New England School of Homeopathy

The Cycle of Carcinosin

The New England Journal of Homeopathy
Fall 1996, Vol.5 No.4

by Frank W. Gruber, MD

Carcinosin was always a difficult remedy for me to understand. Partly, this was due to the lack of information on the remedy. Partly it was due to the fact that much of information found was contradictory to itself. And partly it was difficult because the information found was so nebulous that it seemed similar to so many other remedies. Sometimes it looked like Natrum muriaticum, sometimes like Phosphorus, Staphysagria, Lachesis, or Tuberculinum. This confusion makes some homeopaths prescribe this remedy rarely, where as others prescribe it daily. But both can not be right. The intense disparity within the remedy that seems to make it so confusing actually makes it easier to understand once we see how the cycle of the remedy unfolds.

Understanding Remedies through Cycles and Segments
As readers of this journal know, for the last number of years Paul Herscu ND, has been developing a theory which advocates looking at remedies as a cycle of segments. Each segment represents an idea which encompasses many of the symptoms found in patients needing that remedy, as well as those symptoms recorded in the materia medicas for that remedy. There are generally between 4-6 segments for each remedy. When the segments are all taken together, they cover all the symptoms of that remedy. This is especially useful, as it helps explain contradictory symptoms effectively.

Each segment or fundamental idea leads to the next and the next and the next, until the last idea leads back to the first. This is the nature of chronic disease. The patient is in a cycle of pathology that they can’t escape. This cycle prevents the vital force from allowing them to heal. For more information on the theories of Cycles and Segments, as developed by Paul Herscu ND, read his book Stramonium with an Introduction to Cycles and Segments. See ad on page ___.

Notice that the symptoms which are noted in the following cycle of Carcinosin include those from the mental/emotional, general, and physical realms. The cycle of a remedy represents the untunement of the vital force. That untunement is dynamic. It moves from segment to segment. As it moves it creates symptoms at all levels which are reflections of the untunement of the vital force.

The Cycle of Carcinosin

In this part of the cycle the Carcinosin patient is fearful. They have fear of being alone, of animals, of the future, of insects, mirrors, and spiders. They have fears about their health, riding fast. They have ailments from anticipation.

This fear is really about their ability to make their way in the world. If they can’t affect change in their own life, literally everything seems threatening, uncontrollable. Consciously or unconsciously they choose a strategy for survival which pushes them to the next part of the cycle.


If you have a fear about your own ability to make your way in the world, the easiest thing is to let someone else do it for you. You let them take care of you. Often this is a pattern developed in childhood. An overbearing parent may ‘train’ the patient to be dependent, by not encouraging them to make their own decisions, by constantly doing things for them, or by giving them the message that they are not capable of doing things for themselves.

So the symptoms that fit this portion of the cycle are: company ameliorates, loves affection, affectionate, propensity for caresses, smiling, desires to be carried, resignation, desire for rocking, and sociability.

Also included in this segment are the myriad of things that tend to take care of them i.e. ameliorate them. Seaside air amel., pain lower limbs warmth of bed amel., music amel., throat pain warm drinks amel., everything seems to ameliorate them. They are letting themselves be taken care of. They take whatever they are given and it makes them feel better.

They even desire foods which are comfort oriented: butter, chocolate, delicacies, eggs, fruit, milk, sweets, sugar. You can almost imagine their mother giving them all their favorite comfort foods. Later on in life, they still need to be taken care of and still find comfort in the same foods.


As Herscu explains in his theory of overreaction, you often get what you want but the intensity makes it insupportable. For example, Pulsatilla desires consolation, desires to be carried and rocked and loved up, to be smothered by others and yet they develop a fear of suffocation.

Likewise, because Carsinosin wants to be taken care of, they have to submit their will to the will of the person who is doing the caretaking. They begin the process of losing their sense of self, not really knowing themselves as much as they should, not being a solid individual. They hear only the vague voice of who they really are, who they were meant to be. I think this is the famed keynote symptom for the remedy. It is not just suppression from the parent, but rather the loss of self that results from that suppression. Here they may be mistaken for Staphysagria or Natrum muriaticum. So they are quiet and inward. They tend to hold on to their feelings in this phase, to suppress them. They don’t speak out. Things dwell and swell up inside of them.

A telltale symptom is: abdominal pain, bending double ameliorates. They bend over and take whatever they are given in order to feel better. Or sleep position on knees with face forced into the pillow. This pretty much describes the passivity. Yet it’s more than just passivity. It’s the next step. The overattention or being taken care of is beginning to close in on them. It’s beginning to grate, be cloying. But they can’t say anything. They just keep it in and swell up.

Other specific symptoms include : cautious, reserved, responsive without interest, taciturn, suppresses his desires, aversion to company, anger with silent grief, suppressed grief, and answers in monosyllables.

Physical symptoms which reflect the same idea are: styes of eyes, stiffness of lower jaw, abdomen constriction, rectum constriction, constriction of the heart, chest swelling of mammae before menses, extremity pain, motion agg. They are held in, constricted, can’t move, swollen, and so are their physical symptoms. They can only take this “holding on” for so long before they move to the next segment.


They get resentful. They can’t hold it in completely any more. They become contradictory. Three symptoms which reveal this idea are: delusions she has suffered wrong, unhappiness due to influence of others, and delusions arms do not belong to her. She can’t do what it is she wants. Her arms, which she uses to accomplish things, can’t be used to do what she wants. She is at the mercy of someone else – and she resents it.

Other symptoms include: contradictory states, capricious, intolerance of contradiction, disobedience, quarrelsome, ailments from domination, ailments from reproaches, discontented, disgust, anger at his mistakes, remorse, sensitive to reprimands, dreams of murder, conversation aggravates.
Anything that makes them feel closed in bothers them. They have fear in narrow places or riding in a carriage (closed in). At this phase, everything that looks like consolation or affection makes them worse: consolation aggravates and seaside air aggravates. Eggs, fruit, and milk were comfort foods. Now they either are averse to, or aggravated by them.

We see that the cycle explains the divergent aggravations a’d ameloriations by the same modalities. During the ‘letting themselves be taken care of’ segment of the cycle, these things make them feel better. In the ‘resentment’ segment of the cycle they make the patient feel worse.


Finally they have to break out. They are excitable, sexually intense, love to move. They are on their own. They finally can take care of themselves. Symptoms include: Dancing, desire for travel, restlessness, blueness of the sclera, runs about, disposition to masturbate, cheerful when it thunders and lightnings, extremity pain motion ameliorates. They are finally alive.

But the excitability increases. You have the symptoms: starting from noise, talking in sleep, shrieking at night, weeping, weeping at trifles, tics, twitching of eyelids, sleeplessness, destructiveness in children, biting fingers, and tearing himself.

They start taking care of others. These rubrics include: Caring for others, too much of a sense of duty, anxiety about family, full of cares for others, anxiety for others. They do many things for others, here looking like Phosphorus or Causticum.

Cancerous affectations are found here as the cells lose cancer suppressing ability and proliferate with all the energy possible-with so much vitality that it can kill the rest of the body. It is in a way a reaction to having been suppressed for so long before. In the struggle for freedom, for growth and individuality, the person overshoots and creates too much, just as what happened with the personality.

Finally it is just too much activity. They move to the next segment of the cycle.


They break down and are weak, sad. Symptoms of the breakdown are: schizophrenia, suicidal disposition, mouth aphthae, ulcerations, and bleeding. The effects of cancer can be found here.

The weakness is seen with the following symptoms: mind development arrested, retardation, dullness, concentration difficult, want of self confidence, sadness, weakness of eyes, rectum prolapse, sexual desire diminished, extremities, weakness thigh. Too weak to walk, or to talk.

Expending so much energy has left a hole in them, has weakened them so much so that they can feel sensitive to the outside world. So much so that they resemble Phosphorus or Pulsatilla or occasionally Medorrhinum. They feel other’s pains, but other’s beauty as well. Just as Phosphorus feels the music, sees the colors so vibrantly, so too doesCarcinosin. But it is a sensitivity that can come from weakness and from being too open.

And so, the breakdown and weakness push them back into being fearful, and the cycle is back to the beginning and starts around one more time.


So looking at the cycle of Carcinosin explains a few things. First, as mentioned above, it explains why at one segment of the cycle certain symptoms ameliorate and, at another segment of the cycle, the same modalities aggravate. Similarly, it explains why, at one segment they desire a certain food, at another segment they are averse to the same food. Compare the modalities and food cravings of the ‘let themselves be taken care of’ segment with those of the ‘resentment’ segment.

Second, it allows us to see how Carcinosin can look like other remedies. During the ‘inward’ part of the cycle they can easily look like Natrum muriaticum. During the frenetic part of the cycle they can look like Phosphorus, Tuberculinum, or Lachesis. During the “inwardness, holding on” and ‘resentment’ parts of the cycle they can look like Staphysagria. Taking other parts of the cycle they can look like other remedies. The beauty of looking at remedies through the cycles and segments is that you can see how it fits together to form a coherent picture of Carcinosin.

Third, you can easily see how the many descriptions of Carcinosin have come into the literature. It depends on the portion of the cycle the patient was in when the homeopath treated them, and on what the homeopath focused on.

Fourth, the confusion in the literature does not mean that we should not give this remedy, but that we should work our way through it and find the real issues underlying this remedy. While I do not think we should be prescribing it every day, we also should not discard it.

As you read through the cases in this issue of the Journal, see if you can identify which segment or segments the patient described to the homeopath. For example, in Dr. Lugten’s case, see page __, the description of the patient’s pathology was on the frenetic, breaking out and then break down, weakness phases of the cycle. If you take all the cases together, you can see how they fit into various portions of the cycle, and how taken all together they create a full picture of the cycle of Carcinosin.

 To Read More About Cycles & Segments, click here

Frank W. Gruber, MD practices homeopathy full time in Norfolk, VA. He has been studying with Paul Herscu, ND. at the New England School of Homeopathy for the last 3 years. He gratefully acknowledges, among many other things, Dr. Herscu’s work in the use of cycles to understand remedies, and in particular for his help in delineating the cycle of Carcinosin and for the use of his cases for this article.

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