Written by Dr. Anke Zimmermann, ND, FCAH
Chelsea was almost four years old when I first met her. She had curly brown hair and hung on tight to a stuffed toy throughout our visit. The mother had come for a consultation because Chelsea refused to speak to anyone but her.
She attended a Montessory pre-school and would not speak to any of the other children or interact with them at all, even though she had been there for six months. She did not speak to the teachers either, who were quite concerned about the child. Chelsea did not even speak to her father
At this point she had been diagnosed with selective mutism. She did not say a word during the hour-long consultation. I asked all the usual questions, thought about it a bit and prescribed a remedy which did nothing. I gave another one - nothing again. I felt that I did not have enough information and asked the mother to come back and tell me everything about the family history, especially of any people in the family who were somehow similar to Chelsea.
A Good Clue
"Well, her grandmother - her father's mother - is a very peculiar lady. She does not interact with anyone either. She lives alone in the country on a farm with a lot of animals, all kinds, horses, dogs, cats, birds. She just loves her animals. I'm sure she prefers animals over humans any time. She is absolutely devoted to them and takes in rescue dogs and horses. She's been like that all her life."
Then I remembered a lecture by a famous homeopath, George Vithoulkas, which I had attended in New York about five years prior to meeting Chelsea.
He had vividly described a case of a man who was totally devoted to animals and did not interact with people at all. I don't remember why the man was being treated but in homeopathy the remedies are generally prescribed for the person rather than the specific condition.
The remedy was called Aethusa and it stuck in my mind as I've also been very fond of animals all my life. Aethusa is usually thought of in infants who can't digest their milk and in various neurological symptoms. It did not quite fit reading about the remedy, but the animal connection was interesting and perhaps the selective mutism could be considered as a neurological symptom.
It was worth a try.
Recovery with Aethusa cynapium
So Chelsea received a single dose of Aethusa cynapium, 200 CH. When I saw her again a month later she was a transformed child. She had started to talk to everyone and was beginning to play with other children. Another two months later she was normal in all respects. Everyone was amazed, epsecially the teachers.
I did not see her again until I ran into her mother a couple of years later at the library. Apparently all was well and Chelsea never needed another dose of the remedy.
I have only used this remedy three times in my professional life and only once with such profound effects. Homeopathy is so much like detective work, if you get the right clue the case can be solved.
In this case it was grandma's love for animals which pointed the way to a curative remedy for a little girl.
Dr. Anke Zimmermann, ND, FCAH is a naturopathic doctor with a special interest in developmental and behavioural disorders. Cases are all from her practice, names have been changed, they were published with permission and are intended for education only.
Dr. Anke Zimmermann, ND, FCAH, Naturopathic Physician
West Sooke, BC, Canada
Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 10-6 and alternating Saturdays from 10-4