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Stavesacre / Palmated larkspur

Delphinium staphysagria

This remedy was known to the ancient Greeks and Romans. It was taken internally to cause vomiting and to purge the bowels, and used externally in the form of an ointment as an antidote to stings and bites.

Parts Used



The remedy is most often used for complaints involving the nerves, such as neuralgia, teething problems, cystitis, sties, blepharitis (inflammation of the eyelid), and headaches that feel as if a weight is pressing out from the forehead. It is also useful for women with new sexual partners, who have pain during sexual intercourse.


Grows in southern Europe and Asia.

Personality profile

Staphysagria is often given acutely for the physical effects of suppressed anger. In these cases the patient's anger and resentment is clearly felt, but not expressed. The force of it rebounds upon the body, producing physical symptoms. It is important for the homeopath to realize that acute states of Staphysagria can arise in any constitutional type, and also that the anger of the person who is constitutionally Staphysagria is usually much less apparent than in acute cases. Staphysagria's anger is often so well suppressed that it is not only unexpressed; it is not even felt. (This compares with many Natrums, whose sadness may be completely suppressed much of the time.) This gives most Staphysagrias a certain mellowness or sweetness that belies the time-bomb of anger ticking away beneath the surface of consciousness.

The source of Staphysagria's suppressed anger is usually to be found in his childhood. The parents were often restrictive and authoritarian, and the young child learned that it was not safe to express his displeasure; that only led to stricter punishment. Sometimes the parents were not particularly strict, but they put the child down verbally, telling him that he was 'good for nothing'. Staphysagria responds to this repression in one of four ways, producing four different sub-types. All of these have problems expressing their anger, and due to their suppressed anger, many find it difficult to express themselves in general.

Sometimes one of the child's parents was Staphysagria constitutionally, and the habit of suppressing anger was learned without any overt repression of the child. The child subconsciously senses his parent's fear of aggression, and this fear is infectious. Each of the four sub-types we are going to consider is capable of displaying the classic smoldering resentment of Staphysagria.

Once Staphysagria's old, subconscious anger has been brought to the fore, it 'attaches itself' to the present circumstances, generating seemingly endless resentment towards the one who rejected him. There may have been genuine cause for anger in the way in which he was treated, but irrespective of the cause, Staphysagria's anger will take more than a few outbursts to defuse, since there is a huge reservoir of past anger feeding it.

The aggrieved Staphysagria person lives, eats and dreams of hurt and revenge. In the consulting room, the homeopath confronted with such a patient will find that he speaks of nothing but his resentment. He cannot be made to focus on other topics for long. His stomach may be in knots from the tension, but he is more concerned with expressing his resentment, in a repetitive, totally unconstructive fashion. Even if they can be persuaded to release their pent up anger (and they usually cannot be) the relief they experience is very temporary. It is only in the rare cases where Staphysagria is willing to come back week after week and explore the original causes of his suppressed anger that real progress can be made. Dealing only with the current anger is like lancing a single boil in a body that is utterly septic. No sooner has one vent exhausted itself than another erupts. Fortunately, doses of Staphysagria 10M generally do succeed in defusing the tension remarkably quickly and effectively in most cases. After the remedy is taken there is often a brief explosion as anger that was kept in check pours forth (it is wise to warn the patient so that plans can be made for him to be in a place where the anger can be vented harmlessly), followed by a genuine calm which may last indefinitely. A great deal of suppressed anger can be neutralized by a few doses of Staphysagria 10M, enabling the patient to drop his resentment and get on with his life.

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