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Miasms in Homeopathy

Your homeopath listens intently to all you share about your difficulties, occasionally requesting clarification on one aspect or another. How does she understand all the many elements involved in order to find your individualized remedy?

There are many aspects to analyzing the information you provide, including an understanding of the one particular miasm that is an influence on your perceptions of your life. Miasm is a German word meaning impurities or stain. In Homeopathy, miasms are the inherited patterns of disease and genetic habits that have been passed down to us through generations. 

Miasms are the cause of all chronic illnesses, those troubles, either minor or serious, which may come and go but always return to linger on and on. Conventional medicine considers chronic illnesses to be incurable and so treats the symptoms with drugs, surgery or experimental procedures in order to reduce discomfort and the threat to life. Homeopathic medicine treats the whole person and chronic diseases are gently and permanently healed.

In the wholesomeness of good health we perceive reality as it is, seeing and knowing what is actually happening around us and in us. When health is disturbed we see through the veil of a miasm. As if we were looking with blurred vision or through a dirty lens, reality becomes distorted.

Miasms are associated with particular diseases according to the nature of the disease. For example, a person perceiving reality through the veil of the Cancer Miasm experiences symptoms, stresses and challenges in life as if things were in total chaos and completely out of control. They feel they must exert tremendous effort to bring things under control. Of course this is similar to the nature of cancer, a disease of chaotic cell growth that can be very difficult to control.

Miasms are also associated with the developmental stages of life. The Acute Miasm relates to the beginning of life, to birth and infancy. Responses to life at this early stage of development are instinctual or reflexive, as in a fight or flight reaction. Infant diseases characteristically come on suddenly, sometimes violently, and there can be a short-lived but dangerous situation in which the child is completely helpless. A person who sees life through the veil of the Acute miasm experiences sudden, acute and threatening disturbances. One good example would be the person who gets panic attacks. Suddenly without warning they experience intense anxiety. Their first reaction is to run, to get away, to escape the situation. Like a child, they could be clingy and needy, feeling afraid to be alone and unable to help themselves. They could even react violently as if trying to escape their own skin. They might scream and shout and act wild, which is the adult version of a frightened baby, flailing about and screaming to be comforted.

Homeopathic remedies are grouped according to miasms as well. Nux Vomica is a well-known remedy for digestive upsets. It is classified as a remedy of the Typhoid Miasm. The attitude of the Nux Vomica patient is similar to the situation of a person with typhoid. Suddenly there is an intense and serious condition that could be a major, life-threatening event unless it is treated immediately. That’s just how it is for the Nux Vomica patient. He views his situation through the veil of the Typhoid Miasm. Suddenly there is a crisis (I have a deadline for this article to meet, egad!) but with concentrated effort to address the situation (I’ll have to stay up all night to finish.), the crisis will pass (Done, in the nick of time!) and then he can rest, at least until the next crisis occurs. There will always be another crisis to manage until the correct Typhoid miasm remedy is prescribed, because such a person experiences the pressures of life as a crisis that will take a lot of hard work to overcome before they will ever be able to relax.

Miasms also define the depth of disease. In health, hopes and fears are not a big issue. We see what is real, allow it to be so and move into the flow of reality without hoping for something different or fearing something worse. In sickness, the deeper a conditioned view of the world penetrates the mind, the emotions, and the body, the less hope there is and the more desperate one becomes. Usually there is a lot of hope things will turn around for the better once a panic attack is over or a crisis is overcome. However, someone who has contracted malaria can suffer a lifetime of long-term effects that come and go. The Malarial Miasm lies at a depth between conditions of hope and conditions of fear. An example would be the person who gets severe migraines around the time of her menstrual cycle. She knows they will come. Once a month she will be stuck at home with pains in her head as if someone were torturing her. She resigns herself to being unable to do anything and in that feels very unfortunate. Hope at this depth is expressed in fantasies while the fears express through the complaints of her dreadful situation. So, like malaria, the two alternate, one day imagining what will make life better and the next utterly harassed by what life brings.

The premier remedy of the Malarial miasm is China Officinalis, or China bark, from which quinine is made. One could say it was the very first homeopathic remedy ever known. Quinine was the substance that the founder of homeopathy, Dr. Samuel Christian Hahnemann, used to test the Law of Similars. This natural law states that a substance known to cause illness in a healthy person is the same substance to cure that illness when it presents in a patient. Hahnemann knew that quinine was used effectively to treat malaria so he took repeated doses of quinine until, after a few hours, he developed the symptoms of malaria. To this day, homeopathic remedies are tested in the same manner. The most precise remedy in any given case is made from the substance that can cause what it cures. This is an ancient concept in medicine and Hahnemann built an entire science of healing on it. 

I would like to share a cured case from my practice that will also describe the Tubercular Miasm. Tuberculosis in modern times is a disease of the poor. It occurs nowadays where malnutrition is high and resistance to disease is low. The best chances for survival are in people doing whatever can be done to get out of the poverty and deprivation they are trapped in. 

The attitude of my patient was similar. Although she was definitely not poor or deprived, she felt trapped being a mother at home with a toddler. To her the situation was hopeless in many ways. She couldn’t use daycare because her son was too dependent on her. Her husband worked long hours and was no help parenting at that time. Her entire life was claustrophobic to her and she wanted to get out and do things, go places, anything! Just not have to spend the whole day taking care of her son. She liked him. She enjoyed being with him but day after day after day, it was as if she couldn’t breathe. She felt pent up. She felt she was getting old, that she’ll die of pneumonia with all the mucus she was having in her sinuses and lungs, and there is so much more she wanted to do with her life, but she is interrupted by her son all the time. She felt isolated and oppressed by her situation. She was developing allergies with watery, itchy eyes and sneezing. It felt like a stagnant swamp, she said. She wanted out and felt there was nothing she could do to break out so to not feel confined to such a small space. 

I asked her to say more about the swamp and she described sensations that are caused by the Brassica family of plants. She wanted her life to flow like a river with never an obstruction and nothing ever getting in her way. The Tubercular remedy of the Brassica family is derived from the oil of mustard seed. After this remedy she returned six weeks later to say her physical complaints were gone. She apologized “for really ragging” on me when we first talked. Her sinuses drained within an hour of taking the remedy. Her mood was so much better she said. “Before I had no enthusiasm. I wondered what’s the point, why are we here on the planet? Things started moving for me after the remedy. Now it feels positive.” The allergies went away. Things with her son were getting better. She was hopeful. 


Understanding miasms helps your homeopath help you to clear the genetic patterns that are influencing your health. Native wisdom suggests that when you heal yourself you heal seven generations back and seven generations forward. That really adds up toward healing the whole of us.

Resources for this article come from

Rajan Sankaran, The Sensation in Homoeopathy, 2004, Homeopathic Medical Publishers, Mumbai, India

Samuel Hahnemann, The Chronic Diseases, 1828, B. Jain Publishers, New Delhi, India Richard Haehl,

Samuel Hahnemann, His Life & Work, 1922, B. Jain Publishers, New Delhi, India .

Image by Quentin Lagache
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