This week we are exploring Miasmatic theory, what Hahnemann called our predisposition to disease, and covers inherited patterns of illness. This is the fourth miasm, so make sure to check out the introductory post and those about Psora, Sycosis and Syphilis.
Today we are exploring the Tubercular miasm, which is not one of Hahnemann’s original three miasms, but was suggested by Dr Samuel Swan in the 1870s, and has been widely accepted since then. Some Homeopaths do see it differently though, Peter Fraser considers it a combination of Psora and Syphilis, and a semi-miasm related to Sycosis.
Tuberculosis was a huge problem in the 19th century. In 1882 it was finally identified by Robert Koch as mycobacterium tuberculosis. The early health campaigns took place in the late 19th and early 20th century to stop people spitting in public to try and reduce the spread- there were large posters, and in some places even fines if you were caught spitting.
Tuberculosis, was known as phthisis or in popular culture as consumption, because they would gradually get thinner and thinner. Artistic and restless, there was a fatalistic beauty, and a romantic tragedy about the disease. Famous composers like Chopin, and writers like Kafka, Keats and the Brontë sisters are all reputed to have died from Tuberculosis.
The tubercular miasm is all about a desire for change. They love to travel, but even close to home they may be changing the furniture around and moving things so they are different. Like Tuberculosis, the Tubercular miasm has an affinity with the chest and feelings of suffocation, tightness and oppression.
If we are looking for a miasm of New Zealand, I suggest the Tubercular fits. All our peoples have travelled a long way to be a part of this country, whether it was the Māori migrations from Hawaiki, the British colonisers in their ships as part of the New Zealand Company, or more recent migrants on planes, we the people either migrated here or our parents, grandparents, great grandparents or more distant ancestors did. Māori were the earliest settlers of Aotearoa, and found their Turangawaewae, their place to call home, but many kiwis still have the restless energy and need to move. New Zealand was also considered a good place for therapeutic migration for people suffering from consumption. Death rates for tuberculosis were lower in New Zealand than in Britain, and in the late 19th and early 20th century many tuberculosis sufferers emigrated to New Zealand for the fresh air and change in climate.
Even without this history, we can see the Tubercular miasm in New Zealand society. The big “OE” or overseas experience is almost a rite of passage for young New Zealanders. The last few years have been anomalies, but prior to this New Zealand statistics show a steady increase in NZ resident arrivals, with 3 million kiwis returning to the country in 2018- so a far amount of overseas travel.
Physically, New Zealand also has a high rate of asthma compared to other OECD countries. While environment, housing, smoking and exposure to allergens will all contribute to asthma, it is a Tubercular miasmatic indication.
With our other miasms there is one nosode, but the Tubercular miasm is clouded by the multiple nosodes that are available. There is Bacillinum, Tuberculinum Bovinum Kent, Tuberculinum Koch, Tuberculinum Aviare, Tuberculinum Residuum Koch, Tuberculinum Denys, Tuberculinum Marmorek, and a few others I know even less about. These all refer to different sources of the mycobacterium – whether from the lung of a person who died from tuberculosis (Bacillinum), cattle (bovinum), chicken (aviare), cultured then heated and concentrated (Koch), cultured, heated, filtered and centrifuged, then succussed, centrifuged and filtered again (residuum Koch), cultured but prepared without heating or concentration (Denys), or serum extracted from horses vaccinated (Marmorek). In general when we talk about Tuberculinum, abbreviated to Tub, it is the Tub bov we are referring to which is the remedy introduced by Kent. I’m not going to go into the specifics of the different remedies, I recommend Louis Klein’s book on Nosodes and Miasms for this.
So let’s get back to the miasm. The desire for change and travel comes with an inherent restlessness. These are people who cannot sit still, they are always moving, changing and doing. Professions like pilot and flight attendant fit well in this miasm. There is a dissatisfaction about them. They are unhappy with where they are, what they are doing, and who they are themselves. This can mean complaining, which or bored children, or angry, aggressive and destructive behaviour.
We think lungs for tuberculosis, but any respiratory tract complaint including but not limited to recurrent ear infections, sinus infections, chest infections, colds, asthma, bronchitis or bronchiolitis, influenza and pneumonia. Inherited structural complaints like a chest that is narrow or arches in at the breastbone are also part of the tubercular miasm.
Ian Watson discusses Tuberculinum as a divine wake-up call, where hope, inspiration and creativity grow from the destruction left behind. He associates spiritual awareness, creativity and aspiration with the tubercular miasm. The connection with the breath is not just the physical interface with oxygen moving into blood, but the divine and spiritual connections.
Watson also discussed Tuberculinum in terms of dissatisfaction, and eternal longing. There is a sort of homesickness associated with this, not just to the physical homeland, but also that for the connection to your true self. As much as it is a remedy for people who choose to travel and emigrate, it is also a remedy for those who have been displaced for them home, for refugees or those imprisoned.
The Tubercular miasm has a strong need for freedom and a resistance to restriction. As a secondary miasm Peter Fraser talks about the tubercular miasm as feelings of suffocation and oppression – cannot breathe enough, and a desire to escape or break out to a place you can breathe more easily. This is pushing the boundaries, breaking through barriers, and even a desire to run away. If suppressed it can bring out violence or a destructive nature, but this does not have the cruelty of Medorrhinum or the sheer destruction of Syphilinum.
Watson also relates the Tubercular miasm to romance and connecting with others. He likens heartbreak to cracking of their shell to grow to a greater awareness and connection with divine love. I connect this back with the creativity that comes with the tubercular miasm- movies and books, particularly romantic ones but not limited to romance, are often used as a form of escapism, when we can not leave a situation but can for a short period of time inhabit a different world.
Come back tomorrow to read about the Cancer miasm and how we see that in society around us.