By Dana Ullman MPH
(Excerpted from Discovering Homeopathy: Medicine for the 21st Century, North Atlantic Books, 1990)
Great Britain’s Royal Family, Mahatma Gandhi, John D. Rockefeller, Sr., Tina Turner, and Yehudi Menuhin don’t have much in common, except for the fact that they all have been strong supporters of homeopathic medicine. (1) There is one simple reason that these and other respected individuals the world over have supported homeopathic medicine: it works.
The science and art of homeopathy embody what many people envision as a 21st century medicine. Homeopathy is a medical approach that respects the wisdom of the body. It is an approach that utilizes medicines that stimulate the body’s own immune and defense system to initiate the healing process. It is an approach that individualizes medicines according to the totality of the person’s physical, emotional, and mental symptoms. It is an approach that is widely recognized to be safe. And it is an approach that can be potentially very effective in treating the new types of diseases that are afflicting us now and will affect us in the 21st century.
To understand this science and art, it is necessary first of all to define some important assumptions that homeopathy has about healing.
Symptoms as Defenses
Too often physicians and patients alike assume that a person’s symptoms are the disease and that simply treating these symptoms is the best way to cure. Such treatment is on a parwith trying to unplug a car’s emergency oil light because it is flashing. Although unplugging the bulb is effective in stopping that irritating flashing light, it does nothing to change the reason it is giving its warning.
The word “symptom” comes from a Greek root and refers to “something that falls together with something else.” Symptoms then are a sign or signal of something else, and treating them doesn’t necessarily change that “something else.”
In 1942 Walter B. Cannon, a medical doctor, wrote The Wisdom of the Body. This book, which is a classic in medicine, detailed the impressive and sophisticated efforts that the body deploys to defend and heal itself. (2)
A growing number of physiologists, including Dr. Hans Selye, who is considered to be the father of stress theory, have taken Cannon’s work further, recognizing that symptoms are actually efforts of the organism to deal with stress or infection. Rather than viewing symptoms simply as signs of the body’s breakdown, these medical doctors see symptoms as defenses of the body that attempt to protect and heal itself. (3)
Concepts in new physics offer further support for the notion that living and non-living systems have inherent self-regulating, self-organizing, and self-healing capacities. This ongoing effort to maintain homeostasis (balance) and to develop higher and higher levels of order and stability have been described in detail by Nobel Prize-winning physicist Ilya Prigogine in Order Out of Chaos (4), Fritjof Capra in The Turning Point (5), and Erich Jantsch in The Self-Organizing Universe. (6)
Recent research has shown that fevers represent an effort of the organism to try to heal itself. Fever usually accompanies bacterial or viral infection. Physiologist Matthew Kluger and his associates at the University of Michigan Medical School have shown that the body prepares itself to resist infection by creating a fever; it is then more able to produce interferon (an antiviral substance). Fever also increases white blood cell mobility and activity, instrumental factors in fighting infection. (7)
If fevers are now becoming recognized as adaptive defenses of the body, it is understandable why suppressing them with aspirin is gradually being discouraged.* Using this drug on children with flu or chicken pox is particularly counterproductive since it also puts them at risk of contracting Reyes Syndrome (a potentially fatal neurological condition).
[* There are, of course, times when a fever gets so high that it can cause serious, long-term damage to a person’s health. The majority of homeopathy’s practitioners are trained physicians, and they too recognize the importance of heroic medical treatment in select cases. Homeopaths, however, tend to be conservative in treatment and rely on suppressive drugs only when it is medically necessary or when a patient’s suffering is extreme.]
Modern medical science is recognizing more and more symptoms as adaptive responses of the body. Standard texts of pathology define the process of inflammation as the manner in which the body seeks to wall off, heat up, and burn out infective agents or foreign matter. (8) The cough has long been known as a protective mechanism for clearing breathing passages. Diarrhea has been shown to be a defensive effort of the body to remove pathogens or irritants more quickly from the colon. (9) Discharges are understood as the body’s way of ridding itself of mucus, dead bacteria, viruses, and cells.
The implications of recognizing that symptoms are efforts of the body to defend itself are significant. Many conventional drugs are specifically prescribed to control or suppress symptoms. As the result of this action, these drugs may well inhibit the body’s defense and immune processes. Such drugs should be avoided, except in special circumstances.
Homeopathy’s Basic Principle: The Law of Similars
It is accepted knowledge that every plant, mineral, and chemical can cause in overdose its own unique set of physical, emotional, and mental symptoms. It also is readily acknowledged that individuals, when ill, have their own idiosyncratic physical, emotional, and mental symptom patterns, even when people have the same disease. Homeopathic medicine is a natural pharmaceutical science in which a practitioner seeks to find a substance which would cause in overdose similar symptoms to those a sick person is experiencing. When the match is made, that substance then is given in very small, safe doses, often with dramatic effects.
Homeopaths define the underlying principle for this matching process as the “law of similars.” The “law” is not unknown to conventional medicine. Immunizations are based on the principle of similars. No less a person as Dr. Emil Adolph Von Behring, the “father of immunology,” directly pointed to the origins of immunizations when he asserted, “(B)y what technical term could we more appropriately speak of this influence than by Hahnemann’s word “homoeopathy.” (10)* Modern allergy treatment, likewise, utilizes the homeopathic approach by the use of small doses of allergens in order to create an antibody response.
[* Homeopathy was originally spelled “homoeopathy,” though a growing number of people have simplified its spelling.]
Conventional medicine also uses homeopathic-like therapy in choosing radiation to treat people with cancer (radiation causes cancer), digitalis for heart conditions (digitalis creates heart conditions), and ritalin for hyperactive children (ritalin is an amphetamine-like drug which normally causes hyperactivity). Other examples are the use of nitroglycerine for heart conditions*, gold salts for arthritic conditions, and colchicine for gout.
[*Few people know that nitroglycerine was first utilized as a medicine by Constantine Hering, a homeopathic physician. For a more detailed history of the use of nitroglycerine in medicine, see W.B. Fye, “Nitroglycerine: A Homeopathic Remedy,” Circulation, January, 1986, 73,1, 21-29. Also, for a historical discussion of various homeopathic drugs which have been incorporated into conventional medicine, see Harris Coulter’s Homoeopathic Influences in Nineteenth Century Allopathic Therapeutics (St. Louis: Formur, 1973).]
It should be remembered that although these conventional medical treatments utilize the homeopathic law of similars, they do not follow other fundamental principles of homeopathy. They are not individually prescribed to the degree of selectivity common in homeopathy, and they are not prescribed in a similar safe, extremely small dose. The law of similars also is a basic principle of physics, one which many of us might have learned in elementary school. My first grade teacher showed us magnets and how opposite poles attract while similar poles repel. She also showed how to recharge a weakened magnet: place similar poles next to each other, eventually the magnet will be recharged and will again repel itself from the other. As in homeopathy, like recharges/regenerates/heals like.
Besides being used in conventional medicine and science, the law of similars has a global and historical basis in healing. (11) In the 4th century B.C., Hippocrates was known to have said, “Through the like, disease is produced, and through the application of the like it is cured.” (12) The Delphic Oracle proclaimed the value of the law of similars, stating, “that which make sick shall heal.” Another story from Greek mythology which gave an example of the similars principle in action, though in a magical rather than medicinal way, was when Telephus, a Trojan hero who was speared, needed to obtain the original spear for his healing.
Paracelsus, a well-known 15th century physician and alchemist, used the law of similars extensively in practice and referred to it in writings. His formulation of the “Doctrine of Signatures” spoke directly of the value in using similars in healing. He affirmed, “You there bring together the same anatomy of the herbs and the same anatomy of the illness into one order. This simile gives you understanding of the way in which you shall heal.” (13)
Even Shakespeare recognized the value of similars when he wrote in Romeo and Juliet:
“Tut, man, one fire burns out another’s burning;
One pain is lessened by another’s anguish,
Turn giddy and be holp by backward turning;
One desperate grief cures with another’s languish.
Take thou some new infection to the eye,
And the rank poison of the old will die.”
And Johann Wolfgang Goethe affirmed its special value in his most famous play Faust:
“To like things like, whatever one may ail;
there’s certain help.”
The use of the similars concept has Eastern roots as well. The martial art, aikido, is based on the principle that by using the force of the attacker against himself, a person is more able to defend himself than if he attempts to butt up directly against the attacker’s blows. Aikido practitioners are known to blend and flow with the force of the attacker and, without much effort, are able to throw an attacker to the ground. In a similar vein, homeopathic medicines are chosen for their ability to match and mimic the symptoms of the sick person and thereby go with, rather than against, the body’s effort to heal itself. It is thus understandable that Stewart Brand, editor of the Whole Earth Catalog, refers to homeopathy as “medical aikido.” The law of similars may indeed have various applications, but its use in healing comprises the very basis of homeopathic medicine. And its use in healing makes clear and obvious sense: since symptoms are defenses of the body, it is logical to aid rather than suppress them.
The law of similars is not simply a philosophical construct but is a practical guide to prescribing a medicine which will heal. For example, Andrea, a 14 year old girl, woke up one morning with a sore throat. She said that she felt a lot of swelling and that there was a burning and stinging pain in her throat. Upon further questioning, it was discovered that warm food or drink aggravated the pain, while cold food or drink was soothing. Although she was drinking a bit, she wasn’t at all thirsty. She was tearful and even whiny. If one had access to any of the common homeopathic books, one would readily match her symptoms to that of bee venom (Apis mellifica). As it is widely known, bee venom causes swelling with burning, stinging pain. Further investigation of the toxicological properties of bee venom reveals all of Andrea’s other symptoms.
Andrea then was given a very small, homeopathically prepared dose of bee venom and within hours she was feeling completely healthy. Prepared in this way, the homeopathic drug stimulates the appropriate defense response required for the healing.
The beauty of the law of similars is that it not only heals but encourages a respect for the body’s wisdom. It teaches us to avoid therapies that suppress symptoms and to seek treatments that truly cure. And it reminds us that there are medicinals that can stimulate the immune and defense systems. The law of similars is one of nature’s laws that, when used well, can be one of our highest technologies.
The Importance of Individualization
It is remarkable that people commonly assume that their headache, stomachache, or depression is just like everyone else’s. They then assume that they need to take the same drug as others to achieve a cure.
When one talks in depth with several people who have headaches, it becomes apparent that there are obvious differences between them. One person hurts in the front part of the head, another hurts in the back part. One person has it worse on the left, another on the right. One person says it worsens when moving, another says when lying down. One person likes putting a heating pad on his head, while another prefers an ice pack.
Upon further questioning one discovers that some people with headaches have accompanying digestive problems, while others have dizziness, others have a sore throat, and still others have a backache.
The way homeopaths learn what a homeopathic medicine will cure is through the use of experiments called “drug provings”. In these homeopathic drug trials, researchers administer continual doses of a substance to a healthy individual* until a reaction to the substance is achieved.** The subject is asked to keep detailed record books of symptoms; additional symptoms are discovered through an interview process. The subject is encouraged to stop ingesting the substance once any particularly discomforting symptom manifests.
[* Only healthy individuals are used in these experiments. Symptoms experienced by ill people would not be as trustworthy since it would be uncertain if the symptoms were the result of the substance or a part of the disease process.][** Provings are usually conducted with the potentized dose of a substance, though the crude dose is also tested. Not all people react to the repeated ingestion of microdoses of every substance. Certain people seem to be particularly sensitive to individual medicines.]
Once it is known what symptoms a substance causes, it then is known what it will influence and cure when given in extremely small, specially prepared doses. The information obtained from these drug trials are compiled into materia medicas (encyclopedias of drug effects) and repertories (books which list symptoms and the substances that have been found to cause and/or cure them).
For technology-minded people, it is obvious that homeopathy is a perfect system for computerization, and in fact, there are several good computer programs now available for the practicing homeopath (See Resources in Part III). The various programs are different, but, basically, one lists the patient’s symptoms, and the computer seeks and finds medicines which can cause (and cure) the majority of these symptoms. Although this may sound relatively easy, it should be noted that finding the correct medicine involves more art and judgment than simply looking for a medicine that covers the most symptoms. Ultimately, one seeks to find the medicine that matches the overall picture, not just the parts, of the person. The computer then is not a panacea to homeopathic prescribing, but it is a very useful tool.
Although at present there are no programs for the general public interested in treating themselves and their families, it is probable that they soon will become available.
It is inevitable that some people who become interested in homeopathy will seek to find the homeopathic medicine for specific diseases. They will want to know what medicine is good for headaches, arthritis, premenstrual conditions, insomnia, or a host of other conditions. Homeopathy is actually too scientific for one to assume that there is a single medicine appropriate for everyone. In homeopathy it is essential that the medicine be individually prescribed for the sick person.
There are, of course, some medicines which are more commonly given for certain conditions than others. And some homeopathic medicines are given so often for certain conditions that some people come to view them as “for” that problem. However, it is always possible that a sick individual doesn’t have the symptoms that fit a commonly given medicine, and because of this, another medicine is required. It is therefore helpful to take a person’s case in great detail in order to be able to give not just an approximate medicine but an individually chosen one.
Anyone who has gone to a homeopathic practitioner knows that he or she asks many questions about the person’s chief complaint, minor complaints, and various other physical and psychological symptoms. Homeopaths take pride in their serious interest in and use of the idiosyncratic characteristics of each person. Among the questions that homeopaths commonly ask, include: Is there time of the day you feel best or worst or that any specific symptom occurs? How does weather affect you? How do you feel at the seashore or in the mountains? Are there any foods that you crave or to which feel adverse?
Skeptics of homeopathy tend to describe the homeopath’s interest in the unique symptoms of the person as evidence that this system is quirky and illogical. And yet, once again, it is now readily accepted in modern science that virtually every organ and enzyme of the body has its own daily rhythm and time of day when it becomes particularly active or inactive. It is now known that the geothermal changes can affect brain chemistry and affect physical and psychological states. It is now understood that there are increased negative ions at seashores and mountains which can affect states of health. And it is now recognized that food cravings or aversions may signal certain metabolic states.
Obviously, homeopathy is not a quirky system. It is a highly sophisticated method of individualizing small doses of medicines to a person. And the more we begin to understand its principles and methodology, the more we will begin to understand the various subtleties of the human body which presently elude our comprehension.
The Use of Small Doses
Homeopathy’s law of similars and its reliance on individual treatment can be readily understood and accepted by most people. Homeopathy’s special pharmaceutical process is, however, its most controversial aspect. This process is called “potentization” and refers to a specific procedure of serial dilution, wherein one part of a medicinal substance is diluted with 99 parts distilled water or ethyl alcohol which then is vigorously shaken. One part of this solution is diluted further with 99 parts distilled water or ethyl alcohol and then shaken again. This process of dilution with shaking may be continued to different strengths, most commonly 3, 6, 9, 12, 30, 200, 1,000, 10,000, 50,000 or 100,000.*
[* When a homeopathic medicine is labelled “C”, this means that the medicine was diluted 1:99. When a medicine is labelled “X” or “D”, it was diluted 1:9. When a medicine is described as a “30x,” this means it will diluted 1:9 and vigorously shaken; then diluted again 1:9 and shaken; this procedure is repeated 30 times. When a medicine is labelled “LM”, it was diluted approximately 1:50,000.]
It is initially startling to learn that medicines that have been diluted so many times have any effect. It is even more surprising to learn that homeopaths for the past 200 years have observed that the more a medicine has been potentized, i.e., diluted in this fashion, the longer it generally acts, the deeper it usually heals, and the fewer doses tend to be needed.
Although the logic of this may be befuddling at first, there is an impressive amount of clinical experience that verifies it (see “Research” online), research that substantiate it, and even understandable, non-mystical theories that explain why the small doses work.
Before describing any of the theories for how and why the small doses work, it should be noted that such explanations or theories tend to be of secondary importance to most people who prescribe and take homeopathic medicines. Most people use the medicines because they work–certainly a good enough reason. Also, it should be acknowledged that pharmacologists today do not understand how and why most conventional drugs work, despite all the money spent on research. And finally, theories are not the proving ground for facts. By disproving a theory about why small doses are effective, one does not necessarily disprove homeopathy, only that theory.
In explaining how small doses act, an analogy to music is helpful. It is commonly known that when one plays a “C” note on a piano, other “C” notes reverberate. Even on another piano at the other end of a room, “C” notes still have a hypersensitivity to the “C” resonance. In music theory (and physics) there is a basic principle that two things resonate if and only if they are “similar.”
In homeopathy a medicine is chosen for its “similarity” to the totality of the person’s symptoms. When this similarity exists, a person has a hypersensitivity to the substance. Thus the small doses may work by some biological version of resonance. The skeptic at this point would assert that when the medicines are potentized beyond a certain point,* there probably is not even one molecule remaining. Homeopaths agree that solutions diluted beyond the 24x or 12c may not have any molecules of the original solution, but they assert that “something” remains: the essence of the substance, its resonance, its energy, its pattern.
[* Scientists make reference to Avogadro’s law which basically asserts that in all probability there should not be any molecules remaining after a substance is diluted beyond 6.02 times 10-23. The exact level of ultramolecularity depends on the concentration of the original substance.]
The concept of pattern is important in biology. In our bodies 2.5 million red cells die every second, and a similar number are born. After seven years every cell in our entire body has been replaced. Although we have new cells, we are still the same person. We are the same because the underlying pattern of our being remains.
Science writer K.C. Cole take this notion a step further: “Even the ultimate pattern that charts the course of all other patterns in a living being–the double helix of DNA–is only, after all, a collection of atoms and molecules. They too can be (and are) continually replaced. Only the pattern remains.” (14)
Although the homeopathic medicines may be so dilute as not to have any molecules, a pattern of the substance remains.
Jose Delgado, a neuroscientist who has studied brain function and behavior, described the human mind as being like a radio receiver that can receive even very small amounts of stimulation. He notes that reception is possible only if the frequency, amplitude, and other characteristics of electromagnetic signals fall within certain ranges. (15)
Sensitivity of an organism to small doses of certain substances are evident throughout nature. Science has recently discovered the existence of pheromones, a substance secreted outside of the body by an individual and perceived (usually by smell) by a second individual of the same species. Other species do not seem to sense pheromones of organisms except their own. The law of similars in action again.
The homeopathic law of similars is fundamentally the method by which one can find an individually chosen substance to which an organism is most sensitive. When the organism receives this message, its immune and defense system is catalyzed to begin a curative process. Basic research in immunology, allergy, and physics provides evidence of the regenerative effects of “similars” upon the defense system, but homeopathy has already transformed this pharmacological principle into a sophisticated medical science and art.
Nineteenth-century American homeopathic physician James Tyler Kent made frequent reference to “the formatitive intelligence of the human organism.” (16) In so doing, Kent acknowledged the aspect of the body-mind that enables it to react curatively to microdoses of correctly chosen substances.
Contemporary homeopath George Vithoulkas explains microdose cures by defining the human body as a magnificent cybernetic system. (17) Such a system has the inherent capacity to respond to changes always with the most effective and efficient response based on its present abilities. Perhaps astronomer Johann Kepler described this phenomena as well as it could be described, centuries before computers when he said, “Nature uses as little as possible of anything.”
R.R. Sharma, a professor of biophysics in India, theorizes that the small doses used in homeopathy are able to cross the blood-brain barrier and cellular and nuclear membranes. Dr. Sharma hypothesizes that more potentized homeopathic medicines may act deeper and longer than less potentized medicines because they can penetrate these physiological barriers and thereby deliver their therapeutic effects more profoundly. (18)
These modern perspectives on the action of the microdoses have some similarities to the traditional explanation in homeopathy for the action of the medicines. Homeopaths conceptualize a “life force” or “vital force” which they describe as the inherent, underlying, interconnective, self-healing process of the organism. This bio-energetic force is similar to what the Chinese call “chi,” Japanese call “ki,” yogis call “prana,” Russian scientists call “bioplasm,” and Star Wars characters call “The Force.” Homeopaths theorize that this bio-energetic process is sensitive to the submolecular homeopathic medicines. The resonance of the microdose is thought to affect the resonance of the person’s life force.
Evidence of how small doses can actually have increased strength was reported in Science News. (19) A study engaged in by chemists who work for the U.S. Government’s National Bureau of Standards and who knew nothing about homeopathy, noted that when they shook the coupled molecules of nitric oxide, the units did not weaken and break into parts, but rather developed stronger molecular bonds. One can theorize from this research that the homeopathic process of dilution and succussion (shaking) may actually create super strong molecules, perhaps super strong medicines.
Scientists in non-medical fields are finding value in small dose applications. For instance, during the oil crisis, Dr. Stanley Ries and his colleagues at Michigan State University used microdoses of a fertilizer to stimulate crop production. (20) As an alternative to petroleum-based fertilizer, Ries used doses of an alcohol derived from alfalfa equivalent to the 9x, or as one journalist reported, a dose of about one jigger of vermouth to 800,000 gallons of gin! (21)
Publishing his study in the prestigious Science magazine, Ries reported that treated tomatoes yielded 30% more than untreated tomatoes; carrots were 21% bigger and fatter; asparagus plants produced 35-60% more and sweet corn yields increased by nearly 25%; while rice increased in its growth as well as in protein content.
The intelligent use of microdoses is just beginning to be considered. When such research develops to the next stage, new, safer, non-toxic technologies will become available. And we will have a new understanding of natural law.
Understanding the Healing Process
As we have noted, the human body is a remarkable organism that will go to great extremes to protect itself and survive. Our various symptoms are evidence of this process, and our differing symptoms represent different levels of defense that our body is synchronously deploying in an effort to survive.
From their basic assumption that the human being lives on three levels of experience–the physical, emotional, and mental–homeopaths have observed a predictable hierarchy by which any cure of chronic illness takes place. Certain symptoms in each category, depending on their intensities, represent more serious stresses to the defense system than others.
The hierarchy is relatively obvious and may be described here in an oversimplified form: On the physical level, for instance, a skin rash, is not as serious as hepatitis, and hepatitis is not as serious as heart disease. On the emotional level, a minor irritability is more superfical than a strong anger, and an intense fear of death represents a deeper, more seriously ill condition than either. On the mental level*, a slightly poor memory is relatively minor compared to a general state of mental confusion which itself is less significant than a full-blown schizophrenic state.
[*Symptoms on the mental level might be defined as disturbances in a person’s cognitive functioning, sense of self, sense of connectedness with the world, or will power.]
Generally, mental symptoms are regarded as the deepest core of an individual’s health, emotional problems are of secondary importance, and physical symptoms of tertiary value. The actual depth of an individual symptom on a person’s health is determined by its severity, frequency, and degree of impact on limiting the person’s freedom to be and act at his/her potential. Thus, many serious or persistent physical symptoms can be considered deeper diseases than emotional or mental symptoms if they threaten basic survival or make living very difficult.
Constantine Hering, M.D. (1800-1880), the father of American homeopathy, was one of the first to make note of specific ways that healing progresses. He made three observations of the healing process which he asserted should be understood together as a unitary pattern, and homeopaths have dubbed his observations “Hering’s Law of Cure.” First, he observed that the human body seeks to externalize disease–to dislodge it from more serious, internal levels to more superficial, external levels. Someone with asthma may develop an external skin rash as part of the curative process. Or someone with a headache may undergo a day or two of fever and sweating as a part of their cure. A person with emotional or mental symptoms may experience different and less serious emotional or mental problems or physical symptoms during their curative process.
Sadly, most conventional medical doctors treat each symptom as a unique and unconnected phenomenon. A person’s skin rash generally would be treated with cortisone, thus suppressing it, and possibly, reactivating the person’s asthma. The mentally ill person’s new physical symptom is also suppressed, leading to a relapse of the mental illness.
Hering’s second observation was that healing progresses from the top of the body to the bottom. Thus, a person with arthritis in many joints will generally notice relief in the upper part of the body before the lower part. An understanding of this aspect of healing helps homeopaths to differentiate true cures from temporary relief or placebo response.
The third observation was that healing proceeds in reverse order of the appearance of symptoms. Thus, the most recent symptoms one has experienced generally will be the first to be healed. For this reason, in the process of cure a person may sometimes re-experience symptoms that he or she previously suffered from (generally those symptoms which were suppressed or never really healed). Needless to say, homeopaths are pleased when a person informs them that one of their old symptoms has returned. Although these old symptoms may be irritating, homeopaths will avoid suppressing them. They are usually only experienced for a short period of time, and when they depart this time, the person usually experiences a significantly higher level of health.
These three observations of the healing process are called “Hering’s Laws.” They are not meant to be thought of as universal laws, but as general guiding principles that help us understand if a patient’s health is improving or deteriorating.
Homeopaths are not the only ones to have recognized these laws of cure. Acupuncturists have witnessed aspects of them for thousands of years. Naturopaths and psychotherapists commonly have noted that their patients re-experience old physical or psychological symptoms in the process of healing.
Hering’s Laws of Cure represent a significant development in medicine. Most conventional physicians and even many “alternative” practitioners evaluate a person’s state of health by the person’s main symptom. If this symptom goes away, they generally assume that their therapy “worked,” even though some new symptom now must be treated. Most practitioners are not working from a model of health which defines the curative process. Hering’s Laws of Cure are unique, holistic assessment tools that can be used to evaluate the progress of the healing process on a person over time.
Summary and Conclusion
Homeopathy is a sophisticated medical science which individualizes a substance based on the totality of a person’s symptoms. A person’s unique pattern of symptoms, his/her headache, stomachache, constipation, low energy in the morning, sensitivity to cold, irritability at the slightest cause, and fear of heights are all interrelated. No matter what the individual symptoms are, they are recognized as primarily an intrinsic effort of the organism to adapt to and deal with various internal or external stresses. Methods that simply suppress, control, or manage symptoms should be avoided since such therapies compromise the innate tendency of the organism to defend and heal itself. The side effects which these suppressive treatments cause are actually direct effects of the treatment. Homeopathic medicines, on the other hand, are prescribed to aid the organism in its highly sophisticated efforts to heal. Inherent in the homeopathic approach is a basic respect for the body’s wisdom; it is thus no wonder that it is a safer medicine.
At a time in our civilization when it is essential to develop practices that strengthen the immune and defense system, homeopathic medicine is quite naturally gaining popularity. Homeopathy embodies the characteristics of a medical science one could hope and dream for in the 21st century…and the best news is that we do not have to wait until the 21st century to draw upon of its benefits.
1. The Royal Family has been intimately involved in homeopathic medicine dating back to the 1830s when Queen Adelaide sought homeopathic care from Dr. Ernst Stapf, a colleague of Dr. Samuel Hahnemann. For further information, see “Homoeopathy: The Royal Key,” Homoeopathy: Journal of the British Homoeopathic Association, February, 1987, 18-21. Mahatma Gandhi was once quoted to have said, “Homeopathy cures a greater number of case than any other method of treatment.” From a speech on August 30, 1936, quoted in World Homoeopathic Directory 1982, New Delhi: World Homoeopathic Links, 32. John D. Rockefeller, Sr. was known to be under homeopathic care for at least 15 years of his life. He once described homeopathy as “a progressive and aggressive step in medicine.” A. Nevins, John D. Rockefeller: The Heroic Age of American Enterprise, New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1940, II, 263. Tina Turner has been vocal in her support of homeopathy, as mentioned in her autobiography I, Tina, Tina Turner with Kurt Loder, New York: Avon, 1986; and in Maureen Orth, “Tina,” Vogue, May, 1985, 318+. Yehudi Menuhin’s support for homeopathy is epitomized by the fact that he is the President of the Hahnemann Society, one of the major homeopathic organization in Great Britain.
2. Walter B. Cannon, The Wisdom of the Body, New York: Norton, 1942.
3. Hans Selye, The Stress of Life, Revised edition. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1978, 12.
4. Ilya Prigogine and Isabelle Stengers, Order Out of Chaos, New York: Bantam, 1984.
5. Fritjof Capra, The Turning Point, New York: Simon & Schuster, 1982.
6. Erich Jantsch, The Self-Organizing Universe, Oxford, England: Pergamon, 1980.
7. Matthew Kluger, “Fever,” Pediatrics, 66,5, November, 1980, 720-724. Matthew Kluger, “Fever: Effect of Drug-Induced Antipyresis on Survival,” Science, 193, July 16, 1976, 237-239. Matthew Kluger, “Fever and Survival,” Science, 188, April 11, 1975, 166-168.
8. William Boyd, An Introduction to the Study of Disease, Philadelphia: Lea & Febiger, 1972, 95-110.
9. H.L. DuPont and R.B. Hornick, “The Adverse Effect of Lomotil Therapy in Shigellosis,” JAMA, 226,13, December 24, 1971, 1525- 1528.
10. Emil Adolph Von Behring, Modern Phthiso-genetic and Phthisio-therapeutic Problems in Historical Illuniation, Section V, New York, 1906.
11. Linn Boyd, A Study of the Simile in Medicine, Philadelphia: Boericke and Tafel, 1936.
12. Quoted in Maesimund Panos and Jane Heimlich, Homeopathic Medicine at Home, Los Angeles: J.P. Tarcher, 1980, 11. For further reference to various places in the Hippocratic writings which discuss the similars principles, see Divided Legacy: The Patterns Emerge: Hippocrates to Paracelsus, Washington, D.C.: Wehawken, 1975, 205-6.
13. Quoted in Harris L. Coulter, Divided Legacy: The Patterns Emerge: Hippocrates to Paracelsus, Washington, D.C.: Wehawken, 1975, 432. Although the Doctrine of Signatures has some resemblance to the homeopathic law of similars, the signatures principle which is based on analytical interpretation is not as precise as the homeopathic method which utilizes drug trials or “provings” to determine the symptoms each substance will heal.
14. K.C. Cole, Sympathetic Vibrations, New York: Bantam, 1985.
15. Kathleen McAuliffe, “The Mind Fields,” Omni, January, 1985.
16. James Tyler Kent, Lectures on Homoeopathic Philosophy, Reprint. Berkeley: North Atlantic, 1979.
17. George Vithoulkas, The Science of Homeopathy, New York: Grove, 1980.
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