Barbara Roberts, Homeopath


Winter is here, and an essential remedy for this time of year is Gelsemium.

Gelsemium is a remedy for the slow and gradual onset of colds or flu (or Covid-19). They may have a dry cough and runny nose, with a lot of sneezing. The nose feels dry and it is hard to breathe through. They have a dull headache, may feel dizzy, and generally they will feel dull and lethargic. Everything feels heavy- their eyelids droop, their head and arms feel heavy, and their face looks flushed. They have a fever and may have chills running up and down their back, as well as sweaty stages and feel weak and exhausted.

This is a remedy made from Yellow (False) Jasmine, which is an evergreen climbing, plant found in North America. Climbing plants need support, and we see that in Gelsemium the remedy as well.

Gelsemium can get so anxious about upcoming events that they are weak, shaky and trembling, and being held helps with this. They feel paralysed, their mind and muscles unable to move – except for their bowels and bladder. In fact they may have diarrhoea or an increased need to urinate when they are nervous, and indeed feel better for urination. Gelsemium states may be caused or made worse by anticipation or getting bad news.

I was reading The Third Day, The Frost by John Marsden with my daughter the other day. For those unfamiliar with it it is the 3rd book in an amazing Australian series about a group of teenagers who are camping in the bush when Australia is invaded, and come back to war. The 13th chapter has Ellie in a classic Gelsemium state:

“I could feel trembles running through me as though I had been wired up to a twelve-volt generator and someone had turned on the power.” At different points in the chapter she describes anticipating everything going wrong, being terrified, needing to be held, and feeling paralysed. “My mind was quite numb. I didn’t seem able to think any more. I could hear voices and the throbbing of the engine but I couldn’t connect them to any meaning…” Fortunately for Ellie and the story she is able to snap out of her Gelsemium state and take action, but Morrison does state that Gelsemium can be used to “counteract cowardice on the battlefield”. Fortunately these days we use it for more mundane stage fright and anxiety before interviews or exams.

Gelsemium states like colds, headaches and even anxiety may come after a fright or bad news, and any condition would come with the weakness, heaviness and trembling. They are generally thirstless, and may have a numb or heavy feeling tongue. Headaches start at the back of the head or neck and come up over to the forehead.

Gelsemium is an essential remedy not just for winter, but for anticipatory anxiety as well. Have you used Gelsemium?

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