AS : We are privileged to have homeopath Claudia De Rosa with us today. She is author of five E- Books. She lectures throughout Europe on various topics including homeopathic pharmacy.
AS: Welcome to Hpathy, Claudia! Since you were born in Italy, can you give us a sense of the status of homeopathy in Italy?
Claudia: Hello Alan and thanks for having me here today! Homeopathy has been used in Italy since the 1970’s and was introduced by a medical doctor, Antonio Negro, who just passed away at the age of 102. Nowadays only 9 million Italians use homeopathy, a very small number if you consider that we are just a little more than 60 million! The current regulatory status concerning practice and training is very controversial: In 2002 the FNOMCEO (National Federation of the Orders of Physicians and Dentists) urged a legislative intervention by Parliament to approve legislation on Homeopathy as a legal medical practice. The Italian Parliament discussed several legal proposals, but none of them have been adopted so far. Therefore, MDs and Dentists can practice homeopathy with no need of proper training, while those without a medical degree must complete a 4 year Diploma course and yet still be careful when practicing that they are not charged with practicing medicine illegally – the Italian paradox! After all, Italians are famous for this worldwide!
Despite regulatory status, Homeopathy is offered to medical students in the undergraduate curriculum as a part of the course on Complementary and Alternative Medicine. There are over 24 independent schools in the territory offering Foundation training, short courses and CDP courses as well.
AS: The fact that Parliament is discussing homeopathy and that it’s offered in medical schools, sounds very hopeful. Among the many subjects you teach is homeopathic pharmacy. Could you discuss potency and “strength” of a remedy and define the two major methods of producing a remedy?
Claudia : Many new to homeopathy, mistake potency or dilution with strength. There is actually no correlation between potency and the strength of a homeopathic medicine. A homeopathic medicine at 30C potency is not stronger than the same medicine at 6C or 3C. The difference is in their action. While a 6C potency is better suited for a local symptom, a 30C or higher potency is more appropriate for general conditions such as allergy, stress or sleep disorders.
The are two dilution methods widely known and used: the Hahnemannian method (H next to the potency indicates that the medicine was prepared according to the Hahnemann method, i.e. 30 CH) and the Koraskovian method (K next to the potency, i.e. 200CK). The Hahnemanian method uses 1 part of the homeopathic potency to 99 parts of alcohol in a new flask and succussed to make the next higher potency on the Centesimal scale.
Korsakov’s method involves using the same container for each serial dilution, while Hahnemann’s method uses a different container for each serial dilution. The Korsakov method is widely adopted and viewed favourably by physicians and pharmacists. Although Hahnemann’s method is scientifically accurate, the Korsakovian method lends itself well to computerization and automation, rendering it the preferred choice for very high potencies. By using the same container the final remedy contains the energy pattern of all the potencies up to and including the final potency, allowing the patient’s body to use the most effective potency for the condition.
AS: What are some of the variables that affect the making of a remedy? If an emergency required making a centesimal remedy at home, using the Korsakovian method, how precise would one have to be? If, instead of 1:99 parts, you ended up with 2 parts in 99, would you still get a therapeutic effect? In other words, how much room is there for error?
Claudia: Let’s remember that when we talk about pharmacological action of a homeopathic drug (pharmacodynamic) we are talking about energetic actions too. It’s important to specify that theoretically, the single phial system is true, but practically is pharmaceutically wrong. First of all, the weight of the drop is variable and depends upon different factors: form of the recipient container, its volume, form of the neck of the phials, nature of its walls, the manner in which the phial is emptied, the phenomenon of absorption and so on. The glass of the phial holds the molecules with energy which is detached in an irregular manner when succussed. This phenomenon is of less importance in lower dilutions, but in high dilutions it has a great influence: in other words the wall of the phial becomes the source of the matter.
Nevertheless, experience shows that a glass that has contained medicine in solution, even though rinsed, retains enough substance on the sides of the glass to fully impart medicinal properties to the next dilution. Practically, in low dilutions, the Korsakovian method seems slightly more energizing than the Hahnemanian method, because of the single flask method. In fact, the energy bound in the surface tension force of liquids (which enables liquid to stay on the sides of a flask after it has been emptied) is added to the energy produced by the dynamization of the solution. Therefore, if instead of using 1:99 parts, we end up using 2 parts in 99, the remedy would still get a therapeutic energetic effect.
AS: Okay, so in an emergency an “approximate remedy” would still work. Hahnemann found that succussing by banging the phial on a book worked fine, but banging on a really hard surface didn’t work. How do we explain that?
Claudia : If we look into quantum physics’ theories we would be able to make a sense out of the potentization process, by understanding that the difference is in the waveform of the pressure curve experienced by the solution. If the curve is in the form of a “spike wave” then the solution would not work. But if the pressure is in the shape of the familiar “sine wave” (parabola) then it would potentize. It seems that too abrupt a change in direction of the solution causes a dissipation of the phenomenon.
AS: One of your many responsibilities is as Director of Clinical Research and Provings at the Irish Homeopathic Research Centre. Provings require great attention to detail for the information to be valid. Could you tell us some of the issues you have to deal with, to do a proving correctly?
Claudia: Provings lie at the very basis of homeopathy. The practice of homeopathy consists of a comparison between the remedy picture as gained from provings and the patient’s disease picture. Because of my background in Pharmacy, provings are very intriguing to me. Even more challenging is to run clinical trials after each proving to reinforce or reconsider that specific proving. Both at Eolas Research Institute and at Vis Vitalis we run Hahnemannian Provings, which are the hardest to conduct in terms on the number of people involved, the time needed to observe the proving taking place and to “read” the conclusions.
For our proving at Eolas, I tend to involve homeopaths (either practitioners or students) and lay people who usually don’t know anything about homeopathy. Those provers are usually the ones who give you the best proving symptoms! How to read a proving is maybe the strongest issue. Provings are the raw material from which the materia medica is formed. The most difficult part of reading a proving is to perceive the strengths and limitations of that particular proving, without letting subjective factors interfere with the analysis (motivation, personal history, culture, expectations).
Before all this, another huge issue is how to obtain the proving substance. Depending on the substance, many pharmaceutical companies would have huge difficulties in finding the raw material to build up the remedy (think about drugs, but also bacteria, viruses and even some species of spores, mushrooms and venoms). Fortunately, at Eolas we have a team of “conventional scientists” who are able to provide these for us.
A proving experience is the “one” experience each homeopath should try. I’ve been a prover myself as well as supervisor, coordinator (and now the organizer), and each time the whole experience has been so enriching! Understanding how a proving works and how to read a proving gives you a much clearer picture of what we know about a remedy and how we know it.
AS: You said you do Hahnemannian provings, so I wonder how you feel about other methods of gathering remedy data, such as intuitive provings, meditative provings, or dream provings done without taking the remedy, but just having it nearby.
Claudia: Well, on a personal level I find them fascinating!! As homeopaths we all love to deal with energy, empathy, mysticism. I mean, we wouldn’t embrace homeopathy if we weren’t interested in those aspects too. Still, we are facing a time where it is fundamental that we also prove homeopathy scientifically. Among all the proving methods, the Hahnemannian method is the one that is most systematic.
I strongly believe that a good proving is one that is substantiated by a proper scientific clinical study. Each one of us can demonstrate through our own practice that homeopathy works – we don’t need to demonstrate that! But since science is evolving and new studies are being conducted (i.e. Montagnier’s study on electromagnetism) we should embrace the moment and take the opportunity to build up solid research methods. Besides, among homeopaths there are still so many doubts to be cleared up, so many unanswered questions that fundamental research will answer. I truly believe homeopathic research is the future.
AS: We now have methods that sometimes use unproved remedies, based on inferring their symptomatology, such as Scholten’s Periodic table and Sankaran’s Sensation method. The chosen remedies are clearly curing people, so how do we fit them in philosophically?
Claudia : I love Scholten’s and Sankaran’s work and we have included them in the school curricula as well as the Cycle or Mappa Mundi method. Those are all very interesting theories, fascinating methodologies and very useful tools for every practitioner (even though sometimes it is difficult to acquire the techniques!). This is the case were I would say that philosophy and science can actually link together: It would be very interesting to realize provings and subsequent clinical studies of some of those “umproved” remedies, so as to create a solid and fundamental scientific basis for those
cured cases. In this way, Scholten’s and Sankaran’s work will be even more highly regarded.
AS: Nowadays, many people have allergies and food sensitivities. How do you approach these cases?
Claudia: Treatment of Allergies and food sensitivities is a topic that many homeopaths under-evaluate actually. So, my answer in this case is “it depends!” As homeopaths we love to give this kind of answer, don’t we? I need to differentiate here between allergy to pollens (or pollinosis) and to chemicals or allergy to food and food sensitivities.
Let’s start with pollinosis and chemicals. In my experience, those patients who are not
suffering such complaints because of inheritance, have had a history of recurrent skin problems (i.e. dermatitis, eczema) chronically suppressed, which have then developed into recurrent coughs, bronchitis and asthma. In those cases a well prescribed constitutional remedy (I mainly use LMs) tends to resolve the case beautifully and in a relatively short period of time. Usually during the beginning of the treatment, patients still take anti-histamine drugs during the allergic episodes but they gradually stop once the remedy kicks in and the vital force begins to react.
When it comes to food allergies and/or food sensitivities I find it very useful to associate constitutional treatment with probiotics to “clean up” and detoxify the digestive system and to rebalance and reactivate the metabolic and enzymatic functions. By doing this I find that the homeopathic remedy works faster and more effectively. I might also advise and suggest dietary changes as well.
AS: Another problem that’s being diagnosed more often is Autism Spectrum Disorder, which can have various etiologies. How do you approach those cases? Is there a particular case that stands out in your mind, that you could share with us?
Claudia: When people talk about autism, they generally refer to one of several neurological disorders that significantly impair the way a person communicates, interacts socially, thinks or behaves. These disorders are normally grouped under the umbrella term of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and include Autistic disorder (also known as infantile or childhood autism), Asperger syndrome, Rett syndrome, Childhood Disintegrative Disorder and pervasive developmental disorders not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS), also known as atypical autism.
There is a huge movement and empirical evidence around the globe that tells us a story of autistic children that have been treated, recovered and even cured. The philosophy is that these children suffer from a biological illness caused by many factors in the environment. These children are generally not able to process toxins; their little bodies are so sensitive that a large percentage develops food allergies, asthma, and other sensitivities (i.e., vaccinations, chemicals in the environment and additives in our food).
Many parents believe that their child was developing ‘normally’ and then received their vaccinations only to regress each and every milestone. As we all well know, vaccinations and their ability to inflict harm on our children is heavily debated at the moment. In my opinion, vaccination damage is not the only cause, it’s one of the many triggers. Many children in fact suffer from bowel disorders like chronic diarrhea, constipation and digestion problems. Studies have shown that 80% of these children have symptoms that suggest gastrointestinal disease. And if we think about that as a possible aetiology it makes sense: there is a strong connection between the gut (gastrointestinal) and the brain. Have a few alcoholic drinks and tell me how it has affected your ability to process information. Besides, an overgrowth of yeast in the gut is the expected side-effect of the chelating agents, antivirals, and antibiotics used during biomedical treatment. Yeast overgrowth, of which Candida is the most common, increases gut permeability, allowing undigested peptides and toxins into the bloodstream.
Children with autism often have high levels of heavy metals such as mercury, lead, arsenic, cadmium, copper, nickel, antimony, and aluminium within their system. To me, yeast overgrowth and heavy metal poisoning are actually the most common causes of Autism.
Now we come to the point of what homeopathy has to offer to the child. One of the important facts is that in homeopathy we have these symptoms covered by different remedies and can use the symptoms expressed by the behaviour of the child for the selection of the remedy.
In my experience, it is very appropriate to treat constitutionally both the child and the parents (especially the mother as she was the one carrying the child in the uterus), explore the whole family diet style and in severe cases I also suggest cognitive behavioural therapy and osteopathic treatments also.
I would love to share a recent case. Ciaran had just turned 2 years of age and his parents were very concerned about his development. He had several classic features of autism. He had been losing language – words and phrases – since 18 months of age and could now only say the one repetitive phrase, “Hi ya, how are you?”. Until then he had been a good eater, then he had regressed to only wanting bread, milk, cheese and pasta and could no longer use a fork or spoon. He gradually began to show delay in the development of his fine and gross motor skills and avoided eye contact. Ciaran wasn’t unable to engage with either toys or people, did not want to be touched or cuddled, and would walk on tip-toes and in constant circles. He also suffered from frequent respiratory tract infections and daily diarrhea. Insect bites and wounds would heal very slowly.
Before coming to me, Ciaran’s mother turned to the biomedical approach (the use of diets, supplements, and drugs to correct the imbalances in the biochemistry of the body that underpin symptoms of autism) and had sought osteopathic treatments. Ciaran then no longer ate foods containing gluten, casein, phenol, oxalate, sulphite, salicylate, soy or corn which are all potential irritants to a child with autism. He ate foods free from artificial colours, flavours, and preservatives and only drank filtered water (water is a vehicle of heavy metals into the organism). He was prescribed supplements such as zinc, magnesium, multi-vitamins and minerals, vitamin B12, coenzyme Q10 and cod liver oil.
When I first met Ciaran he presented with limited language (he could name objects and was using some two-and three-word phrases). He was anxious and fearful, experienced shaking of his body when excited, had a series of visual stims ( such as looking out at the corner of his eyes), meaningless repetition of words or phrases and obsession for a favourite cartoon that he could watch up to 18 times per day. From a homeopathic analysis, Ciaran loved having his hand caressed, his head and scalp were sensitive to being washed or brushed. He didn’t like being dirty, especially hands and mouth and for the same reason he wouldn’t eat with his hands and would not touch things such as play-dough or water-colours. He would laugh loudly during his sleep and he craved tomatoes and milk which also caused diarrhoea. He actually suffered several daily episodes of mustard-yellow diarrhea, very fetid and offensive and he had a persistent red inflamed rash on the right side of his neck.
I prescribed Sulphur LM1, 1 teaspoon daily for 4 weeks. Two weeks later Ciaran’s mother reported a huge improvement in the language he was using. He seemed to understand better and he was finally engaging again: the eye contact was slowly coming back and his outbursts slowed down. After four weeks the rash on his neck had completely disappeared, his sleep was much improved and the “loud laugh” completely stopped four weeks later.
During follow up consultation (7 weeks after first consultation) Ciaran’s improvement left me astonished! He was much more engaged with surroundings, toys and people. He had returned to having an afternoon sleep and was now sleeping well at night. His language was more complex and conversational. A series of old symptoms came up then, such as night terrors, extreme fear of the dark, and the visual stimming had returned. He would wake up frequently at night in terror screaming loudly and would turn the light on in every room. Stramonium LM 1 for a further 4 weeks was prescribed and Ciaran has been improving ever since.
AS: Are you saying that special diets, chelation etc. are not necessary, as homeopathy can correct the sensitivities?
Claudia: On the contrary, I’m saying that diet, chelation and detox are higly effective as well as osteopathic treatments and activities such as yoga: they actually help and speed up the homeopathic treatment, enhancing the immune system’s response to health. As Homeopaths and holistic practitioners we should start thinking of getting other health professionals and practitioners involved in our treatments.
AS: Okay, so all aspects of the problem need to be addressed. You’ve covered a lot of ground in this interview! Thank you for sharing with us today and for all the vibrant energy you put into homeopathy.
Claudia: I would like to thank you for inviting me to sit on the “hot seat”, I really enjoyed it, thanks Alan! I hope that what I have offered is taken in the positive light in which it was intended. Last of all, I would like to say that the role of the new generation of homeopaths (I consider myself a member of that ) is to prepare the next generation by sharing experiences, but most of all by creating a solid and ethical foundation for education, clinical practice and research. I hope that the homoeopathic community will contribute to this process and will help to develop the homeopathic medicine of the future. A lot of work still needs to be done, but as Buddha said, “Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared”!
Visit Claudia De Rosa at her website: