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Homeopathic Medicine


The goal of homeopathic medicine is the cure of chronic illness and restoration of health. This is fundamentally different from the goal of allopathic medicine, which is management of chronic disease and suppression of symptoms.

Classical homeopathy was developed by Dr. Samuel Hahnemann in Germany more than 200 years ago, although the discipline was founded on principles which were expressed in Chinese medicine and in the ancient world more than 2,000 years ago.

In Dr. Hahnemann’s day, very powerful toxic substances were being used as medicines. For example, mercury was injected as a cure for syphilis. Other fashionable treatments included purgatives, bleeding, and blistering plasters that were more harmful than effective. Dr. Hahnemann stopped using these treatments because he felt that the effect of the medicine was worse than the effect of the disease. He believed that approaches to disease must be studied from the viewpoint of vitality, meaning the life and health of an individual, and not from the viewpoint of suppression of symptoms.

We are not so different today. We continue to inject mercury and viruses into the most vulnerable members of our society, the very young and the very old, in an effort to treat or prevent disease. We have inadvertently raised an entire generation of children with pervasive developmental disorders. We give antipsychotic medications to very young children, despite the side effects of extreme carbohydrate cravings and weight gain. We give antidepressants to adolescents, despite the well-described side effect of increased suicidal tendencies. Diabetes, obesity, cancer, and heart disease run rampant and are preventable, yet the medical establishment looks to profit from them, rather than prevent them. Most high blood pressure is deemed to be “idiopathic” meaning it has no discernible cause. And it is suppressed with pharmaceutical medication alone, with no curiosity as to what is the source of the high blood pressure.

Hahnemann believed that approaches to disease must be studied from the viewpoint of vitality, meaning the life and health of an individual, and not from the suppression of symptoms.

Dr. Hahnemann was most scornful of those practitioners of medicine who declared that all the infinite variety of sufferings could be reduced to a few salient symptoms and meaningless general terms, ignoring all the complexity of the individual’s expression of illness. By meaningless general terms he included things like headache, backache, pains in the limbs, convulsions, etc.

From the perspective of advanced homeopathic medicine, all disease or dysfunction is an external manifestation of an internal bioenergetic disorder unique to the individual. Homeopathic medicine looks for that substance which will correct the energetic defects or dysfunctions unique to a given individual, and restore that individual to the original template of full health.

As technology has advanced, we have learned how to measure energetic dysfunctions and departures from the original template. We are now able to treat with substances which can restore the disharmony of the information systems which subtend the body’s cellular function, right down to the level of the DNA. These substances may include things like electromagnetic energy, homeopathic remedies, combination remedies, and even physical remedies such as vitamins, minerals, amino acids and fatty acids.

Professor Luc Montagnier, the French virologist who won the Nobel Prize in 2008 for discovering the AIDS virus, shook up the mainstream medical community in 2010 with his announcement that he had verified the science behind homeopathic remedies. Speaking to 60 Nobel prize-winners and some 700 other sceptical scientists at the Lindau Nobel laureate meeting in Germany, Montagnier explained he had discovered water has a memory that continues even after many dilutions. He said solutions containing the DNA of pathogenic bacteria and viruses, including HIV, "could emit low frequency radio waves" and influence water molecules around them, turning them into organized structures that in turn emit waves. Montagnier said water could retain such properties even after the original solutions were diluted to the point the original DNA had effectively vanished. In this way, he suggested, water could retain the "memory" of substances with which it had been in contact and doctors could use the emissions to detect disease.[i]

A few months later, Montagnier told Science magazine he will be studying electromagnetic waves that emanate from the highly diluted DNA of various pathogens. “The high dilutions [used in homeopathy] are right. High dilutions of something are not nothing. They are water structures which mimic the original molecules."[ii] Montagnier's research – and that of many other colleagues – has verified that electromagnetic signals of the original medicine remain in the water and have dramatic biological effects.[iii]

Most clinical research conducted on homeopathic medicines that has been published in peer-reviewed journals have shown positive clinical results[iv],[v], especially in the treatment of respiratory allergies[vi],[vii], influenza[viii], fibromyalgia[ix],[x], rheumatoid arthritis[xi], childhood diarrhea[xii], post-surgical abdominal surgery recovery[xiii], attention deficit disorder[xiv], and reduction in the side effects of conventional cancer treatments.[xv] In addition to clinical trials, several hundred basic science studies have confirmed the biological activity of homeopathic medicines.

Allopathic medicine has not yet discovered how to modify DNA switches which have been turned off or on by toxins presented to the body. Homeopathic medicine carries the potential to modify these switches, and can thus restore full functionality to the physical organism.

So why is homeopathic medicine not the standard of medicine in this modern age?

By the year 1900, more than 100 homeopathic hospitals operated in the U.S., along with 22 homeopathic medical schools and more than 1,000 homeopathic pharmacies. Interestingly, many students and practitioners were women, and the homeopathic Boston Female Medical College, founded as a school for midwives in 1848, was the first women's medical college in the world. Mark Twain wrote in Harper's magazine in 1890, "The introduction of homeopathy forced the old-school doctor to stir around and learn something of a rational nature about his business."[xvi]

But the allopaths competed for patients. They established the American Medical Association in 1846, two years after the founding of the American Institute of Homeopathy, the nation’s first national medical society. Allopaths were called quacks in the 19th century and even before, because they used quicksilver, what we call mercury, also known as quack silver, as medicine. Homeopaths did not support the use of caustic or poisonous pharmaceuticals; homeopathy was the predominant form of medicine at the start of the 20th century. People living on the frontier relied on homeopathic remedies because doctors were few and far between.

As Doctors Paolo Bellavite and Andrea Signorini wrote of that era:

The rapid initial spread of homeopathy was probably initially due, on the one hand, to the fact that the orthodox medicine of [Hahnemann’s] day and age was still extremely backward and lacked truly effective therapeutic remedies, and, on the other to the distinct superiority of homeopathy treating the various epidemics of typhoid fever, cholera, and yellow fever which raged across Europe and America in the 1800s. [xvii]

In 1855, the AMA incorporated a code of ethics that included expulsion of physicians who even consulted with homeopaths or other “un-scientific” practitioners. Similar events were unfolding in Europe; orthodox physicians in France also banned consultations with homeopaths. Homeopathy was outlawed in Austria.[xviii]

In 1908 the newly formed American Medical Association’s (AMA) Council on Medical Education wrote to Andrew Carnegie to propose a collaboration with the purpose of reforming medical education. The Carnegie Foundation was allied with the Rockefellers, who heavily invested first in oil, then in pharmaceutical companies. It was decided to hire Abraham Flexner to investigate the 155 U. S. and Canadian medical schools.

Flexner was a schoolmaster who knew nothing about the field of medicine but he was well-connected; his brother Simon was director of the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research.

Flexner’s subsequent findings, not surprisingly, heavily favored the medical schools which supported the use of pharmaceutical medicine and “science-based” medicine. Flexner wanted to promote higher status for doctors. He recommended specialization, and recommended that most of the schools for women and blacks be closed, since women showed a “decreasing inclination” to enter the profession, and blacks were a potential source of “infection and contagion.” In the report, Flexner called chiropractors “quacks.”

Medical journals had mixed reactions. The Journal of the American Medical Association announced that “[a]lthough there may be statements of detail which might be criticized in the Foundation’s report, generally speaking the statements made are recognized as the truth by those who are in a position to judge.”[xix] It was “full of errors,” alleged the Denver Medical Journal; “a piece of monumental impudence,” according to the American Medical Compound.[xx] Among other failings, the report was produced too fast to for Flexner to visit all the schools. “You don’t need to eat a whole sheep to know it’s tainted,” Flexner later wrote in his autobiography.[xxi]

The New York State Journal of Medicine berated the Carnegie Foundation for attempting to “dictate the policies … to wipe out institutions with the stroke of a pen” and thereby “threaten the freedom” of medical schools.”[xxii]

Despite the clear bias against all forms of medical treatment other than allopathic, the report was widely acclaimed by the allopathic medical community. It sent shock waves through the medical schools of the United States.

The historic Flexner Report[xxiii] dictated that medical schools which would be funded and accredited would be those which trained doctors in the extremes of medicine – emergency and surgical, both of which make extensive use of pharmaceutical drugs. In 1905, 160 medical schools were in operation. By 1927, seventeen years after the Flexner Report, the number had dropped to 80. The homeopathic medical schools were disappearing.

Medicine in America was shifting from its early emphasis on prevention and health to a model of disease management. Influential forces promoted “allopathic” medicine, the suppression of symptoms. And they fought competition fiercely.

Doctors of Chiropractic came to find themselves denied coverage and recognition in all federal and state government agencies. They took the fight all the way to the Supreme Court. The historic 1990 decision[xxiv] found the AMA guilty of an unlawful conspiracy in restraint of trade "to contain and eliminate the chiropractic profession" and that the "AMA had entered into a long history of illegal behavior." Since then, chiropractors have largely been able to continue their practice without medical doctor interference.

George Vithoulkas, a Greek homeopath who is credited for much of homeopathy’s revival since the 1960s in Europe, said:

“The immune systems of the western population, through strong chemical drugs and repeated vaccinations, have broken down … If conventional medicine were really curing chronic diseases, today we would have a population in the West that was healthy, mentally, emotionally and physically.”[xxv]

Americans are beginning to demand more than symptom management. More and more, they want to find out what went wrong and how to fix it at the fundamental level. In 1999, the first homeopathic college to open its doors since the Flexner report did so in Phoenix, Arizona: The American Medical College of Homeopathy under the direction of Todd Rowe, MD, MD(H). The school currently graduates Homeopathic Medical Assistants, and has plans in the near future to grant the degree of DCH, Doctor of Classical Homeopathy. The school has had its regulatory struggles – through no fault of its own – but is emerging on the other side firm in its commitment to certification in order to grant a recognized medical degree of Doctor of Homeopathy.

What differentiates homeopathic medicine from conventional medicine?

• Homeopathy rests on a core philosophy of healing and unification of body, mind and spirit that guide its practice. Conventional allopathic medicine relies on the philosophy of battling disease with drugs, surgery and radiation.

• Homeopathy is much safer and gentler, using the core concept of “helping the body to perform its healing”. Conventional medicine is far more intrusive, using the core concept of “fighting”.

• Homeopathic medicine is much less expensive. For treatment, homeopathic patients generally spend about 20% of what most conventional treatments cost. In addition, homeopathic medicines average about 10% of the cost of pharmaceutical drugs.

• Homeopathic treatment is non-suppressive. By treating symptoms rather than the whole person, conventional medicine often suppresses illness, driving it deeper into the organism.

• Homeopathic medicine treats patients on all levels of their being (physical, emotional, mental and spiritual). Conventional medicine typically only focuses on one level at a time – mainly physical.

• Homeopathic medicine is generally more satisfying for the practitioner. Homeopathic doctors are privileged to watch their patients heal from illness. Allopathic doctors mainly only get to watch their patients deteriorate more slowly. Seldom do allopaths get to watch their patients heal (except in the case of acute infectious illness). This is the reason why many allopathic doctors make the switch to homeopathic and integrative/functional medicine later in their careers.

• The goal of homeopathic medicine is cure of chronic disease whereas the goal of conventional medicine is generally management of chronic disease.

• Homeopathy is a form of energy medicine whereas conventional medicine is a form of material medicine.

• Homeopathy focuses on healing from within and using the self-healing capacity of the body. Conventional medicine focuses on healing from without, without supporting the body’s own self-healing mechanisms – often even destroying those mechanisms (as in the case of cancer chemotherapy).

• Homeopathy recognizes and utilizes the healing power of nature. Conventional medicine largely ignores nature in favor of that which can be patented and sold.

• Historically, homeopathic medicine is derived from the Empirical Medicine tradition of experiential healing. Conventional medicine is derived from the Rationalistic Medicine tradition of reductionistic healing.

• Homeopathy utilizes minimum doses in the practice of healing (less is more). Conventional medicine typically utilizes large doses of pharmaceutical drugs, on the theory that there is a “correct” dose of drug which fits 95% of patients.

• Homeopathic medicine is humanistic and patient-centered. Conventional medicine is system-centered and focused on diagnosis and which drug or surgical procedure to use to treat that diagnosis.

How is homeopathic medicine different than other forms of “alternative” medicine?

With more than 250 forms of alternative medicine, it can be confusing to separate one system from another. The following are some distinctions that make homeopathic medicine unique:

• Homeopathic medicine is one of the older forms of alternative medicine with historical roots dating back to ancient Greece. Homeopathy is the heir to the vitalist (empirical medicine) tradition of healing.

• Homeopathic medicine is a complete system of healing unto itself. Most forms of alternative medicine are treatment modalities without an underlying system. That being said, many integrative medicine practitioners use homeopathic medicine as a part of their treatment.

• Homeopathic medicine is the third most common form of alternative medicine in the world today (behind herbal medicine and oriental medicine) and is said to be the fastest growing.

• Homeopathic medicine is better researched than many other forms of alternative medicine.

• Homeopathic medicine is more successful in treating acute conditions such as epidemic disease than most other forms of alternative medicine. This was an important reason for its historical success.

• Homeopathic medicine are standardized in their preparations and better accepted by the FDA than medicines from other forms of alternative medicine.

• Homeopathic medicine is one of the least expensive forms of alternative medicine.

• Homeopathic medicine is one of the most holistic forms of alternative medicine. It truly treats patients on all levels of their being.

• Homeopathic medicine is a form of energy-medicine. Many forms of alternative medicine are matter-based.

• Homeopathic medicine has a unique focus on the healing power of nature.

• Homeopathic medicine has a unique focus on the principle that less is more.

• Homeopathic medicine is on the cutting edge of our understanding of life and the natural world.

How can homeopathic medicine be integrated into other forms of “alternative” medicine?

Classically trained homeopaths utilize the modality of “case taking” – i.e. doing a lengthy interview with a patient, getting to know all their peculiarities, so that they may find the one remedy which may be effective for that particular patient – the one remedy which most closely matches the patient’s essence.

Integrative practitioners are more likely to use combination remedies to deal with a particular set of symptoms, rather than trying to find the one “cure-all” remedy. Headache, for instance, can be due to a multiplicity of causes, but the end result is pain. One complex homeopathic remedy may contain 15 or 20 ingredients, each of which is good for a particular kind of headache (burning, stabbing, throbbing, left sided, right sided, behind the eyes, etc). While the cause of the headache is being determined, the remedy may help to relieve the symptoms without throwing the patient into a narcotic stupor.

Similarly, there are formulas for detoxification which can help support and strengthen the organs which provide that function in our bodies (kidney, intestine, liver, etc) while the actual cause of the toxicity is being worked out so that the toxins may be eliminated more rapidly.

Homeopathy is one of those topics, like politics and religion and vaccination and genetically modified foods, which seem to stir up enormous emotionality in both adherents and detractors. We are very much in favor of presenting the evidence and allowing our colleagues and patients to make their own decisions based on the evidence, and their experience.

[i] Nobel laureate gives homeopathy a boost. The Australian. July 5, 2010

[iv] Linde L, Clausius N, Ramirez G, et al., Are the Clinical Effects of Homoeopathy Placebo Effects? A Meta-analysis of Placebo-Controlled Trials, Lancet, September 20, 1997, 350:834-843.

[v] Lüdtke R, Rutten ALB. The conclusions on the effectiveness of homeopathy highly depend on the set of analyzed trials. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology. October 2008. doi: 10.1016/j.jclinepi.2008.06/015.

[vi] Taylor, MA, Reilly, D, Llewellyn-Jones, RH, et al., Randomised controlled trial of homoeopathy versus placebo in perennial allergic rhinitis with overview of four trial Series. BMJ. August 19, 2000, 321:471-476.

[vii] Ullman, D, Frass, M. A Review of Homeopathic Research in the Treatment of Respiratory Allergies. Alternative Medicine Review. 2010:15,1:48-58.

[x] Fisher P, Greenwood A, Huskisson EC, et al., Effect of Homoeopathic Treatment on Fibrositis (Primary Fibromyalgia). BMJ. 299(August 5, 1989):365-6.

[xi] Jonas, WB; et al. Homeopathy and Rheumatic Disease. Rheum Dis Clin North Am. February 2000,1:117-123.

[xii] Jacobs J, Jonas WB, Jimenez-Perez M, Crothers D. Homeopathy for Childhood Diarrhea: Combined Results and Metaanalysis from Three Randomized, Controlled Clinical Trials, Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2003;22:229-34.

[xiii] Barnes, J; Resch, KL; Ernst, E. Homeopathy for Post-Operative Ileus: A Meta-Analysis. Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology. 1997, 25: 628-633.

[xv] Kassab S, Cummings M, Berkovitz S, van Haselen R, Fisher P. Homeopathic medicines for adverse effects of cancer treatments. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2009, Issue 2.

[xvi] Kim Ridley. The Controversial Cure. Ode Magazine. January/February 2006

[xvii] Paolo Bellavite, Andrea Signorini. The Emerging Science of Homeopathy – Complexity, Biodynamics, and Nanopharmacology. North Atlantic Books. 2002, p 21.

[xviii] Kim Ridley. The Controversial Cure. Ode Magazine. January/February 2006

[xix] Berliner HS. A System of Scientific Medicine: Philanthropic Foundations in the Flexner Era. Tavistock Publications; 1985. p. 120-121

[xx] Felts JH. Abraham Flexner and medical education in North Carolina. NC Med J 1995; 56:534-40. p. 537

[xxi] Flexner A. Abraham Flexner: An Autobiography. Simon & Schuster; 1960.

[xxii] Berliner HS. A System of Scientific Medicine: Philanthropic Foundations in the Flexner Era. Tavistock Publications; 1985. p. 122

[xxiii] Flexner A. Medical Education in the United States and Canada: A Report to the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching; Bulletin No. 4. New York: Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching; 1910.

[xxiv] Wilk v. American Medical Association, 671 F. Supp. 1465, N.D. Ill. 1987.