Folliculinum in Prolonged Stress
Those of you who read this column regularly may remember the case of Colin, a middle aged man with arthritis in the neck. He was experiencing severe depression due to an ongoing situation with his ex-wife who is an alcoholic and whom he has to continuously bail out of horrendous situations due to her drinking. Colin is a very fastidious fellow and also a worrier par excellence. He responded very well to Arsenicum album which restored his ability to sleep and lifted his mood somewhat, such that he was no longer in the depths of despair.
I have continued to see him regularly to top up the acupuncture treatment to his neck which he finds very helpful to overcome spasm related to the arthritis. Over the months, the Arsenicum has been lasting less and less time with each dose. This can happen with homeopathic treatment. In some situations, it is because the diverse influences working in the opposite direction to the homeopathy are more marked. When the system is under stress, it seems to use up the homeopathic medicine faster. In other cases, it simply seems that the person's system is needing a higher potency to obtain the same effect.
I gave Colin a higher potency of Arsenicum album, initially the 200c and then the 1M. Each time, the response was better for a couple of months and then began to fade again. This gave me cause for concern. Although, technically, one can increase potencies up to 100M (or CM as it is known) or even higher, I did not feel comfortable with this approach. Why was Colin needing higher and higher potencies in order to obtain an improvement? Could it be that that there was an aspect of the problem that the Arsenicum album was not addressing, and which was simply overwhelming Colin's ability to mount a healing response?
This situation called for a fundamental rethink of the case. I was sure that Arsenicum album was the right 'constitutional medicine' for Colin. The term 'constitutional medicine' is one that causes confusion and consternation among homeopaths and patients alike. My understanding of the term is that, in some people, it is possible to identify a medicine whose picture matches the overall metabolism of the particular person exactly. For that person, their reactions to stress, the way they behave when ill, the type of illnesses they get, all fit into one medicine picture. For these people, a dose of their constitutional medicine will raise their general level of health and when they are ill, the medicine will often address their symptoms and make them better. Thus, for many adherents of homeopathy, the search for their 'constitutional medicine' is the Holy Grail, a recipe for permanent well-being, an answer to all their problems.
However, there are several problems with this scenario. The first is that it is not always possible to identify a clear constitutional medicine for a patient. This may be because we do not yet know of a sufficient number of medicines to cover every type of person in the world.
Alternatively, it may be because people can be very complex, especially in modern day society, where the influences with which we are bombarded every day are so enormous and varied. If you use the analogy of the 'constitution' as a pure tone of sound, it can remain pure and strong in the quiet of the countryside but is frequently lost in the hubbub of a noisy city.
In Colin's case, the situation was different again. His Arsenicum album constitution was intact despite the 'interference' caused by the situation with his ex-wife. What was happening here was that this 'interference' was so great and overwhelming that it was swamping him completely and he had no reserves left with which to respond to his medicine. It was as if he was a tube of toothpaste which was running out, and we were having to apply harder and harder force (in the form of higher and higher potencies) to get the toothpaste out. If we continued increasing the potency, I felt that we ran the risk of running out of toothpaste altogether – in other words, eventually he would stop responding to the medicine completely.
Fortunately, there is a medicine used in homeopathy which addresses this situation. The medicine is called Folliculinum and is based on one of the female hormones. It has been used by homeopaths following the teachings and example of Dr Foubister, an English homeopath who worked during the mid 20th century, for the situation where homeopathic medicines are failing to act due to extreme pressure.
This can be pressure of a personal nature, due to a work situation or due to long term or severe ill health. Somehow, the Folliculinum seems to give the failing system a foothold, enabling it to steady itself and begin the recover.
This certainly seems to have been the case with Colin. I gave him a single tablet of Folliculinum 30c. One month later, he reported that he was smiling again for the first time in months, and that the smile was not simply the one that he put on for show, but rather a real smile from deep within. He had lost the sensation of deep despair which had dogged him for years, and which had lifted partially with Arsenicum.
At the time, he thought that Arsenicum had eliminated it all together, but now that he was completely free of the despair, he realized that it had still been lurking. As we all know, one often does not realize how bad one feels until one gets better! We now have a good chance of helping Colin in the long term by combining intermittent doses of Folliculinum and Arsenicum album as required.
Folliculinum cannot and must not be repeated frequently. It is a powerful and deep-acting medicine and I would advise strongly against self-administration. The advice of an experienced homeopath is needed to know when and if these kind of medicines should be given, as their healing power is too precious to be wasted by use in an inappropriate situation. As a homeopath, one can become used to the wonderful things that happen for patients when giving these tiny doses of medicine. However, I never cease to be amazed at the power of a single tablet of Folliculinum in seemingly hopeless and impossible situations.
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