V.D. Kaviraj is a Dutch homeopath, author, researcher and pioneer in Agrohomeopathy. During the 1960’s he co-founded the Magic Bus company, offering rides to India by minivan. He experimented with psychedelics, kept company with Alan Ginsberg, Bob Dylan and Ken Kesey, ran organic farms in France and Belgium, studied with an herbal witch and astrologer and travelled the world to study plants. While in India he became seriously ill and was cured by homeopathy. The desire to understand what had cured him lead to an apprenticeship in the 1970’s followed by 10 years running Dr. Chatterjee’s rural clinic. He has written textbooks on various aspects of homeopathy and as well as the fictional Boon Files (in the style of homeopathic detective stories.).” In 1982 he was initiated into the Bhakti and Shamanic healing traditions.
In 1986 Kaviraj successfully treated apple trees with Belladonna and subsequently moved to Australia where he did large scale experiments with remedies for sick plants. This led to his pioneering book “Homeopathy for Farm and Garden”.
AS: In 1986 you treated a diseased apple tree using Belladonna. What happened? Was that a kind of epiphany, such as Newton had with his apple?
Kav: As for what happened with those appletrees, well, here it is. Friends of mine from Arau Switzerland had a very nice house with a very large garden to the south. I had been treating them, their children and their animals for some years and when those apple trees got rust, she asked me if it was also possible to treat plants with homeopathy. ‘Sure’, I said, ‘but I know nothing about it’. She said, ‘ach du bist ein Krueterhexe, du wirst schon was finden’. – You are an herbal wizard, you will find something.
So we went outside and I saw these trees, with hanging leaves and all those red spots on the leaves, the twigs and branches and the trunks. So I asked her how long had they had this problem and she answered that it had begun three days before, with the frost and now all of them had it. Then I wanted to know if they were thirsty and she told me she watered them thrice daily, after which the leaves went up for a few hours, to then drop again.
To me that seemed like a case of ‘scarlet fever’ – fast, furious, dark red spots and very thirsty.
So I immediately thought that Belladonna might be able to do something at least. All I had were a few pills in the 200X and we dissolved about 10 in 20 litres of water and watered the trees with that. Three days later, the rust was all gone and the plants looked healthy again. It was in the fall – around the end of September and the apples were fall ripening. The first apples had tasted very sourly-bitter, when the rust was infecting the trees and after the rust had gone, they tasted so sweet and were so juicy, unbelievable! So I was completely surprised. How had this happened??!!!
I was quite flabbergasted by this success and then thought that maybe there was a way to develop this for plants too. At that time I was living in Amsterdam and had no garden so I started with pot-plants, meaning plants in pots as well as marihuana – legal to grow there – and prone to mildews, in the Dutch wet climate. I also tried to do something in public parks, but it was altogether quite a puzzle – diagnosis, provings and clinical observations were to be developed first. When I then went to Australia in 1990, I had better options – a house with a 1 hectare garden and plenty of possibilities.
I had scoured the literature for examples of experiments with plants and had no PC, so no Internet. I had a large library of homoeopathic books and found 4 examples, as I say in my book. I then started to sort out remedies from the insect world, in the hope of finding some that could be used for plants. The first large success came with Helix tosta, which kept snails out of the garden as if by magic. If I did not spray the weeds, they were forced to eat those, or move on – to the neighbour. That was 2 birds with one stone – or actually three. No snails on my crops, get them to work for me and a neighbour that needed something to get rid of snails. Soon the whole street was using the remedy and from there I started to write to growers clubs, offering my snail remedy. In six months time, I had the entire city of Perth using this remedy. That is when Monsanto began to make trouble for me, but that is another story altogether.
Next was the discovery of Silicea and its incredible possibilities. I took my cue from Steiner, who recommends silica as a biodynamic fruit enhancer. I discovered it does a lot more than just that.
Then there were of course the aphids – they gave me a headache for 3 years, before I had licked that problem. I toasted them and triturated them in that state, I drowned them in alcohol by the hundreds, trying to make a tincture, I triturated them live – none of it worked for one millimetre. Then one day I walked into the garden and saw the larvae of Coccinella septempunctata – the lady bug – at their devastating work among the aphids and bingo! There was the remedy!
Such gave me courage to carry on, for sometimes I felt like throwing in the towel, what with Monsanto and some of the puzzles that I faced with the remedies. Imagine, the relationships between the elements are completely different from the use with humans and animals. That was another puzzle that gave me headaches – figuratively that is. Altogether I was however fascinated enough to keep it up and even founded a company, of which only the email is left – Similicure – to produce and sell the remedies.
At some point I moved to the east coast and bought land with some friends and then I really got my hands dirty – 5 hectares of testing ground on a 120 acre plot. By 2000, I wrote the book and offered it to B.Jain in New Delhi, who promised all and did nothing for the 5 years that their contract lasted. I returned to Amsterdam, because by then the NRA – National Registration Authority – had ruined the business by their exorbitant registration fees – 20,000A$ per product. Mind you, when I started, it was 20A$, and every few years they simply increased it 10fold. For a year the manuscript lay around till Mark Moodie contacted me with the offer of publication.
Now, I have written a second edition, with a much better layout – organised by problem and plant family and fully illustrated. However, it will first appear in German, because Mark has not sold all his copies and so to bring it out in English would do him much harm – a no-go, as far as I am concerned.
AS: Your pioneering work really opened a door and has laid the groundwork for others to follow. Can you say something about how you take a plant’s case? In what ways is it analagous to a human case and how different? How far can you take anthropomorphizing?
Kav: In taking a plant’s case, we must pay particular attention to its external appearance, as we also do with humans. However, the difference is that there are no questions to ask, and of course no mental symptoms. Some plant states are similar in that their external symptoms resemble those in acute diseases in humans, such as the resemblance of rust to scarlet fever. Parasites such as the aphid have only a fleeting resemblance in that they are parasites. We really have nothing similar, other than pathology reports from plant pathologists, which some homoeopaths who are schooled in orthodox medicine sometimes demand.
Therefore, the idea that anthropomorphic observations are relevant, is only superficially so. We must take the plant as it is, in its own unique way. This means that we have to take into consideration the soil, the weather, the climate and their food in the larger context, but also the plant family, which I consider their constitution. After all, the Cucurbitae have different problems from the Leguminosae and the Graminae have different problems again, while all may suffer some similar problems. The aphid is shared with nearly all cultivated plant constitutions, just as scarlet fever is shared by nearly all human constitutions. The sequels to aphid infestation are often different for each plant constitution. Just as some parasites in humans may carry disease, so does the aphid. In grains, they are the vector for Barley Yellow Dwarf virus, while on the more leafy plants they may assist in the development of Mosaic virus. It has not yet been investigated how different these two plant diseases really are and what the differences consist of. To me, they are different manifestations of what I call the plant miasms.