Mysterious, evolutionary, transformative, hidden or bold, we know many intimately, in fact, we can’t live without them….especially that tasty Camembert or favourite beer…. We know some can literally blow our minds, LSD, Psilocybe, and we use their derivatives in medicine commonly, Penicillin and Cephalosporins, but - although the homeopathic Materia Medica contains well known fungal remedies such as Agaricus, we don’t often see a comprehensive range in our day to day prescribing.
Fungi are unable to synthesize their energy from sunlight like plants. They are ‘heterotrophs’, meaning that they depend on organic matter produced by other organisms to survive. The spreading of asexual spores is accomplished via wind or water. Some explode when you touch them (Puffball) and others construct massive hyphal structures / branching filaments that make up the Mycellium (network) which can stretch for miles. An Armillaria Ostoyae which grows under the Malhuer National Forest in Oregon in the United States is one of the largest organisms on earth at around 10 square kilometres!
Here is a quick overview of Agaricus and Secale, two remedies which I know well and prescribe often. As you can see just from the images of my walk in my local woods – this barely touches the surface of potential in this Kingdom. I will touch on their potential in Arthritis.
The cap of Agaricus muscaria (from Agararicaceae, gill-bearing fungi of around 4,600 species) is bright scarlet. The crude effects of ingestion are intoxication and inhibition. In homeopathy this remedy has an affinity for the Spinal nerves, peristalsis and circulation. It is useful in a wide spectrum of pathology: Alcoholism, bunions, chilblains, cough, delirium, fever, gangrene, painful menses, neuralgias, nosebleeds, rheumatism, tics and respiratory illnesses amongst others.
The mental and emotional picture is that of a stubborn, self willed, indifferent character but with a recklessness, fearlessness and revengeful side. There can be a disinclination to speak or the opposite, loquacity. Often indicated for clumsy, overactive children.
Limbs: Stiffness of the whole body, better motion, unsteady gait, hands and feet very sensitive to cold, cramps, numbness, a feeling of dislocation in the joints, muscular soreness, paralysis of the lower limbs, trembling and twitching.
Better: from slow movement,
Worse: Cold or feezing air, before a storm, sun, morning, after eating, after sex, touch, alcohol, mental exhaustion, during menses, pressure on dorsal spine.
A source of Lyseric acid diethylamide (LSD), the fungi of the genus Claviceps are responsible for Ergot infection when this fungal disease affects cross pollinated grains such as Rye. Alkaloids of ergot are widely used in the conventional treatment of Migraines. In homeopathy the clinical use of this as a remedy are wide, from vision loss, debility, diarrhoea, menstrual issues, miscarriage, colic, myelitis, numbness, Raynaud’s disease and varicose ulcers to name a few.
Secale can be compared to Arsenicum in it’s great restlessness. Those needing this remedy tend to appear suspicious, anxious with a fear of death, there can be confusion, shamelessness and mania.
In Arthritis there is tingling and numbness of the limbs, formication, pain and spasmodic movements, violent cramps, a staggering gait, icy coldness of limbs, toes which are drawn up and violent pain in the fingertips.
Better: lying doubled up in bed, rocking, forcible stretching, cold applications, cold bathing, open air, uncovering, being fanned.
Worse: From heat, warmth, touch, motion, exertion, eating, loss of fluids, just before menses, pregnancy and after miscarriage.
If the above remedies have sparked a recognition in you about yourself or perhaps sparked off a line of enquiry into the other fungi as remedies, let me know.