Clinical Cases

A Spike Through My Head Applying Plant Theory to a Case of Migraine

This elaboration is supported by another published case of this remedy by Katharina Riedener in Interhomeopathy. Katharina’s patient suffering from burn-out and chronic fatigue, told Katharina:

“My Mom was good but my father was a very angry, violent man. The kind of guy you could sit at the table and he would all of a sudden slap you for no reason or throw chairs. My brother and I would get beaten up sometimes, half of the time for no reason, we were walking on eggshells a lot.”

Feelings about father?

“It came up a few times: I loaded up the 22 and I was going to go upstairs and shoot him, everything was ready to go and I just had to walk up the stairs, but I never had the courage. I was thinking about what would happen, we would end up in a foster home; I was looking at the bigger picture.” 6   

Course of Treatment

Mary was given Derris pinnata 200C on Oct. 13, 2015. After several repetitions the potency was increased to 1M in August 2016. Her headaches reduced in frequency and intensity and finally ended. She reported feeling calm and centered in the midst of the chaos of school, and began to feel supported by her school principal. She remains migraine free to this day.

The Substance

Vermulen tells us this species of the genus Derris contain the highest level of rotenone, an insecticide and fish poison mainly found in the roots. Rotenone is used against parasites on house pets and in domestic sprays against mosquitoes and the like. “The dust particles of the powder block the trachea of insects. The rotenone reaches the nerves, resulting in cramps and paralysis” 7

Two Systems of Classification; Two Homeopathic Plant Theories

Scholten uses the modern APG (Angiosperm Phylogeny Group II) system of plant classification, which classifies Dalbergia pinnata as part of the Papilionidae, a sub-family of the Fabidae or Leguminaceae. Of this sub-family Scholten says: “Central is the idea that there is more to life than work. They feel as if they are living for work but they would like to work to live.”8 The remedies in the Fabales order, according to Scholten, relate to themes of the interaction between life in the family and life in the village:

“As member of a family, one is also part of the village. The family has to keep its place and respect in the village and the members have to work for that. At the same time the members have to find a place in the family, have to give and receive their love and respect.” 9

As we reflect back on Mary’s case it becomes clear that this is exactly where the energy of the case lay: the humiliation she experienced as a result of her perception of the loss of her family’s reputation caused by her father’s actions as a teacher in the community.

More recently Michal Yakir has published an alternative or complementary plant theory using the older Cronquist botanical groupings; she has constructed a grid or table which places plant families along two axes of developmental evolution10. The six columns are based on Jungian ideas of Self integration of feminine and masculine aspects of the psyche, while the 9 rows reflect Eriksonian stages of growth (within each column).

For Yakir, the Fabales come early in her 5th Column, which marks the emergence of a dominant masculine energy. 5th Column remedies are engaged with the task of mediating the split between Me and Other. Father-child relationships, resentment, fanaticism, rigidity, the primacy of work and responsibility….all these come within the purview of the 5th column, and also relate strongly to Mary’s case. Fabales are placed in the 2nd row (the Oral Stage), where basic security and trust develop. Once again, as Mary clearly lacked this basic existential trust, Yakir’s assignment seems spot on. Although I did not use Yakir’s system for this case, I am beginning to use it frequently with excellent results. I find that using both Scholten’s and Yakir’s plant theories give complementary insights into the rich and deep dimensions of plant remedies and the evolution of consciousness.


  • According to the Sensation method, the expected inner experience of Leguminaceae remedies is splitting apart, scattering, and fragmenting.
  • Not her real name. The patient generously gave permission to share her story in this article.
  • Jan Scholten. Wonderful Plants. 2013, JC Scholten, Utrecht. The most up-to-date classification and description of remedies by Scholten and colleagues using his plant theory can be found at
  • com
  • Reference Works.
  • Reference Works.
  • com
  • com
  • Michal Yakir. Wondrous Order: Systematic Table of Homeopathic Plant Remedies. Book One, Flowering Plants. 2017; Narayana Verlag. Kandern.

About the author

Doug Brown

Doug Brown

Doug Brown, CCH, RSHom(NA) serves as a director for A Promise of Health. He is a former sociologist with Cornell University’s American Indian Studies Program, and a Family Nurse Practitioner educated at Yale University. He graduated from Hahnemann College of Homeopathy in 2001, and currently enjoys teaching and mentoring homeopathic students and practitioners. Many of his articles can be found in Hoacuoidep, Homeopathic Links, Interhomeopathy, the American Homeopath, and on his website, Doug lives and practices homeopathy in Portland, Oregon.
His website is:

Leave a Comment