Clinical Cases Homeopathy Papers Homeopathy Repertory Materia Medica


Last modified on November 21st, 2015

Dr. M.L. Sehgal explores some determining aspects of Gelsemium’s mentals and illustrates with numerous cases.

gelsemiumA Bryonia patient fears suffering. Cocculus has fear of sudden events and the Gelsemium patient fears losing his self control.

Losing: Something or someone going away, something or someone slipping away from one’s possession, failing to hold on, not in a position to hold a thing with command anymore, a situation where defeat is inevitable, not able to attract a thing / keep a relationship due to loss of charm or affection.

A cloth loses its color means it has no more strength to hold it or the external agents (soap, sunlight etc.,) robs away its colour.

A mother says, “My children are going away from me, they do not love / listen / respect me as much as they used to.” She feels her grip loosening over them. It could be that they have grown up or she is too occupied to give them sufficient time.

When a wife starts missing her husband’s love she thinks she is losing him.

Self: Pertaining to oneself, limited to an individual

Control: Regulate, to check, balance, to keep under supervision, to guide.

For a Gelsemium patient it is very important to maintain his balance. He will therefore not do any activity (talking / moving etc.), which can upset his balance. It could be physical, mental or both.

For a Gelsemium patient, the balance depends upon his Will. If his will is strong he can keep his balance intact. He can move or talk easily until his mind is away from the body. For example, a sick lady keeps working in the kitchen so long as her mind is away from her problems but the moment she realizes that, she will collapse. If she continues to do so she stops work and returns to bed.

WILL, muscles refuse to obey the will when attention is turned away

To understand it in a better way we can read this rubric as:

-BETTER, feeling of, till the mind is away from the body(s*)

sehgal-schoolActually the condition of a Gelsemium is like a pendulum (oscillates to and fro). If his will (mind) gets strong (due to positive light) he gets exhilarated and the body gets tilted towards better feeling but the moment the will gets weakened he gets embarrassed and the body goes into the state of torpor. Now if we look into the whole symptomatology of Gelsemium, the concern for maintaining self control is visible.

There are many kinds of fear in a Gelsemium patient like:

Fear that his heart will cease to beat if he is not constantly on the move.

Fear of being alone

Fear when going to the church or opera

Fear in a crowd, in public places, of appearing in the public, of downward motion, of falling.

Fear of an impending danger

Fear of thunderstorm

It is in a bid to maintain self control that all these types of fears creep up in his mind while facing problems. The impact of the fear on his mind gets so strong that he loses his sense of security. For this reason he cannot live alone. He needs someone around so that if an emergency arises he can be taken care of. For this reason he clings to those near him.

CLINGING, held wants to be

Clinging: Sticking or coming closer by embracing. To adhere closely or firmly as if glued. To have a strong emotional attachment or dependence.

Why doe a Gelsemium patient need to cling? He fears that he may lose self control. For comfort: from someone who can really care for him. Who can understand his needs. Whom does he cling to? To a person who can provide him comfort, give him attention and show him the way.

  • ATTENTION, amel.

    When does he give up clinging?

When the light (attraction) fades or he does not get proper attention.


When there is an apprehension that the person to whom he is clinging may leave.

FEAR, of being rejected (s*)

-FEAR, falling, child holds on to mother

Gels is in:

-CLINGING, held, wants to be

but not in CLINGING, grasp at others

Arsenicum is the only remedy that covers both

Hold: To keep watch, support with hand or arm, adhere to something

A patient who likes to be held wishes that the person providing him support should always be there beside him. It makes him sad to hear that person say he has to leave. On hearing this he will plead / request that the person not leave but stay with him for some more time. Grasp: grip firmly; embrace, to keep in possession once in the grip (physically / mentally).

A patient who shows this behaviour will grip the attendant’s arm or hand not allowing him to go away. Such an action requires an effort from the person. He has to extend his hands or arms to do so. Once a thing / idea come into his grip he does not let it go easily.

For a Gelsemium patient it does not matter who is around him, whether it is a little child or an older person. If asked how he expects to be helped by a small child or an old person who are too weak to even take care of themselves, he will tell you that he does not expect any physical support from them but at least their presence is enough in case something happens to me then they can call the neighbor or phone someone.

-CLINGING to a person or furniture etc.

How and why does a person need to cling to the furniture?

Clinically it has been observed that a Gelsemium patient likes the presence of those persons who can understand him or his needs very well. He does not want those people’s support who have no idea about his needs. A lady suffering from menstrual pain told me that when in pain she felt like resting on a particular chair, which belonged to her mother. She said, “Today I asked my mother to send it to me.” When I asked her what it was that she found so particular about that chair,
she replied, “I do not know but whenever I used to get sick, sitting on that chair gave me a lot of comfort. I feel it is like my mother.”

This is again a case of fear of losing control. The thinking behind it is that if the other person fails to support him then at least an inanimate object can save her.

-FEAR falling of

Falling: To come or drop down suddenly to a lower position.

For this reason the patient takes the support of table / chair near him as he knows they are strong enough to prevent his fall.

What is etc. in the above rubric (CLINGING to person or furniture etc.)

Etc: Other than (a person or furniture) that if he has to walk up to the toilet or get up and move to do something important, he takes the support of a wall.

If we visit a Gelsemium patient we will find only one person sitting beside him as an attendant.

He wants that a person sitting beside him should be absolutely quiet. He should not do anything. He should not move at all. He should not watch television, hear music, read newspaper or do anything else. If he finds the other person indulging in any kind of activity he asks him to leave the room. He wants 100% attention of the person with him. He also does not like artificial or mechanical support / care. He likes natural affection and assurance, which exhilarates him and makes him cheerful.

-LIGHT desires (positive)

The word positive is an addition. It means he loves things in which there is no negativity. This patient asks the doctor if his problem will get better. He wants to hear a positive answer from the doctor. He feels good by reassurance from the doctor. The other meaning of positive is something that has a natural effect, no artificial love, affection or care. A Gelsemium patient likes to have natural light coming from outside his room during the day and at night he likes to have a light which is soothing.

The Gelsemium patient likes to have quietness around him.

-QUIET, wants to be

He cannot tolerate even the noise of a running tap as it takes away his self control. He is indisposed to talk and averse to being spoken to. He does not like to be touched. He wants to avoid every kind of disturbance which can affect his composure and state of balance that he is trying to maintain with so much effort.

-DISTURBED, averse to being

-IRRITABILITY, spoken to, when

-TOUCHED, aversion to being

Events, whether anticipated or of the past, affect this patient both ways. When anticipating she is doubtful of her capacity to face them and after they have passed away, she becomes over conscious about how she could face them and if she will be able to face them if they occur again.

-EMBARRASSED, ailments after

As this patient tries very hard to maintain his composure, anything, which shakes his composure, leads to embarrassment.

An example:

A lady is asked to cook for a few guests. Initially she feels that it would not be possible for her to cook but then somehow she manages it. After that when she gets exhausted she warns the family members to not expect it from her again. She accuses others of not understanding how difficult it was for her to do it.

It has been observed that if during the problem this patient attains a state of comfort she does not like to leave it. She will take care at all costs that no one disturbs her, even to the extent of not answering the call of nature. She will only move when it becomes necessary for her. It is only when her will gets strong or diverted that she moves. But because of lack of energy she fails to hold herself up for a long time and then falls back on the bed. This embarrasses her so much that she decides not to move again even if it is important.

In bad health he goes into a state of:




Confusion of mind

He cannot open his eyes and concentrate on anything. He cannot take any mental / physical exertion. In this state he has to suspend all his activities.

We call this state: TORPOR

It is a state of temporary loss of energy.

A Case: An old lady suffering from Herpes Zoster said, “I have all types of pains due to the disease.”

When questioned how she experiences her sickness and how she feels about it,
she replied, “After many days of turmoil I have realized that I should not worry about this body. It is not me who is sick, it is someone else. It is my body, the mortal being or my deeds (karmas). Let it bear it. I will have to leave my body when I am dead so what have I to do with it. I tell myself that I am the soul and not the body.”

-DELUSIONS, sick someone else is

Then she told me that she tries to get over the pain and do things but her body does not cooperate with her will. She fails to even lift her body. In her words, “The pain I go through is quite distracting and if I am not able to control my mind, it is not my fault because the pain is really very severe and even the strongest of the willed cannot withstand it. I wish something could relieve the pain. I have been having attack after attack and after every attack I feel embarrassed at the thought of getting another attack. There is always a desire for work but it seems impossible because of the pain.” This patient was able to move only when something strong diverted her mind.

WILL, muscles refuse to obey the will when attention is turned away

-EMBARRASSED, ailments after

Another thing to note about a Gelsemium is that he is happy only living in the past; he does not live in the present nor is he interested in looking ahead to the future. Two rubrics EXHILARATION and MIRTH denote the sense of happiness.

Exhilaration: it means a sense of elation. He derives pleasure recalling his successful adventures of the past.

-EXHILARATION can recall things long forgotten

It is the wind of `exhilaration’ which comes out of the happy thoughts of his golden past on which he floats and flies and the mirth gives him the sense of enjoying those ideas in his mind.

A patient says, “I feel energetic the moment I recall my past. Like while talking to my friends or family members about the way we used to enjoy or the way I spent my good days before getting sick I get cheerful. I feel very good after I remember those days when I used to walk for 10 km. at a stretch without getting tired. But then when I think about the present I get very sad.

-CHEERFUL, alternating sadness, with

Means, he feels contented with what has passed, but he is not happy about his present. The wavering of his self-control leads him to cling to his past and to gain control over himself. Another thing which makes him feel good is compliments from others for his past deeds. But if he gets the slightest opposition he finds it difficult to manage himself even though he knows the opposition is baseless.
One more thing that disturbs him is bad news.

-AILMENTS, bad news from

The news may not actually be bad in the real sense, yet it can be bad for him in the sense that it is a disturbing factor in his present peaceful state. A Gelsemium patient likes every moment to take him upwards (like the rising sun), where light i.e. hopefulness and optimism dwells and shines and not downwards towards darkness (despair) where he loses confidence in himself, and cannot even maintain his balance. He is a confused person and the more he attempts to come out of his confusion the more confused he becomes. He even doubts his own identity. He thinks that his real self is missing, that someone else is residing in him, that he is not a single person but two. Also, that he is lying in his own grave. About his sickness, he believes that it is someone else who is sick.


Case 1

A 25 year old man came to me for the treatment of a mental sickness in which he suffered convulsions. He said, “While riding on the scooter a vacant feeling comes upon me all of a sudden, say for a minute or a half as if my entire consciousness is reduced to half and that I must stop the vehicle”.

I asked him to give me more details and he replied, “It is as if I am trying to understand what is going on but in spite of my repeated efforts the brain remains locked and does not open.”

“How do you react to it?” I asked.

“Not very seriously, because I know by now that it lasts just for a few moments and vanishes on its own.”

“How does it affect you?”

“It is embarrassing. I may have an accident or get into a bad situation being in the middle of the road that it becomes impossible for me to save myself.”

“But how do you manage?”

“I am able to manage because I feel that it is by the force of sheer will that I am able to get over this temporary loss of control and carry myself onto the road side.”
It means it is not a complete loss of consciousness. That there remains some sense enough to drive you to the side of the road and wait there till you are in a position to see the world as before (to reopen your eyes).

“That is exactly so, sir.”

Gelsemium 30, one dose, removes all the above symptoms within 3 weeks. The prescription was made on the following rubrics.

1. STUPEFACTION, eyes cannot open (s*)

2. EMBARRASSED, ailments after

3. FEAR, losing self-control

4. WILL, muscles refuse to obey the will when attention is turned away


Case 2

The patient’s version is, “I fall ill very often and disturb everybody. Disturbing others is still more disturbing to me. Do you have any medicine that can freeze my memory and all sorts of sensations which cause this behaviour?” “This is where your system lacks because it doesn’t have any medicine like that. I remember in my old days when I was young and unmarried I used to take sleeping pills and lie down quietly in my bed without disturbing anyone. That way I could keep my problem to myself and not bother people.”

Gelsemium 30, which removed all the above symptoms, was prescribed on the following rubrics:

1. DISTURBED, averse to being.

2. QUIET, disposition heat during.

3. EXHILARATION, can recall things long forgotten (Exhilaration, by recalling things of the past.)


Case 3

A child of 6 years who suffered from bronchial asthma had cough with difficult breathing. (1) He would not leave his mother, would not even allow her to go to the bathroom. (2) He wanted her to hold him all the time and while being carried (on all occasions) he would clutch onto his mother’s dress. (4) He would cry if any sort of change was attempted on this position. (5,6,7,8) He would not allow anybody to talk to his mother either and would remain quietly resting his head on his mother’s chest. The above observations were converted into the following rubrics:

1. CLINGING, to person or furniture

2. CLINGING, grasps the nurse when carried

Clinging: Sticking or coming closer by embracing

Grasp: To hold firmly

Nurse: A women who has the general care of a child

About the author

Madan Lal Sehgal

Madan Lal Sehgal

Dr. M. L. Sehgal took up homoeopathy as a hobby. It later was to become his passion and he conducted research to improve its effectiveness. His method of prescribing has been successful in treating many cases of both acute and Chronic ailments. In 1983, he founded Dr. Sehgal's School of Revolutionized Homoeopathy in India. He authored Rediscovery of Homoeopathy Series, volumes I- VIII - the last series IX co-authored by his sons, Dr.Sanjay sehgal and Dr.Yogesh Sehgal. These give a detailed insight into his method. Written Originally in English these volumes have been translated in other languages, namely German, Italian & Czech. There are dedicated followers of Dr. M. L. Sehgal's Method all over the world.


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