For the Love of Oxytocin
(First published in Similia magazine of Australian Homeopathic Association, 2010)
The hormones of fertility and birth play an important role in fertility and releasing anxiety around sexuality and toileting. Oxytocin is related to self love, bonding with mate and child and a deep sense of happiness. Young women increase oxytocin through sharing with each other.
As homoeopaths we are often asked to help women with hormonal imbalances. Whether it is menstrual difficulties, infertility, birth and lactation problems, puberty issues – homoeopathic medicines have been found to be helpful. So far many of our homoeopathic medicines for hormonal difficulties are drawn from the animal and plant remedies, such as Sepia, Lachesis, Cimicifuga and Pulsatilla.
What about the remedies from the human substances themselves – how can they be used to balance our hormonal disturbances? In the past 10 years or more, European homoeopath Alize Timmerman, has opened up the wonder of C4 triturations to homoeopaths around the world. There are now at least 7 international triturating groups, including in New Zealand, California, New York, Norway and Europe. Each group is exploring the human substances, the Gifts of the Mother, as Alize calls these medicines, through grinding and scraping the chosen substance in the mortar and pestle. Like an iTune song downloaded onto an iPod, the substance manifests itself through the bodies and minds of the homoeopaths. At each level of trituration, the physical(C1), emotional(C2), mental(C3) and spiritual(C4) symptoms of the remedy are expressed. Lac Humanum, Oxytocin, Umbilical Cord, Placenta, Amniotic Fluid, Menstrual Blood are some of the Mother’s Gifts. Folliculinum LTNY (fermented Dioscorea) , though from plant kingdom, has been triturated as an alternative to the synthetic estrogen remedy we currently have (Follcullinum).
These remedies are made from complex substances (e.g. Lac Humanum, Umbilical Cord, Placenta and and Menstrual Blood) combining hormones, minerals, opiates, specialised cells such as stem cells. Others are ‘purer’ forms of hormones. Traditionally hormones have been used in homoeopathy in an isopathic way to balance a specific hormone without an in depth knowledge of the substance itself. Through Alize’s work with the international triturating groups these hormones are taking their place as fully described homoeopathic medicines, that can be prescribed based on a complete picture.
Oyxtocin is one such hormone. This hormone, released directly from the posterior pituitary gland, is well known for its role in inducing labour (given in the synthetic form Pitocin) and for its ability to influence our capacity for bonding.
A study published in Psychiatry (July 1999) has demonstrated that it plays an important role in successful interpersonal relationships. Dr Rebecca Turner, researcher director, reports ‘It seems that having this hormone “available” during positive (interpersonal) experiences, and not being depleted of it during negative experiences, is associated with well-being in relationships’. In addition the study showed that women who were currently in committed relationships experienced greater oxytocin increases in response to positive emotions than single women. The research suggests that ‘a close, regular relationship may influence the responsiveness of the hormone’, said Dr Turner.²
Deficient oxytocin may be recognised through a lack of the ‘let down reflex’ in breastfeeding mothers, as it acts directly on the mammary glands. Sucking by the infant stimulates the production of oxytocin from the pituitary gland. The release of oxytocin before and during labour causes contractions to occur which can continue after birth in the form of ‘afterpains’. Plasma oxytocin is also released during sexual orgasm in both men and women, contributing to muscle contractibility to facilitate sperm and egg transport. Oxytocin also plays an important role in feelings of contentment, reduction in anxiety and feelings of calmness and security around the mate. People given oxytocin displayed the ‘highest level of trust’ compared to the control group. It was reported to reduce fear and may have an important role in all social emotions including increasing generosity and empathy. It also has a role in reducing memory of averse tasks or experiences which may be why women soon forget the intensity of pain of their birthing experiences.
Indeed this love hormone is found to be in high levels in the body when we are in love and lower levels as we fall out of the love. Touch and socialisation increase the oxytocin levels in the body. When deficient in the body bonding with baby or with a partner becomes more difficult.
It is interesting that the action of oxytocin is mediated by oxytocin receptors, which are G-protein- coupled receptors requiring magnesium and cholesterol. Physiologically oxytocin may be deficient in the body that is deficient in optimum fats or magnesium, and when environmental toxins such as fluoride interfere with G-protein synthesis.
As homeopaths we can see the picture of Sepia emerge in women who are low in oxytocin; poor bonding with baby; indifference to husband with low sexual arousal; feeling flat and irritable. Note that when oxytocin is low, vasopressin is higher, resulting in increased aggression; retention of water in body tissues and increased blood pressure. Is there a role for this substance as a homoeopathic medicine and what situation would induce such a state?
Since attending Alize Timmerman’s Lake Tahoe and Auckland seminars I have prescribed Oxytocin to my patients. One child received the hormone because she was refusing to release her stools into the toilet. She had been induced in labour and had considerable anxiety around toileting. Timmerman describes Oxytocin as one of the main remedies for panic attacks and for this child, toileting became far less of an issue after the remedy. The rapid birth induced by synthetic oxytocin (Pitocin) may be an important indicator for its use where the child’s response is anxiety.
Lack of bonding early in life resulting in anxiety is another situation where Oxytocin should be considered. Andrea is a twin, born after a difficult pregnancy. After the birth her mother was very sick with high blood pressure and high temperatures. The mother didn’t see the babies for 5-6 days because ‘she was too out of it.’ She was hallucinating on the drugs she was given in hospital. She was frightened and unable to talk, coming in and out of consciousness. This was followed by a long history of constipation, kidney infections, migraines and eventually a hysterectomy. Years of homoeopathic treatment have helped the mother come to a better state of wellness. Meanwhile, it was not until Andrea was married and wanting to conceive that the Oxytocin story began to emerge.
I initially saw Andrea for homoeopathy in 2006 for remedies to help post-surgery for impacted wisdom teeth. She also had recurrent tonsillitis that went back to childhood, a history of endometriosis and cervical dysplasia. She had irregular periods and had had sharp menstrual pain which was better since the IUD Merina was removed. She was troubled by recurrent nightmares of being in plane and car crashes with her boyfriend. She woke terrified that she had lost her boyfriend and swum all night looking for him. In 2004 she had been involved in a car accident three weeks after abdominal surgery for endometriosis. After the accident she broke up with her boyfriend which had affected her deeply. She continued to be frightened of driving at night. The most recent bouts of tonsillitis had started after she broke up with her boyfriend. She was given Ignatia 1M which helped her emotional state, reduced her fear of driving and she had no more crashing nightmares.
Despite this good improvement, the tonsils were removed the following year, and I didn’t see her again until 2010 when she came for post-surgery support for an endometriosis operation. In the previous year she had had unsuccessful IVF and an ectopic pregnancy. She described her periods as painful, ‘as if something is ripped out of you’ and she feels drained. She and her husband had been trying to conceive for three years.
She made a good recovery after the operation with the support of Bellis perennis 1M and Hypericum 1M. Three weeks later she was still suffering from the anesthetic and I gave Heloderma 1M followed by Folliculinum C12/41 twice daily for a week to balance the hormonal state.
Another three weeks on, she told me when she was born she was traumatised when pulled from the uterus. The night before she had dreamed that she had gone up stairs, one flight after another, but there was no safety rail and her dog ran up to her then it fell, landing on its back. She was really upset in the dream, although the dog was OK, as she looked upon the dog as her child.
She had had two periods, 18 days apart and felt drained, sick and sweaty, with excruciating ‘ripping’ pain, and they were preceded by a migraine. She had also noticed that she had been feeling low. Usually if she feels down she can do something and it will pick up her spirits but she had never had it like this before. ‘The feeling is there is nothing good, usually my dog will make me really happy but even that doesn’t work.’ she said. ‘It’s not normal for me. During the week I was taking Folliculinum I was feeling fine, it is just in the past two weeks that I have been really irritable during the period. Nothing is making me feel good. I had an aversion to eating. I didn’t know what I wanted to eat.’
Andrea wanted to avoid seeing her pregnant sister and didn’t like to be reminded of her own infertility. Another friend had her 10 week scan and when walking in town six women had walked past her who were pregnant. Clearly Andrea found it very difficult to see other women pregnant although it is known that oxytocin levels in women increase when around other fertile women.
She had no further dreams of crashing but had a dream about being on the streets of Edinburgh with her husband. ‘Its magic, the history, the people, everything that makes me feel good when thinking about walking down the main street – those streets were in my dream’ she said.
Rx Oxytocin C40/4 1-2 drops three times a day for 7 days.
I prescribed Oxytocin on the basis of her very low energy, aversion to other pregnant women, inability to feel good even when playing with the dog and her own history of being ‘ripped out of the uterus’ and unable to be nurtured by the mother in the first 6 days because of the mother’s illness.
Six weeks later Andrea comes in ‘feeling like rubbish’! She is 6 weeks pregnant, has nausea from thinking about food, and vomited from going out in the heat. She can tolerate eating fruit and juicy things. She is really tired, and is waking between 3-4am with lower back pain. She had a vivid happy dream of being in Venice with a friend, just traveling around. When she was taking the remedy her energy was better, bouncier and happier. It was about that time she conceived. ‘When it comes to that time of the month (to have intercourse) it has always felt like ‘oh my god’, but for some reason I felt we put all that behind and we were just normal again. I was happier and had more energy and then this happens.’ she said.
Rx Oxytocin C40/4 3 drops b.d for 7 days
Three weeks later the energy, sleep and back pain had improved but she was still feeling nauseous and had started vomiting every day, < morning, < strong smells of cooking, especially anything being heated up.
Rx Colchicum 200C which helped with her nausea. Treatment is on-going.
The question always arises when reflecting on client histories, would she have become pregnant if Folliculinum had been repeated instead of giving Oxytocin. Folliculinum is known for fertility problems and I have no doubt it contributed to her overall fertility state, while also correcting suppression of hormones from the IUD Merina. However it was the love state of Oxytocin that was missing at the time she returned for her consultation; and it was Oxytocin that brought back the joy and sensuality in her sexual relationship, so often lost after years of ‘trying’ for a child. It was also Oxytocin that allowed her to feel excited for her sister that had just given birth instead of feeling consumed by jealousy and aversion.
In a low oxytocin state there are sleep disorders, addictions and panic attacks. Some women find when they are pregnant they bloom, feeling beautiful, alive, in love and ‘expectant’ of all the happiness that is to follow, only to find between pregnancies that they have go back into a ‘Sepia-like’ state. Oxytocin is very high in young girls and women and will bring a woman back to her feminine self – adornment, flirtation and joy.
From the trituration of Oxytocin we find this is a remedy about self -love and the awakening of the feminine. Everything is beautiful when you are in love with yourself, your partner and your baby. Andrea’s dreams at the time are particularly interesting – one of her dog(child) falling down the stairs and lost to her, while the other of happily walking around the streets of Edinburgh. In her subs-conscious she was able to connect with her Oxytocin side but in her conscious life ‘even the dog could not make her happy’.
Through socialisation with other young women oxytocin levels are boosted, and through spending time with pregnant and lactating women, infertile women become fertile if they can hold onto the hope of their own fertility. Oxytocin the remedy has an important role to play in bringing women back to their essential feminine being, for procreation and love.
Becker J., New Worlds of Homeopathy and the forces of life. With C4 texts from Witold Erler. Verlag IHHF (Institut für Homöopathische Heilmittelforschung), Freiburg 2000
Cheng W-Y, Kuo Y-H. Huang C-J., Isolation and Identification of Novel Estrogenic Compounds in Yam Tuber Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry www.ntur.lib.ntu.edu.tw/bitstream/246246/162622/1/34.pdf
Connett P., Beck.J., Micklem H.S., The Case Against Fluoride, Chelsea Green Publishing, USA, 2010
Interference with G Proteins p119
Timmerman, Alize – Study notes, Lake Tahoe, California Proving Group, October 2010, and Auckland 2011
Turner, R. A., Altemus, M., Enos, T., Cooper, B., & McGuinness, T. L. (1999). Preliminary research on plasma oxytocin levels in healthy, normal cycling women: Investigating emotional states and interpersonal distress. Psychiatry, 65, 97-113. www.oxytocin.org/oxytoc/ http://rebecca.turner.socialpsychology.org/