At your annual conference you voted a motion to ban the teaching of homeopathy to trainee doctors. Your deputy chairman then called homeopathy “witchcraft”, to which you responded with considerable laughter. You did this, in spite of the fact that you had never tried homeopathy, nor read any of the major texts or case histories, or the studies supporting it.
Certainly you thought you were defending rationality, since you perceive homeopathy as implausible. Your perception is largely based on the “impossibility” of high dilutions affecting physiology. Perhaps you also heard about the contrived (and now discredited) Shang study, which purported to show homeopathy was placebo (never mind the scores of legitimate studies proving otherwise.1)
To set the record straight, I’m going to make some basic arguments and then offer a simple test that you can do, to experience the effect of homeopathy. If you still feel the same way after reading this and trying the test, so be it. If not, consider withdrawing your support for that motion.
Let me address the dilution issue. As there are no chemicals in homeopathic remedies beyond the 12c potency, it is clear the remedies don’t work chemically. Since their action is not dependent on material, the level of dilution is a non-issue and irrelevant. Exactly how they work is still a mystery, but some of it has been unraveled.
Research by Dr. S.Y. Lo revealed that when a substance is dissolved in water and succussed, it produces clusters of water molecules characteristic of that substance. Furthermore, these clusters can replicate themselves in solution, even in the absence of the original substance 2,3,4,5 In other words, the water itself carries a kind of imprint even in solutions diluted beyond Avogadro’s number.
What holds these clusters together? In experiments by Endler and Shulte, highly potentized homeopathic preparations of thyroxin were found to influence biological systems even through a layer of glass.6,7 This suggests the process may be mediated by electromagnetic field interactions.
Physicist Cyril Smith sees homeopathic remedies as specific frequencies, produced by succussing a substance in water. He sees these as interacting with the body to evoke a healing response.8 Clearly these explanations take us well past chemistry.
Numerous replicated studies, where placebo is totally ruled out, confirm the biological effects of highly potentized substances:
High potencies of thymulin depressed the immune response in mice 9; Potentized cyanide of mercury, protected mice from toxic doses of that substance.10 High dilutions of thyroxin altered the rate at which larvae change into tadpoles 11, and potentized Ruta Graveolens and Ginseng protected mice from sub-lethal doses of X-rays. 12
Do they Work?
Aside from the mechanism of homeopathic remedies, is the question of whether they work. In the end, that’s the key issue. There are thousands of case records over the last two hundred years, demonstrating homeopathy’s effectiveness. Its success in lethal epidemics, both as treatment and prophylaxis is also well documented You can read about and listen to some of it here.14, 15. There are also very many studies supporting homeopathy and here you can find a partial, but robust list.1
Finally, tens of thousands of board certified medical doctors with decades of experience, swear by homeopathy. To dismiss homeopathy, you would have to assume all these doctors and the millions of patients they treated, (over 200 years) have all been mistaken and just imagined that the kidney, heart, thyroid disease etc. was cured.
You could read studies all day, but in the end, people, even junior doctors, learn with their bodies. The easiest way for you to experience homeopathy is to take a remedy that fits your symptoms. For a few pounds you can buy a homeopathic remedy and treat yourself the next time you have some acute problem. At the bottom of this paper I’ve listed some remedies and their indications. You could also buy one of the beginner’s homeopathy books, which will give you even more choices. Finally, you could visit a homeopath as another way to experience a remedy.
Why should you do this ?
You have everything to gain and nothing to lose. It can provide you with an additional, powerful new tool for healing, safer and with a wider and deeper action. If you only give out drugs, you won’t cure chronic diseases, and sometimes those drugs you prescribe are going to injure and kill people.13 You’ll rationalize this by saying to yourself “Those were the best options I had at the time”. But what if there was a safer, more effective option, and you were too full of certainty to learn about it.
You may laugh at this proposal, as you’ll be tempted to do. Or you can take a few moments and be a scientist…and the best doctor you can be.
Homeopathic remedies and some of their indications. Your symptoms must fit those of the remedy, for it to work. However you don’t have to have all the symptoms of the remedy. A 30c potency is recommended. As symptoms improve, take the remedy less often or stop.
Arnica – After traumatic injuries when there is specifically a sore, lame bruised feeling, black and blue spots; often a fear of being touched or even approached. Another indication is that the injured person says there is nothing wrong with him. Head hot, but body cold. The bed may feel unusually hard. Worse from motion, least touch, rest. Better lying down or with head low.
Bryonia – A sprain which is worse from any motion, worse from heat and better from rest, pressure, cold. Better lying on the painful side. Sometimes, hot swollen joints and wants to sit very still. Stitching pains.
Rhus tox – A sprain that is worse from rest and worse from initial motion, but better from continued motion. Better from heat, change of position, stretching the limbs. Worse from cold and dampness. Restlessness often accompanies this sprain.
Aconitum – For the first stage of ailments the come on often after exposure to a dry cold environment, or after becoming frightened. Sudden, intense onset of symptoms which include fear, restlessness, unquenchable thirst and red, hot dry skin.
Nux vomica – A remedy with very broad action, only some of which can be listed here. Among other things it covers the symptoms often seen after bingeing on alcohol, drugs, stimulants (coffee), over eating (esp. spicy food.) Worse in the morning with nausea, constipation (straining), chilliness, irritability with anger. Oversensitive to light, sound, odors. Worse from cold, drafts, pressure of clothes.
2. Lo SY, LoA, Chong LW, Tianzhang L,Hua LH, Geng X. (1966) Physical Properties of Water with IE Structures. Modern Physics Letters B10, B19 :921-930
3. Lo SY (1996) Modern Physics Lett. B19: 909-919.
4. Ly SY and Bonavida B. (1998) Proceedings of the First International Symposium on Physical, Chemical and Biological Properties of Stable Water [IE] Clusters. Singapore: World Scientific Publishing.
5. Lo SY. Talk to National Center for Homeopathy, San Diego, CA. 1998
6. Fundamental Research in Ultra High Dilution and Homeopathy – (Eds. Shulte J and Endler PC) The Netherlands – Klewer Academic Publishers
7. Endler PC et al. Metamorphosis of amphibians and information of thyroxin storage vial bipolar fluid water on a technical data carrier; transference via an electronic amplifier. Fundamental Research in Ultra High Dilution and Homeopathy 1998 Kluwer Academic Publishers. the Netherlands.
9. Evaluation de la dose limite d’activite du Facteur Thymique Serique – Doucet-Jaboef M, et al. C.R. Acad.Sci. 295:III
10. Influence de l’administration de dilutions infinitesimiles de mercurius corrosivus sur la mortalite induite par le chlorure mercurique chez la souris. Cambar J, et al. (1983) Bull. Soc. Pharmacol. Bordeaux 122: 30-38.
11. The metamorphosis of amphibians and information of thyroxin storage via the bipolar fluid water and on a technical data carrier; transference via an electronic amplifier. Endler PC et al. Fundamental Research in Ultra High Dilution and Homeopathy. The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers. 1998: p.155.
12 Assessment of Cytogenetic Damage in X-irradiated mice mice and its alteration by oral administration of potentized homeopathic drug, Ginseng D200.
Berlin J. Res. homeopathy (4/5):254.