[RSArchive Icon]
Rudolf Steiner Archive Section Name Rudolf Steiner Archive & e.Lib

Highlight Words

Fundamentals of Therapy



Typical Cases Of Illness

In this chapter we shall describe a number of cases from the practice of the Clinical and Therapeutic Institute at Arlesheim. They will show how, with the help of a knowledge of spiritual man, it is possible to achieve such a thorough picture of the disease that diagnosis directly teaches us the remedy which should be used. Fundamental to this is a view which recognizes the process of illness and of healing as one complete cycle. The illness begins with an irregularity in the composition of the human organism with respect to its parts, which have been described in this book. It has already reached a certain stage when the patient is received for treatment. Our object must now be to bring about a reversal of all the processes which have taken place in the organism since the beginning of the illness, so that we arrive at length at the previous state of health of the organism. A process of this kind, reversing on itself, cannot be accomplished without the organism as a whole undergoing some loss in the forces of growth, which are equivalent to those forces which the human organism - needs during childhood in order to increase in size. The therapeutic substances must therefore be so composed as not only to bring the diseased process back to its starting-point, but also to support the reduced vitality again. To some extent this latter effect must be left to dietary treatment. But as a general rule, in the more serious cases of illness, the organism is not in a condition to evolve sufficient vitality in the assimilation of its food. Therefore the actual treatment will also have to be constituted so as to give the organism the necessary support in this respect. In the typical remedies supplied by our clinical/therapeutic institutes, this provision has been made throughout. Hence it will only be realized on closer inspection, why a given preparation contains particular constituents. In estimating the course of the disease, not only the localized pathological process, but the changes suffered by the organism as a whole must be considered and included in the reversing process. How this is to be conceived in detail will be shown by the individual cases we shall now describe. We shall then continue the more general considerations.

First Case

A twenty-six years old woman patient. The whole personality reveals an extraordinarily labile condition. It is clear from the patient that that part of the organism, which we have here called the astral body, is in a state of excessive activity. One observes that the ego-organization has only slight control over the astral body. As soon as the patient begins to do some work, the astral body develops a state of agitation. The ego-organization tries to make itself felt, but is constantly repulsed. This causes the temperature to rise in such a case. A well regulated digestion depends mainly on a normal ego-organization. The impotence of this patient's ego-organization expresses itself in an obstinate constipation. The migraine-like conditions and vomiting from which she suffers are a consequence of this disturbance in the digestive activity. In sleep, her impotent ego-organization shows itself in a deficient organic activity from below upward and impaired expiration. The consequence is an excessive accumulation of carbonic acid in the organism during sleep, which shows itself organically in palpitations on awakening; psychologically in anxiety, and screaming. Physical examination can show nothing other than a lack of those forces which bring about a regular connection of the astral, etheric and physical bodies. Owing to the excessive activity of the astral body in itself, too little of its powers can flow over into the physical and the etheric. The latter, therefore, have remained too delicate in their development during the period of growth. This has shown itself on examination in the patient's slight build and weak body, and also in the fact that she complains of frequent back pain. The latter arises because in the activity of the spinal cord the ego-organization must make itself felt most. The patient talks of many dreams. The reason is that the astral body, separated in sleep from the physical and the etheric, unfolds its own excessive activity. We must start with the fact that the ego-organization needs to be strengthened and the over-activity of the astral body lowered. The former is attained by selecting a remedy that is suitable to support the weakened ego-organization in the digestive tract. Such a remedy is to be found in copper. Applied in the form of a copper ointment compress to the region of the loins, it has a strengthening effect on the deficient inner warmth coming from the ego-organization. This is observed in a reduction of the abnormal activity of the heart and the disappearance of anxiety. The excessive activity of the astral body in itself is combated by the smallest doses of lead taken orally. Lead draws the astral body together and awakens in it the forces through which it unites more intensely with the physical body and the etheric. (Lead poisoning is composed of an over-intense union of the astral with the etheric and physical bodies, so that the latter are made subject to excessive breakdown processes.) The patient recovered visibly under this treatment. Her labile condition gave way to a certain inner firmness and assurance. Her moods, recovering from their disrupted state, grew inwardly calm and contented. The constipation and back pain disappeared; likewise the migrainous conditions and the headaches. The patient's capacity for work was restored.

Second Case

A forty-eight year old man. He had been a robust child with an active inner life. During the war, as he informed us, he had undergone a five months' treatment for nephritis and been discharged as cured. Married at the age of thirty-five, he had five healthy children; a sixth child died at birth. At the age of thirty-three, as a consequence of mental overwork, he began to suffer from depression, tiredness and apathy. These conditions increased continuously. At the same time he began to feel spiritual despair. He is confronted by questions, in which his profession — that of a teacher — appears to him in a negative light, which he cannot meet with anything positive. The illness shows an astral body which has too little affinity with the etheric and physical, and is rigid in itself. The physical and etheric bodies are thus enabled to assert their own inherent qualities. The feeling of the etheric not being rightly united with the astral body gives rise to states of depression; while the deficient union with the physical produces fatigue and apathy. That the patient is in a state of spiritual despair is due to the fact that the astral body cannot make use of the physical and the etheric. Consistently with all this, his sleep is good; for the astral body has little connection with the etheric and physical. For the same reason he has great difficulty in waking up. The astral body is loath to enter the physical. It is only in the evening, when the physical and etheric bodies are tired, that their normal union with the astral begins to take place. Therefore the patient becomes properly awake in the evening. This whole condition indicates that it is necessary first of all to strengthen the astral body in its activity. This can always be attained by giving arsenic internally in the form of a mineral water. It becomes clear that the particular individual is seen to gain more command over his body after some time. The connection between the astral and the etheric is strengthened; the depression, apathy and fatigue cease. But the physical body also, which through its long defective union with the astral has become sluggish and immobile, must be helped; this is done by giving treatment with a mild dose of phosphorous. Phosphorous supports the ego-organization, enabling it to overcome the resistance of the physical body. Rosemary baths are used to open a way out for the accumulated products of metabolism. Curative eurythmy re-establishes the harmony of the individual members of the organism (nerve-sense system, rhythmic system, motor and metabolic system), impaired as they are by the inaction of the astral body. Finally, by giving the patient elder-flower tea, the metabolism, which has gradually become sluggish owing to the inactivity of the astral body, is restored to a normal condition. We were able to observe a complete cure in this case.

Third Case

This patient was a musician, thirty-one years old, who visited our clinic during a concert tour. He was suffering from a severe inflammatory and functional disturbance of the urinary tract, catarrhal symptoms, fever, excessive bodily fatigue, general weakness, and incapacity for work.

The past history of the patient showed that he had repeatedly suffered the same condition. Examination of the patient's spiritual state revealed a hypersensitive and exhausted astral body. The susceptibility of the physical and etheric body to catarrhal and inflammatory conditions was a consequence of this. Already as a child, the patient had a weak physical body, badly supported by the astral. Hence measles, scarlet fever, chicken-pox, whooping-cough and frequent attacks of sore throat; at the age of fourteen, there was an inflammation of the urethra, which recurred at the age of twenty-nine in conjunction with cystitis. At the age of eighteen, pneumonia and pleurisy; at twenty-nine, pleurisy again, following on an attack of influenza; and at the age of thirty, catarrhal inflammation of the frontal sinus. There is also a perpetual tendency to conjunctivitis.

During the two months which he spent at our hospital the patient's temperature curve rose at first to 39.9¡C, after which, it descended, only to rise again on the fourteenth day; it then fluctuated between 37¡ and 36¡, occasionally rising above 37¡ and falling to 35¡. Such a temperature curve gives a clear picture of the changing states of the ego organisations. Such a curve arises when the effects of the semi-conscious contents of the ego-organization find expression in the warmth-processes of the physical and etheric bodies without being reduced to a normal rhythm by the astral. In this patient, the whole capacity of action of the astral body was concentrated on the rhythmic system, where it found expression in his artistic talent. The other systems fell short. As a significant result of this, the patient suffers from severe fatigue and insomnia during the summer. In the summer season, considerable demands are made upon the astral body by the outer world. Its inner capacity for activity recedes. The forces of the physical and etheric body become predominant. In the general perception of one's sense of well being, this manifests as severe fatigue. At the same time the weakened capacity for action of the astral body hinders its separation from the physical. Hence the insomnia. The deficient separation of the astral body from the etheric finds expression in anxious and unpleasant dreams, arising from the sensitivity of the etheric body to the lesions in the physical organism. Characteristically, the dreams symbolize these lesions in images of mutilated human beings. Their terrifying aspect is simply their natural quality and emphasis of feeling. As a consequence of the astral body functioning deficiently in the metabolic system, there is a tendency to constipation. And owing to the independence of the etheric body, which is too little influenced by the astral, the protein received as food cannot be completely transformed from vegetable and animal protein into human. Hence, protein is excreted in the urine, so that it is positive for albumen. If the astral body is functioning deficiently, processes will arise in the physical body which are really foreign processes in the human organism. Such processes express themselves in the formation of pus. This represents, as it were, an extra-human process within the human being. Thus in the sediment of the urine we actually find pure pus. But this formation of pus is accompanied by a parallel process in the soul. The astral body works as little psychically on the experiences of life, as it works physically on the substances of food. While extra-human substances are produced in the form of pus, mental and psychic contents of a extra-human character arise at the same time, as a keen interest in abnormal relationships of life, forebodings, premonitions and the like. We therefore set out to bring a balancing, purifying and strengthening influence to bear upon the astral body. As the ego organization is very much alive, its activity could be used, in a manner of speaking, as a carrier of the therapeutic remedy. The ego-organization, which is directed toward the external world, is most readily approached by influences whose direction is from without inward. This is achieved by the use of compresses. We first apply a compress of Melilotus, a remedy which works upon the astral body in such a way as to improve the balance and distribution of its forces, counteracting their one-sided concentration on the rhythmic system. Naturally the compresses must not be applied to that part of the body where the rhythmic system is especially concentrated. We applied them to the organs where the metabolic and motor systems are concentrated. We avoided compresses around the head, because the mood swings of the ego-organizations proceeding from the head, would have paralysed the effect. For the Melilotus to take effect, it was also necessary to assist the astral body and ego-organization, by drawing them together. This we sought to do by the addition of oxalic acid, derived from Radix bardanae. Oxalic acid works in such a way as to transform the activity of the ego-organization into that of the astral body. In addition, we gave oral remedies in very diluted doses; with the object of bringing the excretions into a regular connection with the influences of the astral body. We tried to normalise the excretions directed from the head organization by means of potassium sulphate. Those processes that depend upon the metabolic system in the narrower sense of the word, we sought to influence by potassium carbonate. We regulated the excretion of urine with Teucrium. We therefore gave a medicament, consisting of equal parts of potassium sulphate, potassium carbonate and Teucrium. The whole treatment had to reckon with a very labile balance in the whole, physical, psychical and spiritual organism. Thus we had to provide complete bed rest for physical rest, and mental quiet for spiritual balance; this alone made possible the proper interaction of the various remedies. Movement and agitation render such a complicated therapeutic process almost impossible. On completion of the treatment, the patient was restored to bodily strength and vigour, and was mentally in good condition. With such a labile state of health, it goes without saying that any external disruption may bring about a recurrence of one or another disturbance. It is part of the total treatment that in such a case such events should be avoided.

Fourth Case

A child, who was brought to our clinic twice, first at the age of four, and then at the age of five and a half years. Also the mother of the child, and the mother's sister. Diagnosis led us from the illness of the child to that of her mother and of the sister. As for the child, we received the following information: it was a twin, born six weeks prematurely. The other twin died in the last stage of foetal life. At the age of six weeks, the child was taken ill, began to scream excessively, and was admitted to hospital. They diagnosed pyloric stenosis. The child was partly breast fed by a wet nurse and partly fed artificially. At the age of eight months it left the hospital. On the first day after arrival home the child had a convulsion, which recurred daily for the next two months. During the attacks the child became stiff, with the eyes deviated. The attacks were preceded by fear and crying. The child also squinted with the right eye and vomited before the attack began. At the age of two and a half years there was another attack lasting five hours. The child was again stiff and lay there as though dead. At the age of four there was an attack lasting half an hour. According to the report we received, this was the first attack which was seen to be accompanied by fever. After the convulsions that had followed directly on the return from hospital, the parents had noticed a paralysis of the right arm and the right leg. At two and a half the child made the first attempt to walk, but was only able to step out with the left leg, dragging the right after it. The right arm, too, remained without volition. The same state prevailed when the child was brought to us. Our first concern was to determine the condition of the child with respect to the members of the human organization. This was attempted independently of the syndrome. We found a severe atrophy of the etheric body, which, in certain parts, received only a very slight influence from the astral body. The region of the right chest was as though paralysed in the etheric body. On the other hand, there was a kind of hypertrophy of the astral body in the region of the stomach. The next thing was to establish the relation between this diagnosis and the syndrome. There could be no doubt that the astral body strongly involved the stomach during the process of digestion, which, however, owing to the paralysed condition of the etheric body was blocked at the transition from the gut to the lymph. Hence the blood was under-nourished. We thus attached great importance to the symptoms of nausea and vomiting. Convulsions always occur when the etheric body becomes atrophied and the astral gains a direct influence over the physical without the mediation of the etheric body. This was present to the greatest extent in the child. Moreover, if, as in this case, the condition becomes permanent during the period of growth, those processes which prepare the motor system to receive the will normally fail to take place. This showed itself in the uselessness on the right side in the child. We had now to relate the condition of the child to that of the mother. The latter was thirty-seven years old when she came to us. At the age of thirteen, she told us, she had already reached her present size. She had bad teeth at an early age, and had suffered in childhood from rheumatic fever, and maintained that she had had rickets. Menstruation began comparatively early. At the age of sixteen she had had a disease of the kidneys and she told of convulsive conditions which she had had. At twenty-five she had constipation owing to cramp in the sphincter ani, which had to be stretched. Even now she suffered from cramp on defaecation. Diagnosis by direct observation, without drawing any conclusions from this syndrome, revealed a condition extraordinarily similar to that of the child. But everything appeared in a far milder form. We must bear in mind that the human etheric body has its special period of development between the change of teeth and puberty. In the mother this expressed itself thus: with their deficient strength, the available forces of the etheric body enabled growth to take place only until puberty. At puberty the special development of the astral body begins and, being hypertrophied, now overwhelms the etheric body and takes hold of the physical organization too intensely. This showed itself in the arrest of growth at the thirteenth year. The patient was, however, by no means dwarf-like, on the contrary, she was very big; this was because the growth forces of the etheric body, deficient though they were, had worked uninhibited by the astral body and so brought about a large expansion of the volume of the physical body. But these forces had not been able to enter properly into the functions of the physical body. This showed itself in the appearance of rheumatic fever and, at a later stage, convulsions. Owing to the weakness of the etheric body there was a particularly strong influence of the astral body on the physical. Now this influence is a disintegrating one. In the course of normal development it is balanced by the regenerative forces during sleep, when the astral body is separated from the physical and the etheric. If, as in this case, the etheric body is too weak, the result is an excess of disintegration, which showed itself in the fact that she had the first filling already in the twelfth year. Moreover, if great demands are made on the etheric body as in pregnancy, on every such occasion the condition of the teeth grows worse. The weakness of the etheric body with respect to its connection with the astral was also shown by the frequency of the patient's dreams and by the sound sleep which she enjoyed in spite of all irregularities. Again the weakness of the etheric body shows itself in that foreign processes unmastered by the etheric take place in the physical body, and reveal themselves in the urine as protein, isolated hyaline casts, and salts.

Very remarkable was the relationship of these disease-processes in the mother with those of her sister. As to the composition of the members of the human being, diagnosis revealed almost exactly the same. A feebly working etheric body and hence a preponderance of the astral. The astral body was, however, weaker than that of the mother. Accordingly, menstruation had begun early as in the former case, but instead of inflammatory conditions she had only pains due to an irritation of the organs, e.g. the joints. In the joints the etheric body must be particularly active if the vitality is to go on in the normal way. If the activity of the etheric body is weak, that of the physical body will predominate, a fact which appeared in this case in the swollen joints and in chronic arthritis. The weakness of the astral body, that did not work enough in the subjective feeling, was indicated by her liking for sweet dishes, which enhanced the experience of the astral body. When the weak astral body is exhausted at the end of the day, then, if the weakness persists, the pains will increase in intensity. Thus the patient complained of increased pain in the evening. The connection between the pathological conditions of these three patients points to the generation preceding that of the two sisters, and more especially to the grandmother of the child. It is here that the real cause must be sought. The disordered equilibrium between the astral and etheric bodies in all three patients can only have been founded in a similar condition in the grandmother of the child. This irregularity must have been due to a deficiency of the embryonic organs of nutrition, especially the allantois development by the astral and etheric bodies of the grandmother. A deficient development of the allantois must be looked for in all three patients. We determined this to begin with by purely spiritual-scientific methods. The physical allantois, passing into the spiritual realm, is metamorphosed into the effectiveness of the forces of the astral body. A degenerated allantois gives rise to a lessened efficiency of the astral body, which will express itself, especially, in all the motor organs. Such was the case in all three patients. It is indeed possible to recognize, from the constitution of the astral body that of the allantois. From this it will be seen that our reference to the preceding generation was not the result of drawing far-fetched conclusions, but of real spiritual-scientific observations.

To anyone who is irritated by this fact, we would say that our statements here are not inspired by any love of paradox; rather by the wish not to withhold existing knowledge from anyone. Conceptions of heredity will always remain dark and mystical, as long as we shrink from recognizing the metamorphosis from the physical to the spiritual and vice-versa, which takes place in the sequence of the generations.

Therapeutically, such an insight could of course only lead us to perceive the right starting-point for a healing process. Had not our attention thus been drawn to the hereditary aspect, had we merely observed the irregularity in the connection between the astral and etheric bodies, we should have used therapeutic substances which affect both these members of the human being. Such remedies however would have been ineffective in our case, for the damage, running through the generations, was too deep-seated to be made good within the etheric and astral bodies themselves. In a case like this, one must work on the organization of the ego; here it is, that one must bring to bear all those influences which relate to a harmonizing and strengthening of the etheric and astral bodies. One can achieve this if one gains access to the ego-organization through intensified sensory stimuli, (Sensory stimuli work upon the ego-organization.) For the child, we attempted this in the following way: we bandaged the right hand with a 5% iron pyrites ointment and simultaneously we massaged the left half of the head with ointment of Amanita caesarea. Externally applied, pyrites, compound of iron and sulphur, has the effect of stimulating the ego-organization to make the astral body more alive and increase its affinity to the etheric. The Amanita substance, with its peculiar content of organized nitrogen, gives rise to an influence proceeding from the head, which, working through the ego-organization, makes the etheric body more alive and increases its affinity to the astral. The healing process was supported by curative eurythmy, which moves the ego-organization as such into quickened activity. This brings what is externally applied into the depths of the organization. Initiated in this way, the healing process was then intensified, with remedies making the astral and etheric bodies especially sensitive to the influence of the ego-organization. In rhythmic daily succession we gave a decoction of solidago in baths, massaged the back with a decoction of Stellaria media and gave orally willow bark tea (which particularly affects the receptivity of the astral body) and stannum 0.001 (which particularly makes the etheric body receptive). We also gave diluted doses of poppy juice, to allow the damaged organization to give place to the healing influences. In the mother's case, the latter kind of treatment was mainly adopted, since the inherited forces had worked far less than in the succeeding generation. The same applied to the sister of the mother. While the child was still with us in the clinic, we established that it became more easily guided and the general psychological condition was improved. It grew far more obedient, for example; movements which it had carried out very clumsily, it now accomplished with greater skill. Subsequently the aunt reported that a great change had taken place in the child. It had grown quieter and the excess of involuntary movements had decreased; the child is now sufficiently adroit to be able to play by itself, psychologically the former obstinacy has disappeared.

Fifth Case

A woman patient, twenty-six years old, came to our clinic suffering from the serious consequences of influenza and bronchitis which she had undergone in 1918; this had been preceded in 1917 by pleurisy. Following the influenza, she had never properly recovered. In 1920 she was very emaciated and weak, with a slight temperature and night sweats. Soon after the influenza, back-pains began, which worsened continuously up to the end of 1920. Then, with violent pain, a curvature in the lumbar region became apparent. At the same time there was a swelling of the right forefinger. A rest cure had considerably lessened the back-pains. When the patient came to us, she was suffering from a cold abscess on the right thigh; her body was distended with slight ascites. There were catarrhal sounds over the apices of both lungs. Digestion and appetite were good. The urine was concentrated, with traces of protein. Spiritual-scientific investigation revealed a hypersensitivity of the astral body and the ego-organization; such an abnormality expresses itself to begin with in the etheric body, which produces, in place of the etheric functions proper, an etheric impress of the astral functions. The astral functions are destructive. Thus, the vitality and the normal process of the physical organs showed themselves to be stunted. This is always connected with processes occurring to some extent outside man, but taking place in the human organism. Hence the cold abscess, the lumbar pains, the distended abdomen, the catarrhal symptoms in the lungs, and also the deficient assimilation of protein. The treatment must therefore seek to reduce the sensitivity of the astral body and the ego-organization. This may be done by administering silicic acid, which always strengthens the inherent forces against sensitivity. In this case we gave powdered silicic acid in the food and in enemata. We also diverted the sensitivity by applying mustard plasters to the lower back. The effect of this depends upon the fact that it induces sensitivity of its own accord, thus relieving the astral body and ego-organization of theirs. By a process which damps down the over-sensitivity of the astral body in the digestive tract, we were able to divert the astral activity to the etheric body where it ought normally to be. We achieved this by minute doses of copper and carbo animalis. The possibility that the etheric body might withdraw from the normal activity of digestion, to which it was unaccustomed, was countered by administering pancreatic fluid.

The cold abscess was punctured several times. Large quantities of pus were evacuated by aspiration. The abscess grew smaller and the distended stomach decreased in that the pus-formation grew continuously less and finally disappeared. While it was still flowing we were surprised one day by a renewed rise in temperature. This was not inexplicable to us, since, with the above-described constitution of the astral body, small psychological excitements could give rise to such fever. However, one must differentiate between the explanation of fever in such cases and its strongly harmful effect. For under these conditions, such a fever is the mediator for a profound intervention of the processes of destruction in the organism. One must provide at once for a strengthening of the etheric body, which will then paralyse the harmful effects of the astral. We gave high potency silver injections and the fever sank. The patient left the clinic with a twenty pounds' increase in weight, and in a stronger condition. We are under no illusion as to the necessity for further treatment to consolidate the cure.


With the cases hitherto described, we wished to characterize the principles whereby we seek to find the therapeutic substances out of the diagnosis. For the sake of clear illustration we selected cases where it was necessary to proceed along very individual lines. But we have also prepared typical therapeutic substances applicable to typical diseases. We will now deal with a few cases where such typical medicaments were used.

Sixth Case. Treatment of Hay Fever.

We had a patient with severe symptoms of hay fever. He had suffered with it from childhood. He came to us for treatment in his fortieth year. For this disorder we have our preparation “Gencydo”. This we used in this case at the time — the month of May — when the disease was at its worst. We treated him with injections and locally by painting the inside of the nose with “Gencydo” fluid. Following this there was a marked improvement, at a time of the year when formerly the patient had suffered severely from hay fever, undertaking a journey, he reported feeling incomparably better than in former years. In the hay fever season of the next year, he was travelling again from America to Europe and only had a far milder attack than previously. The repetition of the treatment achieved a tolerable condition for this year. For a thorough cure, treatment was repeated the next year, although he had no actual attack. In the fourth year the patient himself described his condition in the following words: “In the spring of 1923, I again began the treatment, as I was expecting fresh attacks. I found my nasal mucous membranes far less sensitive than before. I had to spend my time working among flowering grasses and pollen-producing trees. I also had to ride all through the summer along hot and dusty roads. Yet with the exception of a single day, no symptoms of hay fever occurred the whole summer, and I have every reason to believe that on that single day it was an ordinary cold, not an attack of hay fever. In thirty-five years this was the first time that I could stay and work unhindered in an environment where in former years I experienced real hell.”

Seventh Case. Treatment of Sclerosis.

A woman patient, sixty-one years old, came to our clinic with sclerosis and albuminuria. Her immediate condition was the sequel of an attack of influenza, with slight fever and disturbances of the stomach and intestines. She had not felt well again since the influenza. She complained of difficult breathing on waking, attacks of vertigo, and a pounding sensation in the head, ears and hands, which was especially troublesome on waking, but occurred also when she walked or climbed uphill. Her sleep was good. There was a tendency to constipation. The urine contained protein. Her blood pressure was 185mm Hg. We took our start from the sclerosis which was noticeable in the over-activity of the astral body. The physical and etheric bodies were unable to receive the full activity of the astral. In such a case, excess activity of the astral body remains, which the physical and etheric do not re-absorb. The normal and firm poise of the human organization is only possible when this re-absorption is complete. Otherwise, as in this case, the non-absorbed part will make itself felt in attacks of vertigo and subjective sensory illusions, pounding etc. Also the non-absorbed part takes hold of the digested substances, forcing certain processes upon them before they have penetrated into the normal metabolism. This became apparent in the tendency to constipation, in the excretion of albumen, also in the stomach and intestinal disorders. The blood pressure is raised in such a case because the excess activity of the astral body also heightens the activity of the ego, and this reveals itself in raised blood pressure. — We treated the case mainly with our remedy, “Scleron”; we supplemented this with very minute doses of belladonna, only as an aid to counteract immediately the attacks of vertigo. We gave elder-flower tea to help the digestion, regulated the action of the bowels by enemas and laxative tea, and ordered a salt free diet, because salts tend to aggravate sclerosis. A comparatively quick improvement was the result. The attacks of vertigo receded, likewise the pounding. The blood pressure went down to 112mm Hg. The patient's subjective feeling visibly improved. During the subsequent year the sclerosis made no further progress. At the end of a year the patient came to us again with the same symptoms in a lesser degree. A similar treatment brought about a further improvement; now, after a lapse of considerable time since the treatment it is evident that the sclerosis is producing no further degeneration of the organism. The external symptoms characteristic of sclerosis are on the decline, and the accompanying rapid aging of the patient is no longer there.

Eighth Case. Treatment of a Goitre.

A woman patient, who came to us in the thirty-fourth year of her life. She is typical of an individual whose psychic state is strongly influenced by a certain heaviness and fragility of the physical body. Every word she utters seems to cost her an effort. Very characteristic is the concavity in the whole shape of her face; the root of the nose is as if it were held back within the organism. She tells us that she was delicate and sickly even as a schoolgirl. The only actual disease that she went through was a slight attack of measles. She was always pale and very tired and had a poor appetite. She was sent from one doctor to another, and the following were diagnosed in succession: Infection of the apex of the lung, gastritis, anaemia. In her own mind the patient felt that she was not so much physically ill, but rather psychologically.

Having given this part of her history, we will now indicate the spiritual-scientific diagnosis, in order to examine everything further against the latter.

The patient reveals a highly atonic condition of the astral body. The ego-organization is thus held back, as it were, from the physical and etheric bodies. The whole life of consciousness is permeated by a subtle, dull drowsiness. The physical body is exposed to the processes arising from the ingested substances. Therefore, these substances are transformed into parts of the human organization. The etheric body in its coherent vitality is too strongly muted by the ego and the astral body; hence the inner sensations, namely, the sense of well-being and the sense of the orthostasis of the body become far too vivid, and the activity of the external senses is too dull. All the bodily functions thus have to take a course whereby they come into disharmony with one another. Inevitably the feeling arises in the patient that she cannot hold the functions of her body together with her own ego. This appears to her as a powerlessness of the soul. Hence she says she is more psychologically than physically ill. If the powerlessness of the ego and astral body increases, disease conditions must arise in various parts of the body, as is also indicated by the different diagnoses. Powerlessness of the ego expresses itself in irregularities of glands, such as the thyroid and the suprarenal; also in disorders of the stomach and intestinal system. All this is to be expected in the patient and does in fact occur. Her goitre and the condition of her stomach and intestinal system correspond entirely with the spiritual-scientific diagnosis. Most characteristic is the following: owing to the powerlessness of the ego and the astral body the need for sleep is partly satisfied during waking life, the patient's sleep is therefore lighter than a normal person's. To her, this appears as a persistent insomnia. In connection with this, she has a sense of easily falling asleep and easily awakening. Also in this connection she thinks she has many dreams, they are not, however, real dreams but mixtures of dreams and waking impressions. Thus they do not remain in her memory and are not powerfully exciting, for her excitability is lowered. In the inner organs the powerlessness of the ego first expresses itself in the lungs. Infection of the apex of the lung is in reality always a manifestation of a weak ego organization. The metabolism not being fully taken care of by the ego leads to rheumatism. Subjectively these things come to expression in the patient's general fatigue. Menstruation began at the age of fourteen; the weak ego organization cannot supply a sufficient unfolding of its forces to repress and restrain the menstrual process once it has come into flow. The work of the ego in this act of restraint comes as a sensation into consciousness through those nerves that enter the spinal cord in the region of the sacrum. Nerves insufficiently permeated by the currents of the ego-organization and the astral body are painful. Thus the patient complains of lower back pain during menstruation. All this led us in the following way to treatment. We have discovered that Colchicum autumnale has a powerfully stimulating action on the astral body, notably on the part that corresponds to the organization of the neck and head. Hence, we apply Colchicum autumnale to all those diseases which have their most important symptom in goitre. Accordingly, we gave the patient five drops of our Colchicum preparation three times a day; the goitre swelling receded and the patient felt much relieved. When the astral body is thus strengthened, it mediates a better functioning of the ego-organism, so that remedies which can work upon the organs of digestion and reproduction keep their strength in the organism. As such a remedy we used wormwood enemas, mixing them with oil, since oil stimulates the digestive tract. With this remedy we attained a considerable improvement. We hold that this treatment can develop its particularly favourable influence about the thirty-fifth year of life, for at this age the ego-organization has a strong affinity to the rest of the organism and can be readily stimulated, even when weak. The patient was thirty-four years old when she came to us.

Ninth Case. Migrainous Conditions in the Menopause.

This patient came to us at the age of fifty-five. She informed us that she had been weak and delicate as a child; during childhood she had measles, scarlet fever, chicken pox, whooping cough and mumps. Menstruation began at the age of fourteen to fifteen. The bleeding was unusually intense and painful from the outset. In the fortieth year she underwent an oopherohysterectomy because of a tumour in the lower abdomen. She also reported that she suffered since the age of thirty-five from a migrainous headache lasting three days, every three or four weeks, which in her forty-sixth year developed into a cerebral illness lasting three days with unconsciousness. The spiritual-scientific diagnosis of her current condition is as follows: General weakness of the ego organization, which expresses itself in that the activity of the etheric body is insufficiently immobilized by the ego organization. Hence the vegetative organic activity extends over the head and nerve-sense system to a far greater degree than is the case when the ego-organization is normal. This diagnosis is corroborated by certain symptoms. Firstly a frequent urgency of micturition. This is due to the fact that the normally developed astral body which regulates the secretion of the kidneys is unopposed by a normally restraining ego-organization of sufficient strength. A second symptom is the long time she took to fall asleep and her tiredness on awakening. The astral body has difficulty in leaving the physical and etheric, for the ego is not strong enough in drawing it away. And when she has awakened, the vital activity, working on after sleep, was perceived as a feeling of fatigue owing to the weakness of the ego. A third symptom is to be found in the scarcity of her dreams. The pictures which the ego-organization can impress upon the astral body are feeble and cannot express themselves as vivid dreams.

These perceptions led to the following treatment: we had to pave the way for the ego-organization to the physical and etheric bodies. We did this by compresses with a two per cent Oxalis solution on the forehead in the evening, compresses with a seven per cent solution of Urtica dioica on the lower abdomen in the morning, and compresses with a twenty per cent solution of lime blossom on the feet at midday. The object was, in the first place, to tone down the vital activity during the night; this was brought about by the oxalic salt, which exercises within the organism the function of suppressing an excessive vital activity. In the morning we had to ensure that the ego-organization could find its way into the physical body. This was done by stimulating the circulation. The iron effect of the stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) was applied for this purpose. Finally, it was desirable to assist the penetration of the physical body by the ego-organization in the course of the day. This was done by the downward drawing action of the lime blossom compresses at midday. We have already referred to the headaches to which the patient had become subject, with their intensification at the forty-sixth year of life. For us there was connection between the headaches and the cessation of the menses after the operation and their intensification with unconsciousness as a compensatory symptom for the menopause. We first tried to effect an improvement by the use of antimony. This should have worked if we had been concerned with the general metabolism, regulated by the organization of the ego. There was, however, no improvement. This proved to us that we were dealing with the relatively independent part of the ego-organization which primarily regulates the organs of reproduction. For the treatment of this, we see a specific remedy of the root of Potentilla tormentilla at a very high dilution, and in fact this worked.

The Rudolf Steiner Archive is maintained by:
The e.Librarian: elibrarian@elib.com