Lycopodium (Lycopodium clavatum) is a perennial evergreen plant that grows in pastures, woodlands, heaths, and moors of Great Britain, Northern Europe, and North America. It has a slender stem that trails along the ground and vertical branches that grow to 3-4 in (7.5-10 cm). The plant belongs to the Lycopodiaceae family and is related to mosses and ferns. It is often called club moss. Other names include wolf's claw, stag horn, witch meal, and vegetable sulfur.
The pale yellow pollen collected from the spores is used to make the homeopathic remedy called lycopodium. The pollen is odorless, water resistant, and highly
Early physicians used the plant to stimulate the appetite and to promote urination and the excretion of other body fluids. Lycopodium was also used in the treatment of flatulence, rheumatism, gout, lung ailments, and diseases of children and young girls. In the 17th century the pollen was used as an internal remedy for diarrhea, dysentery, and rheumatism. Externally, the pollen was a treatment for wounds and diseases of the skin such as eczema. The whole plant was used to heal kidney ailments.
Lycopodium is prescribed by homeopaths for both acute and chronic ailments such as earaches, sore throats, digestive disorders, urinary tract difficulties, hepatitis, prostatitis, and eye conditions. The remedy acts on soft tissues, blood vessels, bones, joints, and the liver and heart. This polychrest is also recommended in the treatment of back pain, bedwetting, fevers, food poisoning, mouth ulcers, mumps, colds, muscle cramps, constipation, coughs, cystitis, gas, sciatica, gout, skin conditions, and joint pain. It is often indicated in the early stages of pneumonia.
Lycopodium ailments are frequently the result of anger, horror, chagrin, disappointment, grief, fright, mental exertion, sexual excesses, overeating, or alcohol consumption. Typical lycopodium patients are alcoholic, timid and fearful adults, irritable and domineering children, or intellectuals who are strong in mind but weak in body. The latter generally look older than they are and their hair becomes gray prematurely. Children who require lycopodium are prone to tonsillitis, gas, and bronchial infections. They have tantrums if they do not get their way and dislike naps, often kicking and screaming beforehand or upon waking.
Patients may be predisposed to lung ailments, gas, and gallstones. They have weak digestive systems and often suffer from dyspepsia, colitis, or gastro-enteritis. They become full soon after beginning a meal or have no appetite until eating, whereupon they become ravenous. They may crave sweets and dislike oysters, onions, cabbage, and milk. Their stomachs are often bloated, gassy, acidic, and sour, and are worse from cold drinks, beer, coffee, or fruit. They may become sleepy after eating.
Mentally these persons are irritable, restless, quarrelsome, sensitive, weepy, melancholy, and depressed. Other mental symptoms include dullness, confusion, poor memory, amnesia, anger, hypersensitivity to noise, sadness, and anxiety upon waking. They frequently suffer from performance anxiety and are nervous in social situations. They do not prefer the company of others and although they dread the presence of new persons, friends, or visitors, they are afraid to be alone.
Insecurity and cowardice are general symptoms; lycopodium patients are typically concerned with what others think of them and have many fears, particularly of death, the dark, crowds, or new situations. They may try to hide their fears by becoming haughty or domineering.
Persons who need lycopodium generally have a craving for sweets, desire warm drinks, have little thirst, and desire fresh air. They are frequently constipated and suffer from hemorrhoids.
Ailments are generally worse on the right side of the body, often travelling from right to left or from above downward. Symptoms are worse between 4:00 and 8:00 p.m. and worsen with cold food and drinks. Exhaustion and illness may set in after much physical exertion. Symptoms are generally worse from cold conditions with the exception of head and spine symptoms, which are worse from warmth. Symptoms are better from open air, warm drinks, and motion.
Physical indications are hunger with sudden fullness, urine with a red sandy color, gas, fatigue, numbness of fingers or toes, and a trembling of the limbs. Liver ailments such as cirrhosis, hepatitis, fatty degeneration of the liver, and liver cancer warrant the use of this remedy.
Periodic headaches occur as a result of digestive disturbances. If lycopodium patients miss a meal they may get a headache, which is relieved upon eating.
The sore throat typical of this remedy is sore on the right side, with swollen tonsils. The throat feels dusty and is better after swallowing warm drinks.
The cold indicative of lycopodium is accompanied by a headache, yellow mucous, and a stuffed, dry nose. The patient often has to breathe out of his mouth. The lycopodium cough is constant, deep and hollow. The chest is tight and the mucus that is expelled is salty, thick, and gray. The cough is worse in the evening.
Eye conditions may develop in which the eyes are inflamed and red and the eyelids are grainy.
When abdominal pains are present they are of a cutting, griping, clutching, or squeezing nature. Gas is accompanied by a bloated abdomen that feels better after passing gas and wearing loose clothing. The gas is worse after eating.
Joint pains are typically tearing pains that start on the right side and move to the left side. The knee and finger
Men may be impotent. Women often suffer from inflammation and pain of the ovaries and uterus. The pain generally affects the right ovary more than the left.
The spores of the plant are gathered at the end of the summer. The pollen is extracted from the spores and diluted with milk sugar.
Lycopodium is available at health food and drug stores in various potencies in the form of tinctures, tablets, and pellets.
If symptoms do not improve after the recommended time period, a homeopath or health care practitioner should be consulted. The recommended dose of lycopodium should not be exceeded.
There are no specific side effects, but individual aggravations may occur.
When taking any homeopathic remedy, it is advised to avoid peppermint products, coffee, or alcohol. These products may cause the remedy to be ineffective.
Lycopodium is incompatible with the remedy coffea. These remedies should not be taken simultaneously.
Cummings, M.D., Stephen, and Ullman, M.P.H., Dana. Everybody's Guide to Homeopathic Medicines. New York, NY: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam, 1997.
Kent, James Tyler. Lectures on Materia Medica. Delhi, India: B. Jain Publishers, 1996.