Homeopathy: An integrated system
“The homeopathic system provides a framework of theory, values and related technology which enables patients and doctors to make sense of their lives, and give meaning to their work.”
– Frank Bodman
Homeopathy, highly salubrious therapeutic method discovered in the early nineteenth century by a German physician, Dr. Samuel Hahnemann, M.D. (1755-1843) has been practised by groups of physicians in most countries of the world for the past two centuries.
Misconceptions prevail not only in society but also amongst the physicians as to the exact understanding of homeopathy. Either exaggerated claims are made or in those cases where homeopathy can really win laurels are unnecessarily referred to other medical therapies. The precise field of application of homeopathy and the scope and limitations of that application must be sufficiently cognized. This will help clear up bewildering ideas that are besieging on this really effective medical therapy.
Homeopathy differs in many ways from other systems of medicine in possessing its own methodology – a precise set of principles that govern homeopathic practice.
The principles on which homeopathy is based are natural and fundamental. To know these principles is the first and foremost step towards understanding homeopathy.
We shall deal with different aspects of homeopathy: its basic concepts, philosophical substratum, its place in current medical faculties in a succinct way. The precise elucidation of all aspects is beyond the scope of this article.
THE LAW OF SIMILARS: SIMILIA SIMILIBUS CURENTURE
The bedrock on which the edifice of homeopathy has been built is expressed in the Latin phrase ‘SimiliaSimilibusCurenture,’ which means ‘Let likes be cured by Likes.’ In other words, illnesses are to be cured by medicines that are capable of producing symptoms similar to those of illnesses. By enunciating this epoch-making law, Hahnemann, by his fine observation and the inductive method of reasoning, brought into prominence the most neglected aspect of the natural relationship that exists between the phenomena of disease and drugs.
The perusal of the ancient medical literature shows that ancient Ayurvedic physicians, as also Hippocrates, Paracelsus, Hallu and others were aware of the operation of the law of similars. But the credit of evolving and constructing a scientific system of therapeutics based on the law of similars and harnessing it for curative purpose goes to the genius, Dr.Hahnemann.
PROVINGS ON HEALTHY HUMAN BEINGS: HUMAN PHARMACOLOGY
Hahnemann’s intuitive and searching mind did not stagnate at merely ‘perceiving’ nature’s law of cure. In order to demonstrate the validity of this doctrine, Hahnemann pursued his investigations and determined to prove the drugs on healthy human beings. He preferred the human experimentation to the animal, as the human being (though an animal) is a perfect design in the process of evolution. A human being’s mind has been evolved to express the fine effects of the drugs and his physical body has been explored through various faculties of physiology, anatomy, biochemistry, pathology etc. On the other hand, animals are unfit to express the effects of drugs in a precise way and therefore, there will always be limitations in knowing the true and adequate effects of drugs. As a matter of fact, testing the drugs on animals and extrapolating them for the sake of treatment on human beings is a serious issue! Dr.Manu Kothari has rightly put up a question in his famous book, ‘Violence in Medicine’, “What can cure a disease condition (assumed, simulated or natural) in a mouse or a dog can with the right expenditure of money, effort, and intelligence, be applied to human medicine”?
The concept and technique of human experimentation is the greatest contribution of Hahnemann to Medicine. Dr. James Krauss, M.D. has very rightly put his observation, ‘The era of scientific medical experimentation begins with Hahnemann and nobody else.’
To clarify, the powers of medicines are discovered in the homeopathic system by administering these medicines to healthy human beings for a considerable period of time. This is called ‘Proving’ the medicine. The substances that are used for proving are from all kingdoms-vegetable, animal and mineral. These substances produce groups of symptoms (both subjective and objective) that define precisely how the healthy organism reacts to the specific stimulus by each such substance. And these proving symptoms thereby indicate precisely how the given substance is to be used for the sake of treatment. Since the symptoms of the sick person represent his curative reaction to the morbific stimulus, the most effective way to cure him will necessarily be through prescribing the substance, which intensifies these curative symptoms.
‘Drug provings’ have been carried out very systematically and scientifically. Hahnemann set forth certain rules for proving. He himself said, “Proving should exclude every supposition, every mere assertion, and fiction.” And indeed, homeopathic physicians all over the world are daily confirming the validity of proving symptoms since almost two centuries. Further, when it was suspected that the homeopathic proving method is not scientific, some substances were reproved under control conditions, and with the provers not knowing which substance they were proving. The results have only corroborated the original provings.
The record has been compiled of provings that are collected mainly in the classic works of Dr. Constantine Hering (Guiding Symptoms: 10 Volumes) and Dr. T. F. Allen (Encyclopaedia: 11 Volumes). Materia medica books have been prepared by different authors from the compilation of Dr. Hering and Dr. Allen. These books are used as fundamental source material in the homeopathic system and therefore, indispensable tools in homeopathic clinical practice.
Homeopathicmateriamedica is subject to continuous development. By elaborate research, new substances are proved that get incorporated in the materiamedica. There are at present more than 3000 drugs in homeopathic armamentarium. There are many ways of the study of materiamedica and this wonderful tool has sharpened enough to meet the challenges of the most obstinate, inveterate diseases that are impinging on humanity today.
There are many “Drug proving” research centers in the world. Let us take an example. In the USA, Arizona’s American Medical College of Homeopathy (AMCH, now part of the Phoenix Institute of Herbal Medicine and Acupuncture, Pihma) has been conducting provings since the 1990s and has set a high standard for this type of homeopathic research. AMCH provings use a double-blind randomized design. Research ethics guidelines established by the department of health and human services that are used in conventional medical research are also followed for homeopathic provings. Central Council for Research in Homeopathy (CCRH), Govt. of India, has proved many drugs and reproved also many old drugs in many centers of India with strict adherence to research protocols.
When a homeopath is confronted with a sick individual after the ‘totality’ of sickness is elicited thoroughly (which takes into its purview not only present symptoms and personality of the patient, but also past and family history), he investigates the literature of the provings to ascertain precisely which substance produces a set of symptoms similar to that of the patient. This is the indicated remedy because it will stimulate the incipient curative process.
THE CONCEPT OF A SINGLE REMEDY
The homeopathicprovings that were and are carried out are of single substance and never of medical mixtures. Obviously,Hahnemann advocated the use of a single remedy at a time as its exclusive action is fully explored through provings. Hahnemann thought that the use of medical mixtures leads to over-drugging of the patient and if several drugs are administered simultaneously, it is impossible to predict the synergistic effect.
A wise homeopath, therefore, gives a single remedy at a time, which is selected by taking into consideration the thorough totality of the patient. One single medicine at any given time is called the ‘Law of Simplex’ in homeopathy.
The concept of a single dose in homeopathy is related to the understanding of indivisibility of an individual. The parts of the human beings are not separate, they are bound by one unifying force and even with local complaints, it is the individual as a whole who is involved.
Selection of a single remedy based on the totality of symptoms requires deep study of the patient. Remember, selection of a single remedy doesn’t mean that a single remedy will solve all problems of the patient in his life time. An acute or chronic case may require many remedies to cure.
DOCTRINE OF POTENTIZATION: THE INFINITESIMAL DOSE
After being convinced of the truth of the Law of Similars, Hahnemann started administering medicines in the traditional crude doses. To his dismay, he found undesirable aggravation of the symptoms due to toxic action. So he started progressively reducing the dose by diluting it (with alcohol or sugar of milk by succussion or trituration in a set rhythmic manner) in order to moderate the patient’s reaction. By this process of dilution of the doses, he ultimately reached a stage where no material quantity of the drug could be traced by any means.
At the same time to his amazement, he found that this process of diluting the medicinal substance instead of diminishing the curative effect of the drug, rather steadily enhanced it and made it all the deeper and long lasting while minimizing the aggravation of the symptoms. Experimenting along this observation for a number of years, Hahnemann concluded that the curative property of the similar–most remedy does not depend upon its physical or chemical quality only, but also upon a quality which is far deeper than material quality and called it as a ‘dynamic’ quality.
Hahnemann called this process of dilution as ‘potentization’ or ‘dynamization’ and remedies specially prepared as ‘potentized’ or ‘dynamic’ remedies. Remember, there is the difference between dilution and potentization.
The process of potentization is incredibly simple, but its benefits are huge. They can be summarized as follows.
- It removes harmful side-effects.
- It turns poisons into safe medicines.
- It converts inactive substances into powerful remedial agents.
- It removes addictive effects from narcotics.
- The potentized medicines are safe to use with conventional medicines.
- The potentized medicines can be used to antidote the effects of crude chemical medication.
This principle of potentization has opened a new vista in the understanding of the drug effects on an entirely different plane, which was never conceived of before the advent of homeopathy. In the 19th century, homeopathy was scoffed at for this doctrine that medicines become more powerful with greater dilution. However, with 20th and 21st– century discoveries of hormones and other substances (which are also effective in microscopically small quantities), nano-technology, water memory etc., contemptuous ridicule of homeopathic potentization has diluted (to a large extent).
Various homeopathic investigators have sponsored a variety of physical, chemical, botanical and biological experiments to demonstrate the existence of medicinal power in infinitesimal doses. Recent concepts in faculties like allergology, immunology, psycho-neuro-immunology etc. have thrown considerable light on the power possessed by the infinitesimal doses and they substantiate that “less is more”.In short,the homoeopathic remedy does not work materialistically on the physical body, but energetically on the dynamic level.
How ‘Super-Avogadro dilutions’ (SADs) in homeopathy stimulate the biological activity (immunological and inflammatory reactivity) and pathways (supra-cellular and sub-cellular) and restore the homeostatic mechanism?A review of the literature spanning a century reveals reports of many ways to answer the above question. The effects of high dilutes have been observed on bacterial, zoological and botanical subjects. Physical measures have been made. Biochemistry has been employed. The reports have been positive enough to suggest that although the molecular structure of SADs is not well understood, they do differ from their liquid solvent vehicles, have a dynamic action and subsequently suggest specificity in the sub-atomic field.
MINIMUM DOSE: CO-OPERATION WITH NATURE AND NOT COERCION
In contrast with large doses that are given in other systems of medicine (Mainstream and Ayurveda), a homeopathic physician insists on giving the minimum dose. He believes that remedies must be used in the smallest possible amount for the purpose of bringing the diseased state back towards normalcy. The principle behind giving the minimum dose is obvious: The ‘similar’ remedy must be given in minimum dose which is sufficient to stimulate the secondary action i.e. to stimulate the vitality and evoke the innate natural healing response (self-regulatory mechanism) of the organism to bring about the necessary curative process in a patient.
When the disease state arises, nature sometimes fails to mobilize its own power. It requires assistance and homeopathic remedies provide this assistance. In other words, homeopathic remedies are immune-stimulant and immune-modular. Homeopathy, therefore, can be called as an advanced form of micro-immunotherapy. Further, drug-sensitization, drug-toxicity, drug-resistance, allergies, and anaphylactic shock are not possibilities in homeopathic therapeutics as crude, material doses are not used.In homeopathy, it is not only the dosebut the patient’s sensitivity to the dose which is more important. A remedy is selected which has the strongest sensitivity to the organism and hence it is given in the minimal dose. The infinitesimal potencies are no longer material, but immaterial or energetic because they have to stimulate the vital force.
In mainstream medicine too, it is known that minimum doses of a substance can have an effect on the human being (e.g. pollen). Smelling a perfume can cause allergic reactions. Entering a room with a cat can provoke hay fever or an asthmatic attack.
I want you to pay attention to the research in mainstream medicine, “The risk that a pharmacological interaction will appear increases as a function of the number of drugs administered to a patient at the same time.Over a third (36%) of older adults in the U.S. regularly use five or more medications or supplements and 15% are potentially at risk for a major drug-drug interaction”.
CONCEPTS ABOUT HEALTH, DISEASE AND CURE: HOLISTIC APPROACH
Now we shall turn to some philosophical and practical aspects of homeopathy. The practice of homeopathy is nothing but ‘applied’ homeopathic philosophy. Unless we comprehend it, we will not be able to understand the dimensions of homeopathic practice. It is prerogative of homeopathy that it emphasizes the value of philosophy of life in the treatment of sick individuals. Homeopathy, hence, could be called as a ‘life medicine.’
Homeopathy upholds some basic ‘corollaries’ about health, disease and cure, which have emerged out of its sheer logic and experience. Hahnemann perceivedthese concepts in their deeper implication and wider perspective.
Health is a state of dynamic, stable equilibrium, a state of harmony of the human organism within itself, in all its constituents and between man and the cosmos of which he is an integral part. Hahnemann postulated that ‘vital force’ governs, animates and keeps the human organism in healthy harmonious functioning at all the levels of the total human entity viz. the physical, the emotional and the intellectual.
Dis-ease (ill–at ease), to a homeopath, is a state of dynamic, unstable equilibrium, imbalance, and disharmony, involving at least three different factors: some morbific influence, the susceptibility of the patient affected and the individuality of the patient, which modifies the disease form. It is primarily a disturbance of the rhythm of the vital force circulating in the human economy, resulting in the disorganization of sensations and functions and manifesting externally through symptoms and signs. Disease, thus, is essentially intrinsic and not extrinsic, its spread is centrifugal, from within outward, from center to the periphery.
Homeopathy believes that it is not the part or organ or tissues only which is diseased. It is the man as a unit who is sick. ‘There are no diseases, only sick patients.’ therefore, every illness is regarded by homeopathy as general (i.e. pertaining to the patient as a whole). It denies the exclusive possibility of a ‘local’ disease or even ‘local’ treatment. It regards disease as an expression of the ‘whole’ organism. It regards symptoms as the representation of the totality of patient’s response to a given morbific stimulus (insult), though the symptoms may be in the localized organs.
The difference between this view point and that of mainstream medicine (Allopathy) can be recapitulated, “Allopathy attempts to treat ‘the disease that the patient has’ whereas Homeopathy attempts to treat ‘the patient that has the disease.”
Again, disease is regarded by homeopathy as an expression of the ‘adaptive’ effort of the whole organism, as an expression of the ‘fight to maintain homeostasis.’ In other words, the patient’s symptoms are not the impact of some morbific stimulus on his organism but are the reaction of the organism to the morbific stimulus. Hence, symptoms, however painful and undesirable they may be, are regarded as usefully adaptive phenomena, as they emerge out of the organism’s protective and defensive mechanism, in its attempt to restore health. The concept of totality in homeopathy incorporates psychology, anatomy, physiology, pathology, biochemistry, psychology, community health, hygiene etc. A homeopathic physician has to perform two types of diagnoses – disease diagnosis and person diagnosis; the two together make up a comprehensive diagnosis. Hence, the use of investigations has its own place for a decisive homeopath, though the homeopathic treatment is not given on the label of the disease.
The connotation and denotation of the term ‘cure’ is wide and comprehensive in homeopathy. Simply temporary suspension or removal of the most troublesome symptoms or the outstanding pathological formation (e.g. removal of a tumour by surgery) is not regarded as ‘cure’. The term relates to the patient as a whole. It means the permanent restoration of susceptibility of the patient, which gets altered in sickness; it means the restoration of harmony, balance, equilibrium, within man and between man and his environment. It means the reversal of symptoms to the ‘no-symptom’ state. It means peace within and without; it means blossoming of creativity of a man in his life. Hahnemann wrote in his ‘Organon of Medicine’ that cure must be gentle, rapid and permanent and it should be based on definite and understandable principles.
HOMEOPATHY: A SPECIALITY IN INDIVIDUALIZATION
“In some ways, we are all the same. We all have the same human nature. We share a common humanity. We all have human bodies and human minds, we all have human thoughts and human feelings. Yet in other ways, we are all completely different and unique. No two people are truly alike. No two people can ever have the same experience of life, the same perspective, the same mind” (McGuinness, B. 2009).
Homeopathy places the strongest emphasis on individuality and on individualizing in disease. It is obvious that no two individuals are alike in health or in disease. Despite the identity of disease stimuli (exogenous or endogenous), sick individuals react in their own behavioural patterns. Two patients suffering from the same identical disease vary in their reaction patterns, in their individual characteristics based on their unique susceptible constitutions. This is the concept of individualization in homeopathy where each patient is considered as a unit separate from every other, having a distinct individuality of its own and therefore, requiring the different remedy for the same disease. The natural corollary to individualization is that several remedies may be indicated in one disease and one remedy may be useful in several diseases.
This concept of individualization is the prerogative central tenet in homeopathic prescribing. Hahnemann asserted, “No cure can follow unless one rigidly individualizes the case.” For a homeopath, individualization is an integral part of his thinking both as regards causation as well as treatment. This concept and its advantages can better be elucidated by exemplifying ‘infectious’ diseases. Homeopathy emphasizes that the fundamental issue concerns not only the specific agent of the disease (bacteria, fungi, virus, etc.) but also the ‘reactive’ properties of the organism (the host) because:
- The so-called causal agent only initiates a process while the subsequent development is governed by ‘other’ conditions (like resources of immunity, genetic stock, susceptibility, idiosyncrasy, hypersensitivity, etc.) that are entirely contributed by the individual (the host).
- The causal agent may not possess fixed, consistent and independent immutable properties as they are subject to change their physical, biological or morphological nature due to ‘certain’ conditions (e.g. environmental variance(s); to exemplify, a diplococcus can be turned into a bacillus in 18 hours, dependent upon the media upon which it is grown). In contrast with this, the reactive properties of the individual (i.e. semeiology) appear more immutable (as they are obvious and perceptible to a homeopathic physician). Hence to chase merely these ‘causal agents’ without paying attention to the host is treating a patient on a limited exteriorized basis.
- It may be possible that in this prodigious universe, the human being, the multi-dimensional, composite entity, who is subject to evolution in the time-space continuum under the impact of the environmental circumstance(s), may get afflicted with an entirely new or mysterious infection, the real nature and contour of which may not have been perceived. For a homeopath, it can be stated emphatically that, there are no new diseases or mystery illnesses. He has the armamentarium to meet any infection as the remedies are given on the basis of the totality of sickness and not only on the offending microorganism(s). In other words, remedies act primarily on the soil, on the host as a whole.
It is due to this unique concept of individualization that homeopathy has differed considerably from other systems of medicine and has stood the test of time. This concept minimizes the specialism, which divides the body into a number of more or less delimited sections each for separate treatment of its ills. It pleads for the specialism, which treats the derangement of the particular organ or part as evidence of a diseased state of the whole organism. It pleads for the specialism, which individualizes the problems of the organism as a unit and treats the altered functions of the part in relation to the whole. Therefore, the words ‘specifics,’ ‘patents,’ ‘panacea’ have very little place in homeopathic therapeutics.
Remember, the unique goal of a homeopath is to treat a unique sick patient.
HOMEOPATHY AND SURGERY
Quite a deal of misunderstanding and confusion prevail regarding the respective roles of and the relationship between homeopathy and surgery. Homeopathy has never opposed the genuine surgical intervention. But the word ‘genuine’ has to be defined thoroughly. Homeopathic literature amply demonstrates the efficacy of homeopathic remedies in a host of surgical conditions. As written by Dr. Pulford, a well-known homeopath, ‘Every surgeon must have an acquaintance with a homeopathic physician.’ This will help avert many unnecessary surgical operations. Cases like abscesses, adenoids, calculi, carbuncles, chronic otitis, cysts, enlarged tonsils, enlarged prostate, haemorrhoids, fissure, fistula, gangrene, papilloma, sinusitis, peptic ulcer, polypi, tumours (including malignant ones), strictures, varicose veins etc. respond favorably to timely administration of homeopathic remedies.
Here also, homeopathy upholds that surgery is needed only when medical therapy fails and that generally, a call for surgery is an admission of the failure of medicine. Further, it is to be noted that surgery deals with the results of the disease and not with the cause and hence, relapses are common. The cause is constitution itself with all its form, function and structure and needs to be treated with constitutional management. Hahnemann’s contention that a disease evolves from functional to the structural zone has to be remembered too.
PSYCHO–SOMATIC AND PSYCHIATRIC ILLNESSES
The individualistic and holistic approach of homeopathy towards a particular sick individual enables a homeopath to pay pivotal attention to the mental state: the emotional and the intellectual. In quite a number of cases in homeopathic clinical practice, the mental state and its precise appreciation become the sole determinant of homeopathic prescription. A homeopath considers every patient both from mental and somatic aspects, as he believes in mind-body as a coordinate system. Someone has aptly presented this, “Homeopathy is a hybrid medical rationality which incorporates aspects from a vitalist paradigm in its doctrine and therapeutics, and aspects from the biochemical paradigm, accepting modern anatomy and physiology as part of its system.”
As a matter of fact, there is far greater emphasis on the mind than on physical symptoms. In addition to physical symptoms, a homeopath takes into consideration patient’s emotions, his inter-personal relationships, temperament, fears, peculiar mental traits, conflicts, body language, cravings and aversions of food and even dreams; in short, about everything.
Homeopathy has a wide potential in psychiatry. Cases like depression, neurosis, psychosis, mania, hysteria, schizophrenia, anxiety states etc. improve with homeopathic therapy. Proper homeopathic treatment influences the mental state of these patients so as to lead them to a better adaptation.
Hazy, confused and preconceived ideas prevail in laymen, physicians of other systems of medicine and even in homeopathic physicians themselves.
These WRONG ideas are as follows:
- Homeopathic remedies are nothing but placebos.
- Homeopathic remedies act slowly.
- Homeopathy is effective only in chronic cases and not in acute cases.
- There is no treatment for emergencies in homeopathy.
- Vigorous dietetic restrictions are imposed during homeopathic treatment.
- There is no research going on in the homeopathic field.
- Homeopathic remedies can’t be given along with conventional medicines.
- Homeopathic remedies contain steroids.
Though all these misconceptions cannot be clarified in detail in this short article, suffice it to say here that these are all erroneous notions that are coming out of ignorance; the reality is different. I answer a few misconceptions. Homeopathic remedies trigger a healing response in the underlying dynamic plane. This deeper level of action is the reason why homeopathic remedies and conventional medicines, when used together, do not interact to produce unwanted effects. Rather, use of both therapies in ICU has demonstrated excellent results.
I must write over the steroid issue. Do homeopathic medicines contain steroids? The answer is NO. A well-selected homeopathic remedy has the capacity to bring about a drastic (even immediate) change in the complaints. People at time feel that a steroid is being used to bring about this change.But it’s not true, when the remedy works, the patient not only sees a change in the complaints but also at the level of his general state, which doesn’t happen when he is on steroids. Also, long term use of steroids has their side effects like weight gain, moon face, excessive body hair, diabetes, to name a few. The commonly performed test to find out steroids is the “Colorimetric Method” test which gives a false positive result for any reducing sugar, like aldehyde (homeopathic medicines are sugar, lactose,and alcohol based). The best test to find out if the homeopathic medicine contains steroids is the “LibermanBurchard” test. Thin layer chromatography method and the UV absorption method are also used. These methods should be used in differentiating and finding out if the substance indeed containssteroids.
I must write over the placebo effect. The action of a homeopathic remedy is not a placebo effect.If homeopathy only had a placebo effect, how could we explain the following observations?
- Why some patients don’t feel better with many remedies, but feel better when the right remedy is given?
- Why isn’t there always an immediate amelioration after the first remedy, but sometimes only after the fifth or tenth remedy?
- Why can patients have (strong) aggravations when they hope to be cured by homeopathic remedies?
- How come homeopathy works for babies and animals?
- Why does homeopathy act in unconscious and comatose patients?
- Why do patients not cure after placebo of allopathic treatment by doctors and professors and why do they get cured after a homeopathic remedy?
- Why do some visible organic problems disappear after homeopathic treatment?
Gay GawerLuce, Ph.D. (Twice Winner of the National Science Writer’s Award) comments, “Homeopathy is a highly developed health practice that uses a systematic approach to the totality of a person’s health. Anyone seeking a full understanding of health and healing will find homeopathy extremely important and applicable.”
RESEARCH IN HOMEOPATHY
Many sceptics of homeopathy say that there is ‘no research’ in homeopathy. This statement is clearly false. Such many assertions are common on the internet and even in some peer-review articles. Just a little bit of searching can uncover many high-quality studies that have been published in highly respected medical and scientific journals, including THE LANCET, BMJ, PEDIATRICS, PEDIATRIC INFECTIOUS DISEASE JOURNAL, CHEST and many others.
Dr. Luc Montagnier, the French Virologist, who won the Nobel prize in 2008 for discovering the AIDS virus, has surprised the scientific community with his strong support for homeopathic medicine. In a remarkable interview published in SCIENCE magazine of December 24, 2010, Professor Luc Montagnier, has expressed support for the often maligned and misunderstood medical specialty of homeopathic medicine.
Harper’s magazine has published comments of a distinguished personality, Mark Twain, “…. (for) the introduction of homeopathy, which found the old school doctor to stir around and learn something of a rational nature about his business. You may honestly feel grateful that homeopathy survived the attempts of the allopaths (the orthodox physicians) to destroy it.”
The criticism on homeopathy is a continued feature since its birth. The chief criticism on homeopathy is about the use of infinitesimal doses. A question is often asked,‘how it is possible that non-material substances act as remedies?’. Several researchers through their investigations in fields of biochemical, botanical, bacteriological, zoological, and others have provided evidence for the action of the infinitesimal dose. Recent concepts in sub-atomic physics, nano-technology, and water memory are providing new insights into infinitesimal doses. Dana Ullman, MPH, a leading spokesperson for homeopathy and author of ‘The consumer’s guide to homeopathy’ stated after Lancet’s most significant and comprehensive review of homeopathic research in 1997, “This research places homeopathy squarely in the arena of legitimate medical science. Homeopathy is effective, but we now need to know simply how effective it is.”
A review of the literature spanning a century reveals reports of many ways by which the identification can be made. The effects of high dilutes have been seen on bacterial, zoological and botanical subjects. Physical measures have been made. Biochemistry has been employed. The reports have been positive enough to suggest that although the molecular structure of serially agitated high dilutes (SADs) is not well understood, they do differ from their liquid solvent vehicles, have a dynamic action and subsequently suggest specificity in the sub-atomic field.
Most clinical research conducted on homeopathic medicines that have been published in peer-review journals has shown positive clinical results, especially in the treatment of respiratory allergies, influenza, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, childhood diarrhoea, post-surgical abdominal surgery recovery, attention deficit disorder and reduction in the side effects of conventional cancer treatments. In addition to clinical trials, several hundred basic science studies have confirmed the biological activity of homeopathic medicines. One type of basic science trials, called in vitro studies, found 67 experiments (1/3 of them replications) and nearly 3/4 of all replications were positive.
Dr. Paolo Bellavite, a molecular scientist from Italy and Dr. A.R.Khuda-Bukhsh from Kalyani, India, proposed a working model of the mechanism of action of homeopathic medicines. Dr.Khuda-Buksh has worked on homeopathic research for over thirty years and has published probably the world’s highest number homeopathy research articles (over 100) in peer-reviewed journals.
Major research done in Brazil by Dr. Leoni Bonamin and team demonstrated the preventive effects of homeopathic medicine prepared from the influenza virus.
A research study by KhudaBaksha A.R., Santu Kumar Saha et al (2013) found that homeopathic potentized remedies act primarily through modulation of gene expression and has more than just a placebo effect.
Let us read the following news, “IIT, Mumbai, Researchers prove that homeopathy is based on Nano-technology. IIT scientists have said homeopathic medicines work on the principle of nanotechnology”. “Certain highly diluted homeopathic remedies made from metals still contain measurable amounts of the starting material, even at extreme dilutions of 1 part in 10 raised to 400 parts (200C)”, said Dr.JayeshBellare from the scientific team.
HOMEOPATHY: ITS SCOPE AND PRESENT STATUS
Within its sphere, homeopathy is adequate to meet the field of diseases in its own way, when it is practised in its purity and entirety. While not perfect, homeopathy is complete in all essentials as a system. It is supreme within its legitimate sphere because it is the only method of therapeutic medication, which is based upon a fixed and definite law of nature. It works in perfect harmony with all necessary rational, non-medicinal and mechanical therapeutic agents. Hygiene, dietetics, sanitary science, psychotherapy, pathology etc. find their congenial ally in homeopathy.
Homeopathy has spread to the nooks and corners of the world by its own intrinsic merit and that too without much advertisement or propaganda. There is renaissance of homeopathy all over the world today and homeopathy is now increasingly followed. John D. Rockefeller, a well-known American industrialist and philanthropist has commented, “Homeopathy is a progressive and aggressive step in Medicine.” Homeopathy needs far wider and extensive application. Unfortunately, due to the ‘lows’ that entered into this highly intricate science and also due to the prejudice, which has emerged out of ignorance, homeopathy is still not getting adequate support and appreciation, from the government and from the physicians of other systems of medicine. Despite the ridicule and pooh-poohing to which homeopathy is subjected for over a century and a half by many physicians, it has still survived to emerge as a potent and decidedly congenial system of therapeutics in the treatment of ailing humanity.
Though such pooh-poohing by the ignorant people continue, homeopathic physicians will continue to serve by successfully treating the so-called hopeless and incurables. As time advances the limitations and side effects of modern medicinal therapy are coming to the fore more and more. There is an enormous increase in iatrogenic illnesses. On this scene,homeopathy can definitely make a positive contribution in terms of rendering right approach to the life and super-specialityindividualized treatment to the ailing human being.
Remember, there is no one-size-fits-all formula in homeopathy.Due to the concept of individualization, homeopathic prescribing is difficult and artistic, requiring an elaborate study of symptomatology and life of the sick individual. It necessitates meticulous observation, circumspection and high degree of talent on the part of a physician.
A homeopathic physician has to spend a lot of time contemplating over the expressions presented by the sick individual to find out the indicated homeopathic remedy. Unfortunately, the dearth of competent homeopaths has made homeopathy mutilated and emasculated. Homeopathy should not be, therefore, judged from many ‘quacks’ that are prescribing homeopathy and bringing discredit to this science.
Homeopathy is the answer for today’s man. It is sad that we are destroying the foundations of everything we need to be healthy. The air, the water, the earth, the food and the communities we need to thrive are being systematically degraded.
Big agriculture means GMO monocultures, pesticides, insecticides, preservatives, feedlots with animals pumped full of antibiotics and growth hormones and the vaccines with their ingredients all enter the food supply. Amid all this destruction, the pharmaceutical companies, offer to make us well again, but for a price of drug disease. Aside from causing deaths and illness, the mainstream medicine, by ignoring the root causes of illness, support the continued sale and marketing of millions of noxious substances and the relentless degradation of health that comes with it. Chronic health care based on ‘business’ is expensive and unsustainable for a large percentage of people.
“Homeopathy is ideally placed to be a part of the solution, rather than part of the problem. Homeopathy is one of the greenest medical modalities. It has a very small, sustainable footprint, it doesn’t pollute, it’s not tested on animals and the experience of taking a homeopathic remedy often awakens us, at a profound level, to the inter-connectedness of all living things and helps us to recognize suppression both on an individual scale and on a global scale”.
“Time will show that materialism, in its many guises, is destroying our beautiful home, the earth and that homeopathy, with its gentle, yet effective micro-doses, is the perfect medical modality for the 21st century” (Homeopathy and sustainability by Maryhome, April 1, 2012, Homeopathy plus Newsletter).
Misstatements and misinformation are predictable because the homeopathic system of medicine provides a viable and significant threat to economic interests in medicine, let alone to the very philosophy and worldview of Biomedicine. It is therefore not surprising that many pseudo-intellectuals had the sheer audacity to refer to homeopathy as “witchcraft.”
Homeopathy appeals to everyone, “Investigate thoroughly its principles and practice”.
We can’t think of health without creativity, of disease without stagnation and suffering and of cure without harmony and tranquility. Homeopathy tries to improve a patient’s balance at every level; it tries to change the quality of human life by influencing the individual as a whole. For homoeopaths, the mental and emotional health is hierarchically more important than physical health.If a homeopath can guide one individual towards a better harmony, this will have its effect on the whole universe and thus all of humanity will benefit from it.
The dualism rules today in medicine: Body and mind are separate; soul and body are separate. The result is confusion; for doctors and for patients.
Chemicals are introduced in the body in mainstream medicine and they can’t heal the mind, can’t heal the soul. A big problem with mainstream medicine is that the life of a patient doesn’t get its legitimate place in the genesis and maintenance of the disease.
“Modern medicine, while it has gained largely in anatomy, physiology and pathology and even in therapeutics, has lost immensely by its narrowness of spirit, its rigid materialism and its sectarian dogmatism” (Isis Journal).
The author of this paper will feel contented if the physicians of all systems of medicine will moderate their dogmatism by paying attention to this highly salutary, dependable and scientific system of medicine.