This is a synopsis from the chapter on Sarcodes and contains information on the function of various glands and the materia medica of associated remedies.
Sarcodes are medicines made from organ material. They include Adrenalinum, Hypothalamus, Histaminum, Thyroidinum, Pituitary gland and Anterior and Posterior pituitary. These medicines can be used simply to address specific symptom pictures, and also to help support organs that may be responsible for certain symptom complexes. They may be used to complement constitutional medicines if they are not fully resolving issues.
Adrenalinum is most likely a much needed medicine being such an intrinsic part of human chemistry. The adrenal gland kicks in when a person feels under threat or over excited, allowing the body to react quickly and intensely. When people constantly feel in this state due to chronic stress and the wound-up modern condition, it can lead to adrenal depletion, the adrenal gland becoming overworked, leading to a corresponding depletion in energy and the classic burnt-out state of chronic fatigue and associated states. So one could see Adrenalinum for people who are either forever in a hyped up state, always on the go, impatient, irritable, living life to the full, but feeling always on the edge: and also on the other side, having gone over the edge into exhaustion, so-called chronic fatigue-type conditions in which they are both depleted yet also highly sensitive and easily overstimulated. One may see a history of extreme shock or fright, indicating such medicines as Aconite, Opium and Stramonium, and since then they have remained in a state of fear/fright, even if suppressed. In these cases, people may be easily agitated and upset, always thinking the shocking experience will happen again at any time. Over time, this wound-up state leads to exhaustion. It is seen to work clinically in high blood pressure and migraines, and mentally in cases where there are profound anxiety attacks and deep stress. Comparative medicines include Aconite, Argentum nitricum, Arsenicum album, Cocaine, Iodum, Nux vomica, Rhus tox, Sepia and the various Acids.
The Hypothalamus, a very important gland, is found in the brain near the pituitary gland: it works by telling the pituitary to produce hormones such as dopamine, oxytocin, corticotrophin stimulating hormone and thyrotropin releasing hormones etc. Little has been written about this sarcode so it is somewhat difficult to define its picture. As with other sarcodes it is often given as an intercurrent or support medicine. O. A. Julian in his Materia Medica of New Homeopathic Remedies1 has some of the following information:
Gentle, likeable and extremely sensitive.
They are easily discouraged, cry about trifles.
Alternating smiles and tears.
Depression linked to psychological or physical stress
Useful for very sensitive patients who are alert to every nuance in a situation and are very diplomatic.
Patients who cannot make decisions
Anxiety in the darkness
Fear of falling asleep lest they should never wake.
Similar to Pulsatilla, it has been considered that this medicine could be used to treat conditions such as anorexia and bulimia, as symptomatic of conditions in which there is a feeling of never having enough, whether food, love, attention etc., with a corresponding anxiety about who and where they are in life. In this context it could also be considered with milk and sugar medicines. Immaturity and childishness, even autism could be seen, with child-like obsessions and fantasies.
The pituitary gland has two parts, the anterior and posterior, each being a medicine in its own right. However, often the whole pituitary gland can be used as well. It is one of the most important glands in the body. The anterior part functions to stimulate the adrenal glands through adreno-corticotrophic hormone, human growth hormone, luteinising hormone, follicular stimulating hormone, thyroid stimulating hormone and prolactin. The posterior part produces anti-diuretic hormone and oxytocin. The picture of Anterior Pituitary has been developed by David Flores Toledo in Mexico and he listed the following conditions as being treated effectively by the medicine: acne, obesity, sterility, headaches worse from menses; asthma, haemorrhoids, breast nodules, fungal infections of nails, recurrent tonsillitis, vitiligo and warts. Some of these symptoms are to be seen in the whole pituitary gland and not separated into anterior and posterior sections. Below is a synopsis of some of the symptoms from Frans Vermeulen’s Synoptic Materia Medica Volume 22
Pituitarium anteriorum (Pitu-a)
Ailments from disappointed love.
Aversion to everything [friends, husband, herself].
Sexual desire diminished; enjoyment absent.
Fear to be alone.
“Feels attracted to the subway rails.” [Flores Toledo]
Irritability before and during menses.
Desire to strike. Screaming and crying from anger. Causeless weeping.
Fearfulness; irritability; sadness; headache; coryza; pallor of face; nausea; vomiting; distended abdomen; yellow leucorrhoea; pain in ovaries; pain in uterus; difficult respiration; painful swollen breasts; low backache; sleeplessness.
Headache [esp. in temples] before or at beginning of menses.
< Light; noise; sun; warm room. With empty feeling in stomach [without hunger]. With photophobia. With nausea. Preceded or attended by visual disturbances
Anticipatory diarrhoea before a date or engagement.
Diarrhoea from milk and milk products.
[Moist] eruptions on [or inflammation of] earlobes from wearing ordinary earrings [not precious metals].
Brown spots on face.
Nausea on looking at or smell of fatty food; better for eating
< Cold, before menses, during menses, entering dark room [from a lighter place], lying on back; moving head; rising from stooping;
> Sitting [vertigo]
Craves sweets and chocolate. Thirst for large quantities.
Based on these symptoms, one might compare this medicine with Calcarea carbonica, Carcinosin, Conium, Lycopodium, Natrum carbonicum, Natrum muriaticum and Sepia. Carcinosin, Conium and Natrum muriaticum are often compared and in this medicine we have the introversion, anger and also the breast nodules, which can be worse before menses. The anticipatory anxiety indicates Carcinosin too, as well as Calcarea carbonica and Lycopodium.
Posterior pituitary gland
The posterior pituitary gland was proven by the Hering Proving Committee in 1935. Listed in the symptoms in Vermeulen’s Synoptic Materia Medica 2 are the following:
Pituitarium posteriorum (Pitu-p)
Anxiety at beginning of night.
Obsessional ideas related to urogenital sphere [fear of becoming impotent; fear of involuntary loss of urine].
Amenorrhoea & atrophy of mammary glands.
> Open air.
Headache; extending downward from occiput. Throbbing and pulsating; hypertensive: < heat; closed room; late afternoon. With throbbing of temporal arteries and carotids.
Copious salivation. Saliva tastes salty.
Involuntary loss of urine [a few drops] when rising from seat.
Dysmenorrhoea. Pain day before and first day of menses.
Difficult respiration & profuse expectoration, watery, salty.
Discolouration of skin; white patches and dark patches.
Skin very dry, scaly.
With the atrophy of mammae and urinary symptoms including the prostate one would consider comparing with Chimaphilia umbellata, Lycopodium and Staphysagria. Iodum and other iodine salts could also be compared.
One of the functions of the pituitary is its effect in development patterns in children and so it can be considered when there is delayed development, for example at puberty. That symptom, along with issues of impotency in men would make it comparable with Baryta carbonica, Baryta iodata and Baryta muriaticum. The impotence in men may be seen in infertility in women, especially in women who may look underdeveloped and very slight. It has been listed for the second stage of labour, if inertia sets in.
If in doubt between anterior and posterior pituitary, one can give the whole pituitary gland, especially if one was thinking more of giving posterior pituitary. This has its own symptom picture and was proven by P. Sankaran in Bombay in 1965 and 1967. The main symptoms listed in Vermeulen’s Synoptic Materia Medica are as follows:
Pituitaria glandula (Pitu-gl)
Listless; difficult concentration. “Reads one line, then rereads it, thinking it to be another line.”
Aversion to motion.
> Application of cold water [headache; burning pain in eyes].
But generally < cold.
Vertigo when not moving body or head; doubly severe on motion, esp. of head. With sensation of vomiting, with empty stomach [which he thinks will relieve him]. With heavy, swollen eyes.
Fever at night. [In three provers]
Headache; starting as dull and increasing to throbbing. < Evening; sun. > Cold; rest; closing eyes; pressure. With heavy, swollen eyes.
Sinking in stomach at noon, preceded by nausea at 11 a.m.
Other possible important symptoms are vitiligo (as in Anterior pituitary), amenorrhoea and dysmenorrhoea, history of miscarriages, infertility, irritable bowel syndrome, rectal tenesmus, colitis and bladder incontinence. It is also indicated in early stages of diabetes, conjunctivitis and blepharitis, involuntary lachrymation, headaches connected to hypertension, heart problems with anxiety at night and also connected to hypertension.
The Pineal gland is a very important gland, associated with the ‘third eye’ of the chakras found in the middle of the forehead. It produces two hormones, melatonin and serotonin and therefore plays a crucial role in the circadian balance and overall emotional/mental wellbeing. Its spiritual significance has been discussed widely by philosophers and writers. Little has been written about the use of this gland homœopathically. In Beauchamp’s book, she states it can be used in babies when fontanels are not closing; in boys to curb premature adolescence and to stem precocity and in men to prevent premature ageing. This would relate to the physiological function of the pineal, which helps control sexual and mental development during puberty. Precocious mental and sexual development in young people has been due to tumours of the pineal gland in some cases. Doris Beauchamp in her book The Link: A Homeopathic Approach to Healing using the Bowel Nosodes3 considers it a medicine for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) due to its connection to melatonin function.
Histamine / Adrenaline
Histaminum muriaticum is found in all cells of the body and is activated through injury and allergies and facilitates the release of adrenalin. It is a capillary vessel dilator and an arteriole vessel constrictor. It also constricts the bronchi and arouses the smooth fibres of the intestines and the uterus, and the stomach and the pancreatic salivary secretions and is normally used in the form of histamine bi-chlorhydrate. J Gringuaz of Buenos Aires proved it in 1950. (O.A. Julian’s Materia Medica of New Remedies). Julian lists the following general and mental symptoms with the medicine:Histaminum muriaticum (Hist)
Irritable, susceptible, impatient, with need to walk up and down.
Headaches and vertigo, with sensation of heat and burning on the head and face.
Loss of sense of taste, and feeling that the teeth are loose.
Oliguria, with burning and pain on micturition.
Redness and burning sensation in circumscribed areas of the skin.
Red, itching papules.
Sensitive to the slightest trifle.
Impatient, uneasy, with need to move from one place to another aimlessly.
Melancholic, sad, prostration that disappears by forced walking.
Waiting makes him particularly nervous; needs to walk up and down.
Pain and gastric constriction when receiving news or remembering a painful experience.
Things ‘lie on his stomach.’
Cannot find correct words, forgets proper nouns.
Slowness and difficulty in understanding.
General asthenia as after physical exertion.
Dryness of the mucous membranes.
Feeling of constriction in different parts of the heart.
Quivering and cramping contracture of the muscles.
Burning pains (epigastric, abdominal, praecordial, nose, ears, throat, vagina, scrotum, left ovary, joints, muscles, skin.)
They are allergic (psoric), tubercular, dysthyroidian, types.
Melancholic type, with anguish and reduction of mental faculties.
Hemicrania. Tics. Spasmodic torticollis. Volkmann’s disease.
In an issue of LINKS magazine, 3/97, Jayesh Shah had two cases in which there was great excitement and activity, with great restlessness. There was a tendency to quarrel and be abrupt, especially in relationships. He stated there was a sharp intellect along with the volatile temperament. The keenness of intellect was seen in other cases, and if seen along with a hyper allergenic situation, with both dryness and fluid discharge, one can consider this medicine. Other symptoms include headaches, neuralgic pains in the face, dryness of mucous membranes and skin, itching of skin, great heat and violent urging in the bladder. Mentally there can be great anxiety and anguish, often felt in the stomach and ailments from bad news and recalling bad memories. There can even be suicidal ideation.
Medicines to compare would include Iodum and other iodine salts, Arsenicum album, Arsenicum iodatum, Medorrhinum, Natrum muriaticum, Nux vomica, Sulphur, Thyroidinum and Tuberculinum.
Thyroidinum is one of the best-known sarcode medicines and is found in many materia medica. It can be compared to Histaminum above as well as Iodum and other iodine salts. There are two lobes of the thyroid, found in the laryngeal/neck area and it is responsible for the production of thyroxin and iodothyronine. It affects the nervous system, raising and decreasing the metabolism (hypo- and hyperthyroidism) and helps regulate the circulation, respiration and tissue growth and repair. It is partly under control of the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus.
It can be needed in both hypo and hyper states, with or without overt thyroid pathology. The medicine has had a number of provings. The mental state of the medicine shows symptoms of aggression, anger, violence, even to a desire to kill. It has feelings of persecution, suspiciousness, even to psychotic states. There can be despair, anguish with great weepiness and strongly alternating moods. In states similar to hypothyroidism, there can be more sluggish mental states, with weakness of memory and sleepiness. Physically there can be dryness of skin, a general ‘underfunction’, and a tendency to obesity. In more hyper states, there can be loss of weight and heart palpitations, along with great excitability and anxiousness. Physically there can be all sorts of allergies, including urticaria, with great itching and also swelling, similar to Histaminum and also the nosodes Medorrhinum, Psorinum and Tuberculinum. Any chronic condition in which puffy oedema and urticaria are concomitant symptoms can indicate the medicine. It is needed for problems during pregnancy (vomiting, hypertension, dizziness, vertigo, anxiety and also threatened miscarriage), and also during menopause (mental symptoms, palpitation, vertigo, uterine tumours, haemorrhages). In females, it may be seen when there is hair on the upper lip (Face, hair, growth of hair, women in, lips, upper), along with medicines such as Corticotrophin, Cortisone, Natrum muriaticum, Oleum jecoris, Sepia, Sycotic co and Thuja.
In men it can be found in prostate conditions (Prostate gland, swelling) and in undescended testicles in boys. Unusual hair growth in boys may also be a symptom as well as girls and one should look for any dysfunction of the thyroid as a possible symptom of the medicine. At times it may be used instead of conventional thyroid treatment. If the mother experienced thyroid problems in pregnancy, a child may need Thyroidinum if symptoms develop even years later. The medicine may be needed during any major transition in life e.g. pregnancy, puberty and menopause. Teenage children who become extremely quarrelsome, moody, suspicious and also indifferent to everything (Mind, indifference, everything to). For babies that develop convulsions without any traumatic reason, or during dentition or when the mother suffers from eclampsia. Ghosh in his book Rare Nosodes4 discusses this medicine in great detail. To extract a little on the use of Thyroidinum in children:
“In chronic and obstinate diarrhoea of undernourished children during dentition and also in other metabolic disorders such as marasmus and rickets where indicated medicines can not stop the rot or prevent its progress Thyroidinum in the 30th or 200th potency will check the diarrhoea almost instantly. Puffiness of the face, oedema of the legs or general anasarca is very suggestive indicating symptoms in such cases. I use it as a complementary medicine to Calcarea phosphoricum. For vomiting and diarrhoea during dentition of children, when without fever, Thyroidinum vies with Kreosotum when several teeth try to erupt at the same time. Vomiting with chronic diarrhoea in children should always remind a physician of Thyroidinum in potency. In some cases of uncontrollable diarrhoea of the new born babies when one of the parents suffers from diabetes, allergic troubles or such other obscure conditions, Thyroidinum has helped me a lot. If there were nausea and oedema added to it, they formed a sure picture of Thyroidinum which seldom fails. For the sake of completeness of action, I should mention its wonderful effect in chronic puerperal (stet) diarrhoea of mothers also.”
In skin conditions, along with chronic and acute urticaria it is also indicated in inveterate eczema with great itching and also psoriasis and rosacea. It is indicated in any pathological condition where the thyroid is involved as well as the pituitary, for example, in cretinism and myxoedema, general developmental delays, e.g., undescended testicles etc.
As can be seen, it is therefore a potentially very common medicine and often an adjunct medicine to the constitutional. It can be used in both low and high potencies and especially should be used low when hyper thyroid pathology is indicated. It may be compared to many medicines, especially the major nosodes, Carcinosin, Medorrhinum, Psorinum and Tuberculinum, to major polychrests like Calcarea carbonica, Graphites, Petroleum, Phosphorus, Silicea and Sulphur; to smaller thyroid medicines like Fucus vesiculosus and Hedera helix, and to many of the iodine salts such as Arsenicum iodatum, Calcarea iodatum, Ferrum iodatum, Natrum iodatum and Iodum itself. It can also be compared with other sarcodes such as Adrenalin, Corticotrophin, Cortisone, Folliculinum, Pituitary and Thymus gland.
Parathyroid is mentioned in Julian’s New Remedies. This gland is part of the thyroid that produces a hormone that regulates the calcium and phosphor metabolism. Deficiency of this hormone leads to hypo parathyroidism, which can lead to seizures and tetany. Hyperparathyroidism can lead to erosion of the bones, bone fractures, bone deformities, bone cavities and arthritic symptoms and also affects the urinary organs and digestive system. There can be inflammation in the kidneys, kidney stones due to increased calcium and in the digestive tract, ulcers, anorexia and constipation. There may be heart pathology also. In children it may be indicated in difficult dentition and growing pains in children. Here it will be compared particularly with Calcarea carbonica, Calcarea phosphoricum, Phosphorus and Silicea.
The thymus gland is situated in the upper part of the chest in front of the trachea. There are two lobes to the gland and they contain lymphocytes – T cells and B-lymphocytes, the latter of which are produced in the bone marrow. The gland is most active from birth to puberty and then declines as the gonads and ovaries become active. It also has much to do with the metabolism of phosphor and calcium, like the parathyroid. Tumours can form in the thymus leading to its removal. The medicine is discussed in Blackwood’s Manual5 and briefly in Boericke’s Materia Medica6. Blackwood states that:
“This gland has not been employed therapeutically as much as its importance might indicate. It has been employed in certain cases of exophthalmic goitre, when the thymus is enlarged, in rheumatic arthritis, rachitis and marasmus. Hypodermically it has lowered the blood pressure. Care should be exercised in prescribing this to gouty patients, as it is rich in nucleins.” In Doris Beauchamp’s book she suggests its use in children who have slow development, many acute illnesses, NBWS since childhood illnesses or vaccines, worried-looking babies, extremes of behaviour and children who are extremely affectionate. It would be compared with the major polychrests such as Calcarea carbonica, Calcarea phosphoricum, Carcinosin, Phosphorus and Tuberculinum. In adults she suggests it for overweight and sluggish people, a history of never being mothered, NBWS since serious road accidents or head injury, NBWS prolonged stress, acute illness and food allergies. It is suggested, as with other sarcodes that it can be given in low potencies as a support medicine.
One well-known sarcode is Folliculinum, made from natural oestrogen. The British doctor, Donald Foubister, first used it. It is an important medicine in our materia medica, especially in the era of ‘oestrogen’ overload, both for women and men. Its most important use is when there is a NBWS the pill and also for mental states when there is a history of being dominated. It is mostly compared with Carcinosin in such situations, as well as Natrum muriaticum, Staphysagria and Sepia. Any situation in which menses are suppressed or simply suddenly stop should indicate this medicine. The homœopath and author Melissa Assilem has written extensively on this medicine (and others to do with the birthing/mothering process). It is indicated in any menstrual conditions (prolonged bleeding), especially with very severe PMS, pregnancy and postnatal conditions, including difficulty in bonding with the child or for children who cannot be separated from the mother. It is also a menopausal medicine and will here be compared with Lachesis and Sepia. The PMS symptoms include being weepy, depressed, apathetic, with an aversion to noise, again similar to Sepia.
In general, the mental state may vary a lot, with great swings from high to low and a corresponding change in the libido. There can be great anxiety, anguish and depression and as mentioned, compounded by any sense of domination or oppression by others. That state, if associated with any type of menstrual or hormonal imbalance, will indicate Folliculinum. Other conditions may include Raynaud’s syndrome, migraine headaches, recurrent cystitis and eating disorders. In the latter case, it will often be compared with milk and sugar medicines (See Assilem’s book, The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party7). Thyroidinum can also be compared as well as Ovarinum or Oophorinum, made from ovarian extract.
There are two forms, Placenta humanum and Placenta suis. The former medicine was proven by the Welsh School of Homeopathy.
The symptom picture seems similar to that of Carcinosin, Folliculinum, Natrum muriaticum, Pulsatilla and Sepia. Mentally there can be a great feeling of isolation, vulnerability and weepiness. Similar to Folliculinum, any issue during pregnancy and after can indicate the medicine. There may also be a strong issue of needing to find one’s identity, of not knowing who one truly is (Mind, confusion, identity of), which would make it comparable to Carcinosin, Hydrogen, milks and Thuja. There can be feelings of being out of control, of not having boundaries, again like Hydrogen and milks, and a desire for company and looking for support, similar to milks, Pulsatilla etc. There may be an aversion to or indifference to one’s children, similar to Chocolate, Folliculinum, Platina and Sepia. In the proving, there were dreams of primitive feelings; a feeling of primitive strength, or an urging for primitive sex or power, as when you push a baby’s head out during labour. There are also dreams of babies and pregnancy, similar to milk medicines, especially Lac maternum/humanum.
Other medicines similar to Placenta are Vernix caseosa, Amniotic fluid, Umbilical cord and Oxytocin. These are all connected to the birth process. Vernix was written about by Tinus Smits in his book Inspiring Homeopathy – the Treatment of Universal Layers8. He outlined themes of feeling no boundaries, not feeling in contact with oneself, not feeling connected to one’s needs and feelings, feelings of guilt for not doing enough for others and feeling insufficient protection from outside influences. It will be compared to Lacs, especially Lac maternum, and Saccharum medicines as well as Carcinosin. Melissa Assilem has written about the other medicines as well in her book Matridonal Remedies of the Human Family.
There are many remedies in our materia medica that are used very infrequently. Often this reflects a philosophical and strategic position on prescribing. Those that adhere predominantly to a constitutional/essence/sensation style will be less likely to use remedies such as sarcodes than prescribers who feel at ease using remedies to complement others or to look more at pathological patterns and connect this to the physiological impact of certain organs. Sarcodes, however, are well-documented remedies that may deserve more serious reflection in our work today. This is especially the case in sarcodes such as Hypothalamus, Pituitary or Pineal gland, which have such a profound impact on human functioning. Their clinical use has to be of real interest to the homeopathic profession and given the available knowledge of the function of these glands, it can give some essential information of their possible use. Further provings could also be useful to clarify the possible symptom pictures. In conclusion, remedies come from every possible source. Why not look inside the human body and understand more fully the possible therapeutic use of sarcodes?