Gill Graham discusses how Hahnemann’s predictions concerning the potentially dangerous effects of pharmaceutical drugs and unnecessary medical interventions have been proven right and suggests that the 21st Century person needs to radically change their lifestyle and question current medical practices that have created a nation of health consumers, deprived of their own autonomy and free will.
With death and iatrogenic disease soaring due to the over prescription and misuse of pharmaceutical drugs, a return to prevention of disease and cure by less aggressive means is necessary. ‘Prescription drug abuse is the fastest growing drug problem in the United States.’ (CDC: January 13, 2012).
As a homeopath and practitioner of many other natural therapies, I am increasingly shocked by patients who consult me (often as a last resort) because of their ignorance as to their own personal health management. The scenario is generally one of endless medications being prescribed; invariably one to counteract the side effects of another. By the time of our first homeopathic consultation, they are full of toxicity, exhausted and depleted of any natural vitality. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, prescription drug usage in the United States is continuing to rise. A recent report finds the number of prescriptions filled each year increased by 39% between 1999 and 2009 and the amount of money spent was $234 billion in 2008. ‘The average American fills 12 prescriptions each year.’ (Kaiser Family Foundation: 2010)
The aim of this article is to highlight the current dangers of often unnecessary, harmful prescription drugs and screening processes by citing specific cases and to advocate the homeopathic and holistic approach to health. Current and recent publications on statistics on mortality due to ‘conventional’ medicine have been consulted resulting in a sobering realization of a need to address and adapt so-called ‘modern thinking’ and return to prevention and natural cure, where possible.
With reference to the title ‘Why less really is more‘, it is necessary to clarify Hahnemann’s thinking from a homeopathic perspective. He writes, “The correctness of a medicine for any given case of disease does not depend on its accurate homoeopathic selection alone, but likewise on the proper size, or rather smallness, of the dose. If we give too strong a dose of a medicine which may have been even quite homeopathically chosen for the morbid state before us, it must, notwithstanding the inherent beneficial character of its nature, prove injurious by its mere magnitude, and by the unnecessary, too strong impression which, by virtue of its homoeopathic similarity of action, it makes upon the vital force which it attacks and, through the vital force, upon those parts of the organism which are the most sensitive, and are already most affected by the natural disease.” (Hahnemann, S, 2003:199) Aphorism 275. Thus, the minimal dose of a correctly selected homeopathic remedy (the simillimum) including repetitions is all that is required to stimulate a healing reaction.
Homeopathy aside, ‘less is more’ is also highly relevant to the arguments set forth in this article. As we strive for less harmful prescriptions of potentially dangerous medications, less unnecessary invasive screening, less government intervention in collusion with the pharmaceutical companies. Greater emphasis should be given to increasing our own innate common sense leading to more knowledge with regard to our own health management without being influenced by propaganda or hype.
In addition to homeopathic literature and ‘conventional’ medical analysis and statistics, two leading works discussing the ethics and potential dangers of coercive medicine have been consulted: ‘Death of Humane Medicine: And the Rise of Coercive Medicine’ (Skrabanek: 1994) and ‘The Tyranny of Health’ (Fitzpatrick: 2000 ). Both are briefly discussed within the confines of this article to demonstrate that although both authors are skeptical about homeopathy, their views on the need to separate politics from medicine and other aspects of their thinking are very similar to my own.
The art and science of homeopathy described eloquently and simply by Hahnemann is: ‘To restore health rapidly, permanently; to remove and destroy the whole disease in the shortest, surest least harmful way, according to clearly comprehensible principles’. (Hahnemann, S: 2003:10) Aphorism 2. To clarify this and the juxtaposition with allopathic medicine, (his term for the then prevailing medical practice, a term which cannot be equated with what has become conventional medicine although some of Hahnemann’s criticisms apply to today’s medicine). To be specific, he makes three clear distinctions:
a) There is homeopathic therapy,
b) There is anti-pathic [contraria contrariis]
c) There is allopathic, that which is neither the one nor the other.
(Hahnemann, S: 2003:24). Aphorism 22
He goes on to define allopathy and the essence of the term which is equally applicable today: ‘the allopathic method which prescribes medicines having symptoms with no direct pathic relationship to the disease condition, symptoms neither similar nor opposite but completely heterogeneous….this method plays with the life of the patient irresponsibly and murderously, with its massive doses of dangerously violent drugs of unknown action chosen upon mere conjecture..’’ (Hahnemann, S: 2003:24) Aphorism 22.
Homeopathic therapy is based on the doctrine of similar, similia similibus curantur, meaning that a substance producing symptoms in a healthy individual can alleviate similar symptoms originating from illness, such as was demonstrated in the first proving of cinchona bark. The principle of similia similibus curantur is outlined in Aphorism 27 in The Organon ‘The curative virtue of medicine thus depends on their symptoms being similar to the disease or stronger. It follows that a particular case of disease can be destroyed and removed most surely, thoroughly, swiftly and permanently only by a medicine that can make a human feel the totality of symptoms most completely similar to it but stronger.’ (Hahnemann, S: 2003: 28), Aphorism 27. Parallels here have been drawn between the work of Hippocrates (c. 460 BC – c. 370 BC) and Paracelsus (1493-1541). Hahnemann acknowledges that Hippocrates wrote on the law of similars, although Richard Haehl, in his biography of Hahnemann, ‘Samuel Hahnemann, His Life and Work’, 1922 states that he refutes any suggestion of having been influenced by Paracelsus. (cited by Danciger, E: 1987:12)
He reinforces his belief concerning ‘allopathy’ in aphorism 37 that: ‘If the disease is treated with violent allopathic drugs, other graver, more life threatening ailments are created in its place.’ (Hahnemann S, 2003:34). The statistics discussed within this article, demonstrate that Hahnemann, in his wisdom, was right.
To put this into context, it is essential to remember that Hahnemann was a highly trained medical doctor, a chemist of great ability and reputation, and was a pioneer in the history and development of medicine. His extensive linguistic abilities allowed him to translate many medical texts that subsequently led him to question the original conventional medical system which was a large part of his education. Homeopathy was a result of his great disillusionment with what he termed ‘allopathic’ medicine (allos, from the Greek, meaning ‘other’) and much research on his part; starting with the proving of cinchona bark. In short, he experimented upon himself with the substance and experienced the characteristic symptoms of intermittent fever. Cinchona in turn, was seen to cure this condition. This was the first homeopathic proving and is reminiscent of Hippocrates’ observation, ‘that which may poison, may also heal.’
The intelligent, thinking, health aware, person of the 21st century has had enough. A pervading sense of disillusionment with prescription drugs and their potentially devastating side effects is rippling through a society that is beginning to realise that maybe it has been duped (slowly but surely) by pharmaceutical companies whose primary concern is to make a profit at any cost. The drug companies in America have for several years now been permitted to advertise directly to the public through the media-on television and radio. These commercials are invariably subliminal, with beautiful images of a perfect life (particularly with reference to antidepressants.) Some people however, may miss the sad irony of one minute’s advertising of the product to at least three minutes on the side effects of any given drug. These side effects, in this case of SSRI antidepressants, are insomnia, skin rashes, headaches, joint and muscle pain, stomach upset, nausea or diarrhea; discounting the possible sexual effects such as impotence and the raised risk of suicide. (Am.Journal of Psychiatry, 2006). They are invariably treated with yet another prescription drug, and so the cycle continues, and the profits soar.
It is time to wake up. One of the leading causes of death in the western world is manmade; it comes from the proliferation of pharmaceutical drugs being prescribed by doctors legally. ‘It accounts for 783,936 deaths every year, in the USA alone. It is evident that the American medical system is the leading cause of death and injury in the United States.” (Null,G, Dean,C et al, 2003).
To illustrate this further, the following statistics were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA:2000). JAMA is the most widely circulated medical periodical in the world. It shows a total of 225,000 deaths from iatrogenic disease a year (deaths induced inadvertently by a physician or medical treatment or diagnostic procedures.) The figures shown, even in 2000, are conservatively low as they only demonstrate data from hospitalized patients and do not take into account the effect of disability due to allopathic treatment. However, even taking the lowest figure of 225,000, iatrogenic disease constitutes the third leading cause of death in the United States, after heart disease and cancer.