Childhood Asthma Anthroposophical Clinical Practice

By: Christoph Tautz, M.D.

Original title: Kindliches Asthma bronchiale. Der Merkurstab 1996; 49: 422-4. English by A. R. Meuss, FIL. MTA.

Miss I. R. d.o.b. 4 April 1974

First seen in August 1980, with the following history. First asthma attack in the Fall of 1976, preceded by recurrent URTIs that were generally treated with antibiotics. May 1980, severe asthma attack in conjunction with pneumonia. June 1980, 4 weeks at the Baltic Sea, symptom-free. At home, dyspnea and coughing at the least physical or psychologic stress, requiring bedrest, almost regular night-time coughing attacks keeping child and parents awake for hours. Similar symptoms on contact with guinea pigs.

At the first visit, we saw a girl of slender build, with red hair and freckles, light-colored skin, adequate general and nutritional condition. Mild dyspnea on effort; slight, repetitive dry cough; no signs of acute infection in upper respiratory tract. Auscultation: bilateral wheezes and rhonchi with expiratory phase prolonged. The mother said her daughter was very lively, obstreperous and easily put in a passion if problems arose for her. She always wanted to have her way, by force if necessary. Very ambitious at school and easily becoming overenthusiastic.

Family history
Mother had hayfever for about 14 years and always an allergic disposition. The patient's older and a younger sister and her father were in good health.

Salvia officinalus Ix, 10 drops qAM Veronica officinalus Ix, 10 drops qHS Tartarus stibiatus comp., a knife-tip t.i.d.

During a consultation in October 1980, Citrus/Cydonia inhalations and 0.5 g of Kalium iodatum t.d.s were prescribed in addition. In mid-November the mother reported that the child was better than she had been for years, completely symptom-free for days, with the attacks distinctly less severe when they occurred two or three times a month. She had only missed one day at school in three months. On examination, still slight rhonchi and buzzing sounds bilaterally. We agreed to continue the treatment.

Clinical course
The girl was brought to see me six times in 1981 in pre-arranged appointments, still showing slight asthmatic sounds on auscultation. She also had three URTIs with pyrexia, difficulties with swallowing and dyspnea; these were brought under control with Pyrites-Cinnabar, Pneumodoron 1 and 2 and Plantago Bronchial Balsam chest rubs.

During a planned 3-week stay in hospital the girl had art therapy, which she took to with deep inner interest. She became increasingly able to cope with stress during this period. The dyspnea noted initially, especially after slight exertion, disappeared completely, and she did not have an asthma attack. Investigations showed maxillary sinusitis, reduced lung function with 1-sec forced expiration volume reduced, normal vital capacity and increased airways resistance. Total IgE was elevated, other laboratory tests normal.

The condition continued to improve slowly in 1982. Exposure to house dust and sad events such as her grandfather's death would always be followed by mild asthma attacks. Medication with Salvia Ix, Veronica Ix and later Cuprum/Stibium continued. Injections of Apis 30x would be given for a few weeks at a time intercurrently.

No major changes in 1982 and 1983.

In 1984, she had repeated asthma attacks after the Summer holidays, with slight pyrexia. On every occasion, slight but definite spastic rales on auscultation. Hospital stay in November to recompensate, which was achieved in a few days. This stay and another in 1985 showed an extremely close father-daughter bond that seemed to have a negative influence. It proved difficult, however, to gain realization of this, also for the father, so there was little change.

In 1985, the child was seen five times on an outpatient basis, always with infection-triggered asthmatic states found to be dyspnea on exertion with typical auscultation sounds and slight cyanosis of the lips.

In 1986, the condition gradually stabilized. She was in a "climatic cave" for hours at a time on several occasions over a four-week period, and this helped. She went on a farm holiday afterwards, with animals, hay and dusty rooms, and there were no problems.

In 1987, she reported about one or two attacks a year, triggered by house dust.

1988 presented no real problems.

In 1989, she reported intense participation in sports, with long-distance running and cycling. She found this increased physical effort helped her symptoms. Medicines given were Cuprum aceticum 4x, a propolis preparation, and Prospan (ivy leaf). Mustard packs proved particularly effective.

She did not come back until 1995, when she reported that she was very well, feeling essentially able to cope with both stress and mild spasms. She had finished school and was deciding on a university, being in the process of cutting the umbilical cord. She was taking Quercus Ix qAM and Veronica Ix qHS.

A young woman, now 22, whose asthma had started at age 2, with a positive family history. The condition gradually stabilized with nine years of almost continuous treatment using Salvia offidnalis Ix or Qnercus Ix and Veronica Ix in conjunction with Tartarus stibiatus, Cuprum/Stibium, inhalations with Gencydo or Citrus pericarpium, and occasional courses of Apis 30x injections, so that it was never necessary to use bronchospasmolytics or cortisone. Three periods in hospital contributed much to this. Art therapies and careful observation of the patient provided indications for both medical treatment and psychological guidance during outpatient phases. Today, 16 years later, the patient is independent and largely symptom-free. She is able to cope essentially without major medical help during the mild asthmoid states that only occur under extreme conditions.