Carbo Animalis – Homeopathic Remedy – Materia Medica Viva George Vithoulkas

Carbo Animalis

Animal Charcoal.

Made from charred ox-hide.

C (impure). Contains Calc. phos.



The essential features

The Carbo animalis patient is a burnt-out individual lacking self-confidence, without stamina, and with a lot of fears, anxieties and delusions. He has almost all of the characteristics of someone who has lost the ability to fend for himself, and so is burning himself out fast and furiously.

Anybody can ask him for whatever they want and take it from him; Carbo animalis has no power to resist, to say, “No, I am very tired now; I cannot do that.” He no longer notices the needs of his own body, but only pays attention to the demands of others and feels obliged to fulfill them even at the cost of his own further exhaustion. He does not perceive the danger signals his body is sending him.

A Carbo animalis person feels weak and prostrated. He simultaneously feels that he does not count, is nothing at all, is a non-entity, lacks an ego. He believes that others do not take him seriously, though others actually feel that he is a very sweet person, very kind, very giving, and one who will give in to their demands

In my experience, the Carbo animalis symptomatology has two main different stages. In the initial stage we have an individual who is always mentally tired and desires to be alone – a sad and reflective person who avoids any conversation. He feels so tired, and at the same time has so many feelings of inferiority and incompetence, that he does not want to meet anybody or confront any challenges. He does, however, complete his work and duties with efficiency. At this stage there are many feelings, fears and anxieties that disappear in the second stage.

They feel their whole organism is vulnerable and they feel so incompetent, that many times the remedy is often confused with Baryta carbonica. Carbo animalis, though, presents other symptoms to differentiate it from both Anacardium and Bar-c. who also lack self-confidence.

The feeling of homesickness is particularly prominent in this remedy. In the repertory we find it in bold letters, and rightly so. Very characteristic of Carbo animalis is a strong emotional attachment to the family, which is the only place he feels secure, and he always returns to this safe place, his home. In Carbo animalis people there is such a yearning for the childhood love of their parents that was experienced while at home and eventually lost in the challenges of life, that they return again and again to these feelings with an almost irresistible desire to return home. The homesickness of Carbo animalis is so acute that it is painful. They return again and again to the original family home where they first felt secure and loved; they return, like wounded birds, from the atrocities and hardness of life. It is not so much these atrocities as the peculiar unhealthy state of the Carbo animalis mind that is responsible for this home-sickness.

The feeling they have when they want to go home is an unhealthy one, a painful yearning, and though they know it is detrimental and brings them pain, they cannot resist it. The Carbo animalis patient, more than any of the other remedies, has real home-sickness, the real desire to go back home. This feeling will usually be at its worst in the morning and ameliorate in the evening. ‘Feels as though abandoned and full of homesickness in the morning’

(Hahnemann). Other remedies like Capsicum will return back to their past and relive with great vivacity their experiences – so strongly that they feel they may die – but they do not yearn specifically for their home.

In order to comprehend the action of the remedy we must take several other elements into consideration: Carbo animalis affects the mind deeply, and makes it sluggish, slow and passive, a mind that refuses to move, is unable to take decisions. The mind is confused and can only function in a minimal way. The patient feels as if his mind has stopped functioning; had stopped reflecting at a certain point in his life, and since then works at only a tenth of its capacity. Carbo animalis patients complain about this stoppage of the mind, that within one month can make them feel that they have grown old and intellectually impotent. They often identify the specific point in time when they began to notice the deterioration. The mind under stress, grief, drugging, etc. has stopped functioning. Before, they had great ideas and a lot of vivacity, and suddenly they lost everything: their energy, their clarity of mind, their capacity for reflection. A job that would take a healthy individual an hour will take Carbo animalis three hours to accomplish. This is due not only to confusion but also to the fact that they lack self-confidence, and cannot be certain if they have done something correctly.

The confused feeling in the head is often most prominent in the morning: the patient might not even know if he is asleep or awake; he may constantly feel as if in a waking dream. It may be coupled with a mournful feeling of isolation, of being forsaken, with a great tendency to weep. ‘Discouraged and

sad; everything seems so sad and lonely that she wants to weep.’ Aside from feeling homesick, there may also be a grievous or vexatious ‘dwelling’ on the past. ‘Grievous thoughts that he cannot get rid of, and vexed by present as well as past things, even to weeping.’ A strange symptom might be added here, viz., a sensation as if objects have been ‘altered.’ ‘The objects in the street seem altered to him, for instance farther apart and brighter than usual, as in an empty, abandoned town.’ We not only see melancholy in Carbo animalis, but also angry and irritable moods: ‘Angry immediately on waking.’ ‘Takes everything in bad part.’ He does not want to talk or to do anything; the one thing he wants to do is to ‘go home.’ Such moods are accompanied by great lassitude, so much so that he is hardly able to talk, and by much yawning and stretching. (In women, this state comes on easily after the menses have set in.)

There are many fears and anxieties; Carbo animalis patients are easily frightened and feel very apprehensive. In the evening, especially in the dark, they may experience a ghastly dread, even to the point of shuddering and weeping; and before sleep horrible faces crowd around them in their imagination. Closing the eyes makes everything worse and the patient is often too scared to do so. A proving symptom says, for example: ‘Before

falling asleep, fear of suffocation, when lying, on closing the eyes, which only disappears on sitting up and opening the eyes, thus preventing sleep all night …’

It is striking that states of fear and anxiety most often occur at night: a strong fear of the dark is characteristic. Such states make the patient extremely restless and nervous; he will toss about and finally be driven out of bed. Sitting up or standing up often brings some relief. The anxiety states may be coupled with flushes of heat or ebullition of blood. ‘At night, anxiety and ebullition of blood, so severe that she has to sit up.’ ‘Heat in head with anxiety, evening in bed; has to stand up which relieves.’

Another fear is of impending evil. It may appear after a very exhausting ejaculation that depletes the patient mentally as well as physically. The patient can have a fear of suddenly falling off the chair, a fear of fainting or of ‘having a fit’ (as the Repertory puts it). Other fears are: of impending disease; of crowds; of insanity.

In the second stage, the original fears and anxieties disappear and are replaced by a deep state of indifference and fatigue. In this state, the Carbo animalis patient does not care whether he lives or dies, yet he continues with his everyday duties as if nothing were wrong; he doesn’t want others to know.

The patient feels a deep-seated indescribable anxiety, as if he were guilty of something. This wakes him up after only three or four hours of sleep, and he cannot go back to sleep for another two or three. He is, however, so tired that he cannot get up or do any work, even though he knows that he’ll be awake for a while. If he stays in bed, he eventually falls asleep, for another half-hour up to an hour, and then wakes in the morning feeling very tired. He remains fatigued the whole day and then goes to bed early due to exhaustion. He then falls asleep immediately, but after two or three hours, occasionally four, he once again wakes up, feels very tired and yet is unable to go back to sleep.

They are easily irritated due to exhaustion and can break out in shouting at those close to them for trivial reasons. An obstinate trait shows up; their opinions become unchangeable and they are impossible to please, yet they tolerate utter nonsense from strangers and try to accommodate others. Regardless of what is requested, they cannot refuse to help others, regardless of what their body is telling them.

For instance, they won’t go to rest or to sleep when their body ‘claims its rights’. The reason for this is that they do not believe that lying down will provide them with rest. They actually drive themselves on by mustering extra energy from reserves all the time. Their fatigue, exhaustion and indifference are such that their natural inclination would be to sit down and do nothing, but their conscience does not allow them to do so. Carbo animalis people, therefore, avoid people and parties. What others experience as great enjoyment, such as going to a bar or a disco, is torture for them. They behave like old people who just want to be left alone and quiet; who feel better that way. Whether they live or die is immaterial to them, as life is such an effort. They have a strong desire to weep, yet at this stage they often can no longer do so. On occasion their mood may improve a little in the evening.

In this second stage, due to their exhaustion, they accomplish very little, which is why they are constantly in a hurry. They feel they can never do or accomplish all the work that they should be doing. If they feel sad or tired they prefer not to show it, and do not want to be comforted or consoled; they feel that others may be doing it out of pity or duty, and do not like it. One has to approach them with sincere love and interest; only then might they be able to accept consolation. Hopelessness and thoughts of death are frequently present, yet these people no longer fear death. The mental capacities are very much affected. Concentration and reflection are difficult and only managed due to an effort of will, once again depleting their reserves. The confusion and dullness of the mind in the morning is more pronounced than ever. Sometimes a nosebleed follows such confused states, and after that the patient feels a little better. There are even sudden feelings of stupefaction in the head, when sitting or when moving the head or walking. The senses of sight and hearing and all thinking activity cease for a period of time, or, alternately, the occiput feels markedly dull. Motion in cold damp air aggravates these states, but resting in a warm room relieves them.

The memory is disturbed, and Carbo animalis forgets words while speaking, including the word he just said. He lacks the ability to express his thoughts; feels incapable of writing a letter. The general lassitude and weakness can be heard in his speech, which has become laborious, slow, and very soft. The patient sounds as if he were drunk.



The disease processes of Carbo animalis usually develop slowly and deeply, ‘insidiously’, as Kent calls it. This is very close to the other carbon, Carbo vegetabilis, which also has the great weakness and prostration that result even from small vital losses and from exhausting diseases. However, a special feature of Carbo animalis is its tendency to infiltration and induration. ‘Just as sure as an organ in the Carbo animalis patient becomes congested it becomes hard and purple from infiltration, and has a tendency to remain so.’ (Kent). Hard, frequently purple-red swellings of the lymph nodes in the axillae and neck, or of the glands, especially the mammae, have often been helped with this remedy, as have other infiltrated hypertrophic processes, especially of the abdominal glands and in the genital region. These are ‘indolent’ processes, in which the tendency to suppurate is almost nil. This is completely different from other remedies such as Hepar sulphuris, Mercurius, and Sulphur in which the inflammatory process is speeded up.

As far as the remedy action is concerned, the ‘sluggish’ quality of the mind has already been discussed above. This quality manifests itself on all levels of the organism. Carbo animalis is overall a passive remedy. ‘The Carbo animalis inflammation comes on slowly, its progress is slow, and there is no tendency to repair’ (Kent). There is a lack of reaction. Along with this, we have extreme prostration: ‘Weakness with want of energy of the body,  with confusion of the head.’ The circulation is also sluggish: the veins tend to be distended, the skin can become cyanotic, especially the hands and feet. Every kind of strain, stress or drain on the system can easily produce great debility, generally or locally – small losses of fluid, over-lifting, cold air or draught, etc. The joints are weak and easily dislocated. The digestion is weak and sluggish, everything eaten may cause complaints, especially flatulence. In gaseous distension of the abdomen, following a surgical operation, the remedy competes with its closest relative, Carbo vegetabilis, and Tyler values it even higher than the latter: ‘Nothing could be more striking than its prompt relief of flatulent distension after operations on the abdomen. One has seen that more than once.’

The pains that Carbo animalis causes and cures are frequently intensely burning in character. In an ‘involuntary proving’ related by Mezger, where a man was exposed to the smoke of the charring hooves of cattle, on the third day a violent burning came on in the mucous membranes, first in the ears, then the eyes, the pleura region and the kidney region, and also in an old scar from a burn. Interestingly, on the skin, above the left inguinal ligament, an ‘eruption’ as large as a dove’s egg appeared. It was purple or livid coloured, took a long time to heal and itched and burned very much. We can also refer to Kent who reports: ‘The woman has so much burning in the vagina that she persuades the physician to make a more careful examination than he has done. He will probably find the whole cervix inflamed; purple and somewhat enlarged. She says it burns like coals of fire’. Another feature is a tendency to ulceration and decomposition, along with a foul, acrid discharge. As Noack/Trinks put it, ‘Carbo animalis corresponds to the process of putrefaction.’ Regarding all the above general characteristics, Kent’s indication ‘in ulcers and fistular openings, where the walls become hard and burn, and the discharge becomes acrid‘ is easily seen.

Small wonder, then, that Carbo animalis has been used in tumours and other infections that are suspected to be malignant, if the characteristic local and general symptoms agree. Kent reports favourable experiences with Carbo animalis in certain cancer cases with hard, infiltrating tumours, dark-coloured, purple surface, burning pain, acrid discharge, much bleeding and night-sweats, though with an important qualification:

‘It has relieved in incurable cases, and has apparently removed the cancerous condition for years, even though it comes back afterward and kills. This remedy is often a great palliative for the pains that occur in cancer, the indurations and the stinging, burning pains. Of course we do not want to teach, nor do we wish to have you infer, that a patient with a well-advanced cancerous affection, such as scirrhus, may be restored to perfect health and the cancerous affection removed. We may comfort that patient, and restore order at least temporarily, so that there is freedom from suffering in these malignant affections. Most patients that have cancer are really in such a state of disorder that only a temporary cessation of ‘hostilities’ can be expected; and anyone who goes around boasting of the cancer cases he has cured ought to be regarded with suspicion. Do not dwell upon the cancer, for it is not the cancer but the patient that you are treating.’

Mezger describes his experience with Carbo animalis in a recent case of malignant disease. Dr. Berndt describes a patient who came to him after X-ray treatment of a chronic lymphatic leukaemia. He looked as if he were about to die, with lymph nodes swollen to the size of a fist at the neck, the axillae and the groin; a waxy complexion; listless, apathetic; unbearable pain; extreme meteorism; a cold, purple-coloured nose, icy cold hands and so on. Berndt wanted to give him an analgesic injection to help him die without the excruciating pain, but then found out that although the patient said his feet were warm, they seemed to be even colder to the touch than his hands. This symptom ‘feet icy cold, but doesn’t feel it’, together with the general picture, the glandular swellings, the gaseous abdominal distension and the apathy, made him think of Carbo animalis, which he gave intending to palliate, fearing that the patient would die the same night. The next day, however, the patient was much better, the pain had ceased, the lymphatic swellings receded and three months later an examination at the hospital showed that the blood data had much improved! The report said: ‘For the time being, further treatment not necessary.’ This is certainly not a ‘cancer cure’, but what kind of treatment could have helped the patient better than homeopathy?

Geukens’s Homoeopathic Practice also reports several cases where (as it turned out) non-malignant mammary tumours, which were also recurrent, were treated. The doctors, following Kent’s advice, treated the patient, rather than the cancer. The symptom of great homesickness, together with burning pain (not necessarily at the site of the tumour, but, for example, in the knees or heels), decided the case in favor of Carbo animalis, and again the results were favourable.

The ‘disorderly distribution of material’ in the hypertrophic states has its analogy in the circulation system, as pointed out by Kent. There is beating in the blood vessels, ‘throbbing and pulsating in the whole body, worse in the evening’ (Hahnemann). There are also flushes of heat and ebullition of the blood or local congestion without heat. ‘A rushing of heat as though the body was full of steam. Awful sensation through the chest and in the head,

like some great earthquake taking place’ (Kent).

A useful indication: ‘In pleurisy where everything is cured but ‘the stitch’, and that remains’ (Guernsey).

Some additional modalities:

Worse: especially while eating, but often also afterwards, especially from eating fatty food; during and after menses; from shaving; from lying on the side. Worse from cold air and draught, from becoming cold, sometimes from damp cold air, but more frequently from dry cold (Aconitum). Dr. Gaublomme (Small Remedies) observed an aggravation in a Carbo animalis case from a change in weather from wet to dry, an interesting modality, which requires further confirmation.

Relief of pain comes from laying a hand on the affected part.


Vertigo especially in the morning, often followed by epistaxis.

Vertigo with nausea, especially on rising after stooping, compelling the patient to sit bent, or to lie down. For instance: ‘On stooping, heaviness in forehead as if the brain should fall forward; on rising again, vertigo so strong that she almost fell to the ground.’ Or: ‘As soon as she raised her head, everything turned with her; urging to sit bent, with staggering on standing up; with dullness in head, and as though all objects were moving; entirely ceasing when lying down; but recurring in the morning on rising.’

When sitting, she experiences vertigo as if she is about to fall backwards off the chair, with dullness of the head. A strange symptom is: ‘Vertigo after shaving’ (Hering).



Heaviness of the head: in the morning, with dim vision and watery eyes; or at night, with lassitude of the lower limbs, is hardly able to lift them.

Sensation in the forehead as if something lay above the eyes, which prevents looking up. It has also been described as a feeling ‘as from a weight’ or ‘as from a board before the forehead’; Hahnemann explains: ‘a sensation like the one felt when immediately approaching, after exposure to severe cold, the hot stove.’ The heaviness in the forehead is most felt on stooping ‘as though the brain should fall forward. There is a sensation of heat in the forehead along with the heaviness, but which is cold to the touch.

Painful sensation of looseness in the head during motion, also from coughing; worse in cold air; better from warmth, from lying in bed. These ‘feelings of looseness’ may be very intense, even amounting to a sensation ‘as of a tornado in head’ (Hering).Or else: ‘Splashing sensation in left half of brain when walking fast.’ The aggravation from cool or cold air is characteristic of a lot of head symptoms. For instance: ‘Boring drawing pains, intermingled with tearings, aggravated when the head becomes cool, especially towards the ear.’

There is a rush of blood to the head, with a dull, confused, heavy feeling, especially in the occiput; also a pressive feeling in the head followed by epistaxis. The patient experiences nervous, congestive headaches: pressure in the occiput arising soon after eating, with sensitivity of the scalp; often in connection with digestive disturbances, flatulence. Heat in the head, with anxiety, in bed, ameliorated by getting up.

Stitches and painful throbbing in the occiput or in the vertex, even with a bursting sensation, which come on easily when walking. Or: there are tearings and throbbing in the entire head and face, orbitae, ears, side of face, cheek bone, and lower jaw, which are somewhat relieved by pressure of the hand.

Pain in the vertex, which feels as if the skull is being split or torn apart. The patient must hold his head with his hands (even for many hours) for fear it will fall apart. The pain may move forward, into the forehead. Tearing pain in the right side of the head.

The scalp is often extremely sensitive to cold air, especially if dry, and to any pressure or touch, with or without the headaches. Tension of the skin at the forehead and vertex; it seems to be involuntarily ‘drawn up’.

Eruptions of the scalp, especially if forming crusts, have been cured with this remedy. There may be intense itching, an urge to scratch to the point of bleeding, but without relief of the itching.



In the eyes there is also a feeling of looseness, as if they were lying loose in their sockets; he feels he does not have the power to exert them to see clearly.

Nets seem to swim before the eyes, or many small black and yellow spots are seen in regular lines, by candle-light.

Dim, foggy sight, eyes are weak, cannot do anything which requires exertion of the eyes. There is a tendency to far-sightedness (Carbo vegetabilis: to near-sightedness).

Pressive pain in the eyes in the evening, with artificial light.



The most important symptom here is a special kind of weak and ‘confused’ hearing: the sounds are commingled, and he cannot tell from which direction they come. ‘It seems to him as though they came from another world.’ This may manifest, for example, in his inability to understand what someone is saying to him if the television is on at the same time.

He hears ringing or whistling noises in the ears all night; or else on walking or blowing nose.

The periosteum behind the right ear is swollen, with stitches in it. Swelling and induration of the parotis, with lancinating pain. Otorrhoea is ichorous, offensive, acrid. Pain from the ear down the Eustachian tube to the pharynx, makes swallowing difficult.



The tip of the nose is red and painful when touched; it is often cracked, with burning and tensive aching; also swollen. This feature may come on or be aggravated during the menses.

The nose is purple-colored; there are hard bluish tumours on the tip.

An internal soreness may accompany the external swelling. There are vesicular eruptions around the nostrils, often with ulceration, and they tend not to heal.

Nosebleed: regularly in the morning, preceded by vertigo, or by pressure and confusion of the head; also in the morning when sitting.

There is fluent coryza with loss of smell, yawning and much sneezing. Or dry coryza, such that the patient is unable to breath through the nose, especially in the morning on waking, disappearing on rising or else continuing for some time after waking. Carbo animalis may be useful in common colds with coryza and a sore throat, with a scraping pain in the throat that is worse in the evening and at night and particularly felt on swallowing. Sometimes tough mucous discharges from the choanae hang down into the pharynx in strings. There are offensive discharges; ozaena.



The face is pale or earthy, has an emaciated appearance, the eyes are deep set; or there is a bluish tinge to the cheeks and lips. A brownish-yellow saddle over the bridge of the nose can be a key-note.

There are many facial eruptions of different kinds: indolent pimples, red maculae, brown or pink spots, copper-coloured eruption as in rosacea; acne. Carbo animalis has cured erysipelas of the face.

There is heat in the head and face in the afternoon; during lunch, with much facial perspiration; also at night.

The skin is sensitive, for instance, to shaving, with aching at the cheeks and chin and around the mouth.

Both lips are burning and swollen; forming blisters; dry, cracked, even bleeding.

Swelling of the submaxillary glands, hard and purple-coloured.

An indication by Hahnemann: ‘Stitches in cheekbones, lower jaw and teeth.’



The mucous membranes of the buccal cavity are raw and often painful, with formation of blisters that may ulcerate and provoke a burning pain. Blisters or vesicles on the tongue (tip and edges) appear and feel painful, as if burnt; the tip of the tongue burns.

Red, swollen, very painful gums, easily forming boils or pustules; also bleeding; and drawing pain in gums. Knotty indurations in the substance of the tongue, which can be as large as a cherry.

The teeth are very loose and, he is unable to chew even the softest food without pain. The teeth are also sensitive to cold and to salty food; toothache is most violent in the evening in bed.

There is a bitter taste in the mouth, every morning; also a putrid taste.

The jaws are quickly and easily fatigued from eating. The mouth and tongue feel as though they are immovable, so as to produce laborious, drawling and very low speech.

The tongue is red, with a yellow coat in the centre, or with a slimy coating. The tongue and palate are dry.

Salty water or much increased thin saliva, tasteless but of sweet and putrid smell, runs from the mouth, sometimes with a strange and disagreeable sensation of coldness in the mouth, apparently rising from the abdomen. These symptoms have been especially observed in severe diseases of the digestive tract (ulcers or cancer of stomach, pancreatic infection, etc.).



There is a raw sensation all over the pharynx and oesophagus down to the pit of the stomach, which is not increased by swallowing. Roughness of the throat, which appears every morning, and disappears after breakfast.

 A sore throat with burning pain like heartburn, down to the stomach, is slightly relieved after eating and drinking; worse in the evening, at night, and in the morning, but better after rising.

Pressure in the throat, only when swallowing.

Much mucus in the throat, and much hawking as well as blowing of the nose.



Hoarseness with rough throat, in the morning, but even worse in the evening. Or hoarseness by day and complete loss of voice during the night; awakes with severe coughing, anxiety and perspiration, and cannot get enough air.

Irritated by coughing with constriction of the larynx and spasm of the chest.

Cough from a tickling sensation in the trachea, relieved after eating. Pain in the trachea as from coughing for a long time.

Severe dry cough in the morning on rising and nearly all day, shaking the hypogastrium as if everything would fall out; has to sit down and hold her belly with the hands; loose rattling in the chest before she loosens mucus by coughing.

Suffocating, hoarse cough, excited from rawness and dryness in the larynx and trachea; without expectoration by night, but with grey or greenish sputa by day, sometimes purulent and tasting putrid and sour. One prover reported that the cough seemed to be ‘excited only in a small spot, size of an inch [2.5 cm], in the right chest.’

Dry cough at night, only when lying on the right side.

Coughing excites a sore pain in the hypogastrium; or a sensation of looseness of the brain.

Dyspnoea and oppression of the chest, especially in the morning and after eating; with gasping or a wheezing inspiration. Violent constriction or compression of the chest, as if he were about to suffocate. The dyspnoea is often accompanied by anxiety and a discouraged, low-spirited mood that may amount to ‘whining desperation.’

Rattling or when breathing when lying in bed in the evening.

Fear of suffocation on closing the eyes when lying in bed in the evening; relieved by sitting up and opening the eyes.

Burning in the chest, with pressive pain; or sharp burning stitches.

Violent pain in the whole chest as if it might burst, with an internal, sore pain.

Sensation of coldness in the chest; in the praecordia; from the front right through to the back.

The remedy is suitable in ‘lingering’ pleurisy and other respiratory infections with slow and sluggish development and lack of reaction; or else in the ensuing convalescence where only the stitching pain is left.



The patient experiences violent palpitations: in the morning on waking, compelling him to lie completely still with his eyes closed and without talking; when singing in church. Each heart beat is felt in the head.

Stitches in the heart from talking and a sensation as if chest and heart were torn when moving the arms; with constriction of the chest and a sensation of suffocation.



Complete loss of appetite; nothing tastes good. Sometimes there is an empty, faint, ‘all gone’ feeling in the stomach, but without any hunger and appetite, and which is not at all improved by eating. This symptom may come on after breast-feeding her child. ‘So weak that she cannot eat’ (Hering). The patient may also feel ravenous hunger.

Aversion to fat is prominent, especially to fat meat which causes complaints: long-continued nausea, vomiturition, much empty eructation. Desire for vegetables, especially for raw sauerkraut, with aversion to meat is characteristic. There is a desire for sour and refreshing things. Averse to tobacco smoke which causes nausea; sometimes to cold drinking.

Digestion is generally poor and sluggish, and almost everything eaten causes complaints of one sort or another. Eating causes a lot of complaints, in the digestive system as well as in general: tires the patient, creates fatigue in the jaws and chest and causes heat and sweat in the face; triggers a burning pain in the stomach, and especially inflation of the abdomen (whereas some other symptoms, such as rawness or roughness in the throat, are relieved).

There is much belching, tasting of the food eaten a long time before; it is also putrid and fishy tasting, or sour; ineffectual eructation with pain. He experiences hiccup and hiccup-like eructations during and after meals, which have a sudden onset.

Nausea at night; after eating meat.

Heartburn and water brash. ‘Attack of water brash, salty water running from the mouth, with retching and cramp-like feeling in jaws, followed by violent empty eructation with cold feet; afterwards hiccup for half an hour.’ This symptom has led to the use of Carbo animalis in ulcers and even cancer of the stomach.

Clawing and griping stomach pain; or pressure as if from a load, especially severe when lying in bed in the evening, and ameliorated by laying the hands on the stomach; spasmodic, constricting pain; and particularly burning. Or there is an annoying sensation of coldness around the stomach, which is ameliorated by pressure and rubbing; often in weak nursing women.

Gurgling or audible rumbling in the stomach, especially in the morning on waking.



Excessive gaseous distension of the abdomen, after eating, after surgery, but also constantly. Eructation and discharge of flatus usually ameliorates (the opposite of China). Motions in the distended abdomen, with discharge of foetid flatus. Incarcerated flatus, with audible rumbling.

Stitch-like, pinching pain in the morning in bed, as from accumulated flatus; ameliorated by the discharge of flatus, stool, or urine.

A feeling in the left flank, on sitting down, as if a large heavy body were lying there; after pressing upon it, relief by passing flatus. Burning or constrictive, pinching pain.

A heavy lump seems to lie in the abdomen, for days, also felt when fasting.

Liver pain: severe pressive pain, almost a cutting pain, also externally sore to the touch; pressure in the liver, even when lying down. Burning and stitches in the spleen.

Infection of the pancreas.

The hypogastric and inguinal regions are much affected. A special sensation is ‘a pain in the hypogastrium, right side, as if something would squeeze through there.’ ‘Tearing transversely across the os pubis, extending to the pudenda and anus.’ ‘Stitches in the groin, also at night, disturbing sleep and waking her.’

The remedy has been used in inguinal hernia. ‘Distension here and there at the belly, like hernia.’

Carbo animalis has a strong affinity to the mesenteric, and especially inguinal lymph nodes. It exhibits hard, purple-coloured swellings with no tendency to heal. In olden times, it was much used in buboes with callous edges and ichorous, offensive discharge.


Rectum and stool

There is severe burning in the rectum and anus. Very swollen haemorrhoids, with burning pain on walking.

The anus is often sore, with moisture exuding from it. Sticky, odourless moisture exudes from the rectum or from the perineum, behind the scrotum. Stitches at the anus with the soreness. Easy chafing between the buttocks with the formation of blisters.

When not defecating, there is a cutting drawing sensation from the anus through the coccyx. Or else: tearing transversely across the os pubis, and then through the pudenda, as far as the anus.

Carbo animalis may be indicated in enteritis and tumours of the rectum with acrid, burning, and offensive discharges.

Constipation: stools scanty, delayed; hard and crumbling, only discharged with great exertion, as though the abdominal muscles were inactive; very hard, preceded by a shivering over the head as if icy cold water had been poured over her; with passage of blood; with pain in the small of the back and inflation of the whole abdomen, up to the chest.

Pressure on the rectum as though for stool, but only flatus is discharged and the pressure comes back again at once.

Soft stool, preceded by dragging at the os pubis; with mucus looking like the coagulated white of egg.

Drawing sensation from the anus through the pudenda, before stool. Tearing upwards from the pudenda into the abdomen, during stool.


Urinary organs

Renal colic, sometimes very violent. Stitching pain in the kidney region; kidney pain on walking, relieved while sitting. Cutting pain in the ureters. Increased urging and an increased amount of urine at night, with frequent urination. Urging to urinate after defecation. Burning and sore pain in the urethra while urinating.

The stream of urine may be intermittent.

Foetid urine; reddish coloured; or turbid, of an orange colouring; or yellow, with a loose with loose sediment soon after micturition. The sediment has a yellowish-white colour.


Genitalia – male

Absence of sexual desire, even when a stimulus is present. The male sexual organs can be completely relaxed, with a feeling of weakness in them. A prover reported that the usual morning erection was missing after taking the remedy.

Strong ejaculation that one is not accustomed to: several nights in succession, even in the afternoon; without erection; followed by a spasmodic pain along the urethra, especially in its posterior part; followed by extreme mental and bodily exhaustion, with great apprehension as if something bad were going to happen.

Hard, also malignant, swellings of the glands in the genital region. In olden times, Carbo animalis has been used in syphilitic buboes with foetid ichorous discharge. It is reported to have a favourable influence upon cancer of the scrotum (as it relatively often develops in chimney sweeps, from contact with soot).


Genitalia – female

Menses a few days too early; increased, especially from the second day on, with dark blood that is often clotted and may smell putrid. A remedy in menorrhagia from indurated tumours at the cervix uteri. Or else: menstrual flow not profuse, but prolonged, and only in the morning.

The menses may be preceded by headaches. During menses: pain in the small of the back and groin; great lameness of the thighs; violent pressure in the groin, in the small of the back, in the thighs, with an inclination to belching which, however, is not effected, with chill and yawning. The menstrual flow often weakens the patient very much: after its onset, she is so weary that she can hardly speak, with yawning and stretching.

Leucorrhoea: watery, while standing and walking; burning and biting; colouring the linen yellow; causing a weak feeling in the stomach.

Many disorders of the internal genitalia, generally with burning (‘like coals of fire’, Kent), sometimes with tearing pain, and with a sensation of heaviness and pressure. They are usually accompanied by induration of some part and may go along with bleeding or bloody discharges that are acrid and offensive. Burning pain in the hypogastrium, below the navel, extending into the thighs or to the small of the back; labour-like bearing-down pains. ‘Induration of the right ovary which feels like a heavy ball.’ Chronic metritis or other inflammatory diseases involving induration of the cervix. Ulcers of the os uteri, or erectile tumours with burning pain.

Pelvic bones feel painful, especially on sitting,; has to bend double to get relief.

Nausea during pregnancy, with the peculiar modality that it occurs mainly at night.

Lochia prolonged, thin, offensive, excoriating; with numbness of the limbs.

Carbo animalis has a special affinity to the mammae. Painful nodules in the mammae, very hard, often purple-coloured; even the whole mamma can be hard as stone and painful. The pain is violently burning, or tearing and stinging, extending to the axillae and down the arms; the axillary lymph nodes are frequently also affected, swollen and hard. The tumours may be malignant or not (compare Kent’s remark about cancer, under ‘Generalities’). Carbo animalis has been helpful in recurrent mammary tumours, if the symptoms agree, especially if the characteristic homesickness is present.

A proving symptom: ‘Stinging pain in lower part of right mamma; aggravated on slight pressure, arresting her breath on stronger pressure.’


Neck and back

Swelling and induration of the glands and lymph nodes of the neck, with stinging pain and purple discoloration; sometimes very severe. Swelling of the thyroid gland, with much sensitivity to touch and too tight clothing around the neck.

Burning pain in the back. Left-sided pain of the back, unable to lie on this side.

Tensive or pressive pain between the scapulae, as from over-lifting, more on motion of the arms; better from rubbing.

Drawing pain in the small of the back, with a feeling as if it were broken, when walking, standing, and lying. Sharp drawing transversely across the small of the back, which is very sensitive to every step.

Pressive pain in the small of the back; stiffness.

Sacral pain during stool, with inflation of the abdomen.

Carbo animalis is sometimes indicated in coccygeal pain, either from injuries or neuralgic in character. Its affinity to the os coccygis manifests in the following proving symptoms: ‘Dragging bruised pain in coccyx.’ Coccygeal pain that becomes burning on touch.’ ‘Pain as from a subcutaneous ulcer at the lowest end of the spine, usually only when sitting and lying.’



All limbs feel bruised, especially on motion. The joints are generally weak, feel bruised and as if broken or separated, with easy dislocation; they tend to produce cracking noises on motion.

The limb pain is prominently burning; Geukens describes a case where burning pain in the extremities alternated with the appearance of recurrent mammary tumours, the pain always being present when the tumour had receded.

Icy coldness of the hands and feet. Extremely cold feet, during the day or at night, even long after going to bed. ‘Feet icy cold, but doesn’t feel it.’; or herpetic eruptions in the axillae. Swelling and induration of the axillary lymph nodes; or herpetic eruptions in the axillae.

Wrists painful as if dislocated.

The hands tend to go numb easily; the numbness begins in the fingers and spreads over the entire hand.

Violent trembling of the hands in the morning at breakfast, they feel paralysed; on grasping anything the fingers become stiff as though from lack of muscular power.

Gouty stiffness of the finger joints; osseous swellings, indurations of the tendons, etc.

Annoying feeling of tension in the skin of the lower limbs, with a sensation of burning or of icy coldness. Stitches in the left hip, when sitting, or violent drawing pain there. Hip pain that causes limping.

Burning pain in the knee-joints.

On walking, cramp in the forepart of the leg, near the tibia; or painful tension in the calves.

Drawing and stinging pain in the legs.

Painful contraction of the tendo Achillis, repeated several times, in the evening.

Numbness of the legs, as far as the calves, during the day.

Weakness of the ankles; they turn over when walking; also in children who try to walk.

Pain in the heels: burning; ulcerative; drawing and tearing, felt in the tendons in this region.

Chilblains, frost-bitten toes. ‘Swelling of ball of great toe, in the morning, with much heat in it and a pain as though from frostbite or ulceration.’ Corns, painful to the touch.



Sleepiness with frequent yawning all morning; with ‘stupidity,’ even worse after lunch. Confused, as though in waking slumber all day, with sluggishness, diminished hearing, dim vision, fretful mood, and a tendency to dull brooding.

Many sleep disturbances: heat, ebullition of blood, restlessness, and anxiety prevent falling asleep or cause frequent waking. Tossing and turning in bed; the patient is eventually driven to get up.

Sometimes the patient cannot fall asleep, even until 5 a.m. ; but more characteristic is waking after two, three, or four hours of sleep, with great fatigue but unable to fall asleep again. Even when the sleep is good, in the morning fatigue, lassitude, and sadness prevail.

‘Sleep full of vivid fancies.’ Visions of horrible faces before falling asleep, or starting as if about to fall. Severe anxiety and fear in the dark; of suffocation when closing the eyes, thus preventing sleep all night. Groaning, loud talking, and weeping during sleep.


Fever, chill, perspiration

Carbo animalis is pre-eminently a chilly remedy. Very sensitive to open air, catches cold easily, etc.; the hands and feet are often icy cold and bluish.

Great chill during the day. Shivering all over the back, which seems to begin in the chest, in the afternoon.

Febrile chill at night which wakens him from sleep; but at night there are often feelings of heat, pulsation, ebullition of blood, frequently with great anxiety. Another well-confirmed symptom is heat and sweat during eating, though long-lasting chill after lunch has also been observed and confirmed.

Carbo animalis patients are much inclined to profuse sweating, particularly at night, but also during the day, for example when walking in the open air and when eating warm food; or in the morning after waking.

The nocturnal perspiration has peculiar characteristics: it is profuse, foetid, very debilitating, and tends to stain the linen yellow. Debilitating sweats, especially on the thighs.

A strange perspiration symptom is ‘Excessive perspiration as soon as he closes his eyes’ (compare Conium).



Carbo animalis has a strong action upon the skin. There are many kinds of eruptions: acne rosacea, boils, carbuncles, maculae, and so on, especially in the face. ‘Bright red, smooth spots, “thickish” to the touch, in face’ (Bonninghausen). Induration and bluish-red discoloration are often present.

Offensive, ichorous, acrid discharges exude from ulcers and other skin defects; there is a tendency to ulceration, gangrene, putrefaction.

The remedy may also be indicated in erysipelatous swellings with burning pain and indurations of the affected part. It is beneficial in cicatrices that sting and break open, which are much worse when the weather changes.

Unsightly scars from skin eruptions.

The general makeup of the skin is dry and flabby, sometimes literally hanging in folds, and there is often paleness and a bluish hue of the body surface, due to the circulatory problems.

Itching that spreads all over the skin, especially in the evening in bed.



Acne rosacea. Aneurysm. Appetite, disordered. Breast, cancer of. Bubo. Cancer. Cataract. Constipation. Coccygodynia. Cough. Empyema. Eructations.

Face, eruption on. Gangrene. Glandular indurations. Haemorrhoids. Headache. Home-sickness. Hypertrophy. Lactation, effects of. Legs, pains in.

Leucorrhoea. Lumbago. Nose, affections of. Otorrhoea. Pancreas, indurated. Perspiration, altered. Pleurisy. Polypus. Scrofula. Strabismus. Syphilis. Tongue, affections of. Trachea, affections of. Ulceration. Uterus, cancer of. Vision, disorders of.



Compare: Calc-p. (nearest analogue: Carb-an. contains Calc-p.); in indurations, suppurations; Bad., Bro.; loss of fluids, Chi., Graph.; nostrils adhere to septum, Phos.; gone feeling, loss of fluids, induration of cervix, pressure on back, groins, and thighs during menses, Sep. (Sep. does not have the venosity, the copper-coloured face, flatulent gastric disturbances, or offensive ichorous discharges, or throbbing headache after menses of Carb-an.; Carb-v. does not have the indurations of Carb-an. or Sep.); Cocc., has the same weakness and prostration as Carb-an., but in the case of the latter the weakness is in consequence of the loss of fluid, whilst with Cocc., it is part of the general effect of the remedy. Puls., Sil.; in vertigo with epistaxis, Sul.; aversion to darkness, Am-m., Bar-c., Calc., Stram.; hunger in early morning, Ant-c., Asar., Calc., Sabad.; swelling behind ear, Caps., Aur.; burning pains, caps.; weakness of nursing women, Olnd. (See also ‘Relations’ in Carb-v. for other differentiations).

Antidoted by: Ars., Camph., Nux-v., Vinegar.

Antidote to; effects of quinine.

Complementary: Calc-p.





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About Me

Hussain Kaisrani (aka Ahmad Hussain) is a distinguished Psychotherapist & Chief Consultant at Homeopathic Consultancy, Lahore. 

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