Cimicifuga – The relationship between mental and physical symptoms

The Relationship between the Physical and Mental and Emotional State of Cimicifuga


Doctrine of Signatures

Cimicifuga is sourced from the root of the Black Cohosh or Black Snake Root, a perennial herb found in woods in eastern North America. It can grow to a height of approximately six feet and has a kind of wild looking foliage which are frond like in appearance. (Frond – is a type of divided leaf commonly found in ferns). From the plant grows a long stem with small white flowers at the top. The roots themselves are thick, knotty and have a resin within them and the remedy tincture is made from the dried roots and has a long history in its medicinal use for rheumatism, menstrual disorders and labour that appears to be slow starting by the Indian tribes inhabiting the areas.[1]


The will and understanding of the human mind is a key aspect of the process of relating the physical and emotional/ mental symptoms. The mind of the patient, like the foliage of the remedy source is somewhat separated from the reality and it is this area of the remedy picture where the will and understanding are also separated, thus causing the symptoms that we see within the patient requiring this remedy. The will in definition terms can be described as ‘the faculty by which a person decides on and initiates action’ and this can be described as coming from the heart area and a desire to react in a specific way in response to a stimulus. Understanding on the other hand is the ‘rational mind function where the stimuli is understood and cognitively processed’. In its optimum state the human kind should have a cohesive balance between the two; however, should this become imbalanced in any form, the Cimicifuga symptomology can become apparent as the will works in conflict with the understanding of the current situation. Kent[2] describes this as ‘a combination of the will and understanding constitute man; conjoined they make life and activity, they manufacture the body and cause all things of the body. With the will and understanding operating in order we have a healthy man.’

As the above states, this basis can form the relationship of the mind/ emotional state and physical symptomology of every patient; however, such aspects are directly true of the Cimicifuga remedy and the patient requiring it when the responses that interfere with the voluntary system’s actions are corrupted.

Physically, The remedy has been attributed to the treatment of Arthritis/ Rheumatic pain and Labour. Being mainly related to females, the historical proving highlighted the female affinity with regard to symptoms experienced. In essence it could be argued due to the gastric symptoms experienced by only female provers that the uterus is a key element of the physical organ related to this remedy.


The detachment of will and understanding is also apparent in the remedy’s mappa mundi with the remedy having the polarities between the Sanguine and Melancholic. Here the understanding could be described as wisdom and the will being described as acting spontaneously and in a way foolishly in its polarity state. The sanguine temperament also has a direct correlation to the heart organ and it is from here the will of the person acts, thus supporting the need for both to remain in balance and harmony with each other.

Interesting, as stated earlier, the remedy has a direct affinity and homeopathic usage with labour and post labour symptomology, such as slowness in labour delivery, labour pains changing from side to side and post natal depression can also be experienced for which the remedy can be prescribed. Interestingly, the mental symptoms experienced can impact directly on the physical symptoms described taking the will and understanding into consideration. Having mental symptoms described as sensation as if encaged/ caught in wires as Agrawal[3] describes, the slowness to give birth to her child or indeed the post natal depression experienced after could have a direct relationship with the mental picture as the feeling of becoming trapped with a baby could relate to the engaging delusion. Here the will and understanding conflict is seen between the reality of parenthood and the patient’s current delusion of what it will be like or possibly, a direct symptom of her own childhood coming through. The lack of control against the natural process of childbirth could also be a key element here, thus resulting in slow start to labour as a control mechanism or indeed the mental symptom of holding on to sanity which they can be in fear of losing at any time.

Another female dominated symptom is interesting to note in this relationship, in particular that associated with menstrual flow. An unusual feature of the Cimicifuga patient is the greater menstrual flow the more intense the pain becomes. Here the physical body is acting within its natural cycle; however, the pain experienced is at odds with what should be. Mentally as stated earlier the will and understanding is in conflict with each other and this symptom could be seen as being in conflict with what should occur as part of the physical system.

The mental restlessness, loquacity of jumping from one subject to another, mood changeability and fears of insanity can also have a direct relationship to the pain picture experienced by the patient. Pains described as shooting or shock like that move from site to site have been reported. The physical here can be described as mirroring the mental symptoms of lack of focus on one thing at a time instead of ‘jumping’ from one subject or activity to another.

The sensation as if a black cloud has descended, or a weight like lead is upon them, can also relate to physical symptoms as well as describing the depressive mind state they are in. Feeling sad, depressed and tearful are all associated symptoms of the internal emotional state; however, can relate to the physical symptoms, for example the pain within the neck and occipital area. Described as a pain that moves from the occipital ridge to the neck and back, the pressure sensation emotionally could exacerbate such physical symptoms experienced. It is here the sensation of heaviness can directly relate to both areas of symptomology.

As previously stated, the arthritis symptoms that can be experienced can have a direct link to the restlessness, the mental sensation of arms being bound to the body or the heaviness experienced for example. The fear of insanity can also come through here with regard to the historical blue print we can all carry and fear of how the ‘insane’ were treated for example being placed in straight jackets with all limbs, especially arms restricted. Looking at the restlessness mental symptom, arthritis can result in pain upon movement or the seizing of limb mobility due to exostosis, or other joint breakdown. The arthritic/rheumatic symptoms could be casting out a message to the patient to become less restless and slow down. The mental sensation of arms being bound to the body could also be likened to arthritic symptoms due to the lack of mobility that can be experienced and the sense of being stuck in one specific position.


As this essay has explored, the direct relation between just a few keynote mental and physical symptoms can be found. However, by ensuring one takes a complete holistic approach to treating patients, the Homeopath can assist with the alleviation of physical and mental/ emotional symptoms effectively.

Leaving the final words to Kent[4] ‘The man is the will and understanding and the house which he lives in is his body.’ By ensuring that the will and understanding remain in balance, the house will remain in good order, thus reducing the symptomatic relationships we see within the Cimicifuga remedy picture.




Other References/ Bibliography

Lecture Recordings – Unit 11. CD 5 tracks 5 – 9

Morrison. 1993. Desktop Guide to Keynotes and Confirmatory Symptoms

Norland. 2007. The Four Elements in Homeopathy

Vermeulen. 1993.Synoptic Materia Medica

[1] Gibson, 2000. Studies of Homoeopathic Remedies. P 166

[2] Kent, 1990. Lectures on Homoeopathic Philosophy. P22

[3] Agrawal, 2005. Materia Medica of the Human Mind. P116

[4] Kent, 1990. Lectures on Homoeopathic Philosophy. P 22

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