What A Miasm Means for Your Horse
By Tanya Nolte

A miasm may be inherited across generations.

The word 'miasm' is of Greek derivative meaning stain, pollution, or defilement. Dr. Samuel Hahnemann, the founder of homoeopathy, adopted it to describe what he perceived as the parasitical nature of infectious or contagious diseases, and all chronic diseases in general other than those produced by unhygienic living, occupational diseases, and the so-called drug diseases.

The term miasm is comparable to diathesis, dyscrasia, condition, state, predisposition or terrain. A miasm may be inherited across generations, acquired, or acute, and an individual can have more than one, but only one will be active at any one time. Miasms are an energetic concept of disease that transcend the commonly held belief that illness is explicable in purely physical terms, and are clearly about why a patient may manifest a disease. Hahnemann defined the miasm as the fundamental constitutional pathological state of the individual. The entire psychophysical constitution of the patient can be altered by this dynamic morbid tendency. A miasm is an invisible energetic force retained by the organism (like an indelible stain) that is subtly capable of disturbing or impeding the pure and smooth functioning of the body's vital force (defence mechanism). This derangement leads to symptoms of disease. The change or disarray of the vital force is what we call disease, which is expressed by a totality of symptoms.

This energetic concept of disease, primarily a morbid dynamical or functional disturbance of the vital force, is from what was reared the entire foundation of therapeutic medication governed by the principle 'Similia Similibus Curentur', as it was coined by Hahnemann, "Like Cures Like". Only potentised homoeopathic remedies that resonate on the same level with the disturbance can delete these stains or imprints we call miasms from the vital force and thus restore the vital force to pure function and control of the organism.

It is an important fundamental to understand the miasmatic background of a patient in order to recognise why the patient is manifesting disease. We are not interested in the disease label but in the patient as to why, how and in what way they have manifested a disease state. As the famous chemist Louis Pasteur said, "The microbe is nothing, the terrain everything".

A predisposition, or susceptibility, to disease is a constitutional weakness or flaw in the defence mechanism. It is a tendency to, or openness to, a certain kind of illness or derangement of an individual horse's state of health. Predispositions are built into constitutions by inheritance and are influenced or triggered during a horse's life by things such as environmental factors, allergens, virus/bacterial infection, suppressive medicines, vaccines, stress, emotional and physical trauma, poor diet and lifestyle, aging, and the developmental stages of life such as teething and adolescence just to name a few. It depends on the individual horse's susceptibility as to whether they befall an infection, invasion or defect of some kind and how strong their immune system and vital energy (vital force) are to combat it.

Dr. Stuart M. Close, author of "The Genius of Homoeopathy", puts it this way:

"By susceptibility we mean the general quality or capability of the living organism of receiving impressions; the power to react to stimuli. Susceptibility is one of the fundamental attributes of life. Upon it depends all functioning, all vital processes, physiological and pathological. Digestion, assimilation, nutrition, repair, secretion, excretion, metabolism and catabolism, as well as all disease processes arising from infection or contagion depend upon the power of the organism to react to specific stimuli.

The cure and alleviation of diseases depend upon the same power of the organism to react to the impression of the curative remedy.

When we give a drug to a healthy person for the purpose of making a homoeopathic "proving" or test, the train of symptoms which follows represents the reaction of the susceptible organism to the specific irritant or stimulus administered.

When a homoeopathically selected medicine is administered to a sick person, the disappearance of the symptoms and restoration of the patient to health represents the reaction of the susceptible organism to the impression of the curative remedy."

The three principle miasms are the psoric, the syphilitic, and the sycotic miasms. Another is the tubercular miasm. More recent miasms that are developing are the cancer miasm, aids and radiation miasms amongst others.

Psora is a Latin-Greek derivation originating from the Hebrew word tsorat - tsorat meaning "a groove, a stigma, blemish, or dirt"; psora meaning "scabies, the itch". Hahnemann considered this miasm as the parent of all chronic diseases and the soil for all the other miasms to develop. Syphilis (also know as the luetic miasm) is considered to be the second miasm that arrived, produced by the syphilis disease itself leading to later inherited predispositions. Sycosis (not the psychosis that you may have coming to mind, which tends to be more of a syphilitic origin) stems from the Greek word 'syco', meaning "fig". This miasm arose from the gonorrhoea disease and hence the predisposition to fig-wart like growths that are a major feature of this miasm. Vaccination and allergy shots given to your horse can lead to a deepening of sycosis. Tubercular follows the same trend as the other infectious diseases that culminated into miasms.

Different symptoms will come under different miasmatic headings. There are remedies that can cover all three miasms within their symptom picture, others cover two miasms, and the remaining remedies are specific to one miasm, especially when it is a one-sided case (a case with a myriad of pathological symptoms and little in the way of 'better or worse from' modalities).

Even when other miasms are uppermost, psora will be present, being the universal miasm. While one miasm is active other miasms that may be present will lie dormant until the current layer has been removed. Exposing the underlying layer will reveal a new symptom picture relating to the newly surfaced miasm. Almost all remedies, especially those from the mineral kingdom, treat a psoric miasm while treating the total symptom picture. When symptoms overwhelmingly indicate a clear picture of a miasm itself then a miasmic remedy may be selected, e.g. Psorinum for the psoric miasm, Medhorrinum for the sycotic miasm, and Syphilinum for the syphilitic miasm.

A remedy such as Calc carb is a leading psoric remedy, Thuja is a leading sycotic remedy, and Mercurius is a leading syphilitic remedy. The remedy Nitricum acidum encompasses all three miasms. Understandably, when looking at a horse's case the choice of remedy will reflect the uppermost layer - the miasm that most needs to be addressed at the current time.

PSORIC - the typical symptom complex has reference to the skin - the basic epidermal cell. Relation is to the skin layer ectoderm, being the outer layer, manifesting as reactions and under-functioning. Psora's action is described as fast and reactive and is largely focused on the nervous system and the nerve centres, producing functional disturbances in the horse, e.g., hypersensitivity; most skin eruptions especially if dry, rough, non purulent, and itchy; redness of mucous membranes; allergic responses; reactions to environmental stimuli such as temperature, weather, noise, light etc; malabsorption and nutritional deficiencies; circulation, coldness or hot flushes; congested lymphatics; under-functioning liver leading to digestive disturbances, irregular heat cycles; worms and parasites; pains are burning in nature; discharges are clear to white and watery; the horse is better for natural eliminations; better for cold and better at night.
Mental aspects can manifest as doubts about ability to deal with stress, anxiety, and unfounded fears; forsaken feelings; passivity; lack of confidence; earthiness, grounded, down to earth attitude, which is a healthy state for a psoric horse whereas a dirty, unkempt appearance is unhealthy; they easily suffer ailments from grief; irritability (but not to levels of violence or destructiveness like syphilitic); can appear selfish and egotistical.

SYPHILITIC - these symptoms have almost exclusive reference to the nerve cell. Relation is to endoderm, the inner skin layer, with destruction of tissue. The action is described as unpredictable, erratic and destructive with no reactivity. It can be seen in degeneration of the meninges (outer membranes) of the brain with effects on the eyes, larynx, throat, bones and periosteum, causing ulceration and destruction - e.g., all destructive processes such as fierce ulcerations, bone necrosis, gangrene, tooth decay, nerve degeneration, blindness, cancers, auto-immune disorders etc; all malformations and deviations such as dysplasia, dystrophy, birth deformities, still births, bone and teeth discrepancies, ingrowing hairs; hair falling out etc; deep pathologies of bones, eyes, nerves and brain; pains are bursting and tearing in nature; discharges are of pus and blood; the horse has poor reactivity (generally few 'better or worse' modalities, symptoms lying mostly in the pathological area); the symptoms are worse during the night and worse for natural discharges such as sweating or passing urine (opposite to Sycotic).
Mental manifestations are ones of despair and futility; fixed ideas and behaviours, obsessions and neuroses; violent responses, impulsiveness; hatefulness, self-destructive behaviour; impaired mentality; panic and terror; a sense of darkness and depression.

SYCOTIC - often acute symptoms that have reference to the mucous membranes and nerve cells. Relation to the mesoderm, the middle skin layer, manifesting as overgrowth of tissue. Response pattern is seen as disordered, inappropriate and overactive with an affinity to attack the internal organs, especially the pelvic and sexual organs, and causes various inflammations and overgrowth of tissues, e.g., excessive discharges or secretions such as catarrh, diarrhoea, oily skin, leucorrhoea; growths like warts, sarcoids, cysts, tumours, fungal diseases; strong affinity to reproductive complaints and sexual organs; accumulation of stones and deposits like kidney stones, arthritic nodes; joint inflammations; auto-immune diseases; the discharges are yellow to green (purulent); the horse's symptoms are mostly worse during the day, worse for cold and damp, and are worse for suppressed discharges.
Mental manifestations lean toward excessive desires or anything to excess; selfishness and greed, jealousy and ambition; suspicion and distrust; deceitfulness and guilt; rudeness; paranoid delusions; can act the show-off; may have extremes of emotions, neurotic behaviour or over zealous sexual activity.

TUBERCULAR - is thought by many as principally a combination of both psora and syphilis. The mental/emotional sphere: Response pattern is fast to react but slow to recover. There can be an inner conflict: security and structure versus excitement, adventure and emotional freedom. Youngsters are easily bored and can be sulky, snappy or unsociable; prone to temper tantrums of biting and kicking; obstinate and willful, don't listen well to 'No'. They can be fast developers or the opposite with slow development. The unstable energy and emotions make the horse full-on or hyperactive, but they can't sustain it and suddenly fall in a heap unable to go on. Restlessness, night sweating and teeth grinding may be seen when stalled. They enjoy change in their lives and travelling does not normally present a problem to these horses. A strong fear of dogs is often evident. As would be expected, respiratory complaints of all kinds are a large aspect of this miasm, especially colds and persistent coughs that recur every winter, and any cold that goes immediately to the chest, allergies and hayfever. Although good eaters it is hard to keep weight on a tubercular horse. (Note: horses with serious chest complaints whose symptom picture indicates the nosode Tuberculinum should NOT be administered high potencies of this nosode and are best evaluated by a homoeopath for an appropriate remedy selection!)


A six-month-old filly became emotionally insecure and temperamental after her mother passed away who had lost her fight with a bad case of pneumonia. Shortly after the death of the mare the filly acquired a mild case of strangles that progressed to an insistent cough. She had a foul-smelling watery nasal discharge, which seemed to bother her and make her quite cranky to the extent of causing her to grind her teeth. She constantly rubbed her nose along the fence as if it was itchy or tickling. Even though a good appetite remained she was losing weight rapidly. Her stools were watery and loose, especially in the mornings.

The filly was treated homoeopathically to address the presenting symptom picture while also bearing in mind the hereditary predisposition to lung disease. Tuberculinum was one possibility but the remedy Arsenicum iodatum best represented the totality of symptoms while encompassing the tubercular miasm at the same time. She did very well on this remedy and over the next few months was rid of almost all her symptoms. The tubercular layer being removed then exposed the new layer, that of a dormant psoric miasm.

During the period of persistently scratching her nose she had made sores. It was noted that they took longer than expected to heal. Then she began to develop a series of small warts on her face at the time she was cutting her permanent molars. Her coat looked dull and there was some scurfiness near her elbows. She was fond of seeking shelter and on reflection the owner felt that her original cough had seemed better when in her loose box and worse out in the open cold air. She no longer looked lean and actually looked quite pot bellied. She had also taken to jumping a lot at her own shadow.

The remedy that fit this new symptom picture was Calcarea carbonica, which is a strongly anti-psoric remedy, with some sycotic elements (warts, sensitive to cold air), and has a relationship with Arsenicum iodatum to follow it well. Following the Calc carb treatment the warts slowly vanished, her coat became lustrous, and she grew to be much more confident and amiable without any further health issues.

This example demonstrates how the inherited tubercular miasm was triggered by the episode of emotional trauma, leaving the filly susceptible to acquiring the strangles and progressing to the lung condition. Removing the tubercular miasmic tendency revealed the psoric miasm, which in turn was dealt with by using that symptom picture's matching energetic healing remedy.

This article is for educational purposes and in no way replaces veterinary advice or treatment. Always call your veterinarian when serious events arise. If you desire to follow a holistic path then I would recommend that you obtain approval from your veterinarian to seek the professional services of a qualified classical homoeopath or other certified holistic health practitioner.

About the author:
Tanya Nolte lives in NSW, Australia where she keeps a number of horses and also an interesting array of other furry animal companions. Tan is a veterinary nurse of 7 years and a classical homoeopath of 6, conducting consultations at the veterinary clinic, a human clinic, and privately. She has completed a full 3-year Diploma in Homoeopathy and 2 years in the Medical Sciences of Anatomy and Physiology, Biochemistry, Pathophysiology, Symptomatology and Differential Diagnoses. She is a professional member of the Australian Homoeopathic Association, the official Australian Registrar of Homoeopaths, and the Holistic Animal Therapy Association of Australia. Tan is available for distance consultations via phone or email.

For more information, and to find a homoeopath near you:

Tanya Nolte, Classical EquiHomoeopath.
Whispering Horse Therapies
PO Box 22, Nimbin
NSW 2480, Australia
Phone 02 66897296

Australian Homoeopathic Association
PO Box 396 Drummoyne
NSW 1470, Australia
Phone 02 97192763

Holistic Animal Therapy Association of Australia
PO Box 202, Ormond, Melbourne
Vic 3204, Australia
Phone 03 59688100

The Academy of Veterinary Homeopathy
751 N.E. 168th Street
North Miami Beach, FL 33162-2427
Phone 305-652-1590

National Center for Homeopathy
801 North Fairfax St., Suite 306
Alexandria, VA 22314

American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association
2214 Old Emmorton Road
Bel Air, MD 21015