Saccharum offcinarum is one of those remedies that remains somewhat elusive in homeopathic Materia Medica. It has never enjoyed the kind of prominence of many "constitutional" remedies, mainly seen as one of the more interesting yet unusual remedies. However, given its ubiquity in the world as a condiment and its essential relationship to biological function, it perhaps deserves a broader use.

Tinus Smits is one of the modern homeopaths who has advocated its greater use, raising it the status of a major polycrest. There is no doubt that it does deserve to be understood as an important remedy to be considered in daily practice.

All the sugar remedies share certain qualities and can often be compared to the milk remedies. There is a similar metabolic function and symptomatically they share many qualities. Some of the similar themes of both sugar and milk remedies are the following:

  • Breast feeding issues
  • Conception, pregnancy issues being wanted by their parents.
  • Childishness, immaturity, clinging to the mother
  • Homesickness, dependency.
  • Forsaken feelings,
  • Lack of self-identity, dependency on others for meaning.
  • Compulsive eating, anorexia.
  • Disconnection feelings, spaciness, floating.
  • Issues around death.

One of the key indicators for both sugar and milk remedies are issues that begin very early in life, dealing with being wanted by their parents, feelings of neglect, not having enough, feeling physically or emotionally starved. Therefore, the etiology begins often very young, the differentiation between different remedies depending more on the manner of compensation. The fact of the time of etiology at the beginnings of life is one of the factors that Smits discusses in looking at issues that concern what he calls universal layers. In my experience it is true that specific early events, stemming even from conception and the intention of the parents in having a child can be significant factors in a case and may lead to remedies such as the Saccharums and milks. Vermeullen quotes in Synoptic MM 2 that Saccharum album is the spoilt child, Saccharum lactis the abandoned child and Lactic acid the eternal child. This observation has been confirmed in my experience, yet it is sometimes hard to distinguish between them. It is interesting that Lactic acid is one of the main remedies for intense nausea during pregnancy, relating again to the basic issues of nurturing, nourishment and connection.

In all the cases presented, there are intense issues around the parental relationship, with consequent insecurity and neediness. Jealousy, anger, and issues with sugar metabolism and candida, needing security and affection are all seen.

Vermeullen describes the development of growing sugar beet, and the use of sugar in the west, with refined sugar becoming denatured and dead, but also being used as a preservative. The theme of death is mainly seen in Saccharum lactis and has the interesting symptom of thinking that her mother wants to kill her and someone is behind her. They have dreams that family who are still alive are dead, dreams of dead persons, of little children who are born and die. Saccharum lactis also has the extreme coldness, icy coldness or cold pains, like icy needles. In this way it looks like Lac defloratum, which also has extreme coldness along with a desire for death, imagining the easiest way of self-destruction. Issues around death are also seen in Lac humanum (maternum), often seen in dreams of babies that are dead, dying, lost or starving. All the milk remedies should be considered though if there are dreams of dying babies.

One of the main differences is that with the milk remedies, there is still a question as to whether they really belong here, are they really on the planet. With the sugars, there is the feeling that they are here but they lack love and nourishment, they are cold and alone and looking for warmth and love. The milks tend to be more disconnected. Feelings of floating and not being connected to other people can be strong confirmations for the milk remedies, especially lac maternum.

The uncontrollable feelings of anger, often associated with feelings of hypoglycemia are an important keynote for Saccharum officinale. Often it is a petulant anger, like when a child stomps its feet to get attention, although it can also be a wild, uncontrollable feeling. In this way it can also look like Carcinosin.

The childish quality of both sugar and milk remedies needs to be emphasized. Often they look younger than their age, not exactly childish but more child like.

In conclusion, the sugar remedies should be considered strongly when there is a strong etiology of parental neglect, isolation and difficult very early years. In this way it may be compared with the natrums and magnesiums, as well as Carcinosin, Candida Albicans and Pulsatilla, amongst others.

Woman age 35.

CC: "I'm extremely sleep deprived; baby wakes up every hour and my husband) can't comfort him. He has to sleep with his head under my arm. Also, every since my pregnancy I've had this wart (right middle finger tip). Also I have really bad headaches that start at my left shoulder, come up neck and go here" (gestures to forehead and orbit area around left eye). Usually on the left but yesterday I had one on the right. Then I also have pain (gestures to internal side of right knee) in ligaments. It takes a while to unbend it."

Wart appeared in mid to late pregnancy. Had two in teen years on either thumb; they were burned off. Doctor said headaches were tension related. "Hitting pressure points" up left side of neck >. "They go up to eyes (gestures again around left orbit). Can last 2-3 days. Drinking coffee >, but not always. Started about 10 years ago. In mid-20s had migraines at then job. Migraines: averse to light, seeing white dots. They went away when the job ended. I've had this other kind about 7-8 years." Had really stressful job, boss incredibly demanding, stirred up a lot of tension in the people around. She was his assistant (TV production) for three years. Last two years of job she moved to Development Executive, "and that kind of headache kind of went away. Big personal transition for me, just out of college, worrying about what I was going to do in the business world. Great experience but stressful."

Knee pain started 3 months ago; coincided with/lower back pain from carrying baby, which went away. "If I sit too long with bent legs it's hard to stretch it out; it's really tight and sore. Bending it, sitting on my knees which makes pressure." No time modalities.

"When I get headaches I notice I crave sugar, but it doesn't help headache. And I think the headaches might come a few days before my period. Although I had one last night, and my period isn't due for a couple of weeks. Sometimes with/headache I want something to relax me, like massage or chiropractic adjustment, or some physical manipulation of my body." (Also mentions hot baths).

Family

Grew up in San Fernando Valley, one of five children, parent's had great animosity towards each other, hate; "it was a battlefield growing up; they divorced when I was 10. I was a good student; went on to college where I lost a lot of the confidence I had in high school and felt lost for a while. High school's a much smaller arena--going from being at the top in high school and a community where everyone is like you to a big arena, with people who seemed to have a lot more confidence than me. Went to USC, a private university with a big "WASP" element from Orange County. I'm Jewish, and grew up sort of thinking if you're Jewish people sort of look down on you. I felt pushed down--it wasn't like that at all in high school. Went from having boyfriends in high school to having girlfriends only--it was a huge adjustment and took me several years to find myself. My parents had gone to USC; had experiences like crosses being burned on people's lawns by KKK types. I had a fear of that, and also thinking I was Jewish, so I would never be equal to those people.

I was too young to understand much when my parents divorced, but I saw one incident where my Dad attacked my Mom with his mate there. Upset me; I would run away when my Dad came to pick me up, wouldn't see him, etc. He tried to preserve his relationship with me, but from 10-14 I wouldn't let him, felt I should be loyal ally to my Mom. She's very much a victim--sees herself like that all the time.

[How was it with you and your siblings?] "Close to my siblings, especially sister 4 years younger than me. My brother is at Berkeley. There was some sibling rivalry, but that's normal. Always got along with them; I was kind of a peacemaker growing up."

"I don't talk to my Mom; haven't talked to her since baby was about 5 days old. That's a really big thing--she wouldn't go to the weddings of two of my siblings because our Dad would be there. Dad paid for my wedding, and she still came, but then my husband gave a little speech to everyone thanking my Dad for making the wedding possible, and she became furious. Because Mom needs to be the center of attention I didn't invite her out from Texas for the birth. I called right after my labor to say I had had the baby--I was in labor for 24 hours and had a third-degree episiotomy, and she should have appreciated how much effort I was going to. Instead, she "lauched into it" on the telephone. When I told her the baby was going to be named Darwin, she said "Darwin! Why don't you name him David?" Also, Mom discovered by calling our house and having my husbands mom answer the phone that she had not been invited for the birth, but his had. It was jealousy. The baby was only 3 days old then and still in the hospital; we were worried sick about him and she insisted on intruding. My husbands mom tried to call her right back but Mom wouldn't speak to her. I called her later; she was cold and monosyllabic and said that she had sent me a note and I could read it. When I got off the phone I went into a rage, told my husband to burn the note when it came without reading it. I didn't read it, but he did, and it was full of character assassination of myself and him. Mom's done this with every child and their spouse, so I know it's not me that's the problem.

"Where should I put my energies, into my baby, or into babying my mother?" Laughs. "Okay let's talk about something else; because I'm shaking inside just thinking of it, with frustration, anger and sadness."

Pregnancy and Birth--"great, blissful. Enjoyed every minute of being pregnant. Some women don't like pregnancy but I loved it. Labor was very long though, my uterus apparently "lost steam" and the two midwives said I couldn't push him out, and we agreed I should go to the hospital." Pitocin drip didn't help; neither did suction devices, finally they gave me a third-degree episiotomy [she declared this three or four times during the interview] to use forceps. Baby came out having slight breathing problems, then got jaundice--he was in the hospital 5 days and I was distraught because I couldn't connect, had to watch baby through glass with all these needle lines stuck in him. But I really enjoyed having most of my labor at home. He was born on his due date, weighted 7 lbs 12 oz., the biggest baby ever born in my family."

"In pregnancy, had 2 dreams he was a boy, so I always felt he was. Whole pregnancy was an incredible experience; I really felt energized. Little bit of morning sickness in the beginning; also worried "Will I be a good mother?" Maybe some mental thing going on with the "stuck" labor--at one point midwife asked "Is anything sticking you?"--and I blurted out "I'm worried I won't be a good Mom!" After that I thought he might come out, but he still wouldn't.

Childhood--"Father not around physically. Mother wasn't there either, often physically. She took Valium and would lock herself in her room and not fix our meals; our grandmother would take care of us. Mom was unpredictable; would fly into a rage and "lash into us"--we could never tell what to expect. Didn't work during pregnancy--big transition--just coming back from overseas (Christmas trip to England), husband getting a job, getting resettled. We lived with his Mom (Southern California) during most of my pregnancy, then moved into a sublet in Albany; we've lived five different places since he was born."

Menses--"Periods are regular, not painful. Before my pregnancy I had them every 24 days for 3 days--this changed when I hit 30; they got more "PMSy." Periods started up again when baby was 4 months old; I was upset about that because I was still nursing fulltime. Every 27-28 days now.

Foods--"I like chocolate ice cream! and spicy, Thai, Asian, sushi. Don't eat much meat, only a few times a month, and no red meat." She tries to make her meals from scratch, lots of veg, fresh fruit and yoghurt. Dislikes red meat, potatoes, "heavy, creamy foods," cauliflower and broccoli." Likes "warm, moist weather," 75-80 degrees, not too hot.

Fears--"Now that I'm a Mom, I think about my mortality. Fear of financial security is a big one for me; we grew up with little and the financial situation for my Mom was always precarious." Other fears? "Fear of the public fear in this nation, self-induced. I dislike authority figures who use that position as a power trip over you. People that belittle you." Anger?--"Angry at injustice, like what the media and government are doing right now, the hypocrisy of it, the level of delusion sweeping the country. The media are supposed to be the "watchdogs"" [but are participating in the deceit.]