Bismuth Oxidum - Between a Rock and a Hazardous Place
Updated: Aug 3, 2021
According to Jan Scholten, in his plotting of remedies on the Periodic Table (1), Bismuth is number 83 and lies between Plumbum Metallicum at number 82 and Polonium at number 84 in the Gold series. The Gold series relates to leadership, power, and isolation (among other significant features).
It is ironic that Bismuth is linked with this series. This is especially because of those first two aspects (i.e. leadership and power) when one considers the major known symptom of this remedy is based on the need to be held by the hand. The well-known rubrics are reputed to relate to children. However, I have observed that since the pandemic, increasing numbers of people have felt infantilised in different ways and have acted it out accordingly. One could speculate that the restrictions placed on populations since the pandemic have removed the power of the individual. After all, many freedoms of choice one used to take for granted have been removed in one fell swoop with little strategic end in sight.
Bismuth is in stage 15 of the periodic table which relates to both destruction and surrender. Jan Scholten speaks of abdication, suicide and harikari in context of this remedy. With the amount of duress suffered over the last year or so, it could be observed that more people have moved towards this type of ideation than prior. Bismuth is certainly not known in this regard in its traditional way in homeopathic texts.
I have always wondered why Arsenicum Album is considered to be such a significant polychrest when Bismuth covers many similar rubrics and has many of the same affinities, especially of the gastric sphere and is equally damaging in its pathology. (2) Both remedies are better for cold drinks and cover cancer of the stomach. Like Phosphorus, water is vomited in Bismuth when it reaches the stomach.
Arsenicum Album is at stage 15 in Scholten’s periodic table but surprisingly appears in the Ferrum group of remedies which is focused on the issue of work as the main ethos. It is at number 33 between Germanium Metallicum (number 32) and Selenium (number 34) - both of which are trace elements, which do not go as deep into the psyche as the more toxic Plumbum Metallicum and Polonium. The Ferrum and also the Gold series cover the impacts of failure in the individual. This is such a difficult concept in today’s world where perfectionism is so often the sought after goal.
With the gut increasingly recognised as the second brain nowadays (3), and with the evidence of increased gut disturbances manifesting since the outbreak of the pandemic, I believe it is increasingly important to recognise Bismuth as a significant remedy in this sphere today. According to Theodore Gray (4), the active ingredient in Pepto-Bismol brand deranged stomach medicine is 57% bismuth by weight. This is really quite odd when considering that the elements both to the left and the right of Bismuth on the periodic table (i.e. lead and polonium) are reputed to be so poisonous, as mentioned above. Despite the fact that this remedy sits smack in the middle of these toxic heavy metals, as far as is known, the metal form is completely non-toxic based on this reference.
What I have observed is that this remedy has distinctive mental/emotional symptoms in Murphy’s repertory (5), other than those appertaining to their clinginess (*) which also overlap with Arsenicum Album. These include:-
Alone, ailments from being*.
Holding, constantly, mother’s hand*.
Company, desire for*.
Fear, alone, of being*.
Moral, feeling, lacking.
I have observed that there are no delusions in Bismuth, being such a grounded remedy, whereas Arsenicum Album is much more delineated in its reputation for different delusions, especially around their sense of security. My conclusion is that Jan’s Scholten’s vision of its applicability for sudden suicidal impulses could be very timely. This fits with the extraneous nature of the current situation. Bringing into awareness a re-aligned focus on the old proven homeopathic remedies could offer a step up to shed a light on the new paradigm which is now emerging.
Scholten, Jan, 2008, Element Theory, Stichtung Alonissos.
Murphy, Robin, 2006, Nature’s Materia Medica, Third Edition, Lotus Health Institute.
Gershon, Michael D., 1999, The Second Brain - Your Gut Has a Mind of Its Own, Harper Collins Publishers.
Gray, Theodore, 2012, The Element, A Visual Explanation of Every Known Atom in the Universe, Black Dog and Leventhal Publishers.
Murphy, Robin, N.D,, 2005, Homeopathic Clinical Repertory, Third Edition, Lotus Health Institute.