Oxytocin - the Elusive 'Element'
In recent times, it has become increasingly recognised that isolation plays a role in, not only people's mood, but also their state of health. Just one result of this discovery is that small children have recently started to have been invited into old people's homes to mingle with the residents and bring smiles to their faces. The longer term impact of this one small shift in their routine has proved to be significantly positive on many levels, especially in the case of Alzheimer's sufferers. Oxytocin is an important mediator of social behaviour, potentially enhancing emotional expression and prosocial behaviour.
The value of receiving hugs as well as simple touch, is nowadays observed to bring favourable outcomes to, not only the recipients, but also the providers of this type of validation. Of course, this has to occur in the right circumstances with no infringement of boundaries. It is therefore no surprise that oxytocin is considered the 'cuddle hormone' and how we, as homeopaths, can convey this influence to our patients through the action of our chosen remedies in the case. Could it be that our remedies trigger the release of oxytocin and instil the equivalent of a hug in our patients? In fact, patients have returned after treatment at times relating that, after taking a certain remedy, they felt held and nurtured. This could result from an obvious remedy in this scenario such as Lac Humanum - derived from human breast milk (or something less obvious - see below). In the picture of Lac Humanum, there is often a history of rupture between the mother and child, whether that happened in the womb or in their early development. Further down the line, that very same patient can fall into addiction, seeking something outside themselves which they can actually latch onto (like the mother's breast...). It is hard to believe that breast milk in potency could help to address cases of addiction. However, when one considers the significant role of oxytocin which is released through the bonding process, it is not so unlikely.
Another remedy which could trigger oxytocin is Magnesium Muriaticum, where often the rupture in the case occurs immediately after birth. In my book 'Touching Base with Trauma', I have written about three generations of one family where different members needed this remedy - the primal wound of abandonment and deception dating right back to previous generations. This reminds me of this remedy's role in post-natal depression. So often, Sepia is routinely given when, given the legacy of transgenerational abandonment, Magnesium Muriaticum can match the case so much more appropriately. The ideal of giving this remedy in this situation is its ability to deter the onward transmission of this rather negative state through future generations.
The remedy, Hura Braziliensis, in my experience often has a primal wound of ostracisation, indicating a background of being cast out of the nest beyond the limits of primal abandonment. That feeling of repudiation projected onto the sufferer haunts them long-term, In one case of a 65 year old man, this message had stalked him all his life until this remedy was given. The oxytocin which was lacking all those years, to his delight, kicked in and he felt, even at that age, his life was renewed.
In the remedy, Saccharum Officinale, there is often a picture of lack of bonding, even to the point of abuse. Maybe, the child was adopted or, perhaps, the feeling is one of having been adopted, such is the awareness of the missing oxytocin in their lives. The addiction in these cases is often for sugar (this figures as the remedy is actually derived from sugar). However, years down the line this addiction can move on to heroin rather than the original one for sugar. When considering the fact that the gut is considered to be the second brain with its high volume of serotonin enhancers located there, one can assume that it is oxytocin which links it with the brain through the vagus nerve. Saccharum Officinale as a remedy acts on the gut when there is marked acidity with possible malnutrition.
Arthur Janov in 2000 wrote in his book 'The Biology of Love', how love begins in the womb, literally shaping our brains, and determines how we think, feel and act throughout life. He even goes so far as to declare that love determines the state of our health and the length of our lives. This is increasingly relevant in today's world when so much research is pointing to the role of oxytocin and how it can be enhanced despite its often frequent omission in the earlier years. When considering oxytocin, I am reminded of the poem by the Iranian Sufi poet, Hafiz:-'Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all of the barriers within yourself that you have built against it'.
References:-Adalian, Elizabeth, (2017), 'Touching Base with Trauma Reaching Across the Generations: A Three-Dimensional Homeopathic Perspective', Writersworld.
Finger, Elizabeth C. et al., (January 2015), 'Oxytocin for Frontotemporal Dementia: A Randomized Dose Finding Study of Safe and Tolerability', Neurology, 84(2), 174-81.
Gershon, Michael D., (1999), 'The Second Brain - Your Gut Has a Mind of Its Own', Harper Collins Publishers.
Janov, Arthur (2000), 'The Biology of Love', Prometheus Books