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  • Writer's pictureElizabeth Adalian MCH

Secale Cornutum: a Saggy Old Remedy or a Fundamental Life-Changing One?


I have always been fascinated by this remedy as it is one of those rarities in being mainly defined by its picture of premature ageing (veering towards decay and gangrene in its end stages as the pathology progresses). It is derived from Ergot of Rye which is known to hasten childbirth from remote times. ( 1) What alerted me to write about this remedy in this regard? It was a recent article concerning the placenta which was published in the New Scientist which attracted my attention. (2) It described radical new discoveries regarding the role of the placenta way beyond its very transient existence lasting solely during the course of the pregnancy itself. The placenta is described as one's long-lost organ but one which continues to influence our health and wellbeing far into our life.


This awareness led me to check out the rubric, 'placenta, general, complaints of', where five remedies all appear in black type. They include:

  • Cantharis vescatoria

  • Placenta humana

  • Pulsatilla nigricans

  • Secale cornutum

  • Sepia.

The article goes on to state that as we emerged into the world as newborns, each of us lost something important: a body part that had provided us with oxygen and nutrients, removed waste products and kept pathogens at bay. The question is then posed as to what became of this critical organ beyond being thrown in the bin or consumed by the parents. It would appear that the placenta may have a surprisingly large hold over one's health decades after it is lost!

Diseases it can possibly lead to later in the life of the offspring include asthma, several forms of cancer, heart disease and obesity, any of which may be the direct consequence of faulty growth of the placenta during the time of gestation. This can be very much conditioned by the age at which a woman becomes pregnant with her first child (if beyond the age of thirty five, the official label is 'elderly primivigrada'!) Due to economic and practical reasons, the decision to postpone parenthood is increasingly common these days with little awareness of this known caveat.


This background led me to consider Secale cornutum as a remedy very much defined by this set of characteristics. Also, it is one which could perhaps be used in pregnancy as a prophylactic, not only against compromise in the vitality of the mother, but also and very importantly, for the longer-term outcome for the resulting child, enhancing their lifespan by a significant number of years, circumventing the above possible resulting pathology. It occurred to me that this remedy could act as a miasmatic one applied in this way with quite remarkable long-term outcomes.

The placenta forms very early in the pregnancy and its durability is very dependent on the age of the mother at conception (and possibly the father), their history of live births and previous miscarriages. Sequelae from such previous histories could be prevented and the path to a straightforward pregnancy insured in the process. Another advantage of Secale cornutum is its ability to enable an older mother to gather strength to cope with the demands of motherhood with all the challenges it brings in its wake. Also, this remedy could reduce her risk of developing ischaemic heart disease later in life. This could equally apply to the lifespan of the resulting child.


Despite the placenta's brief existence, a lot can go wrong during this time and possible consequences could lead to pre-eclampsia in the mother and low birth weight in the child. Kent Thornburg of Oregon Health and Science University, speaks of the placenta literally influencing our health for the rest of one's life. (3) An example he gives is of cardiovascular disease - one of the commonest causes of death worldwide - being more affected by the way one grows before birth than later lifestyle choices. He goes on to state it is at the centre of the chronic disease universe we are seeing today. In a 2020 study, along with his colleagues, he concluded that foetal growth rates are lower if the carrier of the pregnancy experiences what the researchers call chronic toxic stress - meaning the sustained stress associated with racism, housing insecurity, food insecurity and partner violence. I observe that all these factors are coming increasingly to the fore within today's challenging developments. Surely, this indicates the relevance of Secale cornutum as a life-changing remedy and one which needs to come out from the archives in this growing and crucial area of health.

References:

(1) Murphy, Robin, ND, 2020, Nature's Materia Medica Fourth Edition,

Lotus Health Institute.

(2) Fox-Skelly, Jasmin, 22.7.23., Your Long-Lost Organ, New Scientist,

(3) Thornburg, Kent L. et al, October, 2015, The Placenta is the Center of the Chronic Disease

Universe, American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 213(4), S14-S20.



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