Dana Ullman, Copyright 2009
(Version May 30, 2009 – this article will be updated occasionally. For the most
up-to-date version, go to:
is a sophisticated and futuristic pharmacological system that individualizes
medicines that augment immune competence and initiate healing. Homeopathy is a
system of "medical biomimicry" in which a medicine is chosen for its capacity to
cause, if given in overdose to healthy people, the similar symptoms that the
sick person is experiencing. By mimicking these symptoms, the medicine augments
the body's own defenses. This article is a review of modern thinking about
homeopathy in the light of new and ancient understandings of the art and science
Many people confuse
homeopathic medicine with herbal remedies or with the broad field of alternative
or natural medicine. As you will learn from this article, homeopathic medicine
has its own sophisticated system of using substances from the plant, mineral,
chemical, and animal kingdoms. This article will describe--in a modern and even
futuristic fashion--this fascinating and powerful method of strengthening the
body’s own defense system.
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“homeopathy” is derived from two Greek words: homoios which means “similar” and
pathos which means “suffering.” Homeopathy’s basic premise is called the
“principle of similars,” and it refers to recurrent observation and experience
that a medicinal substance will elicit a healing response for the specific
syndrome of symptoms (or suffering) that it has been proven to cause when given
to a healthy person in overdose.
The beauty of the
principle of similars is that it not only initiates a healing response, but it
encourages a respect for the body's wisdom. Because symptoms represent the best
efforts of our body in its defenses against infection or stress, it makes sense
to utilize a medicine that helps and mimics this defense rather than that
inhibits or suppresses it. The principle of similars may be one of nature's
laws that, when used well, can be one of our most sophisticated healing
It is important to
note that immunizations and allergy treatments are two of the very few
applications in modern medicine today that actually stimulate the body’s own
defenses in the prevention or treatment of specific diseases, and it is NOT
simply a coincidence that both of these treatments are derived from the
homeopathic principle of similars.
is so widely practiced by physicians in Europe that it is no longer appropriate
to consider it “alternative medicine” there. Approximately 30% of French
doctors and 20% of German doctors use homeopathic medicines regularly, while
over 40% of British physicians refer patients to homeopathic doctors, and almost
half of Dutch physicians consider homeopathic medicines to be effective. The
fact that the British Royal Family has used and supported homeopathy since the
1830s reflects its longstanding presence in Britain’s national health care
also once had a major presence in American medical care and in American
society. In 1900 there were 22 homeopathic medical schools in the US, including
Boston University, University of Michigan, New York Medical College, Hahnemann
University, University of Minnesota, and even the University of Iowa. Further,
many of America’s cultural elite were homeopathy’s strongest advocates,
including Mark Twain, William James, John D. Rockefeller, Susan B. Anthony,
Louisa May Alcott, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Henry David Thoreau, and Harriett
Beecher Stowe, amongst many others. (For a more extensive list of famous people
past and present who are known advocates of homeopathy,
In his Pulitzer
Prize-winning book The Social Transformation of American Medicine, Paul Starr
noted, "Because homeopathy was simultaneously philosophical and experimental, it
seemed to many people to be more rather than less scientific than orthodox
This article will
present a strong case for homeopathy in light of the most recent developments in
science and medicine. That said, I want to apologize to those people who have
an open mind about homeopathy but who have been introduced to it by individuals
who have not adequately explained this science and art in a clear and convincing
fashion. It is hoped that both skeptics and those open-minded but inadequately
informed people will benefit from this overview of the homeopathic system.
principle of homeopathy is also at the heart of modern physiology. It is
commonly understood in medicine today that symptoms are not just something
“wrong” with the body, but rather, they represent the efforts of the body and
mind to defend and heal itself from a variety of infective agents and/or
stresses. The body creates fever, inflammation, pain, discharge, or whatever is
necessary in order to heal itself. While these symptoms represent the body’s
best efforts to heal, they are not always successful in doing so. Ultimately,
homeopathic medicines are some of the most powerful natural drugs available
today to help augment the body’s ability to heal itself (more on this topic
today is increasingly recognizing symptoms as adaptive responses of the body.
Standard texts of pathology define the process of inflammation as the manner in
which the body seeks to wall off, heat up, and burn out infective agents or
foreign matter. The cough has long been known as a protective mechanism for
clearing breathing passages. Diarrhea has been shown to be a defensive effort of
the body to remove pathogens or irritants more quickly from the colon.
Discharges are understood as the body's way of ridding itself of dead bacteria,
viruses, and cells. Even high blood pressure is an important defense and
adaptation to the internal and external stresses that a person experiences.
The derivation of
the word “symptom” is helpful to better understanding of the disease process and
the healing process. The word "symptom" comes from a Greek root and refers to
"something that falls together with something else." Symptoms are a “sign” or a
“signal” of something else, and treating them doesn't necessarily change that
"something else." Just because a drug gets rid of a symptom does not mean that
the person is cured. In fact, drugs that suppress or inhibit a symptom tend to
provide only a guise of success and usually lead to a longer and more serious
illness. Using drugs to suppress symptoms is akin to pulling the plug on your
car’s oil pressure warning light. Just because the light is turned off doesn’t
mean that your car’s oil pressure is “cured.” In fact, ignoring that light may
lead to your car’s breakdown.
It should be noted
that people often incorrectly assume that conventional drugs have “side
effects.” Actually, in purely pharmacological terms, drugs do NOT have side
effects; drugs only have “effects,” and physicians arbitrarily differentiate
between those effects that they like as the effects of the drug, while they call
those symptoms that they don’t like “side effects.” This is akin to saying that
the effects of a bomb are that it destroys buildings, but its side effects are
that it kills people. Needless to say, one cannot truly separate out one effect
from the other.
The reason that
drugs create “side effects” that are often worse than the original disease is
that these drugs tend to suppress the symptoms the sick person is experiencing
and push them deeper into the person’s body. This observation may explain why
people today are experiencing more serious chronic illnesses at earlier and
earlier ages and why there is such an epidemic of mental illness (physical
disease is suppressed deeply enough that the disease is pushed into the
Once one recognizes
that symptoms are important and useful defenses of the body, it makes less sense
to use drugs that inhibit or suppress this wisdom of the body. Instead of using
drugs to suppress symptoms, it makes sense to use medicines to strengthen the
body’s own defense system so that the body can more effectively heal itself.
Here is where it makes sense to use homeopathic medicines.
The use of the
principle of similars in healing actually has ancient roots (Coulter,
1975). In the 4th century B.C., Hippocrates is known to have said, "Through
the like, disease is produced, and through the application of the like it is
cured." The famed Delphic Oracle in Greece proclaimed the value of the law of
similars, stating, "that which makes sick shall heal." Paracelsus, a well-known
16th century physician and alchemist, used the law of similars extensively in
practice and referred to it in writings. His formulation of the "Doctrine of
Signatures" spoke directly of the value in using similars in healing. He
affirmed, "You there bring together the same anatomy of the herbs and the same
anatomy of the illness into one order. This simile gives you understanding of
the way in which you shall heal."
This principle of
similars (using a substance to treat the similar symptoms that it causes) is
also used in conventional medicine, with immunizations being the most obvious
example, that is, small doses of a “weakened” pathogen are used to prevent what
larger doses cause. None other than the "father of immunology," Dr. Emil Adolph
Von Behring (1906), directly pointed to the origins of immunizations when he
asserted, "(B)y what technical term could we more appropriately speak of this
influence than by Hahnemann's* word ‘homeopathy’." (*Samuel Hahnemann, MD,
1755-1843, was a renowned German physician and the founder of homeopathy.).
Modern allergy treatment, likewise, utilizes the homeopathic approach by the use
of small doses of allergens in order to create an antibody response.
treatment also uses homeopathy’s principle of similars in choosing radiation to
treat people with cancer (radiation causes cancer), digitalis for heart
conditions (digitalis creates heart conditions), and Ritalin for hyperactive
children (Ritalin is an amphetamine-like drug which normally causes
hyperactivity). Other examples are the use of nitroglycerine for heart
conditions, gold salts for arthritic conditions, and colchicine for gout, all of
which are known to cause the similar symptoms that they are found to treat.
For a historical discussion of
various homeopathic drugs that have been incorporated into conventional
medicine, see Dr. Harris Coulter's Homoeopathic Influences in Nineteenth Century
Allopathic Therapeutics as well as his more detailed book on homeopathy’s
history, Divided Legacy:
The Conflict Between Homeopathy and the A.M.A.
It should be
acknowledged that although the conventional medical treatments mentioned above
may be homeopathic-like, they do not follow other fundamental principles of
homeopathy. Immunizations and allergy treatments are given to prevent or cure
special ailments, while homeopathic medicines are substances individually
prescribed based on the overall syndrome of body and mind symptoms the person is
experiencing, and therefore a homeopathic medicine is thought to strengthen the
person’s overall body-mind constitution, not just to prevent or treat a specific
illness. Also, these conventional medical treatments are not individually
prescribed to the high degree of selectivity that is common in homeopathy, and
they are not prescribed in as small or as safe a dose.
And speaking of
dose, this subject is vital, and homeopaths have uncovered an amazing and
initially confusing power of the human organism. Homeopaths have found that
sick people develop hypersensitivity to substances that cause the similar
symptoms that they are experiencing. Further, by giving very small doses of
this substance, a person can and will experience an immunological and
therapeutic benefit without a toxic burden.
For over 200 years,
hundreds of thousands of homeopaths throughout the world have carefully
catalogued and now computerized the idiosyncratic physical, emotional, and
mental symptoms that thousands of substances have caused in healthy people
(Note: There are now
simple computerized programs as well as sophisticated expert system software
to help provide highly individualized prescriptions to people based on their
specific and unique symptomatology). Homeopaths have thereby created the most
extensive body of toxicological information available today, though this
information focuses on the symptoms that these substance cause, not on the dose
in which they cause them. Homeopaths have found and verified that whatever a
substance has been found to cause, it will also cure in specially prepared
substances have undergone toxicological studies, which homeopaths call “drug
provings.” These experiments are conducted on human subjects, not animals, to
determine what various substances from the plant, mineral, animal, or chemical
kingdom cause in overdose. Homeopaths have found that these experiments lay the
foundation for what symptoms each substance causes, and thus, what affinity each
substance has to the human body.
homeopaths see patients, they obtain the unique and detailed symptomatological
history of each patient, and seek to find the specific substance from the plant,
mineral, animal, or chemical kingdom that would cause the similar syndrome of
symptoms that the patient is experiencing. It is not surprising that large
numbers of homeopaths throughout the world today use sophisticated expert system
software to help them individualize medicinal substances to their patients.
After finding a
match between a substance’s toxicology and the patient’s specific symptom
pattern, the homeopath gives a specially prepared microdose of this medicinal
agent. The details of how homeopathic medicines are made are described below.
It is now time to direct our attention to homeopathy’s most fascinating and most
controversial observation…the power of homeopathic “nano-doses.”
presents a significantly different pharmacological approach to treating sick
people. Instead of using strong and powerful doses of medicinal agents that
have a broad-spectrum effect on a wide variety of people with a similar disease,
homeopaths use extremely small doses of medicinal substances that are highly
individualized to a person’s physical and psychological syndrome of disease, not
simply an assumed localized pathology.
medicines are so small in dose that it is appropriate to refer to them as a part
of the newly defined field of “nanopharmacology” (the prefix “nano” derives from
Latin and means dwarf; today, the prefix is used to refer to “nanotechnology” or
the “nanosciences” which explore the use of extremely small technologies or
processes, at least one-billionth of a unit, designated as 10-9). To understand
the nature and the degree of homeopathy’s nanopharmacology, it is important to
know the following characteristics of how homeopathic medicines are made.
1) Most homeopathic
medicines are made by diluting a medicinal substance in a double-distilled
water. It should be noted that physicists who study the properties of water
commonly acknowledge that water has many mysterious and amazing properties.
Because homeopaths use a double-distilled water, it is highly purified, enabling
the medicinal substance to solely infiltrate and imprint the water. People
interested in the mysteries of water will be very interested in reading
The Hidden Messages in
Water by Japanese scientist, Dr. M. Emoto, who was featured in the movie
“What the Bleep do We Know?” Although this research is not of a truly high
caliber (and is more of interest to the general public), the serious
scientifically-minded people should explore the website of
Dr. Martin Chaplin of
London South Bank University for impressively sophisticated information and
research on water.
2) Each substance is
diluted, most commonly, 1 part of the original medicinal agent to 9 or 99 parts
double-distilled water. The mixture is then vigorously stirred or shaken. The
solution is then diluted again 1:9 or 1:99 and vigorously shaken. This process
of consecutive diluting and shaking or stirring is repeated 3, 6, 12, 30, 200,
1,000, or even 1,000,000 times. Simply “diluting” the medicines without
vigorously shaking them doesn’t activate the medicinal effects.
3) It is inaccurate to say
that homeopathic medicines are extremely diluted; they are extremely “potentized.”
“Potentization” refers to the specific process of sequential dilution with
vigorous shaking. Each consecutive dilution infiltrates the new
double-distilled water and imprints upon it the fractal form of the original
substance used (fractal refers to the specific consecutively smaller pattern or
form within a larger pattern). Ultimately, some type of fractal or hologram of
the original substance may be imprinted in the water.
4) Scientists at several
universities and hospitals in France and Belgium have discovered that the
vigorous shaking of the water in glass bottles causes extremely small amounts of
silica fragments or “chips” to fall into the water (Demangeat, Gries, Poitevin,
2004). In fact, these researchers found that high amounts (6 parts per million)
of released silica infiltrate the water. These “silica chips” may help to store
the information in the water, with each medicine that is initially placed in the
water creating its own pharmacological effect. In any case, the interaction of
these silica fragments with the medicinal solution may help to change the
structure of the water in a way.
Over 200 years of
experience by homeopaths throughout the world has shown that the more that a
substance undergoes potentization (the process of sequential dilution with
vigorous shaking in-between each dilution), the more powerful the medicine
becomes, the longer it acts, and the less doses are generally needed. Because
of these observations and experiences, homeopaths refer to medicines that have
been potentized 200 times or more as “high potencies” and those that have been
potentized less than 12 times as “low potencies.”
In this light,
homeopaths insist that their medicines are NOT extremely small doses. Instead,
they assume that the double-distilled and purified water is changed and becomes
imprinted and activated.
Homeopaths will be
the first to acknowledge that their medicine will not have any effect at all,
unless the person taking them has a hypersensitivity to the medicine. A person
will have this hypersensitivity if and when they exhibit the syndrome of
symptoms that the substance has previously been found to cause.
Still, it is
admittedly difficult to initially accept the possibility that such
nanopharmacological doses can have any effect at all. And yet, some highly
respected basic scientific research has begun to verify the claims that
homeopaths have made since its inception in the 1800s.
these scientific studies, it may be helpful to make brief reference to a subject
for which there is common knowledge. Basic principles of physics teach us that
hypersensitivity exists when there is “resonance.” An example from music is
helpful here: Whenever a “C” note is played on a piano (or any instrument),
other “C” notes reverberate, while other notes are not affected at all. Even
when one instrument is relatively far away from another, its C strings will
reverberate when a C note is played.
homeopathy is a medical system based on resonance (commonly referred to as the
“principle of similars”). Two hundred years of experience by hundreds of
thousands of homeopaths have consistently discovered that specially prepared,
extremely small doses of medicine can powerfully augment a person’s healing
response when there is a similarity between the toxicology of the medicine and
the symptom complex of the sick person. One of the special features of
homeopathy is that whenever a patient is given a homeopathic medicine that does
not match his or her symptoms, nothing happens. But when there is a match,
people experience significant improvement in their overall health.
There is a
significant body of conventional scientific research that has verified the
powerful biochemical effects of extremely low concentrations of biological
agents. Chemicals in the brain called beta-endorphins are known to modulate
natural killer cell activity in dilutions of 10-18 (this dilution means that a
substance was diluted 1:10 eighteen times). Interleukin 1, an important part of
our immune system, has been found to exhibit increased T-cell clone
proliferation at 10-19. And pheromones (hormones emitted externally by various
animals and insects) will result in hypersensitive reaction when as little as a
single molecule is received. (For an excellent review of many substances that
have significant biological activity in extremely small doses, see Drs. P.
Bellavite and A. Signorini’s Emerging Science of
Homeopathy: Complexity, Biodynamics, and Nanopharmacology; see also Eskinazi,
The doses mentioned
immediately above are still in the molecular dose range, and as such, they do
not in themselves create cause for a revolution in science or medicine.
However, few scientists and physicians are knowledgeable of the power and
potential of nanodoses commonly used by homeopaths all over the world. This is
particularly disappointing because it is commonly observed that organisms
experience a biphasic response to various chemicals, that is, extremely small
doses of a substance exhibit different and sometimes opposite effects than what
they cause in high concentrations. For instance, it is widely recognized that
normal medical doses of atropine block the parasympathetic nerves, causing
mucous membranes to dry up, while exceedingly small doses of atropine causes
increased secretions to mucous membranes (Goodman and Gilman, 2001).
This fact that drugs
can have two phases of action, depending upon their concentration, is a little
known but consistently observed phenomenon. In fact, many medical and
scientific dictionaries refer to “hormesis” or “the Arndt-Schulz law” (listed in
leading medical and scientific dictionaries under the word “law”) as the
observations that weak concentrations of biological agents stimulate
physiological activity, medium concentrations of agents depress physiological
activity, and large concentrations halt physiological activity.
There is a
significant body of research on hormesis (hundreds of studies) conducted by
conventional scientists, none of whom even mention homeopathy (Stebbins, 1982;
Oberbaum and Cambar, 1994). Even the journal, Health Physics devoted an entire
issue to this subject (May, 1987). For further information on hormesis,
Just as humankind
went west to explore new frontiers and is now exploring the frontier of space,
today scientists and physicians are exploring nanotechnologies and
nanopharmacologies. It is only a matter of time before scientists and
physicians learn that homeopathic medicine presents a fertile ground for
exploring and exploiting the power of these powerful nanodoses.
the recent well-controlled and double-blind clinical trials, it is important to
make reference to homeopathy’s history in order to provide additional evidence
for the clinical efficacy of homeopathic nanopharmacology.
developed a significant popularity in Europe and the United States primarily
because of the astounding successes it experienced in treating people suffering
from the various infectious disease epidemics in the 19th century. The death
rates in the homeopathic hospitals from cholera, scarlet fever, typhoid, yellow
fever, pneumonia, and others was typically one-half to even one-eighth of
conventional medical hospitals (Bradford, 1900;
Similar good results were also observed in mental institutions and
prisons under the care of homeopathic physicians compared to those under the
care of conventional doctors. These consistent and significant results could
not be attributed to a placebo effect. In other words, there is clear empirical
evidence that homeopathic medicines were highly effective in treating various
infectious diseases and in psychiatric disorders.
conventional physicians and scientists have continually provided misinformation
about the status of scientific evidence about homeopathic medicine. They have
frequently and incorrectly asserted that there is no research to prove that
homeopathic medicines work, and they further have asserted that there is no way
that the extremely small doses can have any effect whatsoever.
This type of
statement simply reflects ignorance of the scientific literature. It is
remarkable to note that some of the earliest placebo-controlled and
double-blinded studies ever performed were actually conducted by homeopathic
physicians. For a detailed history of the 19th century and early 20th century
studies, see The Trials
of Homeopathy by Dr. Michael Emmans Dean. For those people who want an
excellent summary of this history, it is a part of a special e-book,
Family Medicine (anyone interested in a comprehensive, historical, and
up-to-date review of clinical research testing homeopathic medicines would
benefit from obtaining and subscribing to this e-book). Another source of
modern basic science and clinical research on homeopathic medicine is the
A short summary of
some of the modern placebo-controlled and double-blind studies is reported
An independent group
of physicians and scientists evaluated homeopathic clinical research prior to
October, 1995 (Linde, 1997). They reviewed 186 studies, 89 of which met their
pre-defined criteria for their meta-analysis. They found that on average
patients given a homeopathic medicine were 2.45 times more likely to have
experienced a clinically beneficial effect. When reviewing only the highest
quality studies and when adjusting for publication bias, the researchers found
that subjects given a homeopathic medicine were still 1.86 times more likely to
experience improved health as compared with those given a placebo. The
researchers have also noted that it is extremely common in conventional medical
research for more rigorous trials to yield less positive results than less
The most important
question that good scientists pose about any clinical research is: have there
been replications of clinical studies by independent researchers? When at least
three independent researchers verify the efficacy of a treatment, it is
considered to be a valid and effective treatment.
Four separate bodies
of researchers have conducted clinical trials in the use of a homeopathic
200C) in the treatment of influenza-like syndromes (Ferley, 1989; Casanova,
1992; Papp, 1998). Each of these trials was relatively large in the number of
subjects (487, 300, 100, and 372), and all were multi-centered
placebo-controlled and double-blinded (two of the three trials were also
randomized). Each of these trials showed statistically significant results.
One other body of
research in the use of Galphimia glauca in the treatment of hay fever was
replicated successfully seven times, but this research was conducted by the same
group of researchers (Wiesenauer, Ludtke, 1996), and thus far, this work has not
been conducted by any other researchers.
A body of clinical
research in homeopathy that has been consistently recognized as some of the
highest quality scientific research has been conducted by a group of researchers
at the University of Glasgow and Glasgow Homeopathic Hospital. They conducted
four studies on people suffering from various respiratory allergies (hay fever,
asthma, and perennial allergic rhinitis) (Taylor, Reilly, Llewellyn-Jones, et
al, 2000). In total, they treated 253 patients and found a 28% improvement in
visual analogue scores in those given a homeopathic medicine, as compared with a
3% improvement in patients given a placebo (P=.0007)(The “P” refers to the
“probability” of these results occurring simply by chance, and thus, the lower
the number, the greater the likelihood that the treatment used is effective.
When “P” equals .05, this means that there are 5 chances out of 100 that the
effective of a specific treatment happened by chance, and scientists today
consider this 5% chance as adequate evidence of a treatment’s effectiveness. In
this study, however, there was an extremely high likelihood that the treatment
was effective because there were only seven chances out of 10,000 (!) that this
result happened by chance.)
In the hay fever
study, homeopathic doses of various hayfever-inducing flowers were prescribed,
and in the other studies, the researchers conducted conventional allergy testing
to assess to which substance each person was most allergic. The researchers
then prescribed the 30C (100-30) of this allergic substance (House dust mite 30C
was the most commonly prescribed homeopathic medicine).
called this type of prescribing “homeopathic immunotherapy,” and they concluded
from their research that either homeopathic medicines work or controlled
clinical trials do not.
Three studies of
children with diarrhea were also conducted and published in peer-review
scientific journals (Jacobs, Jonas, Jimenez-Perez, Crothers, 2003). A
meta-analysis of the 242 children who were involved in these three studies
showed that the children who were prescribed a homeopathic medicine experienced
a highly significant reduction in the duration of diarrhea, as compared with the
children who were given a placebo (P=0.008). The World Health Organization has
deemed that childhood diarrhea is the most serious public health problem today
because several million children die each year as a result of dehydration from
diarrhea. The fact that homeopathy is not included in the standard of care for
diarrhea in children could be considered malpractice.
One other study is worth
mentioning. This study was on 53 patients with fibromyalgia, which is a newly
recognized syndrome that includes musculoskeletal symptoms, fatigue, and
insomnia (Bell, Lewis, Brooks, et al, 2004). Participants given individually
chosen homeopathic treatment showed significantly greater improvements in tender
point count and tender point pain, quality of life, global health and a trend
toward less depression compared with those on placebo. “Helpfulness from
treatment” in homeopathic patients as compared to those given a placebo was very
significant (P=.004). What is also extremely interesting about this study was
that the researchers found that people on homeopathic treatment also experienced
changes in EEG readings. Not only did subjects who were given a homeopathic
medicine experience improved health, they were shown to experience different
changes in the brain wave activity. This evidence of clinical benefits and
objective physiological action from homeopathic medicines in people with chronic
symptoms constitutes very strong evidence that these nanodoses can have
One of the most
significant studies showing the power of homeopathic medicines was in the
treatment of people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). COPD is
a general term for a group of respiratory ailments and is the fourth leading
cause of death in the U.S. Chronic bronchitis and emphysema are two conditions
that are included in the more broad diagnosis of COPD.
randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study with parallel assignment was
performed to assess the influence of sublingually administered Kali bichromicum
(potassium dichromate) 30C on the amount of tenacious, stringy tracheal
secretions in critically ill patients with a history of tobacco use and COPD (Frass,
Dielacher, Linkesch, et al, 2005). In this study, 50 patients received either
Kali bichromicum 30C globules (group 1) or placebo (group 2). This study found
a very substantial improvement in the health of patients given this homeopathic
medicine. Further, the time that these patients needed to be in the hospital
was reduced by almost 50%, and their need for additional treatment to help with
their breathing was dramatically reduced.
The above body of
evidence should be adequate for verifying that homeopathic medicines can have
therapeutic benefits, but there is even evidence that these nanodoses can have
significant biological activity. One important study was led by a professor of
chemistry who was formerly a skeptic of homeopathy (Dr. Madeleine Ennis) but who
now recognizes that these medicines have significant effects (Belon, Cumps,
Ennis, et al., 2004). Four independent laboratories, each associated with a
university, conducted a series of 3,674 experiments using dilutions of histamine
beyond Avogadro's number, by which we mean the dose in which there should be in
all probability no remaining molecules of the original substance remaining (the
15th through 19th centesimal dilution, that is 100 -15 to 100 –19). The
researchers found inhibitory effects of histamine dilutions on a type of white
blood cell called basophils. The overall effects were substantially significant
(p<0.0001)(which means that there was a 99.99% level of confidence that these
nanodoses had biological activity). The test solutions were made in independent
laboratories, the participants were blinded to the content of the test
solutions, and the data analysis was performed by a biostatistician who was not
involved in any other part of the trial.
And still further,
the website of the New Scientist,
one of the world’s most respected popular science magazines, includes articles
it has published on homeopathy, with numerous positive studies and comments from
world renowned physicists, chemists, physicians, biologists, and other
For example, Nobel
Laureate and physicist Brian D. Josephson (1997) of the University of Cambridge
wrote to the New Scientist:
analysis may suggest that water, being a fluid, cannot have a structure of the
kind that such a picture would demand. But cases such as that of liquid
crystals, which while flowing like an ordinary fluid can maintain an ordered
structure over macroscopic distances, show the limitations of such ways of
thinking. There have not, to the best of my knowledge, been any refutations of
homeopathy that remain valid after this particular point is taken into account.
A related topic is the phenomenon, claimed by Yolene Thomas and by others to be
well established experimentally, known as the ‘memory of water’. If valid, this
would be of greater significance than homeopathy itself, and it attests to the
limited vision of the modern scientific community that, far from hastening to
test such claims, the only response has been to dismiss them out of hand.”
homeopathic medicines work remains a mystery according to present scientific
thinking. And yet, despite the paradox of homeopathic medicines, nature and new
technologies are replete with striking examples of the powerful effects from
extremely small doses.
The newest and most intriguing
way to explain how homeopathic medicines may work derives from some
sophisticated modern technology. Scientists at the Samueli Institute for
Information Biology (www.siib.org) have
discovered that the vigorous shaking of the water in glass bottles causes small
amounts of silica fragments or “chips” to fall into the water. Perhaps these
“silica chips” become similar to a silicon chip that stores information.
Further, the micro-bubbles and the “nano-bubbles” that are caused by the shaking
may burst and thereby produce microenvironments of extremely high temperature
In addition to this
above explanation, we all know that nature is abundant in examples of the power
of extremely small amounts of certain substances…
It is commonly known
that certain species of moths can smell pheromones of its own species up to two
miles in distance. It is no simple coincidence that species only sense
pheromones from those in the same species who emit them (akin to the homeopathic
principle of similars), as though they have developed exquisite and specific
receptor sites for what they need to survive and to propagate their species.
Likewise, sharks are known to sense blood in the water at distances, and when
one considers the volume of water in the ocean, it becomes obvious that sharks,
like all living creatures, develop extreme hypersensitivity for whatever will
help ensure their survival.
It is therefore not
surprising that renowned astronomer Johann Kepler once said, “Nature uses as
little as possible of anything.”
One metaphor that
may help us understand how and why extremely small doses of medicinal agents may
work derives from present knowledge of modern submarine radio communications.
Normal radio waves simply do not penetrate water, so submarines must use an
extremely low frequency radio wave. However, the terms “extremely low” are
inadequate to describe this specific situation because radio waves used by
submarines to penetrate water are so low that a single wavelength is typically
several miles long!
If one considers
that the human body is 70-80% water, perhaps the best way to provide
pharmacological information to the body and into intercellular fluids is with
nanodoses. Like the above mentioned extremely low frequency radio waves, it may
be necessary to use extremely low (and activated) doses as used in homeopathic
medicines, in order for a person to receive the medicinal effect.
It is important to
understand that nanopharmacological doses will not have any effect unless the
person is hypersensitive to the specific medicinal substance. Hypersensitivity
is created when there is some type of resonance between the medicine and the
person. Because the system of homeopathy bases its selection of the medicine on
its ability to cause in overdose the similar symptoms that the sick person is
experiencing, homeopathy’s “principle of similars” is simply a practical method
of finding the substance to which a person is hypersensitive.
principle of similars makes further sense when one considers that modern
physiologists and pathologists recognize that disease is not simply the result
of breakdown or surrender of the body but that symptoms are instead
representative of the body’s efforts to fight infection or adapt to stress.
Using a nanodose
that is able to penetrate deeply into the body and that is specifically chosen
for its ability to mimic the symptoms that the sick person is experiencing helps
to initiate a profound healing process. It is also important to highlight the
fact that a homeopathic medicine is not simply chosen for its ability to cause a
similar disease that a person has but for its ability to cause a similar
syndrome of symptoms of disease, of which the specific localized disease is a
part. By understanding that the human body is a complex organism that creates a
wide variety of physical and psychological symptoms, homeopaths acknowledge
biological complexity and have a system of treatment to deal with it.
Although no one
knows precisely how homeopathic medicines initiate the healing process, there is
over 200 years of experience by hundreds of thousands of clinicians and tens of
millions of patients that these medicines they have powerful effects. One
cannot help but sense and anticipate the veritable treasure-trove of knowledge
that further research in homeopathy and nanopharmacology will bring in this new
Quantum physics did
not disprove Newtonian physics; it simply extended our understanding of
extremely small and extremely large systems. Likewise, homeopathy does not
disprove conventional pharmacology; instead, it extends our understanding of
extremely small doses of medicinal agents.
The founder of
homeopathic medicine, Samuel Hahnemann, MD, rewrote and updated his seminal work
on the subject five times in his lifetime, each time refining his observations.
Homeopaths continue to refine this system of nanopharmacology. While there is
not always agreement on the best ways to select the correct remedy or the best
nanopharmacological dose to use, the system of homeopathic medicine provides a
solid foundation from which clinicians and researchers exploring
nanopharmacologies can and should explore.
Samuel Hahnemann is
buried in Pere Larchese, the most famous cemetery in Paris, and his tombstone
bears the Latin words, “Aude sapere” which means: dare to know, to taste, and
to understand. Such is the challenge that homeopathy and nanopharmacology
present to us.
If homeopathy makes
sense to you or if you simply want to learn more about it, you can access an
excellent summary of what are the best books for learning different aspects of
it by clicking anyone of the subjects below:
Bell IR, Lewis
II DA, Brooks AJ, et al. Improved clinical status in fibromyalgia patients
treated with individualized homeopathic remedies versus placebo,
Belon P, Cumps
J, Ennis M, Mannaioni PF, Roberfroid M, Ste-Laudy J, Wiegant FAC.
Histamine dilutions modulate basophil activity. Inflamm Res 2004; 53:181-8.
The Logic of Figures or Comparative Results of Homoeopathic and Others
Treatments, Philadelphia: Boericke and Tafel, 1900.
Gerard, R. Bilan de 3 annees d’etudes randomisees multicentriques
oscillococcinum/placebo. oscillococcinum rassegna della letterature
internationale. Milan: Laboratiores Boiron, 1992.
Multi-centric study involving 100 patients, Centre de Recheerche et de
Documentation Technique, University of Marseilles, France, 1983
Connelly, B, How
Homeopathy Works, Simillimum, March, 2002, 33-53.
Divided Legacy: The Conflict Between Homoeopathy and the American Medical
Association, Berkeley: North Atlantic, 1973, 302.
Divided Legacy: The Patterns Emerge—Hippocrates to Paracelsus, Berkeley:
North Atlantic, 1975.
Gries, P, Poitevin, B, Droesbeke J.-J, Zahaf, T, Maton, F, Pierart, C,
Muller, RN, Low-Field NMR Water Proton Longitudinal Relaxation in
Ultrahighly Diluted Aqueous Solutions of Silica-Lactose Prepared in Glass
Material for Pharmaceutical Use, Applied Magnetic Resonance, 26,
Homeopathy Re-revisited: Is Homeopathy Compatible with Biomedical
Observations?, Archives in Internal Medicine, 159, Sept 27, 1999:1981-7.
Ferley, JP et
al., A Controlled Evaluation of a Homeopathic Preparation in the Treatment
of Influenza-like Syndrome," British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology,
Frass, M, Dielacher,
C, Linkesch, M, Endler, C, Muchitsch, I, Schuster, E, Kaye, A..
potassium dichromate on tracheal secretions in critically ill patients,
Chest, March, 2005.
Goodman, L. and
A. Gilman, The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics. Fifth edition. New
York: Macmillan, 2001.
Jonas, WB, Jimenez-Perez, B, Crothers, D. Homeopathy for Childhood Diarrhea:
Combined Results and Metaanalysis from Three Randomized, Controlled Clinical
Trials, Pediatr Infect Dis J, 2003;22:229-34.
Brian, Molecule Memories, New Scientist, November 1, 1997, 66.
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.
Oberbaum, M, and
Cambar, J, Hormesis: Dose Dependent Reverse Effects of Low and Very Low
Doses, in P.C. Endler and J. Schulte (eds.), Ultra High Dilutions,
Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic, 1994.
Schuback, G, Beck, E, et al., Oscilloccinum in Patients with Influenza-like
Syndromes: A Placebo-Controlled Double-Blind Evaluation, British Homeopathic
Journal, 87(April, 1998):69-76.
Hormesis: The Stimulation of Growth by Low Levels of Inhibitors, Science of
the Total Environment, 1982, 22: 213-34.
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.
He has also
authored an e-book,
Homeopathic Family Medicine, which provides useful clinical information
for the homeopathic treatment of over 100 common conditions, plus it
provides comprehensive and up-to-date information on clinical research in
homeopathy. He has also served in an advisory and/or teaching capacity at
alternative medicine institutes at Harvard, Columbia, and University of
Arizona schools of medicine.
Dana Ullman is
the owner of Homeopathic Educational Services,
America’s leading resource for homeopathic books, tapes, medicines, software,
and distance learning courses. Besides access to purchasing high quality
information and products, this website has more than 100 free articles on
homeopathy. He has also developed “Natural
Treatment Protocols” for severe common ailments, along with detailed
instruction on how to optimize the healing potential from these natural
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