Amanda did not want to date any men. She was especially sensitive on the subject of menopause with men. She felt the "spectre of menopause" -the grief of never having had a child, or a fully developed career. She was grieving the expected loss of her menses, "a sacred time of each month."
Amanda underscored her lackluster feeling about life in general. She was her own worst critic, and she very much feared being an old woman, alone in the world. She had little fun or humor in her life. She was not much involved in the rest of the world; she was working a lot at night, and lived alone.
I noticed my patient sighed often through the interview. She appeared sad and pleading. Other physical symptoms included a red and itchy pointillated skin rash behind her knees and in her groin area, and chronic dry skin. Of late, she had a strong desire for sugary foods such as candy, chocolate and fruit. She loved warm baths. She was using progest creme locally on the vagina, which she said, "brings life back to the area." Her menstrual cycle was 24-26 days.
Amanda's medical history included mononucleosis at age 15, ovarian cysts and a left oophorectomy at age 20, and breast cysts in her early 30's.
Amanda's family medical history was particularly revealing. Her mother had taken DES (ill-advisedly given to women to prevent miscarriages), before Amanda was conceived. One of her younger sisters had already been diagnosed with advanced cervical dysplasia. Amanda's maternal grandmother died young of breast cancer. Her father had survived colon cancer, and had a history of being very abusive to Amanda when she was young. "I was his least favorite." Amanda's mother had polio when Amanda was an infant and she was separated from her mother for many months at this crucial stage of bonding.
At the end of the interview, Amanda concluded: "I want to have the chance at a fulfilling sex life, or I am going to lose it!" (She confided she thought about this a lot.) "I am like a hen brooding over her eggs."
I prescribed Folliculinum 12C in dilution to be plussed each time. Because she was not yet willing to relinquish the hormonal creme, I chose a potency I felt Amanda could take daily, or twice daily, if necessary. Over the next eight months, Amanda received Folliculinum in varying potencies, and from the start she did remarkably well with it.
Soon after she received the remedy, Amanda forgot about menopause, and her menopausal symptoms disappeared. She began dating men, and enrolled in a Tantric Sex class. She felt brighter and happier. The vaginal itching and dryness was improved. The breast lump softened and diminished, and eventually went away. She was not as overwhelmed during menses. After she received a 1M, six weeks after she began with the Folliculinum 12C, Amanda's sleep patterns improved dramatically. She was no longer getting warm at night, or feeling hot flashes. Her skin rash was better; it no longer itched.
My patient said she was now considering ways in which she could get involved in community projects. She said she was concerned with the possibility of becoming a traditional wife, and bound to taking care of a man in his old age. She was similarly divided about her need to be private and alone, and her desire to be with a life partner. She stated she had always had a fear of men since childhood and that she did not trust them. She had a fear of sex. Her dreams since the remedy revealed the theme of marriage in different aspects of her life: Amanda's deepest fears were being healed.
Amanda told me she was dealing with problems of self-confidence and anxiety in public situations. She acknowledged "she had a way to go" to be more accepting of herself in general. She frequently felt lonely and forsaken by friends, family and acquaintances. Sometimes she felt angry about this. At times she wept from loneliness.
A few months after she first received Folliculinum, Amanda's appearance had altered. She now seemed more self-possessed and mature. She told me the remedy allowed her to go through her teen-hood again, with greater aplomb. And indeed, as if going back in time, Amanda had appeared dressed like a Raggedy Ann doll on occasion.
During the summer of 1995, Amanda's routine PAP smear showed a class 3 -further cervical dysplasia. She was also diagnosed with lichen sclerosis, a hardening, thickening and whitening of the vaginal walls. Amanda elected to have cryosurgery. Her PAP shows no further abnormalities. While appropriately vigilant about these medical diagnoses, Amanda feels less worry and concern, and is generally much better in all ways.
Some Common Etiologies for Folliculinum
Folliculinum is a potentized form of natural estrogen, first prepared in the 1950's by the Scottish Homeopath, Donald Foubister. It is widely considered to be the complement of Carcinosen. No proving of Folliculinum exists to date.
In the literature on Folliculinum, three major etiologies are cited for the use of the remedy: situations of extreme personal pressure, estrogen-imbalance symptom pictures, especially where there is susceptibility to pressures, and after continued ill-health, recurrent or serious infection. It is said that in a case where Carcinosen seems to be indicated, but fails to work, Folliculinum should be tried.
A few years ago, I prescribed Folliculinum for my patient Rene (not her real name) for suicide attempts, depression and anxiety. She had a history of sexual and ritual abuse, and incest. (Before this, she received from me Agaricus Muscarius with good results.) Rene had this dream after taking Folliculinum: "My spiritual teacher almost cut my finger off with a dagger, no one could see the wound except me and my husband. I felt the injury was a punishment from my teacher for having cut my wrists [suicides attempts]. The wound did not bleed, and no one else could see it."
This healing dream beautifully tells a Folliculinum story. Here we have the themes of deep personal and seemingly unacknowledged pain, self-punishment, sensations of being violated, and obsequious reliance on a perceived authority who may be violent. In her comprehensive article, "Folliculinum: Mist or Miasm,"2 Melissa Assilem states: the Folliculinum patient "feels controlled by another... She is living out someone else's expectation...She has become a doormat...She feels she is being fed off emotionally or psychologically...she becomes drained." There may be a history of any type of abuse or violence for which the patient has not been able to recover.
Estrogen is a hormone that is inextricably tied to procreation, natural cycles and human creativity. When estrogen goes awry for any reason some patients will suffer from being out of sync with their own growth and development cycles. Symptoms may show up on any level. Today's onslaught of hormone tampering in our bodies and in the environment supply fertile ground for such hormonal disarray. If we pause to consider what we witness in our practices and in the world at large, a strange pattern emerges. Pressures in our culture to grow up fast coupled with unprecedented levels of exposure to estrogens in our food and water supply, may be what is behind the phenomenon of eight and nine year old girls appearing emotionally and/or physically pubescent. And, while menopause was too long ignored as a wonderful right of passage for women into their "crone-hood," or time of wisdom, now we find women in their forties, too young to be menopausal, claiming the symptoms and virtues of "the pause". A cultural vacuum seems to have enveloped a woman's forth decade: society has no widely acceptable blueprint for the fertile woman who is no longer reproducing, but whose creativity is ripe.
Folliculinum would be only one remedy of many to consider for these common situations of girls and women; but such examples seem to imply that pressures of values and conformity in society may have a direct effect on the estrogen cycle. Like pesticides, sugar, antibiotics and steroids, substances in common use can retard, delay or disassemble proper human evolution. Thus we can see the brilliant link that Folliculinum makes between susceptibility to life's pressure and the estrogen cycle. It remains for homeopaths to develop sensitive applications of Folliculinum for teenagers, whose hormonal development is surging, and for men, about whom less seems to have been written on this matter.
It is important to know if our female patients, or the mothers of either sex patient, have ever taken synthetic hormones such as birth control pills, fertility drugs, hormone replacement therapy (premarin, depoprovera) or DES (known for causing lowered sperm counts and genital abnormalities in males and high rates of reproductive cancer in women.)
The earths environment now contains a ubiquitous assortment of "estrogen mimickers" (certain pesticides, fungicides, and plastics and PCB's) which have been found to be linked to higher rates of reproductive cancer in men and women. 3 Our patient's susceptibility to these substances, whether apparent or below the surface, may be the miasmatic emblem for Folliculinum.
Finally, Folliculinum may be indicated for patients who have been subject to slow recovery after serious illness or infection. Clinical indications may include a history of chronic fatigue syndrome, or mononucleosis. Patients not responding to well indicated remedies after such heavily suppressive procedures as steroid treatments, may benefit first from Folliculinum.
Materia Medica at a Glance
The general mental symptoms of Folliculinum include anguish, anxiety, feelings of being dominated by others, feeling drained all the time, unhappiness, depression, and lacking a self-identity. The remedy has been reported successful in curing post-natal depression and lack of bonding with the new-born. Conversely, young children may be gently assisted to let go of an embroiled bond with a parent.
Folliculinum is known for its panic attacks and its alteration of excitability and depression, or huge mood swings from apathy to aggression. Libido can also alternate between low and high. I have witnessed my clients go from a state of impassivity to a state of sudden or impulsive action. For purposes of case management this is important to remember: in each Folliculinum case I have seen, the patient has sought some other (suppressive) treatment, even while, by their own admission, they were doing well.
In Heli O. Retzek's Materia Medica of the Mind, Folliculinum has five entries:
Ailments, domination by others, a long history of, carc, lyc, sepia
Anguish, ACON, ARS.
evening, Mur ac, phos
Excitement, excitability alternating with sadness, con, plb.
Sensitive, oversensitive to noise, to touch, Acon, Bell, Chin-Ars, Lach.
Folliculinum's outstanding general symptoms -worse from noise, touch and resting, worse from heat and better from fresh air, worse from ovulation to menses -can also correspond to "functional hyperfolliculinaemia." Simply put, this is the oversecretion of estrogen which can trigger estrogen allergies. Excess estrogen may inhibit the second half of the female cycle, progesterone may not be secreted and heavy bleeding or bleeding every two weeks can result. Or to prevent such anovulatory cycles, nature may "rob" progesterone from the normal adrenal cycle of corticosteroid production, enabling regular menses, but thereby causing weight gain, bloat, candida albicans infections, unstable blood sugar, and various allergies. 4 Prescribers will recognize these as common symptoms of premenstrual tension. Folliculinum may be indicated where there is a history of dysmenorrhea, fibroids, ovarian cysts, swollen breasts. Also for the symptoms of "middleschmerz" (spotting, weight gain, bloating and pain at ovulation), and at menopause with symptoms of hot flashes, dry vaginal walls, and sleeping disorders. The remedy may be of use in pelvic inflammatory disease, sterility, and the aftermath of hysterectomy.
Other clinical indications for the remedy are Raynaud's syndrome, migraine headaches, recurrent cystitis, eating disorders, and tachycardia which often accompanies the panic attacks.
As mentioned earlier, Folliculinum is a complement to Carcinosen. When I taught Carcinosen three years ago, my class came up with a vivid image for the remedy. Cancer cells are young, immature cells, that never grow to maturity, but keep replicating themselves in their unindividuated, or immature stage. One can see the Carcinosen patient's life as a series of attempts to fulfill their drive and passion, but never quite making it. In Folliculinum, energy of the vital force (sometimes expressed in the form of estrogen) builds, but does not blossom into a full or complete cycle of life and creativity. Instead, energy goes awry and can produce the symptoms we have discussed. There can be a type of stillness or quiet of the vital force in Folliculinum which I have sometimes seen in Carcinosen (also Aurum Met). Folliculinum seems to labor in life under a weight (like a pressure) which is a heavier shroud, even, than the Carcinosen patient lives with. The prescriber will remember that the complementarity of the two remedies is inherent in the relationship of the two substances themselves.
Folliculinum must also be compared with Ovarinum, a remedy which is also not well known. Ovarinum is said to be more emotionally intense, it has skin eruptions, and especially after the removal of the ovaries. (I once treated my spade female cat with Ovarinum for miliary eczema all down her spine. She responded beautifully.)
Folliculinum should be compared with Sepia, Lachesis, Zincum Met, Ignatia, Aristolochia Clematis, Thyroidinum, Pulsatilla, Thuja and others.
Folliculinum deserves a scientific proving and more clinical investigation. It is a remedy far too crucial in today's world to be ignored.
Gina Inez, RSHom (NA), has studied homeopathy since 1978, and has had a homeopathic family practice in Marin County, California since 1985.
1Cooper, Dorothy, British Homeopathic Journal, April 1990 available through Referenceworks.
2Available in Referenceworks and on the Internet Homeopathy On-Line
3Our Stolen Future by Theo Colburn et al 1996
4O.A. Julian, Materia Medica of New Homoeopathic Remedies, Beaconsfield Publishers 1979; Melissa Assilem, ibid
These remedies act