Extreme malnutrition and emaciation (especially in children);
can result from inadequate intake of food or from malabsorption
or metabolic disorders.
Marasmus is one of the three forms of serious
protein-energy malnutrition (PEM). The other two
are kwashiorkor (KW) and marasmic KW. These forms of serious PEM
represent a group of pathologic conditions associated with a nutritional
and energy deficit occurring mainly in young children from developing
countries at the time of weaning. They are frequently associated
with infections, mainly gastrointestinal infections.
Symptoms of Marasmus
are essentially characteristic of protein-energy deficiency: dry
skin, loose skin folds hanging over the glutei, axillae etc. Drastic
loss of adipose tissue from normal areas of fat deposits like buttocks
and thighs. The child is fretful, irritable and may show voracious
appetite. There may be alternate bands of pigmented and depigmented
hair (flag sign) and flaky paint appearance of skin due to peeling.
Homeopathic Remedies & Homeopathy Treatment for Marasmus,
protein-energy malnutrition & kwashiorkor
This is our chief remedy, and corresponds to thin, emaciated children
who are predisposed to glandular and osseous disease, who have large
heads and defective bony development, as shown in the open fontanelles
and tardy development of the teeth the spine is so weak that it
cannot support the body, and it becomes curved, the neck is very
thin, the complexion is sallow, the child is emaciated and poorly
developed, vomits persistently and has a diarrhea of green, slimy
and undigested stools, accompanied with much offensive flatus. Calcarea
iodata may also prove useful where there are engorged glands, enlarged
tonsils and decided scrofulous tendencies.
#Calcarea carbonica. [Calc]
The Calcarea are all valuable in marasmus. The carbonate has the
defective nutrition and suits cases where the acidity predominates;
there are sour stools and vomiting of milk, there is sweat on scalp,
head and face, the feet are damp and cold, enlargement of the glands
and voracious appetite. The body dwindles, yet the abdomen remains
prominent. The appetite may be morbid, craving indigestible articles.
The mesenteric glands are engorged and the fat of the body wastes.
It is very valuable in those of scrofulous tendencies. Arsenicum
has undigested stools and a diarrhea on beginning to eat or drink;
rapid emaciation with a harsh and dry skin. The debility, weariness
and irritable restlessness will indicate the remedy. Phosphorus
is also a nutrition remedy, and is indicated by the chest oppression,
feeble heart, dyspnoea and tendency to diarrhea, which is copious
and exhausting. It suits delicate, refined children. The nervous
centers seem to suffer most; exhausting sweats and great nervous
debility mark the remedy.
A grand remedy in marasmus. It has the symptoms of extreme hunger,
yet, in spite of this, the patient emaciates rapidly. It seems to
suit acute cases with more or less febrile action. The action of
the glands is interfered with, and there is great sluggish and torpor
of the system; the face is yellow and shrunken.
#Natrum muriaticum. [Nat-m]
This remedy suits marasmus from defective nourishment ; the neck
is thin as under Calcarea carbonica, and the appetite is ravenous,
though the patient grows thin. There is much thirst and water is
craved all the time, as if the patient were possessed of an inward
fever. the mouth and throat are dry and there is constipation. The
emaciation is all out of proportion to the fever or diarrhea; the
skin is scurfy and may develop oozing eruptions. Craving for salt
may also be present, and it is a useful indication.
#Magnesia carbonica. [Mag-c]
Like its relative, Calcarea, this remedy is valuable in marasmus.
It suits particularly puny children in whom milk is not borne well,
causing pain when taken into this stomach, and is vomited undigested
; there are griping, colicky pains; the stools are sour and are
green as grass. The child has the appearance of being improperly
nourished; its mouth is full of ulcers, the glands are swollen and
the abdomen is bloated. Mercurius is a valuable oftentimes and is
indicated by such symptoms as emaciation, swollen and suppurating
glands, a jaundiced appearance and a green, sour or watery stool
accompanied by straining; the sweat is offensive and the gums are
Suits old looking children who have much heat about the head and
cold feet, a hard , distended abdomen and a dirty, sallow , shrivelled
skin; it hangs in folds ; the fingers are emaciated, almost resembling
knitting needles. The stools are acrid , making the anus sore ,
and the child has an offensive faecal odor about it. There is excessive
hunger at 11 A.M., and the skin is apt to be covered with various
eruptions, eczema predominating. Particularly are the cervical,
axillary and inguinal glands swollen and the voracious appetite
is present. Dentition is slow and the muscles are tardily developed.
Psorinum resembles Sulphur somewhat; it has the symptom that the
patient has a foetid, there is great debility, dirty looking eruptions
and boils. It will sometimes rouse the system when Sulphur fails.
#Hepar sulphur. [Hep]
This remedy stands between Sulphur and Calcarea carbonica. There
is weakness of digestion, diarrhea worse during the daytime, stools
are greenish, slimy, undigested and sour, the whole body emitting
a sour odor. The child apparently looks plump, but the flesh is
flabby and the muscles withered. There is a tendency to unhealthy
skin and suppurative conditions. Tendency to catarrhs from least
draught of cold air.
#Baryta carbonica. [Bar-c]
Corresponds to dwarfish sluggish children who are weak in memory,
whose cervical glands are swollen , who are lazy, pot-bellied, and
who suffer from great physical and mental debility. The child wants
to eat all the time, does not like sweet things or fruit and a little
food satisfies. Artemisia abrotanum is also a remedy for marasmus.
It has enormous appetite, child constantly cries for food,pain in
the stomach and abdomen,bloating and large frequent stools; food
passes undigested . Skin flabby, hangs loosely.