The FDA is positioning itself to be able to impose action on Homeopathy, but it is not actually proposing those actions at this stage. How are they positioning themselves? By removing the CPG 400.400.
This is a critical document that has guided the FDA on how they enforce Homeopathic regulations, and the FDA is saying that it will withdraw this document as soon as the final guidance comes out …and by doing so, they liberate themselves from what has been a clear line of enforcement principles in the regulation of homeopathy. We need to nip this in the bud!
Our time is limited, and we need your help. We have until March 15, 2018 to submit comments to the FDA.
The FDA’s prejudiced actions could make a mess out of the Homeopathic industry.
Find your voice!
Find your power!
This is a time sensitive issue as the FDA has opened up a public comment period, which closes March 15, 2018
As of December 2017, the FDA is currently introducing new draft guidance for “Drug Products Labeled as Homeopathic” that announces the FDA’s intent to completely withdraw the Compliance Policy Guide (CPG) 400.400.
This is reckless and unwise because now the Homeopathic industry would no longer have a clear set of compliance guidelines and would be subject to arbitrary enforcement actions by the FDA, at the sole discretion of it’s deputies. This could set dangerous precedent, limiting the rights of individuals to choose their own appropriate healthcare.
Americans for Homeopathy Choice represents the interest of 6 million citizens, especially Mothers, who use Homeopathy. The letters and documents on our website have been drafted with the help of Homeopaths, educators, and Homeopathic manufacturers. We see this action by the FDA as a danger to our freedom to choose our own health care options. We want to keep our freedom to choose Homeopathy for our families–and limiting our access to Homeopathic medicine can be devastating to this industry.
The FDA should not rescind the CPG 400.400, a guidance that has proven itself effective to both the industry and consumers. We question the intent behind this action and note the inevitable damage it would cause to the Homeopathic industry and our free access to it.
If you are bothered by this proposition, click here to see how you can help.
1. NO HARMFUL SIDE EFFECTS
A special preparation process called potentization refines the medicines to remove any toxic side-effects. It is safe for babies and during pregnancy and menopause. However it is advised to be under the care of a qualified Homeopathic practitioner if you are pregnant.
Homeopathy works by stimulating the body’s own natural defense mechanism to heal itself. Although gentle the results may be powerful and long lasting.
Homeopathy takes into account the whole person. Often only one remedy may address all your complaints.
Homeopathic medicines cost surprisingly less than allopathic prescription medication. The Homeopathic medicines are intended to boost the immune system, making you stronger and less likely to get sick.
5. PREVENTATIVE TREATMENT
By boosting the body’s immune system, homeopathy can help improve a person’s resistance to illness and infections.
6. NO ANIMAL TESTING
Humans respond differently to medication than animals do. All Homeopathic medication is tested on healthy humans. The symptoms that a substance taken over time elicits in a healthy person, are shown to be exactly those that can be cured in a sick person suffering from those symptoms.
7. EASY TO TAKE
Homeopathic medicines are given either as small pleasant tasting tablets which dissolve in the mouth, or in liquid form. Granules, powders or drops are available for babies and children.
8. PERSON’S INVOLVEMENT
The Homeopath will ask many questions, not only about the symptoms which are bothering an individual, but how they react to the condition, as well as wanting to know about general health and lifestyle.
9. INVALUABLE FOR FIRST AID
Homeopathic medicines can be safely used in the home or workplace to treat simple problems-such as bruises, minor burns, sprains, insect bites and gastric upsets. However more serious or chronic complaints should be treated by a qualified Homeopathic practitioner.
10. THE MEDICINE OF THE FUTURE
With over 6000 Homeopathic medicines in existence and new Homeopathic medicines being discovered all the time, Homeopathy is a growing art. However unlike allopathic medicine that takes drugs off the market every year as new side-effects are discovered, Homeopaths still use the same medicines they were using 200 years ago with new medicines to broaden their scope. Scientists are only now discovering breakthroughs in quantum physics that helps us to develop a deeper understanding of Homeopathy, as it was used 200 years ago.
Clarification of the Basic Homeopathic Principles Including Reference to Worldwide Practice.
A Synopsis of the Basic Principles of Homeopathy for those just learning Homeopathy.
This article was written with the patient in mind and for those who wish to learn more about Homeopathy. For this reason, some of the terminology has been simplified as far as possible, to make for ease of understanding.
The Organon and Homeopathic Philosophy
The Organon of Medicine, written by Samuel Hahnemann, the founder of Homeopathy is the cornerstone of Homeopathic principles and practice. The first edition was written in 1810 in aphoristic style (paragraphs with numbers.) The book lays out the doctrines of Homeopathy in a logical sequence of thoughts, philosophy and practice. In total there were 6 editions, five of which were published in Hahnemann’s lifetime, the 6th completed in 1842, but he sadly passed away in June of 1843 before it could be published. Thanks to the efforts of William Boericke. the 6th edition was published in 1921.
In order to fully embrace Homeopathy, it is helpful to understand basic Homeopathic philosophy. With patients, and those that wish to learn, I repeatedly refer to the mind/body connection and how symptoms should be treated in their totality as opposed to being seen as separate problems. The fundamental tenet of Homeopathic medicine is to treat the imbalances of ‘the vital force’ leading to ill health as a whole, ideally with one remedy which matches the symptoms of the mind, body and spirit (this remedy is known as the Simillimum.)
The Vital Force is an undefined energy, capable of fueling an organism, it is inherent in all living things, which if disrupted or disturbed can result in disease. “The material organism without the vital force is capable of no sensation, no function, no self preservation; it derives all sensations, and performs all functions of life solely by means of the immaterial being (the vital force) which animates the material organism in health and disease.” (Aphorism 10, The Organon)
Hahnemann refers to it also as ‘dynamis’, ‘vital principle’ and ‘vital energy’. James Tyler Kent refers to it as ‘The Simple Substance,’ which is the dominating force in the organism; the absence of this force, is death. To help with an understanding of this, energy parallels can be found in various cultures; the Ancient Chinese know The Vital Force as ‘Chi, the Japanese and Koreans as ‘Ki’ and in the ancient Sanskrit writings of India it is known as ‘Prana.’
Underlying this, there are 4 basic principles which govern Homeopathy; each of which will be discussed.
The first principle; the Law of Similars
The derivation of the word ‘Homeopathy’ (originally homoeopathy) comes from the Greek homoeo, meaning ‘similar’, and pathos, meaning ‘suffering’.
This leads on to the first principle which is ‘Similia Similbus Curentur,’ translated from the Latin as: ‘like cures like.’ This principle predates Hahnemann and in fact, goes back to ancient ayurvedic scripts.
The idea/concept of ‘The Law of Similars’ had first been mentioned by Hippocrates (The Father of Medicine, 460-377 B.C.) then by P.A. Paracelsus (1493-1541) although Hahnemann was responsible for creating ‘Homeopathy’ as we now know it, a complete system of medicine.
Through much research and hands on practice, Hahnemann proved that a substance that can cause disease in a healthy person, can actively heal the same or similar disease in another. For example, Belladonna, a well known homeopathic remedy is used to treat high fevers, redness in the face and tongue. Were belladonna to be ingested in its raw form, the symptoms of the poisoning would be exactly this. Also, think of what happens when you are exposed to a raw onion. Your eyes water and nose burns. The Homeopathic remedy Allium-Cepa (made from onion) can relieve these symptoms, once again, treating ‘like with like.’
The task of the Homeopath is to match the patients’ symptoms to the correct Homeopathic remedy, specifically those that are characteristic to the patient. This is explained in Aphorism 26 in the Organon, where Hahnemann states: ‘In the living organism a weaker, dynamic affection is permanently extinguished by a stronger one which although different in nature nevertheless, greatly resembles it in its expression.’ The simillimum is just that, totality; not partial, but a complete reflection of a state that is mentally, physically and spiritually in alignment with its subject.
The second principle; The Single Remedy
The second principle of Classical Homeopathy is The Single Remedy. Hahnemann was forceful in his opinion in prescribing with one remedy for the totality of symptoms, using words such as ‘it is inadmissible’ to prescribe more than one remedy at a time (Aphorism 273, The Organon.) The reasoning and thinking behind this lies in the fact that if many remedies were prescribed at once, it would be impossible to ascertain which remedy was actually working and could massively confuse a case. It is simple common sense when we consider that each remedy is ‘proved’ individually, the combined interaction of many remedies’ at once has not been. This obviously has many similarities to where a GP of conventional medicine, prescribes single drugs for single complaints, the interaction of all these drugs, collectively untested, at times, with devastating consequences. Why should Homeopathy be any different, given the powerful effects of so many of the remedies?
It remains the case that there will always be one remedy that resonates with a case more than another; wherever possible, the Homeopath should go with this. However, as ever in life, there will always be grey areas and flexibility at times is necessary as long as a remedy is given sufficient time to act, and if there is a definite change in the presenting symptoms and aspect of the Vital Force. In this instance Hahnemann, in the 4th edition of the Organon suggested that remedies could be alternated, given in short succession, and condones the use of tissue salts, in specific cases that demanded a different approach. Catherine Coulter, in ‘The unfolding of Experience’ sums up the ideal situation in prescribing, by stating that: ‘the strongest, deepest current in Classical Homeopathy – the tug that pulls the stream to the river and the river to the sea- is to address the multiple manifestations of the single disordered life-force with a single remedy; in a phrase, to shape unity from multiplicity.’ (Coulter, C: 2008:100)
It remains the case that if this pure, philosophically appropriate method of prescribing can be attained and in whilst doing so, promotes healing without other remedies being involved, we have demonstrated the dynamic power of pure, Classical Homeopathy.
The third principle; The Minimum Dose
Healing according to Hahnemann should be done ‘rapidly, gently and permanently; to remove and destroy the whole disease in the shortest, surest, least harmful way, according to clearly comprehensible principles.’ (Aphorism 2.) The minimum dose of a remedy, (one of these principles) simply means the minutest amount of a substance to nudge the vital force in the direction of healing. Too high a potency of a remedy or unnecessary repetition can result in unwelcome aggravations. In homeopathy, less is more. The body has a way of signaling through the manifestation of symptoms, when a higher potency is needed or more frequent repetition of a remedy.
If there was one ‘principle’ in Homeopathy that people had a problem with understanding, it would be the infinitesimal doses of a remedy given; in other words, the perception is, there is nothing in a remedy.
This has been said to me on many occasions. However, it remains the case that empirically, and in thousands of studies, both observational and through clinical outcome and randomized controlled trials, Homeopathy has been seen to heal many people worldwide.
For those who cannot come to terms with the fact that Homeopathic remedies do not contain any active material because of the molecular limits of Avogrado’s number, the current scientific evidence suggests that Homeopathic remedies are nanoparticles and not ordinary conventional bulks of source material.
Given this, intense scientific consideration must be seriously focused now on how nano particles can act in the body to stimulate a healing process. Much of this research is headed by Dr Iris Bell (MD, Ph.D.) from the University of Arizona College of Medicine, and for those who would like more detailed information, please read and study the research: (Bell, I, Koithan, M, 2012.) Research in this area is ongoing and is constantly being updated, by various eminent scientists and Homeopaths throughout the world.
The fourth principle; The Potentized Remedy
Homeopathic remedies are made from natural substances such as plants, minerals and animals but the process of their manufacture is unlike that of any other medicine.
A remedy made from a specific substance is put through a process of serial dilution, the end result being a very dilute extract is made. Each step of this dilution involves the substance being shaken with force; Homeopathically this is referred to as ‘succussion.’ It has been found that by succusing in this way the remedy becomes active and dynamic (generally latent in its crude form) and the degree of the succussion produces a final potency of a remedy which will be given in accordance with the presenting vital force.
Fundamentally, potentization means that a substance has been prepared according to Homeopathic philosophy and Homeopathic pharmaceutical standards, through serial dilution and succussion.
To show the extent of its popularity, even in the wake of fanatical sceptisism by institutions of often dubious repute, over 200 million people worldwide use Homeopathy on a regular basis, which undoubtedly is testament to its effectiveness.
It is included in the national health systems of a number of countries e.g. Brazil, Chile, India, Mexico, Pakistan, Switzerland, United Kingdom. 10% of people in the UK use Homeopathy, an estimated 6 million people.
There are over 400 doctors in the UK that use Homeopathy, regulated by the Faculty of Homeopathy and promoted by the British Homeopathic Association. In the NHS approx. 40,000 Homeopathic prescriptions are provided to patients per year by doctors working within the Homeopathic service.
There were originally 5 Homeopathic hospitals (Glasgow, Liverpool, London, Bristol and Tunbridge Wells). Tunbridge Wells closed in 2007 and in 2010, the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital changed its name to the Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine.
There are more than 1,500 professional Homeopaths (non-medically qualified Homeopaths) in the UK, regulated by the Society of Homeopaths (65%), Alliance of Registered Homeopaths and Homeopathic Medical Association. They largely operate in private practice outside the NHS. In addition, there are many vets that use Homeopathy as an integral part of their practice.
Randomised controlled trials, clinical outcome studies and observational studies are ongoing via The Clinical Outcome Research in Homeopathy data base (CORE-hom). It currently comprises over 1015 clinical trials in Homeopathy and is updated regularly as new trials are completed. (Source: Homeopathy Research Institute.) In addition, there are many other research projects continuously being performed throughout the world by a variety of eminent institutions.
The objective of summarizing the underlying Homeopathic principles was to help and clarify philosophy and practice, whilst also discussing the extent of its popularity as a system of medicine world wide.
Even though Homeopathy is over 200 years old, confusion still exists as to its foundations, its underlying philosophy, and its role in health care; hopefully any grey areas are now clearer.
Please feel free to share if you think others would benefit!
Bell, I.R. Koithan, M. (2012) A model for homeopathic remedy effects: low dose nanoparticles, allostatic cross-adaptation, and time-dependent sensitization in a complex adaptive system. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2012; 12(1):191(epub) Available at:
http://bmccomplementalternmed.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1472-6882-12-191 [Accessed: 20th May 2016]
Coulter, C (2008) Homeopathic Education, The Unfolding of Experience Berkeley Springs, West Virginia, Ninth House Publishing
Hahnemann, S. (2003) The Organon of Medicine, London: Orion (New Translation Kunzli, Naude and Pemberton)
Here are a few key Homeopathic remedies to have on hand to help you through any bad storm or hurricane.
The Basics: Rescue Remedy | Arnica
These two little remedies will see you through a lot of hurricane stressors. You can purchase them everywhere including your local CVS/Walgreens, Whole foods, Sprouts, New Season, etc.
Rescue Remedy (in spray, drops or lozenges form) is brilliantly helpful and calming for pets, kids and grown ups who are anxious or fearful at any time for any reason. Use as often as you’d like, you can put a few drops in every drink (or your pets water bowl) for as long as it’s needed.
Arnica will help with any injuries—bangs, bumps, bruises before, during or after the storm. It also helps with aching after any kind of exertion/heavy lifting, again, before (preparing) or after (clearing up). Take a few doses here, or there backing off, as it helps and repeating it as needed.
These are for some of the common emotional stressors that accompany a bad storm or hurricane If you have a first aid kit these are included. If you don’t have a kit they are available at any store that has a range of Homeopathic remedies. I suggest 30C for all remedies including Arnica. Take a few doses of the best indicated remedy backing off as the remedy helps and repeating it as needed. Switch to another remedy after 3-6 doses if it doesn’t help.
For those who are tremendously anxious leading up to the storm. Gelsemium becomes anxious and exhausted and can’t think. Wants to lie down and close their eyes.
Before the storm Arsenicumis anxious and restless and has to tidy up and can’t think until everything is clean and in its place.
Aconite is for those who become fearful and/or panicky (before during or after the storm)—and especially if they are afraid of dying (it doesn’t matter if the fear is rational or not). For people in shock after the storm this is a great remedy.
Phosphorus is for everyone but especially for kids and pets who become frightened during the storm itself—who are terrified of the noises and cannot be alone.
Ignatia is also for shock and those who become emotionally upset or even distraught after the storm—especially if they lose something important (it doesn’t matter what it is).
Let’s look at Homeopathic Immunization (homeoprophylaxis)
We are struggling to manage two problems at once but could be a lot cleverer about it.
The first problem is that people, including children, still die from infectious diseases such as malaria, whooping cough, and other epidemic diseases.
The second is that, from the homeopathic standpoint, vaccines have several drawbacks.
Vaccines are expensive, slow to produce, offer variable rates of protection, and are complicated to distribute and administer. They also produce minor to serious side-effects, and in some instances, death. For some diseases, no vaccine exists.
So, to manage these problems better, why don’t we look at the Homeopathic alternative?
Homeopathy has been repeatedly used for protection AND treatment during world epidemics and outbreaks. It is inexpensive, quickly distributed, easily administered and safe. Remedies exist for all epidemic diseases.
Homeopathy first rose to prominence through its effective treatment and prevention of cholera and typhoid. 200-years later it is still doing the same; governments of today are using Homeopathy to prevent, treat, or break epidemics within their countries.
Some examples are:
The Indian government controls epidemics of malaria, Japanese encephalitis, dengue fever, and epidemic fever with Homeopathy.
The Cuban government now depends on Homeopathy to manage its leptospirosis epidemics and dengue fever outbreaks!
The Brazilian government funded two large trials that successfully reduced the incidence of meningococcal disease in those given the Homeopathy prophylactic.
The governments of Thailand, Colombo and Brazil use Homeopathy to manage dengue fever outbreaks and epidemics.
Isn’t it time we ‘wised up’ and researched the Homeopathic option further? Under the circumstances, it is a reasonable and sensible thing to do.
Let’s look at Homeopathic immunization (homeoprophylaxis) Realistic rendering of bacteria – in red colors. We are struggling to manage two problems at once but could be a lot cleverer about it. The first problem is that people, including children, still die from infectious diseases such as malaria, whooping cough, and other epidemic diseases. The second is that, from the Homeopathic standpoint, vaccines have several drawbacks. Vaccines are expensive, slow to produce, offer variable rates of protection, and are complicated to distribute and administer. They also produce minor to serious side-effects, and in some instances, death. For some diseases, no vaccine exists.
So, to manage these problems better, why don’t we look at the Homeopathic alternative?
Homeopathy has been repeatedly used for protection AND treatment during world epidemics and outbreaks. It is inexpensive, quickly distributed, easily administered and safe. Remedies exist for all epidemic diseases. Homeopathy first rose to prominence through its effective treatment and prevention of cholera and typhoid. 200-years later it is still doing the same; governments of today are using homeopathy to prevent, treat, or break epidemics within their countries. Some examples are: The Indian government controls epidemics of malaria, Japanese encephalitis, dengue fever, and epidemic fever with Homeopathy The Cuban government now depends on Homeopathy to manage its leptospirosis epidemics and dengue fever outbreaks The Brazilian government funded two large trials that successfully reduced the incidence of meningococcal disease in those given the Homeopathy prophylactic The governments of Thailand, Colombo and Brazil use Homeopathy to manage dengue fever outbreaks and epidemics
(References and sources for these and other instances are found at: http://homeopathyplus.com/Homeoprophylaxis-Human-Records-Studies-Trials.pdf)
Isn’t it time we ‘wised up’ and researched the Homeopathic option further? Under the circumstances, it is a reasonable and sensible thing to do.
The Swiss government has a long and widely-respected history of neutrality, and therefore, reports from this government on controversial subjects need to be taken more seriously than other reports from countries that are more strongly influenced by present economic and political constituencies. When one considers that two of the top five largest drug companies in the world have their headquarters in Switzerland, one might assume that this country would have a heavy interest in and bias toward conventional medicine, but such assumptions would be wrong.
In late 2011, the Swiss government’s report on homeopathic medicine represents the most comprehensive evaluation of homeopathic medicine ever written by a government and was just published in book form in English (Bornhoft and Matthiessen, 2011). This breakthrough report affirmed that homeopathic treatment is both effective and cost-effective and that homeopathic treatment should be reimbursed by Switzerland’s national health insurance program.
The Swiss government’s inquiry into homeopathy and complementary and alternative (CAM) treatments resulted from the high demand and widespread use of alternatives to conventional medicine in Switzerland, not only from consumers but from physicians as well. Approximately half of the Swiss population have used CAM treatments and value them. Further, about half of Swiss physicians consider CAM treatments to be effective. Perhaps most significantly, 85 percent of the Swiss population wants CAM therapies to be a part of their country’s health insurance program.
It is therefore not surprising that more than 50 percent of the Swiss population surveyed prefer a hospital that provides CAM treatments rather to one that is limited to conventional medical care.
Beginning in 1998, the government of Switzerland decided to broaden its national health insurance to include certain complementary and alternative medicines, including homeopathic medicine, traditional Chinese medicine, herbal medicine, anthroposophic medicine, and neural therapy. This reimbursement was provisional while the Swiss government commissioned an extensive study on these treatments to determine if they were effective and cost-effective. The provisional reimbursement for these alternative treatments ended in 2005, but as a result of this new study, the Swiss government’s health insurance program once again began to reimburse for homeopathy and select alternative treatments. In fact, as a result of a national referendum in which more than two-thirds of voters supported the inclusion of homeopathic and select alternative medicines in Switzerland’s national health care insurance program, the field of complementary and alternative medicine has become a part of this government’s constitution (Dacey, 2009; Rist, Schwabl, 2009).
The Swiss Government’s “Health Technology Assessment”
The Swiss government’s “Health Technology Assessment” on homeopathic medicine is much more comprehensive than any previous governmental report written on this subject to date. Not only did this report carefully and comprehensively review the body of evidence from randomized double-blind and placebo controlled clinical trials testing homeopathic medicines, they also evaluated the “real world effectiveness” as well as safety and cost-effectiveness. The report also conducted a highly-comprehensive review of the wide body of preclinical research (fundamental physio-chemical research, botanical studies, animal studies, and in vitro studies with human cells).
And still further, this report evaluated systematic reviews and meta-analyses, outcome studies, and epidemiological research. This wide review carefully evaluated the studies conducted, both in terms of quality of design and execution (called “internal validity”) and how appropriate each was for the way that homeopathy is commonly practiced (called “external validity”). The subject of external validity is of special importance because some scientists and physicians conduct research on homeopathy with little or no understanding of this type of medicine (some studies tested a homeopathic medicine that is rarely used for the condition tested, while others utilized medicines not commonly indicated for specific patients). When such studies inevitably showed that the homeopathic medicine did not “work,” the real and accurate assessment must be that the studies were set up to disprove homeopathy… or simply, the study was an exploratory trial that sought to evaluate the results of a new treatment (exploratory trials of this nature are not meant to prove or disprove the system of homeopathy but only to evaluate that specific treatment for a person with a specific condition).
After assessing pre-clinical basic research and the high quality clinical studies, the Swiss report affirmed that homeopathic high-potencies seem to induce regulatory effects (e.g., balancing or normalizing effects) and specific changes in cells or living organisms. The report also reported that 20 of the 22 systematic reviews of clinical research testing homeopathic medicines detected at least a trend in favor of homeopathy.* (Bornhöft, Wolf, von Ammon, et al, 2006)
The Swiss report found a particularly strong body of evidence to support the homeopathic treatment of Upper Respiratory Tract Infections and Respiratory Allergies. The report cited 29 studies in “Upper Respiratory Tract Infections/AllergicReactions,” of which 24 studies found a positive result in favor of homeopathy. Further, six out of seven controlled studies that compared homeopathic treatment with conventional medical treatment showed that homeopathy to be more effective than conventional medical interventions (the one other trial found homeopathic treatment to be equivalent to conventional medical treatment). All of these results from homeopathic treatment came without the side effects common to conventional drug treatment. In evaluating only the randomized placebo controlled trials, 12 out of 16 studies showed a positive result in favor of homeopathy.
The authors of the Swiss government’s report acknowledge that a part of the overall review of research included one negative review of clinical research in homeopathy (Shang, et al, 2005). However, the authors noted that this review of research has been widely and harshly criticized by both advocates and non-advocates of homeopathy. The Swiss report noted that the Shang team did not even adhere to the QUORUM guidelines which are widely recognized standards for scientific reporting (Linde, Jonas, 2005). The Shang team initially evaluated 110 homeopathic clinical trials and then sought to compare them with a matching 110 conventional medical trials. Shang and his team determined that there were 22 “high quality” homeopathic studies but only nine “high quality” conventional medical studies. Rather than compare these high quality trials (which would have shown a positive result for homeopathy), the Shang team created criteria to ignore a majority of high quality homeopathic studies, thereby trumping up support for their original hypothesis and bias that homeopathic medicines may not be effective (Lüdtke, Rutten, 2008).
The Swiss report also notes that David Sackett, M.D., the Canadian physician who is widely considered to be one of the leading pioneers in “evidence based medicine,” has expressed serious concern about those researchers and physicians who consider randomized and double-blind trials as the only means to determine whether a treatment is effective or not. To make this assertion, one would have to acknowledge that virtually all surgical procedures were “unscientific” or “unproven” because so few have undergone randomized double-blind trials.
In my view, for a treatment to be determined to be “effective” or “scientifically proven,” a much more comprehensive assessment of what works and doesn’t is required. Ultimately, the Swiss government’s report on homeopathy represents an evaluation of homeopathy that included an assessment of randomized double blind trials as well as other bodies of evidence, all of which together lead the report to determine that homeopathic medicines are indeed effective.
The next article will discuss further evidence provided in this report from the Swiss government on the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of homeopathic care.
Statement of correction (9/18/2013): The report on homeopathy (2012) that was described above has now been verified to be a second edition of a report that was initially commissioned by the government of Switzerland, but it was not a report that was issued by the Swiss government nor endorsed by the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health. Therefore, it is my intention here to state clearly that the first publication listed in the “References” section was not commissioned by the Swiss government, but the second reference that was written by most of the same authors as the first reference was commissioned by Swiss government. The conclusions of this publication (2006) are the same as those asserted in more detailed in both book forms, 2005 (ref. Bornhöft G, Matthiessen PM (Eds.). Homöopathie in der Krankenversorgung – Wirksamkeit, Nutzen, Sicherheit und Wirtschaftlichkeit. Frankfurt/M. 2006 VAS Verlag für Akademische Schriften.) and 2012. The conclusions of the commissioned report and the more detailed books are basically the same in the safety, efficacy, and cost-effectiveness of homeopathic medicine.
Bornhoft, Gudrun, and Matthiessen, Peter F. Homeopathy in Healthcare: Effectiveness, Appropriateness, Safety, Costs. Goslar, Germany: Springer, 2011. http://rd.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-642-20638-2/page/1 (This book is presently available from the German office of the publisher, and it will become available via the American office as well as select booksellers in mid- to late-February, 2012.)(NOTE: When specific facts in the above article are provided but not referenced, this means that these facts were derived from this book.)
Bornhöft G, Wolf U, von Ammon K, Righetti M, Maxion-Bergemann S, Baumgartner S, Thurneysen AE, Matthiessen PF. Effectiveness, safety and cost-effectiveness of homeopathy in general practice – summarized health technology assessment. Forschende Komplementärmedizin (2006);13 Suppl 2:19-29. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16883077
Dacey, Jessica. Therapy supporters roll up sleeves after vote. SwissInfo.ch, May 19, 2009. http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/politics/Therapy_supporters_roll_up_sleeves_after_vote.html?cid=670064
Linde K, Jonas W. Are the clinical effects of homeopathy placebo effects? Lancet 36:2081-2082. DOI:10.1016/S0140-6736(05)67878-6. http://download.thelancet.com/pdfs/journals/lancet/PIIS0140673605678786.pdf
Lüdtke R, Rutten ALB. The conclusions on the effectiveness of homeopathy highly depend on the set of analysed trials. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology. October 2008. doi: 10.1016/j.jclinepi.2008.06/015. http://www.jclinepi.com/article/S0895-4356(08)00190-X/abstract
Rist L, Schwabl H: Komplementärmedizin im politischen Prozess. Schweizer Bevölkerungstimmt über Verfassungsartikel «Zukunft mit Komplementärmedizin» ab. Forsch Komplementmed 2009, doi 10.1159/000203073.
(Translation: Complementary medicine in the political process: The Swiss population votes on the Constitutional Article “The future with complementary medicine” http://www.ayurveda-association.eu/files/swiss_referendum_on_cam_-_forschkomplementmed_2009.pdf
*Although this Swiss government report was just published in book form in 2011, the report was finalized in 2006. In light of this date, the authors evaluated systematic reviews and meta-analyses on homeopathic research up until June 2003.
Colds and flu can make any time of the year a struggle. In this post I look at how using individually-tailored Homeopathic remedies can offer support and facilitate healing.
Using Homeopathic Remedies for Colds and Flu
‘Physician, heal thyself’
A year or so into my four-year Homeopathic training, I lay in bed in agony. I was at the last stage in my “flu journey” and had an awful pain deep in my bones. I had never experienced anything like it before and was astonished that flu could be so painful. I crawled out of bed and raided my supply of remedies. Taking the one whose profile matched my sorry state, I was relieved when the pain subsided straight away and I could sleep.
At the outset I had felt so poorly, that I reluctantly realized I did have to rest, as this was indeed proper flu. Not just a bad cold, but the kind of debilitating flu we dread. Once it set in, I took a remedy that covers the archetypal flu experience such as I was feverish, shivery, weak and tired, with a runny nose and sneezing.
I used the 6c and 30c first aid kit Homeopathic remedies I had on hand. Taking them around four times a day, and changing the remedy as the symptoms moved through their different phases.
My experience was that the Homeopathic remedies not only helped with the symptoms that I was suffering with at each stage, I also moved through the whole flu journey in a matter of days. Much less than the standard week or more that we are told to expect.
My overall approach is to use Homeopathic remedies to help myself to stay well in the first place, which is always preferable! However, some bugs do still manage to sneak through the defenses from time to time, and I will then reach for one of the thousands of Homeopathic remedies we have available.
Individually Tailored Remedies for Colds and Flu
As each and every one of us will have our own way of expressing a cold or flu, we try to make the remedy match as best we can for that individual. This is as true for self-help remedies for minor and self-limiting conditions as it is for the individually tailored deeper Constitutional support when a Homeopath is prescribing for you. It is also important to check-in with a healthcare professional if you have under-lying or chronic health issues where respiratory conditions need to be monitored and managed accordingly.
Homeopathy treats the person as a whole and considers their symptom picture as a whole, working holistically. This means that we can use the same remedy for a cold or flu, if the profile matches. That is the key to remedy selection, is that we consider the whole person, not just the label of the disease or condition.
Homeopathic Remedies for Colds and Flu
We have a huge selection of remedies that can be helpful but here are some that I have found to be useful both personally and professionally. I have given my experience for each and you can also find more general information on Homeopathic Materia Medica by following the links in the References and Resources , .
Aconite – this is the remedy to reach for even at the threat of a cold or flu, as well as at the onset. I personally find this can often help me to avoid me going down with the full cold or flu about nine times out of ten. A soon as I feel the early warning signs that a cold is coming on, I reach for this.
Arsenicum-Album – has a wide range of applications and it is often used in colds or flu where the person feels chilly, has a very watery runny nose and eyes, sneezes a lot and wants lots of little sips of water.
Eupertorium-Perfoliatum – this was the remedy I took to help myself get over the last stage of that bout of flu. It is characterized by terrible bone pain where the person will just want to be still and rest, and will be very thirsty.
Ferrum-Phos – this can be a very useful remedy to have to hand if you have a cold and may feel run down. I have also used it as a tonic after a cold or flu.
Gelsemium – this was the remedy I used as my flu took hold and is commonly used for colds and flu that present in the ‘classic’ flu way described above.
Pulsatilla – with many uses, this is also remedy that is often used in colds. There may be lots of thick yellow or green catarrh, the person will feel better for fresh air. Children may be tearful and want to be with Mom or Dad – which is quite understandable when they feel poorly!
If more than one remedy looks relevant for how you are feeling at a particular point, you can ask your Homeopath or a Homeopathic Pharmacy for advice. It is also possible to simply alternate the individual remedies throughout a day, adjusting according to how you feel.
Getting Better and Staying Well
It is also really important to take good care of yourself when you are unwell. To do everything you can think of to boost your immune system and help your system to throw off the cold or flu and to make a good recovery. Having enough sleep, eating sensibly, keeping yourself well hydrated by drinking enough water and if you find them helpful, home remedies like a hot drink of local honey and fresh lemon. If you are doing all the right things and you are not responding, see your healthcare professional, just to check something is not being overlooked.
Homeopathy is a distinct philosophy of medicine that has its roots in eighteenth century Germany, and subsequently spread to Europe, India, Australia, South America, the United States, and Canada.
“The underlying basis of Homeopathy is the principle that ‘like cures like’…”
The underlying basis of Homeopathy is the principle that ‘like cures like’, or that a substance that is capable, in toxic doses, of producing a set of symptoms is also capable, in much lower doses, of curing the same set of symptoms regardless of their perceived cause.
The founder of modern Homeopathy, Samuel Hahnemann, speculated that a Homeopathic medicine has a temporary acute effect on the body. As the body rouses to neutralize this effect, similar symptoms from any other cause are likewise neutralized or eliminated. Homeopathic treatment thus involves matching as many symptoms as possible in a patient to the known effects of a remedy.
Remedies are derived from substances found in any of the three kingdoms (animal, vegetable, and mineral). Many of the early remedies were already in popular use in eighteenth century medicine. Because patients often showed severe side effects when they received standard doses of medicines, early Homeopaths directed their efforts at finding the minimum dose that was still therapeutic. Experimental work showed that a remedy could cause less reaction, yet still effectively treat a patient, when it was serially and systematically diluted and succussed (shaken in a specific manner).
By carefully observing patients and recording their symptoms and subsequent response to treatments, Homeopaths were able to catalog and cross-reference the remedies with the symptoms they could treat. At times, Homeopathic practitioners would administer placebos to their patients in order to determine whether symptoms and responses were truly due to the effects of the remedy. Additional information was also derived from reports of toxic reactions to various drugs and natural substances. Modern Homeopathic practitioners use these reference works, known as repertories, as a basis for determining the correct treatment for an individual case.
What is the history of Homeopathy in veterinary medicine?
Often, early Homeopaths treated both human and animal patients, and numerous case reports of treatment in dogs, horses, and cattle have been preserved in the works of these pioneers.
“Veterinarians in the nineteenth century used Homeopathic texts that were specifically developed for their profession…”
Veterinarians in the nineteenth century used Homeopathic texts that were specifically developed for their profession, as well as information from their medical colleagues.
In the latter years of the nineteenth century, Homeopathy began to decline in popularity with the development of the pharmaceutical industry. Homeopathy has been undergoing resurgence since the middle of the twentieth century, and has become popular again as a form of veterinary medicine in the past twenty to thirty years as animal owners and veterinarians alike explore it as a way beyond the limitations of conventional medicine. Formal training courses are offered to veterinarians and lead to certification status for successful veterinarians.
On which species of animals is Homeopathy practiced regularly?
Homeopathy is routinely practiced in dogs, cats, horses, ruminants, and birds. Its use in other exotic species is growing.
Who practices veterinary Homeopathy and do I need a referral?
“Homeopathic first aid for self-limiting conditions, can be readily taught to lay people.”
Some aspects of Homeopathy, such as Homeopathic first aid for self-limiting conditions, can be readily taught to lay people. Because of the potential for harm if critical illness or chronic disease is assessed incorrectly, it is absolutely necessary to have veterinary training as well as training in Homeopathic theory and practice in order to properly treat animal patients. Both the American Veterinary Medical Association and the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association consider veterinary Homeopathy to be the practice of veterinary medicine and, as such, licensed veterinarians in those countries can only legally practice it. As veterinary Homeopathy gains acceptance, there are an increasing number of veterinarians in private practice who possess the necessary training and experience. Referrals are available, but not necessary.
What conditions are most often treated with Homeopathy?
Both acute and chronic diseases are amenable to treatment with Homeopathy.
From the Homeopathic perspective, acute diseases are diseases that are caused by external influences, such as injuries, poisonings, infectious diseases, etc. The symptoms that arose in these cases were considered to have an adaptive advantage in that they often resulted in neutralization or elimination of the noxious influence.
Samuel Hahnemann later proposed that chronic diseases were also caused by the invasion of an external force, or ‘miasm’. To Hahnemann, symptoms that arose in response to this invasion represented the enduring action of this external force on the body. Some modern practitioners consider chronic disease symptoms as merely an initially constructive response to disease that has become enfeebled and ineffective over time. Chronic diseases from the Homeopathic perspective include most common disease syndromes such as allergies, arthritis, skin problems, digestive disturbances, respiratory problems, musculoskeletal problems, organ disease, and cancer.
How can my pet benefit from Homeopathy?
Homeopathy is potentially of value in any condition, regardless of prognosis from a conventional medical perspective. Some individuals may not be amenable to treatment with Homeopathy, and experience little or no improvement despite the practitioner’s best efforts.
“Homeopathy has a reputation of demanding a very high degree of skill from the practitioner.”
Homeopathy has a reputation of demanding a very high degree of skill from the practitioner. If properly applied, Homeopathy may eliminate the need for surgery in certain conditions, or may eliminate the need for chronic medications.
How successful is Homeopathy?
Homeopathy has been credited with saving countless lives during epidemics of dysentery, cholera and typhoid fever in the age before anti-microbials (antibiotics). The success of the treatment of chronic conditions will vary according to the age of the patient, prior treatment history, diagnosis, and the patient’s vitality.
“As with all other forms of medicine, the earlier in the course of disease that Homeopathy is started, the better the response tends to be.”
As with all other forms of medicine, the earlier in the course of disease that Homeopathy is started, the better the response tends to be.
Patients considered more difficult to treat include cases that have been previously treated with multiple potent drugs, especially chemotherapy; patients that have undergone long-term therapy with corticosteroids and other immune suppressants; and diseases that can be characterized as a very deeply entrenched form of pathology such as cancer.
Homeopathy may produce side effects or a worsening of the initial complaint if the wrong remedy is administered, or if the correct remedy is overused. A partial response to treatment is not necessarily optimal for a patient’s health, if other symptoms continue unabated. As with other medical systems, comprehensive improvements are more likely to be associated with a fundamental change for the better. Such partial improvements may be more common when over-the-counter combinations of remedies are used, as opposed to a single more appropriate remedy. Veterinary Homeopaths are trained to use single remedies and correctly interpret symptom changes.
When used correctly and by a skillful veterinary practitioner, serious adverse reactions to Homeopathic remedies are uncommon, but may occur. When the correct Homeopathic remedy has been administered, it is common to see a mild worsening of the condition, called an ‘aggravation’. Such aggravations should resolve within a short period of time once treatment is at least temporarily discontinued.
What is the cost of Homeopathy?
Homeopathic remedies are generally very affordable. However, comprehensive Homeopathic treatment can be very time consuming, since it involves a thorough history taking and physical examination, followed by a patient assessment, case analysis and formulation of a treatment plan, including remedy prescription.
“…costs will vary according to the specific condition being treated, the time spent on the case, and the response of the patient…”
It rarely involves a single visit, and costs will vary according to the specific condition being treated, the time spent on the case, and the response of the patient, which dictates how many follow-up appointments are required. The fees associated with Homeopathic treatment are set by the individual practitioner, and will often reflect the skill, experience and training of the practitioner.
Can Homeopathy be combined with other types of veterinary medicine?
Homeopathy is useful as an adjunct therapy to manage post-operative pain and to speed healing after injuries. However, as a complete and well-developed system of medicine, Homeopathy is effective as the sole form of treatment for most conditions, and is used that way by skilled practitioners. Under certain circumstances, it can be combined with other forms of treatment.
Caution must be used when mixing Homeopathy with some drugs, or with other forms of complementary or alternative veterinary medicine.
“Pungent ointments, strong smelling chemicals such as camphor and tea tree oil, and any strong stimulant medications may interfere with homeopathic treatment.”
Pungent ointments, strong smelling chemicals such as camphor and tea tree oil, and any strong stimulant medications may interfere with homeopathic treatment.
Combining therapies can make if difficult to determine what is working well, or whether the different treatments are interfering or nullifying each other. Ideally, when two or more forms of treatment are given, they should be separated by one or two days or by at least several hours if a longer interval is not possible. Certified veterinary Homeopaths have the knowledge and skill to understand the interactions between different forms of treatment and to interpret the patient’s response to therapy. If your pet is receiving Homeopathic treatment from a practitioner other than your regular veterinarian, it is imperative that both individuals are kept updated about the ongoing treatment in order to provide coordinated care of your pet, to allow proper evaluation of treatment and to minimize any avoidable interactions or interferences.
Steve Marsden, DVM ND MSOM LAc DiplCH AHG, Shawn Messonnier, DVM and Cheryl Yuill, DVM, MSc, CVH.
Madeline, a middle-aged woman diagnosed with mild depression, felt worse during the winter months. It started with the anticipation of the obligatory family get-togethers during Christmas.
She grew up in a dysfunctional family with an alcoholic and abusive father. Christmas was a time when the old feelings of shame and guilt resurfaced, causing anxiety and depression to dominate her existence. By the time she got through the holidays, the cold weather made her become reclusive. She found it difficult to keep warm, and as a result turned down invitations and isolated herself, leaving her apartment only for work and other basics.
The progression of winter corresponded with Madeline’s downward spiral with depression. She suffered from seasonal affective disorder (SAD). The limited sunlight during the winter months contributed to her feelings of anxiety and depression.
One year she tried anti-depressants to alleviate the awful feeling she described as “feeling insignificant.” Within three months she had to stop taking the drug as it made her feel “numb” and gave rise to unwanted side effects.
On a friend’s recommendation, Madeline decided to try Homeopathy and she came to my clinic.
After an extensive intake interview with Madeline, I selected the homeopathic remedy Carbo Vegetabilis based on her mental-emotional outlook and physical symptoms combined.
Within four weeks of starting the Homeopathic regime, Madeline reported feeling hopeful. When I asked her how she felt about the season’s absence of sunlight, she smiled and told me she hadn’t even thought about it. Madeline now had increased energy, was going out more, and enjoyed longer hours of sleep.
Within six months, Madeline was feeling significantly better. She was especially happy to report feeling emotionally stronger during the recent holiday season.
What is Depression
Depression is an affliction characterized by many signs and symptoms. People diagnosed with depression can have a few or several of the following: feelings of sadness, fatigue or lethargy, feelings of guilt or worthlessness, inability to concentrate, difficulty making decisions, significant weight loss or gain, disturbed sleep or too much sleep, loss of interest in activities, low libido, anxiety and restlessness, feeling anti-social, aggressive behavior, and persistent thoughts or talk of suicide.
The Homeopathic Approach
When did your depression begin, and what was going on in your life at that time? This is one of the first questions your homeopath will ask when you’re seeking help for depression.
The answers are as diverse and colorful as the patients themselves. Perhaps you have felt depressed all your life due to hereditary factors. Maybe it began after a major and traumatic event in your life, such as divorce, abuse, death of a loved one, or loss of employment. Or possibly you became depressed as a result of hormonal imbalance, which is common during puberty, after childbirth, and during menopause.
The answer to the origins of your depression provides an important clue to finding your individual Homeopathic remedy. At the same time, regardless of the triggering event of your depression, Homeopathy can help you get unblocked, turn the corner, and set you on the path to recovery.
How Homeopathy Works
Homeopathy is a medical science based on the law of similars. Simply explained, this means any substance capable of promoting symptoms (or disease) is also capable of curing the same, when taken in infinitesimal or Homeopathic doses. The Homeopathic approach to curing depression is no different. After listening to your story, your unique symptoms, and circumstances, a Classical Homeopath will give you a substance that is capable of producing feelings of depression in a non-depressed person.
There are well over 3,000 Homeopathic remedies to choose from. Treatment of any condition is based on the totality of symptoms expressed by the individual. Therefore, in Homeopathy we cannot assign remedies to specific disease labels. Instead, the remedies are unique to individuals. Each individual suffering from depression expresses it quite differently; with different feelings, behaviors, and symptoms. As a result, 10 people diagnosed with depression will likely receive 10 different Homeopathic remedies.
• A patient who had been depressed his entire life, with feelings of inadequacy, low self-esteem, and difficulties expressing his feelings, made great progress with the Homeopathic remedy Natrum Muriaticum;
• Another patient suffering with life-long depression, who was a perfectionist, was unable to tolerate mediocrity and had rage and suicidal thoughts, made great improvement with the remedy Aurum Metallicum;
• Two recent cases of depression involving hormonal imbalance received the Homeopathic remedies Lilium Tigrinum and Sepia;
• The Homeopathic remedy Tuberculinum helped the recovery of a patient who became severely depressed after separating from her husband;
• Arsenicum Album created a spark of optimism for a young woman who had been depressed since a childhood occurrence of sexual abuse.
After taking the indicated Homeopathic remedy, patients start noticing changes within a few hours to several days. Most people experience increased energy and motivation. This becomes the catalyst for positive changes in their lives. I have had numerous patients tell me that they cleaned out their garage or the entire house after taking a Homeopathic remedy; a symbolic expression of cleansing. People adopt a more positive outlook on life and begin engaging in their favorite activities once again.
Length of Treatment
The length of time needed to cure depression (or any disease) depends on the severity and the length of time you’ve had it. So it is not realistic for your Homeopath to assess how long treatment should take until your response to the remedies becomes apparent over a period of time. While long-standing conditions may take months or years to heal, there will be improvement quite soon. Conversely, an acute condition such as a sprained swollen ankle can be healed within 30 minutes with the remedy Arnica (as just one example).
Expression vs. Suppression (Homeopathy vs. Anti-depressants)
It is important for me to emphasize that sadness is a normal part of life. It is a healthy response to losing a loved one, separating from a spouse, or feeling betrayed by a trusted friend. What may be a problem is identifying sadness as wrong and suppressing it with anti-depressant drugs. These drugs drive the depression deeper into the organism, never addressing the origins of the strong emotions. The body’s natural healing response becomes stuck, and the depression bottled up inside. This stagnation gives rise to side-effects as well as other health complications down the road, worthy of a whole other article.
Here is one worth mentioning – a recent must-read article in which a top US psychiatrist goes on the record to acknowledge the connection between gun violence / mass killings and children being prescribed SSRI drugs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors). Read the article at http://bit.ly/Wpe6GQ
Homeopathic medicine enhances and accelerates the expression of grief and sadness, helping one move through the process of depression with more ease. One example is the Homeopathic remedy Ignatia Iamara, which is known for its quick relief of acute grief. I prescribed this remedy for a patient whose young nephew had died in a car accident. She reported feeling “emotionally stronger and more at ease” while dealing with the grief.
Homeopathy can heal your life. Not only can the correct Homeopathic remedy restore your health and eliminate depression, but continued treatment with Homeopathic remedies can even eliminate inherent weaknesses and predisposition to disease.
If eliminating the root cause of your depression is your goal, then Homeopathy is your medicine of choice.