Loss of appetite
Quite common in acute or chronic illness, can be aggravated by drugs, and can be directly caused by gross over-consumption of Vitamins A and D, and fluoride, or by a deficiency of iron, zinc, Vitamin B1, folic acid (folate), or biotin. Appetite usually returns to normal once the offending substance is withdrawn or the deficiency made up, but if there is no improvement within 3 or 4 weeks, consult your medical doctor or homeopath. In rare cases continuing loss of appetite is an early sign of cancer of the stomach (see Cancer).
Cravings and Aversions
Well known in pregnancy, and in some cases are an indication of deficiency or food Allergy. Homeopaths take special note of food likes and dislikes when prescribing constitutionally.
Specific remedies to be taken every 8 hours for up to 2 weeks, provided appetite loss is not due to excess or deficiency, drugs, or a diagnosed illness
- Loss of appetite caused by grief, complete loss of interest in food (solids and fluid), cigarettes, etc., but no aversion to them Ignatia 30c
- Person not at all thirsty, has a particular aversion to fat and eggs Pulsatilla 30c
- Person put off food by bitter taste in mouth, yellow tongue, and feeling generally 'hung over' Nux 30c
- Person hungry but feels full up after just a few mouthfuls, a lot of wind in stomach Lycopodium 30c
Specific remedy to be taken after acute illness, when person has no appetite but feels in need of a tonic
- Gentiana 3c, 5 drops to be taken in ½ hour before meals for up to 10 days
May be a symptom of hyperthyroidism (general speeding up of all body processes - see Thyroid Problems), Hypoglycaemia, and sometimes Depression; in bulimia, sudden craving for huge amounts of food is followed by guilt, self-induced vomiting, and abuse of laxatives.
Specific remedies to be given 3 times daily for up to 2 weeks
- Increased appetite but no corresponding weight gain, feeling hot and faint, with gnawing pains in stomach if food is not eaten at regular intervals, person increasingly forgetful so checks everything twice Iodum 6c
- Increased appetite accompanied by weight loss, especially around neck, and craving for salt Natrum mur. 6c
- Increased appetite associated with worms Cina 6c
- Non-stop craving for food Psorinum 6c
- Increased appetite, but a feeling fullness after just a few mouthfuls Lycopodium 6c
See Weight Problems for more information.