Editor’s note: Many people, especially women, experience cravings for chocolate and/or cola drinks, while coffee is the drug of choice for many adults; particularly those who are chronically overworked and/or sleep-deprived.
In the article below, homoeopath Lee-Anne McCall discusses how the kola nut (traditionally used to flavour cola drinks) and related plants including those from which the raw materials for coffee and chocolate are sourced, may be used for healing purposes in homoeopathic potencies.
Kola and the Nurturing of the Divine Feminine
We’ve witnessed a resurgence of feminine energy over the last 150 years. Women have won the vote, they have shattered proverbial “glass ceilings” and become the elected leaders of countries.
In the process of rebalancing the overpowering male patriarchy of the last few thousand years, women have had to consciously develop their strength and power and work collectively. A 21st century woman can have it all – a career and a family.
However, as empowered as we become, it is important to remember the importance and unique power of the feminine energy of nurturance. Society is being called on to recognise and collectively remember, the nourishing power of love that is so much a part of motherhood. Kola is the remedy for these times. It is extremely relevant, especially when, as a society, we are having conversations about such subjects as children arriving at school without the basic sustenance of breakfast.
Kola is a member of the Malvaceae family of plants, keeping good company with fellow members, coffee, chocolate and the hibiscus flower. It was the original substance used to flavor Coca-cola. In homeopathy the overarching theme of this entire plant family is the nurturing love of the mother. If we have experienced this love it is the proverbial soft place to fall. A mother’s love is all encompassing and nurturing. It is the feeling of arms around you, keeping you safe and holding you. When you are held in a mother’s arms then you can relax in the warmth and safety of her love and trustingly receive nourishment and nurturance.
If we have had this experience then this translates to having healthy relationships not only with others but most importantly, with ourselves. We learn how to keep ourselves nourished and in turn are able to partake in healthy relationships with friends and partners. We are able to experience the intimacy of love within a healthy relationship that has the correct boundaries in place. It is the unhealthy woman who gives too much of herself without stopping to take care of herself first and foremost.
People who have not experienced the full vibration of a mother’s love may perceive the world as an unsafe place. They may lack a feeling of being protected which leaves them feeling vulnerable. This feeling of vulnerability can manifest in anxiety, and also irritability that is often directed at their own children. A person who needs Kola will often create unhealthy relationships as they seek love and nourishment externally. They can do this by being overly generous and caring, hoping unconsciously to receive in return the love and nurturing that they crave. When this doesn’t happen, then they can be very hurt and rejected, not realising that others cannot give them the nourishment that they need to be able to give themselves. If our own mothers did not experience the complete nurturing energy of divine motherhood, as it should be, then they could not, in turn, give it to us.
In homeopathy, there are two main remedies often used for female hormonal states. These remedies, known in homeopathy as polychrests are Sepia and Pulsatilla. When a new homeopath does a case analysis for an irritable, tired, weepy woman whose hormones are out of balance, then these two remedies will come out on top. However, in the early years of my practice I had several cases where these two polycrests failed to act as deeply and effectively as I expected them to act to improve my clients’ health. Yet, I could have sworn that they were great prescriptions. What I have learned now, is that when Sepia and Pulsatilla are indicated in a case analysis then the lesser known remedy, Kola, can be considered in the process of arriving at the prescription. There are some key indicators that I have learnt that indicate that Kola will be helpful (and I will discuss these below) go but first I want to talk briefly about chocolate and coffee and their place in the Malvaceae family of remedies so that you can understand the fuller picture of Kola.
The Malvaceae family of plants contain fats that are similar in composition to the fats in breastmilk. What greater nurturance is there than the safety and satiety of a newborn falling drunk from the breast? Note that I used the word “drunk”. We will come back to that later.
In homeopathy, the remedy made from chocolate (Cacao) is all about connection or disconnection. Do you feel connected to others or do you feel disconnected. How many woman pull out the chocolate bar just before their menstrual flow and comfort themselves with some soothing chocolate, filling that disconnected gap within themselves? There is a reason we give chocolate on Valentines’s Day. Kola, being in the same family as Cacao also has some of this essence, namely the desire for the nurturance that we get from connecting in relationships.
Coffee (Coffea), although in the Malvaceae family, is a wee bit different. We all know what happens when you have too many cups in one day. There can be trembling and oversensitivity of the nervous system as you have an adrenalin surge and charge through your task list on high speed. However, afterwards you can be left exhausted and sleepy, not to mention grumpy.
People who require Kola, have a heightened sensitivity in the nervous system as they do not experience that the world is a completely safe space. They are often busy, productive people as well as doing much for others so there is not much left in their day for things to go wrong. A mother who would benefit from Kola often can’t tolerate the small things that their children do that cause a hiccup in the easy flow of their day and the result is great irritability as they try and squeeze in the extra work into their day. People who need Kola may adore or dislike coffee. If they dislike it, it is because their hyped-up nervous system cannot tolerate the extra stimulation. However, some people who would benefit from Kola absolutely love coffee. As soon as they take a sip, they feel their body relax and with renewed clarity of mind they can get through their day.
In my clinic I have used Kola as a remedy when the desire for alcohol has increased. Remember my reference to the drunk satiety of a newborn falling off the breast? We all know mothers who just need to crack open that bottle of wine at the end of the day to take the edge off. When I have asked what the feeling is when they take a sip of alcohol, they often tell me it’s a feeling of relaxation similar to what one might feel if they were in their mother’s arms. Kola is one of the remedies that we use to help reduce the desire for alcohol.
How prevalent is the desire for these three substances…alcohol, coffee and chocolate? Billion dollar industries have been created around these three potentially addictive foods and beverages when a good portion of the people using these substances may be trying to gain the feeling of safety and relaxation in the world that they missed out on because they had a “distant” mother.
Kola is used when there is a history of being cut off from the mother’s nurturing. I’ve used it successfully in cases where the client’s history ranges from being adopted, to not being breastfed as a child right through to when mum has been present but distant. There may have been a lack of affection and warmth in the relationship. A client needing Kola may be irritable with their children when they don’t want to be and after taking the remedy they find they are able to go with the flow and not be triggered by small events that throw their busy day into chaos. In short, they can hold within themselves more of the loving, nurturing vibration of motherhood and share that with their own children.
Physically, Kola has helped my clients with a varied list of physical symptoms. It has repaired lower back pain and stiffness across the lumbar region in some of my clients. Old pains from shoulder injuries and knee injuries from years past have improved. I have used it successfully for a case of cold sores and neuralgic pain down the right side of the body reminiscent of shingles.
Where I find Kola is a hidden gem is that it can help to balance a woman’s hormonal system. It has eased heavy periods and reduced pre-menstrual tension beforehand. This remedy is also used for obesity or difficult weight that is hard to shift. In one of my cases, a woman in her early forties who was frustrated that her weight just kept increasing, no matter how she adjusted her diet and lifestyle. After being prescribed Kola, she found her weight stopped increasing and then a few months later it began to reduce with very little difference in her eating habits. There is a case in one of my books where Kola has eased elevated blood sugar levels and diabetes in a subject, so it stands to reason it may help insulin resistance in peri-menopausal woman.
After taking the remedy Kola, women feel more relaxed and able to cope with the day’s stressors. They are less irritable and able to instill better boundaries on their generosity and kindness as they learn to give nourishment and sustenance to themselves instead of seeking it externally. Once they experience this nurturing vibration of divine motherhood, then they are in a better position to be able to express it towards their own children and within an intimate relationship with a partner.
Woman hold a unique role in society that needs to be first recognized by ourselves. Nothing beats being held safely in a mother’s arms. The emotional nurturance that children receive from their mothers (and fathers) is crucial to their health and development. It helps to set them up for life, so they are less anxious and can form wonderful relationships with themselves and others.
Sadly, the contributions of at-home mothers and fathers are often devalued in modern, materially-focused Western societies.
Kola is a remedy that supports mothers’ abilities to nurture their children – an act that needs to be acknowledged and valued in such a way so that our society has a chance to move towards health and wholeness and not to degeneration and violence.
About the author: Lee-Anne McCall (dip. Ho9. (NZ) is a homoeopath who practices in the suburb of Ellerslie in Auckland, New Zealand. She is a regular contributor to The NZ Journal of Natural Medicine. You can find out more about Lee-Anne and her work at her website: http://healinghaven.co.nz/
Ed note: The NZ Journal of Natural Medicine features article about various aspects of women’s health. (Issue 20, for example, features articles on premenstrual syndrome, hormone replacement therapy and natural treatments for uterine fibroids.
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Image credit: The photo of the chocolate heart is courtesy of m_bartosch at FreeDigitalPhotos.net