Over the last seven years I have specialised in treating children with a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Each case is different and prescribed for individually, however some remedies are indicated more often than others. Alongside the expected Belladonna, Carcinosin, Hyoscymus, Stramonium, various detoxes, Tuberculium and other remedies I have found the relatively new remedy Placenta humanum to be frequently indicated in my practice.
The remedy was proved by K. Biggs & L. Gwillam at the Welsh School of Homeopathy to whom I am profoundly indebted for bringing us this exceptionally useful remedy.
The themes of calmness, indifference, nostalgia, journey, and self-recognition are related to the birth process itself, and the personal experiences of individual provers – easier or more difficult depending on their own in-utero and birth experiences. Some case-studies suggest the remedy’s usefulness in relation to hormonal conditions, breast cancer, enlarged heart, ME and autism – obviously where indications for Placenta are present.
However, what is the picture in non-verbal children on the autistic spectrum?
The only clues we have as to when it might be a useful remedy are:
- Liking a blanket or other covering over their head; wrapping themselves up; an urge to get back into the mother’s womb
- Themes of separation and connection
- Weakness of the placenta in pregnancy or even a caesarean birth
Obviously, the proving was not conducted on children and it is a new remedy where the clinical picture needs confirmation especially in paediatric cases.
It does however seem to be a very effective remedy which often forms part of a series of remedies to help children with a diagnosis of ASD. It has the potential to affect speech profoundly and to bring the child out of her ‘cocoon’. It is a sarcode (remedy made from human tissue) for pre-term babies or damage to the placenta in some way, but also maybe gives the vital force an opportunity to reset or start again.
I have only found one other case written up of its usefulness for ASD children, by Angelica Lemke, ND who writes about a case of pre-term twins where she successfully prescribed the remedy.
Almost immediately following their first dose of Placenta 40c, the girls began to speak more in sentences; played with one another more, listened better to instruction, and started asking questions. They came out of the clouds and into the world.
Looking at the repertory we find the following single remedy mind symptoms. I have put in italics those which have applied in cases that I have seen:
MIND – ANGER – friend; at one’s
MIND – ANGER – mother; about the meddling of
MIND – ANGER – win; if he does not
MIND – COMPANY – aversion to – blanket; wants to wrap himself in a
MIND – COMPANY – aversion to – ideally; if things don’t work out
MIND – COMPANY – desire for – go away from; cannot
MIND – COMPANY – desire for – sudden desire for certain company
MIND – COMPANY – desire for – undertake something together; to
MIND – CONFUSION of mind – drugs; as if under
MIND – CONTENT – himself, with – harmony with oneself; in
MIND – CONTENT – life are ideal; circumstances of
MIND – DELUSIONS – alone, being – presence of friends; in the
MIND – DELUSIONS – beautiful – atmosphere, in – himself in a beautiful atmosphere; he finds
MIND – DELUSIONS – child – wish and need for another child
MIND – DELUSIONS – glass – behind a glass; as if
MIND – DELUSIONS – glass – bubble; as if in a
MIND – DELUSIONS – home – every place in nature or a big strange city could be one’s home
MIND – DELUSIONS – strong; he is – good; and
MIND – EXCITEMENT – beside oneself
MIND – POLITICS – aversion to political engagement
MIND – SADNESS – eyes – desire to close the eyes
Case 1 Boy aged 3 years 8 months
Initial consultation April 2019.Child psychiatrist suggested he was autistic. They moved to another country so no official diagnosis. History of premature birth due to premature aging of the placenta. Child sits under a blanket, protecting himself; he wants to climb into pram and cover himself up. I prescribed Placenta 40c, one pill to be taken once per week.
Follow up one: Within three hours of taking the remedy he said new things and his play diversified. He asked ‘why’ for the first time. He used to be hysterical when tired, would scream; since taking the remedy he no longer does this.
He now understands other’s speech better, more complex stories can be read to him. He started colouring for the first time; no help was required; before he had no interest in colouring in. His fine motor skills improved. He started to wipe his own bottom after passing a stool. He was using role play in his play activities. He was less confused by concepts such as ‘up’ or ‘down’. He was sitting under the blanket less often.
Follow up two months after starting the remedy: He was no longer sitting under the blanket. His relatives had noticed a big change in him and the school reported that he listens more and his concentration is better. His parents reported that a big problem which remained after the treatment was that he runs away in public places. The family history revealed that his Grandfather and uncle had both had tuberculosis. I observed that the child had blue sclera. On this basis I prescribed Tuberculinum 30c.
Response to Tuberculinum: He was worse for two days then stopped running away. His parents could sit on the beach without worrying that he will disappear. They also reported that he used to throw things but this had been ‘cured’ by another therapy. [I find that, as Hahnemann states in the Organon, in relation to the symptom picture before allopathic medication, it is also important to understand how the child was before other therapies or diets were used as they can mask the true symptom picture of the child.]
This is the only case where I have followed Placenta with Tuberculinum, but there are many other cases where a prescription of Placenta has followed Tuberculinum.
Case 2: Boy aged 3 years & 8 months with speech delay and autism
Previous homeopath had prescribed: Silica 1M, Staphisagria 10M and Tuberculinum 1M
Initial consultation 24th April 2016
- Makes rhythmic gestures and spins
- Night terrors, does not recognise his mother
- Fear alone in bed at night
- Wakes 3 times a night in a panic, screams and shouts, does not see mother
- Very agitated in crowds
- Does not like water on his face and hair
- Bites fingernails
- Threat of violence to mother in pregnancy from fiancée
- Bullied, verbal abuse, threw plates, felt so alone like in jail, strangled with words,
- Wraps himself in blanket
- Food desires pink & purple, raw vegetables, crisps, Jaffa cakes
- Food aversions oranges, sparkling drinks
- Never been well since vaccination, regressed aged one
- Worse full moon
- Covers head in bed
- Cold feet at night
- Perspiration of scalp
- Not potty trained
Analysis The most striking aspect of the case was the threat of violence during pregnancy. Fiancée tried to crash the car with mother of the child in it. Mother ran away to live in a new country.
MIND – AILMENTS FROM – fear
MIND – AILMENTS FROM – violence
MIND – FEAR – terror – night
MIND – CLINGING – children; in – awakens terrified, knows no one, screams, clings to those near; child
MIND – FEAR – crowd, in a
MIND – BITING – nails
MIND – FEAR – water, of
MIND – GESTURES, MAKES – strange attitudes and positions
STOMACH – THIRST – night
GENERALS – VACCINATION; AILMENTS AFTER
GENERALS – MOON – full moon – agg.
GENERALS – COVERS – amel. – desire for; and
EXTREMITIES – COLDNESS – Feet – night
HEAD – PERSPIRATION OF SCALP – sleep – during
RECTUM – CONSTIPATION
Prescription – Stramonium 30c once per week.
Follow up after one week
- Started to sleep better within a week, deeper sleep once he is settled. Not waking 3-4 times to check where mother is or to drink. Much more settled nights. Mother can rest as well.
- Previously woke 6 am, now 8am
- New symptom: he withdraws into another room, lies on floor, babbling on his own, tells mother to go away.
- No improvement in eating.
Follow up after two weeks
- Night terrors less frequent and shorter
- Less thirsty
- No night sweats
- Appetite improved
- Empathy if mother is upset
- Using more words in context and more often – go – this – come – no -bye
- Managed to pass stool without such extreme fear twice in last two weeks
- more distress in noisy, busy public places, tantrums puts hood over his head
- More but shorter tantrums, very difficult to handle on own
- Mother says ‘I can finally sleep after all this time’
Action: stop remedy and wait
19/5/17 – one month follow up
- Back to start with sleep, wakes five times per night to drink, wants mother
- But no nightmares
- Will not allow mother to use phone – kick, push, hit, attacks her
- Responded to his name after Stramonium
- Empathy for 1st time, has concept of emotions
- Lies on floor covered with blanket
- Talks to his toys now
Action generally positive response to Stramonium 30c, but aggravated tantrums, some gains now lost re sleeping at night – try Stramonium 6c once daily for a week.
- Stramonium is like a fantastic sleeping pill – no nightmares, no sweating, no panic, never slept so well before
- Tantrums and aggressive outbursts got much worse again
- Passed some stools without a laxative
- Less thirst at night
- Sleeps well and undisturbed, no night terrors
- Panicking crossing road junctions
- Not needing buggy when he goes out
- Better behaviour in shops
- More interest in pretend play
- Seeks more physical comfort
Action: prescribed Placenta 40c 10th July 2017 because of the strong attraction to his blanket, which he had with him all the time. Mother was not allowed to wash it. He liked his head covered at night.
Response to remedy
- His progress is unbelievable in such a short time. Teachers reported that he willingly communicated with them, no meltdowns
- Mother says ‘I’m truly impressed now’
- In one week a completely different child
- Sleeps through the night
- Did not wrap his head in blanket
- Whole day out of his cocoon
- Did not sit under blanket and wrap himself in it
- Willingly sat on toilet 1st time in a year
- No tantrums outside, followed instructions
- Tolerates shower and face wash
- Spontaneous wave hullo and goodbye
- Lets mother use phone without screaming and grabbing it
- Responding to questions
- More aware emotions
- More affectionate
Summary of prescriptions
- 24/4/17 Stramonium 30c weekly
- 5/5/17 stop remedy
- 19/5/17 Stramonium 6c daily for 7 days
- 30/5/17 Placenta 40c weekly
- 3/7/17 Pulsatilla 30c acute chicken pox
- 11/7/17 Placenta 40c weekly plus Pediacel vaccine detox 30c twice weekly
Case 3 boy aged three initial appointment December 2019
Previously prescribed homeopathic remedies included: Calcarea silicata, Carcinosin, Laurocerasus, Lathyrus, Silicea, Sulphur and Tuberculinum.
History of placental haemorrhage and hypoxia. Born at 33 weeks. Non-verbal. Wakes at 2am nightly and screams for two hours, cannot be consoled. Frequent coughs and colds every two weeks. Constipation – stool passed as hard balls.
After one month taking Placenta 30c once per week, the following improvements were seen:
- Child became more cheerful
- Babbling increased
- Taking weight on wrists and sitting upright to some extent
- Improvements in understanding
- Sleeping through the night
- No cough or fever
- Eating wider range of foods
- neck holding improved
- interaction increased
- hyper-reflexes decreased
There was no improvement in chronic constipation and I was considering prescribing Opium 6x, a well indicated remedy for hypoxia as well. However, by the sixth week of taking Placenta 30c the constipation improved without the need for Opium.
Other matridonal remedies include Amniotic fluid, Umbilical cord, Vernix Lac maternum and Lac humanum. All could be useful for pre-birth causes and trauma in utero.
Of course, this remedy is not a panacea for children with a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder. These are complex and sensitive cases. I have seen aggravations like a child climbing into mother’s lap whilst she is driving, on taking the remedy Placenta!
It can be indicated for ‘sleeping disorders with children, who want to be in parent’s bed; doesn’t sleep without mummy, waking up frequently’ (Ritzer). Although I have not used this as a symptom to prescribe Placenta this is a surprisingly common symptom for children on the Autism spectrum. Other remedies that might be considered for this are of course Pulsatilla and the bowel nosode Gaertner.
SLEEP – SLEEPLESSNESS – alone agg.: (6) cimic. gaert. kali-br. kali-c. syc. tritic-vg.
It should be considered as an addition to the rubric ‘STOOL – STANDING – amel.: (3) alum. caust. sul-ac.’ as standing to pass stool came up in the Welsh proving.
I have recently seen several cases where tip-toe walking has improved dramatically after a prescription of Placenta. I would consider from clinical experience that it might be added to the small rubric:
EXTREMITIES – WALKING – toes; walking on: (6) All-c. calc. crot-h. lath. Nit-ac. Sec.
The Placenta path is starting out from a wonderful ideal feeling to be ONE and ALONE ending in disappointment of this ideal feeling, leading to isolation and withdrawal (Ritzer)
Assilem, M. Matridonal Remedies of the Humanum Family – Gifts of the Mother Helios 2009
Hahnemann, S. Organon of the Medicinal Healing Art ed Brewster O’Reilly, W. Birdgage Books 1996
Ritzer, F. Placenta proving Radar Opus 2.2 Archibel 2020
Schroyens, F. Synthesis Treasure Edition 2009