The Pulsatilla Effect

Words: Dr Deborah OLENEV 

This petite young woman complained of stomach cramps and weakness while on her periods. She would be totally out of commission when she got her period and miss two days of business school every month. She was not sure if this was connected to her diet. “If I gain weight I get sick. Then my weight falls and I also get sick. It is a cycle. I gain my appetite the week before my period, but when I am on my period I lose my appetite and won’t want to eat.”

She says her stomach is churning and that is what prevents her from eating. She is afraid to put food in her stomach because she is afraid she is going to vomit.

She gets nauseous the day before her period starts, and she feels like she is going to throw up on the first two days. Sometimes, she throws up. “It depends on whether I ate something really heavy that I knew I shouldn’t have eaten. She stays away from dairy products, or foods that are made with dairy products like brownies. “Frosting could upset me.”

She has back aches with her period. She gets headaches at school. The headache is usually dead centre between the eyebrows, or the temples. Her ankles hurt in the cold weather. She has knee pain. If someone has a cold, she inevitably gets it. She has trouble with her sinuses and it affects the ears as well. She is constipated with her periods.

She does not tolerate seafood, or pork, well. She likes salty snacks. She is thirsty, and drinks lots of juices. She sleeps with the fan on, because, “It is too hot and suffocating without the fan.” Her mother says that she gets more attention than all of her other children.

Pulsatilla 200C was prescribed for her, and she has needed just one dose since then. Pulsatilla helped with all the symptoms around her menstrual cycle — the headaches and digestive symptoms.


I first met this four-year-old in January 2006. She has been my patient ever since. She receives a single dose of Pulsatilla, once a year, or every other year, during the allergy season. Her presenting complaint is usually endless cough that began in 2004. The cough led to infections and antibiotics. She took Azmacort inhaler at night for the cough. Her colds would turn into severe coughs that would not go away. The doctors thought she was asthmatic.

She had severe separation anxiety, and would lay on the ground, scream and cry when left at school, or with a baby-sitter and this went on for months. She would be very clingy to one of her preschool teachers to feel more secure. She was very clingy as a baby.

Her food cravings were peanut butter and jelly sandwiches [peanut butter is a Pulsatilla craving] and ice-cream.

Her mom says that she cries all the time, especially if she does not get what she wants. Her cry is a woe is me cry. It is an ‘I feel sorry for myself’ cry.

She is fearful of strangers. she has a fear of going under water. She is very shy. She sucked her thumb and played with her hair since she was a baby.

Pulsatilla 200C was prescribed for her, which has kept her in good health.


This individual presented with physical complaints — viz., extremely painful periods with cramping 3-4 days before the actual flow with loss of hearing, chronic constipation, insomnia, lumbar pain, and restless legs, in bed at night. The emotional symptoms were grief, depression, loneliness and crying a lot after marriage and moving to another state. She also suffers from lack of self-confidence, apathy and anxiety.

Homesickness was her chief complaint. “I have lost all joy and am terribly homesick… I have left all my friends and professional contacts behind… I miss my parents, my family… I feel fragile at times and I feel ungrounded like I am living a dream and that I am in the world but not of the world… like I am a ghost. There are days when I feel I can have a nervous breakdown without any reason.”

“When I was a little girl I had such terrible separation anxiety. If my parents told me they were going on vacation, I would wake up screaming at night. I was so afraid they wouldn’t come back. Some of that is playing out now. I think that little girl in me has that fear. I think she is still there. The thing with my parents… That anxiety that they wouldn’t come back. I thought it was because I was bad. I am working on forgiving myself. Being so far away, I feel like I have been dropped down at an orphanage. I am waiting for my mom and dad to come and pick me up. If I am good they will come. I don’t know what to do about it. I can only focus on me. I can’t change where I live right now. I can change the inside.”

“I get so claustrophobic. I hate cold and snow. I like to sleep with my arms on top of my covers. I sleep on my back. I cross my hands in front of my chest. I like to have my arms out.”

Pulsatilla 200C was prescribed. At her follow-up appointment, eight weeks later, her periods had normalised, her depression lifted. She said, “I don’t feel the homesickness like I used to. I don’t feel abandonment by my family anymore. I don’t feel like they have forgotten me anymore.”

Her nightmares stopped, the restless legs were gone, her sleep had improved, and her hearing loss had also shown improvement. Two symptoms that she had not mentioned before came to the forefront after Pulsatilla was given, pointing the way towards a nosode that she may need to ease her case.

Dr DEBORAH OLENEV, CCH, RSHom [NA], is a Classical Homeopath based in Mountain View, California, US. She treats people from all over the world via phone and video conferencing. Dr Olenev has had a passion for homeopathy for nearly forty years and has been in private practice since 1991. She has a vast knowledge of homeopathic Materia Medica, and integrates homeopathy with herbal medicine too. She is the owner of First Aid Cream, where she teaches about and sells homeopathic first-aid creams. She has several years of experience treating autistic children and people of all ages for all manner of health conditions.

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