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The Ranunculauceae family may sound a little exotic but in truth is it contains some of the most frequently prescribed remedies of the homeopathic materia medica. Let’s name a few: PULSATILLA, STAPHYSAGRIA, ACONITE, RANUNCULUS BULBOSUS, HELLEBORUS, CIMICIFUGA, CLEMATIS

The Ranunculaceae are a large family with 800 to 2500 species .

The family is spread all over the world, but the area is in the temperate zone of the northern and southern hemispheres.

The toxic components of these plants can be divided into three main groups:

1. Lactones: these substances have a strong stimulating effect on the skin and mucous membranes. Lactones are common in Pulsatilla, Clematis and the Ranunculus species.

2. Heart glycosides, active on the heart function. These substances are found in Adonis vernalis and Helleborus niger. Cimicifuga also contains similar substances (saponins) with an effect on the heart.

3. Alkaloids, these substances are found in Aconitum, Staphisagria, Aquilegia and Hydrastis. Aconitum contains the highly toxic Aconitine, which has a strong cardiotoxic effect.

Although each remedy has its own distinct character the plant family itself contains themes that are common to all the member of that family.

Jan Scholten, who has pioneered the opening up of the whole plant kingdom to homeopaths says this about the RANUNCULACEAE family:

They feel that the world is raw. It is too harsh. They therefore seek guidance from others, they seek protection and comfort. There is a conflict between their childish and weak personality that needs comfort and protection on the one hand and the desire to be someone in the community on the other hand. They want to be seen as successful and strong but can easily be brought out of balance by shocks, unexpected threats or being criticised. It is the conflict between the child and the adult in them. He has to be able to rely completely on himself at one hand but feels alone in the world and has to survive all the dangers and problems.

Essentially patients who need Ranunculaceae family remedies want to get on with their work but are stuck in emotions and fears of childhood.

They experience all the emotions:

Mortification, humiliation, indignation, insult, vexation; chagrin, anger, grief, disappointed love, excitement, fear, shock and to combat these they cling to others or seek support.

PULSATILLA deals with this by weeping, seeking sympathy and swaying whichever way the wind takes them (like the flower)

STAPHSYAGRIA tries to rise above humiliation and indignation. They try to maintain their dignity at all costs.

ACONITE is paralysed by fear and shock and can feel like death is near.

Marguerite Pelt says: Patients who need remedies from this family are sensitive, impressionable and idealistic. They have abandoned feeling = forsaken feeling, fear alone, fear alone evening, desires company, desires to go home. They are suggestible: yielding, mildness, fear ghosts. sensitive, sentimental and changing moods: mood alternating, mood changeable.

Two remedies from this group that are not so well known are ADONIS VERNALIS and ACONITUM LYCOCTONUM. I have used ADONIS several times in heart attacks and heart failure, sometimes alongside CRATAEGUS especially where due to shock or trauma or over excitement.

ACONITUM LYCOCTONUM is similar to its more well-known cousin ACONITUM NAPELLUS but is particularly useful for mothers and carers of children. They want to get on with caring for the children but experience shocks and traumas that get in the way.

SANKARAN says the RANUNCULACEAE have “Nervous tension. Inner conflicts, many emotions excited together, one on top of the other. Morbidly sensitive”

In summary the Ranunculaceae family comprise remedies that everyone will need at some time in their life, because childhood fears and emotions are a natural part of the development of humans. This fascinating family of remedies exemplifies the depth and breadth of homeopathic medicine, providing a beacon of hope for those seeking solace and strength in their journey towards holistic wellness.

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