A Supplement to Clarke's Dictionary of Practical Materia Medica

by Peter David Fraser

     
 

 

Agathis australis

Agathis australis

Kauri Tree

Found in the ancient forests of Northern New Zealand

Tincture of the sap and gum produced at places where the bark has been damaged.

Kingdom: Plantae

Phylum: Coniferophyta

Class: Pinopsida

Order: Pinales

Family: Auarcariaceae

Clinical

Backache

Migraines

Characteristics

Sap and gum from an ancient Kauri individually named Yakas by the European settlers was proved by Misha Norland at the School of Homœopathy in 1993 using a 30c potency. Further provings were conducted in New Zealand and Australia by Misha Norland and Alastair Gray using a 200c potency. There were a total of 64 provers, 11 male and 53 female.

The Kauri is a primitive conifer in the same family as the Norfolk Pine and the Monkey Puzzle Tree. Although not quite as tall as some of the tallest trees in the world, because the trunk is almost cylindrical it contains the largest volume of wood of any tree. It is an ancient tree that can live for over two thousand years, the oldest individuals dating from the pre Christian era. The characteristic peculiarity of the tree is that when the integrity of the bark is damaged gum is produced as in many trees, however, in Kauris the wound never heals up and gum continues to seep out for centuries creating stalagmites of resin on the forest floor. This is probably caused by the enormous pressures needed to carry sap in such quantities to such a height.

The trees were and still are sacred to the Maori but when they came to New Zealand some five hundred years ago many of them were felled and used for building and the making of ceremonial canoes. The coming of Europeans accelerated logging not only for the high quality timber but for the resin that was a valuable constituent in paints and polishes. Many of the largest and oldest trees were felled and only a few of the ancient ones remain in the Waipoua forest on the North Island. Yakas is one of these and forms part of the remains of the Cathedral Grove. The trees are known generally as the Lords of the Forest. The two very largest of the trees are know by the names Tane Mahuta, Lord of the Forest, (and also the name of the God of the Forest who is the ruler and protector of men) and Te Matua Ngahere, the Father of the Forest. These are now carefully preserved and protected.

In Maori mythology in the beginning was only Te Kore, the Nothingness. From which came the primal parents of the Maori: Papatuanuku, the Earth mother, and Ranginui, the Sky father. They were embraced together and had 70 sons, the Gods of the Maori. So close was their embrace that no light could enter and there was no place for their sons. They decided that their parents must be separated. Some wanted to kill them but Tane-Mahuta convinced them that they only needed to be separated. Many of the Gods tried but none could break the embrace so great was their love, until Tane-Mahuta the Kauri, the God of man and forests, tried. He pushed his roots against the earth and his branches against the sky and slowly, strenuously pushed them apart. The light came in and the world was created.

The Kauri trees are always treated with respect as individuals and more than that as nobles, gods and rulers.

There is also a connection between the Kauri and the Whale, the rulers of the forest and the sea respectively. They were believed to have swapped their skins as a mark of mutual respect. The trees were also important in the making of ceremonial canoes and a link to the sea was evident in the provings.

Male and female cones are both found on the same tree. The young trees are called "rickers" they grow quickly and have a pyramidal shape. As they get bigger they grow more slowly and shed their lower branches. The mature trees have a clean, smooth trunk with a spreading crown far from the ground. The bark flakes off which prevents epiphytes and parasites from gaining a foothold.

There is in Welsh a word, Hiraeth, which cannot really be translated. It is a homesickness, a longing for the land that is home, but it covers much more: it is a longing for the past and a yearning for the spiritual home and the spiritual roots. It is a word that describes the feeling that pervades Welsh literature from its beginnings and it is a word that encapsulates some of the feeling of Kauri. It is perhaps as much the yearning and the longing that is important as what that longing is for. There is a yearning for home, for childhood and for things that have gone. The cases confirm a history of feeling forsaken, betrayed and rejected.

There is in the remedy a sociability a desire to enjoy company and particularly to dance.

There is in the remedy an evasiveness. Things always lie at the periphery, close enough to know that they are there but not close enough to hold them or to see them clearly. One prover said she was on the brink of understanding what it is all about. Another was flirting and feeling sexy but never closing the deal. Dreams in particular were unremembered but there was a feeling that they were there but could not quite be grasped. Another version of this was the description of anxiety looking for something to attach itself to. The dreams both in the provings and the cases are often about being chased or persecuted.

One of the key feelings of the remedy is a sense of being pulled down, of a downward energy. This could be described as a simple heaviness, but is more specifically an actual downwards pull. It was felt in the limbs and body and particularly in the face which was described as pulled into a point or collapsing downwards. The other side of this a feeling of flying or floating. Floating on Aladdin's carpet. The dreams revealed not only flying but also climbing and being in a high place.

Water was important in the proving, particularly in the dreams which included even the smell of water and reported cases have confirmed the importance of water and of swimming in the remedy. In one case the patient was more approachable and happier when she was in the water. Other cases have shown the other side of this with a considerable fear of water.

Issues around food and appetite and associated feelings of self-loathing were strong in the proving.

Sensations of numbness and pins and needles are experienced physically and numbness and indifference are also important emotional features. There is painlessness when there should be pain and a cutting off from the emotions.

These sensations also tend to have a downward direction to them, especially moving down the arms and legs.

There were not many skin symptoms except for pricking and prickling sensations and small eruptions like mosquito bites.

The pains of the remedy are generally sharp, sticking or stitching. One prover experienced the sensation of being poked in the back.

Leila Joffe of Auckland reports a case of a man whom she describes: "it is as if he wants to stand upright but something weighs him down or prevents him from rising." He feels a weariness a deep fatigue. He has a nagging pain around the kidney and trouble passing water. When he was 11 his father had left and he became father to the family of 10 children. He had been a logger, loved the open air and knew all the New Zealand trees intimately. He had returned to the Marai (the tribe's sacred land) and was teaching the guys logging and forest ranging but the Marai was cold as no one had taken on the mantle of leadership. His ancestor in the 18th century had been caught with his men raiding the lands of an enemy tribe. In order that his men were released he had stayed and been beheaded and his head had been buried under a tree. This ancestor had come to him and asked him to finish the job. At first he did not understand what the job was but he realised that it was to take on the mantle of leadership and that this was what he was struggling with. After the remedy he took up the mantle and became the leader of the tribe. The Marai is no longer cold and he has not had urinary or sleep problems and his energy was much improved.

The tree remedies all have a sense of aspiration about them they are reaching for something. They are also rooted in the Earth and in the past. Without these roots they would not be able to reach as high as they do yet these roots are also the things that holds them back. Each of the trees has a particular aspiration and a particular type of root and these are important factors in differentiating the remedies. In Kauri the aspiration lies in being able to lead and inspire, which brings with it a weight of responsibility. These trees are the Lords of the Forest and the rulers of both forest and men. The roots lie in the past and in tradition but times always change and the longed for home in the past no longer exists and the yearning for it becomes an isolating and numbing force rather than an inspiration.

Artistic correspondences

The film the Whale Rider is a particularly good portrayal of many of the themes found in Kauri. Not only from the point of the young girl who has to take on the mantle of leadership and responsibility for her tribe; but also for her grandfather who has to hand on the traditions and knowledge of his ancestors while accepting that there will be changes and adaptations needed to suit a modern age, including accepting that a woman can be the leader of the tribe.

Peculiar sensations

That her right arm did not belong to her.

As if whole head was pulled towards a peak, like a knights visor.

As if face collapsing in down to the nose.

As if a string tied two temples together (with headache).

As if something crawling in ears.

Nose as if extended, like a snout.

As if being grasped around throat.

As if uterus being grasped.

Sensation of weight on sternum.

Pain in the back as if stabbed.

Of insects crawling around neck and shoulders.

As if someone is digging in his back with their fingers

Pain in right arm, as if pulled by a string like a puppet's.

Trickling sensation down leg.

Sensation as if a piece of polystyrene bobbing on the water (when swimming).

Twitching muscles, like the flutterings of a captured bird.

Tired as if she had exercised all day.

Modalities

> lying (headache, limbs)

< reading (headache)

< bright light

Relations

Compare

Conifers, Thuja, Sabina. Painlessness, Opium. Sense of responsinility, Aurum.

Follows well

Causation

Homesickness

Symptoms

Mind
Head
Eyes
Ears
Nose
Face
Teeth
Mouth
Throat
Appetite
Stomach
Abdomen
Stool & Anus
Urinary
Male
Female
Respiratory
Chest
Heart
Neck & Back
Limbs
Upper Limbs
Lower Limbs
Generalities
Skin
Sleep
Dreams
Fever

Mind

Detached and light. Feeling of floating. As if drunk. Concentration difficult. Memory lost. Confusing left and right, writing things backwards, using the wrong words. Talkative.

Feeling fuzzy. Mind confused with clear vision.

Feeling rushed and irritable. Impatient, wanting to get things done. Very irritable. Explosive fits of temper. Anger without remorse. Anger when their space is invaded.

Desire to walk. Restless and claustrophobic.

Dancing and thinking of nothing else. Feeling young. Going back to her roots. Flirting and feeling sexy. Feeling desirable.

Feeling ugly and unattractive. Lack of confidence in self. At the mercy of the remedy. At the mercy of her appetite. Anxiety about the future. Not wanting to face up to things. Feeling guilty and tearful. Weepy. Sighing.

Fearful. Startled by noises.

Felt that she was speaking the truth, that that was the way of the universe.

Compassionate. Subdued mood, vague sadness. Sadness about missing friends. Thinking about friends who have been unfaithful. Despair.

On the brink of understanding what is going on. Anxiety without reason.

Sensation that face or forehead are pulled forwards into a point. Feeling that her right arm did not belong to her. Sees mice.

Head

Floating feeling. As if drunk. Head felt as though it was in a vacuum. Heaviness. Heavy dull pain behind or above the eyes. Feeling of a weight on the top of the head. Fuzziness. Head feels like a marshmallow. Frontal headache, searing pain. Pressure from behind the eyes. Throbbing headache. Seething pain in temples < right. Pressing pain in temples. Headache from temple to temple as if there was a piece of string tying two points together. Headache > lying, > quiet, < reading. Pain on top of head as if crowned. Headache on rising, like a hangover. Downward pressure, as if face collapsing in down to the nose. Tight sensation as if whole head was pulled towards a peak, like a knights visor. Pins and needles in forehead. Usual migraines absent during proving.

Eyes

Can see clearly but head and body feel fuzzy. Able to see better without glasses. Heaviness. Itching in inner corners of eyes. Right eye closing up, < bright light. Eyes gritty with watery film over them. Vision blurred. Felt as if right eye was blind. Pain behind right eye.

Ears

Sticking pain outside of right ear. Stabbing pain in right ear. Pain as if a needle in ear, extending down shoulder, arm and back. Ears throbbing. Left ear hot. Sensation as if something crawling in ears. Ringing in the ears.

Nose

Sensation as if extended, like a snout. Tingling as if about to sneeze. Twitching. Nose blocked < going to sleep. Watery discharge. Explosive sneezing. Cracks in nostrils. Smell of burnt leather. Smell of water (during dream).

Face

Prickling and itching. Desire to scratch. Frowning. Feeling as if face about to collapse.

Teeth

Canines feel enlarged. Aching in roots of teeth.

Mouth

Cold sores on lips. Ulcers. Numbness of tongue. Tongue feels swollen. Dribbling during sleep.

Throat

Swollen with pain on swallowing. Glands swollen. Sensation as if being grasped around throat.

Appetite

Appetite increased. Eating more in the morning which sets her up for the day. Desire sweet foods and chocolate. Desire fruit, melons and watermelons. Desire red meat. Thirst.

Stomach

Nausea. Eructations. Prickling pain on left side. Clutching pain.

Abdomen

Distension. Cramping pains. Fluttering below navel.

Stool and Anus

Itching. Flatus

Urinary Organs

Copious micturation. Everlasting pees. Dark urine.

Male Sexual Organs

Female Sexual Organs

Menses too early. Menses dark. Watery discharge, smells like horse urine. Sensation as if uterus being grasped. Sexual desire increased. Burning pain in ovaries.

Respiratory Organs

Tickly cough. Breathing difficult. Difficulty inspiring.

Chest

Sneezing from deep in chest. Sharp piercing pain in breasts. Piercing pain under left ribs. Tightness. Oppression < left side. Sensation of weight on sternum. Breasts swollen and heavy.

Heart

Pain with anxiety. Increased heart rate.

Neck and Back

Tension and stiffness in the neck. Pressure and heaviness in the back of the neck. Sharp pain in the neck. Burning pain behind right scapula. Twitching in right sacrum. Low back ache. Pain in the middle of the back as if stabbed. Back feels as if someone is permanently digging in with their fingers, like being pushed around. Sensation of insects crawling around neck and shoulders.

Limbs in general

Bones ache. Pins and needles. Tingling and twitching.

Upper Limbs

Waves of pins and needles from shoulders to fingers < bending down. Arms twitching. Tingling and numbness in wrist. Cramping pain left biceps. Wrist aching as if sprained. Pain in right arm, as if pulled by a string like a puppet's. Neuralgic pains.

Lower Limbs

Stabbing pain inside left knee. Aching < standing. Coldness of knees, can't get warm. Pins and needles from buttocks downwards. Bumps like bites, scratching till they bleed. Trickling sensation down leg.

Generalities

Whole body feels heavy. Feeling washed out, lack of energy. Sudden tiredness. Waves of heat and numbness. Tingling, pine and needles. Shooting sensations. Stabbing, sticking and shooting pains. Symptoms and sensations come in waves and move downward. Twitching of muscles, fluttering. Clumsiness. Explosiveness (flatulence, sneezes, temperament). Gentle pull towards the ground, like a weight.

Skin

Prickling and itching sensations. Bumps like insect bites. Spots as if bitten. Sensation of crawling insects.

Sleep

Sleeplessness from activity of thoughts. Sleeping on stomach. Restless.

Dreams

Unremembered, with frustration as they slipped from her grasp. Busy or hectic dreams, dreams of work. Being chased and or persecuted. Murder. Fire. Flying. Climbing cliffs. Looking down from high places. Of death and of people dying. The sea, ships and water. Dreams with thirst and the smell of water. Crossing water and walking on water. Sunshine. Horses.

Fever

Hot as if skin was burning. Hot but without perspiration. Sweet smelling perspiration.

Authorities

Gray, A. Agathis australis. Homœopathic Links, Spring 1999 www.grayhomeopathy.com/m_research.html

Joffe, L. Kauri Case Personal communication

Linnane, K. Two Case Studies of Agathis australis. www.biolumanetics.net/tantalus/

Norland, M. & Gray, A. Proving of Kauri. www.hominf.org/proving.htm