Homeopathy has been attributed to be everything from a cure-all to snake oil . The truth has been lost somewhere in the middle, making it difficult for medical science to consider it seriously. With more and more attacks on its legitimacy as a therapy , it becomes essential for classical homeopaths to outline once again the concepts that are at the core of homeopathy and what it can and cannot do. An understanding of this nature may help anyone who wants to decide on its relevance to modern healthcare.
Immune system in health and disease
The immune system strives at all times to maintain homeostasis [3, 4]. The reaction of the immune system at any given time is a product of the genetic predisposition with the past diseases and treatments, along with the circumstantial stresses. In this way, each person’s immune system is unique. In short, the same disease causing factor elicits different reactions from different individuals. This is at the core of understanding of ‘health’ and ‘disease’ in homeopathy. Instead of focusing on the incidental causative factor, it focuses on the reaction of the defense mechanism to such a stimulus .
In health, the defense is efficient – the pathological stimulus is dealt with easily by the immune system and order restored. When the energy complex of the organism is low due to the factors stated above, the immune mechanism isn’t able to efficiently ward off the pathological stimulus. At such times it produces a set of ‘symptoms’ which enable it to maintain life, albeit at the cost of health. This situation is ‘disease’ .
Many times this disturbance is slight and is easily overcome by the organism through rest and leisure, requiring no external aid. When this is not possible and the stimulus is injurious, a disease state is established. This disturbance may be either acute as happens in acute infections or chronic as happens in all the chronic diseases.
Acute diseases are very strong in their stimulus and the reaction they elicit from the organism is also strong. This means that the eventual fate of acute diseases is either triumph of the immune system (recovery) or of the pathological agent (death) .
However, not all organisms have the vitality to react to such strong stimuli. These are the ones who are already undermined by their predispositions and stress and have entered a low state of dynamism. In these organisms the immune system automatically generates disease just to maintain order, the chronic diseases . The difference in the way an organism reacts to a pathological stimulus depends on its ‘health level’. The health at any given point of time may arbitrarily be said to be at one of the twelve ‘Levels of Health’ as given by Prof Vithoulkas. This idea is for the sake of clinical assessment and prognosis of cases. The healthiest people belonging to Level 1 live for over 90 years, have rare acute infections and are easily able to overcome any disease. The levels below depict a scale of decreasing health with 12th level being the lowest where children are born with degenerative diseases and may not live beyond childhood. Understanding these levels helps us understand where a person is to begin with and where the treatment is taking him. A good treatment is the one which elevates the level of health of the being and not just removes the symptoms .
A Continuum of disease development
In its function the human organism is very sophisticated. The organs and systems are arranged hierarchically so that the most vital to survival are protected the best. The immune system which has the job of defense makes sure that the disease, when it develops, keeps to as superficial an organ system as possible. In this sense, diseases are not random occurrences but follow a specific rule and order. An organism capable of mounting an efficient acute inflammation does not suffer chronic diseases, but slowly the disease is driven inwards in this hierarchy as the energy complex governing the whole system diminishes 
There is increasing evidence today that the majority of chronic diseases are being inflammatory as well. There is also proof that these chronic inflammatory states are a result of unresolved acute inflammations, lending credibility to the idea of past medical history as seen in homeopathy. With the knowledge of what over treatment of acute inflammation can do to the immune system, as detailed in the ‘The Continuum of Unified Theory of Diseases’ we may attribute the mishandling of acute inflammation to the perpetuation of chronic inflammation . At such a time when the shift of the world’s leading killer diseases is towards chronic degenerative diseases from the infectious , we are in need of a therapy that can enhance the immune system’s ability to resolve the acute states in order to prevent the chronic ones viz. Homeopathy.
The study of an individual’s medical anamnesis in homeopathy is not only for the purpose of recording but actually has a bearing on the treatment plan. The classical homeopath assesses the genetic predisposition, the past diseases and treatments along with present stresses, to understand the level of health and plans the treatment accordingly. The proof of this method is in the clinical cases when we see the return of acute inflammatory states as the chronic disease begins to heal . This comprehension also allows the homeopath to evaluate the possibility of cure in a patient. There are states which are established so strongly in the organism and the energy available for defense so low that it cannot make use of the remedial energy to overcome the injurious agent. In such cases homeopathy can maintain the status quo with symptomatic relief even though real cure is not possible . This clarity about what can and cannot be done with homeopathy exists if only one chooses to learn it.
Homeopathic remedies as augmenters of immune system’s function
The basic tenet of remedy selection in homeopathy is ‘Similia similibus curentur’, meaning ‘let likes be treated by likes’. Substances that are capable of altering human health qualify as homeopathic medicines. Homeopathic remedies are proven on healthy human beings and the symptoms generated are recorded. Symptoms of toxic and poisonous substances are recorded from the clinical toxicological data. As stated above, a person’s immune system tries to achieve balance when faced with a pathological agent. At such times if it fails to completely rid itself, it produces symptoms as an effort in this direction. To such a system, a remedy with the capacity to produce similar symptoms is introduced, augmenting the effort. The dosage is controlled to give just enough stimulus to the immune system to overcome the disease. Once this stimulus is adequate the immune system gets rid of the disease and shifts to the next best possible level of health [4, 5].
Why the hue and cry about homeopathy?
Apart from the capitalistic and political reasons, there is an inherent problem in homeopathic practice system which is the reason for it being propagated as dubious.
Homeopathy demands high understanding and in-depth study of the therapeutic laws and of the human organism. It also demands strict adherence to these laws in practice, if any reliable results are to be expected. Alas, from the time of Hahnemann, whose brainchild homeopathy is, this has not been the case with all homeopathic practitioners . Hahnemann observed the natural laws of health, disease and cure and established the whole therapeutic system on these rules. Therefore, when we deviate from them we cannot expect to see it work. And if something works, it is random without any regular reliable pattern. There is no doubt that homeopathy is difficult in its application and short cuts are eagerly welcomed by those who are longing for the new, the easy, the miraculous and the effortless. But such shortcuts will also have their own shortcomings, and, thus will add to the gradual demise of homeopathy. Done with whatever intention, the influx of ‘new ideas’ in homeopathy has turned against it. It is not so much a depiction of rigidity of homeopathy, as of the fantastic nature of these ‘new ideas’. In the name of development or advance one cannot leave the science behind. If this is done, it does not remain homeopathy anymore and it would be prudent to call it something else altogether to avoid confusion with the scientific practice. Some examples of such ideas are: dream provings, signatures, sensations, homeopathic vaccinations and some supernatural experience based interpretations. These have no connection with the basic laws of homeopathy and they must not viewed upon as belonging to homeopathy. The problem is, students of homeopathy with good intention and enthusiasm will be seduced by such “artistic interpretations” and become disillusioned and disheartened when they try to put these ideas into practice. Many may leave these ranks for safer ground, but others will leave homeopathy permanently in bitter disappointment. The long term damage done to homeopathy will be irreparable [11, 12]. The only way we can stand on firm ground and know for sure what we can or cannot achieve is by adhering to the scientific observations and laws interpreted from them. It is true that homeopathy can cure a lot of diseases that conventional medicine finds challenging today [13, 14] but such feats cannot be achieved by fantasies and imaginations.
Future of homeopathy
While the status of homeopathy is fragile at the moment with many governments coming down heavily on it, stating lack of evidence , the future of homeopathy is far from bleak. The evidence in the database of the International Academy of Classical Homeopathy shows that there is still a lot of data that these governing bodies have ignored . The health challenges of the modern world are so complicated that the simplistic view of disease as seen by conventional medicine will not suffice. If homeopaths realise the importance of staying true to the science, it can emerge as a major ally to conventional medicine in handling these challenges. Already, personalsed medicine is a big thing in management of some diseases  and it will soon become evident to immunologists that it is not about one gene or one pathway but the whole balance that has tipped to give rise to disease . With the advance in fundamental research we may eventually figure out how exactly homeopathic treatment causes changes in the organism but for now we must allow for the overwhelming clinical data to guide us. As Hahnemann stated Aude Sapere – Dare to be wise.
Homeopathy is a therapeutic system that is based on the natural laws governing the immune system in health and disease. The lack of adherence to these laws will lead to the science being discarded. It is the need of the day that homeopaths stay with the science and keep it going in the right direction, in which case it can become a major ally to conventional medicine to face the healthcare challenges of the future.
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