Biographies of Homeopaths

Marion Belle Rood

Andrew Lange
Written by Andrew Lange

Dr. Andrew Lange presents a biography of Marion Bell Rood, an extraordinary woman, homeopath and mathematician.

Marion Belle Rood, MD, was one of the great elders in American homeopathy. She practiced in her hometown of Lapeer, Michigan for over fifty years. She was a pioneer in science and medicine. As the only woman in her physics masters program at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, she helped work on the quantum theory during the 1920’s. After two years of teaching mathematics at a convent in Tennessee, she attended New York Homeopathic Medical College as the only female student in her class, graduating in 1932. Harvey Farrington was one of her professors. She earned her living while going through medical school by tutoring the children of the Rockefeller family. During that period of time, the term “homeopathy” had been dropped from the school’s title, in order to maintain accreditation. This was happening in all the remaining homeopathic schools at that time.

Dr. Rood received her advanced training in homeopathy from her family physician, Dr. Harriet Knott, who in her later years, while blind, lived with Dr. Rood supervising her cases. Dr. Rood was also a colleague of A.H. Grimmer. Grimmer invited her to join his practice in Chicago, which had been Kent’s practice. However Dr. Rood wanted to stay in her rural home town, and it was in this small town she remained, practicing from 1932-1992.   Her approach to disease was deeply influenced by her understanding of chronic disease and the miasms. Her tremendous understanding of the pathogenesis of disease enabled her to solve the most difficult cases. J.H. Allen’s ‘Chronic Miasms’ was central in her understanding of prescribing medicines miasmatically. Far advanced of an isopathic application of nosodes, she knew and developed some of the rarer remedies’ relationship to the miasms.  In one case, the patient presented symptoms that reminded Dr. Rood of her father’s bad reaction to typhoid vaccination when in service during the Korean war. The remedy Nux Moschata thirty years previously, had helped his father, and acted to clear this man’s case, also.

Dr. Rood could open to a page in Hering’s Guiding Symptoms and find the case before her mirrored there, word for word. She treated multiple generations within families, often in the same morning. Dr. Rood used homeopathy in treating cancer in hundreds of cases. While there can be no question that homeopathy is effective in many forms of this disease, her results were the constant discussion of the patients who waited outside her door.

Often she would just leave a book for me to read, without explanation. She taught in a Socratic method; instead of answering questions, she would say, “You think about it.” Then a few days later, in the middle of a patient consultation, she would begin a long dissertation to me, (actually directed toward the patient) answering the questions I had asked previously. The poor patient, who had no idea what she was talking about, just respectfully responded, nodding her head in agreement, “Oh yes, Dr. Rood.”

Stories about Dr. Rood are of a legendary nature. Most of them are true. She lived outside of town where the road turned to dirt. Rood’s Lake Road had been named after her grandmother, and was the site of their farmhouse on the edge of a state wilderness preserve. Dr. Rood had moved to this house after the family house in town, from which she practiced for many years, had been the victim of arson, due to political rivals of her father and brother who were lawyers. She did not have a telephone, nor take appointments. Her clinic hours began at eleven in the morning. Patients came from around the country and the world to line up on her dirt road. Cars lined up outside her driveway by eight in the morning. She would open her door and treat the first in line, and continue until till 1 a.m. daily, sometimes later. She worked until the last patient had been treated. Patients would eat picnic lunches, stand on the porch and chat, while waiting.

In Dr. Rood’s office in her living room, patients sat amidst piles of books, cats and dogs, dishes covered in lace, and wooden boxes filled with medicines. Records were kept on large file cards. She sat behind a small wooden side table with Kent and Knerr’s Repertories guiding her. Busts of Hahnemann and Hyphatia watched over her. Hyphatia was a young woman mathematician and astronomer from Alexandria, and the leading proponent of neo-platonic thought.

Patients reported that she would leave them with an issue of Scientific American when she went to prepare their remedy, then quiz them about the articles when she returned. As a scientist, Dr. Rood kept a wide range of journals piled throughout the living room in which she saw her patients. She would regularly lecture to her patients on the relationship between homeopathy and current developments in science, whether they could appreciate her insights or not. She felt strongly that a background in physics was essential for a homeopathic education. She had a tremendous ability to perceive where homeopathy had been confirmed in the scientific literature, or solutions to medical problems in the scientific literature, unsolved due to the lack of homeopathic thinking. She had a special interest in Interferon research, which she felt had proven Hahnemann’s description of viral interference as spelled out in the Organon, yet pharmaceutical approaches had failed in utilizing the discovery of interferon effectively.

Through Dr. Grimmer, she became interested in the Abrams method, which was a predecessor to radionics. She built a dark room with copper wire coils to block outside electromagnetic influences, in which she conducted tests. This method was the basis of a later study led by Guy Beckley Stearns and other members of the International Hahnemannian Association in the 1920’s, and although certainly not reflecting classical methods, it was of great interest to some of the leading homeopaths of the time. Dr. Rood used this method for over twenty years in some of her most difficult cancer cases. In later years she no longer used the Abrams instrument, relying instead on her experience and the repertories to determine the remedy.

She believed that medicines could have an effect at a distance. In fact, one night when an impatient patient had left, after having waited much of the day, Dr. Rood just looked out the door and exclaimed, “Oh he must have been exposed to the remedy he needed from in here, and felt so much better he didn’t need to see me!”
One night, we were having tea at three in the morning, after every one had gone, and I asked her, “Dr. Rood, your patients think you’re clairvoyant, what does that mean to you?”  If I had asked her directly she would never have answered. Instead she politely retorted, “Well you never talk about those things.” When a local reporter interviewed her after her retirement he asked her, what would her patients do without her, to which she replied, “Well I hope they’re all better. That’s what is supposed to happen.”

Dr. Rood never married. While many of her brother’s friends had shown interest in her, her mother had encouraged her to study books, and she simply got too involved in them she would say. While living a humble and simple life, she was constantly abreast of developments in science and politics throughout the world.
On Monday, she took the day off. She bought most her remedies from Erhart and Karl Pharmacy in Chicago. Dr. Rood would go by train to pick up her remedies in Chicago, and bring them home. The trip took 6 hours.

Once a month she taught quantum physics at Sr. White Jr. High School in La Peer, Michigan. Along with Dr. Wryth Post Baker (who wrote the intro to Homeotherapeutics, she helped saved homeopathy in the 1950’s.) She testified before the Senate, to maintain the status of the pharmacopoeia.

Dr. Rood charged $10 for a visit, raising this to $20, when the pharmacopoeia was again reviewed in the 1980’s. She raised and contributed $50,000 which funded this updating of the US Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia for approval. Without this generosity and foresight, we would not be able to produce and prescribe homeopathic medicines today.

Dr. Rood died in December, 1995 at the age of 96. She represented kindness, strength, humility, and the unique individuality of our tradition. Her legacy remains in her foresight in preserving the US Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia, in the generations of patients that she treated, and in her example of brilliance in understanding of the science of medicine.

 

Sourced from “American Homeopath”

About the author

Andrew Lange

Andrew Lange

Andrew Lange, ND, began his studies of homeopathy in 1978 under the supervision of Alan Sutherland M.D. He apprenticed with Marion Belle Rood M.D. during the summers from 1980-1984. He has served as Chair of the Department of Homeopathy and as Clinical Supervising Physician at Bastyr University in Seattle. He has taught at the College of Homeopathy in London, as well as having lectured widely in the U.S. and England. Lange presently practices in Boulder, Colorado. He is the author of Getting at the Root: Treating the Deepest Source of Disease http://www.amazon.com/Getting-Root-Treating-Deepest-Disease/dp/1556433956 Visit Dr. Lange at his website: www.andrewlange.com

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