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Margaret was uncommonly dazzling, charismatic and constitutionally unfit for frumpy clothes. Nothing she wore matched exactly, yet it all worked together quite nicely because it was draped on her body with her patrician sensibilities.
She summered at Martha’s Vineyard, her long tan legs attracting onlookers. . . mostly men, but women, too. I can’t say in public what the men would think but I’m sure Margaret knew. It gave her permission to flounce her hair incautiously. The result was a kind of male chaos that fell in her wake. She was the sort of woman who reveled in her ever-changing relationships, amending them simply because the challenge was entertaining.
But then, one weekend after a friend’s opening in Soho, something snapped. Instead of her usual deftness in her daily routine, she began to experience weariness. It moderated her usual steady vitality with a chronic longing for naps. Before long, she also recognized that her easy confidence and flippant air had dwindled and was being replaced by a diminished, subdued version of her old self. And she began to lose more hair than she cared to think about.
At first, her symptoms were mild, but by the time she entered the doctor’s office, she was agitated and alarmed. “It feels like I have a chronic touch of the flu, and worse, I’ve put on twenty pounds.” The latter symptom troubled her the most.
The doctor considered hypothyroidism and subsequent tests indicated Margaret’s TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) was indeed low, so he advised a medication. This wouldn’t cure her, of course, but it would manage the problem.
Margaret began to question the decision to follow through since the side effects were written in the drug pack she was handed, albeit in print so small she literally needed a magnifying glass to make out the words. But, it was indeed as clear as day…anxiety, mood swings, hair loss, weight gain, chest pain, irregular heartbeat, shortness of breath, seizures. She already had suffered some of these symptoms and the drug only promised more!
Next Margaret visited a psychiatrist, because of the angst she was experiencing. He too proposed drugs. “No thanks,” she thought. She could have submitted without a struggle and simply taken the prescriptions, but that wasn’t Margaret’s style. In fact, even her best friend asked her, “What’s wrong with taking medicine?” “No,” Margaret insisted, “I must find a bona fide solution.”
And so Margaret wore her hair in a sweeping fashion that concealed the loss that honestly only she noticed. She was driven by her innate tenacity to unearth an alternative solution. A colleague who had been relieved of thyroid nodules with a special homeopathic preparation suggested the name of her reputable homeopath. So, Margaret scheduled a phone consultation because the homeopath lived two states away.
After this initial consultation, Margaret was comforted. She was not told her hypothyroid condition would be cured, but the homeopath put it in a different way. “Your body is responding to an imbalance which causes symptoms. We will use the symptoms to determine which homeopathic remedy is best suited to antidote or address your specific imbalance. Once the energy of the illness is met by the energy of the remedy, it will be unnecessary for the body to react. Instead, the reactions to the disease or symptoms will be antidoted.”
Margaret was inspired by the word “antidote” and within a week from taking the remedy Iodum, her fatigue began to fade. “Is this iodine?” she asked the homeopath. The answer she received was fascinating. The homeopath explained that we know that iodine is key to thyroid health, but to use it in gross form can sometimes be imprudent. Instead, in homeopathic formula, which is greatly diluted according to a specific mathematical procedure, any problems relating to iodine are eliminated, leaving only beneficial results. Since homeopathy is a medical paradigm used the world over, including European hospitals and clinics, and by homeopathic MDs, we have plenty of research to conclude that this method not only has merit, but is safe.
Margaret didn’t really care about the studies; her focus was on how well she began to feel. First she noticed that there was no longer a tangled mass on her hair brush. Then, her zeal returned. This happened within the first month of taking the homeopathic preparation. However, the most remarkable restoration was when she observed the pounds slowly melting and the fatigue eliminated.
Symptom by symptom, the disease seemed to dissolve. It was so natural and not unlike the way she felt before being struck with hypothyroid disease. Months later, her thyroid hormone was again measured and the proof was revealed. Her levels were indeed within the range of normal! It was about this time that, while at the theatre, she inadvertently ran into Alphonso, a handsome Italian friend from back in grad school. He squeezed her hand and whispered, “Sprezzatura!”
When she got home that night, she paged through her Italian dictionary and was delighted to discover that the beautiful word means “the art of nonchalance in effortless elegance.” Ahhh … the confirmation that her life was back.
Homeopathic Remedies for Thyroid Problems
The link between iodine and the thyroid gland is well established; therefore, it is no surprise that homeopathic iodine has been used homeopathically for many decades. In its original state, elemental iodine can actually cause thyroid pathology. This is why in the much diluted methods of homeopathic preparation it can instead rouse the body to address the very problem it can sometimes cause. This capacity reveals the very essence of homeopathy, which is ruled by the law “like cures like.”
In the case of Margaret’s sufferings, this remedy was chosen because it suited not only her specific symptoms, but her personality as well. What caught the homeopath’s attention, in this case, was her uncharacteristic weight gain and subdued behavior that was so unlike her when in health. Since the need for Iodum is characterized by these features, it proved to be just the right fit for Margaret.
However, Margaret had a colleague for whom the remedy choice was quite different. A common remedy for thyroid nodules, whether accompanied by hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, is Sepia. But again, the choice of Sepia depends on the entirety of the person suffering the problem. Margaret’s colleague had just had a baby when she developed her thyroid issues. This put her in a reproductive state that would need to be considered for the totality of symptoms to match. For example, she too experienced weight gain, but it was accompanied by mood swings and sleeplessness. Since Margaret’s hormones were not those of a new mother, Sepia would have been unsuitable for her.
A man suffering from hypo- or hyperthyroidism would indeed be subject to the same differentiating criteria, but the hallmark of his sufferings might include chronic perspiration of the head, easy weight gain that was particularly flabby and an overall sluggish disposition. There might also be anxiety and an overwhelmed sensation from his many responsibilities. This would point squarely in the direction of Calcarea carbonica, a homeopathic remedy most noted for these symptoms. Thus homeopathy is person-specific, not disease-specific and anything less would be a mediocre, polyester, one-size-fits-all choice. In the quest for authentic health, this will never do.
This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly journal of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Summer 2009.