Picture this: individuals having allergy, for instance, present with a range of ‘conflicting’ symptoms. Their associated characteristics also vary in several ways, including the type of sneezing, the form of skin eruption, if any, or food allergy, what gives relief, or what aggravates the condition. Some individuals with allergy may have a burning sensation, or fiery red rash, but would incredulously desire, or feel better by, warmth — perhaps, a steaming cup of coffee! This is what homeopathy connects to as one’s remedy/personality type and also aims at and treats — with a patient-centric individualised perspective.
In other words, homeopathy recognises that one’s complete personality type is as distinctive as one’s individuality, fingerprint, or signature. This is analogous to clinical psychology, which recognises the existence of ‘archetypal’ personality types.
The homeopathic remedy, Sulphur, is prepared from the mineral sulphur. It is used to treat several health conditions, especially skin problems, such as psoriasis, atopic dermatitis (eczema), and acne, among others — especially when the individual complains of offensive foot sweats and/or feels worse after a shower.
Legend has it that Homer used the vapours of burning sulphur to purify his residence. Sulphur, likewise, has for long been used in Chinese and Western medicine for skin disorders and as antiseptic. It was used in mediaeval Europe too to ‘cleanse’ the blood and keep the bowels healthy, especially for children.
The homeopathic Sulphur represents the imaginative ‘genius,’ who is more inclined towards philosophy than practicality. This is because Sulphur individuals are naturally gifted with extraordinary mental, emotional and creative abilities. Take a look at some of the Sulphur types that have graced our history pages: Socrates, Dr Samuel Hahnemann, the founder of homeopathy, Abraham Lincoln, Albert Einstein and Carl Gustav Jung, to name just a few.
Sulphur also figures not just among great leaders, inventors and scientists, but also brilliant mathematicians and logicians. In other words, individuals who are inclined to respond with well-thought through, lengthy responses — even in normal, day-to-day banter.
When you think of such an archetype, think of Sulphur. This is because Sulphur is habitually immersed in their own thought and intellectual world; they are entirely oblivious to their mundane physical surroundings. It is said of Einstein, for example, that his wife had to do everything including feeding and clothing the genius, who had had his feet ‘planted’ firmly in mid-air!
This also explains why Sulphur requires a good deal of emotional and physical support.
In terms of physical complaints, Sulphur does not take well to heat. Heat, humidity, eating, standing, bathing and washing, as a rule, aggravate any illness a Sulphur type may suffer from. Sulphur, therefore, has a definitive, elective affinity for the skin — it produces heat and burning, with itching. This is often made ‘worse’ by the heat of bed and is accompanied by a strong aversion to heat. A great dislike of water, with constipation, dry, hard hair and skin, red orifices, a sinking feeling in the stomach about 11:00 am, are all symptoms that call for the use of Sulphur.
It may also be mentioned that Sulphur is effective when the individual complains that every little injury takes too long a time to heal. It is equally useful for freckles, pimples, pustules, rhagades, and hang-nails. It is useful for pruritus, especially from warmth and/or gets worse in the evening — this often tends to recur during spring, or in damp weather.
Sulphur personalities are always on the go, thanks to their restless, nervous energy, akin to the combustible element. The downside is that they burn up so much energy on ideation, brimming over with dazzling ideas that race around in different directions, that, there is seldom the ability to concretise such ideas and see them through. As a result, Sulphur can be accused of being somewhat disorganised and lethargic.
Sulphur does have a strong desire for recognition, but not for personal gain. They are far too ‘self-centred’ — engrossed with intellectual pursuits. In fact, Sulphur has no interest in material wealth. Yet, thanks to their intellectual prowess, Sulphurs have a large ego that keeps them motivated, stimulated, focused and determined — qualities that are essential for effective leadership.
Effective leaders are self-motivated; they do not follow others, but inspire others to follow them. This is Sulphur. Yet, the problem with Sulphur is its unwieldy sense of worth — this may sometimes cause them to lose their sense of balance and, in the process, become destructive, obsessive, irritable, insecure, negative and, perforce, hypochondriac.
While a ‘balanced’ Sulphur can accept and handle criticism, an ‘imbalanced’ Sulphur would turn nasty. These are two extremes of the same basic personality type. However this may be, Sulphur fiercely champions his/her own cause, but only when the idea or cause appeals to them, or engages their cerebral disposition and energies. They will take it up equally zealously. This is because Sulphurs do not believe in the ordinary, or the past. They believe in living, living big, and living in the now.
Although sometimes edgy, irritable and self-absorbed, Sulphur tends to, at times, upset friends with their impatience, but they win them over with their generosity and quick wit. A typical Sulphur type — to illustrate a classical trait — is a parent who recently installed air-conditioners at home, after postponing the purchase, on one pretext or the other. This was because it was not their idea, but something their family longed for. This was also primarily a representation of their protective nature prevailing over them — for their family to be delighted.
How do you spot a Sulphur in a crowd? Simple. When you see someone removing his jacket with cheerful relief — chances are he’s the Sulphur type. This is also because Sulphur personifies the warmth and power of everything. This is what makes them effective in flushing out impurities and clearing up suppressed skin imbalances. Yet, they ironically have the pristine ability to ‘mask’ disease. However, when a Sulphur individual is mentally and emotionally suppressed, the subconscious self emerges allowing carefully buried flaws to surface.