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Calcarea Phosphorica - The Essential Homeopathic Features

1. Calcarea Phosphorica - The Essential Homeopathic Features
2. Calcarea phosphorica – Generalities
The following is an almost full and exact copy of Calcarea Phosphorica contained in Materia Medica Viva, Volume 6.

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Materia Medica Viva

Calcarea Phosphorica

Calcium Phosphate. Phosphate of Lime. Tricalcic Phosphate. Ca32P04.
A mixture of the basic and several complex calcium phosphates - produced by adding dilute phosphoric acid to lime water.


Calcarea phosphorica is a deep-acting remedy with a wide range of symptomatology. Unfortunately, it is often confused with several of our polychrests, the most frequent of these being Calcarea carbonica, Chamomilla, Phosphoricum acidum, Phosphorus and Tuberculinum. A more thorough understanding of this remedy will enable the practitioner to better distinguish it from the others mentioned above.

There are three primary causative factors for the development of a Calcarea phosphorica case:

a) bad nutrition
b) bad news
c) bad weather

a) Deficient or poor nutrition is required to produce the classic Calcarea phosphorica picture, especially on the physical level. This picture encompasses the basic structural and developmental pathology described in earlier texts, whose symptoms include: rachitis; emaciation; bone diseases; the non-union of fractured bones; anaemic states; slow or difficult convalescence after acute diseases. Specifically in babies: the non-union of sutures, open fontanelles, late learning to walk, late learning to talk, late dentition and troubles incident to this period.

Fifty or one hundred years ago, case descriptions of Calcarea phosphorica children treated by earlier homeopaths were abundant in our literature. Nowadays, in Western countries, the remedy is not indicated as often because nutrition has greatly improved. In developing countries, however, the classic picture can still be frequently encountered.

b) Similar to the effect of malnutrition, unexpectedly hearing bad news causes an imbalance in the organism and makes the individual sick. Apart from the predisposition that a child inherits from its parents, there are other causes that trigger a Calcarea phosphorica state. These include psychological stresses experienced in everyday life, e.g. grief, anxieties, insecurity, anger, contradiction, insults, etc., with the most devastating effect being wrought by the sudden hearing of bad news. This is one of the great key-notes of the remedy. This kind of shock cannot be tolerated by the organism so predisposed and brings about a deep imbalance and disease.

For example, a Calcarea phosphorica individual receives a telephone call informing him of a car accident involving a close relative. He becomes overwhelmed and cannot cope. His organism reacts to the information by getting excited, by having palpitations and fainting spells. He perspires profusely, especially around the neck and head and wants to fan this area all the time. What began as a temporary imbalance then turns into a chronic condition. He is afraid of hearing anything bad and becomes distraught from any kind of unpleasant news. Even the mere idea that he may encounter something unpleasant is unbearable.

The pathological consequences of such a shock can affect the mental, emotional, or physical level, or all simultaneously. An individual that was previously patient and balanced now becomes fearful, fretful, afraid of the dark, and afraid to be alone. These people become oversensitive; they cannot stand to see others suffer, a feeling that assumes pathological proportions.

Irritability and anger develop. This remedy rages and swears almost as much as Nux vomica. The provings describe symptoms such as: 'Grows very violent if his opinion is differed from, or if contradicted, so that he is vexed afterwards not to have been able to control himself.' Or: 'Violent, irritable, and snappish; it affects him most to hear that someone has done wrong; indignation rises in him, and he would like to avoid conversation.' There is a tendency to become very critical of oneself and others, which may induce these violent and irritable states. Coffee has an aggravating influence. Not only may it cause nausea, heartburn, confusion of the head, and headache, but it may also produce or increase intense ill-humour and irritability.

The possible consequences of hearing bad news in a Calcarea phosphorica individual are described in the provings in this fashion: 'Unpleasant news make him beside himself; he cannot think of any serious thing, cannot collect his thoughts, and gets into a general sweat about it.' Phatak also says that numbness and a crawling sensation can come on after bad news. This indication probably has its basis in the following proving report: 'Very much out of humour, does not want to talk a word, prefers not to be asked and to be left alone, after disagreeable news. — Very restless sleep, tosses about much. — In the morning after waking, the extremities are 'asleep', especially hands and feet (the day after disagreeable news).' The vexation that comes from bad news may also produce depression, a feeling as if lame, an inability to work or even to walk, and diarrhoea.

It is interesting to note that Calcarea phosphorica is seldom indicated for romantic disappointments. In these situations people usually have some sort of warning, either spoken or implied, of the impending separation. This opportunity for preparation mitigates the suddenness of the shock that otherwise might have provoked a Calcarea phosphorica condition.

Calcarea phosphorica is often indicated for ailments caused by grief, especially when the grief is profound and is precipitated suddenly. A sudden insult that is left unanswered can bring about a state of Calcarea phosphorica. In this case one may mistake the patient for Staphysagria.

c) Changes of weather, especially to cold and to wet, often cause severe symptoms. Calcarea phosphorica develops rheumatic pains that are worse in the winter (due to the cold weather), disappear in the spring and return in the autumn. Another modality of rheumatism observed in Calcarea phosphorica is that special times for aggravation are in the autumn and when the snow is melting, i.e. in the spring. This is a valuable and well-confirmed symptom.

Getting wet in the rain often brings on rheumatic pains in the shoulders, chest and extremities; the pain moves about all over the limbs and rump. A kind of dull pain from damp, rainy, cold weather has been observed in the lower limbs, as well as a feeling as if lame and beaten in the buttocks and other parts.

Discontent and Restlessness

A psychological theme central to Calcarea phosphorica is that of discontent. These people never seem to be satisfied with themselves. Their inner discontent renders them aggressive and extremely peevish, causes them to complain and more specifically, to moan and groan.

This characteristic is most readily witnessed in children. They may suffer discontent for a number of reasons (bone pains, teething difficulties, etc.) and moan and whine constantly and for extended periods of time. Parents typically complain that the moaning grates on their nerves. Mothers of Calcarea phosphorica children typically describe their child as a 'moaning child', thus summarising the whole situation in one word and providing the practitioner with the true essence of the case. Calcarea phosphorica should be the first remedy considered for children who moan in their sleep; in adults, the main remedy is Aurum.

I recall the case of a four-year-old boy. He had fallen and sustained a head injury. For no ascertainable reason, he moaned, groaned, and shrieked for seventy-two hours straight. His father carried him about and took him for walks around the block, but with little effect. Chamomilla did nothing for this child, while Calcarea phosphorica immediately put him into a restful sleep from which he awoke with no residual problems.

We can compare Calcarea phosphorica's dissatisfaction to that of Tuberculinum. Both experience discontent and the resulting desire to travel. Tub.'s dissatisfaction, however, is active and pertains to his locale. These people are unhappy with their surroundings and consequently develop an urge to travel, hoping to alter their environment and situation. They search for another set of conditions or circumstance that will excite them and provide them with strong mental stimulation.

In comparison, Calcarea phosphorica has an indefinable inner and passive discontent. At its core, is a discontent with themselves more than with others, although they may exhibit great irritability, anger, and censorious behaviour toward others. As Calcarea phosphorica is a realist and not one to engage in flights of fancy, his inner discontent constantly brings him back to reality and to his organism that works at a slow pace, to his inability to think, to his feelings of dullness and to his lack of joy. This even further intensifies his suffering, as Calcarea phosphorica's symptoms are definitely aggravated by thinking about them.

It is not surprising, then, that the desire to travel while listed in our repertories along with Tuberculinum, has an entirely different meaning. Calcarea phosphorica does not have the desire to travel per se, nor the excitement of seeing new places that Tub. has. Calcarea phosphorica just wants to be 'off somewhere', to change the place where the person is at the moment 'just for the sake of changing it'. The act of travelling, the altering of impressions, focus and goals distracts him from his inner discontent and restlessness, and thereby ameliorates him. For example, if he leaves his home, not for any major reason, but even just in order to visit a friend in another town, he feels better while travelling. Once he's arrived, however, his discontent returns and he wants to go home again. Calcarea phosphorica and Ignatia share a feeling of being better while travelling.

    At this point, I feel it necessary to insert a warning. It is unfortunate and confusing that several authors, based on my description of essences, describe in their teachings or writings the personality traits of their clients, instead of their psychopathology. Only the mental/emotional pathology, not the personality need be taken into consideration when prescribing a remedy. That which has changed in the mental/emotional sphere after the appearance of the disease is of interest to the homeopath. If, for instance, in our case, there is a curious person who likes to meet people from other countries and is asked the question whether he likes to travel, he may answer yes—but this is not pathology!

Although Calcarea phosphorica and Tuberculinum children have superficial similarities, especially the strong desire for smoked meats, bacon and sausage and the desire to travel, it is important to discriminate between the way they express their dissatisfaction. This is done by noting whether the expression of dissatisfaction is active or passive. The Calcarea phosphorica child, when hurt or displeased, withdraws and begins to complain and moan from morning until night. Nothing satisfies the child; it seems to be unaware of what it wants. The Tub. child, on the other hand, is more prone to act out its dissatisfaction by taking action - by becoming malicious or by trying to hurt others. Were a mother to say, "My child is very nasty," one would not consider Calcarea phosphorica.

Indignation is another key-note of this remedy. When insulted, Calcarea phosphorica does not stay in order to fight back, but rather leaves with a sense of indignation. It is interesting that they can even become indignant at unpleasant dreams. This is another point where they resemble Staphysagria. Staph., however, is sweet and mild and accepting, while Calcarea phosphorica is vehement, angry, censorious and displeased with others and themselves. Though the symptom is the same, the context is different.


Without knowing what exactly is wrong or why, Calcarea phosphorica patients realise that something is awry with their system. They may be functioning at their optimum when they suddenly find themselves becoming tired more easily. They feel sluggish. They start to lose interest in pursuing their daily activities, whether it be work or play. Their minds are duller, less vital. In order to mobilise their minds, they need stimulation, either mental, i.e., a good conversation, or physical, such as a good strong coffee. They are unable to explain the reason for their vague discontent. They only perceive that they are no longer easily excited nor enthusiastic about life, and that they are tired and do not comprehend things as readily as before.

The sluggishness on the mental level can be termed a 'mental flabbiness', and parallels the physical flabbiness that characterises this remedy — similar to what was written in my description of Calcarea carbonica. In Calcarea phosphorica people, the ability to reflect is very compromised. (This is exactly the opposite of Chamomilla, where the ability to reflect is quite active.) Mental tasks require far more time to complete than they did previously. Mental exertion becomes very difficult and may even provoke a headache. Indeed, Calcarea phosphorica is one of the major remedies for headaches in school children (compare Natrum carbonicum). Calcarea carbonica is the major remedy for headaches from physical rather than mental exertion.

The increasing deficiency in the area of the intellect assumes various forms, among them are the following: the memory begins to lack precision (a prover reported that he was unable 'to remember common symptoms of common remedies'), or is lost so that one does not remember at all what one has done, or what one should do. The operations of the intellect begin to lack the accustomed acuity. Ordinary intellectual operations are performed only with difficulty. Words get confused (a prover found himself writing throat for tonsils, red for swollen etc.) or are written twice. It becomes increasingly difficult to distinguish among things and notions under consideration. Mental 'stamina' begins to suffer; the individual is unable to sustain prolonged mental efforts.


As a result of their mind being sluggish, Calcarea phosphorica people dislike mental exertion. In fact, these people dislike performing work of any kind; if they do not work at all, however, they feel they have been neglectful and suffer even more discontent. If they are successful in stimulating themselves to work or are roused by somebody else, they feel better for having made the mental effort. They briefly experience a sense of satisfaction for having done some useful labour. The sluggishness, however, eventually reasserts itself and the discontent and nagging sense that something is wrong return, and progressively worsen. If these people direct their attention to their symptoms —to the difficulty they have concentrating, to their loss of memory, etc.—they feel much worse and their dissatisfaction increases. Similar to Oxalic acid, and as mentioned earlier, Calcarea phosphorica patients are worse from thinking about their symptoms and complaints.

At a more advanced stage, their inability to comprehend can progress to the point where they begin to do silly things. They make silly jokes or say silly things that are inappropriate to the situation. Their comments might be understood were they presented as jokes, but they are often made in all seriousness and with little awareness of the impression created by them.

Calcarea phosphorica's emotions suffer from sluggishness as well. Their emotions move with difficulty; they are indifferent. The emotional indifference, while somewhat similar to that of Phosphoric acid, is not nearly as profound.


Sighing is a well-known key-note of Calcarea phosphorica. One might mistake a Calcarea phosphorica case for Ignatia because both remedies sigh frequently. Calcarea phosphorica's sighing, however, is primarily of a physical origin as opposed to Ign.'s psychological etiology and seems to be a consequence of physical pathology rather than psychology. Calcarea phosphorica cases have a weakness of the respiratory apparatus such that there is a need to take a deep breath. The deep involuntary inspiration that ensues sounds like sighing.

The sighing does not commence after an experience of grief, though such an episode may aggravate it, and usually appears for no apparent reason and much earlier in the case than Calcarea phosphorica's emotional symptoms. A psychological shock, like grief, may produce other symptoms, such as those previously mentioned under the heading 'Bad News' 'in the Essential Features'. This is different from Ign.'s sighing, which results directly from an incident of grief, and can be traced back to that experience.

Sympathetic and Fearful

Calcarea phosphorica individuals are typically sensitive people. Before they reach the state of inner discontent, they are quite open and outgoing. Though they are shyer than Phosphorus, the phosphoric element contributes to their sociability. Their feelings can be rather easily hurt, and when this happens they tend to develop an aversion to company; they become sulky and angry.

Both the qualities of desire for, and aversion to, company are observed, but at different stages of the pathology. The sympathetic moment can take a pathological form, but it is seen at an earlier stage of pathology than the inner discontent that is so striking in the more progressed stages.

Calcarea phosphorica is also very sympathetic toward other people's suffering and many times can become considerably anxious about others (again displaying their phosphoric nature). These ailments, together with some fears like the fear of thunderstorms, of the dark, of dogs, of cats, of being alone that are all key-notes of both Phosphorus and Calcarea carbonica, are encountered frequently in the Calcarea phosphorica child.

In the sexual sphere, we have a polarity. On the one hand, Calcarea phosphorica's general weakness may make them less prone to seek out sex. On the other hand, some Calcarea phosphorica individuals, especially women, possess a very strong sexual drive, some to the point that they suffer from the intensity of the drive. This 'nymphomania' is most intense before menses. Also, having an orgasm sometimes gives Calcarea phosphorica extra energy, resulting in a feeling of general well being, a good appetite, and a desire for work after coitus.

The Calcarea Phosphorica Child

The general makeup of the Calcarea phosphorica child has frequently been described in homeopathic literature, especially cases where the cause is malnutrition. A good example of such a case is a child who is pale, thin, scrawny, very underweight, mentally and physically underdeveloped, slow at learning to walk (or has lost the ability), hardly able to talk, has tottery legs, a head that is inclined to wobble, a belly that is flabby and prominent or flabby and sunken, is subject to bronchitis and tonsillitis, has a very unstable nervous system, and is very restless. Remedies that should be compared are Baryta carbonica, Borax, Calcarea carbonica, Magnesia carbonica, Medorrhinum, Natrum muriaticum and Phosphoricum acidum.

Problems with the formation of bones and/or an inclination to bone diseases and bone pains, often indicate Calcarea phosphorica,. The remedy should be considered when the head bones are slow in forming or do not keep pace with the growth of the child, when the fontanelles don't close early enough, or even reopen. Clarke differentiates: 'Calcarea carbonica has an open anterior fontanelle; Calcarea phosphorica has both open, especially the posterior.' The skull is often thin and soft, gives way under the pressure of a finger or seems to crackle like paper. There are pains in the skull bones, especially in the region of the sutures.

Another indication of the remedy is the so-called 'growing pains' (due to delayed closure of the epiphyses) in fast growing children, which appear especially at night. These children grow very quickly, but the assimilation of nutrients to support such rapid growth is deficient; thus we see skeletal and dental problems. A number of pathologies that have been cured or favourably influenced by this remedy are: lateral curvatures of the spine (scoliosis); hydrocephalus, acute or chronic; rickets, frequently with diarrhoea (cholera infantum), in emaciated children; caries, easy decay of the teeth, especially of the first teeth; late or slow dentition, in connection with a host of teething complaints which include cough, diarrhoea and spasms, especially without fever. Symptoms associated with spina bifida are reported to be favourably influenced by Calcarea phosphorica. Enlarged tonsils and adenoid growths are often seen and have also responded well.

An important symptom, though not to the same degree as in Calcarea carbonica, is a profuse night sweat around the head.

Great sensitivity is also exhibited to cold and to jarring. Hering describes: 'A child of fifteen months, with a big head and open fontanelles... violent screaming, grasping with hands in great agony towards his mother; cold sweat, most in face, whole body cold. '

Concerning the mental makeup, some important traits have been described before. The discontent, with the typical moaning (especially during sleep) and the restlessness, is the core of the mental and emotional pathology. Patients tend to be peevish, fretful, and ill-humoured. Boericke describes them as follows: 'Anaemic children who are peevish, flabby, have cold extremities and feeble digestion. ' Babies turn over all the time, cry a lot, are restless, constantly kick and move their extremities. Trying to console them by picking them up does not work; on the contrary, it makes them feel worse and may cause a suffocative attack with a cyanotic face and extreme restlessness. This aggravation from lifting the child from its bed is just the opposite of Borax, where downward motion brings on symptoms.

Anxieties and fears are also frequent. They are often related to bodily symptoms (i.e. abdominal pains, chest and respiration symptoms, teething problems). Calcarea phosphorica children tend to be timid and shy; they tend to start or to develop convulsions from fright or other external influences.

On the intellectual level, the growth process of these children is also frequently disturbed. Their memory is poor, and mental exertion is often dreaded; prolonged mental efforts are difficult to sustain and often bring on symptoms (like the headaches in school children mentioned earlier, or a kind of dull sluggishness with the desire to be alone). Mental retardation with bodily hyperactivity is an indication that has been confirmed more than once by many homeopaths including Stiegele, who saw favourable results even in more advanced stages of this syndrome (after cerebral polio).

The food desires are very unusual and strong. 'Craving for fat bacon', or, as Margaret Tyler puts it, for 'ham rind', is a symptom that has been well-verified in children; however an aversion to ham has also been observed. Smoked meat is frequently the favourite food. We also see desire for sausages, for potatoes and farinaceous foods, and for indigestible things, which refers to things that the little patient cannot digest, such as fat bacon in cases of cholera infantum, or to slate pencils, clay or such things. An aversion to ham, however, has also been observed. Children's appetites frequently increase, and the child wants to eat (or nurse) all the time; this often occurs in emaciated children, who despite this do not 'put on flesh'. We also see nursing children who refuse their mother's milk; this, however, is due to the milk being spoiled and tasting salty, not to any problem with the child.

1. Calcarea Phosphorica - The Essential Homeopathic Features
2. Calcarea phosphorica – Generalities