Home Publications Journal Articles The Ferrum constitutions — a question of identity
The Ferrum constitutions — a question of identity PDF Print

Kevin Ryan

JANTA Vol. 1. No.3. Autumn Winter 1984

Anaemia and digestive symptoms represent two very common presenting conditions for homoeopathic treatment. It would be fair to suggest that, to many practitioners the answer to anaemia is repeated doses of low potency (below 30c) of Ferrum met or one of the iron salts such as the phosphate. Results from such an approach are, without doubt, often fast and pleasing but unfortunately, not always that long lasting. Interestingly, this is a similar criticism that we would lay at the feet of the allopaths in their treatment of anaemia. In both cases, the condition is wont to return soon after the medicine is discontinued. Those homoeopaths who practise “constitutional” prescribing wilt know only too well that such an approach to pathology as above will not solve the patient’s problem in total. The correct therapy for anaemia must include the individuals correctly matched constitutional homoeopathic remedy. Then will the results be long lasting or permanent.



There is no doubt that the Ferrum group of remedies (mainly the metal, iodide, phosphate and sulphate), often fit the anaemic patient as a constitutional remedy. However, not only Ferrum types are prone to the various forms of anaemia. Kent1 lists 24 black type remedies alone. Allen2, Clarke3, Kent4 and Tyler5 each describe anaemia, and the presenting symptoms of it, as a tendency in the Ferrum type. They also describe the false plethora which may often hide the underlying problem behind a flushed or over coloured complexion. The tendency to this flush is a keynote of the remedy but one which is shared to a varying extent by several other deep acting constitutionals. Kent1 lists among these the salts of Calcarea, Kali and Natrum, Lycopodium, Sepia and Sulphur. However, in Ferrum it can be such a common feature of their symptomology as to be striking. In a paper by the Institute of Clinical Research (I.C.R.) in Bombay6, this false plethora is described as a congestion of single parts, in this case the face and represents the latent tubercular trait. Kent1 lists Ferrum’s plethoric reactions to include, from excitement, exertion, fever, headache and toothache, during chill and after wine. Other remedies will be found under the above rubrics but none with the same frequency or strength of notation as the Ferrum group. Further to this point, Ferrum has red flushing alternating with paleness. This symptom, if noted by the patient or noticed during consultation, should be carefully recorded as it may act as a distinguishing feature in arriving at a single remedy choice.

Those who delve only superficially into a patient’s case history will often miss the crying need for one of the Ferrum group in many conditions other than anaemia. Tyler5 describes Ferrum as one side of a triangle, the other two being anaemia and the stomach. She lists some of its digestive symptoms as ‘spasmodic pressure in the stomach after the least food and drink. Bitter eructation after fatty food, vomiting after eggs. Worse from meat, sour fruits, drinking milk, after tobacco, tea and beer. Vomiting of undigested food”. Thus we see the remedy as suiting the hypersensitive type of patient with well evidenced multiple food reactions or allergies.

The false plethora tendency may be seen also in the mental sphere with the patient being quick to anger, often violent in reaction and quick to forget. The I.C.R. paper summarises the main features of the Ferrum group as hypersensitivity, an inherent excitability, debility and changeability. The latter two features can serve to make the patient indecisive, confused and incompetent. This may then bring about anxiety and depression. The lack of follow through, latent in their personality, results in a tendency for anger and emotion generally to be suppressed. When this occurs it will be reflected in their dreams. These will often be those involving wars and fights. Other mental features are those of insecurity, nostalgia and a craving for sympathy.

On the physical plane, the tendency is to local congestion and inflammation with what Tyler5 describes as ‘hammering, pulsating pains’. The changeability and contradiction at the mental level is evidenced throughout the physical plane as well, with symptoms such as great hunger alternating with complete loss of appetite, palpitation and asthma both relieved by walking about, haemorrhage with light blood and dark clots, haemorrhage in anaemic children, heat of the head not in proportion to the plethoric appearance. Debility is also seen to run through the physical symptomology. Here the tissues are relaxed as Kent4 describes them and there is a pronounced tendency to prolapse. Varicose veins and haemorrhoids are common and give instance to the congestion and relaxation in the make up at the Ferrum constitution. Lack of co ordination, twitching, jerking and trembling are further examples.

The false plethora tendency and that of the well evidenced food allergies may be used to differentiate the Ferrum group from other homoeopathic remedies which may appear to be indicated. These may be Sepia. Magnesium salts, China, Phosphorus, Pulsatilla and Thuja to name a few that are similar. Each may be differentiated by peculiarities which belong solely to that remedy and not to Ferrum or vice versa. As Tyler5 says “Likeness in some particulars is not identity; and, unfortunately for the easy spread of homoeopathy among the work shy, one remedy will not do for another”.

1. Kent J.T., Repertory of the Homoeopathic Materia Medica. Ehrhart and Karl, Chicago.4th edition, 1935.
2. Allen T F,, Handbook of Materia Medic and Homoeopathic Therapeutics, B.Jain, New Delhi, 1981.
3. Clarke J. H., A Dictionary of Practical Materia Medica, vol 1. Homoeopathic Publishing Company, London. 1947
4 Kent J.T., Lectures on Homoeopathic Materia Medica, National Homeo Laboratory, Calcutta, 1970. 
5. Tyler M.L., Homoeopathic Drug Pictures, Health Science Press. 1952.
6. Symposium Volume F7,  Perceiving the Ferrum Disease. Dedhia S.R. and Dixit D.B., Institute of Clinical research, Bombay, 1978.

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