iron being used to treat anaemic states. In other words, ingesting iron compounds as supplements or as injections still requires the body to digest and transform it into that which enters the blood as its vital constituent. Part one of this article ended with the thought that iron is the consciousness metal – it is part of thinking processes. Thus to enable the body to use and create ‘iron’, the anaemic patient needs to heal by transforming some aspect in their life. This essentially means that therapeutically the anaemic patient needs the subtle life aspects of the body to be enhanced so that the universal or extra-telluric forces can form it in accord with the universal order. This can mean ordering one’s life, which for the anaemic is usually in disarray. Case examples later will illustrate this actually occurring. We look at how homoeopathy in its holistic approach successfully helps the anaemic patient.

Like the number of days of the week, there are seven planets in classic astronomy and seven metals as we call them, seen as representative of the planets in the Earth. Each is also associated with an organ of the human body:

       Sun – gold – heart;
       Moon – silver – brain;
       Mercury – mercury – lungs;
       Saturn – lead – spleen;
       Jupiter – tin – liver;
       Venus – copper – kidneys;
       Mars – iron – gall. 

Thus Paracelsus (1490-1541) says: ”True organs are not visible but forces and powers without a corpus.” The universe (solar system) is man in the macrocosm. This is very difficult for modern humanity to come to understand.

Homoeopaths reading this article will come to realise that, embodied in the Materia Medica, the above metals as attenuated (potentised) remedies do have an affinity for the organs as so listed. Each organ of the body has a function or an obvious process, which corresponds to a metal, and a planetary process, in nature. [1] To add a complex thought to this: as long as we do not know how the curious interaction of the liver, spleen and other abdominal organs supports what ultimately appears as human will, we will not be able to find the physical counterparts of the pathological symptoms we describe. For it is the human will and thinking which is central to disease processes. As Husemann describes it ”Thinking, which is vitalised by silver, copper, and mercury, spiritualised by gold, formed by tin, and sharply contoured by lead, is activated by iron.”

Iron is the consciousness metal
Thinking is activated by iron. It is also the only metal present in the physical organism, bound to and central to the red blood cells. The other metals are representative of processes rather than chemical substances. In what manner then is the deficiency of iron in the blood to be considered in this view of Nature? Is it the qualities of thinking which do not attract the presence of iron in the blood, or is it a deficiency of iron in the blood responsible for imperfect thinking and self-control?
The planetary force of Mars represents the iron impulse and the formation of gall. This is more than myth. Iron is indicated when gall function is sluggish. In the region of feeling, the heart, the energy of iron is metamorphosed into courage, through which man can work actively and with self-control in the world.

”Also connected with the iron-gall process are psychological peculiarities and disturbances that are indicated by the old designates of choleric and melancholic. If anything this may point to the temperamental necessity of the diminished iron in individuals. Iron stimulates the flow of bile and also activates and permeates the soul life with light” It is for this reason it is indicated in the treatment of depression. It also works against fear. ”It makes the individual active, awake, and conscious.” [2]

As expressed previously, anaemia is not an illness, but an individual constitutional condition – an expression of personality. As noted, a man with a large chest and a deep voice is not in danger of iron deficiency. A person who can hold his or her own in his or her environment does not have anaemia.

Therapy and dilemmas
In treating the patient with anaemia, the homoeopathic physician is not bound by the biomedical tests but by the patient’s totality of symptoms. In other words the homoeopath does not need to know the blood count and so forth, to make a healing prescription. The patient will describe symptoms, the mental troubles will be revealed, and the physician makes objective observations – which when summarised will provide him or her with the remedy picture, remembering that homoeopathy is about using remedies which are similar to the disease. Hence diseases are not usually referred to, but the remedy which is the picture of the disease.

Iron (Ferrum Metallicum) or its salts (Ferr-I, Ferr-M, Ferr-P, Ferr-S ) may not be the remedy in anaemia. EB Nash (1838-1917) in his work Leaders in Homoeopathic Therapeutics (1898) has this to say on the use of iron:
“This is another one of the abused remedies. It stands with the old school for anaemia, as does QUININE for malaria. Each can and does cure its kind of both conditions, but can cure no other; and each, when it is the true curative, is capable of doing its best work in the potentised form…..IRON is no more of a panacea for anaemia than is QUININE for malaria or PHOSPHATE OF LIME (Calcium Phosphate) for deficient bone development. My experience has taught me that there are several other equally efficient remedies for these conditions and that when they are not indicated they not only cannot cure but do injure every time they are prescribed especially in the material doses in which they are generally recommended by such teachers. I must here state my experience founded on abundant practice and observation that such prescribing is not only un-Hahnemannian, but in every sense un-homoeopathic, and I warn all beginners not to practice along that line or they too will come to talk of the few satisfactory and certain things in modern medicine.”
“…Then let no man prescribe Iron or any other remedy for anaemia, or any other disease, without INDICATIONS according to our therapeutic law of cure. I have seen better cures of bad cases of anaemia by Natrum Muriaticum in potentised form than I ever did from Iron in any form, although Iron has its cases, as have also Pulsatilla, Cyclamen, Calcarea C, Phos, Carbo Veg., China and many other remedies.”

Remedies that aid the transformation of iron as indicated by Nash - the similar remedy called the similimum - will do this; it is prescribed according to the totality of symptoms present in the patient.

Plants are ‘vegetablised’ metals
The metal in our study, iron, in a plant has the iron process transformed. For this reason plant remedies including food represent the first therapeutic administration. For example, strawberry (Fragaria) and stinging nettle (Urtica) in anaemia can prove beneficial. Unrefined grains contain sufficient iron. The modern supermarket foods diet and inadequate concepts of healthy eating may have a bearing on a number of anaemic conditions. Yet also, among the great number of people with poor iron-diets, there are relatively few in whom iron deficiency becomes clinically manifest. It remains ever a conundrum if we view the matter materially and not through the Spirit.

It is also an observation that people who eat denatured food exhibit greater nervousness and lack the ability to transcend to higher states of consciousness. This is ever acute in today’s social discord as the lower animalistic and material impulses are prevalent. In suitable form, iron works quite generally in a balancing, vitalising and healing way on the nerve-sensory system. We now have widespread digestive deficiency in people who are unaccustomed to eating whole grain foods and lack intake of natural bound chlorophyll in green vegetables. The task is increasingly to combat nervous fatigue in patients and to strengthen the cosmic life forces in the blood.

Iron is of no use if the organism does not have the capacity to transmit it to the blood. The re-absorption of iron depends on the body’s need for iron and thus on the organism’s handling of the substance. This points to internal factors rather than external ones resulting in anaemia (apart from blood loss). Even then some patients do not unduly suffer with anaemia.

In cancer and chronic diseases the patient’s inability to deal with iron has been shown. The increase in Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s is the contrary iron process. Palliation often fits the homoeopathic Ferrum mental picture, or Manganum, a closely related metal.

“Iron has a significant function in the brain. Parkinsonism is a typical disturbance here; occasionally it develops after encephalitis, flu, or as an expression of sclerosis…. The iron process is blocked…loss of free, uninhibited gait, the poverty of movement, the rigidity and cramped posture. The therapeutic aim is to strengthen the patient’s ability to manage iron, that is, to aid resorption, distribution, utilisation, availability, etc.” [3]

Weakness, fatigue, poor concentration, pressure in the head, the paleness of the skin and mucous membranes, bloating, constipation or diarrhoea, formation of disturbances of the epithelium, brittleness and spooning of nails, an increased need for warmth, are all associated with anaemia, but the laboratory investigation should only be a confirmation and the type of anaemia.

The abuse of iron
The prescription of crude iron may bring negative results. It has long been observed that crude iron ends up in the faeces and resulting in chronic bowel symptoms for susceptible patients. This administration of iron is often like pouring concrete into the bowel – it can severely constipate. One patient attributes her downward health to the time of taking iron supplement. When she came to me she was suffering from severe colitis and adverse effects of surgery. The mental picture was not rosy and reflected the inner metabolic discord.

Why does iron, or indeed a diet containing iron, not always cure? So often a diet of foods rich in iron substances and particularly chlorophyll-rich foods, are necessities, yet they can prove to be ineffectual. Iron-rich supplements such a Floridix, Bio-Strath elixir, Blackthorn Elixir, may work in specific cases. The general consensus is that the body does not absorb iron. A colleague tells of her mother who, with a very low haemoglobin count and severe cachexia (a lack of nutrition and wasting) of no known cause, was offered blood transfusions, to no avail.

A patient with symptoms of variable hypertension, uterine fibroids, fatigue, headaches and anaemic symptoms came for assistance. Indeed she has had lifelong anaemia. I suggest this is her character and expression of life. However, progress under my prescribing was initially not at all satisfactory. The nature of those states of sub-health is indeed perplexing. On each occasion of contact the inner life is being increasingly revealed. She ‘lets drop’ additional symptoms and mind aspects. She uses her maiden name, she is unsure of her place in her family, is tormented by work responsibility, uncertain about her husband, etc.

It is all about the heart and will, and is something for the patient to deal with in accordance with the ‘dictates of the soul’. We are here to experience life, through trial and tribulation, to lift our eyes to the ‘blue heavens above’ and to a higher and nobler humanness. The manner in which the iron process is strengthened is the secret of healing. One can bring universal forces to bear, once the Arcanum is found.

Thus, there needs to be consideration of the patient’s life and trial. These bring lessons and strengthen the being. We cannot interfere with this process. A person with some strength to think and move about need not be interfered with. Seek to amend the dysfunction – be it the menses, and the like. But beyond this, the person must come to his or her own inner realisations. These are trials of the soul.

Fe-male = wo-man
The question inevitably arises: why are the anaemic states so extant and mostly of female preponderance? Here we need to view the changes in the nature of human beings. In the assault of the modern world, reflecting the changes in consciousness of people, many women are finding it difficult to release the hold of their consciousness states to be women; the pressure to become un-feminine is ever present. Gym ‘culture’ and excessive physical exercise in the belief it is ‘healthy’; the role of family bread-winning, part-time mothers, no time to cook, IVF and caesarean births, hormone therapies, false educational methodologies, etc., all amount to the present time when women are no longer the ‘mother of life’, connected to the cosmos, the font of ‘maternal intuitive wisdom’, but bound too close to earth and the male domain. This is the identity crisis of the female archetype.

Pain is the manifestation of the Spirit Dynamic, or the vital force as Hahnemann called it, when the individual moves away from their archetype, or who they are in the highest sense and purpose. It is a shadow cast by our higher being, in the words of Dr Albert Soesman. Statistics reveal women are by far the larger consumers of ‘pain killers’. [4]

Pain is an ever-present condition in women. This needs to be addressed in the broadest context and the changes that are being experienced in the consciousness of women – a dilemma in the crisis of the female. Headaches, fatigue, menstrual disorders, sub-fertility, hypertension and increasingly cardiovascular disease, cancers of the sexual organs and mammary glands, syndromes such as chronic fatigue, bulimia and anorexia, are the leading symptoms and all part of the aberrant iron process. One can essentially only direct a female patient to be female.

The efficacy of homoeopathy is in the dynamisation of substances. The process of dilution and succussion brings the crude substance into the realm of the etheric for the universal forces to be guided. This is the manner in which remedies act on the Spiritual Dynamic. Hahnemann, to my knowledge did not explain what is the Spiritual Dynamic, nor was it necessarily required in his time. This insight brings us the challenge of evolving the science of homoeopathy through understanding the spirit of man. However, as material reductionist science advances ever more into medicine, and its falsehoods are increasingly absorbed into the objective consciousness of people, including homoeopaths, there is an ever-increasing need to offset this downward spiral in consciousness and put in place those protocols and true scientific methods that set the path for verifiable spiritual truths and the practice of true healing medicine. The Spirit of man is crying for help, the body merely echoing the confusion and destruction of this crisis; the challenges facing mankind are not physical but spiritual.

Cornelis van Dalen 2003 – 2005 (revised)

1. Husemann/Wolff, Anthroposophical Approach to Medicine, The Anthroposophical Press, USA. Volume II, P147.
2. Ibid. Volume II p178
3. Ibid. Volume I p83
4. The Sunday Times, London. Style Magazine, 24 August 2003

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