Author: Dr. A. U. Ramakrishnan and Catherine R. Coulter
Publisher: Quality Medical Publishing Inc., St Louis, Missouri, USA, 2001.
198 pp., h/b
Reviewed By: Karin Mont MARH
I have always enjoyed the writings of Catherine Coulter. For me, she manages to combine familiar elements of our materia medica with meaningful and imaginative insights into the remedies she describes. In A Homeopathic Approach To Cancer, she adopts a different style. Here she concentrates on bringing together the case notes and clinical observations of the well-known Indian homeopath, Dr. Ramakrishnan. Over the years, Dr Ramakrishnan has treated literally thousands of cases of cancer, resulting in the accumulation of a unique and diverse mass of data. Catherine Coulter has endeavoured to interpret and collate this information, then present it to the reader in a comprehensible and usable format. The result is an invaluable guide to specifically treating the organic pathology of cancer, which builds upon and extends the work already started by earlier homeopaths such as Burnett and Clarke.
Though originally trained as a ‘classical’ single-remedy prescriber, clinical experience has led Dr. Ramakrishnan to observe that generally, the individuality (as in ‘constitutional’ prescribing) of the cancer patient becomes less relevant in terms of remedy selection when one is faced with the severity and rapid development of the disease. Because cancer pathology manifests in a ‘concrete’ (the formation of tumours) and measurable manner, it appears to respond well to a more pathologically orientated prescribing style, one based on our current knowledge of disease and organ-specific remedies. In short, according to Dr Ramakrishnan, successful treatment calls for a more specialised (as opposed to individualised) approach. Also, the swiftly advancing deterioration and lifethreatening character of the disease need to be matched by an aggressive prescribing technique that delivers speedy improvements to the overall pathology.
Dr. Ramakrishnan’s method is broken down into three main stages:
A remedy is given frequently on a regulated basis (rather than an ‘as needed’ basis), and often over an extended period of time.
A second remedy also given on a regular basis, and is alternated with the first. For example, this may be an organ-specific remedy given in alternation with a cancer nosode.
Remedies can either be given by the ‘plussing method’, which works in a similar way to the LM potencies (always stirring the remedy before taking it, in order to slightly increase its healing potential), or by ‘split-dosing’ (a description of how to administer by both ‘plussing’ and ‘split-dosing’ appears in Chapter 3, and is further illustrated by case examples in Chapter 4).
Once the principles of prescribing according to Dr Ramakrishnan’s technique have been established, the rest of the book concentrates on individual case studies, with Catherine Coulter often providing helpful and illuminating comments on the choice of remedies and the outcome of the prescription. In the second chapter, the main cancer remedies are identified, then sub-divided into three groups to facilitate referencing:
1. Nosodes, mainly Carcinosin and Scirrinum.
2. Remedies used in cancers of many types, such as Arsenicum, Conium and Thuja.
3. Organ-specific remedies, including Ceanothus (spleen, pancreas, liver), Terebinthina (bladder), Plumbum iodatum (brain), Hecla lava (bone, bone marrow), Sabal serrulata (prostate), and Hydrastis (stomach).
There are a number of examples given of the successful treatment of cancer. However, the pragmatic approach outlined in this book is equally applicable to palliative treatment, where (for example) metastasis is advanced and recovery unlikely. Pain management in terminal cases is discussed, and also how to support the patient through orthodox medical interventions such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery. Though many familiar remedies are considered, the properties of a number of less usual ones are mentioned as well, such as Euphorbium and Ornithogalum.
A section is devoted to the use of constitutional prescribing, for example when previously successful treatment becomes ‘blocked’, when metastasis occurs following an apparent cure, in the early stages of treatment, especially when the constitutional remedy has an affinity for the organ/tissue affected and, on a more positive note, when the tumour and associated pathologies have regressed. Cancer prevention, especially for those with a strong familial history of cancer, is addressed in the final chapter, alongside the treatment of pre-cancerous conditions such as lichen Planus and precancer of the cervix. The importance of taking remedies frequently and systematically, in a regulated manner over a prolonged period of time (eighteen months plus), is stressed throughout the text.
In conclusion, this is an invaluable reference work that no homeopath should be without, assuming they are prepared to consider a fundamentally therapeutic approach to the treatment of this complex and challenging disease. Indeed, many of the principles described in the book could readily be adapted to the treatment of a range of other chronic diseases that manifest destructive and ultimately fatal pathologies. By sharing with us significant aspects of his clinical experience, Dr Ramakrishnan has given us a valuable foundation upon which to build a database of knowledge that can help us to treat cancer and other degenerative diseases effectively. Thanks to the literary skill and personal insight that Catherine Coulter brings to collating this information, we have a text that is both practical and relevant to treating one of the most feared diseases known to mankind.
This review was reprinted from the April 2003 edition of Homeopathy in Practice with permission from the Alliance of Registered Homeopaths.
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