by Dr. Norman Allan Ph.D.
The first thing that needs to
be said about homeopathy is that it works. We know this not only because
of miraculous cures we may witness or hear about anecdotally, but because
rigorous "double-blind randomized placebo controlled" clinical trials
have shown that is works. (Reilly, Lancet: Dec 10th 1994.)
In terms of the proofs of clinical science homeopathy stands on the
same ground as pharmacology. Still it is not well accepted by "science",
and this is because it is not well understood.
There are two major tenets to homeopathy:
1) the law of similars
2) the "potentisation" of remedies by dilution and succussion.
Neither of these tenets is intuitively self-evident (but then nor is
The Law of Similars: In the late 18th century Samuel Hahnemann observed
that substances have the power to cure just those symptoms that they
tend to produce. He noted this first with quinine, and then went on
to prove it as a general rule. If someone is manifesting symptoms similar
to say those seen in lead poisoning, or arsenic poisoning, a little
bit of lead, or arsenic, will help to resolve those symptoms. Again,
this is not rationally apparent, but it is a "rule" that is empirically
true - it proves true in practice.
Bear in mind that symptoms are the body's response to an illness. They
are not the illness itself. Usually they are the body's best response
to the problem it faces. This fact helps explain why it is dangerous
to suppress symptoms, though it doesn't in itself necessarily help us
to understand the "why" of homeopathy. A consideration of potentisation
may bring us closer to a glimpse of that understanding.
Potentisation: homeopathic remedies are diluted usually one part in
a hundred, and then shaken ("successed"); then diluted again, and again.
(The first centisimal dilution would be called 1C, the second 2C, etc.)
Paradoxically, with each dilution the remedy becomes more highly "potentised".
6C, a low potency, may be used to begin a case, and to address purely
physical symptoms. A 30C or 200C potency will address all aspects of
a case, while 1000C (1M), a high potency, is used to address the emotional,
mental, and other deep seated aspects of a case.
If we dilute a remedy until there is no substance left (which happens
at the 12th centisimal dilution) how can that remedy still be carrying
a signal? Liquids are said to be amorphous; but water would rather be
ordered (semi-crystalline) than chaotic. If we take water and place
a small quantity of a substance in it, the water will pattern itself
on the vibration of that substance. It is this patterning which is the
homeopathic signal. With successive dilutions harmonics and subharmonics
of the pattern are produced, thus extending the spectral range (and
physiological action) of the remedy.
Again, "potentisation" is not immediately intuitively apparent, but
under special conditions the effect of potentisation can be demonstrated
in the laboratory. (Potentised antigens, with no substance left in the
water, may provoke histamine release. Potentised DNA may bind it molecular
complementary strand of DNA)
If homeopathic remedies are patterns, then perhaps we can begin to explain
homeopathic cures. The body becomes stuck in "vibrational" patterns
which interfere with health. Presenting the similar "vibration" allows
the body to free itself from its pattern of illness.
Classical Homeopathy: Homeopathy may be used as an adjunct in combination
with other therapies, or as a total health care system in itself. Classically
a total case history is taken and the single remedy closest to the patient's
"constitution" is employed.
A well chosen remedy unblocks the “vital energy” and with this you may
feel "clearer". It also allows the body to dispel and release its "disharmonies"
- it pulls or pushes them out of the body and you may experience a temporary
recurrence of old symptoms as they leave, or a brief aggravation of
current symptoms, again, as they are pushed out of the body. This is
the so called "healing crisis" and it represents a clearing of the disease,
not a further unbalancing as is the case with the "side effects" of
A potentially frustrating part of homeopathy is that in order to cure
we must find the right remedy. The wonderful thing about homeopathy
is that when we do so it can effect a fundamental cure of deep seated
problems, and also, that it entails virtually no risk.
Complex Homeopathic Remedies: Nowadays in health food stores we often
see homeopathic "complex remedies", for example for hayfever, in which
many possibly relevant remedies are mixed together at low potency in
a "shot-gun" fashion. These complexes can sometimes be of help and are
unlikely to be harmful.
First Aid Remedies: Some remedies are used to treat simple conditions
in a "first aid" fashion. Use of first aid remedies is something we
can do for ourselves, and in so doing taking direct control of our health.
Examples of "first aid" remedies include:
trauma and shock
Belladona fever, sunstroke
Hypericum nerve pain (e.g. tooth ache)
Mag Phos uterine cramping
Rhus tox muscle pain, worse for rest
Ruta joint pain
Tobaccum tobacco withdrawals
Allium cepa hayfever