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Hermes once separated two serpents entwined in mortal combat to bring about peace. These serpents were later included in the medical Caduceus as a sign of wellbeing.



















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You are viewing: Homeopathics - Opium - Contemporary - Level 3
to Homeopathics - Level 2


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Dr Peter Darashah


A plant of extremes the poppy is the source of both morphine, one of the strongest painkillers, and heroin, one of the most addictive substances known. It has played a dramatic role in history, prompting wars and huge social problems. Opium and heroin, derived illicitly, have produced devastating drug problems, while morphine and codeine are produced legally to play a vital role in conventional medicine. The homeopathic remedy was proved in 1805 by Hahnemann.

Typically opium is given to the type of person who exhibits extremes in their moods and behaviors, and these can be on either end of the spectrum. On one end is a sort of apathy towards life and a dulled sentiment towards pain in general. On the other end of the spectrum, opium is given to those who exhibit extreme hyperactivity to the extent where their sensitivity may even cause insomnia. As a result of the fact that opium may be helpful to people at both ends of the spectrum, there is a wide range of personality types that it may be helpful towards.

People may also turn to opium after extreme medical issues or life events such as recovering from a brain injury or paralysis occurring as a result of a stroke, or even those going through alcohol withdrawal or experiencing delirium. This goes to show that it is most useful in the extreme instances and therefore these make up the typical remedy profile, that may very well be anything but typical in nature.

However in the early days of Homeoapthy Opium did not enjoy widespread use. This was because of Hahnemann's idea that the "Primary State" alone of any drug provided the symptoms on which to prescribe homoeopathically, According to his view only the primary effects of a drug are available for its homoeopathic applications. Opium is almost the only medicine that in its primary action does not produce a single pain. Every other known drug produces in the healthy human body pains in its primary action, and hence is able to cure and remove (homoeopathically) similar disease pains. Opium however is unable to homoeopathically subdue a single pain (i.e., permanently cure) because it does not cause pain in its primary action. It can therefore only palliate.

Time and subsequent experience exposed the inaccuracy of the doctrine of the "Primary State" being the only one which can be taken for homeopathicity. What is a "primary" response for one prover becomes a "secondary" reaction with another. There is no consistency of the order in which the symptoms appear. It is therefore impossible to determine which symptoms are primary and which are secondary. All that can be said for certain is that opposing symptoms are present in the one drug picture and whether they are "primary" or "secondary" is a matter of opinion. The doctrine of the "Primary State" is therefore discredited and today Opium enjoys its own unique place in the Homeopathic remedy arsenal due chiefly to the presence of its many alkaloids including:

Morphia (used principally in the form of the sulphate) which is probably the best understood alkaloid.  It is used in conventional medication for the relief of pain. Homeopathically it has been used for pain relief in cancer, convulsions and muscular twitching and jerking of the limbs. Under these circumstances Morphia works homeopathically as a palliative according to the law of homeopathy and not as the opiate which stupefies the patient. 

Codene is another of the alkaloids used in the treatment of phthisis. It is indicated by a dry teasing cough which annoys the patient night and day. It has also cured twitching of the muscles, especially of the eyelids.

Apomorphia cures cerebral vomiting of the brain and should not be confused with the gastrointestinal vomiting of Ipecac. It is a condition brought about by intracranial pressure examples of which would be seasickness and vomiting due to unpleasant odours or tastes or even thought associations.

There are many many other alkaloids which are largely used in allopathic practice by way of cough mixtures and soothing syrups and for which very little information is available in the form of homeopathic provings. An idea of the multiplicity of opiates present in opium can be obtained from the table below.

Alkaloids of Opium

16-Hydroxythebaine,Berberine, Canadine, Codamine, Coptisine, Coreximine, Cycloartenol, Cycloartenone,  Cyclolaudenol, Dehydroreticuline, Dihydrosanguinarine, Glaucine, Isoboldine, Isocorypalmine, Laudanidine, Magnoflorine, Narceinone, Norlaudanosoline, Norsanguinarine, Oripavine, Oxysanguinarine, Palaudine, Papaverrubine B (O-Methyl-Porphyroxine), Papaverrubine C (Epiporphyroxine), Reticuline, Salutaridine (Sinoacutine), Sanguinarine, Scoulerine, Somniferine, Stepholidine.


Morphine group

(Phenanthrenes) Codeine, Morphine, Narceine, Narcotoline, Neopine, Noscapine, (Narcotine), Perparin, Papaverrubine D (Porphyroxine), Pseudocodeine, Pseudomorphine, Thebaine,


Cotarnine, Eupaverine, Hydrocotarnine, Laudanosine, Laudanine, Papaverine, Papaveraldine, Xanthaline,


Protopine group
a-Allocryptopine, a-Fagarine, Corycavamine, Corycavine, Cryptopine, Protopine,


Tetrahydroprotoberberine group
Corydaline, Corybulbine, Isocorybulbine, Capaurine.


Aporphine group
Dicentrine, Glaucine, Corytuberine, Cularine, Corydine, Isocorydine, Bulbocapnine.


Adulmine, Bicuculine, Bicucine, Corlumine.


Chelerythrine , Chelidonine, b-Homochelidonoine, Sanguinarine


Other components
Meconic acid

Mentals & Generals
The conventional opium picture is one where one thinks of dimly lit rooms filled with fumes where people have smoked themselves into a stupor. They are only semi conscious, are unable to stand firmly or talk coherently. They demonstrate a state of peace with great spoor and desire only to be left alone. They say that there is nothing wrong, that they are perfectly well and happy, have no pains or aches; want nothing and have no symptoms to report.

Observation reveals however that they have a high temperature, are covered with a scorching hot sweat, have a rapid pulse and are delirious.  The face looks besotted, bloated, purple; the eyes are glassy and the pupils contracted. The mind is in a state of confusion with occasional loquacity but in the main they only talk when aroused, a condition of general stupor in which the patient says nothing and does nothing prevails.

Notwithstanding the forgoing there is an alternative state of opposing symptoms which may even be present simultaneously in the same patient and includes:- mental sharpness and acuteness, intense sensitivity to pain both mental and physical , sleeplessness, inquietude, nervous excitability; anxiety, fear, fright, anger, rage, fury, propensity to jump out of bed and roll on the floor, mirth, hilarity, liveliness, diarrhoea, delirium, hallucination, spasms, convulsions, increased sensitivity to sound so that they can hear the distant sound of bells from a steeple or even the proverbial sound of a fly crawling up the wall.


1. Insomnia/ Narcolepsy/ Apnea/ Convulsions:
An increased sensitivity can result in insomnia (sleeplessness) and narcolepsy (inability to sleep despite fatigue) with intermittent brief periods of sleep which are light, restless or easily disturbed. Hearing becomes so acute that they seem able to detect even the faint sounds of insects' movements or the crow of a cock from a great far off distance. They are sleepy but unable to sleep. The sound of their own breathing disturbs them. The bed seems so hot that they must jump out of it and roll on the floor to cool down. Breathing becomes very heavy and deep (stetorous) and may even become irregular or even momentarily stop (sleep apnea).

They also have convulsions  in which the body is held in an abnormal posture with the head drawn back (opisthotonos) It usually involves rigidity and severe arching of the back, with the head thrown backward. If a person with opisthotonos lays on his or her back, only the back of the head and the heels would touch the supporting surface.

Any of these sleep conditions can pose a true disruption and even a danger to an individual's life and mental state. Opium often offers the relief that other solutions fail to provide. Taking opium in this capacity allows sleep to be regulated and continuous so that it is neither interrupted nor unusual in its occurrence.

In addition to increased sensitivity opium can benefit those sleep deprived individuals where insomnia is caused by a major life disruption, fear or trauma.

Finally for those who can't seem to get to sleep or stay asleep, opium offers an answer for a peaceful slumber. So called light sleepers who remain wide awake for a long time after going to bed with acuteness of all sensations, hearing especially; the least unusual noise will awaken and it is a long time before they can go to sleep again.

2. Constipation/ Diarrhoea/ Retained Urine:
Constipation due to gastrointestinal paresis with no urge to pass stools for an extended length of time resulting in fecal impaction. The digestion is sluggish and weak, and there is no appetite. Stools are dark, small, and very hard, like black balls. Though constipation may not seem like a life altering or pressing health condition, it can be in its most extreme forms.

Constipation from fright, shock and birthing trauma in which a newborn baby requires help with constipation issues also call for opium. Here the gastrointestinal tract or sphincter muscle may be partially or completely paralysed or rendered insensitive requiring much straining for expulsion.

A persistent Diarrhea may also be present on its own or alternate with constipation notably after shock.

Opium also causes retention of urine, "perhaps, chiefly," says Dunham, "by blunting the sensibility of the lining membrane of the neck of the bladder, so that the fullness of the bladder is not recognised by the patient" Opium may be of use for retention or urine which "may occur in fever, in acute illness" (Dunham) or following fright or parturition  The basic cause for urine retention is similar to thast of constipation (ie complete paresis of the urinary organs or paralysis of the sphincter.)

3. Shock and Injury:
Shock and injury may display such opposing symptoms as emotional and sensory shutdown, or overexcitement and hypersensitivity or sluggishness and indifference. Conversely, the person can be overwrought, possibly with insomnia or even convulsions. Either or both of these states may occur in response to shock, grief, or injury.

Typically the Opium patient is overwhelmed with anxiety and fear. They are thrown into convulsions, have diarrhoea, fits of some sort, and it is days and weeks before that fear is gone. These complaints stem from when fear remains, or the idea of the fear remains, or the cause of it comes before the eyes. For example a pregnant woman is frightened that she will have a miscarriage and the object of her fright continually looms up before her eyes. Or again a case of epilepsy dating back to a fright and the fear remains in the mind and comes up before the eyes just before an attack comes on.

Associated symptoms include hysterical attacks, physical shock with diarrhoea and sometimes constipation; retention of urine or return of the menstrual flow  or the stop of menses results for months. In these situations there is great fear and the object of the fear remains before the eyes.

Opium may be a very helpful homeopathic remedy to turn to in such times. In addition it also offers relief if a great injury is suffered within the body. Therefore, not only does it help with mental health issues, it also helps an individual cope with the emotions and reaction suffered from a state of shock.

Opium is an effective homeopathic remedy that will treat the primary issue of the actual shock or injury and then help to heal the symptoms that come about as a result of either condition.

4. Post-Stroke Paralysis:
Those who suffer in this way find that paralysis is an unfortunate but very common side effect. Post-stroke paralysis involves paralysis of the limbs together with dullness and stupor resembling that experienced after shock. There may be blackouts, a blue-tinged face, and labored breathing.

When this is the case opium may be looked to as a homeopathic remedy for helping to heal or lessen the actual paralysis suffered. As the limbs become dull and listless, opium can offer the revitalization that they need to work again.

5. Delirium Tremens:
Delirium tremens is when extreme apathy or hypersensitivity is accompanied with tremors, or even convulsions. There can be frightening visions, and possibly blackouts. It may be suffered at anytime in and of itself as well as a consequence related to something else such as alcohol withdrawal.

Homeopathic Opium works on the hypersensitivity that delirium may cause and the symptoms that it may present along with it. Not only can opium help to make the delirium subside, but it can also help to rid the body of symptoms such as tremors, convulsions, or even blackouts.

6. Remedy Resistance
The physiological use of Opium or of its alkaloids is well known to deaden pain. Its administration is not supposed to be curative as it simply "destroys", as Allen succinctly puts it, "the consciousness of suffering pain." Not only does it destroy the consciousness pf pain but in so doing it destroys both the action of any Homeopathic remedy as well as the manifestation of the disease symptoms. Thus the Homeopathic physician is unable to observe symptoms properly and is consequently in a difficulty to determine the correct simillimum.  


Opium poppy
Opium poppy

Field of poppies
Poppy field

Poppy seed exuding latex from a cut
Poppy seed exuding latex from a cut.

Poppy seed field
Poppy seed field

Kingdom: Plant
Latin Name: Papaver somniferum 
Common Name: Opium poppy
Homeopahtic: Opium


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