By Hwaa Irfan
Previously, we explored the female connection via the homeopathic remedy Natrum muriaticum, depicting a woman who is very much a product of the Industrial Revolution. Raised in a family where mother bonding is weak/interrupted at any time from the womb through to childhood, Natrum muriaticum has grown up in an environment where there is no time for deep bonds to unfold; a family as a result that is emotionally distant, conservative, and principled in a manner that deprives the bonding and participation that this type of woman needs in her life.
Now we explore another face of the feminine…
The Natrum carbonicum type is the next most prevalent after Natrum muriaticum. To understand the nature of a person in need of Natrum carbonicum one takes a look at the element.
Natrum carbonicum is more commonly known as sodium carbonate Na2CO3, not to be confused with bicarbonate of soda. Once referred to as washing soda, in its natural form it is derived from the ashes of many plants, and can be found at the bottom of dry lakes in arid regions of the world, but can be extracted from common salt. Pure sodium carbonate is a white crystalline/powder compound that is soluble in water, has a cooling alkaline taste, and decomposes at boiling point and in the presence of acid bubbling as it decomposes. Without odour at room temperature it absorbs moisture spontaneously on exposure to air. Today it used to soften water, and to make glass as in the ancient times. When added to boiling water, the solution is used in taxidermy to remove flesh from bones. As an electrolyte (being salt-based) it is used in chemistry to facilitate electrolysis. In industry it is used as descaling agent, and to remove grease. If inhaled the lungs become irritated.
We can learn from this that as a person in her own right, natrum carbonicum is more down to earth, spontaneous and open than Natrum Muriaticum, albeit vulnerable, as we all are when placed under certain stressors. Just as natrum carbonicum absorbs moisture, natrum carbonicum the person is dry in nature, lacking imagination. She is a little more aware of her vulnerabilities, and to remain in her center, the familiarity of loved ones is very important. There is a quality of suggestibility about her which places her on unknown terrain without the support and protection of her family.
As is the underlying nature of Natrum there is a desire to be alone, but with the properties of Carbon, there is weakness and from that weakness a slowness when in a state of dis-ease. All Natrum types, are conscientious, loyal, dutiful, dedicated and sensitive with a lingering grief.
Natrum carbonicum would have experienced less emotional suppression than Natrum muriaticum, is as conscientious as Natrum muriaticum, but less a perfectionist, is as private, but more open, is as able to give (and express herself emotionally), but more able to receive. The difference between the previously explored Natrum muriaticum and Natrum carbonicum is state of mind. Whereas Natrum muriaticum is susceptible to depression, Natrum carbonicum is susceptible to anxiety.
Homeopath Philip Bailey describes the general physique of the Natrum carbonicum type as skinny to the point of being bony throughout with straight medium brown hair, and a freckled complexion with numerous tiny creases on the face (reflecting anxiety). The underlying thematic stress factor for all Natrum types is abandonment/rejection thus separation after inclusion i.e. being accepted and then rejected.
The stressor for the natrum carbonicum type in childhood begins with the feeling of rejection from a parent. As it has been established within the field of neuroscience, unprocessed negative emotional experiences tend to cast a shadow after the first experience, and any subsequent experience that is remotely similar will conjure up the same reaction. Natrum carbonicum is kind, loving and giving, but if one is familiar with Natrum carbonicum in the form of the alkaline soap that dries and cracks the skin, indicating a contraction/removal of moisture, and hence Natrum carbonicum will become anxious and hold back. She is not so hard on herself as Natrum carbonicum, but she feels safe and secure in her comfort zone where she is less nervous, and has more self confidence. Her self confidence comes from others which reflects the carbonicum nature within her, weakness showing as timidity. The fact that the compound Natrum carbonicum has a tendency to absorb air, and absorb water, reflects how easily influenced Natrum carbonicum the person is, and how easily overwhelmed she is by stronger personalities (water, air, fire). Consultant homeopath Rajan Sankaran summarizes Natrum carbonicum as follows:
“The Natrum carbonicum woman needs just one relationship and is very dependent on this one relationship, without which she feels tremendous fear, sadness, and sense of isolation…Natrum carbonicum is very sensitive, especially to separation from the beloved and to the breaking of relationships. When the beloved is not there or he has gone away the patients show great sadness, reacting to sad music, especially that from the piano. They desire to make contact but have been unsuccessful in forming relationships and blame themselves for it (Delusion, he cannot succeed, does everything wrong”). They become estranged from their family and friends and bear their grief silently, feeling forsaken.
“The Natrum carbonicum woman feels like an outcast and is always at the receiving end of abuse (offended easily)…Natrum carbonicum people can have a severe inferiority complex, especially in the sphere of forming relationships – they may feel unworthy of love or of any relationship. I have found in Natrum carbonicum a history of disturbed relationship with one of the parents, especially being forsaken or neglected by the father or mother. A woman may give the history of having been neglected by the father in childhood…It is interesting to note that Natrum carbonicum does not have any fear or delusions of animals. She is only afraid of people. They are sympathetic and help others; sensitive especially to the suffering of people who are lonely and forsaken by society, for example with beggars.”
As such, Natrum carbonicum develops anticipatory anxiety about new social environs to the point of panic! The element of anticipation can be so deep seated that it evolves into an anticipatory fear filled with irritability towards anything that is not common to her comfort zone, and may take it out on her loved ones, who represent her comfort zone. Startled by loud noise such as thunder storms (water, air, fire), being electrolytic by Natrum carbonicum, develops anxiety even before thunder storms probably sensing atmospheric change (the ‘charge’ in the air).
Natrum carbonicum the remedy has affinity with:
The nervous system
The digestive system
Just as Natrum carbonicum decomposes at boiling point (fire), Natrum carbonicum the person is sensitive to heat, but is equally sensitive to cold (water) and to draughts (air). Some of their symptoms of dis-ease are:
Air – The Natrum carbonicum person has low toleration of any changes in air just as they have problems with any changes in their social environ. This heat manifests in their symptoms of any change in weather: heat, cold, draughts, moisture. In the body this manifests itself in the stomach, which tends to get bloated, with non-specific abdominal pain (anxiety), and the respiratory system being susceptible to catarrhal coughs.
Fire – There is fire in their emotions when they become very irritable, and it is not unusual for them to curse, curse, their family, their spouse (where they feel safe), but also represents the sense of separation they feel, and as the new day dawns, upon waking they want nothing more to not start that new day. On the physical level they feel worse in the heat, under the sun, and in the stomach this manifests as acids (citrus fruits, vinegar) which aggravates them. They tend to have the sensation of burning on the soles of their feet, and in the joints, as well a heartburn, and heatstroke.
Water – Sodium carbonate is drying causing a departure of moisture from the body. In Natrum carbonicum this manifests as loss of fluids in the form of mucous through catarrhal coughs, dry nasal passage representing air as if there is an obstacle (the obstacle the prevents her from doing the right thing), but it only happens whilst talking, which represents communication which is a social activity). Again, there is loss of bodily fluids in the form of diarrhea, which she will have after eating flour products, drinking milk (including mother’s milk), after eating vegetables, after nursing, and during a thunderstorm.
Natrium carbonicum is just one face of the feminine principle in sodium… one that some women will be able to identify with especially as we live in a world today where the foundations of the family have been greatly undermined. We all have different susceptibilities, and what is enabling for some, is disabling for others. For Natrium carbonicum a sense of worth comes in the giving, she only now needs to learn to give to herself!
“Doubt has four divisions: disputation, distrust, vacillation, and surrender.” ‘Ali ibn ‘Abu Talib (a.s)
Bailey, P. “Homeopathic Psychology: Personality Profiles of the Major Constitutional Remedies.” North Atlantic Books.
“Sodium Carbonate or Soda Ash.” http://www.mineralszone.com/minerals/sodium-carbonate.html
Vermeulen, F. “Prisma: The Arcana of Materia Medica Illuminated.” Emryss, Netherlands. 2002.