From a homeopathic perspective the ‘mind and body’ are seen as inseparable and so in order to be able to help their patients heal themselves the homeopath needs to understand underlying causes of disease at different levels.
However before you can begin to treat patients with a variety of endocrine disorders (diabetes, hyper thyroid and adrenal problems) it is necessary to have a good understanding of the endocrine system and its effect on the body.
One of the key links between the mind and body is the relationship between the Nervous System and the Endocrine system.
The Nervous System:
Disease on a psychological level will be reflected in the physical body and vice versa. The nervous system (alongside the endocrine system) is a very complex communication system that can send and receive large amounts of information simultaneously, but it is however quite vulnerable to diseases and injuries.
The brain does not appear to know the difference between real or imaginary fears and tends to respond automatically through the hypothalamic feedback loop which is built into the endocrine system. For example if we are constantly fearful, the sympathetic nervous system will be ‘switched on’ as if for stressful situations, leading to high blood pressure which in turn will give rise to other long term problems. (A bit like driving a car on full throttle all the time).The fear and anxiety, whether real or imaginary, has an impact, not only on the nervous system but will also affect the Endocrine System through the hypothalamus and pituitary feedback loop.
The Endocrine System:
The endocrine system is one of the body’s main systems for communicating, controlling and coordinating the body’s work. It works with the nervous system, reproductive system, kidneys, liver, pancreas and fat to help maintain and control the following:
THE ENDOCRINE SYSTEM CONTROLS:
1. body energy levels, mood
3. Growth and development
4. Internal balance of body systems, called homeostasis.
5. Responses to surroundings, stress and injury
Endocrine glands and endocrine-related organs are like factories. They produce and store hormones and release them as needed. When the body needs these substances, the bloodstream carries the proper types of hormones to specific targets. These targets may be organs, tissues, or cells.
To function normally, the body needs glands that work correctly, a blood supply that works well to move hormones through the body to their target points, receptor places on the target cells for the hormones to do their work, and a system for controlling how hormones are produced and used.
The Endocrine System uses Hormones to control the function of entire organs, growth and development, reproduction, and sexual characteristics. They influence the storage of energy by the body, control fluid volume in the body, and salt and sugar balance in the blood stream. Some hormones can affect one or two organs (like thyroid stimulating hormones produced in the pituitary that only affect the thyroid gland) and others may affect the entire body (the thyroid hormone produced in the thyroid gland, which affects cells throughout the body).
Hormones from the same or different organs/glands may have effects that are opposite to each other. This all needs to be in balance for the body to function harmoniously. A healthy body is able to sense whether more or less of a given hormone is needed.
It is important to understand the workings of the endocrine system so that you understand the impact of imbalances on the rest of the body.
For example the hypothalamus monitors not only the levels of oestrogen and progesterone, but also the various body effects they are creating. It then releases hormones that influence the pituitary to maintain homeostasis.
In endocrine disturbances, there may be an over activity or an under activity of the organ/gland representing an extreme symptom picture. All the glands are interrelated. Over stimulation or the under functioning of a single endocrine gland will have an impact on the whole system.
In clinical practice the main endocrine disorders you will come across are diabetes, hyper or hypo thyroid problems, and female hormonal imbalances such as PMT, Polycystic ovary syndrome etc, but there are in fact many symptoms that patients will come and see you about such as thrush, rhinitis, auto-immune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis, and allergies that are the signs and symptoms of endocrine disturbances.
As modern homeopaths you will also come across patients who are suffering the side effects of synthetic hormones prescribed by allopath to regulate under or over functioning endocrine glands or who are being poisoned by the synthetic hormones inadvertently. Before you start looking at symptoms it is important to understand the cause of the problem and the therapeutic management of such endocrine disorders from allergies to thyroid dysfunction.
As a homeopath the first thing I want to know is what caused the symptoms of endocrine disorder. If it is mental emotional and there are no obstacles to cure, then I find using simple methods (Classical or Totality Prescribing) will work fine.
However you will find that most modern patients now come with a long history of suppression of endocrine disorders and there will be obstacles to cure such as drug toxicity, dietary and nutritional deficiencies. In these cases I find any of the Part Patient methods (therapeutics or organ supports etc) allied with nutritional guidelines and the use of herbal tinctures as supports).
Endocrine system diseases and disorders happen when one or more of the endocrine systems in your body are not working well. Hormones may be released in amounts that are too great or too small for the body to work normally. These irregularities are also called a hormone imbalance
2. Thyroid diseases
3. Metabolic disorders
4. Over or under production of hormones
8. Cholesterol (lipid) disorders
10. Lack of growth (short stature)
11. Cancers of the endocrine glands
The most common endocrine diseases and disorders.
Diseases and disorders of the endocrine system can be grouped into several different areas. The major areas of endocrinology are described below.
DISEASES OF THYROID GLAND:
Patients with thyroid conditions often have problems with their energy levels. They may also have problems with muscle strength, emotions, weight control, and tolerating heat or cold. Conditions respectively caused by either an overactive or underactive thyroid.
INFANTILE HYPOTHYROIDISM (Cretinism)
It is a condition resulting from varying degrees of thyroid deficiency in foetal or early neo-natal life and characterized by retarded development particularly marked in the skeletal and central nervous system.
- Aethusa – Idiocy with furore and irritability.
- Anacardium – Absent-mindedness, very easily offended, brain-fag and impaired memory.
- Baryta Carb – Child is bashful and has aversion to strangers.
- Bufo – propensity to bite, howling, impatient, nervous and imbecile child who is feeble minded.
- Thyroidinum – stupor alternately with restlessness, melancholy with irritability which is worse on the least opposition. The child gets into a rage over trifles. Craving for large amount of sweets.
SIMPLE NON-TOXIC GOITRE
Any non-malignant enlargement of the thyroid gland, unassociated with the hyper-secretion of thyroid hormones constitutes a simple non-toxic goiter.
- Thyroidinum – when simple goiter is soft.
- Iodine – In dark complexioned subjects with dark eyes, who have emaciated look.
- Calcarea Carb – In pale subjects of soft fibre with cold moist feet.
- Fluoric acid – If all the above remedies fail.
- Spongia – In old hard goiters.
NON-SUPPURATIVE ACUTE OR VIRAL THYROIDITIS
An acute non-suppurative inflammation of the thyroid gland usually and relatively of sudden onset and associated with constitutional disturbances and sometimes transient hyperthyroidism in the initial stages.
- Adrenaline 3x – suggested for Graves’ disease.
- Belladonna – In cervical glandular inflammation, it is suitable when the attack is acute and very painful.
- Iodine– The remedy is applicable to swellings of gland about the neck that are large, hard, painless and sluggish. It is especially useful in goiter when there is obstruction in breathing.
- Bromine – Goiter hard with inelastic swelling.
- Calcarea Flour – Glandular enlargement where the hardness is pronounced.
- Fucus V. – A remedy for non-toxic and exopthalmic goiter in obese subjects.
- Iodothyrine – This remedy affects metabolism and reduces weight.
- Lapis Albus – Goiter, diarrhoea with anemic symptoms and increased appetite, elastic swollen glands.
- Lycopus Verginicus – of use in exopthalmic goiter, when there is protrusion of eyes and tumultuous action of heart.
DISEASES OF PARATHYROID GLANDS
The parathyroid glands are 4 in number. They have an internal secretion of parathormone to maintain normal level of blood calcium and phosphorus to ensure steady action of the nervous system. The pathological indications are signs of increased or diminished secretion of parathormone.
It is a condition in which there is an increased secretion of parathormone, causing a disturbance in calcium balance, decalcification of bones and muscular wasting and weakness.
- For tumour – Calc flour. Carbo-animalis, Conium, Hydratis and Arsenicum.
- For Marasmus – Calc phos. Calc Iodide., Calc carb. Nat. Mur, Sulphur, Hepar sulph.
- For Renal Calculi and colic – Berberis v., Lycopodium, Sarsaparilla, Calc.carb, Belladonna.
It is a condition produced as a result of diminished parathyroid activity with characteristic symptom of muscular spasm associated with hyperexcitability of certain parts of nervous system due to diminished blood calcium.
- Aconite and Thyroidinum are two principal remedies.
DISEASES OF SUPRA-RENAL GLANDS
- ADDISON’S DISEASE
It is a chronic condition of deficient internal secretion of hormones from the ductless adrenal glands and their progressive destruction; characterized by extreme debility, wasting, brown pigmentation of skin and mucous membrane, low blood pressure, vomiting and loss of appetite.
- Arsenicum – It is most effective remedy to arrest the progress of the disease on the following indications, nervous depression, gastric irritation, general debility, feeble heart action. Tendency to vomit. Burning and discoloration of skin.
- Antimonium Crudum, Nitric acid, Secale and ASpigelia have the indication of bronzed skin.
- Argentum nitricum – is a remedy when the symptoms are: loss of appetite, muscular wasting and diarrhoea.
- CUSHING’S SYNDROME
It is a condition of virility in females or of feminism in males, characterized by obesity, lower sexual function, and loss of bony strength, hyperglycemia, glycosuria and hypertension.
- Calc Ars.
- Ammonium bromide
DISEASES OF PITUITARY BODY AND HYPOTHALAMUS
- CHRONIC HYPO-PITUITARISM SIMMOND’S DISEASE
It is a condition of deficient pituitary secretion resulting from the destruction of anterior pituitary lobe with consequent absence of secretions, which normally stimulate other endocrine glands. It may occur following pregnancy or abortion. Direct damage to the anterior pituitary may occur from head injuries, haemorrhage into the substance of the lobe of difficult child birth.
For new growths- Surgical removal or radiotherapy
During delivery, head injuries require:
- Rhus tox
- Bellis per.
For Thrombosis in a severe haemorrhage needs:
- Amm. Carb
- Kali mur
For post-operative injuries we require:
- Bellis per
- DIABETIS INSIPIDUS
It is a condition caused by deficient secretion of antidiuretic hormone characterized by the excretion of large volumes of dilute but otherwise normal urine. The resulting dehydration induces dominant symptoms of thirst and polydipsia.
- Acetic acid- for passing large quantities of pale urine, intense thirst, hot dry skin, and debility.
- Argentum met. – For profuse, turbid urine of sweet odour. Micturition is frequent and copious.
- Alfalfa – polyuria with increased elimination of urea and phosphates.
- Causticum, scilla and strophanthus – are also useful for profuse urine day and night.
- Uranium Nitricum – Copious urination due to dyspeptic conditions.
- Acid – For nervous cases, when urine is increased and is of pale colour with phosphatic deposit.
- Bryonia, Eupatorium Purp., Sulphur, Arsenic are also indicated.
- API Practice of Medicine
- Descriptive Medicine with Clinical methods and Homoeopathic Therapeutics, 2nd edition, K.L.Kichlu; L.R.N.Bose
- Materia Medica by Boericke
- A Homeopathic Perspective of The Endocrine System Seminar Notes’by Ellen Kramer (MCPH).
Dr Nilofer.M.Shaikh is Assist Prof., Dept. of CM, Bharati Vidyapeeth Deemed University, Homoeopathic Medical College&Hospital, Pune)