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Remedies from Folk Songs

The last of the heavy rains passed through last night and with it pushed the last of the summer humidity and heat out. It is cool and breezy today. I can finally see the blue sky after being able to see only heavy grey skies for weeks on end. The air is filled with golden light and a children’s folk song came to my mind. Actually, it was the second verse that came to my mind first, but I’ll start from the beginning.

I know there are many versions of this song, but the version I grew up singing, goes like this:

Ring around the rosy,

A pocketful of posies

Ashes, ashes,

We all fall down!

The cows are in the meadow,

Eating buttercups,

Thunder and lightning,

We all stand up!

Some historians propose this song is about the black plague. Others say, sometimes, a song is just a song. We homeopaths, are good at decoding things into symptoms and definitely there are symptoms in here. Let’s take a look.

Verse 1

Ring around the rosy, -red circumscribed rash

A pocketful of posies. - worse from flowers,

Ashes, ashes, - Maybe this is “Achoo Achoo” like in sneezing,

We all fall down! - Fainting, collapsing,

The chart below is what we call a repertorization. It is a computer program where we can look up symptoms and see the remedies that can be indicated for the symptom. Before the computer, we used a book called the repertory, much like a dictionary, to look up symptoms and remedies.

The three main remedies that come up in this repertorization are: Sang.- Sanguinaria canadensis, Sabad. – Sabadilla officinalis, and All-c. Allium cepa.

Of these, I am in favor or Sanguinaria. Homeopaths like strange, rare and peculiar symptoms. And I think fainting from the smell of flowers classifies as one of these. In old texts, Sanguinaria is often indicated for “rose colds” of June. These days we might call these “allergies”.

Verse 2

The second verse is harder to repertorize. However, in homeopathy, another method we use to come to an indicated remedy, is the use of sensations. Sensations are exactly what it sounds like, feelings felt both emotionally and physically. Plant families are grouped into corresponding sensations. Sensations are also described in polarity. A set of polar opposite sensations are specified for each plant family. In this poem, the buttercup is directly mentioned. The buttercup family of plants is known as the Ranunculaceae. The sensations that point to this group of remedies include, vexed, morbid sensitivity, electric like shock, with the polar sensation being, equanimity. The first two lines of this verse, “The cows are in the meadow eating buttercups” paints the exact picture of equanimity. All the world is calm and at equilibrium. But suddenly, there is thunder and lightning! Modalities, including how we are affected by weather, is important in how a homeopathic remedy is selected. And indeed, the remedies of the Ranunculaceae are worse before a storm or changes in atmospheric pressure. The remedy Ranunculus bulbosus is especially sensitive to electricity in the air, and has pains that are worse before a lightning storm. The pains of Ranunculus bulbosus are shooting and electric shock like in nature. Often, it is the nerves, the electrical system of the body, that is affected. “Thunder and lightning, we all stand up!”, is like the sudden jolt and shooting pains these patients often feel. What a cleverly written verse! What a wonderful prose for the buttercup family of plant remedies!

The cows are in the meadow- peaceful--- Equanimity of the Ranunculaceae

Eating buttercups, Ranunculaceae- buttercup family

Thunder and lightning, < before storm: Ran- b

We all stand up! Electric shock/ jolt up -Ranunculaceae

The question that still remains, is what these verses were created for. How did someone have knowledge of this information? Folk knowledge is both mysterious and keen. Was it a teaching tool to help people remember remedy indications? Where they written by a very good observer of symptoms, but without any direct reason? Where they remedy indications for symptoms that people came across in normal living? Or where they accounts of past epidemics?

Bits of wisdom passed on to little children, their meaning forgotten… or not… Do children become immune to these symptoms as they recite these verses? Is it like a chanted charm? It stays in your psyche for sure. Because on certain light filled days, out of the blue, they come back to you, songs dancing in the grasses.

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