Augmented study of ranunculaceae family through rubrics

Dr Shaikh Nishat PMI

This family contains many remedies that we know commonly –

Aconitum napellus, Actea spicata, Cimicifuga, Clematis erecta, Helleborus niger, Hydrastis, Pulsatilla nigricans, Ranunculus bulbosus, Staphysagria are all fairly well proven remedies. And also they are well-represented in the Repertory and the Materia Medica.

When we study the rubrics that are common to many members from this family Ranunculaceae, we see the following common themes:

→ Ailments from; indignation
→ Ailments from; mortification, humiliation, chagrin; emotional or mental → ailments from
→ Ailments from; anger, vexation; grief, with silent
→ Anger, irascibility; tendency; trembling, with
→ Respiration; difficult; mortification, after

What is Vexation ?
Vexation means irritation or annoyance. So we see in this family, a

marked tendency to become annoyed or angry, and we see physical symptoms that occur as a result of annoyance. We also see other emotions and their somatic effects.

Let us study some remedies with the help of common rubrics:

Aconitum napellus :- In aconite we see following rubrics:

  • Mind: Ailments from: fright or fear: accident: from sight of an: old
  • Gen: Ailments from: fright or fear
  • Gen: Sleeplessness from fear, fright or anxiety
  • Nervous system: Trembling, mental condition, fright, from
  • Gen: Ailments from: Grief, sorrow, care
  • Female: Menses: suppressed, chagrin, fromPulsatilla nigricans :- In pulsatilla, we see the following symptoms;
  • Gen: Ailments from: Grief, anger, fright
  • Gen: Palpitation, trembling of limbs; from chagrin, fright or joyRanunculus bulbosus :- In Ran-b, we have following rubrics:
  • Gen: Excitable: complaints from fright or vexation
  • Gen: Limbs: Trembling, chagrin, fromStaphysagria :- In staph, we see following rubrics:
    • –  Gen: Ailments from: fright or fear
    • –  Mind: Ailments from grief
    • –  Agg: mortification, especially if caused by offence
    • –  Gen: Colic from chagrinWhat is Chagrin?
      Chagrin means a keen feeling of mental unease, as of annoyance or embarrassment, caused by failure, disappointment, or a disconcerting event. Mortification means a feeling of shame, humiliation or wounded pride Indignation is anger that is aroused by something unjust, mean or unworthy.

So one of the common themes of Ranunculaceae family is:

Mortification, chagrin, vexation, indignation and the physical or the somatic effects of these emotions.

But in this family is not only anger and vexation but there is also grief and fright that is seen in all the remedies. So when we look altogether we see that the vital sensitivity of Ranunculaceae is an extreme sensitivity to mortification, vexation, chagrin, indignation and insults that give rise to anger and especially these emotions give physical effects particularly on the nervous system.

In the Generalities, stitching pain is prominent in the Ranunculaceae remedies. Pains are sharp, stabbing, stitching, stinging and this is a kind of physical correspondence to the vexation on the mental level. In the mental level, is as if someone is poking you, is putting a needle into you, is irritating you. The sensitivity in the Ranunculaceae family is so high that it cannot be held in for too long and then it can be an outburst of emotion or there is bluntness. In Pulsatilla this outburst is in the form of weeping, in Staphysagria there is an outburst of anger and violence. In Helleborus you see the other side which is extreme bluntest.

Another word that is important for the Ranunculaceae family is the word ‘trifles’. Trifle means a very small thing, so they are very sensitive to very small things. In Staphysagria, Phatak writes: Morbidly sensitive, the least thing hurts or offends. We also see that the excitability of the nerves remains for quite some time after the exciting cause. Feelings (mental and physical) continue for some time after the event. These are common to the remedies of the Ranunculaceae family.

The three basic human emotions which are fear, anger and sadness or grief. These emotions are usually felt by all of us one at a time. For example: I could be angry now, I could be sad at another time or I could be frightened in a 3rd instance. But in Ranunculaceae you find these all 3 emotions come up at a same time and they are intermingled with each other creating a kind of internal conflict or dialogue and this becomes so much that often it is expressed at a physical level and gives rise to many bodily symptoms.

Many emotions experienced together, causing ambiguity. For example, there is anger and guilt at the same time. These two things can go side by side. For example: somebody hurts you, somebody speaks insultingly to you, you feel not only angry but also ‘Did I do something wrong? Am I responsible?’

So these two emotions intermingle with each other in Ranunculaceae family very characteristically. For example: when a person is scolded by his boss, he feels at that time anger from being insulted, grief because he has to bear the insult that he is in such a position that he cannot respond and fright as to what can be the consequence of the anger of the boss, maybe he loses his job. So he experiences anger, fright and grief all at the same time intermingled with one other. This is characteristic of this family. So there is a kind of Vulnerability, a feeling of injustice, a feeling of insult and all this goes together.

Insult here does not mean a direct injury. It doesn’t mean like a hurt, like in Compositae family. Like in Arnica family – it’s not a hit or hurt, it’s not that kind of a feeling but it’s the feeling to be touched in a raw, vulnerable spot. It is this rawness, this vulnerability. The feeling as if your skin is not there, as if your nerves are exposed and that somebody has touched my raw vulnerable spot in Ranunculaceae family. By touching that raw spot, that vulnerable spot, that is the indignation, that is the vexation, the mortification, the chagrin of Ranunculaceae.

What’s the Difference between Ranunculaceae and Compositae?

In the Compositae Family the feeling of being injured in the physical body can take the form of insulted in the mental state. But in the Ranunculaceae Family we find that it’s not insulted. It’s always a mixture of feelings. Insulted, with frightened, with guilt, with grief, with sadness – many emotions.

And especially in Compositae you get the injury, here in Ranunculaceae you get the main theme : rawness of the nerves, the sensitive spot, the raw spot which cannot be touched because it’s exposed. It’s very-very sensitive. For example: Staphysagria is very useful for effects of Surgery. You know like there is a surgical scar. This scar is the sensitive spot, any touch on it, any irritation to it, is very painful. This is a kind of experience of Ranunculaceae. The raw spot, the sensitive spot, the touchy spot and there you have the sharp, stitching, stabbing, stinging pain.

So this is the main difference between the two families.

SUMMARY OF THIS FAMILY: Many emotions excited together. Somatisation or Somato-psychic like a bodily symptom can produce irritability. Outbursts, brooding, passionate. These outbursts can take the form of violence for example: Staphysagria wants to throw something or wants to hit somebody when he is angry. The Rawness and Sensitivity are the active reactions of this family whereas in passive reaction there is Numbness, Bluntness. Like you get in Helleborus. They are so blunt and so numb. Helleborus is one of the most blunt, the most numb remedies of our Materia medica. In Compensation, the person requiring a remedy from Ranunculaceae family maintains Equanimity i.e. not troubled by these things.

 Dr Shaikh Nishat PMI

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