What is Pica?
Pica is considered an eating disorder that has only recently been defined as such. It is characterized by the craving and ingesting of substances that are not considered as food and have no nutritional value.
The sufferer of this disorder tends to consume materials such as dirt, chalk, soap, paper, hair, wood, and stone amongst others. While babies may explore the taste of non-food items and tend to put many an object or substance into their mouth, this is a normal developmental stage whereby young children explore the world around them. However, as of an older age, such behaviour is inappropriate, even more so in adult life, and pica, can occur in children, adolescents and adults alike.
What are the causes of Pica?
The most common causes of pica are certain forms of anemia and malnutrition. In such cases the sufferers organism is trying to correct nutritional deficiencies by craving such substances.. Quite frequently the administration of mineral, or vitamin compounds can correct the deficiencies and can resolve the eating disorder. There are however conditions, such as those belonging to the spectrum of mental health disorders, that may likewise exhibit craving for non-food substances.
Homeopathic remedies for the treatment of Pica
Alumina – Craving unnatural dry foods like charcoal, chalk, tea-grounds, with aversion to meat and disagreement of potatoes.
Antimonium Crudum – Aversion to practically all foods; it inclines to nausea and vomiting. Desires, acidic foods, such as pickles. Bread & cakes, acids, or sour wine induce gastric complaints.
Bryonia – Food lacks taste or tastes bitter. There is a general disgust for food. However a great desire for wine, for drinks that are acidic, for coffee, and indigestible substances.
Calcium Carbonicum – Has a bitter, metallic taste in mouth. No appetite. Craving chalk, coal pencils, but also eggs, salt, sweets & wine. Averse to things that have been boild. Dislike of hot food, meat, & fat. Milk disagrees, induces nausea and acid regurgitation. Longs for cold drinks.
Cicuta virosa – Craves unnatural foods, inclined to eat particulatly coal. Continued hunger after meal, but during meal satiety is reached after first bite already.
Hepar sulfuris – Acidic and sour foods are craved for, as are wine, spicy foods and substances that have a strong taste. Averse to fatty foods. There is frequent and easy stomach upset.
Lac Felinum – Craves eating paper. Has generally little appetite & feels bloated after eating, must loosen clothes.
Nitricum Acidum – Desires salty and fatty foods and has a craving for chalk, earth,lime and other indigestile substances; for fatty foods and herring. Fats nauseate. Cannot digest milk. Aversion to sweetened foods, bread and meat.
Nux vomica – Desires stimulants and fatty foods, which make no complaints. Ravenously hungry after drinking beer. Desires brandy and chalk. All food seems tasteless.
Boericke, W. (2000) HOMŒOPATHIC MATERIA MEDICA, Available at: http://www.homeoint.org/books/boericmm/index.htm(Accessed: May 2019).
Clarke, J. H. (2000) A DICTIONARY OF PRACTICAL MATERIA MEDICA, Available at: http://www.homeoint.org/clarke/index.htm(Accessed: May 2019).
NEDA (2018) Pica, Available at: https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/learn/by-eating-disorder/other/pica (Accessed: May 2019).
Petre, A. (2019) 6 Common Types of Eating Disorders (and Their Symptoms), Available at: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/common-eating-disorders#section6 (Accessed: May 2019).