Mescaline; “Mescal buttons”
Peyote; Peyotl; Pellote
Natural order: Cactaceae
The essential features
This seldom-indicated remedy – at least in the past – will be much more frequently indicated in the future. Anhalonium activates specific areas of the brain which seem to be concerned with the higher and highest functions of this organ; it appears to affect what could be called the spiritual aspect, or, even better, the transcendental aspect of our existence. I believe that these functions, or rather, this capacity of the brain to apprehend new dimensions in understanding and achieving higher consciousness are going to come into play increasingly in modern times, either through natural means, such as spiritual practices, or artificially through the action of powerful hallucinogenic drugs, such as Anhalonium. As members of this generation, and probably future generations, intensively pursue spiritual goals through consciousness-raising activities or the use of drugs, the sheer intensity of their focus and exertions in this regard, the impact of such fervent auto-stimulation will cause an unhealthy central nervous system reaction in more and more individuals. It is the nature of such reactions that we shall discuss as we review the pathogenesis of this drug.
I would like to mention here that diseases develop in a continuum and are influenced and shaped by the way we live; that is to say, by the way we think, what we feel and the way we behave, as a generation. They do not develop as separate, abrupt and accidental phenomena. The drug culture, the sexual liberation movement, the decline in moral values, and the establishment of new codes of “ethics” propelled by greed and self-interest will put their seal on the diseases of the future. The tremendous increases in cancer, in mental diseases and AIDS are some of the warning signs of the wrongdoing not only of a few persons, but of an entire generation. This drug produces mental conditions that simulate what could be called false “spiritual” or “transcendental” or “mystic” states. Sometimes when dealing with the sick, you will be perplexed as to what is happening in Anhalonium cases. Is it a real spiritual experience the individual is going through, part of his spiritual evolution, or is it dangerous pathology which must be counteracted immediately?
Anhalonium cases fall primarily into two groups – those who are on the spiritual path and trying to evolve, and those who have come out of the drug culture and are literally trying to survive. In both of these groups you will meet pathology needing treatment with specific remedies, one of them being Anhalonium.
In Anhalonium cases it seems as though, for no apparent reason, the brain is focally stimulated in areas which affect the subconscious mind predominantly. It is the subsequent effect of the subconscioius mind, so stimulated, upon the individual which induces the unique pathognomonic picture of this remedy. Practically all of the known pathology of this remedy is centered around mental phenomena, plus some motor incoordination. Very little is known about Anhalonium’s pathological effects upon the rest of the body.
Anhalonium seems to paralyze the logical mind, the individual’s ability to think in a logical manner, and to create vivid visions of new dimensions in time and space. It appears as if its initial effect is to break down the usual concept of time and space, replacing it with an entirely novel experience. Time seems prolonged, space disintegrated. The patient mistakes localities, makes mistakes in space and time; he loses his conception of time, the present seeming to merge with eternity. Coupled with this initial reaction there is a sense of personal disruption – a sense of depersonalization, a loss of self-knowledge and self-control, and dissociation from the environment.
As the individual’s will power weakens and self-control diminishes, there is a simultaneous increase in insight into the inner workings of the individual’s psyche and an increased self-awareness. Bodily awareness is also heightened. The individual becomes clairvoyant and sometimes given to prophesy. It is as if the logical mind were relinquishing control, and the subconscious or a part of the superconscious mind were taking over. There is also an increased excitement which can culminate in ecstatic states, reminding one of Agaricus states. The mind becomes very active and perceptive, and the individual develops a sense of greater facility in comprehending intellectual issues. Many ideas abound; the mind seems extremely clear and able to perceive complex inner issues. However, these ideas and visions penetrate the individual’s consciousness in too rapid a succession, seeming to impose themselves upon the individual, who cannot control them. He seems unable to resist them; he is compelled to attend to them, even to respond to them verbally. The peculiarity of Anhalonium in this regard is that the involuntary visions, which are often quite colorful, do not frighten the individual; furthermore, though he knows that the visions are unreal, he seems to experience and attend to them as if they were real.
There is a flight of the imagination (an exaltation of fancies) as if the cerebral circulation had suddenly been tremendously activated, and the individual seems to slip into a world of visions and delusions. He has the impression that is he is merging with the environment, and he becomes confused about his identity. These overpowering visual illusions compromise completely his ability to function in the world. During such times the individual wants and needs someone beside him; he has a strong need to express himself.
There is definitely a sense of selfishness, of egoism in this desire to express himself, where he will insist that others listen to what he has to say concerning these visions. There is even loquacity, sometimes with hasty or incoherent speech.
In this remedy “beautiful” illusions are typically seen. Grotesque experiences are much less marked. There is a lack of the panic which one would expect in such states. It is not normal for an individual undergoing such overpowering illusions to remain untouched by fear, as is the case in Anhalonium, and this lack of fear becomes a characteristic of the remedy.
There is a strong sense that the person is separated from his physical body, that the body is immaterial, and that he is floating in the air. There is a sense of being double, or that objects are double, or that he is separated from the physical world, which he is observing from above.
The Anhalonium patient has colorful visions, sees brilliantly colored objects; objects also may appear small and in motion. Objects may appear enlarged and then diminished; letters are diminished. Everything is strange; everything is transparent. There is an exaggeration of time – it passes too slowly.
Anhalonium has illusions that he sees figures and faces of people wearing masks – it seems that they do not want to show their real face, their real intentions, that they are hypocrites, that they are scheming.
He has delusions that he is great and immortal, or that he is dead. Audio delusions occur – that he hears music, hears noises or voices.
He feels as if he had two wills or that his will is separated from his thoughts. Sometimes he sees gruesome forms, the grotesque, monsters, but this is the exception.
It is easy to recognize that this remedy will be a valuable tool for treating schizophrenia or hebephrenia.
Another interesting facet of these cases is the fact that they respond to such delusions by talking and commenting upon them as if they were real. They participate in the delusions/illusions by talking about them. They seem to feel or express no fear other than that of wanting somebody near them to talk to during their illusional or delusional states.
They respond enormously to music. They may have the sensation of being carried out of their body by listening to music. Drums may produce euphoria.
Their delusions and illusions are greatly affected by skin contact; if somebody caresses them, the visions or sounds are heightened.
As was noted earlier, sometimes it will be difficult for the homeopathic practitioner to discern whether these states are really pathological or the result of a conscious effort to achieve spiritual evolution. I think one parameter which might be employed to help determine whether these states are something to be treated or not is whether or not the patient feels annoyed by these visions, even though they may not scare him; his annoyance may be what leads him to call on you for help. When these experiences are of a spiritual nature and therefore conducive to the patient’s growth, you will find that the experiences make sense to the individual. The transcendent information his visions provide enable him to identify solutions to heretofore unresolved deep personal dilemmas; the visions in a sense force him to acknowledge previous errant behavior and provide an impetus for him to change his actions and his life. It is my belief that if an individual does not change, despite such warnings, then such otherwordly experiences will become hazardous, confusing, and, finally, tremendously annoying for the individual. They may even threaten his mental sanity.
The homeopathic physician must be much more thoughtful and observant than many conventional psychiatrists, who in the face of such phenomena will most probably apply a diagnostic label and institutionalize these patients, drugging them with toxic psychotropic agents, and possibly ruining their chances for a normal life. We must not forget that we are living in an era when the central challenges placed upon individuals pertain to their ultimate spiritual growth, and that we homeopathic practitioners still have much to learn and comprehend before we can be of real help as healers to our fellow human beings. The explosion of hallucinogenic drugs in our times demands of us that we comprehend the phenomenon in depth, rather than ignore it or accuse drug users, in order to be able to help.
To continue with our description of the pathogenesis, we observe further that individuals who need this remedy, when not in this peculiar state which subjects them to visions and illusions, are introspective, brooding people, who are not very sociable. They have a desire for solitude. They could be described as egocentric. The presence of other people actually aggravates their symptoms. They lack self-confidence when with others, and they want neither to speak nor to be spoken to. Fear, apprehension, dread of people – anthropophobia. They feel isolated and, often, forsaken. They are also prone to irrrational changes of mood, and they can be irritable, scolding, and often will emply irony against themselves and/or others.
They are the type of people who feel, even at an early age, that they do not belong to society, that they are something apart. They become distrustful and resentful toward society, and they can easily fall prey to what can be termed an “existential anxiety.”
Anhalonium young people will be inspired by spiritual ideals and inclined to follow a path of inquiry and selfless renunciation! Not suprisingly, the outcome of such an inclination will frequently be tragic, as they might easily turn to drugs and be caught there.
One might reasonably ask if it is possible that such seemingly noble and profound decisions, decisions having lifelong consequences, could be the result of some underlying mental pathology. The answer, in my experience, is unfortunately yes, but not, of course, in all cases. There are people who seek a spiritual path because of very healthy impulses, but unfortunately I have met others who were mentally ill, yet believed themselves to be seekers of truth when they should more aptly be called seekers after their lost sanity. They feel that they have lost their inner balance and believe that this can be regained through spiritual liberation. Most of the time, these people desperately need homeopathic treatment.
Returning to the pathology of Anhalonium, eventually the patient becomes apathetic. Additionally, there is mental prostration and exhaustion (brain fag). The mind becomes confused; it is difficult for them to arrive at accurate conclusions – dullness and sluggishness; difficulty in thinking and comprehending. There is stupefaction, as if the brain were intoxicated. Often they seem absorbed in their own thoughts.
Mental work is impossible. Thoughts vanish, and they lose their ability to adapt to new circumstances. Monotonous thoughts. Anhalonium displays a lack of initiative, insecurity, irresolution, and indecision. Weakness of memory; does not remember words.
These persons may experience anguish with fear of death. Eventually there is a kind of resignation from life, and a desire for death and suicidal depression can develop.
Sexually, there is either an increase or a diminution in desire. In women we also see lesbianism and nymphomania.
A study of this remedy by the well-known French doctor, G. Broussalian, provides some interesting insights into this remedy. The study is mentioned in the “Dictionary of Homeopathic Materia Medica” by O. A. Julian.
“Marvelous imaginations, exaltation, beatitude; the mind is transported towards the sky to fall suddenly into fright, stupor, shivering and tears. The rational goes side by side with the irrational, or follows one another with vertiginous rapidity. Marvellous theories are worked out; the world is organised and suddenly becomes deformed. Everything seems suddenly aggrandized, the limbs seem enormous, the notion of time disappears then suddenly the person feels completely punctured, the depersonalisation, the degradation appear after the visions.
“Auditive hallucinations of bells, extra-terrrestial musics come to add to the agony, and all these may lead to syncope. Loquacity may alternate with complete mutism, the levitation with paralysis, jokings with weeping…. Waking up is painful, the expression loses its mimetics, a kind of catalepsy takes the place of the marvelous.
Anesthesia takes the place of hypersensitiveness, the muscular sense is lost, the tremblings, the pain of the limbs make the patient weak…”
Cold feeling in blood vessels in inner parts. Lack of vital heat. Cold feeling all over the body. Cold perspiration. Lassitude. Sensation of heat. Numbness externally.
Increased reflexes. Relaxation of muscles. Sensation of muscular strength.
Some pathological conditions to be found in this remedy: Basedow’s disease; hypertension; paralysis, paraplegia. Worse by light and motion. Better by lying, rest and darkness.
Darkness ameliorates while light and especially sunlight aggravates. Change of weather aggravates.
Headache with disturbed vision. Frontal headache with visual disturbances. Trigeminal neuralgia, pain pulsating, congestive. Vertigo. Brain tired.
Objects are seen small and often very brilliant. Optic hallucinations.
Brilliant visions in front of eyes when closed that are difficult to remove; it needs an effort of the will to open them. Noises or touch are perceived by a colored vision. Double vision. Objects seem transparent. Pupils dilated. Ptosis of eyelids.
Exaggerated reverberation of ordinary sounds. Acuteness of hearing.
Illusions of aromas. Smell blunted.
Left sided trigeminal neuralgia. Disinclined to make the least movement. They scarcely move the lips and jaws in articulating. Paralysis of the tongue.
Nausea worse motion, better lying down.
Genitalia – male
Diminished sexual passion. Weak erotic sensitiveness. Sexual passion increased especially in homosexuals.
Genitalia – female
Diminished desire. Desire wanting. Homosexuality. Tribadism.
Sleeplessness from fancies, from activity of thoughts. Visionary dreams
Central nervous system
Compare: Agaricus, Cannabis indica [time sense disordered; fantastic visions]; Gelsemium [paralysis of accommodation]; Opium, Picric acid, Coffea, Platina [objects seem small and distant]
From 6x up to the highest potencies.
- … Mme. T., aged 82, had never, properly speaking, been ill. She called me in for an extremely disagreeable symptom, which she described as “visions,” and from which she had suffered for three or four months. By night, on awaking, and even by day, when wide awake, she believes that she suddenly sees persons or objects which do not exist, and which quickly vanish. These visions never have a terrifying or hostile character, but are odd, unexpected and seemingly meaningless. They are generally characterized by rhythmic movement. At one time Mme. T. sees a working painter, cleaning the mirror above the chimney-piece with a duster; at another time it is her daughter-in-law entering the room; or again, the curtain cords executing dances in the air. As a rule the people who appear are unknown. The sense of reality is always perfect and although clearly aware of the absurdity of the symptoms, she cannot distinguish between the visions and reality. They are never immovable, and never last long. She sometimes sees animals passing near her. It may happen too, that the hallucinations may be auditory: the people pass by singing or muttering something, but this is not very frequent. A very disagreeable impression which Mme. T. experiences is the sensation of a presence behind her.
Besides these hallucinations Mme. T. complains of a certain amount of agoraphobia. She is afraid to go out of the house. Out of doors she has the sense of being in danger and also of strangeness, things having an unexpected, unfamiliar appearance. She is often very irritable, impatient, and complains of getting very easily bored. Having to remain indoors, and short sight preventing reading, she is condemned to a life of inactivity. She dislikes solitude and is glad to receive visitors, even though in the evening they tire her.
Questioning evokes other symptoms: vertigo, with tendency to fall backwards; noises in the ears; advanced bilateral cataract; frequent insomnia; flatulence; slight tendency to constipation. Physical examination reveals no definite anomaly; slight abdominal ptosis and some varices in the legs. For her advanced age Mrs. T. is remarkably healthy.
The hallucinations from which she suffers seem to be chiefly due to auto-intoxication. It should be observed that the lenticular and auricular sclerosis is probably also from the same cause.
Clarke gives as characteristics of anhalonium: coloured visions of extreme intensity, associated with moving forms of fantastic design, the movements being in some respects regulated according to musical time.
Now these hallucinations, which had lasted for several months, and occurred at any moment of the day, disappeared entirely after the first dose of anhalonium 30. The indications depended chiefly on the intense visual character of the hallucinations, variable and lacking in definite effect on the patient. The hallucinations of absinth, arsenicum, hyoscyamus, of kali bromatum, opium, phosphorus, stramonium, of lachesis, platina, and antipyrin &c., are all accompanied by distress, by fear, and present a terrifying character. Those of ambra, belladonna, agaricus, cimicifuga, sulphur, &c., are attended by a markedly excited state, with tendency to react to the visions. Valerian has somewhat variable hallucination, agitating, but not affecting the patient greatly. The hallucinations of cocaine have always the character of persecution; those of canabis indica are attended by anxiety; the patient speaks to the appearances; and they also have this distinctive sign, that they modify the normal proportions of time and space. In the same category is platina, which magnifies things with the sense of pride; while sulphur beautifies them. Cimicifuga and opium have visions of rats and mice, the first with more agitation and mania, the second more fantastic, with fixity of ideas. The ecstatic tendencies of agaricus should be noted, the gloom of lachesis, the fear of death of aconite, lachesis and arsenicum and the sense of guilt of kali bromatum. Lastly, in diagnosing the remedy, natrum salicylicum should be thought of. It often answers to the onset of mental derangement, and in this case would have covered the noises in the ears and the vertigo, though the delirium of this last remedy is somewhat sullen and it also presents a state of lassitude and drowsiness, in sharp contrast to the wakefulness and even insomnia observed in the patient. In these conditions, and the actual state of our Materia Medica, anhalonium constituted the simillimum and was what cured the patient.
I would, however, add that, according to my personal experience, the troubles set forth in our repertories under the rubric Mentality are the more easily cured by our remedies if definitely linked with an organic condition [auto-intoxication or coenaesthesia]. In the case in question, the sight and hearing being affected by general organic causes, the symptoms lost in effective value. On the contrary, when the psychic, sentient element dominates the pathogenesis, cure by medical means alone is more difficult and elusive. In such cases, cure should always be attempted in accordance with the law of similars; but aided by psychic and psycho-analytic methods, which I always employ in such cases, following up, by observing the sequence of action and reaction, the chain of events which has led the patient from normal health to the actual morbid state.
Dr. Allendy, Paris, Translated from the French by A. Speirs-Alexander M.D.
“The British Homoeopathic Journal”, Vol. 18, No. 1, pp. 68-69.