Each month V.D. Kaviraj will answer selected questions about plants and plant problems. Kaviraj is one of the foremost pioneers of Agro-homeopathy and author of the book, Homeopathy for Farm and Garden.
Send your questions with sufficient detail and pictures when possible (JPG or GIF format) to [email protected] with the subject “Plant Doctor”.
Note: When I refer to treating plants with homeopathic remedies, this is the standard dosing procedure:
Put 20 drops of a 6X potency in a litre of water. Succuss* the bottle 50 times. Put this litre in the watering can, fill it up with 19 litres of tap water and stir. If the watering can is smaller, the amount of remedy put in must be proportionally smaller. Thus a 10 litre can needs only ½ litre and just 10 drops of the remedy. Apply the contents of the watering can to the roots of the plants to be treated.
*Sucussion : Shake vigorously with powerful downward strokes on a flexible but firm surface.
NOTE: The plant Doctor is doing rescue work in Haiti and his column will continue when he returns. Meanwhile, enjoy this excerpt from his writings:
Since all remedies in this volume are applicable to all crops – indeed, to all plants – we have not mentioned any specific crop. These remedies can be generally applied to all plants we grow for food, pleasure or other uses such as timber, regardless the plant family.
These remedies are nearly all polychrests, meaning they cover both a wide range of often opposite symptoms and are therefore multipurpose remedies. They work on the Brassicas as well as on the Alliums or the vines we grow, the trees we value for their timber or decorative beauty or the fruits we grow in baskets, on trees and on bushes, the grains and pulses we eat and any other plant we use for decoration, scent, oil, resin or food.
With this volume alone you can confront already many of the problems your plants face in the garden, but specific problems of any particular crop are equally often beyond its reach. The remedies used here are often the remedies we give in the beginning of a plant’s life, to strengthen the constitution and to alleviate miasmatic traits, such as forced hybridisation, chemical feed and generations of the heaviest pesticides, herbicides and fungicides to combat pests and diseases caused by wrong cultivation in an impoverished soil.
Constitution & Breed
The manner in which a plant is bred has a great deal of influence on its constitutional traits. The first things that should have our attention are the parent plant species, especially in the modern forced hybrids. Parentage tells you a lot about the way in which a plant develops – what forces are at work to bring it to maturity. The forced manner of breeding tells you even more.
Genetically modified organisms, the ‘scientific’ name of Franken foods, have even more difficulties attached to them, hence their often-low yields and difficulties in rearing them. Moreover, with roundup-ready soy, the pesticide also enters the seeds, which we eat. Do we need to have a different system? Of course we do.
Constitution & Soil pH
The concept of constitutions came as a result of observing that all members of a plant Family suffer from identical or closely similar problems, which often are different from those in another Family. Hence there are certain traits in any plant Family that make it prone to certain types of diseases. Soon it became clear that soil pH is an important factor in the development of disease. Because the more acidic a soil, the more suspected pathogenic fungi are present, which cause all kinds of soft rots and diseases where tissue dissolves and becomes liquidised, pointing to Nitric acid and Phosphorus. In alkaline soils the diseases tend towards the viral and bacterial, and if the fungi have a chance, the rots they cause are dry, the mildews powdery and Sulphur or Calcium-based remedies are prominent.
Since farming seeks to create as neutral a pH as possible to enable all crops to be grown, the problems associated with alkaline and acidic soils may both rear their heads, but if the soil is well-managed, they may also disappear, being busy with their normal task – decomposition of organic matter. The remedies in this volume deal mainly with general problems and prevention, rather than cure.
If remedies are given at seedling stage while under stress, the plants react with an increase in growth and greater vigour. When not stressed, smaller improvements are still measured. While under stress, the reaction is stronger to overcome the stressful situation, which stimulus is absent in not-stressed plants. Under stress, 24% increase in dry weight was measured on average, with exceptions going up to 60% or down to only 5%. When not stressed, these numbers lie between 5% and 10%, but such bookkeeper’s values say little about the plant’s ability to sustain growth and withstand stress for a longer period. It also says nothing about the harvest, because in tests with homoeopathic remedies one is interested in immediate results. The scientist uses plants that can be destroyed already in the seedling stage and still show significantly different values for dry biomass essays. These say something, but do not tell the whole story.
Constitution & Miasma
Constitutional treatment of plants involves therefore the careful consideration of the soil pH it prefers, the nutrients it craves and what is the part we use for our food or other purpose we grow the plant for. Moreover we must consider the Family and the pests and diseases they are prone to by both heredity and environment. This is the miasmatic state we referred to at the beginning of this chapter.
If it is a recent hybrid, we must discover its parentage and find out how they have fared before being crossed – what environment they lived in, which habitat, and above all, how they have been treated and since how long they have been in use.
The past 50 generations of grains and other mono-crops have been subject to this type of agriculture so we have a deeply engrafted situation that requires deep-acting remedies. Remedies with a broad spectrum of action often act also very deep. They seem to restructure many things that through wrong treatment have gone disjointed. In plants such remedies come from the nutrient world in the form of micronutrients and in the vegetable world from those companion plants that are able to help almost any plants. Some essential acids to plant life are Acetic, Citric and Oxalic acid, Pyruvic acid and Salicylic acid, but also Silicea (silicon dioxide) Phosphoric acid and Sulphuric, Manganic and Nitric acid. Many of them are involved in the respiration cycle of plants and essential in the oxidation/reduction cycles in the cells. Others are important as aid in protection against pest and disease attack and a third class is involved in nutrition. These are but their main ranges, but include all others. A nutrient is called so because it falls in that class, but it may be a first-aid remedy or one that drives off a pest attack or disease. The circumstances determine whether it is for a nutrient problem or for any other problem that the remedy is employed and these circumstances may include all of the above at any one time. Yet they all act in a constitutional manner, in that they restore imbalances caused by forced hybridisation, junk-food miasma and other negative traits from hereditary origins.
Homoeopathic Genetic Engineering
The present circumstances under which those seeds are grown may be Organic or Biodynamic, but the parentage will not immediately produce a true organic crop. If you treat the plant well, it will give you enough seed to plant the next generation and continue to treat it homoeopathically with constitutional remedies. Maintained over 7 generations, those plants can be said to be truly organically grown and all negative traits have now been engineered out of that crop, without the need of expensive labs and with the help of remedies in such small doses they can reach the genetic level and restore order.
Maintained over another 7 years with is progeny, we enter a stage where it might be possible to leave out those remedies altogether, since the treatment has grafted those qualities of the companion onto the genetic material and we have created the ultimate crop – one free of pests and diseases. While entirely speculative, the above proposition might not be far from reality. Possibly we have to keep it up for much longer – 7 times 7 generations have already passed with the wrong system. It may take twice as long to restore before we can even begin to contemplate a disease and pest-free scenario without any help from us.
Nonetheless, since the present agricultural practises have brought so many problems in their wake simply by stressing chemical fertiliser, we are certain that such leaves an impression on the plants and since it is moreover very one-sided, undernourishment is the logical outcome. An undernourished human may be able to give birth to a complete human by all external characteristics, but the baby will not be very viable and succumb sooner than its mother. Similarly, an undernourished plant may produce seed with every component in sufficient quantity present, while any plants grown from that seed may germinate slowly and difficult or never reach maturity.
Genetic engineering is understood to be the human interference with genetic traits to produce better offspring, possibly with all the positive traits from both parents. Hybrids or crossbreeding are such means of genetic engineering also. Man has hybridised plants for thousands of years, either by accident or on purpose and has learnt that some hybrids are viable and indeed better, while others are not.
Man has used what he has learnt to his own advantage and the result is not encouraging. Genetic engineering as in inserting foreign genes in the plant genome may seem a viable option, but it is really only the childish desire to play with the new toy, not realising it is a gun and the barrel is facing his way and he is just grabbing a hold of the trigger….
If we go back a mere 150 years, we see that the grains, pulses and vegetables were different from the present varieties. Even 50 years ago, the amount of plant varieties was much greater than at present. For instance, 185 different varieties of wheat were grown, which are now reduced to perhaps 20, mainly through hybridisation of so-called disease resistant varieties. These old varieties are called heirlooms and several growers attempt to bring these back on the table of people. This is a laudable effort, for it increases the seed bank and so may save us from starvation when the genetically altered varieties are proven to be detrimental to the health of the earth and by extension to our own health. What we do to the part, we do to ourselves.
Homeopathy offers the option of a different way to influence genes, since these work through feedback loops, as explained in the Introduction, Volume 1. Since life is flux, the interaction between the environment and the genes is not only present at the growing (enfolding) of the plant, but also during its entire life, because the genes do not stop their action once the plant body is completed. As Carmazine proved, the environment is as involved with the ‘finished product’ as it is with the enfoldment of that product. This is so, because a plant is a finished product only when it fulfils its reason of being – to flower and to produce offspring, some of which we use as food. The annuals and biennials die after this is achieved, while perennials produce year after year over a very long period.
Thus by giving the plant substances derived from the components within its habitat we influence the genetics of that plant as much as if it were truly growing among those entities. In real life we see that a well-designed garden imitates nature by having a good layer of humus and compost and the gardener uses companion plants and so we discover the crops grown under those circumstances taste better, are juicier, have more bulk in a denser package, because their genes have expressed a harmonious habitat, while a monoculture misses those components entirely.
It has no organic content in the soil and must now compete with fungi, which attack it and try to eat it. It has no help from companions and its only strength is found in numbers. Hence it is beset by enemies and has no allies to call upon but the poisons of the human hand, which themselves are detrimental to its well-being. Moreover it is dependent on the chemical junk-food called nutrients and it is often underfed and equally often stuffed to the brim, with irregular feeds that quickly leach out of its reach. The genes are therefore expressing stress to an extreme degree, which is discovered in their taste – watery, too firm skins, flesh not soft, hard to ripen and simply not up to par. Not through any fault of the plant, which tries its best under the circumstances.
The homoeopathic remedies have a similar influence as the components within a harmoniously grown crop and can be used to augment the circumstances for the monoculture and thus enhance production, size of the harvest and avoidance of pests and diseases. Thus the crop grows under harmonious circumstances with the same benefits as the organically grown crop and it saves the environment in the process too.
In horticulture and agriculture along with food science, plant physiology is an important topic relating to fruits, vegetables, and other consumable parts of plants. Topics studied include: climatic requirements, fruit drop, nutrition, ripening, fruit set. The production of food crops also hinges on the study of plant physiology, covering such topics as optimal planting and harvesting times and post harvest storage of plant products for human consumption and the production of secondary products like drugs and cosmetics.