Module 1

In this module you will:
– Look at the history and philosophy behind Homeopathy
– Learn about the Law of Similars
– Learn about the Law of the Minimum Dose
– Look at two example cases to see how these two laws are used in real situations
– Do a short quiz to review what you have learnt

1. A brief History of Homeopathy

Hippocrates, over 2000 years ago wrote that there were two approaches to healing:
the use of contraries or opposites (Antipathic medicine) or similars (Homeopathic medicine)
Antipathy uses the opposite suffering to try to restore the body to balance.

Here are some examples:
A laxative is given to ease constipation.
An anti-inflammatory is given to reduce inflammation.
An antacid is given to reduce stomach acidity.

One of the reasons that Hippocrates was not keen on using opposites was because he noticed that the original problem tended to get worse and so more and more of the opposite medicine had to be given to get the same result.

Homoeopathy uses substances that can cause similar suffering to restore health. That is to say substances that have been found to cause particular problems in a healthy person are used to treat those same problems in an unhealthy person.
Here are some examples:

man-chopping-onion

Homeopathy uses like to cure like

One common hay fever remedy is prepared from Alium Cepa (onion) because a healthy person chopping an onion will often get a runny nose and streaming eyes.

Angry red swellings (however caused) may be treated with Apis (made from bee sting).
Blood poisoning may be treated with Lachesis (bushmaster snake venom), or other snake venom remedies.

Although homeopathy is about 200 years old, treating with similars has been a common approach in traditional herbal medicine throughout the world for thousands of years.

Conventional medicine is sometimes referred to as allopathic (meaning literally, ‘other suffering’) this means there is no direct correlation between what you are suffering from and the treatment you are given, but for some unknown reason it alleviates the symptoms. In fact, strictly-speaking, the majority of orthodox medicine tends to be more ‘antipathic’ than ‘allopathic’.

In the early 16th century a German doctor named Paracelsus, now known as the father of chemistry, strongly criticized the use of contraries and stressed his belief that ‘like cures like’.

However, it was not until the late 18th century that Homoeopathy as it is known today emerged. It came about when another German doctor, called Hahnemann, began to have trouble with his conscience. The following is an excerpt from his diary:

“I cannot reckon on much income from practice… I am too conscientious to prolong illness or make it appear more dangerous than it is…It was agony for me to walk always in darkness, when I had to heal the sick, and to prescribe according to such and such an hypothesis concerning diseases, substances which owed their place in the Materia Medica to an arbitrary decision…Soon after my marriage, I renounced the practice of medicine, that I may no longer incur the risk of doing injury and I engaged exclusively in chemistry and in literary occupations.”

2. Hahnemann and the first proving.

Statue honoring Samuel Hahnemann in Washington DC

Statue honoring Samuel Hahnemann in Washington DC

 

So Hahnemann gave up his practice and because he had a wife and large brood of children to support he took on work as a translator. Whilst translating a book by the Scottish doctor Cullen, Hahnemann became irritated and dissatisfied with Cullen’s explanation that quinine (also known as Cinchona bark or China) was effective against malaria because of its bitterness. He decided to take some himself to see what would happen.

 

“My feet, finger ends etc., at first became quite cold; I grew languid and drowsy; then my heart began to palpitate, and my pulse grew hard and small; intolerable anxiety, trembling, prostration throughout my limbs; then pulsation in the head, redness of my cheeks, thirst, and, in short, all these symptoms that are ordinarily characteristic of intermittent fever, made their appearance, one after the other… Briefly even those symptoms which are of regular occurrence and especially characteristic – as the stupidity of mind, the kind of rigidity in all the limbs, but above all the numb, disagreeable sensation, which seems to have its seat in the periosteum (bone surface), over every bone in the whole body – all these made their appearance. The paroxysm lasted two or three hours each time, and recurred, if I repeated this dose, not otherwise; I discontinued it and was in good health.”

Not surprisingly Hahnemann was very excited by this discovery because it provided a sound, logical basis for the selection of medicines. Those substances that could cause symptoms in a healthy person could be used to cure the same symptoms in an unhealthy person.This brings us to the most important and fundamental law of Homeopathy

3. The Law of Similars

Hahnemann had had one of those Eureka moments. He realized that if healthy people took a particular substance and recorded their symptoms, then somebody suffering from similar symptoms could be cured using that substance. This is often neatly summarised by the phrase:

Like cures like

As you can imagine Hahnemann wanted to pursue this by testing other substances and he began with those he knew could make a healthy person sick…poisons. Of course, this presented problems for those who were kind enough to test the substances on themselves. The provers (testers) often became extremely ill and this is what lead to the discovery of the other fundamental law in Homeopathy, namely…

4. The Law of the Minimum Dose

drop-of-water

Dilution + Succussion = Potentization

 

Hahnemann began diluting the substances he wished to test, often to the point where there wasn’t a single molecule of the original substance left, although at the time nobody knew that.Unfortunately these substances had no effect. So it was back to the drawing board.

 

There is a story ( probably apocryphal but none the less charming !) that Hahnemann was holding a test tube of a diluted substance in his hand and was so frustrated at this point that he began to hit it against a leather-bound Bible and discovered that the process of shaking and bashing somehow imprinted the energy of the original substance into the liquid /dilutant so that it continued to have a medicinal effect, but, happily, the toxic effects disappeared during the dilution process. Others say he discovered this because the medicines that he carried with him in his bag were more effective than those he did not, because of all the jiggling they experienced.

However he actually came by the idea the important thing is that it worked and this combination of diluting and succussing is called potentisation.

5. Potency

You may have noticed you can get homeopathic medicines in many different potencies (e.g..3x, 6x, 12x, 6c, 12c, 30c, 200c, 1M, 10M). The roman numerals are used to denote the factor by which the substance has been diluted ( x=process of dilution by a factor of 1:9; c=process of dilution by a factor of 1:99; M = process of dilution by a factor of 1:999) Strangely, provided succussion has taken place, the more diluted a substance is the more potent and far-reaching its effects appear to be. Therefore a 200c, having been diluted and succussed more frequently is more potent than a 30c, which in turn is more potent than a 6x. In Homeopathy less is more.

If I wanted to prepare a substance homeopathically to a 6x potency I would start with the original substance (what is known as a mother tinture) and put one drop into nine drops of dilutant (usually ethanol alcohol). These ten drops would then be succussed (shaken and bashed against a leather-bound bible, just as in days of old) and then only one drop placed into a fresh test tube containing a further 9 drops of alcohol and the process of succussion repeated .At this stage the medicine would be a 2x potency. Only after I had repeated this same process four more times would it become a 6x. To make a 6c the process would be identical, except that I would have 99 drops of alcohol to my one drop of the mother tincture and all subsequent dilutions. As you can imagine making a 200c is a long process and most pharmacies make the higher potencies with a machine, rather than by hand.

pregnant_woman_partner

Homeopathy is safe for everyone

One of the reasons Homeopathy enjoys such an excellent reputation is because it is given in such minute doses that it can be safely used to treat anyone (including pregnant women, new born babies, children, weak or elderly people and small animals) without dangerous side effects.

30c is a safe potency for anyone to use and it’s great for first aid and minor illnesses. 200c is used during childbirth and in emergencies.

The single dose is a very important aspect of the Law of the Minimum Dose.

Classical homeopaths, who follow the teachings of Hahnemann closely, apply the Law of the Minimum Dose not only by using potentized medicines, but by administering them according to the same principle.

A single dose of the medicine is given and then its action is assessed some time later. If it is working no more medicine is given unless the improvements experienced either stop completely or are reversed.

Currently there is a lot of misinformation relating to dosage and repetition of homeopathic medicines, both on the medicine containers and in magazine articles and self-help books. Ignore any instructions that asks you to routinely repeat a homeopathic medicine at set intervals. Instead remember this simple common-sense rule:
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

Case 1

When my daughter was 4 years old we attended a street festival in our little town. We were dancing quite happily when she was suddenly stung by a wasp. I picked her up and ran to my office to get her an Apis. This normally gives almost instant relief and so I was very perplexed when she was still howling in pain a few minutes later. I asked her to describe the pain to me and she managed to explain that the pain was shooting up her arm. Then I realised that the medicine I had given was not ‘homeopathic’. By that I mean Apis cannot produce a ‘similar suffering’ to the type of shooting nerve pain Martha was experiencing. Apis can produce large red burning fluid-filled swellings that often accompany bites and stings but my routinist approach was wrong.

To be truly homeopathic a medicine must accurately match the symptom picture.
I had ignored the fundamental law of what makes a medicine ‘homeopathic’ – the ability to produce ‘similar suffering’. I immediately changed my prescription to Hypericum, a superb remedy for exactly this type of shooting nerve pain and as soon as she put the pillule in her mouth the pain stopped. The sting had actually hit a nerve in her arm and that was what needed to be cured. It is more accurate to say that medicines prepared using dilution and succussion are potentised (rather than homeopathic) because it is only the accuracy of the prescription that makes a medicine become homeopathic (i.e. able to effectively treat ‘similar suffering’).

You can buy Apis over the counter in many health food stores and pharmacies and sadly many will be labelled with misleading information telling you to repeat the dose every three or four hours.

Following the Law of the minimum dose, I put a small bottle of Hypericum in my pocket and we went back to dance some more. About two hours later the same pains returned and I repeated the dose by giving Martha another pillule. She did not need any more after that.

Case 2

Another story from the ‘summer of the wasps’. At the very end of the summer the wasps were getting very sleepy and I had the misfortune to stand on one whilst I was bare-foot. The sting went deep into the fleshy part of my heel. The pain was excrutiating, but there was no redness and swelling because the sting was so deep, so Apis was unlikely to help. There is a remedy called Ledum that is used for these deep wounds to the palms and soles and this was what I took. It worked beautifully. The pain returned about every half hour for three hours and whenever they did I repeated the dose. Once the pain stopped I did not take any more.

Quiz

See if you can answer these questions. If you are unsure about anything all the answers can be found in the text. The answers are below. No peeking! Good Luck…

1. Sleeplessness can be treated conventionally with sleeping pills, but why might this approach cause further problems?

2. A homeopathic medicine called Coffea tosta (coffee) is sometimes used to treat sleeplessness. Why coffee?

3. What two processes are used to create a potentised medicine?

4. What is the difference (in preparation) between a 6x and a 12x?

5. What is the difference (in preparation) between a 6x and a 6c?

6. What makes a medicine truly homeopathic?

7. A self help book explains you should take homeopathic medicine ‘A’ three times a day for an acute complaint. What law does this advice ignore?

8. Your child is teething. You study the symptoms and correctly prescribe Chamomilla and the child calms down and goes back to sleep. When do you give the next dose?

9. In the cases Apis, Hypericum and Ledum are mentioned. Name one symptom you would associate with each.

10.Which two fundamental laws are needed to practise Homeopathy safely and effectively? Briefly describe them.

Answers to Quiz/ Module 1

1. Sleeplessness can be treated conventionally with sleeping pills, but why might this approach cause further problems?
Sleeplessness is a red light telling you that you are experiencing a deeper dis-ease. Perhaps, for some reason, you are anxious or over-excited and this is leading to sleeplessness. If you do not treat the underlying dis-ease the problem will persist.
In order for sleeping pills to be able to over-ride this warning sign it is likely you will have to increase the number of pills you take over time to maintain the same effect. Sleeping pills have effects you want – they make you sleepy, but they also have many effects you don’t want. These are usually termed ‘side effects’. The more you take the stronger these side effects will be. You may then wish to stop taking the sleeping pills. If the underlying dis-ease remains, the sleeplessness will return and you may also suffer further dis-ease as a result of the effects of withdrawal.

2. A homeopathic medicine called Coffea tosta (coffee) is sometimes used to treat sleeplessness. Why coffee?
Coffee produces feelings of exhilaration and artificially high energy levels making sleep difficult or impossible. Because it is able to produce these effects in a healthy person it can also be used to cure them. It certainly will not work in all cases of insomnia. The suffering has to be similar for it to work. It may be indicated where someone is over-excited and over-joyed about something, perhaps a forthcoming event, and unable to sleep because of it.

3. What two processes are used to create a potentised medicine?
Dilution and succussion.

4. What is the difference (in preparation) between a 6x and a 12x?
Both are prepared using 9 drops of dilutant to one drop of the medicinal liquid. At the end of each dilution and succussion only one drop (of the medicinal liquid at the new potency) is added to the next nine drops. This makes ten drops in all (hence the roman numeral X). A 6x will have been diluted and succussed six times, whereas a 12x will have been diluted and sucussed twelve times.

5. What is the difference (in preparation) between a 6x and a 6c?
One, the 6x, is prepared using nine drops of dilutant. The other, the 6c, uses 99 drops. Both have been through the process of dilution and succussion six times.

6. What makes a medicine truly homeopathic?
It is capable of producing similar suffering in a healthy person. Most homeopathic medicines are also diluted and succussed.

7. A self help book explains you should take homeopathic medicine ‘A’ three times a day for an acute complaint. What law does this advice ignore?
The Law of the Minimum Dose.

8. Your child is teething. You study the symptoms and correctly prescribe Chamomilla and the child calms down and goes back to sleep. When do you give the next dose?
The fact that the child’s symptoms improve confirms that Chamomilla was the correct choice. You need only repeat if the same symptoms return or if improvement stops before a complete return to a state of health and well-being. In the case of teething remedies may need to be repeated frequently.

9. In the cases, Apis, Hypericum and Ledum are mentioned. Name one symptom you would associate with each.
Apis – red hot angry swellings better for cold applications.
Ledum – injuries to deep tissue (e.g. palms and soles) with blueness, not hot to the touch, but better for cold applications.
Hypericum – shooting pains travelling along injured nerves.

10. Which two fundamental laws are needed to practise Homeopathy safely and effectively? Briefly describe them.

The Law of Similars
If a substance can cause suffering and symptoms in a healthy person it is capable of also curing a similar suffering or symptom. Like cures like.

The Law of the Minimum Dose
The best results are obtained by giving the minimum amount of medicinal stimulus to get a reaction from the individual’s own healing powers. A single dose of the medicine is given and then its action is assessed some time later. If it is working no more medicine is given unless the improvements experienced either stop completely or are reversed. Less is more.

marigold-flower

Let’s Explore Homeopathy some more…

Thanks for studying with me. Remember Modules 2 & 3 are free when you buy any kit.

Instant SSL Pro