Caladium seguinum. Arum seguinum. Dumb Cane. (South America.) N.O. Araceae.
Compare: Bov.; Nux-m.; Asaf.; Ign.; Bapt.
The essential features
Caladium has come down to us as a remedy mainly for disorders of the sexual sphere and, more specifically, for impotence and the problems that arise from it. This is described very graphically by Kent who states:
‘It is indicated in old debauches who are unable to perform the marital act. He has the most tantalising craving for the opposite sex with no ability to perform coitus. Lascivious ideas. Such men stand on the street corner and feast upon the forms of passing girls and their semen dribbles away; a state also found in Picricum acidum and Selenium.’
My experience is that if you wait for a case to present itself whereby the patient tells you that his semen dribbles while looking at a woman, you will, rarely, if ever, have occasion to prescribe this remedy. Kent’s description is solely of the advanced stage of the remedy, the idea of Caladium at this stage being one of sexual deterioration. He does not describe earlier stages or the development of the pathology. It would be a mistake, however, to expect to see this deteriorated state in all Caladium cases. I used to make this error myself, in the beginning of my work, and, therefore, missed the remedy for many years.
There are a number of misunderstandings regarding Caladium. One of them, an etiology emphasised by certain writers, is that the Caladium symptomatology is due to sexual excesses or to masturbation. This is only partially true. Exhaustion is prominent in the remedy, but this exhaustion need not derive solely from sexual excess. It can come from other causes as well: from suppression of sexual passion, from mental or physical overwork, from suppressed eruptions, and/or from excessive tobacco smoking.
There is a further misunderstanding concerning tobacco and Caladium. Kent, along with other authors of our materia medica, tell us that Caladium can stop or temper the craving for tobacco. This is not true, or if it happens, it most probably is a suppression. Caladium does not affect the desire for tobacco. What it does is create a special sensitivity to tobacco smoking.
Smoking cigars or cigarettes is disastrous for the organism and the organism is greatly aggravated by it. The organism reacts with a kind of tobacco poisoning – coughing, aggravation during sleep, palpitations, etc. If the person continues to smoke despite these warnings permanent damage will ensue, most probably in the lungs or elsewhere, affecting his memory, heart, and circulatory system. A burning sensation may remain in the lungs for years after heavy smoking. It feels as if the lungs were raw, exposed to the air inhaled almost without protection.
Caladium can help in those cases where smoking has brought about a deterioration in the smoker’s health, i.e., in his lungs, memory, vascular system and in his sexual ability. Actually, if the person starts to smoke again, after the administration of Caladium, he or she will not have as severe a reaction as before. Caladium should, therefore, not be prescribed for excessive desire, but rather for cases where there is an aggravation from smoking. Another misunderstanding about the remedy is the impression that persons needing Caladium always have an psychotic craving for sex. This is true of the state described by Kent, which is a rather advanced state of deterioration of the patient’s health on the mental, emotional, and physical levels. However, in earlier stages, though there may be a strong interest in sex, it is not this intense craving. In these early stages, young people can be very excitable in general, and in particular in sexual matters. Later stages follow, though, where we frequently see an indifference to sex, or infrequent desire. Even in this stage, though, when the desire is there, it can be very strong. Ultimately, the Caladium patient continues to deteriorate until he reaches the state of craving portrayed above.
Development of the pathology
Caladium suits individuals whose organism is of a weak hereditary disposition. As stated above, the persons who are in the first stages of Caladium are so prone to sexual stimulation, even through casual contact, that an orgasm can occur quickly. Young men may get so excited that they cannot hold back their orgasm. Semen dribbles out against, and in spite, of their efforts to hold it back, and thus runs out without much pleasure. This is similar to Lycopodium and Selenium, where premature ejaculation results after excesses in sexual contacts. In contrast, Caladium’s response comes from their enormous excitability, and is not necessarily preceded by sexual excesses.
There is over-excitability without potency. Caladium men, even when young, frequently do not have a strong erection that lasts and so they often resort to masturbation. When their desire is most marked they have no ability. They have intense sexual desire but the penis remains soft, or else they have strong and painful erections in the morning upon waking but no desire. What may also occur is that they have an erection in the morning and perform coitus, but then suddenly the pleasure ceases, and they don’t know if an ejaculation has actually taken place or not. They can be haunted by lascivious thoughts and ideas which keep them awake the whole night. This latter sign may also be seen in women together with a nymphomaniac tendency.
This state can go on for years and will never reach the picture described by Kent, unless they are the type of human beings who pursue sexual pleasures and thinks of nothing else. You won’t often encounter the late stage of Caladium in our day, though you may meet some cases over years of practice. In this excitement stage, the Caladium person has a constant underlying feeling of being hurried, mingled with anxiety. It is particularly exacerbated when he feels excited. Everything has to be done in a hurry, but he has no energy to do so, or perhaps his lack of energy is the reason he feels he must quickly finish everything he undertakes.
Lack of enthusiasm
Eventually, the over-excitability stage passes and a state develops that can best be described as a lack of enthusiasm. It resembles indifference or sadness, but this is not really an accurate description, as the person can still be stimulated – mentally, emotionally, or sexually – and then again reacts in an over-excitable manner. The problem is, however, that nothing excites these people that easily any more. They live for years in a state of joylessness and lack of enthusiasm, which worsens with time. Only occasionally do they leave it, i.e. when they are stimulated by the external environment, usually through intellectual discussion or emotional, erotic stimulation. In contrast to Phosphoricum acidum or Aurum, it is not a very painful state; it is neutral. The feelings of joy and enthusiasm are missing, but the patient does substitute them with negative feelings. The state borders on depression, but is not as painful.
Caladium people are often irritable and depressed. The depression may come on after masturbation or coitus, but may also be connected with impotence.
A symptom that Hering observed in his proving is ‘loud weeping about a mortification, like a child.’
At this stage, the emotions and thinking processes of Caladium are almost shut down, in the same way that the pathways to sexual pleasure are closed. The patient seems to be passing the time without interest, joy, or sexual pleasure. He cannot fall in love, and if he enters a relationship, once the initial excitement is over, he is bored and disinterested. There seems to be no mental, emotional, or sexual energy to maintain a continuing, erotic relationship.
On the mental plane, an absent-minded state takes over. There is an overall vague feeling. Everything around the Caladium person ‘just happens’, as though he is not in control. He may have the energy to initiate things, but not to follow through. There is a kind of mental disorientation and confusion.
In the next stage, the joylessness (described above) and a deterioration of memory set in. Kent describes this particular kind of mental deterioration very graphically. Furthermore, I was able to confirm his description in my own practice, so I leave the words to him:
‘An individual puts his mind to bear upon something which seems to have taken place during the day, but he is not quite sure whether it took place or not; he thinks the matter over, and yet he cannot be really sure whether it took place or not, until he actually goes and puts his hands upon the object thought about; proves to himself by actual contact and observation that his vague impression was so, that it was true, then he goes away and again he is undecided as to whether it was so or not. This relates to things that actually happened. ‘Very forgetful, he cannot remember,’ etc. This led to the use of Caladium for a good many different kinds of mental affections, loss of memory where there is that vague state of mind. It might be bordering upon imbecility, or might be the borderland of insanity. All day long he finds himself looking into the things that should have been done; they simply escaped his mind; he has forgotten them.
‘So the mind is worn out in places. A state of absent-mindedness. It may come on in an acute state, with unconsciousness. There is a good deal of congestion of the brain, more or less excitement, but more important is prostration of the mind, weakness of the mind; feeble-mindedness; inability to perform intellectual work. It is impossible. He cannot think; the more thought he puts upon a thing the more fatigue he has and the further away that thing seems to be; the more he attempts it the less concentrated is the mind upon a subject. It is not strange, then, that the provers themselves were unable to put these ideas into speech so as to give us an intelligent idea of the proving.’ (Emphasis GV)
This picture suggests that Caladium may be suitable for persons who have Alzheimer’s disease after a life full of sexual pleasures and mental over-activity.
The things that the patient forgets during the day, however, come to his mind while he is half asleep, during a ‘dizzy sleep’ (as Hering describes it in the proving), or else when his sleep is interrupted and he lies awake in the night. He suffers from insomnia, and cannot get enough sleep. He is extremely sensitive to noise, especially when he wants to sleep. He then becomes more and more irritable, and may even stay awake the whole night. Sometimes he feels apprehensive before going to sleep, without knowing why. At other times he falls asleep very easily, sleeps for three or four hours till he awakens, and then stays awake for another two or three hours. This may also be the time that he remembers all the things he has forgotten during the day.
After this time he falls again into a deep, very heavy, yet unrefreshing sleep. When Caladium people do fall asleep, they generally sleep deeply for two or three hours, during which, nothing can awaken them. They snore tremendously and also moan and groan anxiously during sleep. It is an intensely frightening sleep for those who sleep in the same room.
During the earlier Caladium excitement state, where there is enthusiasm and enjoyment from the pleasures of life, especially sexual pleasures, the Cadmium patient’s nervous excitement is such that he starts from the slightest noise, when a door is slammed or even a newspaper folded. He is very irascible, and anger may be stimulated by the slightest provocation.
In this excitable phase, the Cadmium patient has many apprehensions and fears, which are worse in the evening or just before he goes to sleep.
Caladium people at this stage are also afraid of the future and, more specifically, about their own health; ‘Very apprehensive about his health, worried and anxious about everything.’ (Hering). It is a state of anxiety mixed with excitement and a hurried feeling. Caladium men become anxious whilst shaving and fear they might cut themselves. They are very careful and meticulous about everything connected to their health, worry a lot about any medicine they are given and ask repeatedly what effect it will have on their organism. They also have a fear of catching a contagious disease. They wash their hands every time they touch a cat or a dog for fear of becoming infected with worms and contracting echinococcosis.
In the later stage, when joylessness and lack of enthusiasm prevail, the Caladium person no longer cares about such things, and it seems as if the fears and apprehensions from before are deeply hidden inside. The patient no longer cares about his health, does not care to fix it, cannot be bothered, and actually becomes careless about his well-being. There is no energy left to care about anything, not even his health.
During this state of indifference or whatever he chooses to call it, he is also wholly incapable of appreciating danger. It is as if he has already died; what does it matter to him if he is in jeopardy? He goes into peril without thinking. Other people may consider it a foolish boldness. Actually, the reason he does this is not because he is brave; it is rather a kind of miscalculation. His mind is too lazy to think about the possibilities of danger. Hazardous situations may often be a sort of stimulation for his dead feelings, and if others admire him for that courage or indifference to danger, he likes it.
The nervous system of Caladium people is, at least in the earlier stages, in a of extreme excitement. Nervous, fantastic things run throughout the remedy showing its relation to neurasthenic and hysterical patients.
Caladium has an intensely irritating effect on the mucous membranes and skin, and produces many burning sensations.
The special sensitivity of the Caladium patient makes him feel as if there are crawling and creeping sensations on the skin, such as the sensation of a fly crawling on the skin or the feeling as if spider-webs were sticking here and there. These sensations are felt particularly on the face. There may also be a coldness of single parts of the body. A dry feeling, in parts of the body that would normally be moist, has also been observed.
Caladium has a marked effect upon the perspiration which may make it sweetish. The strange, rare and peculiar trait of Caladium perspiration is that it attracts flies. Margaret Tyler comments upon this: ‘One has observed this with horror in some poor old almshouse people, where it was impossible to keep the flies off the face!’
As already discussed as far as the male sex is concerned, Caladium has a special action on the genitalia. In women, the most striking action of Caladium in this region is to cause intense pruritus vulvae. It may be indicated in extremely nervous women who suffer from pruritus vulvae, keeping them awake at night.
In the respiratory organs, an important keynote is catarrhal asthma where the mucus is not easily brought up, but when it does come up the patient feels better.
Very characteristic is asthma alternating with an itching rash. Sometimes we also find both conditions present, as if the organism does not have the strength to bring out to the surface all the disturbance.
In fever, Caladium is especially indicated when the temperature is aggravated in the evening. The Caladium fever is actually aggravated when the Lycopodium fever is ameliorated, around 8 p.m., or sometimes a little earlier, that is, around 6 p.m. Sleeping makes the fever disappear, and a characteristic modality is: Falls asleep during evening fever, and wakes when it stops.
The Caladium patient dreads motion, and perpetually wants to lie down -though he is strong enough to move when he makes the effort. After writing, thinking, when lying down or when rising after lying or sitting, he feels as if he is going to faint. In acute states, we also find delirium, unconsciousness, and stupefaction.
The patient experiences ill effects of smoking, especially headaches and mental states.
The patient, in general, is aggravated by warmth – warm room, warm air, in the warm bed – and ameliorated by cool open air. On the other hand, he has an aversion to drinking cold water, and only tolerates or wants warm drinks in the stomach.
Aggravation can also occur after sexual excesses, from sudden noises, and from lying on the left side (stitches in right side of chest).
Besides the relief from open air, particularly cool air, we see a general amelioration from sweating and after a short sleep during the day. The worst time for Caladium is from 9 to 11 p.m.
Another characteristic state that Caladium produces, and that is not mentioned in any of our books, is a peculiar momentary relaxation-not to call it paralysis – of the sphincters of the body. The sphincter of the urethra is relaxed and if there is urging the urine dribbles. The patient has the impression that the sphincter is very weak, is clearly not strong enough to hold back the urine. During the first sleep of the night, he regurgitates food as if there were no barrier and as if the oesophagus was an open pipe. In the same way stool can pass unnoticed, if there is some unusual pressure on the abdomen.
Vertigo is experienced upon closing the eyes; rocking, dizzy sensation after lying down and closing eyes, which prevents falling asleep.
Giddiness and nausea in the stomach, when he is sleepy, in the morning after rising; cannot keep his eyes, open while walking in the open air. Vertigo after some walking.
Vertigo and nausea in the morning, with stitches in the pit of the stomach.
Dull, frontal headache and throbbing pains in the head, especially in smokers. Headache with nausea and a dazed feeling in the head; symptoms like those of Tabacum. While smoking tobacco, stupefying pressure in the eyes and forehead, with the face hot and restlessness. Pain in the shoulder accompanies the headache.
Dull pressive or sharp cutting pains in the temples.
Fullness in the head as if too much blood were present. Numbness in the right or left side of the head.
The eyes become violently inflamed and water; eyelids are red and inflamed, eyes smart and burn.
Pressure in the eyeballs, with pain and sensitivity to touch or pressure.
Stitches in the eyes, together with pain in other parts of the body: stitches in the right eye and throbbing in the left knee; stitches in the left eye and in a corn on the little toe.
Extremely sensitive to noise, especially if he wishes to sleep; slightest noise startles him.
Feels as if something is placed over the ears, diminishing the hearing.
Throbbing in the right ear, with a sensation as if warm water were flowing around it in a circle.
Sensation as if spider-webs were sticking here and there or of a fly crawling on the face; other crawling and creeping sensations. Heat in the face, flushed face, almost scarlet red.
Mucous membrane of the mouth very red; swelling of the lips, tongue, uvula, etc. Along with a swollen tongue, there may be an excess of saliva that resembles the white of eggs and which may run out in large quantities.
Red, dry stripe down the centre of the tongue which widens towards the tip (Boger, Synoptic Key). Milk tastes sour and is repugnant.
Dryness and burning in the fauces, without any thirst, even with an aversion to cold water. Scratchy dry sensation in the throat which makes him hawk.
After smoking, hawking up of mucus and vomiting of slimy matter.
Respiration and chest
Larynx and trachea seem to be constricted, with wheezing sounds upon breathing deeply and cough that seems to originate in the upper part of the air passages, above the larynx.
Tickling in the throat, causing cough, worse at night.
Catarrhal asthma, sometimes with hard cough, mucus not readily raised, but giving relief when it comes up.
Asthma alternates with an itching, burning rash. An example that Hering observed in his proving: ‘Rash at inner side of forearm, red and big pimples, violently itching and burning; when it disappears, immediately severe oppression of chest, that he cannot get his breath, as if mucus would suffocate him, without anxiety Ö’ Breathing in sighing jerks.
Dull stitching pains in the right side of the chest, which are better when lying on the right side and worse when lying on the left. Pulse hard and bounding, or rapid and scarcely perceptible.
Pulsating in the pit of the stomach after walking; he soon becomes tired.
Sensation as if a bird were fluttering in the stomach and trying to escape, causing nausea.
Nausea often comes on in the morning upon rising. It may be accompanied by a dazed feeling in the head, by a certain giddiness, feels like an empty sensation in the stomach, and by stitches in the pit of the stomach.
Much belching; repeated eructation of small amounts of wind, as if the stomach were full of dry food.
He drinks without real thirst, because of the sensation that the dry food lies in his stomach; eats only because the stomach feels hollow, but without any appetite.
Lack of thirst has often been observed: thirstless during a fever, thirstless for days. There is even an aversion to cold water; the patient often only tolerates or wants warm drinks. Alternately, there are Caladium patients who are thirsty all day. They drink tea, coffee, cold drinks, but not water. Hering also observed a desire for beer without real thirst in his proving; the patient said he actually couldn’t get himself to drink water. This symptom doesn’t necessarily take the form of a strong aversion to water. It may just be a kind of indifference to it; the patient simply does not like it.
Burning in the stomach, which is not relieved by drinking. ‘Dull, internal burning in stomach and epigastrium; becomes a violent pressure and finally a gnawing at the cardia, which prevents from deep breathing.’ (Hering).
The abdomen is swollen and tender to the touch, and there are spasmodic cutting pains in both the stomach and abdomen. Twisting pains, and a sensation as if a long worm were writhing in the region of the transverse colon or duodenum. Burning in the hypogastric region.
Stools soft, yellow, pasty, mushy, as in typhoid; very scanty pasty stools. Pasty, clay-coloured stools, which are passed with difficulty. There are also stools containing hard lumps.
Passing of thin, red blood or of slime and a thin brown fluid from the anus after stool. Burning in the anus after stool. Stitches in the rectum after stool; as from knives.
Relaxation of the sphincter of the anus.
There is a sensation of fullness in the bladder with pain, but no urge to urinate. The region of the bladder is sensitive to pressure.
Violent pain during urination.
Stinging deep in the hypogastrium, behind and above the bladder. Stitches in the urethra, in the evening.
Relaxation of the sphincter of the urethra. Urine either dribbles after urination or the patient loses some drops before he reaches the toilet. Urine is offensive, with sediment, scanty and smells putrid.
Sexual desire with relaxed penis, or strong painful erections without desire.
Impotence with mental depression.
Erections when half asleep in the morning, ceasing when fully awake.
Ejaculatio praecox, ejaculation and orgasm missing in coitus, or pleasure suddenly ceases during coitus and the patient cannot tell if an ejaculation has taken place or not.
Caladium is useful in gonorrhoeal disorders. Impotence after suppression of gonorrhoeal discharge (Thuja).
Frequent nocturnal emissions; without dreams or from non-sexual dreams.
After coitus the prepuce remains retracted and cannot be drawn back over the glans; pain and swelling. Prepuce swollen and sore in the margin, with a biting sensation upon urination.
Glans of the penis is red, dry and flabby; from masturbation or in impotence.
Genitalia enlarged, as if bloated, relaxed and sweating. Feeling of coldness and cold perspiration in the region. Profuse sweat on the scrotum. Pruritus. Caladium gave prompt relief in a case of long standing, violent itching eruption on the scrotum, which was worse at night, dry and scaly (Lindsay, Journal of Homeopathic Clinics).
The most striking symptom of the female sexual organs is the pruritus vaginae and vulvae. Two cases serve as examples:
‘A girl, four years old; violent itching on external genitals, which compelled her to scratch; severe punishment could not prevent her from doing so; the child was reduced in body and mind.’ ‘A girl, twenty years old, suddenly complains of frequently returning itching on the genitals, which is finally accompanied with voluptuousness; three months later, it was followed by a mucous discharge and a very troublesome eruption of pimples around the genitals.’ Both cases were cured by Caladium. (Source: Journal of Homeopathic Clinics.) The pruritus may also be caused by worms that travel from the rectum into the genital region. Cramping pains in the uterus after midnight.
The back is stiff and full of rheumatic pains, e.g. between the shoulders, so that he can hardly turn in bed.
Pain in the shoulder, with headache.
The limbs feel so weak that he cannot get out of bed; all morning fatigued, weary, and ill-humoured. Trembling of the limbs; rheumatic pains in the limbs.
Numbness in the arms and hands. ‘All the fingers felt very large, like sausages, she could not use them well; they felt as if they were going to be paralysed.’ (Berridge). ‘Arms asleep on waking in morning; can hardly move them.’ ‘Left thumb as if asleep; also little finger, with crawls.’ (Hering)
Strange, crawling sensations keep him awake. Sleeplessness from pruritus, especially in the genitals.
Sleepiness in the morning and morning, with weakness of the limbs, ill humour, dazed head. Sleepy in the morning after rising, cannot keep eyes open when walking in the open air, with nausea and giddiness felt in stomach.
Sleepy during the daytime but cannot sleep because the itching is unbearable, especially in the genitals, or on account of shivering and feeling very giddy. When wants to sleep is very sensitive to any noise.
Very loud snoring. Groans and moans anxiously in sleep.
Restless sleep; violent starting in sleep.
Vivid, anxious dreams which he remembers better than the activities of the day. Dreams of dead people and past events are so vivid that when, after waking, he immediately falls asleep again, he continues to dream of the same subject where he left off.
Awakes at night from thirst, with dry lips. ‘It seemed uncertain whether she was always aroused by a noise, or whether she was not often aroused by thirst; each time she was aroused she asked for water.’ (Hering)
Kent says that this remedy ‘has a continued fever; it has no great amount of fever in it, but it is a continued fever; we shall see that there is coma and stupor from fever; ‘delirium, unintelligible murmuring;’ mental prostration. Murmuring and muttering during the delirium; he does not recognise anyone. The speech is incoherent and prattling. This remedy is suitable in low, murmuring, exhaustive cases of typhoid fever, cases that run a very sluggish course; not a very active delirium; but muttering; a low form of semi-consciousness, very often coma or stupefaction like Phosphoricum Acidum, or a dazed mind.’
This is true for febris continua, for the typhoid type of fevers. In other cases the fever has an exacerbation in the evening around 6 or 8 p.m., and is ameliorated by sleep.
Falls asleep during evening fever, and wakes when it stops.
Coldness of single parts of the body.
Chilly, even in a warm room.
Face, head and hands hot, legs and feet cold. Or: Before midnight head, face and surface of the abdomen hot, with cold feet; after midnight abdomen cold, but feet hot.
Skin hot and dry during fever.
Sweating in the evening with prostration, yawning and sleepiness. Sweetish smell; sweat attracts flies.
Violent itching on various parts of the skin.
Itching, burning rash that alternates with asthma.
Frequently and suddenly a violent burning arises in small spots on the skin, on the cheeks, nose, toes; compelling the patient to touch the parts. Skin feels rough and dry.
Strange sensations as if a fly is crawling on the skin or as if a spider web is on the face.
Asthma. Dropsical swellings. Non-specific urethritis. Impotence. Irritation. Nymphomania. Pruritus vaginae. Spermatorrhoea. Typhoid. Typhus. Worms.
Compare: Caps.; Phos.; Caust.; Sel.; Lyc.; Ikshugandha (sexual weakness, emissions, prostatic enlargement). Complementary: Nit-ac.