Emerging from Captivity - Ambra Grisea and Boron Metallicum Take their First Steps
Updated: Mar 14
As the third lockdown nears its end and the horizon starts to extend beyond our four immediate walls, how does the landscape look? I have observed on enquiry of those around me, that there is some trepidation about re-entering a world which has not yet been fully envisaged, let alone navigated. Some people have mentioned to me that they have lost confidence - the very thought of embarking on a journey of just a few miles, which would prior be taken without question, is now more likely to cause people to freeze at the very thought. It is speculated that those who are introverted are more likely to need support on entering the mainstream after a period of protracted incarceration.(1) Mingling in large groups could appear even more daunting.
I have decided to focus on two lesser-used remedies which come to mind as being suitable for this phenomenon - Ambra Grisea (derived from morbid secretions from the whale) and Boron Metallicum (the metal element of the mineral - Borax Veneta, Sodium tetraborate). I have found Ambra Grisea to be more indicated in adults and Boron Metallicum in children. However, they both act across the spectrum of different ages.
What interests me particularly in Ambra Grisea is that it is a very good ‘lack of reaction’ remedy. So, previous well-indicated remedies may have been given without optimum effect. This could well be due to the extreme extraneous pressures being brought to bear in the current climate since the outbreak of the pandemic. It is also a remedy matching a state of ‘hysteria’. With so much continued emphasis in the media on the dangers “out there” at the time of Covid-19, it is no wonder that the public adopt this state of mind as a defence mechanism. It could well be that the individual has been caught up in the grief of the pandemic, having lost different friends and/or relatives as a result (similar to Natrum Muriaticum).
Some interesting rubrics according to Murphy (2) for Ambra Grisea reflecting the withdrawal from society, are:-
‘Anticipation, ailments from’,*
‘Anxiety, in a crowd’,
‘Company, aversion to, better when alone’,
‘Company, aversion to, worse presence of strangers’,
‘Crowds, society, ailments from’,
‘Death one, death, after another’ (in plain type along with Carcinocin in black type and Natrum Muriaticum in italics as the only other remedies),
‘Death, parents, or friends, of’.
‘Embarrassment, feelings’/’ailments, embarrassment, from’,
‘Fear, strangers, of’,
‘Light, shuns light’, (3)
‘Looked at , worse mental symptoms’,
‘Looked at, cannot bear to be’,
‘Sensitive, noise, to’,*
‘Talk, indisposed to, desire to be silent, taciturn’,*
‘Timid, company in’ / ‘Timid, public, about appearing in’.*
(* indicates overlap with rubrics for Borax Veneta/Boron Metallicum.)
Rajan Sankaran, in his book ‘Soul of Remedies’ (4), described Ambra Grisea, like other animal remedies, showing ‘divided will’ and a type of ‘contempt of self’ - this combination of symptoms reminds one of Lac Caninum - also derived from an animal remedy - in the latter case - the milk from the female dog.
As a sycotic remedy, there is a dirty feeling which drives the patient to want to disguise it, resembling Thuja - the quintessential sycotic remedy. Although Baryta Carbonicum is also in the rubrics regarding embarrassment, it is markedly more apparent in the picture of Ambra Grisea. Of course, the main feature of the embarrassment in the latter remedy relates to the passing of stool or urine in the presence of others. What may make the situation worse for the Ambra Grisea patient, when re-entering society after this long lockdown, is shown in its affinity with Natrum Muriaticum is their immersion in the resulting grief process. It could easily be that they are grieving the loss of friends or relatives in the pandemic. This could make the passage much more tentative than in other cases.
Boron Metallicum is a remedy from the Periodic Table proved by Jan Scholten (5) and is very closely related to the remedy - Borax Veneta. The Boron picture is one of great sensitivity and awareness, usually acting at a much deeper level than Borax. Often, the recalcitrance seen in Boron dates right back to the individual’s birth when there was some resistance to emerging from the birth canal. As a result, a lack of protection is felt from the moment of emergence into the very exposing world sensed around them. They may easily have retreated back to the safety of the womb once they were close to the actual stage of delivery. This is reflected in the way the individual views the outside world at this time of uncertainty, an unknown territory which has to be faced with less of a road map than at any other recent period in our history. The instinct of this individual will not be unconscious to this reality. Boron acts to foster resilience which is sorely lacking in such cases.
It now appears that some of the key symptoms of Borax, namely the sensitivity to noise and the aggravation from downward motion, are in fact properties of the metal itself. Retreating may seem the only alternative option to people facing the outside world at this time, as when first entering the world from the comfort of the mother’s womb. It is as if they have never fully ‘incarnated’ and remedies such as Borax and Boron Metallicum can reconcile this reticence of engagement.
I therefore consider the rubrics according to Murphy (2) appertaining to Borax also comply with Boron Metallicum:-
‘Anticipation, ailments from’,*
‘Fear, downward, motion, of’,
‘Fear, infection, of’,
‘Quiet, wants to be, walking in open air’,
‘Sensitive to noise’*,
‘Talk, indisposed to, desires to be silent, taciturn’,
(* indicates overlap with rubrics for Ambra Grisea.)
Generally, there are many more rubrics containing the remedy, Ambra Grisea than Borax. This is because it is better represented in the repertory than Borax Venata/Boron Metallicum. This however does not negate the value of Boron Metallicum. The hysteria Boron shares with Ambra Grisea could also be a reflection of the atmosphere in the zeitgeist around the pandemic which has not wavered since its inception. The individual needing this remedy could easily be picking up on the angst in the domestic environment emanating from other family members.
It is interesting to me that there is an overlap in rubrics pertaining to both these remedies. I only discovered this once I had decided intuitively to focus on these two different remedies. It never occurred to me that there were such similar manifestations in the two before this exploration. The one symptom that distinguished Boron Metallicum from Ambra Grisea is its fear of infection. This shows Boron’s strong parallel to Calcarea Carbonicum in the focus of its symptom picture.
Silica is a remedy which bridges the gap between Ambra Grisea and Boron Metallicum and could easily be the fundamental remedy of the patient needing one of the two above-mentioned remedies.
Just as the Boron patient can withdraw after any challenge, so can the one requiring Ambra Grisea. The Boron patient may retreat into a more ‘embryonic’ form, whereas the Ambra Grisea one is more likely to develop early aging in the form of senile dementia. These two remedies illustrate the extreme duress created by the pandemic, which is not only triggering a susceptibility to physical pathology such as Covid-19 itself, but also ‘States on the Spectrum’. These can run quite deep and also affect the whole lifetime of the sufferer, as well as their families and community around them.
Butterly, Amelia, ‘Coronavirus Anxiety: How to Cope with Life after Lockdown’, bbc.co.uk, 11th May, 2020.
Murphy, Robin, ND, ‘Nature’s Materia Medica’, Third Edition, Lotus Health Institute, 2006.
Van Zandvoort, Roger, ‘The Complete Repertory: Mind’, IRHIS, 1994.
Sankaran, Rajan, ‘The Soul of Remedies: Ambra Grisea, Hpathy.com, 31st May, 2017.
Scholten, Jan, ‘Homoeopathy and the Elements’, Stichtung Alonnissos, 1996.