fbpx homeopathy Archives : Allan Pollock

Are there homeopathic remedies for a sore throat? Indeed there are. If you follow this blog you will know that Classical Homeopathy follows the ‘law of similars’. Simply put this means that the characteristics of the ailment as experienced by the patient must match the ‘picture’ of the remedy (homeopathic medicine).

Many homeopathic remedies have a sore throat ‘picture’. Fortunately, there is overlap between the various remedies such that absolute precision is not required.

Homeopathic First Aid

Continuing with the series on remedies in a typical home first aid kit, in this blog I focus on kit remedies that have a particular affinity to sore throats. For more on the benefits of purchasing a first aid kit of basic homeopathic remedies see my earlier blog Family Care with Homeopathy

homeopathic first aid kit

Classical homeopathic prescribing for acute complaints considers the following:

  1. Causation (for example, getting wet or chilled)
  2. Location (obviously your throat but see point 5.)
  3. Modalities (things that make the complaint better or worse)
  4. Sensation (for example the nature of pain)
  5. Concomitants (characteristics that may seem unrelated – e.g. how you feel generally)

What is a Sore Throat

A sore throat is a blanket term for inflammation or infection affecting the tissues of the throat. Typically affecting the tonsils and adenoids. These specialised tissues are part of the immune system which guard the airway (Pharnyx). Sometimes there is a loss of voice if the infection spreads to vocal box/chords (Larynx) located below the Pharnyx. The diagnosis reflects the location, hence Tonsilitis, Pharyngitis, and Laryngitis.

The offending microbe is often a virus, but it can be a bacterium (hence “Strep” throat).

Wikipedia gives a good overview on the orthodox treatment of tonsilitis.

The typical symptons of pain on swallowing, swollen tonsils, a dry throat and possibly fever are doubtless familiar. The formation of an abcess behind a tonsil is known as Quinsy and is particulary unpleasant and may make jaw movement painful.

Most sore throats self-resolve in a week or so. A course of antibiotics is the orthodox treatment (where the cause is bacterial) and should always be considered in urgent cases. If there is severe pain with significant difficulty swallowing or difficulty breathing NHS guidance is to go to A&E.

However, a well selected homeopathic medicine can usually reduce the duration of any infection.

By the Way..

By the way, it is perfectly possible and appropriate to take homeopathic medicines alongside orthodox treatment. Homeopathic medicines function in a different way to antibiotics or analgesics (pain killers). There is no conflict and in this context they are indeed complementary.

Homeopathic medicines are neither antibiotic or antiviral in the conventional sense. Rather they stimulate the immune system of the body to overcome the infection.

We need to be midful of antibiotic resistance and use our antibiotics appropriately.

Recurring Throat Infections

If you suffer from recurring throat infections, this is probably a sign that your body is struggling to restore and maintain good health.  Professional homeopathic care can assist your body’s own defences, increasing resilience and breaking the cycle of repeated infections.  In homeopathy we call this Constitutional Treatment.

If you want to discuss this further, you can book a free 30 minute discovery call with me here.

Common Homeopathic Remedies for Sore Throats

Described below are ten of the homeopathic remedies useful in sore throats which you will find in most homeopathic first aid kits. The one which will engage your body’s healing process is the one which most closely matches your specific symptoms.

Consider every homeopathic medicine a ‘key’. If it fits the ‘lock’ you will get some improvement in a couple of hours. Falling asleep is a good sign of healing taking place.

If there is no improvement, there is no harm whatsoever in trying another remedy. As sore throats share characteristics, matching the general characteristics of the remedy may best aid selection.

The first three (Aconite, Belladonna and Apis) I have written about before in more general terms.

Aconite and Belladonna (plants)

These two remedies are similar – yet different. Both can have an associated with high fever.

Aconite is often the remedy to give in the early stages of infection when the onset of symptoms is sudden. A typical cause if becoming chilled when hot.

The general characteristics of Aconite are fear, restlessness and anxiety.

The onset of symptoms is sudden; within just a few hours of exposure to the cause. The throat, it is dry, very red and constricted. Cold drinks bring some relief. There is an initial affinity for the left side (e.g. left tonsil).

The general characteristics of Belladonna are heat, redness, throbbing and burning. In a word violence. Children have high vitality which means that their immune systems respond accordingly (i.e. violently!). Belladonna is a ‘must have’ children’s remedy.

The onset of symptoms is somewhat slower than that for Aconite. Though hot, the patient feels chilly and wants to be covered (‘Aconite’ prefers the cool air).

There is anger / irritability and the affinity is for the right side (contrasting Aconite). The patient is not so thirsty but may take small sips of water (lemon flavour appeals) to ease the dry throat and the continual desire to swallow.

Apis (animal)

Apis is a homeopathic medicine made from the venom of the bee.

The general characteristics of Apis match with the effects of a bee sting: burning-stinging pain and swelling.

This is a medicine for highly inflamed and swollen tonsils, perhaps with ulceration.  Swallowing is difficult. Patients are not especially thirsty but sucking ice cubes may help. This patient is restless (think ‘busy bee’).

p.s. It is also a useful medicine in urinary tract infections (along with Cantharis)

Bryonia (plant)

The general characteristics of Bryonia are dyness (‘DRY-BRY’), great thirst, worse for movement and better for rest. The Bryonia patient can be irritable.

The onset of illness in the Bryonia patient is slower. Perhaps 24 or 48 hours after exposure to the cause, which may be damp or autumn weather (hot days / cold nights).

This slower onset reflects the lower vitality of the patient. Where the Belladonna picture often matches the child, Bryonia is more suited to the adult. Soon there is much catarrh. Compared to Aconite, Belladonna and Apis the throat has a duller hue.

Gelsemium (plant)

The general characteristics of Gelsemium are dizziness, drowsiness and dullness. A state of apathy and weakness (‘Worn-out’).

These characteristics often match the influenza picture. Again the onset is slower. The tonsils are red and swallowing is difficult due to muscular weakness. There is itching in the palate and nose and a sense of a lump in the throat. The voice may be weak either from the nervous state or catarrh.

(p.s. My son at about age 4 – now 34! – responded almost instantly to this remedy. I had previously tried Belladonna to nil effect and was on the cusp of calling the doctor.)

Hepar Sulphuris (mineral)

The general characteristics of Hepar Sulphuris are suppuration and hyper-sensitivity (cannot bear the affected part to be touched). This is reflected in the impulsive mental state (‘touchy’).

This is a remedy where the tonsils and glands are swollen, possibly with pus and the throat feels constricted.  There is a very typical sharp, stitching, splinter-like pain in the throat (described as a stuck fishbone or like swallowing broken glass), which often affects the ears when swallowing.  The throat is sensitive to touch and cold. The symptoms are relieved by hot drinks.

Lachesis (animal)

The general characteristics of Lachesis (from a snake venom) are loquacity (talks constantly), suspicion and again great sensitivity to touch. The collar must be very loose.

This is a remedy for Quinsy with ulcerated tonsils. The throat of the Lachesis patient is dry and has a purplish colour. The onset of symptoms is on the left side and the pain extends up into the ear. There is an inability to swallow and a curious feature that liquids cause more difficulty in swallowing than solids. Another curiosity is that symptoms tend to worsen after sleep.

Mercurius Solubilis (mineral)

The general characteristics of Merc.sol. (as typically abbreviated) are seen in the metal of the same name; the only metal that is liquid at room temperature. It reacts to temperature (mercury thermometer) and is generally unstable (trembling).

This is another remedy for Quinsy. The sore throat requiring this medicine is putrid, swollen bluish-red, perhaps with ulceration and pus. Despite the pain, saliva must be swallowed. There is a metallic taste in the mouth. Much perspiration is another feature.

Lycopodium (plant)

The general characteristics of Lycopodium are careful, cautious, conscientious. There is apprehension with a certain lack of confidence, and a tendency to digestive troubles and flatulence.

Lycopodium throats tend to begin on the right side with swelling, suppuration and ulceration (which can affect the voice). There may be sensation of a ball in the throat. The patient is better for warm drinks.

Silica (mineral)

The general characteristics of Silica are a yielding nature, with weakness and poor assimilation of nutrients. Ulceration with poor healing may result. There is great sensitivity, anxiety and touchiness.

This is a remedy for a severe type of tonsilitis where swallowing is very difficut, causing a cough. Abcesses may form yet not suppurate, ot not heal. There is a left sided affinity. The patient is chilly but desires cold food. It is a remedy that is complementary to Hepar. sulph and Merc.sol and may follow these medicines where the symptoms have not fully resolved.

****

If you regularly suffer from sore throats (or have one now that is not resolving) and wish to see if homeopathy can assist, please contact me here

Introduction to Homeopathic First Aid

You can care for your family with some basic homeopathy and a homeopathic first aid kit.

Starting mid month I am going to share with you the key characteristics of the homeopathic remedies typically found in a first aid kit. 

Some homeopathic pharmacies sell first aid kits. In the photo you will see two of the best known.

Taken in alphabetic order, the first remedy will be Aconite and the last Sulphur.

Family care with homeopathy using a basic first aid kit

To introduce this series I wish to share the words of the late Dr R A F Jack who was a NHS GP working near Bromsgrove until his retirement in 1980.  

With the advent of the NHS, his practice grew. To help limit the number if night calls, he gave every family with young children four bottles of homeopathic remedies for emergencies (Aconite; Belladonna; Ipecacuanha; Chamomilla).  In time this very basic kit expanded to 22 remedies.

Basic Guidance from Dr Jack

Below, is his introductory guidance:  the words are taken from his book Homeopathy in General Practice (Beaconsfield Publishers 2001 – still available).  

“ I would tell the mother that there were five remarkable features about these remedies:

  1. Each sugar pill contains an infinitesimally small dose of medicine.  But, like splitting the atom, the more you divide a thing in a certain way, the more power is released.
  2. They would not corrupt or decay nor lose their power in half a lifetime.
  3. They work for any age of person (not just children) and if crushed could be given to an hour-old baby.   
  4. They can be given to a sleeping child, only rousing enough to chew the pill, whilst remaining semi-conscious.
  5. Because they are sweet, children love them, but if the child took all the contents tof the bottle there was no fear of poisoning*.

“In deciding which fever pills to use in a doubtful case, I used the analogy of a bunch of keys.  If the first key does not fit the lock, it has harmed neither the key nor the lock, and the next key will probably work….”

*(This, incidentally has happened several times.  I would tell of one occasion when a child fed all four bottles into a goldfish tank, but a week later the fish were none the worse and continued to swim about unperturbed.)

Homeopathy is more Physics than Chemistry

In a society used to biochemical medicine, that is to say what you get from your local chemist (prescribed or over the counter), the concept of the infinitesimal doses is a challenge.  

You need to think in terms of physics and not chemistry.  

Consider the homeopathic remedy as a frequency or pattern.  Poetically put, music for the soul.   

It is a bit like a software download. 

The function of a homeopathic remedy is to stimulate an immune response to overcome the condition causing a problem.

This contrasts most orthodox medicines that interact chemically to kill bacteria or ease symptoms by suppressing the natural immune response (e.g. steroid creams for skin complaints).  

Family Care with Homeopathy: Understanding Potency

Homeopathic remedies are made by a serial process of dilution and agitation (otherwise known as succussion).  

By way of example, if the leaves of the stinging nettle are crushed and filtered in a mixture of alcohol and water, you have a herbal remedy.  One drop of this in 99 drops of alcohol water yields the first centesimal potency labeled 1C.  One drop of the 1C potency in another 99 drops of alcohol water yields the second centesimal potency or 2C and so on.  

Homeopathic remedies found in the kits shown in the photograph are 30C potency. The lower 12C and 6C potencies are also suitable for first aid use.

Family Care with Homeopathy: Remedy Forms

Homeopathic medicines are initially made as liquids (termed ‘medicating potencies’) which are then dropped onto pills or tablets. These are more conventient to carry around.

Typically, first aid kits have 2g bottles containing round sugar pills.

The usual dose is one pill or tablet.

For infants, you can crush a pill or tablet between a folded piece of paper to make a powder.  Or, you can buy the remedy as sugar granules which comes to the same thing (dose say a quarter teaspoon).

Another trick is to dissolve a pill in a little water (stir well) and give a teaspoon.

Dose

You can safely give 30C and lower potencies three or four times a day over a few days.  In an urgent give every 15 minutes over an hour or two.  

Some principles:

Do not take Homeopathic remedies over an extended timeframe without professional advice. This would not be first aid.  Similarly only give a remedy every hour or less for over 1-3 hours and then tail off.

Expect to see some improvement in 24 hours and conclude treatment within 5-7 days.

Why is Homeopathy not available on the NHS?

Politics, I am afraid, much has changed since Dr Jack’s time. There has long been tension between different schools of thought.  Dr Jack clearly found value in homeopathy as did the many doctors he taught. 

However, the NHS is wedded to an orthodox western scientific model (which rightly has its place) otherwise known as Allopathy.  Medical schools teach this model to the exclusion of alternatives.  

In an earlier blog you can read about the difference between the Allopathic and Homeopathic approach

Consequently, knowledge of the homeopathic approach has diminished within orthodox Medicine although the Faculty of Homeopathy still exists for Doctors and Nurses.   The Society of Homeopaths and Alliance of Registered Homeopaths are two lay bodies that champion Homeopathy in addition.

Other countries see things differently, especially India.   

Screenshot of an Ainsworths Homeopathic First Aid Kit

In the past I have shared with you the value in having a small homeopathic first aid kit. Our late Queen carried one. Such a kit is useful for all sorts of ailments. 

Over the next few weeks – around mid month – I plan to share with you some of the most commonly used remedies so that you get a feel for how they are used.

To open the series I want to share with you a recent personal experience.

The Mysterious Neuralgia

Homeopathic First Aid Kits

The story begins in February of this year and you may remember I wrote a blog about some neuralgia in my face. 

Probably a tooth…? But, a visit to the dentist revealed nothing untoward. 

As you would expect I used homeopathy (and I confess Aspirin come 3am). The pain went in a few days, but it is impossible to say whether it was the remedy or just chance.  

My regular dental check-up a month later was uneventful.

Bit of a mystery, then! 

Point the finger

(or two swallows make a summer)

Come July, I travelled north to visit my elderly Godmother and Aunt near Aberdeen.  I had booked into a local hotel, and was awakened at night with a rather sore and swollen index finger on my right hand. 

Some weeks before, I had cut the knuckle (poor DIY skills), but it had healed nicely. So infection from the cut seemed unlikely.

In short another mystery.

I had my homeopathic first aid kit with me (always a good idea) and after a bit of consideration took a few doses of Rhus.tox., which in a few hours resolved the situation.  This remedy helps with septic states, though it is best known for its value in muscular skeletal injuries (joints, tendons & ligament injuries, also arthritis).  The pain eased quite quickly.

To add insult to injury, I was barely dozing off again when an almighty din started up. It wasn’t the alarm clock.

Peeking out the window I saw the problem.  A row of swallow chicks…singing their little hearts out.  Charming … but!

Here they are, still perched on the gutter, when dawn broke:

Homeopathic First Aid

Point the finger 2 – homeopathic first aid kit to the fore again

Fast forward to August, and I was off with my wife to Norfolk for a few days. 

The neuralgia in my jaw started niggling again.  And lo my finger swelled up once more.  How bizarre!

Well, Rhus Tox didn’t hack it.  

Now you can actually dowse for a remedy, just as you can for water. Though a pendulum is more useful indoors than dowsing rods. 

(Dowsing rods like bagpipes are best out of doors). 

The pendulum is a sort of amplifier to the innate ability to intuit energy. 

Simple dowsing gives a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer. For me, it is a rotation clockwise or anti-clockwise respectively. 

Once you have a little skill you can, for example, ask ‘do I need this remedy?’ By the swing of the pendulum, then answer is either ‘yes’ or ‘no’. 

Phosphorus was the remedy that came to the fore, all rather strange as the remedy has little relevance to swollen fingers. I took it anyway and the swelling went down over a day.

Time reveals all…

Two weeks later my six monthly dental appointment came around again. By this time it was apparent that the root of the problem – no pun – was a wisdom tooth.  In fact it was cracked (old age, I’m afraid!).

A few days later it had to come out, fortunately without too much of a struggle. 

Waiting for the dreaded day it was Phosphorus and Staphysagria that kept things calm – no analgesics.  

As the dentist rightly said, neither antibiotics (had I taken them) not homeopathics would yield a long term solution.  The tooth had failed – simple as that.

Centrifugal Force

Ok, you understand the tooth, but what has the finger got to do with it?  

Actually, everything.

Why?  Because according to homeopathic philosophy the body works centrifugally. 

Think about it from the point of view of the human body.

The tooth is rather close to the brain, a rather vital organ. With infinite wisdom the body acts centrifugally to drive the infection out to the extremities and as far away from vital organs as it can.  

And that is why I had a swollen finger.

I already mentioned that in the small print, Rhus tox. is also a remedy for septic states. In contrast, Phosphorus, is a remedy for inflammation of the membranes (linings) of the organs, the nerves and bone – especially the jaw. 

Not much to do with fingers, but teeth sit in the jaw.

Back in the day when young girls were employed in match factories where white phosphorous was used extensively, necrosis of the jaw was common – otherwise known as ‘phossy jaw’.  I found a nice article (actually anything but) from the Royal College of Surgeons:

https://www.rcseng.ac.uk/library-and-publications/library/blog/phossy-jaw-and-the-matchgirls/

Many went on to die of Tuberculosis.

Interestingly in homeopathy phosphorous is an important remedy in respiratory disease.  

The late Dr Donald Foubister (1902-1988) writes: 

‘After the war (WW2) I successfully treated over three hundred cases of primary pneumonia in the children’s ward at the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital; in over eighty percent with homeopathy alone and the remainder with homeopathy and penicillin….By far the most common remedies were Phosphorous or Graphites….The correctly chosen remedy would be followed by improvement within 12 hours’ (Foubister D, Tutorials in Homeopathy, Beaconsfield Publishers 1989)

So, the mystery is solved! 

Alas I am 25% less in wisdom.  But then 25% of a small number is not much!

What is the difference between fit and heatlthy
© Can Stock Photo / PixelsAway

What is the difference between fit and healthy? What do we mean by these words? And what is disease? These words are the subject of this blog.

The homeopathic approach to good health is rather different from that found in most GP surgeries today.  It is not a quick fix, but it works at a more fundamental level, and its medicines are not of the nature of modern drugs with their so-called side-effects.  

Models of Health?

Homeopath and Medical Doctor, Dr David Owen of the Natural Practice in Winchester defines five different models of health in his excellent book titled The Principles and Practice of Homeopathy.  These are the Pathogenic, the Biological, the Holistic, the Holographic and the Relational.  

The first two (Pathogenic and Bioligical) are the ones that most of you will recognise.  A pathogen causes illness and when removed health returns.   In the biological model there is recognition that a single cause does not always have the same effect (e.g. stress might induce a headache in one person or diarrhoea in another).   

Be it homeopathic or orthodox, these models focus on physical symptoms. Given the time pressures in busy GP surgeries this is particularly so. But drug treatment, particularly if repeated over a long period, brings its own problems.  

In contrast the Holistic model recognises that illness may have multiple factors influenced by both the patients nature and environmental factors.  We are all different and respond in different ways.  This is the dominant model in homeopathy.  

The last two categories – the Holographic and Relational – are skills useful in complex cases that the homeopath learns with experience.  They are natural progressions from the holistic model. 

Healthy = Fitness?

Dr Owen goes on to compare health and fitness which, he writes, are not the same thing.  

I rather like his sentence, “Fitness helps you ‘fit into’ a particular environment or situation”.  

Atheletes for example may be ‘fit’ but they are not necessarily healthy, a point I touched on in an earlier blog here.

Disease means what?

I wish you now to consider the word ‘disease’, bearing in mind its expression as ‘dis-ease’.  

The notable Dutch homeopath Jan Scholten in the opening chapter to his book on Homeopathy and Minerals reminds the reader that Dr Samuel Hahnemann, who set out the tenets of homeopathy in the early part of the 19th century, saw the root of disease to be on the ‘energetic’ and not the physical level. 

Hahnemann was a ‘vitalist’ who believed that there is a dynamic force that animates man, which if imbalanced leads to a state of disease and ultimately pathology.  (See my earlier blog  here.)

Pathogens, environmental factors and inherited traits can all cause imbalance. 

Jan considers ‘dis-ease’ under the following headings:

Wear and Tear / Threat

The first two items on the list would be the likely response were you to take a street survey on the meaning of disease.

Wear and tear, is man the machine, where worn out parts need to be replaced, which is appealing in a machine age but not entirely convincing given that our bodies are in a constant state of renewal. 

And we need look no further than the recent pandemic to appreciate disease as a threat and our collective response as a war on germs.  Again not entirely convincing given that our guts are jammed full of bacteria and viruses with which we have a harmonious existence. The very same germs that make on person sick are often of no consequence to another.

State, Strategy, Delusion

Disease can also be considered a reaction to a state. The Indian homeopath Dr Rajan Sankaran describes the situation of a man being chased by a lion (given his nationality I feel it should be a tiger!) naturally he runs away, fast.  Now, say the lion breaks off the chase, yet the man doesn’t realise and keeps running.  In this ‘state’ he  now risks death from stess and fear rather than mauling! 

Then your dis-ease could be a – albeit unintentional – strategy to get attention. A cry for help.

Or it could be an illusion.  The late Misha Norland, whom I quoted last month, gives a nice example: the over zealous workaholic sustains himself (usually a ‘him’) by with wine and coffee and ‘burning the candle at both ends’.  Cramps, spasms and ulcers result.  Eventually, he burns out and just wants to find a quite place for repose, but he believes he cannot because someone has sold his bed – that’s his delusion!

Temptation, Protection, Symbol, Culture and Story

Temptation, Protection and Symbols rather interrelate.  It may be tempting to stay ill (unintentionally) so as to protect oneself from addressing other often psychological issues.  Your illness is symbolic of some other problem.

Cultural factors can underly disease, consider for example the different ways people handle grief across the world.

Stories (myths) come to us through time and across cultures and often have deeper meaning and finding the mythological key can unlock the door.  That ‘key’ maybe found within the experience of those who have suffered in a similar way which of course is the foundation of many self-help organisations.

Man as Creator

Finally, man can be seen as the creator of his circumstances, responsible for his disease and situation.  But as Jan points out, there lies within the ability to find a solution. 

Two fellow compatriates and homeopaths,Ton Jansen and the late Dr Tinus Smits, both suggest that man’s natural state is one of dis-ease; a striving. Homeopathic treatment act as a catalyst to one’s spiritual growth.   I rather like that view.

Just concepts

None of the above perspectives are universally applicaple, they are just concepts.  

I do hope that you are in robust health today, but life is full of surprises and challenges.  You may know only a little about the homeopathic approach to health, but if you would like to know more, please book a free discovery call via my homepage.  

Joint and Muscle Pain - can homeopahy help?

© Can Stock Photo / leonido

Homeopathy Solutions for Joint and Muscle Pain – The Hippy Shakes

Homeopathy can help with joint and muscle pain. With early intervention may save the surgeon’s knife. Now, there is no denying the wonders of modern surgery and hip-joint replacement. This seems to have become almost a right of passage when you get to my sort of age.  Moreover, these days patients are in and out or hospital quicker than a tyre change by a Kwik-fit Fitter.

History

Interestingly, in the not too distant past, surgeons where rather the second class citizens of the medical world. Often the last resort. 

Should your barber or hairdresser’s premises sport a red and white striped pole, this harks back to the days of the barber-surgeons who would undertake certain surgical procedures as well a giving a ‘short back and sides’. 

A Trade Guild was established in 1540 (the livery company exists to this day), but by 1800 the two organisations were split and the Royal College of Surgeons established.

Joint Replacement – Spare Parts – Man the Machine

However, what fascinates is when friends tell me that their hip or knee has ‘worn out’. It is Man the Machine. There is of course a certain truth in this, the X-ray or scan doesn’t lie.  However, as I pointed out in an earlier blog the cells in our bodies are in a continual state of death and renewal.  Apparently some 10 million cells die and are replaced every second.  Indeed, I recently read that if you see someone you know after six months or so, not one cell of their face remains from the last time that your paths crossed!

Now if you think about it, the real problem is not wear and tear, apparent as that may be. Rather it is the regeneration ability that has diminished.  Clearly the ageing process is a key factor, unless you happen to be the athletic sort in which case aggressive wear and tear might outstrip the ability to repair.  As we enter the Wimbledon tennis season, I find it very interesting to compare the likes of Federer and Djokovic with Nadal and our own Andy Murray, the former two having suffered less on the injury front. 

Innate Healing

The real question is how we might best preserve the underlying capacity of the body to repair and maintain itself. 

 Dr Samuel Hahnemann of whom I spoke last month, wrote in his Organon of Medicine:

“In the state of health the spirit-like vital force (dynamis) animating the material human organism reigns in supreme sovereignty. It maintains the sensation and activities of all parts of the living organism in a harmony that obliges wonderment.  The reasoning spirit who inhabit the organism can thus freely use this healthy living instrument to reach the lofty goal of human existence”

“Without the vital force* the material organism is unable to feel, or act, OR MAINTAIN ITSELF. Only because of the immaterial being (vital principle) that animates it in health and in disease can it feel and maintain its vital functions. 

(* Without the vital force the body dies; and then delivered exclusively to the forces of the outer material world, it decomposes, reverting to its chemical constituents.)

“…it is only this vital force thus untuned which brings about in the organism the disagreeable sensations and abnormal functions that we call disease”

Dr Samual Hahnemann, Organon of Medicine 6th Edition, Translated by Künzli et al, Gollanz 1989

Quite simply he is saying that we are animated by an immaterial source of dynamic energy which preserves our health, and if this energy supply is disturbed then disharmony and disease will result.

Logically then it is of great importance to the balance of the body that this flow of energy is maintained.  The longevity of our joints depends upon the harmonious existence between  the immaterial life principle (vital force) and material (physical) body.

Homeopathy is Vitalist

The vital force is central to homeopathic philosophy, a principle that sits well with the philosophies of acupuncture, osteopathy and other systems of medicine (Chinese, Indian etc).   Although the precise mechanisms remain obscure it is increasingly clear that potentised homeopathic remedies interact energetically (or informationally) in some manner that restores harmony to the living organism (read again the first paragraph from the Organon of Medicine, above).

Homeopathy may not seem to be an obvious therapy for musculoskeletal injury but there are a range of remedies well suited to such as hip joint disease.  Here below are but a few examples with brief characteristics. The task for the homeopath is to match the symptoms of the patient to the characteristics of the remedy. Homeopathy is the application of the natural law of similars – like cures like.

As you proceed down the list that follows, you move from the more acute (short term) to the more chronic (deep seated).

Homeopathy is unlikely to restore established pathology, and as the old saying goes “a stitch in time saves nine”.

Colocynthis – cannot stand / sit, worse for motion, neuralgia and spasm, better for pressure, right sided

Rhus Tox – classically pain on first movement, then eases, better for warmth

Phytolacca – shooting pain like electric shock, swollen hot joints, inflamed periosteum

Pulsatilla – shifting pains, sense of dislocation, worse for warmth in any form

Natrum Sulph – pain extends to knees, better for walking and cold application, worse for damp

Causticum – pain as if dislocated, worse on first motion and lying on hip, extends down or up

This article is a reflection on the long history of homeopathic medicine, a medical system based with a rich history and profound philosophical basis

Throwing Baby Out with the Bathwater – the hazard or either/or thinking

History of Medicine. Baby in the bathwater.  Homeopathy tossed out like bathwater is lost to history?
© Can Stock Photo – anitapatterson

Back to the future?

The rich history of homeopathic medicine is interesting. It seems to me that we are rather good at throwing the baby out with the bathwater.  Something new comes along and out with the old, lock stock and barrel. 

One example that I find interesting is the arrival of the supermarket.  I recall as a child ‘Safeway’ (an American company)  opening a store in the suburb of Glasgow where I was born.  The store, so modest by modern standards, precipitated the demise of the grocers’ shop with its relatively limited stock, yet personal service and even home delivery. 

Let’s be fair the new world had much to commend it: light, airy, enticing aisles of shelves and shopping trolleys.  It was a revolution, and as revolutions do, it swept away the past.  Fast forward and this modest affair would be replaced by larger ‘sooper-dooper’ hyper-markets and out of town malls as we continued to adopt the latest trends from our cousins across the ‘pond’.  

Then quite recently something strange happened, these same major supermarket companies started to open local stores and provide a home delivery service; a ‘back to the future’ moment. 

We tend to ‘rip up the tracks’ a little too enthusiastically.  Reflect on the not dissimilar story of the rise of the motor car and demise of public transportation (Dr Beeching etc.).  Or the over enthusiastic demolition of parts of our cities in favour of new-builds, which rather too often turnout to be rather a disappointment to the communities displaced by the new order.

Revolutions are dramatic. However, often the end result is a new problem.  The solution may be a ‘back to the future’ moment.

I rather favour evolutionary progress, a spiral movement that appreciates both the new and that which preceded it.  

Not ‘Either / Or’ but ‘Both / And’.

Common theme

What on earth has this to do with the history of homeopathic medicine, the title of this article?  The answer is that it is a similar story.  Mankind has been around for millennia, in sickness and in health.  What we now take to be orthodox medicine, (Allopathy or western scientific medicine), was anything but orthodox to our illustrious forebears. Folk have been getting sick (and recovering) for millenia.

The ability to synthesise drugs is very recent. It was only in 1897 that the German chemical company first synthesised Aspirin.  That was just over 125 years ago. The well known antibiotic Penicillin only came into common use in the years immediately after the second world war. You can read about Sir Alexander Flemings discovery here and here.  A medical revolution – that of chemotherapy (I use the term in its widest sense), the ‘magic bullet’ – had begun.

The seeds of this revolution originate some decades earlier. So how did this come about?

The History of Homeopathy and Modern Western Medicine

Modern Scientific Western Medicine (sometimes known as Allopathy) has its origins most notably in the the USA.  Scottish-American industrialist Andrew Carnegie made a vast fortune from iron and steel production. In his later years became a major philanthropist, establishing the Carnegie Foundation (‘for the advancement of teaching’) at the beginning of the 20th century. 

An academic, Abraham Flexner, whose studies influenced higher education in North America came to the attention of the Carnegie Foundation who in turn commissioned Flexner to evaluate the state of medical education.  The result was an radical overhaul of medical education, influenced by the emerging medical science of bacteriology by such notables as Pasteur and Koch.  The upshot was the concentration of medical education in relatively few schools, often famous to this day (e.g. John Hopkins), many of which were subsequently funded by foundations such as those of Carnegie and Rockerfeller (J.D Rockefeller, oil magnate).  There is no denying the improved academic standards and the establishment of medicine as a lucrative and well respected profession.  

What is not to like?

From Either / Or to Both / And

Over dominance of one approach has to diminish another.  Either / Or thinking means that there has to be a winner. The winner in this occasion was the scientific-reductionist approach which seeks out the smallest entities in its striving for answers.  From cells to nuclei to DNA and beyond.   From the naked eye, to the microscope, electron microscope and beyond.

The major industrialist benefactors surely understood the scientific model. Human beings are just sophisticated chemical factories.  It all made sense.

A century on, the charitable foundations created by the techology giants, such as the Gates Foundation see things according to their ethos (e.g artificial intelligence and transhumanism).  

But we are not (just) machines but  living conscious beings. We are a mixture of both the material and the immaterial (or spiritual).   

I found it interesting to discover that aspects of Flexner’s recommendations were ignored, particularly in the areas of humanities and ethics.

Other approaches to medicine appreciate a life force that animates us; a life force which out of balance can also lead to disease.  I have written on this before. Millions of people across the globe use these medical models and have for many centuries. Often underpinned by Eastern philosophies.

Contrast the ‘Either / Or’ with that of ‘Both / And’. 

None can deny the advances in medicine in the last 100 years.  But what has been forgotten? 

What happened when the lukewarm bathwater of 19th century medical education was tossed out?  I suggest that there were twins in the bath. One was nurtured whilst the second was neglected.   Especially so in the western world (and the to the greatest exent in the USA and UK). 

It is time to redress the injustice.

History of Homeopathic Medicine – Calcutta and Washington D.C.

India is well versed in western scientific medicine (hence the large number of India doctors who serve the NHS). However, the Indian government supports two branches of health care. One broadly follows the western scientific model, whilst the second, called AYUSH, overseas five traditional forms of medicine.

The ‘H’ is homoeopathy.  Dr Samuel Hahnemann who set down the principles of homoeopathic medicine is a familiar name in India.  Here is a bust in his honour at the Calcutta Homeopathic Hospital.

Curiously slap bang in the centre of Washington DC there is a huge monument to the same man (the first monument erected in memory of a citizen of foreign origin) yet his teachings are all but forgotten in that land.  How strange. You can find a picture of the impressive monument at the bottom of my earlier blog here.

To conclude this article, I quote the late Dr Foubister, latterly consultant physician at the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital:

Some years ago Dr Priestman and I had the opportunity to treat some hundreds of cases of pneumonia in the Children’s Ward. We had between forty and fifty admissions each year of primary pneumonia. A few had had penicillin before they were admitted, and in some we used penicillin, but over 90 percent were treated soley by homeopathy. In moribund cases penicillin was given as well as homeopathy, the first to damp down infection and in the second in an attempt to raise resistance. Oxygen was of course administered on the usual clinical indications. [he continues…..] No claim has been made that homeopathy is capable of curing everything. Hahnemann himself taught that it would be absurd not to use treatment other than homeopathy when conditions warranted it, including surgery, which he advocated even in its crude state at that time (early 19th century).

Dr Donald Foubister, Tutorials on Homeopathy (p6/7), Beaconsfield Publishers (1989)

A nice example of Both / And!

Homeopathy a Royal History

Prince (now King) Charles - patron of Homeopathy

Prince (now King) Charles has long been a supporter of Homeopathy and his mother and grandmother before him.

If you live in the United Kingdom you could hardly have missed the Coronation of King Charles III, even if you so wished.

Prince Charles on Harmony

Whatever your views on monachy, few can doubt the new King’s commitment to certain causes. 

Some years ago when Prince Charles, he co-authored wrote a book titled ‘Harmony’.  I think it rather good. It is a theme that clearly dominates his philosophy of life; namely that we should strive to live in harmony with nature. 

One quote in the opening pages is perhaps a good summary of his thinking:

‘if people are encouraged to immerse themselves in Nature’s grammar and geometry they are often led to acquire some remarkably deep philosophical insights.’

His studies into this ‘grammar and geometry of nature’ have resulted in him having strong views on farming, architecture and health.   Needless to say he has faced more than a little criticism across the years.  

Nevertheless many are at least sympathetic to the principles, and increasingly so.  Whatever you may think, he does ‘walk the talk’ and on his farms and estates demonstrates what is possible.

Homeopathy restores Harmony

Although best known for his views on architecture and the rural economy, Prince – now King – Charles has long championed Homeopathy. 

If there was ever a cause for which a ‘thick skin’ is required, this is probably the one!  

As Prince Charles, he was Patron of the Faculty of Homeopathy, and a supporter of Homeopathy at Wellie Level (HAWL) which works with the farming community.  You can read his letter of support on the HAWL website (go to the bottom of the HAWL home page).

With justification, in the book ‘Harmony’ he challenges any who consider homeopathy as just placebo medicine, to explain why it works on animals.

As an aside, the principles of biodynamic agriculture share common ground with homeopathy also.  Thus, it is not just humans and animals that benefit but plants also.

Sadly the scientific-materialist mindset resists thinking ‘outside of the box’. That ‘box’ is the biochemical model, that sees us (and animals and plants) as just sophisticated chemistry sets. A rather narrow view, in my opinion, and about which I have penned a blog before.

Homeopathy has a Royal History

Homeopathy has a long history within the Royal Family.   In his book ‘Samuel Hahnemann, The Founder of Homeopathic Medicine’, Trevor Cook PhD FRSC, a former managing director of Nelson’s Homeopathic Pharmacy in London (est.1860), believes that the wife-to-be of King William IV, Princess Adelaide of Saxe-Coburg-Meiningen, was the first to use homeopathy. 

Her uncle, Duke Ernst of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, brought Hahnemann to Geogenthal (Thuringia, Germany) in 1792 as physician to be in charge of an asylum there.   Queen Adelaide was an aunt of Duke Ernst’s second son Prince Albert who married Queen Victoria. 

More recently, Queen Mary (1867-1953), Consort to King George V, is known to have revived the family interest in homeopathy. 

Trevor Cook goes on to write:

‘Royal patronage now spans more than 160 years to include King Edward VIII (1894-1972) who, as Prince Edward, Prince of Wales, invariably carried his homeopathic medicines in powder doses in his pocket.  His brother, King George IV (1895-1952), named one of his racehorses ‘Hypericum’ after the King had successfully been treated by the medicine’.   

Hypericum is a homeopathic remedy to used treat nerve damage (e.g. crushed fingers). 

A small box of homeopathic remedies also accompanied our late Queen Elizabeth II on her many travels. 

Prince Charles give Royal Warrant to Ainsworths Pharmacy for the supply of Homeopathic Medicines

Ainsworths Homeopathic Pharmacy holds the Royal Warrant to this day as you can see on the cover of their remedy kit. 

Long live the King!

Long live Hahnemann!

Can Homeopathy help anxiety and depression? That is the question.

We can all have a bit of a wobble. This can be for any number of reasons: a consequence of some event in the past or anticipation of an event to come.

The root cause may even reach back to an event in the distant past (in homoeopathic speak – ‘never been well since’).

Homeopathy for anxiety anger and all aspects of mental health
© Can Stock Photo / kbuntu

Homeopathy can indeed help with anxiety and depression

The situation can therefore be transient or long-term. Another way of putting this is acute or chronic. I introduced these terms in last month’s blog.

By way of example, the plant Arnica Montana is well-known as a herbal product that helps heal bruising. As a homoeopathic preparation, it can both be used in cases of a recent injury and to overcome past traumatic events.

Here is a short eight minute YouTube video from Professor George Vithoulkas at the International Academy of Classical Homeopathy in Greece. The sound quality could be better, but bear with it and you will get a good appreciation of the remedy.

Small point but important…

Prof Vithoulkas makes a really good point at the end of the video: in short, respect the homoeopathic remedies. We all have emotional ups and downs. It is part and parcel of life and something with which we cope without medicine, be it homoeopathic or orthodox (allopathic). Similarly, we don’t need a remedy for every cold and sniffle. Our innate systems will bring us back into harmony.

On the other hand, sometimes we are knocked off balance and struggle to bounce back. Or we struggle to cope with a situation, past or to come. This is when help is needed.

Homeopathic First Aid for Anxiety

For more immediate – first aid – situations Pharmacists Drs Steven and Lee Kayne, have published a little book with flowcharts that aid the selection of appropriate homoeopathic remedies.

Very clever!

You will find full details of their book here. The remedies themselves you may order from their pharmacy (Freemans) or others such as Ainsworths, Helios or Nelsons.

Homeopathic Prescribing  - a simple home help guide

To give you an idea, I show below a sample page reproduced with the publisher’s permission. Although a flowchart may be a simplification of the art of homoeopathic prescribing, it nonetheless gives you an appreciation of the remedy selection process.

Key to homoeopathy is the law of similars. Your state must align with the essence of the remedy. George Vithoulkas explains this well in the YouTube clip linked above.

Harmony and balance are keywords in homoeopathy. The goal of the homoeopathic remedy is quite simply to restore the human organism to harmony and health.

The bottom line: homoeopathy can help either on its own but also effectively alongside other therapies, be they pharmaceutical or counselling.

https://www.instagram.com/p/Cqsag1LohBn/

A more practical topic this month: homeopathy for tooth nerve pain or neuralgia

Homeopathy can help with teeth pain - image of a decayed or damaged tooth
© Can Stock Photo / milo827

My problem being a neuralgia, on the left side and lower jaw of my face. Tooth nerve pain was the likely cause.

It didn’t improve my humour! And it got me out of bed at 3am for a few nights.. 🙁

This blog explains the homeopathic approach to neuralgia.

Acute versus Chronic

Dr Samuel Hahnemann – of whom I have written before – set out the principles of homeopathy. He classified two types of disease (aphorism 72 of The Organon of Medicine).

The common coughs and colds sit with the first group, and such as arthritis or eczema – and much more besides – sit with the second.

The first we recover from without much intervention, the second we do not.

Shall I call the Dentist…or not?

To set the scene, here is a very funny sketch from the USA (Carol Burnett Show). Lest I risk censure – my dentist is highly competent!

So, I have this sensitive tooth and expect it to pass but it doesn’t. I have not had a filling for many a year, but have all too many from a misspent youth (remember “a Mars a day helps you work rest and play“…beware slick marketers!).

Alas it didn’t pass, so my kindly dentist fitted me into his busy day. Alas the visit was inconclusive were fine; even the x-ray. He gave me an antibiotic prescription on an “only if needed” basis.

The cardinal signs of inflammation are long known: warmth, redness, pain, and swelling or in the words of the Roman Aulus Cornelius Celsus (25 BCE – 75 CE) calor, rubor, dolor, and tumor.

At best I scored a shakey 2 out of 4.

So I didn’t take the antibiotics.

Tooth Nerve Pain or Neuralgia

I cannot say that I have had tooth nerve pain as intense before and I don’t commend it. Least of all because of disturbed nights.

It could have been much worst – there is a very painful condition known as trigeminal neuralgia where the pain is much more widespread.

In the ‘wee small hours’ I confess to taking an Aspirin something I have not done for many a year.

Homeopathy for Tooth Nerve Pain – the approach

Homeopaths classically work between two books: Repertory and Materia Medica (often computerised these days).

The Repertory give some pointers as to possible remedies and the Materia Medica detailed information on each remedy.

The selection of the most appropriate remedy is based on the Materia Medica. Here is one classic online example of the Materia Medica by William Boericke MD.

First, I did a simple repertorisation as shown below: symptoms on the left and possible remedies on the right.

A reporterisation in homeopathy for tooth pain.

Choices, choices..

I did not take Verbascum because I didn’t have it in my box.

The ‘picture’ of Causticum did not seem to fit – remember in homeopathy you match the picture of the remedy to the symptoms of the patient.

In the end I alternated Spigelia and Colocynthis.

Spigelia was perhaps the best choice. In a short description from Dr Andrew Lockie in his Family Guide to Homeopathy he writes “Neuralgia on left side of face, tearing pains, twitching muscles, noise makes symptoms worse, pressue makes them better”.

At any rate after a few days everything settled down.

Oh yea of little faith…

Might it have got better anyway? – quite possibly.

Had I taken the antibiotics, I would have said they worked! But I didn’t, rather I used homeopathy and self-prescribed on homeopathic principles.

All I can say is that Spigelia has a reputation in neuralgia of the facial nerve.

It boils down to a balance of probabilities.

So Spigelia worked – maybe! And I am glad the pain is gone.

But in the end the purpose of this short blog was to simpy share with you the homeopathic method in the management of an “acute”.

The clinical trial, I leave to others.

There is a part two to this story which you will find in another blog here

https://www.instagram.com/p/CopF5p9IP2N/

Three string violin

This blog argues that both allopathic and homeopathic medicine have a place in medicine today.

Allopathic medicine and Homeopathic medicine compared.  Homeopathy is an important string!

https://www.canstockphoto.co.uk/violin-0147491.html

I am not a musician, but I am told that a good violinist can – within limits – continue to play on three strings should the fourth break. The words of the song “three wheels on my wagon and I’m still rolling along” come equally to mind.

What I wish to argue is that modern western medicine is playing on three strings. There is a missing dimension. Substantially this comes about because the entire focus of medical science is on the material world. Consequently most people today perceive the world only in material terms. All things can be seen, we just need the right technology (e.g. electron microscope and beyond).

Of course there is an obvious flaw here as our emotional life which finds expression in beauty or grief or love is anything but material. This is resolved by stating that our feelings are derived from a material source, such as variations in brain chemistry.

Modern western medicine – Allopathy

The three major strings (therapies) of modern western medicine are surgery, chemotherapy (all drug therapies) and, radiotherapy. Put crudely it is cut, poison or burn. That there is huge competency in these therapies is not in question; after all billions of dollars are spent annually in pursuit of refinements.

This philosophy is clear: the solution to disease is fundamentally surgical or chemical (drug). There is a material problem that needs a material solution.

Let’s consider the matter of joint replacement.

Friends who have had hip replacements or such like are justifiably impressed with outcome. The diagnosis from patient and surgeon alike is that hip was “worn-out”. A bit like some component in your car.

This is interesting because living bone is not the dessicated remains found in an archeological dig, but made of living cells; were it not so, broken bones would not heal. In fact your cells are in a continual dynamic state of death and renewal. So it is not the hip that is “worn-out” but the ability to self-repair. What drives that? And who is researching this? [answer: barely anyone]

Allopathic and Homeopathic Medicine from a Scientific Perspective

Materialist science is not without its critics and I have mentioned the Galileo Commission before. In my March 22 blog I quoted a notable American homeopath in the early years of the 20th century:

Most of the conditions of the human economy that are called diseases in the books are not diseases, but the results of disease. To call a group of symptoms a disease of one part, and another group of symptoms a disease of another part, is a great heresy….. Organic disease is the result of disease


Lectures in Homeopathic Philosophy, Lecture IX Dr James Tyler Kent

This is a little challenging, but what he is saying is that your pathology (organic disease) is the result of a non-material disturbance (untuning) of the life force that animates you.

So long as science has a purely material focus, the ultimate potential of the healing arts is constrained.

Dr Samuel Hahnemann – Homeopathy

Last month I introduced you to Dr Samuel Hahnemann. He set out the principles of homeopathic medicine and the monument in his honour in Washington was the first to a non-American. His genius has been rather forgotten.

photo: Carol M. Highsmith, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Hahnemann’s most famous work is The Organon of Medicine a book still in print some 180 years after his death in which he writes:

Dr Hahnemann's seminal work - Organon of Medicine

When I speak of disease as a tuning or untuning of the human economy, far be it from me to attempt a metaphysical explanation of the inner nature of disease in general or of any particular case of disease. I am merely pointing out that the diseases obviously are not and cannot be mechanical or chemical changes in the material substance of the body, that they do not depend on a material disease substance, but are an exclusively dynamic, spirit-like untunement of life.

Organon of Medicine, Dr S Hahnemann. Footnote to aphorism 31

Who do you think you are?

Allopathic medicine focuses on the physical; Homeopathy on the non physical vital force

Such is the title of a well know BBC television series. It is a good question and one I touched in my blog of June 2021 which I illustrated with an image of another BBC icon of years past Mr Blobby.

We are in fact mostly water – at least two-thirds. And when you add in the rest of the ‘soup’, we are really more fluid than solid.

Dr Rudolph Steiner – a notable polymath from the early years of the 20th century – described the human being as a column of water. He is probably best known today for his views on education (Waldorf / Camphill schools).

Everyday – though we are oblivious to the fact – thousands of cells die and thousands of new cells replace them.

We are as a stream flowing through life.

Something must drive this.

The vitalist philosophy – to which Hahnemann, Steiner and others subscribed – perceives a life or vital force as the ‘driver’, though it is invisible.

Without this the body reverts to the elements (death).

Non grata

Which is the latin for “not welcome”, nicely encapsulates the scientific materialst view on the concept of any vital or life force. Francis Crick (co-discoverer of DNA) assuredly was not a fan:

Exact knowledge is the enemy of vitalism

Of Molecules and men (1966) Francis Crick

None doubt his brilliance, but Hahnemann, Steiner and others were brilliant also.

So you just have to choose your ‘poison’, but…

“Permission to speak Captain Mainwaring”

A familiar phrase from BBC’s Dad’s Army. Unfortunately, there is a tendancy today to denigrate by name calling fine minds past and present who do challenge conventional wisdom. In short, “permission to speak” is denied.

Here are some examples:

Steiner’s views get a pasting on Wikipedia (Anthroposophy)

Dr Malcolm Kendrick, discusses the death of medical research in his recent blog.

And finally:

Dr Tom Cowan MD from over ‘the pond’ who challenges convention and is shunned in equal measure (see quote below).

Progress cannot be made in biology, Cowan argues, until we recognize the fact that our cells are composed primarily of structured wa­ter, and that water is subject to influences from outside the cell: “. . . light and all the various frequencies, energy forms, wavelengths, sounds, colors, thoughts, emotions and other emanations that come to us from the universe.” Wellness occurs when we provide our cells with all that is noble and perfect—nutrient-dense food, sunlight, clean air, pure water, a coherent and native electromagnetic atmosphere, truth, freedom and love—not by poisoning them with vaccines and drugs.

https://www.westonaprice.org/book-reviews/breaking-the-spell-by-thomas-s-cowan/#gsc.tab=0

Allopathic AND Homeopathic Medicine: Time to replace the fourth string on the fiddle?

Medicine as a violin needs the string of homeopathy
Photo credit Joanna Voght – Unsplash

Just a thought…

Have a good Christmas

https://www.instagram.com/p/Cl62o1Vo8fQ/

This blog is about remembering the past and specifically the benefits of homeopathy.

The thing is we do forget. The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month is soon upon us and it serves indeed as a reminder of past conflicts.

But I suspect for most youngsters the two world wars might as well be the Battle of Hastings or Waterloo, though surviving film footage does resonate across time. My late father served in the western desert and Italy in WW2. Were he alive he would be now 106!

By Eric Hill from Boston, MA, USA – Poppies in the Sunset on Lake GenevaUploaded by PDTillman, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6910646

Not just conflict

Of course it is not just about conflicts distant in time. I read this weekend the report of a recent train derailment (2001) in Scotland, fortunately without casualties. The investigators found that it had much in common with the 1988 Clapham rail disaster (wiring error) which cost the lives of 35 people.

The late Trevor Kletz, whom I once met in my Chemical Engineering days, wrote many books on the theme of “What went wrong” – to quote one title. It had a sequel, “Still going wrong”, reminding readers of the shortnes of corporate memory.

I recall him quoting a boy on the radio who notably said that “he didn’t have a memory only a ‘forgett-ory'”. Quite.

Alas, we forget the past and consequences follow.

Bury the past…

Not all amnesia is entirely accidental. All too often the past is denied; inconvenient truths and wisdom brushed aside. The reasons are mixed, there may be gain (corporate or personal), or maybe just a biased manner of thinking.

Influencers … the benefits of homeopathy overlooked

Just over a century ago John D Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie were the equivalent of today’s Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and more. Through their wealth they funded various charitable foundations that had great influence.

I don’t wish to say that they were bad people. Carnegie, whose humble beginnings were in Dunfermline, Scotland funded many public libraries throughout that land and beyond (the link opens with a picture of my local library in Rutherglen, where I was born).

However, what the poweful have is influence to move society in the direction they believe is best. In this towards what we know as western scientific medicine or allopathy (not that homeopathy is unscientific – anything but).

Enter Abraham Flexner

The gentleman was an a academic engaged by the aformentioned to look into medical training in the USA.

Here is a nice summary of his contribution.

Medicine is generally recognised as a balance between art and science. Science today is solely focused on the material world, a subject I have touched on before. However, human beings are more than a bundle of molecules.

There is a growing concern today that the application of science is too narrow and you may care to read the Galileo Report of the Scientific and Medical Network.

Exit Dr Samuel Hahnemann…who?

The picture below is of a monument located in the centre of Washington D.C. The first monument in that city to a non-US citizen (he was German). Who was this man to get such a grand monument?

Carol M. Highsmith, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Hahnemann (1755-1843) is considered the founding father of homeopathy. A scientist before the term was in general use and polymath (he knew many languages). His medical work was of huge significance. Here is a short summary from the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. Yet you wont find mention of him in western medical schools today.

Homeopathy was a major force in America at the start of the twentieth century. It’s demise stems from the influence of Abraham Flexner and his sponsors.

Medicine was set a path to that which we see today. There have been many benefits, but all in the garden is not rosy as the burden of prescription costs to the NHS might attest.

Back to the future..

I suggest – well obviously I would! – that we need to look again not just at homeopathy, but naturopathic, and medicine in all its forms practiced throughout the world.

Medical science today is too narrow in its application and the ‘art’ has all but disappeared (though many physicians still recognise the art in what they do).

Seminal Work

Hahnemann’s seminal work is the Organon of Medicine, which is still in print. The opening aphorisms shown below speak to us through time. The rest is not bad either – actually, very profound.

Aphorism 1: The physician’s highest calling, his only calling, is to make sick people healthy – to heal as it is termed.

Aphorism 2: The highest ideal of therapy is to restore health rapidly, gently, permanently; to remove and destroy the whole disease in the shortest, surest, least harmful way, according to clearly comprehensible principles.

Dr Samuel Hahnemann, Organon of Medicine

The lure of the sea – all the colours

I was rather struck by these colourful beach huts (and the price of them!) which brings me to write again about Homeopathy and nutrition.

Last week I was in Chelmsford to attend the Allen College of Homeopathy Summer Conference to learn from a master prescriber, Dr Subrata Banerjea.

Dr Subrata Banerjea who runs the Allen College is the fourth generation in his family to practice homoepathy and his son, who now runs the Calcutta Clinic the fifth. Quite a dynasty.

I understand that in India today there are some 300 thousand medically qualified homeopaths. Interesting, given the tendency to dismiss homeopathy these days in the UK.

On the day off, I visited Frinton-on-sea, and took the picture. Most of the huts which stretch for miles are not triple or quadruple deckers (pleased to say), but it makes for a fun picture. Frinton is one stop up the line from the better known Clacton-on-sea. There was a musical hall quip “Harwich for the Continent, Frinton for the incontinent” which rather betrays the average age of the residents!

Seeing the colours brought to mind the core subject of this blog; not just homeopathy but also nutrition and its importance, which I will come to in a moment.

Dr Samuel Hahnemann (he who set down the principles of homeopathic medicine in the 19th Century) made clear in his seminal work, The Organon of Medicine, is that healthy living conditions – fresh air, fresh food, clean water are the key to good health. First address the fundamentals!

Brief digression..

What do we know about Homeopathy and Nutrition?

As I write, I observe a flight of ants from a nest under a flagstone in the garden. Interesting. Then my wife returns from a Rainbow Guide group she leads and reports flying ants around the WI Hall where they meet. Interesting again. Now a reasonable assumption is that they are not the same ants..so how come ants decide to fly today at 6pm? How does the message go out? What form is the message? I guess we don’t really know.

The sun rose and set for millenia without explanation, but that it did so was sufficent for mankind to sow and reap.

My point is that there is a lot we don’t really know. As best we can judge, homeopathic medicines communicate a message also, as yet don’t know precisely how.

Without question homeopathic medicines work differently to conventional medicines – as I said last month, the domain of action is more bio-physics than bio-chemistry. So the work goes on…

The challenge is to understand how homeopathy works – which rather suggests that we are clear on how conventional medicines work. This is not always correct, despite the billions spent on pharmaceutical research.

However, there is now a Homeopathy Research Institute based in Bern, Switzerland and last month was their annual conference also. Although funding is modest, Institute Director, Dr Alex Tournier, in his closing remarks, noted the increasing good quality evidence from many countries.

Even the topic of nutrition causes much discussion. The full process of digestion and assimilation is not wholly understood. Is it just about carbohydrates, protein, minerals and vitamins? Suffice to say there are sound principles which we should try and follow.

So, back to colour.

Just look at this picture taken from just round the corner from where I live. Quite stunning – so much so that I got off my bicycle and reached for the camera on my phone.

Colours tell us something and it is well known today that different colours in our food impart different benefits. The flavanoids are found in fruits and vegetables and are well known to have anti inflammatory properties. Herbs and plants have been used to treat disease for many centuries. It is only recently that synthetic drugs (often synthesised from plants) have existed. All well and good (sometimes..) for the treatment of disease, but less ideal for prevention. And as we all know, prevention is better than cure.

Dr Paul Clayton in his book Health Defence notes that the NHS “is really an ‘illness service’ – treatment after things go wrong”. This is costly – according to Dr Clayton £750 (in 2000) for every man, woman and child. Personally, I doubt this is affordable in the long term.

Dietary colour

Alliance for Natural Health International (ANH intl) and I see they have a book on dietary matters. The chart below also comes from ANH Intl. and make its point colourfully (if you forgive the pun). So add some colour to your diet, its a good investment in your future.

Good nutrition is characterised by a range of colours

Garden of Many Colours..Food too!

This year has been particularly good for azaleas and rhododendrons. The photos here were taken in Inchmarlo near Aberdeen just a few weeks ago. Exbury gardens locally are a similar example.

Inchmarlo Banchory

Foods of many colours = foods of many nutrients

The colours brought to mind advice for an anti-inflammatory diet given at a recent Pharma Nord presentation I attended. Here is the key slide:

Good anti inflamatory nutrition from Pharma Nord
© Pharma Nord

“Let food be thy medicine..” are words attributed to the Greek physician Hippocrates (460 to 375 B.C.E) – he of Hippocratic oath fame. Whether or not he actually penned these words is open to question, but he surely recognised the value of diet in health as is nicely summarised here.

At any rate we should not underestimate the importance of diet, a subject I have touched on before.

Here is a nice website that allows you to explore the nutritional values of common foods, should you be interested.

The soil

Unfortunately it seems that the micronutrient content of our soils is not what it once was, though there are counter arguments. This short article from Scientific American makes the point. Selenium is but one of the micronutrients that are in short supply.

In the USA – home of ‘fast food’ – there is also a counter culture, and the Weston A Price Foundation is a well established example. You could spend quite a while on their website.

Simply put, there is a food chain from the soil via plants and animals (vegeterians excused) to our own tissues. Important? Well, obviously.

Botany and Biochemistry to Bio-Physics? Homeopathy and Nutrition.

The homeopathic pharmacy is built on the energetic qualities or essence of the natural world.

Around two-thirds of homeopathic remedies are potentised ultra dilutions of plants. Some from plants we eat and some from plants that are poisonous (but no longer so when prepared accouding to the homeopathic pharmacopaeia).

The emerging evidence is that the nutritional value of food extends beyond the biochemistry into what might be described as bio-physics. That such view challenges conventional science is not in doubt…and much argument will result.

Be that as it may, we’d do well in the meantime to look after the soil and in so doing it will look after us.

I was once asked if homeopaths make a diagnosis. A good question and I fear my answer was not as concise as it might have been.

The simple answer is that by law only your doctor or specialist can make a formal diagnosis. This is with good reason, because he / she can arrange blood tests, X-rays or refer you for further investigation. This is outside the capability of the professional lay homeopath.

There are medically qualified (doctor) homeopaths who needless to say have a foot in both camps.

In fact, it is fairly rare for someone to seek a homeopathic consultation before they have seen their GP or specialist. For one thing the NHS is a free service, so your doctor is the obvious first port of call. That said, complementary therapists learn about “Red Flags”. These are warning signs indicating that further investigation by your GP is needed to rule out any risk of a serious underlying condition.

Here is a picture of the cover of an excellent little book that I have on my shelf:

In the UK medical records are by and large held centrally, but this is not the case elsewhere. When I sat in on homeopathic consultations in Calcutta, it was normal for patients to carry with them the documentation from whatever investigations they had undergone. This is quite common in many countries. All this was very useful to the homeopathic doctor (in India there are two equivalent paths in medicine – orthodox western and homeopathic). Needless to say your diagnoses from the NHS are equally of value to the professional lay homeopath here.

The Value of Diagnosis

Diagnostic tests indicate what is going on: what is as it should be, and what is not. They are not always fullproof. Results can range from the possible to the definite. Referral for further investigation may be necessary.

Accuracy and speed in diagnosis is a big topic in academic circles should you care to look into the matter. Artificial intelligence is the new frontier it seems as this article describes!

An important outcome from diagnosis is the likely trajectory of the condition. Will it get worse, stay the same or get better with or without treatment? Hopefully it is not “how long have I got doc?” as the sit-coms or “soaps” sometimes have it, but fair to say none of us live for ever!

The Limits of Diagnosis

The above would all seem positive and in many ways it is, but there is a hazard in diagnosing a condition, which usually means giving it a name. Thus people will say I have X or I am Y. The problem here is that once you have been put in a box with a classifcation X or Y it is easy to be resigned to the label. It becomes part of you.

In homeopathy disease symptoms have a wider meaning. No two persons with the same diagnosed condition will be treated in the same way. Dr James Tyler Kent one of the most notable American Homeopaths the early part of the twentieth century wrote this:

Most of the conditions of the human economy that are called diseases in the books are not diseases, but the results of disease. To call a group of symptoms a disease of one part, and another group of symptoms a disease of another part, is a great heresy….. Organic disease is the result of disease

Lectures in Homeopathic Philosophy, Lecture IX Dr James Tyler Kent

Ok, the language is old fashioned, but what he is saying is that your true dis-ease is something that is prior to the symptoms that cause you make an appointment with your doctor. I touched on this subject before.

So the question is what underlies the child diagnosed as ADHD or a skin condition, or an adult with rheumatic pains or digestive problems or whatever?

Sometime that cause is apparent from orthodox investigation, but often not. The long term management of the symptoms is the best that can be done. In contrast, homeopathy looks at patterns in health, mental physical and emotional. It is sideways look that can find a solution to an intransigent problem. It is not boxed-in by labels.

This month I wish to share with you two homeopathic remedies for fever that are particularly helpful in children with fever – a common state of affairs

Last time I introduced the topic of homeopathy as first aid in the home, and the value of having a small first aid kit, and without doubt these two remedies will be there.

Fever has a purpose!

Fever is not a bad thing. Every symptom has a purpose; illness has a purpose. And the purpose of a fever is to fight infection – it is a natural response of the immune system. So try and not suppress fever with paracetamol containing over-the-counter medicines.

The latest NHS guidance is here. And yes, the use of paracetamol is permitted if the child is in distress but you might try some homeopathic first aid as an alternative first.

They work for adults too.

Two well known Homeopathic remedies for fever

The two remedies are Aconite and Belladonna. Both have their origin in poisonous plants, but remember the potentised homeopathic remedy is an ultra-dilution and non toxic. Explanation here.

The challenge in homeopathy is to recognise the different characteristics in your child and to match them with the correspondingly remedy picture. There are fevers and there are fevers!

Here are some basic pointers for these two homeopathic medicines with two nice cartoon images from the book Homeopathic Remedy Pictures by Vicki Matheson and Frans Kusse.

Homeopathic Fever remedy No1: Aconite

The aconite child is fearful and anxious and doesn’t want to be touched. The fever is dry and comes on quickly within a few hours and is worse between 9 and 11pm. Coldness and heat alternate. The child is chilly and wants to be covered. He or she is thirsty. It is a good remedy for shock also.

It is a short acting remedy – if the fever persists much beyond a day then another remedy should be chosen.

© Homeopathic Remedy Pictures by Mathison & Krusse published by Narayana Verlag (2014)

Homeopatic Fever remedy No2: Belladonna

The belladonna child also comes down with a sudden fever but there is a slightly slower onset than with the aconite patient. This child is burning hot and hypersensitive. There is violence and agresssion rather than fear. The pupils may be dilated – in contrast to aconite (constricted). The fever can be worse at 3pm or 3am. The patient may be delirious. Despite the heat, the child may not be thirsty. It is a useful remedy for sunstroke – the pounding head and red face gives you the picture. Dr RAF Jack also had this remedy as No1 for earache.

Belladonna is a somewhat longer acting remedy – about 72 hours.

© Homeopathic Remedy Pictures by Mathison & Kusse published Narayana Verkat (2014)

Just a small introduction, but it might get you some sleep…!

Homeopathy explained simply is not so easy. It is so easy to disappear down the proverbial rabbit hole.

Here is a picture I took in Aberdeenshire – Deeside water, which runs down from the Cairngorms is known for its clarity and purity. Crystal clear!

Homeopathy explained simply is crystal clear

Homeopathy explained simply – in practice

My first encounter with homeopathy was as a child. Our family doctor used homeopathy. I got better and didn’t think much about it…well, I was a child after all. 

That is just how it was for me.  But a seed was sown, a seed that lay dormant until a memory is stirred….

What stirred that memory was the my ignorance, now the parent, with a sick child…

My son was aged 3 or 4 at the time (he’s now the wrong side of thirty) and he’d gone down with something as kiddies do … virus probably…

Fingers crossed he’ll just get better (usually that’s so)..just wait and see.  But sometimes not…

Of the shelf comes Dr Andrew Lockie’s book The Family Guide to Homeopathy, and a little homeopathic first aid remedy kit that I had bought.

Homeopathy explained simply by the late Dr Andrew Lockie

Aconite seemed a good place to start but no change whatsoever….

Let’s switch to Belladonna (excellent for fevers in children, Lockie says)…still no change…

Actually, he’s getting worse.  Might need the doctor…it’s Saturday…hmm

Back to the book…l’ll try Gelsemium (drowsy, dull, shivery) ….

And that within a few minutes his demeanor changes….

Beginners luck – but wow I was impressed*.

(*n.b. the reaction to a remedy in an acute illness should be fast especially in children with good vitality – long standing, that is ‘chronic’ complaints take longer to resolve)

Homeopathy explained simply?

Like Deeside water my experience was crystal clear. Gelsemium worked where Aconite and Belladonna didn’t…

And, no way was my son getting better without some intervention.

In homeopathy** the picture of the remedy must match the picture of the symptoms..that is the rule. His picture was that of Gelsemium.

(**Homeo-pathy means “similar-suffering” or “like cures like” – known as the law of similars)

Zeitgeist… (spirit of the age)

Some say homeopathy is pseudo-science.

How often do your hear the phrase “The Science ..”?  But science is dynamic not a tablet of stone. There is no “The”. It’s a means to understanding; it’s never constant and ever changing.  

How about margarine or butter?…We still cannot decide (unless you sell butter or margarine)!

[Just to emphasise the point, listen to Dr Chris Knobbe ]

What’s fashionable in science (or medicine) today, may not be fashionable tomorrow.

Non-overlapping Magisteria

A notable scientist, the late Stephen Jay Gould, argued that: the role of Science was to establishing facts; the role of Religion, values. He spoke of non-overlapping magesteria.  

Put another way, science considers the physical or material world, and religion that which is immaterial or metaphysical.  

Science likes things that can be ‘measured’; it is not too keen on the metaphysical.   The scientific mind tends to bind to the physical, and some scientists can be so sceptical about the metaphysical that they reject such concept.  In their own way they keep things simple … that too is crystal clear!

But much of that which is important to us as humans is beyond the physical; is metaphysical – our emotional response to each other, to art, to nature and so on.

Guess what, homeopathy, with its potentised (ultra dilute) remedies likely straddles the metaphysical and physical worlds. Just as we human beings do.

Sceptical?

Up to a point, it is good to be sceptical (or ‘Skeptical’ in the USA). But maybe its time to be sceptical about the “Skeptics”, expecially the more aggressive ones.

They pun there is “nothing in it” … the pharmaceutical industry agrees “there is nothing in it”.

It is quite a battle out there, I can tell you. Here is a nice blog from Scientific American

Evidence is suppressed…

Academia..fearing loss of funding…backs away from research

Governments are lobbied..

But maybe there is “something in it” after all?

You won’t have heard, but many volumes have been written on homeopathy for over two centuries. 

Including some stunning new work like that from Michel Yakir

A senior clinician once remarked to the effect that “if only five percent of what has been written on homeopathy was valid it would still be worth looking at” 

Remember the late Donald Rumsfeld words:

“..There are things we know we know. … But there are also unknown unknowns—the ones we don’t know, we don’t know”.   

We may laugh but it is so true.

“In the beginning was The Word…”

Those are the opening words of The Gospel of St John.  Quite powerful, and worth reflecting on..

Though these words come from a religious text, science has for some time recognised the correlation between matter, energy and information (i.e. The Word).

Homeopathy explained simply – as information?

Homeopathy cannot be about chemistry. It is true, there is ‘nothing’ (material) in a homeopathic remedy except the sugar pill used as a carrier for the remedy).

But what about physics, especially quantum physics? The non-material remedy may be a form of energy or information. Something metaphysical; a transfer of thought. A bit like a software download; so commonplace to our generation but quite bizarre to our grand-parents and those long passed.

Recall that out bodies are two-thirds water.  

The preparation of homeopathic medicines is a process of serial dilution and agitation, termed “potentisation”. Therefore some aspect of the original material substance is transferred. But what?

The late Dr Masura Emoto, experimented with the influence of thought on water.  Here is just one picture from his website from the water at Lourdes

Prof. Jerry Pollack in the USA has discovered a fourth water phase which has potential implications

Links in the chain of the homeopathy puzzle? Maybe.

And highlighting the importance of crystal clear water

Meanwhile

Most folk drive their cars with (increasingly) little knowledge of what is happening under the bonnet.  Your auto-engineer does, true, but cars are man made.  

Humans are neither machines, nor man made.  

Despite advances in medical science there is still much that is unknown, and if a little homeopathy keeps you ‘running smoothly’, in homeostasis (harmony), why not use it?  

There are “known knowns”….homeopathy works.

And “unknown unknowns” … we don’t know everything.

Open minded scientists will bring understanding in time.

Homeopathy explained simply!

Due to overconsumption of de-natured food, and a lack of exercise and fresh air, many people, especially in the second half of their lives, often become caricatures of themselves … Nowadays we rarely see a really beautiful and healthy looking person … we are either too far or too thin .. or legs are swollen, our feet flat, our backs, bent, our necks stiff. We lose our hair, suffer from dental decay, headaches, flatulence, constipation and depression; we tire quickly and worst of all, many of us no longer enjoy life. Many people never feel really well“. Naturopath, Jan de Vries, from 10 Golden Rules For Good Health (2nd edition 2008)

10 Golden Rules for Good Health

Not a very welcome message, perhaps, but a well meaning one from one of the most notable Naturopaths in the UK and beyond in recent years.

Alas, he is no longer with us, but for many decades Jan de Vries had a clinic in Troon, Ayrshire and people sought his advice from near and far.

He even had a slot on Gloria Hunniford’s BBC Radio show. He worked a 90 hour week which included writing many books!

I once had a consultation and his busy clinic was like a hospital out patient dept. He was much loved and is sadly missed.

The Naturopathic approach to health is focuses on the basics, recognising that the self regulating nature of the human organism works best when treated with respect.  His five pillars to good health were nutrition, digestion, elimination, circulation and relaxation. 

The 10 Golden Rules expand on the five pillars to include such as sleep, and mental health and mental attitude. Top of the list, always, comes nutrition. He tells us that the diets of western industrialised countries – especially the USA and Europe – have changed more in the last 100-150 years, than across millennia before.

Processed foods, sugar, excess alcohol, industrial farming and so on, are not what the body needs. Instead seventy percent of our diets should be of plant origin, and raw fruits and vegetables should be an important part of daily nutrition. Medical science has also come to appreciate the relationship between a healthy immune system and a healthy gut.

Obesity seems to have become rather an epidemic these days. In the past the poor were thin, as is still the case in the developing countries but the opposite seems to be the picture in the western world. And it is the western world that has suffered the most in this Covid-19 pandemic. Food for thought?

society of Homeopaths

Disclaimer: I am a qualified professional homeopath and not a medical doctor. The NHS has many resources, and seeking the opinion of your GP is always of value.

© 2024 Allan Pollock