Kali carbonicum: a hard remedy?

i mindMaps 150Kent says that Kali carbonicum is a hard remedy to study and to prescribe [5, 2]. One of the traits of the Kali c constitution is to suppress or have few symptoms and these patients may report for treatment only when their pathology is well advanced. Kali c. also has affinities to several major remedies, including Lycopodium, Arsenic and Bryonia to name but three. It has a distinctive personality, but given how ‘closed’ Kali c. can be, sometimes physical symptoms are the most effective guide to prescription, even though these an be opposite and changing.


kali carbonicumKali c. is derived from the mineral salt potassium carbonate (KCO3). Potassium carbonate is normally present in the body and plays a role in fluid regulation in the heart, kidneys and adrenal system. It is also important for the nervous system and muscle function [1]. It is a very alkaline substance, and the homeopathic remedy has a strong connection with water - either its excess in oedema or copious catarrh, or its absence in dryness of the tissues [3].


Bailey sees the Kali c. personality as typified by rigidity. He says, ‘Like First Officer Spock of the USS Enterprise, Kali is efficient, logical and unemotional.' [8, p. 93].

mr spockThe classic description of the Kali c. personality talks about closed, unbending, authoritarian individuals. They need order and structure and they will also stoically put up with bad situations (an empty marriage, a dull job) rather than risk the uncertainty of change or to loose the job or the partner, however unsatisfactory [3, 4]. They tend to be found in occupations that require them to be orderly, methodical and to apply a set of well-defined rules (bank managers, clerks or even police officers). A keen sense of duty is a Kali c. characteristic. Kali c. individuals are stoic, resigned to poor situations and possessive of what they have, however unsatisfactory. It is this resignation that also leads them to put up with illness and to believe that they cannot be cured. They have a hard time explaining exactly what their symptoms are [4]. They worry about money, poverty and the future, but may also affect (or experience) indifference. Kali c. can be oversensitive and highly irritable. S/he tends to quarrel but doesn’t like to be alone and is given to fear and imagination [5].


Stitching, burning or tearing pains, independent of movement, are typical of Kali c. (Bryonia, where similar pains come on with movement) [6]. Very often these pains move around, though a pain in the lower right chest stretching to the back is also characteristic, as are debilitating back pains with any condition including childbirth and arthritis [4, 5, 6]. Kali c. pains are associated with cold and will move to the coldest part. Kali c. also tends to copious cold sweats which can centre where the pain is [5]. Patients show weakness and debility; they can’t bear to be touched [6].

Catarrh, colds and pneumonia

Moving from the cold into the warm produces much catarrh; Kali c. is a remedy for thick stuffy colds, and hacking coughs which produce much expectoration [5]. Thick, yellow discharge is typical. Kali c.’s uses for chest complaints also include pleurisy, consumption asthma and heart troubles. The Kali c. asthmatic patient often sits and leans forward but this doesn’t relieve the condition [6, 4].

Water balance

shallow waterIan Watson takes some time to reflect on Kali c.’s association with water balance. On the one hand it is strongly indicated for fluid retention. A very characteristic signature is a swelling above the upper eyelids. There is a tendency to weeping, of gathering water in the mouth, regurgitation of water as well as night sweats and a distinctive sensation that the stomach is full of water [3].

Digestion and the liver

Kali c. has much in common with Lycopodium in illnesses of the liver and the digestion. However, they can be differentiated in several ways; while both desire set things in Kali c. the craving is specifically for sugar. Kali c. also desires sour tastes. Eructations always help Lycopodium, but may not do so for Kali c. [3].

Menses, childbirth and other ‘female complaints'

Not least because of Kali c.'s association with the regulation of the blood, it can be curative for a range of illnesses associated with the female reproductive system including problems with the menses, menopause, uterine displacement, fibroids and cysts. Associated backache is often indicative [3, 5].

2 a.m. to 5 a.m. aggravation

An important hint that Kali c. is the right remedy is this time modality, although authorities differ as to whether 3 a.m. or 4 a.m. are the key times. For some patients this means a period of insomnia, for others it involves a worsening of other symptoms, e.g. asthma attacks [3].

Of course this is a far from complete profile of this complex remedy. You can explore Kali c. further in the following articles.

There's a new Kali c. True or False quiz here.


Other authors on Kali carbonicum

[back to top]

[1] A brief outline at homeopathy central.

[2] T. K. Kasiviswanathan, ‘Learn a remedy through cases - Kali-carb’, National Journal of Homeopathy, III(2) (2001).

[3] Ian Watson, Kali Carbonicum, Ian Watson Seminars.

[4] Mike Bridger, ‘Up the Swanee with Kali-carb’, The Homeopath, (2000), abstracted in the National Journal of Homeopathy.

[5] Kent on homeoint.org.

[6] Nash on Vithoulkas.com.

[7] Dharmesh Bhadia, ‘Understanding Variations of Cali Carbonic through Clinical Experiences’, on hpathy.com.

[8] Philip Bailey, Homeopathic Psychology: Personality Profiles of the Major Constitutional Remedies, pp. 91-100.


Image credits

Kali c. granules

Mr Spock (from recent obituary of actor Lenord Nimoy).

Shallow water



We couldn't close without a few clips of Mr Spock displaying his Kali c. tendencies:





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