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Cleaning-up?

Back in February The Week published the following short article:

Pharmaceutical pollution is contaminating the rivers on every continent, a major study has shown. Scientists at the University of York measured the levels of 61 active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) in 258 rivers around the world, including the Thames and the Amazon.

Just two areas had unpolluted waters: Iceland and a part of Venezuala whose indigenous inhabitants don’t use modern medicine. The most common APIs were an anti-epileptic drug called carbamazine and the diabetes drug Metformin, along with paracetamol antibiotics and caffeine.

Potentially toxic levels of drugs were in a quarter of the sites, and the highest being in low-to-middle income countries such as India and Nigeria – possibly because their populations have encough money to by drugs but may live in areas without good sewage infrastructure.

The most contaminated site in the UK was the River Clyde in Glasgow.

The study, published in the journal Procedings of the National Academy of Sciences, warned that pharmaceutical pollution poses a risk to wildlife, and could also contribute more to antimicrobial resistance in humans.

The Week 26th Feb 2022

Previously on a BBC science programme I heard that the equivalent of 200 pills of Metformin pass under the bridges of the Thames every hour. Even the apparently pristine River Dee in Royal Deeside carries a significant pharmaceutical burden as this report shows. Hopefully the famous Deeside Water – highly regarded for its purity – is sourced well upstream!

Medicines

The NHS Health Survey for England 2016 states that nearly half of adults had taken on prescribed medicine in the last week and 24 percent had taken three or more. The total cost at list price of prescriptions dispensed in the community in 2016 was just short of £10 billion. It is not an improving situation.

None doubt the value of medicines, but health impact both on the individual and the enviromnment of long-term use is a matter worthy of discussion.

Brave New World

For the first time since school days I read again Aldous Huxley’s dystopian novel Brave New World written in the 1930s. His vision was one where the highs and lows of human existence were under the control of a world state. With remarkable prescience Huxley foresaw the path we are on today. Elsewhere he remarked, “Medical science has made such tremendous progress that there is hardly a healthy human left”. I dare say there is a degree of overstatement here, but he had a point nonetheless.

It is a subject I indirectly blogged on before – Jaw Jaw is better than War War.

Health

What is health? That is the question. During the first lockdown of the pandemic I cycled out into the New Forest and visited a couple of Churchyards. I was struck by the longevity even in an age of no medical care.

It made me think about the late Jan de Vries, a remarkable naturopath who ran a clinic on the west coast of Scotland until his death in 2015. He wrote many books amongst them 10 Golden Rules for Good Health. Attention to these basic principles would do much to reduce the burden on the NHS not to mention the individual.

I do not underestimate the challenge: a very rural 19th century New Forest is very different from modern city life.

Homeopathy plus

Homeopathy, osteopathy, naturopathy and other forms of so-called Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) all seek to maintain the human organism in balance.

They are not always quick fixes. The saying “a stich in time saves nine” is very true – the longer things are our of balance the longer it takes to correct.

Sadly, CAM has been marginalised in the health service. Some argue that such approaches do not work and waste money. Yet, the long term cost of the current medical model is problematic.

Time for a rethink?

’Tis the season (for colds and flu)

winter viruses

I caught a cold last week – in common with many others, it seems.  Well, it is that time of year. Pre-pandemic, colds and flu were not newsworthy – but they are now.  I shall not labour the point, but the media doom and gloom is not particularly helpful.

As we have all learned during these past months, respiratory infections are caused by viruses and viruses that tend to mutate. 

The characteristics of the various offending bugs we can leave to the scientists, but when it comes to the counter attack, respiratory viruses seem to be rather slippery characters.

Fortunately most respiratory infections are self limiting – even Covid.  Being sensible makes a significant difference to the outcome.

So what can we do to help that is simple?  And what should we not do?

Prevention is better than cure

I just penned a short editorial for the The Herald (issue 414 p38).  What could be said in 300 words is limited, but I emphasised the importance of good general health in building immunity.  

Modern life with its cities and technologies is about as distant from the natural world as you can get. One of the gains from the environmental movement is a reawakening to that lost connection.  

Here are three simple steps to reconnect:

Firstly, get a good quotient of sleep.  As the hours of daylight shorten, and those of darkness lengthen.  You don’t need to be a genius to infer that this is suggestive of more sleep. Sleep is a health regenerating process and a lack of sleep increases ones vulnerability to infection.

Secondly, consider your eating habits.  Eating may be pleasurable, but its real purpose is to supply the body with the necessary nutrients.  The gut flora is known to be important in immune health. It is common sense then to focus on healthy fresh food.  

Thirdly, get outside into the sunlight as much as you can.  Living by the New Forest and the coast, there are options a plenty.  Not only is exercise good for the body, it is good for the mind also.

The sunshine vitamin

Whilst nutrition should be the main source of vitamins and minerals, there is a logic to vitamin D (more specifically D3) supplementation during the winter months.

Otherwise known as the sunshine vitamin, it is made by the action of sunlight on the skin.  Reduced daylight and overcast weather mean that vitamin D deficiency is common in winter.

Vitamin D has many functions which you can look up online, but of particular relevance is its role in maintaining respiratory health. It is generally anti-inflammatory.

Daily supplementation in the range of 2000 to 4000 IU (international units) or 50 to 100 micrograms should be perfectly safe for adults (half the dose for under 12s). 

Start low and increase as winter progresses, then tail off again as the days lengthen.  As ever, take advice if you have particular health conditions.

Theoretically excess vitamin D can be toxic (elevated calcium levels and intestinal symptoms) but such events require massive doses over extended periods.   In short, sensible supplementation is safe.

The supplement is mostly available as tablets or capsule of 1000 to 2000 IU tablets which is itself a guide to dosage.

You may recall a time when Mums gave cod-liver oil to her school age kids? Guess what, it is Vitamin D rich. Two teaspoons is about 1000IU

Here is a selection of articles / videos. The NHS dosage guidelines (just 400IU) seem to be rather conservative.

NHS Vitamin D  Healthline Vitamin D  Dr Seheult Medcram  John Campbell PhD Epidemic Influenza and Vitamin D

Sometimes, you just get sick…

We all do, and it may even be necessary that we do so in order to keep the immune system in trim.  Or it could be a reminder to slow down, and metaphorically ‘recharge the batteries’.

What to do?   Or not to do?

In short:

What not to do…

When we get a cold it is popular of course to reach for over the counter medicines most of which contain Paracetamol or aspirin (pain / fever relief),  and other ingredients like Pseudoephedrine (decongestant) that relieve your symptoms

Strange as it may seem, your symptoms are your body’s curative reaction to the virus.  Unpleasant, these may be, but they have a purpose.  Fever, for example, stimulates the immune system into action.  

Here is a short quote from Dr Russell Malcolm a medical doctor and homeopath in Scotland:

“[the] advice is to avoid Paracetamol and Aspirin completely …. [they] have no curative power at all … there is evidence that interfering with this process can lengthen the illness and increase the incidence of complications.”  

What to do?  Old wisdom…

Wisdom

On my bookshelf is a small volume that I bought when my son was a baby 30 years back – in the chapter on respiratory infections, sore throats, colds and flu the author (American, Dr Leo Galland MD), puts it simply:

I recommend rest, chicken soup and TLC (tender loving care).  For severe infections with fever, lots of aches and/or uncomfortable congestion, I find short megadose therapy of vitamin C helpful.

I’ll come back to vitamin C shortly.

Cold or Flu

Dr Malcolm also states “Flu is not a headcold” – the old joke says that should a £50 note blow into the garden, with a headcold, you’ll wrap-up and go out to catch it, with Flu you surely will not!

Half a century earlier, Dr Dorothy Shepherd (1888-1952) said this:

It is the fashion to call every slight feverish chill influenza; but if after the temperature has come down, the depression, exhaustion and weariness is such that it is too much effort to do anything, that life is really not worth living, you know you will have had influenza; after a mere feverish chill you will feel as well on getting up as you did before the attack.  

Unfortunately many people take no notice of the danger signals of weakness and prostration, and insist on getting up, even returning to work before they are fit, thus laying themselves open to broncho-pneumoniaand sudden death’  

‘During the feverish period the patient should be allowed  nothing but raw fruit and fruit juices, and not synthetic bottled juices.  Fresh oranges, lemon juice, apple drinks, grapefruit drinks at frequent intervals will cleans the system and prevent any undue strain being thrown on the gastric organs.  No meat juices, no milk, are permissible.  After the temperature is down, the diet may be increased and may include vegetable broth, Yeastrel drinks ( Marmite?); wholemeal toast; gradually other foods may be added…

No.1 rule then is REST.   You may recall what happened to PM Boris Johnson when he tried to keep going through his Covid infection … viruses are no respecters of rank!

Modern society tends not to permit absence from work or school, which is a pity and probably counter productive …Covid, might remind us of old wisdom.

Megadose Vitamin C

Vitamin C has a direct anti-viral effect that has been well researched.  

Dr Leo Galland mentioned above, continued: 

Essential
Vitamin C

To treat severe colds, viral infection such as sore throats or bronchitis, and flu, I find megadoses of vitamin C very effective…I recommend the highest dose you [or your child] can take.  1000mg an hour, until he begins to get loose bowels (Excess vitamin C…draws water into the intestines).  This will establish [the] saturation point.  

Stop the vitamin C until the next day, when you [or your child] should  [take] 1000mg every 2-3 hours until the bowels become loose.  Stop the vitamins again until the third day, when you should give 1000mg every four to six hours.  Maintain this dose until the cold is over, then gradually cut the dose back over two weeks to 1000mg a day.

The anti-viral effect of vitamin C depends on getting the highest level possible into the tissues.  

Is it safe?  Very: not only against viruses but also acute allergic reactions.  When should you not give vitamin C? If you [your child] has kidney disease or is too sick to take food and liquid along with it.

This is the protocol I follow myself.  Loose bowels do not result in my case, but they may, everyone is different.

Also to consider

Zinc has a important function in supporting immune health. A healthy diet should suffice for daily needs, but supplemention at 20-40mg per day when you are sick can be helpful.

The herbal remedy Echinacea can also help on first signs of a cold or flu. But Echinacea should be taken for only a few days (say a week) as thereafter it can be counter productive. Follow the manufacturers guidance on dosage.

Homeopathy.

Most respiratory infections are self limiting and are more likely to be so, if you follow the good advice above. Homeopathic medicine can undoubtably speed recovery but selection of the correct remedy takes a little skill, but can be learned. First aid kits are available for home use.

Should you have a viral respiratory illness that is lingering on uncomfortably, and wish to try a homeopathic approach please call and leave a message or text (see Contact) and I will call back – the ‘Discovery Call’ arrangement is for clients with longer term issues. (Expect a nominal charge of around £10 for any remedy sent).

However – and very importantly – seek immediate medical help (GP or A&E) if your condition is getting worse and especially if you have breathing difficulties.

How clear is crystal clear?

That homeopathy works is crystal clear to me, but what if you have never used homeopathy?  

The other day I did a miserable job in explaining homeopathy to someone. 

Granted time was short, but my explanation wasn’t crystal clear.

It is easy to disappear down the proverbial rabbit hole

(photo I took of a stream in Aberdeen-shire. Deeside water is notably pure – crystal clear)

Proof of the pudding…

The family doctor I saw as a child 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.  Maybe a seed was sown…

A seed that lay dormant until a memory is stirred….

What stirred the memory was the ignorance of the parent with the sick child…

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

My son was aged 3 or 4 at the time (he’s now 30+) 

He’d gone done with something as kids do … virus probably…

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.

Aconite seemed a good place to start…no change whatsoever

Let’s switch to Belladonna (excellent for fevers in children, they say)…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) …. his appearance changes 

And that within a few minutes ….

Beginners luck – but wow I was impressed*.

(*n.b. the reaction to a first aid remedy can be fast especially in children with good vitality – long standing and deeper seated complaints take longer to resolve)

Crystal clear…

Crystal clear that Gelsemium worked where Aconite and Belladonna didn’t…

In homeopathy the picture of the remedy must match the picture of the symptoms..that is the rule

(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 in the past year have you heard 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)!

What’s fashionable in science today, may not be fashionable tomorrow.

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

NOMA…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  

Another perspective might be that 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.  

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.

The scientific mind tends to bind to the physical, and some scientists can be so sceptical about the metaphysical that they reject such concepts … 

They keep things simple … crystal clear!

But is it truly crystal clear?

There is small ’s’ and big ’S’ sceptical (or Skeptical in the USA) … maybe its time to be sceptical about the “Skeptics

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

Explaining homeopathy

Guess what, homeopathy, with its potentised (ultra dilute) remedies likely straddles the metaphysical and physical

The “Skeptics” love to hate it … aggressively

They pun there is “nothing in it” … the pharmaceutical industry agrees “there is nothing in it” (for them $ – margarine over butter again)

Evidence is suppressed…

Academia..fearing loss of funding…backs away

Governments are lobbied..

Crystal clear…

Maybe there is “something in it” after all?

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

And some stunning new work like that from Michel Yakir

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

“..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 still chuckle at the late Donald Rumsfeld words, but how true.

“In the beginning was the Word…”

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.

Explaining homeopathy – as information?

Homeopathy is not about chemistry – that’s crystal clear.

What about physics – it could be energetic or put another way informational.  

Something metaphysical; a transfer of thought – a bit like a software download (also metaphysical by the way).

Physical in a way that we cannot yet measure.

Recall that out bodies are two-thirds water.  

The preparation of homeopathic medicines is a process of serial dilution and agitation, termed “potentisation”. It is quite clear that 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.

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.  

And humans are not machines, nor are they not 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, why not use it?  

There are “known knowns”….homeopathy works.

And “unknown unknowns” to find and solve…

Science will bring its understanding in time.

Crystal clear!

Ornamental Allium – belongs to the onion family and the source of the homeopathic medicine Allium Cepa

HOMEOPATHY INFORMATION AND THE ONION

Isn’t this a fantastic looking flower? It is an ornamental hybrid of the onion; the Allium species.

The common onion is Allium cepa, a name which may derive from two Celtic words “all” and “cep”, meaning “hot” and “head”. In full bloom the flower is indeed like a head – a big beautiful sphere.

The onion family includes garlic and leeks. Plants used nutritionally and medicinally for centuries. Today the medicinal benefits are still recognised – here is one article – read more

FOLKLORE

In folklore, even in the 19th century, placing sliced onions around the home, or in a bag worn around the neck was considered to protect against contagion during epidemics.

Perhaps we should revisit past wisdom, given the current challenges? But I suspect sending your children back to school with a bag of chopped onions around their neck might not be popular?

BE INFORMED

When chopping onions for the cooking pot streaming eyes and runny nose is all too familiar! This is “coryza” or “rhinitis” in medical parlance.

As a homeopathic medicine, one use of Allium Cepa is in the treatment of an attack of “hay fever”, whose symptoms of coryza, as you all know, are rather similar to those from chopping onions. The nasal discharge is acrid and that from the eye bland.

Now symptoms, from a homeopathic perspective, are not just an inconvenience – they point the way to cure. They inform.

So don’t go suppressing the symptoms.

The homeopathic core principle is “like cures like”. This means giving a medicine that mimics the symptoms suffered.

In short do as the body asks.

Homeopathy supports the body’s attempt to cure. It helps it over “the hill” that needs to be climbed.

As I wrote last month “Jaw Jaw is better than War War”

The body speaks its language – it informs; we must listen and act accordingly.

INFORMATION AND QUANTUM

Cutting edge Quantum Physics tells us that our entire universe is “informed”. Indeed, it tells us that we are “informed” – right from the moment of our birth to our last breath.

Current thinking is that the brain is a sort of transmitter / receiver, as much as a pseudo computer for processing our thoughts and bodily signals.

So, the brain may be receiving “downloads” – something like the downloads to our electronic gadgets. Fascinating.

Last night, courtesy of the Scientific and Medical Network I listened to Dr Doug Matzke talk about his research into quantum computing.

He has a new book titled “Deep Reality” – tad over my head mathematically – but the fundamental role of “information” in nature is becoming clear.

Homeopathy is information medicine, born ahead of its time.

Sir Winston Churchill

So said Winston Churchill…  

And I wish to suggest that his sentiment has some relevance in the practice of medicine.

It highlights two different philosophies, both of which are valid. 

Take a look at any text on modern drug classes and you can clearly see that modern western medicine is on a war footing.  There are anti-biotics; anti-depressants; anti-fungals; anti-inflammatories; anti-virals…just as we have anti-aircraft; anti-tank; anti-personnel and so on. 

Clearly modern pharmaceuticals are effective, but they are not always curative in the long term.  There is quite a queue in my local chemist for repeat prescriptions ..

Most modern drugs have not been around that long, the first antibiotics only appeared in the 1930s. We tend to forget that.

Yet mankind has suffered sickness, for thousands of years…and been healed. Naturopathic cures were once the norm..at least for those of some means.

Let’s be honest, symptoms are inconvenient at best, and often worse – so a magic bullet has much in its favour – especially in an impatient age.

Trouble is “the enemy” may have a valid point; perhaps a little “jaw jaw” might bring about a longer lasting peace?

Of course to “jaw jaw” you have to understand the language. 

Symptoms are the body’s language … but without an interpreter it can be a bit like “double dutch”. 

Easier then to shoot first, and ask questions later! But what if the “enemy” regroups and shoots back. An uneasy truce might be the best result. Tit for tat..unless you are willing to “jaw jaw”.

Homeopathy is “jaw jaw” medicine. It is guided by the Law of Similars – often simplified to “like cures like”.  

The general philosophy in homeopathy, naturopathy, and other traditional / complementary therapies is that the body tells you what it needs to cure itself.

Respond in kind and and hopefully harmony returns.  Swords into ploughshares…

Homeopathically “jaw jaw” means finding the medicine that best imitates the symptom picture.

Here is a simple example:

Gelsemium (yellow jasmine)

Gelsemium, homeopathically prepared from a plant of the same name, has particular characteristics that come from “proving” the medicine on healthy people, knowledge of its herbal properties, clinical experience and so on.

Students of homeopathy learn the phrase “droopy, drowsy and dull”,  as the Gelsemium symptoms are just that: 

It is one of a number of medicines that have helped Covid patients – but ONLY if their symptom picture matches.

*Interestingly it is said that, Gelsemium – presumably in herbal form – was once used to instil fearlessness in soldiers .  In truth this “courage” was more likely to be loss of fear through instilled apathy (what do I care if I live or die…)

I recently listened to a fascinating talk by botanist and homeopath Michal Yakir. 

Her thesis is that plant families (known as Orders) have meaning in mankind’s evolution and the application of homeopathic medicine. 

More than 50% of homeopathic medicines are of plant origin. Most of the rest originate from minerals or elements.

Over millions of years new Orders of plant life have evolved, from simple plants like mosses and ferns, to ever more complex flowering plants.

Michal perceives that each “Order” represents a theme in our development from infant to adult. These correlate with our psychological maturity. This is somewhat age independent. Maturity doesn’t always come with age!

Similarly within each Order sub-classes have evolved. Here Michal perceives stages of emotional and physical development. In contrast, this is generally age dependent.

A a homeopath she finds that these patterns can help her to find the best medicines for her clients.

In a similar manner another well established Dutch homeopath Jan Scholten has found symmetry in the elements of the Periodic Table. These elements are the basis of the second largest class of homeopathic remedies, the minerals. He too has studied the plant kingdom https://janscholten.com/

Extraordinary work by exceptional minds.  

Michal Yakir and her publishers have now produced a fabulous and beautifully illustrated book (for justifiably fabulous price!).

You can read more about Michal here: https://www.michal-yakir.de/home-en/

Let’s take a couple of examples:

Calendula

Calendula (Marigold), belongs to the Aster family. It has healing properties and as a herbal product it can be used as a mild antiseptic cream to heal small wounds. 

However, homeopathy considers not just the physical but also the emotional / mental. The wound doesn’t have to be physical, so (to quote Michal) a person could be “as if of a wounded person”; “don’t touch me!”

Symphytum

Symphytum from the Borage family, is better known to gardeners as Comfrey, and in olden times as “bone-set” because of its use in helping broken bones to heal. 

Both the above plants are in the same plant Order (Asterideæ). In both there is a theme of avoidance of touch, of being hurt – obvious with a wound or broken bone, perhaps less so in the emotional sense. Such emotional oversensitivity might suggest an impediment to inner growth

Over the last century or so, the objectivity of science – for all its benefits – has set humankind apart from nature, rather than being a part of nature.  This is unfortunate as we are subjects not simply objective observers in the story as Michal and Jan both suggest. 

Environmental crisis, forest fires and a pandemic, should be timely reminders of our true origins. But re-discovering our roots is a challenge be it at the personal or collective level.

All a little complicated? But is it so surprising that our story depends on the plants we eat, and the minerals from which they grow. They tell our story…

So far as orthodox medicine is concerned relatively few of the treatments that were in vogue before about 1950 have much importance today. The medicine of the 19th and even the first half of the 20th century, though no doubt fascinating from a historical point of view, has been almost entirely superseded by later developments; few books go out of date as fast as medical texts

Anthony Campbell “The Two Faces of Homeopathy”

This quote is taken from a book published in 1984. Today, I perceive that much before the year 2000 is deemed medical history. Over the last months I have watched many well qualified doctors and scientists on YouTube speaking about the Sars-Cov-2 virus and its treatment, and very few scientific papers presented dated before the turn of the millenia. Of course, it was barely a decade earlier that the information age began when British Scientist Tim Berners-Lee conceived the world-wide web in 1989. Since then, much more than medical texts have gone out of date. Almost everything seems history!

Perhaps there is a hazard here? One problem is that for anything to be valid in medicine today it has to be supported by peer reviewed evidence and so forth, which tends to invalidate past wisdom, until it is studied anew according to current standards. At face value, this is all well and good, but alas outcomes and conclusions are influenced despite claims of rigor and impartiality. Much has been written on this, and by way of example I commend you to read Dr Malcolm Kendrick’s book “Doctoring Data” https://drmalcolmkendrick.org/

Last month I shared with you a rather long YouTube video by Dr Zach Bush. From the same source I have now found a shorter piece which is nicely illustrated https://youtu.be/hkNhFY-s4GM?t=1 , where he reminds us of our past. Zachary draws our attention to our hubris and the short sightedness of our actions. In short, we have bought into a narrative over the last century that ignores the wisdom of past millenia. Looking down the microsope has taught mankind many things, but however well meaning, we have – alas – lost sight of the bigger picture. This bigger picture is one of connectivity between all things in the natural world; every action has a reaction. Everything has a purpose.

Dr Bush teaches us that the quality of the soil in our fields matters. So too the soil – or le terrain (sounds classier in French!) of our gut. Both are teeming with viruses and bacteria, all of which have a purpose. In balance health results; with imbalance illness.

Returning to history, just before the First World War Dr Edward Bach (1886-1936), a bacteriologist working at University College Hospital London, observed a close connection between gut bacteria and studied the use of bacteria in vaccine form to treat patients suffering from chronic (long term) disease. He later continued his work at the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital where homeopathic preparations were found to be as effective as the vaccine form. Known as the bowel nosodes they continue to be a usefull tools in the medicine chest of the homeopath.

In the late 1920s Dr Bach moved on to work on the flower essences, and the Bach Rescue Remedy mixture may be familiar to you (you can buy it still at Boots’ the Chemist). The baton passed to a husband and wife team, Dr John and Elizabeth Paterson at the Glasgow Homeopathic Hospital, who by all accounts undertook meticulous research adding to the knowledge base begun by Dr Bach, up until 1950 and the start of the antibiotic age. A nice example of something in vogue before 1950 that has all but been forgotten.

I am watching an interesting YouTube clip by Dr Zach Bush https://youtu.be/f6zb5rXgRvs. I say ‘am’ because it is quite long and I am taking it in bite size chunks. Quoting from an online version of the Oxford Dictionary he observes that the definition there in of ‘nature’ is the natural world around us; something rather apart from man. Dr Bush draws our attention to the fact that man is actually fully part of nature not ‘apart’ from it. We have long tried to control the natural world, but current crises from pandemic to environmental, suggest a need to better understand our limitations. He is all for science, but points out that science is not a fixed body of knowledge. It is an ongoing endeavour.

Isle of Wight from Lepe

I took the above photo on a blowy day about a month ago. It is hard to say what early man made of such a scene, and science brings its explanation of light reflected and refracted through water droplets. Nonetheless a rainbow still makes you stop a while and watch. The scientific analysis is good but I bet many at Lepe that felt the colours a omen for better times after a tough year.

A relatively recent scientific endeavour is the micribiome. That is to say, the gut. Dr Bush tells us that our guts are full of viruses and bacteria; many billions of them in fact. The same is true of the soil, the sea and the whole of the natural world. The living world adapts to viruses and bacteria; it has done so from the beginning of time. You might wonder then about our strategies concerning SARS-Cov-2; certainly Dr Bush does.

Complementary medicine has long taken and interest in diet and hence the gut, and on that I will say a little more next time.

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.

© 2022 Allan Pollock