American Medical Journal Publishes Research on Homeopathic Medicine
By Dana Ullman MPH
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Diarrhea is one of the important defenses of the body. It is the way that the body hastens elimination of certain infective organisms. Although one can consider taking conventional drugs to suppress the diarrhea, they simply allow the bacteria or parasites to remain in the body longer.
The World Health Organization considers childhood diarrhea to be the number one public health problem in the world today. Over three million children in the world die each year as a result of diarrhea-related dehydration.
For the first time in history an American medical journal has published research on homeopathic medicine. The journal, Pediatrics (Jacobs, 1994), has published important research on the homeopathic treatment of acute diarrhea in children, a condition that is considered the most serious public health problem in many developing countries.
The study was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial on the treatment of Nicaraguan children. Conducted by physicians at the University of Washington and University of Guadalajara , the study included 81 children, ages six months to five years.
All the children in the study received oral rehydration fluids to prevent dehydration. While these fluids significantly reduce fatalities from dehydration, they do not treat the underlying infection that is causing the diarrhea.
Those children given an individually chosen homeopathic medicine recovered from the diarrhea approximately 20% faster than those children given a placebo.
This study has been replicated and has confirmed the value of homeopathic medicines to treat acute diarrhea in children (Jacobs, et al, 2000, Jacobs, et al. 2003). The combined results of three studies and the metaanalysis of 242 children showed a highly significant result in the duration of childhood diarrhea (P=0.008).
One does not need to be a professional homeopath to learn to use these remedies for acute diarrhea.
People with chronic diarrhea should seek professional homeopathic care. Of interest to those with chronic diarrhea and those who treat them, one study found that the homeopathic medicine Asafoetida 3x was found to be effective in people with colitis (Rahlfs, 1978).
- Podophyllum (mayapple): This is the leading remedy for acute diarrhea. It is indicated when the person experiences a sudden urgency for a stool (it may even drive the person out of bed early in the morning) and when there are profuse, offensive-smelling stools, and great rumbling and gurgling in the abdomen before the stool. Typically, the release of the stool is painless, but in-between stools they may experience cramping that may cause them to double-up. People who need this remedy tend to have a large thirst for cold liquids. In certain cases, they may experience an uncertain feeling if they are going to vomit or have diarrhea.
- Arsenicum album (arsenic): This remedy is the leading remedy for diarrhea caused by food poisoning or from viral diseases. The diarrhea is worse after eating or drinking, and is usually accompanied by nausea, vomiting, burning or cramping pains in the abdomen. The person is usually exhausted by the diarrhea, but he or she is also restless, fidgety, and generally anxious. They may have a fever with chills, and regardless, they are chilly and very sensitive to and aggravated by cold. They can be very thirsty but can only handle drinking sips of fluids at a time.
- Aloe socotrina (socotrine aloes): When people experience a distinct feeling of insecurity in the rectum that may lead to accidental expelling of a stool after passing gas, this remedy should be considered. There is much gurgling and rumbling in the abdomen prior to a stool and much sputtering during its release. The diarrhea is worse in the morning and may drive the person out of bed. The stools themselves are very mucusy and like jell-o. The person may concurrently experience hemorrhoids.
- Veratrum album (white hellebore): People who experience profuse painful diarrhea that is forcibly evacuated followed by great weakness should consider this remedy. Despite feeling very chilly, these people crave ice and cold drinks. They tend to have profuse sweating with chills, and they may experience projectile vomiting.
- Chamomilla (chamomile): This remedy is useful in infants who experience diarrhea, especially when they are extremely irritable during their illness. Typically, the diarrhea is foul smelling and green or has white or yellow mucus. They are in great pain, and holding and carrying them is the only thing that provides temporary relief.
- Calcarea carbonica (carbonate of lime): Like Chamomilla , this remedy is more commonly given to infants. It is particularly common in infants with a lot of baby fat, who are pale and lethargic, and who emit a sour odor from their body and sweat profusely, especially on the head. They tend to crave eggs and indigestible things (chalk, dirt, etc.).
- Cinchona officinalis (also called China or Peruvian bark): This remedy is for diarrhea with great bloating, indigestion, and general weakness. The symptoms are noticeably worse at night, in hot weather, and after nursing.
DOSE: Give the 6, 12, or 30 th potency after every stool. At first, this will lead to more frequent doses, but as the person improves, fewer doses will be necessary. Stop once the person has normal, firm stools. If there isn’t any change after 24 hours, consider another remedy.
J. Jacobs, L.M. Jimenez, S.S. Gloyd, “Treatment of Acute Childhood Diarrhea with Homeopathic Medicine: A Randomized Double-blind Controlled Study in Nicaragua ,” Pediatrics, May, 1994,93,5:719-25.
J. Jacobs, LM Jimenez, S. Malthouse, et al., Homeopathic Treatment of Acute Childhood Diarrhea: Results from a Clinical Trial in Nepal , Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, April 2000,6,2,:131-140.
J. Jacobs, WB Jonas, M Jimenez-Perez, D Crothers, Homeopathy for Childhood Diarrhea: Combined Results and Metaanalysis from Three Randomized, Controlled Clinical Trials, Pediatr Infect Dis J, 2003;22:229-34.
V.W. Rahlfs, P. Mossinger, Asafoetida bei Colon Irritabile,” Deutsche Medizinische Wochensch., 1978,104:140-43.