Kalmia latifolia | Rheumatism & Hypertrophy of Heart

Kalmia latifolia | Rheumatism & Hypertrophy of Heart

Kalmia is an excellent remedy for cardiac troubles when they have been caused by the suppression of rheumatism by external applications. The pulse of Kalmia is slow, but not as slow as that of Digitalis.
W.A. Dewey, Practical Homeopathic Therapeutics

Latin: Kalmia latifolia Common: Mountain Laurel, Spoon wood

Kalmia is important homeopathic remedy, used in heart disease which alternates with rheumatism or has developed out from rheumatism. The plant from which the remedy was prepared is a representative of the Ericaceae family, together with Ledum palustre and Rhododendrom chrysanthum.

C. Dunham in his ‘Lectures on Materia Medica’ speaks about the resemblance in qualities of the homeopathic remedies Ledum palustre, Rhododendron chrysanthum and Kalmia latifolia in rheumatic and gout conditions, as well as their beneficial action for accelerated pulse.

He also points out that the three of them should never be prescribed in sequence.

The one very characteristic peculiarity of Kalmia is the wandering shifting complaints. The symptoms of the disease are constantly moving from one place to another, from one system to another; and the mind is corresponding with inability for concentration, irritability and wandering thoughts.

The Rheumatic Pains of Kalmia

The pains of Kalmia are located in muscles, tendons, joints and along the course of the nerves. They are sharp, shooting, like lightening, wandering pains which go from center to periphery and from above downwards. The shoulders joints are always affected.

There are many complaints in the muscular-skeleton system of the body, accompanied by numbness of the extremities and great aggravation from motion. The neck and back also affected. There is much stiffness and pressure in the neck, extending from the neck down the back and involving occipital headache. The back aches are extending through the shoulders and down the back, between the shoulders and in the spine. There is a sensation as if spine column would break. The pains are sharp, aggravated my least move.

The limbs are weary as if patient has walked a great distance; with shooting pains going down the arms and legs, during rest. Pains shift from one limb to another or here and there in one arm or leg; from one joint to another.  Affected are mostly the large joints, the shoulders, elbows and knees. Muscles pains are cutting and as from lightening; shooting here and there.

Sometimes limbs go numb. This is a manifestation of neuralgic affection. Possibly it is accompanied by trembling and paralysis, and great weakness.

The pains of Kalmia resemble those of Bryonia by the aggravation from least move; but are not ameliorated by pressure and are radiating, unlike Bryonia.

The Rheumatic Heart of Kalmia

When the rheumatic complaints are treated allopathically by application of external compresses and ointments, the disease moves from the muscular-skeleton system to the heart.

There are two ways of manifestation of the rheumatic heart disease of Kalmia. The rheumatic pains either alternate with cardiac symptoms or are entirely substituted by heart hypertrophy, slow pulse and rhythm disturbances.

The symptoms about the heart appear with feeling of oppression of the chest, difficulty of breathing, nausea, heaviness and lower sensitivity in the head and pains. Generally there are two groups of morbid sensations – those of the respiration and those of the heart and pulse.

Impeded Respiration

The pains may be stitching and oppressive. The stitches are felt in the lungs, mostly on the right side between the ribs; and are so sharp that interrupt the inspiration of air and cause dyspnea. Sometimes the stitches are quite lower on the right side of the chest, and there is also pressure there.

The breath is short and patient is breathing frequently, superficially, with oppressed feeling in the chest. There is cardiac cough at night, and during the day. The secretion from bronchi is mucous, grey and salty, and is mostly coughed up on small pieces in the evening.

The difficulty of breathing causes anxiety. Not rare it is accompanied by rheumatic pains in the extremities.

Rhythmic Disturbances of the Heart

The action of the heart is disturbed. There are rhythmic disorders, which are manifested by too quick heart beat, and are leading to fluttering of the heart. The palpitations appear on ascending stairs and during housework, and also during rest. They can be violent with nausea and faint feeling; accompanied by the above described anxiety, oppression of the chest and lungs and impeded respiration.

The pulse is irregular. It can be accelerated in the morning till four o’clock in the afternoon. Or it is feeble, week and creeping, very slow, 40 to the minute, imperceptible, when lying down. Face is pale and feet are cold.

The rhythmic disorders are aggravated by efforts for mental work and writing.


The diagnosis of allopathic medicine, when these symptoms are presented, might be hypertrophy of the heart, arrhythmia, valvular insufficiency, cardiac insufficiency, or threatening heart failure.

The homeopathic view point to these diagnoses however is quite different, strictly limited to the morbid symptoms and sensations of the particular patient on all levels – mind, emotions and body – no matter of the medical diagnosis.

The Wandering Mind

The shifting and moving around of Kalmia is presented also on the mental level. Patients feel disinclined to mental efforts, doesn’t want to study and read, or write; the thoughts are fluttering, the concentration is very difficult.

People feel restless without reason, cannot stay in one place – want to leave home or office; feel inexplicable anxiety that something bad will happen, and for the future. The memory is weak, the mental work is impossible, the reading is difficult, there is no patience, and the thoughts are vanishing.

The mood is morose, and talking to others is not desired – it even makes things worse.

*Bibliography: T.F. Allen, Encyclopedia of Pure Materia Medica