Homeopathy, the Other Medicine

Homeopathy – What Is it?

There are two main kinds of medicine. The one most of us are familiar with is called allopathic medicine. the term allopathy means ‘Different Suffering’, and uses medicines which produce different effects than the disease it is used to treat. An alternative medicine doctor I met once calls allopathy N2D2 medicine as doctors typically follow a Name the Disease, Name the Drug approach.

Homeopathy means ‘Similar Suffering’ and relies on medicines which produce the same effects as the disease. This system of medicine was developed by Dr. Samuel Hahnemann as a result of observations he made while working as a medical text translator. He was translating an article about the use of quinine to treat malaria. At the time, the prevailing thought was that quinine worked because it tasted bitter. Hahnemann didn’t think that sounded plausible or scientific, so he took quinine to see what would happen. The quinine gave him symptoms similar to that of malaria, even though he didn’t actually have the disease. This observation lead him to the discovery that like cures like — similar suffering — and homeopathy was born.

Most people think that the heart of homeopathy is the ‘infinitesimal dose’, the way the medicinal substances are highly diluted. However this is not true, and even the purest classical homeopaths didn’t always use high dilutions of substance. The heart of homeopathy is matching the effects of the drug to the patient’s signs and symptoms. This is not the same as matching the drug to a specific disease.

Diluting the medicines was originally done in an attempt to alleviate side effects. Some of the early drugs were highly toxic, both for homeopathic use, and allopathic use. For instance, mercury was often prescribed 100 years ago for the treatment of the common cold, and for the treatment of syphilis. It worked, but the patient often suffered the debilitating effect of mercury poisoning. In fact, the use of mercury as a cure-all lead to the term quack, which is short for the german word ‘quacksalber’, or today in America, we would say quick-silver meaning mercury.

The Proving — Discovering a Drugs Action

The substances used for homeopathic healing have always been tested on healthy human volunteers, usually med students, to find out what effects they cause, and thereby what disease symptoms they will cure. A large group of people are given the drug to take over a few weeks time. This is called ‘proving’ the drug. Each volunteer keeps a diary of all the effects the drug has upon him, IE: changes to his health, including his emotions, mental ability, physical symptoms, what part of the day they occur in, which side of the body they happen to, what conditions the prover had which improved, and things which make the symptoms better or worse. At the end of the trial period, the results from all the provers is combined, common elements are noted, and things which only happen to a small portion of the group are assumed to be from some other influence. In this way, a picture of how the drug affects a typical person emerges. The results of the provings for all the substances tested are then compiled in a book called the Materia Medica where any drug available can be referenced.

The Materia Medica is an indispensable tool for the homeopath, but there is another tool which he needs. It is called a Repertory. The Repertory is a book with almost every possible symtom of illness that had been seen, cataloged by areas of the body, and then more detailed descriptions under that. With each classification, there is a list of every drug which produces that symptom when given to a healthy person.

Prescribing — The Materia Medica and Repertory

To use these tools, and prescribe a drug for a patient. A classical homeopath will take the case history, and examine the patient (a very lengthy process… typically 1 to 2 hours), and find all the key symptoms the patient has. Then by consulting the Repertory for each symptom, and recording all the drugs that produce each symptom, the homeopath can work out which of all the drugs produces a match to the most important symptoms of the patient. After having done this, the homeopath then looks up that drug in the Materia Medica to verify that the picture of the drug matches the symptom picture of the patient. Before computers, this could have taken several hours in itself. Thanks to the computer, the drudge work of the Repertory can be fully automated saving the practioner a lot of time. Of course, after gaining experience, the homeopath gets to know the drugs well enough that he doesn’t always have to rigorously do the Repertory work. He just knows the drug picture when he sees it in a patient. If the homeopathic physician does not match the drug as closely as possible to a patient’s exact symptoms, it is not homeopathy, regardless of how the drugs were made!. Also, a classical homeopath will never prescribe combinations of drugs or multiple drugs at the same time, as there would be no clear picture of the drug combination. One drug at a time is the rule.

My first experience

The first experience with homeopathy, and indeed my first experience with any form of alternative health care, happened in the early 90’s. Five years before, I had been struck down with cancer and had very extensive surgery to remove it. I had all of my lymph glands removed from my abdomenal cavity. The aftermath of that was that for the next five years, I had constant pain, and was always sick. It seemed no one could help me, until I visited a health clinic in New Jersey where they had a homeopathic practitioner. Jane was not even a licensed physician, she was an artist who had studied with other homeopaths for quite a few years. Since Jane was not an actual physician, she could not actually prescribe for me. Instead, she gave me a private 2 hour lesson in homeopathy, using my own case for an example. After a 2 hour “training session”, Jane pointed me to a drug called Thuja Occidentalis (Tree of life, or the Arbor Vitae bush).

I took this drug for 2 days, and nothing at all happened. On the third day however, I got sick, with exactly the same feelings and symptoms I had right after the surgery. This continued for about 2 days as I replayed the recovery from the tremendous assault I had endured. Then…. it was gone! I had finally recovered (as much as possible, I can’t regrow body parts) from a curse that had lasted 5 years. I was sold on homeopathy!. So I took some classes to learn more.

Jane treated me once more, as I had been prone to pneumonia, and had contracted it three years in a row. Jane prescribed Sulphur for me, and it cured the pneumonia quicker than the antibiotics had, plus I haven’t had pneumonia in the 10+ years since.

But how does it work? It makes no sense to take something which gives me more of what I already have!

What most people perceive as symptoms of illness is actually the effects of the body’s immune system battling the disease. The disease agent is busy chomping away at your cells replicating itself and flooding your body with poison, but that’s not what you experience. You experience fever, throwing up, diarrhea, etc. This is your immune system at work. Vomiting expels poisons from your body as does diarrhea. Fever prevents viruses from replicating. Swelling is your body diluting the toxins. The smartest doctor of all is your own immune system. All of this internal battle requires energy and strength in your immune system. By taking a non-toxic substance which produces the same effect as your immune system does while fighting a particular disease, some of the load is taken off the immune system and taken up by the drug. This is akin to bringing in reinforcements on the battle field. The drug augments the immune system. It is your immune system which ultimately effects the cure!

One of the beautiful aspects of homeopathy is that it is not necessary to know what disease a person actually has. It is only necessary to know the symptom set of the patient. This means that with a little training in the technique, ordinary non-medical people can do remarkable things for themselves and their families in the way of treating ordinary illnesses like colds and flu. I consider it a skill which everyone should learn for the day when visiting an MD might not be possible.

Can it cure everything?

No, of course not, but neither can allopathy. In today’s world, we are faced with diseases and symptoms that were not prevalent when the original homeopaths did the drug provings. For instance, 100 years ago heart disease was rare, and blood pressure was not routinely checked like it is now. It was not considered important. As a result, there is almost no information in the Materia Medica and the Repertory about hypertension. It is such a shame that homeopathy was all but put out of business by the AMA. If it had not been, there would have been a lot more advances in the drugs and techniques available.

Spanish Flu — Influenza del Diablo

One of the biggest events which suggest that homeopathy works and works very well was the Spanish flu outbreak in 1918. At that time, there were homeopathic hospitals, and allopathic hospitals in the US.

A report to the American Institute of Homeopathy in 1921 documented the dramatic success of homeopathy in the worst flu pandemic in history. The death rate of 24,000 flu cases under conventional medical care in that study was 28.2 percent, while the death rate of 26,000 cases treated with homeopathy was a nearly miraculous 1.05 percent. Similarly, many homeopathic physicians each reported treating thousands of patients with very few deaths.1

In the homeopathic hospitals, the majority of patients were given gelsemium which increases body temperature, which augmented the body’s own immune response. In the allopathic hospitals, aspirin was the drug of choice, and aspirin reduces body temperature, effectively working against the immune system.

Next, I will tell you how to make ‘potentized’ drugs, the highly diluted and energetic drugs that homeopaths usually prescribe, and then tell you of a shortcut that you can instantly make use of.

How to make your own Potentized Remedies

If you go to your local health food store and look at the homeopathic (potentized) remedies, you will see they have a name, and a number/letter combination after the name. IE: Bryonia 6C, which is wild hops. Potentized medicines are substances that have been serially diluted a certain number of times with a process known as succussion after each dilution. Historically, medicines are either diluted 1 to 10, known as X dilutions or 1 to 100, known as C dilutions. Coffea 9X means that a tincture of coffee was diluted by a factor of 10, 9 times. A 9X dilution would then contain only 1 part per billion of the original substance. Originally these medicines were made by the doctor himself, or by a pharmacist skilled in homeopathic preparations. The most common potencies used are 3, 6, 9, 12, 30, and 200 in either C or X dilutions. Even if the orginal substance were extremely toxic, a dilution above 6C contains such a minuscule amount (1 part per million) of the original toxic substance, that it is safe to ingest. A 30C dilution would statistically not contain even 1 atom of the actual substance.

The original way

To make a 6C preparation of a soluble material, the pharmacist or doctor would need to first make a tincture (material dissolved in ethanol) by soaking the material in a vial with the appropriate amount of ethanol until the soluble parts were extracted. This tincture is the starting point, and only a small amount is needed, so it was usually stored for when the drug was called for again.

Next, the dr would need 6 small vials with stoppers. Into the first vial, he would put 1cc of the tincture and add 99cc of distilled water. This vial was then stoppered, and the vial was sharply rapped 50 to 100 times against the palm of the hand, or traditionally, a large leather bound book (a bible was often used). This step is called ‘succussion’. After the succussion the vial contains the 1C potency. One cc of the 1C potency was then transferred to the second vial, and the process repeated giving the 2C potency. This was repeated until the desired 6C potency was achieved. Notice that there is nothing high tech about this process. One only needs a number of sterile vials, ethanol, distilled water, and a little elbow grease. Today of course we simply buy what we want, and there are only a very few that require a prescription to buy.

An easier method

The trouble with the above procedure is that it uses a lot of vials; for a 200C potency, one would need 200 vials. So early on, the doctors discovered that it worked just as well to use only one vial, and at the end of each succussion stage, they simply discarded all but 1 tenth, or 1 hundredth of the remedy, keeping the other part for the next dilution. Thats the way I do it. Also, it doesn’t seem to matter if the dilution ratio is actually very accurate. Whether its 10, 20, or 100, it works just as well provided the number of dilutions is more than 6.

Since homeopathic potentized remedies are easily obtained in health food stores, and internet shops, you probably won’t ever have a need to actually make most of the remedies.

A word about potency

The higher the number of dilutions, the stronger, and more pure the remedy becomes. So Bryonia 30C is more potent than Bryonia 6C. I know that goes completely against logic on the surface. Homeopathy is usually criticized as being quackery because the remedies contain little to none of the active ingredient. They are just sugar or alcohol right? I will try to answer that from my experience as an electronics engineer in a quartz crystal factory. Back in the 70’s, as I was studying quartz, and developing processing techniques, I learned that water will form long chain polymers when it contacts another substance. The water itself changes from being in contact with something else. This property of water actually caused a lot of trouble in the manufacturing process, and I think that this little known fact is the key to what makes the remedies work.

In the initial tincture, we have molecules of the substance mingling with the water molecules present along with the alcohol. The succussion phase adds energy to the liquid, and facilitates the water molecules combining into the polymers. Each subsequent dilution and succussion then decreases the amount of the original substance while allowing more H2O molecules to rearrange themselves. So I see at least one plausible explanation of how these potentized medicines could work, or at least how they differ from just plain water.

A few more observations about Homeopathy

In 1993 I went to see a well known alternative medicine doctor about a serious problem I was having. In a discussion we were having about homeopathy, he told me that homeopathy did not work. I asked what proof he had that it did not, and his response was: “I heard about a remedy which was supposed to be really good for blood pressure, and I tried it on 30 of my patients. It didn’t help them”. Ok, you should already see the problem with his statement. In fact he didn’t do homeopathy, which is matching a patient’s symptoms to a drug picture. Instead, he tried to match a drug to a diagnosis, which is allopathy, or N2D2 medicine. Thirty patients with high blood pressure might require a different well chosen drug for each patient.

If you go to the health food store and pick up a vial of Bryonia, or Thuja, or any homeopathic remedy, you will also find on the bottle a disease recommendation. It might say for constipation, or headaches, or some other such nonsense. In fact, the FDA requires all over the counter drugs to have such labeling, and that is totally contrary to the tenets of homeopathy. But the average Joe doesn’t know that, and he will pick up the little vial, take it home, and when it doesn’t work will blame homeopathy, when in fact he hasn’t yet tried homeopathy. You might say there is a conspiracy against it, probably because the FDA doesn’t understand the concepts or because the drugs are cheap and none of them are toxic.

In the early days, the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, homeopaths were among the most respected members of a community. But their problem was the amount of time it took to provide patient care. While the homeopath was digging through his Repertory and Materia Medica after an initial 2 hour visit with a patient, an allopathic doctor could see a dozen patients and give them a little bag of aspirin. IE: There was a lot more money in allopathic medicine, both for the doctors and the drug companies. Also, the AMA targeted homeopathic physicians, and worked hard to destroy homeopathy. As a result, homeopathy declined; but now its making a comeback in alternative medicine, and veterinary medicine.

So now you know a little about homeopathy and have at least one practical trick in the bag. I hope you found this interesting at least, and more so I hope you found it useful.

Most importantly, know when to treat yourself, and when to seek medical help from a doctor. Homeopathy cannot treat everything, and using it effectively does require skill.

1) DivineOdyssey.com

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