As we move towards the year 2020, it cannot be ignored that the health challenges we are currently facing are becoming increasingly compromising and complex at the same time. A collective angst could be said to be taking over with the divisions created by issues such as the unravelling of the Brexit debacle, the awareness of climate change, and general uncertainty emanating from these and other disturbing factors currently reported in the news on a daily basis. As these and domestic stresses increase accordingly, the second brain (1) - i.e. the gut (nowadays referred to as the 'microbiome'), has become the focus of much of the distress we see around us that we literally cannot digest any more - i.e. emotionally or physically!
It is as if our Neanderthal brains cannot adapt to the speed of change of events we are exposed to through the digital as well as the real world around us. Walter B. Cannon, a very visionary American physiologist (1871-1945) and the author of the seminal book ‘The Wisdom of the Body’, (2) - is quoted as saying - even back in the day - 'the evolution of stress in the human environment has outpaced the evolution of our biologically based reactions to a threat, resulting in maladaptive reactions to much stress'. The author is reputed to have coined the term ‘fight or flight response’ and he is also known to have expanded upon Claude Bernard’s concept of homeostasis. (Bernard was also a physiologist like Cannon, whose career pre-dated that of Cannon’s.) This book is the first detailed account of the manner in which our bodies maintain the equilibrium against the tide of disturbing forces opposing them. This suggests that the lessons to be gained from the body’s wisdom could be applied to issues of economic and social stabilisation. This view applies more than ever in today’s dystopian world where it is increasingly recognised that the body endures its many insults as a reflex of emotional dysregulation.
One of the bowel nosodes I find which has come to the fore for the scenario presented above is Proteus. In this remedy, there is a background of 'a state of siege' either through exposure to war, an embattled family dynamic or perhaps a tense working environment. The temper in the Proteus patient resembles that of Nux Vomica, but it is very much magnified in Proteus and also manifests a level of hysteria. Nux Vomica throws off the mood easily, but Proteus wallows in the effects, much to the chagrin of those around them. Extreme nervous tension prevails.
Apparently, the bacteria of Proteus is more prevalent in the gut since the second world war since stress has become such a universal feature of society today. The adrenals' release of cortisol is triggered to a degree which then leads to pathology. The kidneys and urinary tract are often the prime sites of the attack of the Proteus bacteria. Duodenal ulcers which are known to be rooted in stress come under the pathogenesis of this remedy. (Wine exacerbates their symptoms, like Nux Vomica.) Spasm of the peripheral circulation can occur as well as Raynaud's disease. Epilepsy can also be a feature. (3)
With many disease states emanating from the functioning (or under functioning) of the microbiome, it is quite salutary to discover there exist remedies like Proteus. Such reactive remedies can stem the flow of any possible development of pathology with the extreme constraints the patient may be subjected to in today's ever-changing world both within themselves and also around them.
Gershon, Michael D., (1999), ‘The Second Brain - Your Gut Has a Mind of its Own’, Harper Collins.
Cannon, Walter B., (1963), ‘The Wisdom of the Body’, W.W. Norton and Co., Inc., revised and enlarged edition.
Vermeulen, F., (2005), ‘Monera Kingdom Bacteria and Viruses’, Spectrum Materia Medica Volume 1, Emryss Publishers.