Homeopathy: All about homeopathy you always wanted to know
Homeopathy has a remarkable approach to health. Rather than relying on chemicals to control unwanted symptoms or force a particular response, homeopathy treats a person’s health problems by triggering their body’s natural ability to heal.
In doing this, two things happen:
- Their body is stimulated to correct its own state of ill-health, and
- It is strengthened to be more resistant to the problem in the future.
Far from being a “new age” medicine, Hippocratic writings show that homeopathy’s principles were known at least 2,000 years ago. It was not until the 1800’s, however, that it was developed into a usable system of medicine by the German scientist and physician, Dr. Samuel Hahnemann.
Since then, the popularity of homeopathy has steadily increased as people discover its ability to safely prevent or treat health problems.
Homeopathy is gentle and effective. Its medicines, called remedies, are obtained mainly from mineral, plant, and animal sources. These are converted into sub-molecular preparations by a process called “Potentisation”, which increases the healing effect of the original substance and removes any toxicity.
As a result,
- Homeopathic remedies are energetic medicines free of chemical side-effects.
- They do not poison, will not interact with other medications, and are non-addictive.
- They are safe for people of all ages, including babies, the elderly and the pregnant.
- Homeopathic remedies can even be used with animals and plants.
Homeopathy is effective for both acute and chronic problems. The correct remedy resolves deep-seated complaints such as arthritic, digestive, and respiratory disorders just as easily as minor ones like headaches, hay fever, and the discomfort of teething.
Mental and emotional problems such as jealousy, lack of confidence, depression, panic attacks, and children’s behavioral disorders also respond well to homeopathy. It truly is a remarkable system of healing.
The Law of Similars
Homeopathic medicines are prescribed according to a natural law known as- the Law of Similars. Sometimes expressed as “like cures like” this law allows Homeopaths to correct symptoms of ill-health with substances that produce similar symptoms when tested on a healthy person.
The following three examples will more clearly demonstrate this law, the way it works, and how it is applied.
Example 1: The Coffee Connection
Coffee has a powerful effect on the body. The first time a person drinks a strong cup of coffee, they will experience one or more of the following symptoms: racing thoughts, palpitations, increased urine production; shaking hands, excitability, and restlessness. If that person drinks it before bedtime, difficulty in sleeping can be added to the list.
While coffee produces these symptoms in a healthy person, the Law of Similars dictates that it should be able to relieve similar symptoms in the unwell – and this is exactly what it does. A child brought to a homeopath with hyperactivity, agitated thoughts, and sweaty, trembling hands, might receive a homeopathic preparation of coffee (called Coffea Cruda). It would relieve and correct their symptoms.
Another person seeking homeopathic treatment for insomnia caused by racing thoughts and the frequent need to urinate might also be prescribed Coffea cruda. Their racing thoughts and urine production would settle, allowing them to easily fall asleep. Once again, coffee can relieve in the unwell the very symptoms it produces in the healthy.
It is important to note that not every symptom associated with a substance has to be present before homeopathic treatment can begin. As shown in the two coffee stories, just some of the symptoms are enough.
Example 2: Stimulants for the Over-stimulated.
Without realizing it, conventional medicine sometimes uses the Law of Similars for its drug effects.
Two examples of this are Dexamphetamine and Methylphenidate hydrochloride, better known as Ritalin.
Both medications are stimulants but both are the frontline treatments for hyperactivity disorder. Conventionally, it has never been explained why stimulants should calm an already over-stimulated child, but this is exactly what happens. Homeopaths simply acknowledge that it is another case of ‘like treating like’.
Ritalin and Dexamphetamine are useful treatments for hyperactivity because they produce the very symptoms they treat. The only catch is that they, and any other conventional medicine used according to the Law of Similars, will produce toxic side effects. Homeopathic remedies are free of this problem.
Example 3: Onions – Enough to Make You Cry!
The humble onion can also help explain the Law of Similars. Because of its vapors, most people struggle with watery eyes and a running nose when slicing onion. If these symptoms occur during an episode of hay fever, a dose of Allium cepa, the homeopathic preparation of red onion, will relieve them (see Hayfever Case for further illustration). What the onion can produce in the healthy, it will treat in the unwell.
What’s in a Name?
The name, ‘Homeopathy’, is formed from two Greek words that define its mode of action: homeos, meaning similar and pathos, meaning suffering. Thus, Homeopathy treats with substances that produce effects similar to the suffering. Homeopaths generally refer to this as “like cures like”.
A Case of Hayfever
Abhishek had a bout of hayfever. His eyes and nose were streaming and he could not stop sneezing. His nostrils and upper lip were raw and sore from the discharge. Bright lights made his eyes sting and water even more. Abhishek also found the stuffiness of rooms unbearable, and felt much better in the cool open air.
His first dose of Allium cepa, the homeopathic preparation of Red Onion, substantially relieved his symptoms within five minutes – he no longer had to carry a box of tissues. Two hours and three doses later, Abhishek’s hayfever symptoms were completely resolved.
Note: Allium cepa will not treat all forms of hay fever; only those types where symptoms mimic an exposure to the onion. Allium cepa symptoms, confirmed by homeopathic trials on the healthy, consist of burning watery eyes that are irritated by bright light; watery nasal discharge that scalds the nostril or upper lip, especially the left; frequent sneezing; intolerance to stuffy environments, and improvement of symptoms in the open air.
Hay fevers with different symptoms will need other remedies.
Law of Similars Discovered :
Homeopathy was born at a time when the practice of medicine was unregulated and dangerous.
Those who had the misfortune to fall ill ran the risk of being dosed with toxic mixtures of lead, mercury, and arsenic or being plastered with leeches. Blood-letting, purging, and blistering were standard practices.
For many, the cure was worse than the complaint, and they died from the noxious treatments they received rather than the disease itself.
It was in this time that Samuel Hahnemann (1755-1843), the founder of homeopathy, began his study of medicine.
After graduating from the University of Erlangen in 1781 he established a practice as a doctor. His writings from this period show that he became increasingly disillusioned by the medical practices of the day. Concerned about harming those who came to him for help and unable to relieve the suffering of his own sick children, Hahnemann gave up the practice of medicine in 1790.
The Cinchona Experiment
In the following years, Hahnemann chose to support his family by chemical studies and the translation of foreign medical texts into his native German language. One day, while translating a text about Cinchona Bark (from which we derive Quinine), Hahnemann conducted an experiment that was to change the course of his life. The text argued that Cinchona was effective in the treatment of malaria because it was bitter and astringent. Hahnemann knew this wasn’t logical; other medicines had the same properties but they did not help malaria. Why, he questioned, was Cinchona Bark effective when others weren’t?
In an experiment that spearheaded Homeopathy’s introduction into the world, Hahnemann decided to test Cinchona bark on himself. Shortly after taking the first dose he became ill with symptoms similar to those of malaria. He experienced fever, thirst, drowsiness,palpitations, anxiety, and muscle and joint pain. Each time he repeated the dose, the same thing happened.
Hahnemann wondered from this experiment if Cinchona bark could treat malaria, not because it was bitter and astringent, but because it could produce malaria-like symptoms in healthy people. The implications of this, if shown to be true in other substances, were startling; suffering humanity would finally have a way of knowing what each medicine could reliably treat. Over the coming years Hahnemann tested his suspicions by conducting more experiments on himself and others with many different substances. In each instance, they produced symptoms in the healthy similar to those they could treat in the unwell.
Birth of Homeopathy
Six years were to pass from that first Cinchona experiment before Hahnemann had enough evidence to release his findings to the scientific and medical community of the day. In a landmark essay he explained the Law of Similars phenomenon and demonstrated its action in many substances. The concept of “like treats like”, noted since the time of Hippocrates, had finally been validated. The year was 1796 and to this day is considered the birth year of homeopathy.
China officinalis (Cinchona bark) – What Does it Treat?
China is the name of the homeopathic medicine used in that first experiment by Samuel Hahnemann. Originally known as Cinchona (or Peruvian) bark, it now has the Latin name of China officinalis. The physical symptoms that Hahnemann experienced after taking a dose of China were: cold feet and finger tips; drowsiness; palpitations; quick hard pulse; intolerable anxiety and trembling; weakness in all limbs; unpleasant sensation in the periosteum of bones; rigidity of joints;pulsation in the head; redness of cheeks; fever; and thirst. These symptoms are very similar to those experienced by malaria sufferers and act as a guide to the symptoms China can treat.
Repeat testing of China by Hahnemann and other volunteers has shown that it is also useful for: complaints arising from loss of body fluids; symptoms that reoccur every two or seven days; symptoms that are worse for light pressure but relieved by strong pressure; autumn asthma; types of gallbladder disease and colic; flatulence with bloating; insomnia from elated thoughts; and fear of animals.
Within clinics, homeopaths have further observed that the mental and emotional symptoms of: irritability; easy offence or paranoia; mood swings; and, poetic or artistic abilities; grandiose thoughts and imaginings prior to going to sleep that then seem foolish in the morning, often occur in tandem with the physical complaints associated with China. As a result it is a remedy frequently prescribed for moody, sensitive, and idealistic people. Teenagers are particularly prone to this type of imbalance.
Treatment by China for these mental, emotional, and physical symptoms returns the sufferer to health.
Today, homeopathic medicines are safe for all to use. They are dispensed as highly dilute, sub-molecular remedies that are free of the chemical side effects associated with other medicines. However, this was not always so. Homeopathic remedies were once prescribed in crude chemical doses just like other medicines and were just as prone to producing side effects in those who took them. With the discovery of potentisation, however, all that changed.
For many years Hahnemann, the founder of Homeopathy, could only exploit the healing effect of the Law of Similars with crude substances. While his homeopathic approach was successful compared to other treatments of the day, his new system of medicine was still troubled with the problem of side effects.
For example, mercury preparations had been recognised for centuries as a successful treatment for syphilis. Unfortunately, sufferers ran the risk of being poisoned by their treatment.
Hahnemann had already shown that mercury was effective because it was curing by by the Law of Similars or “like treats like”; it would produce syphilis-like symptoms if given to the healthy. Not wanting his patients to suffer the poisoning effects of mercury, or any other toxic substance, Hahnemann began to dilute his remedies.
He found that while he could do away with the toxic side effects of his remedies, he also lost their healing benefits.
Stories abound as to how Hahnemann stumbled across the process of potentisation. They range from already diluted remedies being bounced in the back of carriages and saddle-bags to Hahnemann pounding one in frustration on his black covered Bible as he tried to work out how to reduce its toxicity. Whatever the truth, Hahnemann discovered that a remedy prepared by a simple series of dilutions interspersed with vigorous agitations produced an extremely powerful yet safe medicine. Potentisation was born.
As described, the process of potentisation involves the repeated dilution and jarring shaking (succussion) of a substance to remove its toxic effects. In the process, healing effects are amplified.
If the substance is insoluble (such as a metal) it will be ground (triturated) with lactose in the early stages until it reaches the point at which it can be dissolved.
As Hahnemann found, dilution without succussion will not make a medicine; both stages of the process are necessary. While dilution reduces the toxicity of the original substance, succussion somehow releases the dormant energy of that substance into the liquid carrier to give the remedy its healing effect.
Making a homeopathic remedy is as simple as dissolving a substance in a liquid, succussing it (shaking it with a pounding action against the palm of your hand or a leather covered book), diluting it further, succussing, diluting again, succussing, and so on. What is truly amazing is that these stages, even if repeated tens of thousands of times, will produce a highly active and curative remedy.
How Does Potentisation Work?
The nature of potentisation is the mystery of Homeopathy. What is understood is that the potentisation process imprints energetic information from the original substance onto the diluting liquid during the stages of succussion. This liquid is then prescribed according to the Law of Similars as either drops or medicated pills to the unwell person.
They carry the energetic information into the body to trigger a self healing reaction that moves the person back to a state of health.
While the effects of potentised substances have been demonstrated by scientists on many living things such as frogs, plants and humans over recent years, physicists are still exploring the mechanism by which these effects occur. In the meantime, homeopaths will continue to exploit this phenomenon to safely and effectively relieve suffering just as they have done for the past 200 years.
Three Scales of Potency :
Today, homeopathic pharmacies potentise remedies according to three different scales to suit different prescribing purposes.
These scales are the:
- Centesimal scale,
- Decimal scale and
- 50millesimal scale.
The Centesimal Scale
The first scale that Hahnemann developed during the early years of Homeopathy is the centesimal scale. As its name would suggest, it has a 1:100 dilution ratio and it is prepared in the following manner:
- Step 1: One part of the mother tincture is diluted in 99 parts of a water and alcohol mixture.
- Step 2: This liquid is then succussed 10 times in its bottle by firmly hitting the bottle’s base against a firm surface such as the palm of a hand or a leather covered book. The resulting liquid is called a 1C potency, “1” referring to its first stage of dilution and the Roman numeral, “C”, referring to its 1:100 dilution ratio.
- Step 3: One part of this 1C potency is again diluted and succussed in 99 parts of a water and alcohol mixture to produce a 2C remedy.
.Step 4: This serial process of dilution and succussion, called potentisation, is further repeated to produce increasingly higher potencies of the remedy.
All homeopathic remedies have numbers and/or letters that follow their names to indicate the potency of each remedy. The letter and number in Sepia 6C, a remedy prepared from the ink of the cuttlefish, tells us that it has been through six stages of dilution and succussion according to the centesimal scale. A potency of 200C would indicate that it had been through 200 stages while the Roman numeral, “M”, would indicate it had been diluted and succussed 1000 times.
Centesimal remedies are versatile. Practitioners may prescribe them as pills, tablets or liquids in high or low potencies for the treatment of both acute and chronic disease.
They can also be found in lower potencies in retail stores for self-treatment of simple acute problems.
If doses are repeated unnecessarily, centesimal potencies may produce proving symptoms.
The Decimal Scale
The decimal scale was the second potency scale to be produced in the development of Homeopathy. It has a dilution factor of 1:10 meaning that one part of the mother tincture or potency is diluted in 9 parts of a water alcohol mixture.
Like the centesimal scale, the decimal scale still has 10 succussions between each dilution phase. Once again, the remedy’s name is followed by a number to show how many stages of dilution and succussion it has been through and the Roman numeral “X” to indicate its 1:10 dilution ratio.
A 3X potency, for example, indicates three stages of dilution and succussion according to the decimal scale while a 12X indicates that the process has occurred 12 times.
Decimal potencies are easy to use and can be dispensed as pills, tablets or liquids.
Being “low potency” remedies, they can be repeated frequently with little risk of producing proving symptoms.
For this reason they are commonly sold by retail outlets for self-treatment of simple acute problems. The Schuessler Tissue Salts are one such example. They are less commonly prescribed by homeopathic practitioners as they have limited use in the treatment of deep-seated chronic conditions.
L M Scale (Fifty Millesimal Scale)
These potencies are the third and final scale developed just prior to the death of Hahnemann. They are usually known by the simpler name of fifty-millesimal or LM potencies.
The process by which fifty-millesimal potencies are prepared is different and more complex than that used for the centesimal and decimal potencies but fundamentally the dilution ratio is 1:50,000 with each stage of dilution being followed by 100 succussions.
The remedy’s name is followed by either the letter “LM” or the symbols, “0/..” to indicate it has been prepared in a 1:50,000 dilution ratio. As with the centesimal and decimal scales, the accompanying number on the remedy indicates how many stages of dilution and succussion have occurred.
For example, a LM (or 0/6) remedy will have passed through six stages of potentisation while a LM30 (or 0/30)will have been potentised thirty times.
The fifty-millesimal scale is deep acting and flexible. Unlike other potency scales, fifty-millesimal remedies should not be dispensed as tablets or pills but only as liquids.
Liquid dosing allows the homeopathic practitioner to adjust the degree of dilution and the number of succussions before each dose to suit the individual sensitivity of the recipient.
For this reason, remedies from this scale require a greater degree of knowledge to prescribe appropriately and should be reserved for skilled practitioner use only. They are rarely available from retail outlets for self-treatment. As with the remedies from the centesimal scale, proving symptoms may occur if fifty-millesimal remedies are repeated unnecessarily.
Infinity and Beyond!
Today, some pharmacies still prepare remedies by hand succussion while others mimic the process by machine. When the starting material the remedy is insoluble, as in the case of a metal, it will first undergo a series of grindings with lactose until it can be dissolved for the dilution part of the potentisation process.
Each remedy is prepared in the three different potency scales so the practitioner can prescribe from the one that best suits the circumstances. By the time the homeopathic remedy has been potentised to the stage of 12C or 24X it is impossible to detect any molecular trace of the original substance within it.
It has become a”sub-molecular” medicine free of chemical side effects. The surprising fact is that homeopathic remedies are often potentised thousands of times higher than these “low potency” levels, yet when prescribed according to the Law of Similars, still retain their ability to trigger healing responses in the unwell.
As a general rule, higher potency remedies act more deeply and trigger longer lasting reactions than their low potency counterparts.
Benefits of Potentisation-
The key to creating safe and effective homeopathic remedies is the act of potentisation.
Although the process is incredibly simple, its benefits are huge as can be seen in the following points:
- Removes harmful side-effects. As explained before, The Mystery of Potentisation, repeatedsuccussion of the remedy during the potentisation process seems to imprint and amplify the therapeutic nature of the original substance onto the water and alcohol mixture; the dilution stages of the process remove the chemical residue of the original substance.
By the time the remedy has been potentised to a 12C or 26X potency and beyond, it is unlikely that a single molecule of the original substance will remain. The remedy becomes a “sub-molecular” medicine that will not poison or produce toxic side effects – no matter how large the dose.
- Turns poisons into safe medicines.Some of the animal, plant, or mineral sources from which homeopathic remedies are prepared are highly poisonous in their base state. For example, heavy metals, snake and spider venoms, and poisons such as arsenic and strychnine could never be used as medicines in their crude form but are safe, effective agents for disease treatment when placed into potency. The Lachesis mutas case(bushmaster snake) that accompanies this article is one such instance where a potentised snake venom was used to safely treat high blood pressure.
- Converts inactive substances into powerful agents. If dilution removes the toxicity of a substance, succussion releases and amplifies its therapeutic effect. For this reason, something that has no medicinal value in its crude form can become highly active when succussed and placed into potency.
For example, sodium chloride (common table salt) and sand have little medicinal use but when potentised, both can treat a large range of health problems. A Natrum muriaticum (sodium chloride) case accompanies this article as an illustration.
- Removes addictive effects from narcotics.Because potentisation removes chemicals that can lead to physical dependency or addiction, homeopathic remedies are non-habit forming.
Opium, for example, is highly addictive in its crude state. In potency it safely treats types of dreaminess, stupor or coma, shock, head injuries and constipation.
In the same way, potentised Cannibis indica, more commonly known as marijuana or hashish, will not create dependency as a remedy but relieve symptoms of confusion, haziness, anxiety, ecstasy, and burning urination.
- Safe to use with conventional medicines.Homeopathy not only has a different understanding to conventional medicine of the significance of symptoms, it also corrects them by initiating change at different level. Conventional drugs use chemicals to control symptoms on the physical plane. Homeopathic remedies trigger a healing response in the underlying dynamic plane. This deeper level of action is the reason why homeopathic remedies and conventional medicines, when used together, do not interact to produce unwanted effects. This subject will be explored more fully in later articles. In the meantime, while homeopathic remedies can be safely used with conventional medicines, there are two important things to note:
- The use of conventional medicines can make homeopathic prescribing more difficult. These drugs change or suppress the very symptoms needed for a successful prescription according to the Law of Similars. They can even introduce new symptoms of their own by the way of side effects. If this has happened the homeopathic prescription has to be made on any remaining and unaltered symptoms, or on the symptoms that were present before the medicines were given.
- On starting homeopathic treatment, the patient should monitor any symptoms being artificially controlled by conventional medicines as improvement triggered by the remedy can reduce the need for these drugs. This is especially true when dealing with high blood pressure or elevated blood sugar levels. Both can be lowered to dangerous levels if the conventional medicine continues to be taken when it is no longer needed.
In Conclusion :
Potentisation of chemical substances produces extremely safe and deep acting medicines. When prescribed according to the Law of Similars they also trigger profound healing effects within the body, something far more desirable than just the masking or suppression of symptoms.
For 200 years homeopathic remedies have been used to safely relieve suffering in the unwell, the pregnant, young and old, and in animals. There is no reason why they should not continue to do so well into the future.
Case 1: Lachesis mutus(venom of the Bushmaster snake)
Lachesis mutus is the name of the homeopathic remedy prepared from the venom of the highly poisonous Bushmaster snake of South America. Proving data and subsequent clinical usage of this remedy have shown Lachesis is a remedy for intense, passionate, and very talkative people. In their state of imbalance, these people may have a cutting wit, struggle with feelings of jealousy, being competitive and sarcastic. They are prone to suspicion that can lead to paranoia and may seek revenge if they believe they have been wronged.
On the physical level, Lachesis types can experience hot flushing (especially women during the menopause) and many of their symptoms will be worse after waking from sleep and worse for hot weather. Symptoms generally commence on the left side of the body and extend to include the right. Lying on the left hand side will also aggravate symptoms. Problems of the skin such as cuts or boils will develop a purplish discoloration. The skin may also be very sensitive to touch or pressure. Lachesis states of imbalance can lead to heart disease, high blood pressure, and strokes as the person ages.There can also have a fear of these disorders and, interestingly, snakes.
Adesh sharma’s Story
Adesh had developed extremely high blood pressure and heart palpitations. His doctor had commenced him on medication that was controlling the pressure but his palpitations had continued. They were worse if he lay on his left side at night and his whole chest felt so sensitive that he could not bear to have it covered even by his pyjama top. He slept with it un-buttoned and the blankets pushed down. He spoke intensely and with great anxiety about his symptoms hardly pausing to draw breath during the consultation.
Adesh was prescribed the homeopathic potency of Lachesis. The palpitations were gone within a week and over the next two months his doctor progressively reduced and then ceased his medication as Adesh’s blood pressure returned to normal. His chest also lost its sensitivity to pressure and he was able to lie comfortably on his left side. Throughout the course of treatment Adesh sharma’s talking also became less hurried and intense.
Case 2: Natrum muriaticum (sodium chloride or table salt)
Natrum muriaticum, prepared from common table salt, is one ofthe more frequently prescribed remedies in Homeopathy. On the mental/emotional level it treats deep and unresolved grief that the person will hide from the world. Those needing Natrum muriaticum are emotionally sensitive and easily hurt. To cope with this sensitivity they build a mental wall to protect themselves from future pain. As a result they appear serious, hard and closed. Depression and thoughts of suicide can occur.
People in a Natrum muriaticum state prefer not to share their problems with others and can even react with anger if someone tries to sympathise with them. In spite of this they themselves can be very sympathetic. Natrum muriaticum types are generally responsible and loyal people with high ideals that cause them to become controlling perfectionists. They are also prone to anxiety from thunderstorms and worry about robbers breaking into their home.
On the physical level, those needing Natrum muriaticum dislike being out in the sun. They are prone to a range of headaches and migraines, often worse at around 10am and resolving by mid to late afternoon. Colds are frequently preceded by sneezing and they can suffer from hayfever, cracked lips and cold sores. They are also likely to suffer from constipation and back pain that is relieved by hard pressure or lying on something hard. The desire for salt or salty food a common craving.
Upasana presented with back pain that orthopedic and physiotherapy treatment had been unable to help. Every evening after work she would lie on the floor of her bedroom with a firm, rolled-up towel under the small of her back. She said this helped enormously. She was prone to cold sores, especially if out in the sun too long, and needed to take churna (laxatives) for constipation. Headaches were a regular problem. When asked what had been her worst life experience, Upasana replied that it was growing up as a teenager knowing that her mother loved her sister more than her. Interestingly, she had never spoken to her family about this even though it was now thirty years later and she still saw them regularly. In an unemotional and detached tone, Upasana admitted that the memory of the experience was still a source of grief for her.
On the basis of these and other symptoms in her case, Upasana was prescribed homeopathic potency of Natrum muriaticum. Her back pain improved rapidly. During the course of ongoing treatment her cold sores occurred less frequently, the headaches virtually disappeared, and the constipation was no longer a problem. There also seemed to be a change in Upasana’s mental/emotional state. Her initial seriousness and guarded behaviour softened and she laughed, smiled, and talked more during the consultations. Upasana even decided to speak to her mother about her teenage experience. She was shocked when her mother broke down in tears, reassuring her that she had been dearly loved just as much as her other sister. Had she really been overlooked and treated differently or was it a case of faulty perception? Upasana is still trying to work that one out.
“Proving” is the homeopathic term for the testing of a substance on healthy human volunteers to find what symptoms it produces (and therefore treats).
Homeopathic remedies are drawn from an extensive range of substances. Before use, each substance is tested on the healthy in clinical trials. This reveals the symptoms it will potentially treat in the unwell when prescribed according to the Law of Similars.
These trials involve safe amounts of the substance being given to healthy human volunteers (provers) for the purpose of producing symptoms. Symptoms produced during a proving are then recorded in a homeopathic materia medica (a record of substances and the symptoms they produce) to help homeopaths locate and prescribe that substance for future use. Homeopaths know that if the substance was able to produce a set of symptoms in healthy provers, it will have a curative effect if prescribed for those unwell with similar symptoms.
How is a Proving Conducted?
Safe but Effective
Provings test substances on healthy volunteers in safe, sub-molecular doses of the thirtieth centesimal potency.
Several pills are given each day until the prover experiences symptoms, at which time the doses are stopped. Because substances are not administered in their crude, chemical form, provers are not poisoned or harmed.
All symptoms disappear at the completion of a proving. Testing substances in potency also has the advantage that a greater range of symptoms will be produced than if it was tested in its crude form.
Only the Healthy
Provings are conducted on the healthy rather than the sick so that the symptoms recorded during the proving will be from the substance alone and not the symptoms of a pre-existing illness.
What most people don’t know is that if they continually take a homeopathic remedy when not needed, or more often than needed, they too may experience a proving. Fortunately, any symptoms produced during a proving resolve one the remedy is stopped.
Spare the Animals
Provings are not conducted on animals. Apart from ethical concerns, animals cannot provide accurate information on the symptoms they are experiencing. They also have a different physiology to humans and react in different ways. For example, the venom of a funnel-web spider can kill a human but has no effect on a cat. Penicillin, on the other hand, is deadly to guinea pigs. Provings on animals cannot provide reliable information and are unnecessary.
Moderation at all Times
Provings seek to reduce all influences that may corrupt the raw proving data. For this reason, provers avoid substances that could exert symptom-producing effects during a proving. Their diet consists of nutritious but plain food while stimulants such as coffee, tea, and alcohol are excluded. The prover also has to avoid activities that could have a stimulating effect or trigger emotional reactions.
Who’s to Know?
Provings have been conducted for over 200 years but with the increase of scientific rigour, more recent ones have been conducted “double-blind” and with a placebo control.
This means that both provers and supervisors involved in the proving do not know what is being tested, or, who is receiving placebo and who is receiving the potentised substance.
Such measures help to reduce “observer bias” that could influence the reporting or recording of symptoms.
Provings are conducted on both male and female provers to draw out the full range of effects.
For instance, along with its other symptoms, Lilium tigrinum (potentised Tiger Lily) can produce ovarian pain and menstrual irregularities, symptoms that would have been lost if the remedy had only been tested on males.
Full and Complete Symptoms
When symptoms appear, the prover tests them against a range of variables called “modalities”. Modalities are conditions that modify a symptom, making it better or worse. The prover checks what effect activities such as lying down, sitting, standing, temperature changes, motion, eating, drinking, touch, times of the day, and so on, have on the symptom.
A supervisor is allocated to each prover. While the prover has the responsibility of recording each symptom in his or her own words, the supervisor’s role is to review the symptoms on a daily basis with the prover to clarify descriptions or to elicit missing information such as modalities. All symptoms are recorded as raw data without interpretation by the prover and supervisor.
Complete at Last!
A proving is complete when no new symptoms can be produce from a substance after numerous tests in a number of potencies over a range of constitutions, ages and genders.
To date, more than 5,000 substances that have been entered into the homeopathic materia medica, some having been more fully proved than others.
Homeopathy is a holistic system of medicine. When a person is sick, symptoms frequently involve the mental, emotional, and physical areas of their body.
In a similar way, a proving produces symptoms across these same areas.
For example, the proving of Bryonia alba (White Bryony or Wild Hop) created
- the physical symptoms of:- pain in joints and muscles and a splitting, bursting headache, both of which were worsened by movement;
- fever with intense thirst; and a painful, sore throat.
- Emotionally, the provers were irritable and wanted to be left alone.
- On the mental level, they expressed a continuous desire to “go home” during the delirium of fever.
Since the first proving of this substance in 1816, Bryonia alba has been frequently prescribed with great success for types of influenzas where sufferers have experienced these symptoms.
Alternatively, if a flu was to produce the different physical, mental and emotional symptoms of: constant movement to relieve pain in muscles and joints that increases on keeping still; a painful throat on empty swallowing; weeping for no known reason; suspiciousness; and, a fever accompanied by increased restlessness, it would respond to the remedy Rhus toxicodendron (Poison Ivy) as these were the symptoms produced during its proving.
Not every prover experiences all of the symptoms of a substance during a proving.
Some provers develop many of them while others experience only one to a few. The symptoms experienced by each prover depend on their individual sensitivity, underlying constitution and areas of susceptibility or weakness . For this reason, substances should have a series of provings over a range of constitutions.
Common Questions ???
What Sort of Substances Are Used in Provings?
Any substance can be used in a proving. Most remedies are proved from raw animal, vegetable or mineral matter, but chemicals, processed materials and even imponderables (energies that have no mass such as radiation or magnetism) can and have been proved.
Where do Provers Come From?
Most provers are drawn from the ranks of homeopathic practitioners and students. Many willingly donate their time (and their bodies) to contribute to the knowledge base of the profession and to obtain first hand experience of the nature of a remedy they may need to recognise and prescribe for future patients. In the process, provers are rewarded by strengthened vitality.
Can Provings Damage Health?
Properly conducted provings do not harm health. In fact, they improve it. The human body is designed to develop strength through the process of overcoming daily challenges to its homeostasis (equilibrium).
For example, exposure to a wide variety of food develops strong and healthy digestion, emotional resilience is improved by a variety of stimulating experiences, and the immune system is strengthened by exposure to viruses and infections.
In the same way, a proving is a controlled challenge to the homeostasis of the body. The substance being tested creates symptoms according to the prover’s individual weaknesses and temporarily creates a state of imbalance. The vitality or life force of that prover (known as the Vital Force in Homeopathy) reacts to restore balance and return the individual to health.
In the process, vitality is strengthened, weaknesses are corrected and the person becomes more resistant to the problem in the future.
This claim of improved health through provings originated with Hahnemann, the founder of Homeopathy, and his life certainly seemed to demonstrate the truth of it. In spite of proving over 100 substances on himself, he lived to the good age of 88 years at a time when this was considered exceptional. Since then, many other Homeopaths have confirmed what he said as they too have added to the homeopathic knowledge of how to relieve suffering through the process of provings.
The Vital Force
The Vital Force – What It Is and What It Does?
- The very name of Homeopathy gives us a clue to how it works. The name comes from two Greek words that mean “similar suffering.”
- Substances, when tested on healthy people, produce symptoms.
- When unwell, humans (and animals) also produce symptoms.
- When the symptoms of a substance closely match the symptoms of an un-well person, that substance can be prescribed according to the Law of Similars to trigger a healing response within the person.
- Substances, when prepared and used homeopathically, are known as “remedies.”
- Remedies can be prescribed as either crude chemicals or in a potentised, sub-molecular form, which is free of chemicals and their side effects.
- Potentised remedies have many advantages over crude ones: they cannot poison or interact with other medicines, are inexpensive to produce, and heal deeply.
So far so good, but all of this information begs a question: if homeopathic remedies do not act by chemicals, how do they work? To understand this we need to understand the Vital Force.
Health and the Role of the Vital Force
All living things have an integrated? force that maintains and directs life. This is true whether that living thing is human, plant, or animal. This force is a form of energy that underpins all biophysical and biochemical processes, and separates living from non-living matter. Throughout history, this spark has had many names and been described in many ways.
In the English-speaking world it has been called the innate intelligence, life principle, life force, vitality, dynamis, regulatory force, or vital energy. In other cultures it has been known as qi, chi, or prana.
Hahnemann, the founder of homeopathy, called it the Vital Force.
The Vital Force is an energy that enables all living things to self-heal or to preserve life by adapting to environmental changes. In the case of the human body, the Vital Force directs the different body systems to function as a harmonious whole, in much the same way a conductor directs the separate parts of an orchestra to produce a single, pleasing piece of music.
The Vital Force and Disease
When a plant or animal is diseased, or when we become unwell, we often look to the symptoms as the cause of the problem. In reality, symptoms are only the secondary changes- products of a deeper disturbance.
Apart from injury, the symptoms of disease and ill-health can only occur when there has been a disruption to the energetic Vital Force. This disruption can occur from psychic (mental rather than physical) shocks such as deep grief, prolonged anxiety, terror, disappointment, or even extreme joy. Physical shocks can come from infectious diseases, exposure to the elements, trauma, malnutrition, extreme exertion, and so on.
The Vital Force, when disrupted energetically by one of these shocks, enters a struggle to regain its balance and preserve life. In the course of this struggle the Vital Force produces signs and symptoms. These are not the disturbance but only by products of the struggle. In the case of acute problems such the flu, gastroenteritis, and headaches, the Vital Force is usually successful and we recover. Sometimes it is unable to regain balance, though, and the sufferer dies. On other occasions the acute problem gradually changes into a chronic disease.
Chronic disease can arise from unresolved acute problems, or directly from the mental, emotional or physical assaults that are part of life. Chronic diseases are too numerous to list but include problems such as lung complaints, digestive problems, skin disorders and various types of arthritis. Unlike acute problems they do not go away, but gradually lead to worsening health as the person ages. Unless death comes by a sudden acute event, most people die from the long-term damage caused by their chronic disease or diseases.
While the imbalance created by acute diseases can be overcome by the Vital Force, the imbalance created by a chronic disease cannot- the Vital Force can only contain it.
In doing so it engages in a long-term struggle to preserve life.
Remember: the symptoms we often think of as the disease are only by-products of this deeper energetic struggle. They do however give us important information on how to help the Vital Force correct rather than just contain its imbalance so that the sufferer can be fully returned to a state of health.
Potentised Remedies and the Vital Force
As We know that Homeopathy treats through the Law of Similars.
By searching for, and prescribing substances that have produced symptoms in the healthy similar to those experienced by the unwell. Homeopathy can treat a large range of acute and chronic health problems. These substances, known as remedies, are usually prescribed in potentised form to amplify their healing effects.
They safely carry the energetic information of the original substance in to the body to trigger a self-healing response from the Vital Force that returns the sufferer to health.
Correcting an Imbalance
Hahnemann, the founder of Homeopathy, laid out the framework of our understanding. In its simplest form, he said:
- Symptoms of ill health are caused by the interaction of a bio-energetic imbalance in the body and the Vital Force’s struggle to correct it.
- As this imbalance is energetic, it can only be corrected by an energetic medicine. (Chemical medicines do well at suppressing symptoms but will not get deep enough to correct the energetic imbalance that produces them.)
- To truly correct the problem, the symptom picture of the remedy (the symptoms it is capable of producing in the healthy) must be similar to those of the imbalance. If the symptoms of the imbalance are only suppressed, the energetic problem worsens over time, leading to more serious health problems.
- The remedy also has to be energetically stronger than the imbalance if it is to have an effect. Potentisation makes it stronger.
- When a symptom-matching remedy is prescribed in a strong enough potency, it will smother the weaker symptoms of the imbalance and replace them with its own stronger but short-lived symptoms. These events are usually unnoticed by the patient.
- The Vital Force cannot tell the difference between symptoms of the imbalance and the new matching symptoms of the remedy that have taken its place. As a result, it accepts them calmly.
- As the effect of the remedy wears off, so too do its superimposed symptoms, leaving a disease-free state.
- The Vital Force, finding it is now free from the original symptoms of the imbalance, rebounds against the disappearing symptoms of the remedy like a spring released from a catch. As it does, the person is returned to health
So, it can be seen that two things happen to restore health and equilibrium: first, the symptoms of the imbalance are smothered and replaced by those of the correct remedy, and second, a rebound effect from the Vital Force restores health and equilibrium as the temporary symptoms of the remedy fade.
When this happens during an acute problem such as food poisoning or the ‘flu, the unwell person recovers in a fraction of the normal time. If they have a strong Vital Force and the imbalance is recent or minor, a complete cure can be achieved with one dose.
As we age, however, our vitality weakens, any imbalance strengthens and ongoing chronic diseases are added to our short-lived acute ones. At this stage, complete healing with one dose rarely happens. It may partially smother the symptoms of the imbalance for a short time and trigger a sluggish response from the Vital Force, but no more than that. The imbalance returns in full as soon as the effects of the remedy leave the body. In this common situation, multiple doses are needed to nudge the person gently back to health.
Flex That Muscle!
At this point it is useful to think of the Vital Force as a muscle. Weak muscles increase their strength when exercised. In the same way, the strength of a sluggish Vital Force can be improved if exercised by repeated doses of a remedy. Every time it rebounds against the remedy, the Vital Force grows a little stronger. Every time it grows a little stronger it improves health for longer. Eventually, it becomes strong enough to maintain a complete and permanent improvement. Further doses of the remedy will not be needed and the person will be more resistant to that problem in the future.
How quickly this happens depends on three things:
the strength of the Vital Force, the degree of imbalance, and the closeness of the match between remedy and symptoms.
full health can occasionally be restored by only one dose of the remedy if the symptom match is good, vitality strong, and the imbalance recent or minor. More commonly, a series of doses will be needed.
Sometimes, the symptoms arising from the energetic imbalance may change during the course of treatment as the remedy smothers parts of the imbalance. With this mismatch between the symptoms of the remedy and those of the imbalance, improvement will stop.
A new remedy with a closer symptom match must be prescribed if the person is to continue towards health. Several remedies may have to be used over the course of treatment.
But How Does it Really Happen???
The short answer is that nobody knows. While the above theory can be observed in practice the actual mechanism is still unknown. Science is working on it but does not yet have instruments sensitive enough to measure what happens with homeopathic potencies and healing at the energy level. What is known is that “information” can frequently be transferred from one substance to another. Just as electricity flowing through one wire can cause a current to flow in a completely separate wire, and just as a magnet can transfer magnetic powers to a paper clip when the two have been in contact for a period of time, potentisation transfers the symptom-producing abilities of a substance to a liquid or sugar pill remedy.
Homeopaths then prescribe that remedy according to the Law of Similars to safely carry that information into living organisms to trigger a healing effect. This is what they have done for the past two hundred years and, bless them, this is what they will continue to do well into the future.
Case 1: Sick at Midnight
3yrs old simayaa woke crying just after midnight. she was agitated, frightened and restless. Her mother took one look at him and knew she was not well. One cheek was flushed, her tonsils were red and swollen, and her skin felt hot and dry. The thermometer recorded her temperature as 39.6C. Following the guidelines from me as her homeopathic consultant, in her home-use kit of SOS (emergency or if required)remedies, she gave her a dose of the homeopathic remedy, Aconite. Within 10 minutes, simayaa’s fever broke,drenching her with sweat. Her mother sponged her dry and sat with her as she snuggled under her blankets. By 20 minutes, she was fast asleep.
The following day she was up and playing as if nothing had happened.
Comment: simayaa’s Mother followed my instrctructions very well. Aconite is useful for first stage of illness when there is a rapid onset of intense symptoms with restlessness and anxiety. All of simayaa’s symptoms were similar to those produced during the proving of Aconite. Her speedy recovery after one dose of the remedy indicates that her vitality is strong and SOS has taken care of acute emergency.
Case 2: Hot, Itchy and Gassy
Thirty-six-year old Anand was a mixed bag of symptoms. He was troubled by insomnia and suffered from bad breath, heartburn, flatulence, and haemorrhoids. Sinus problems were common and during spring and summer his frequent episodes of allergic rhinitis could progress to asthma. His skin was dry and itchy and his mouth would split at the corners. Never one to feel the cold, Anand would poke his feet out from under the blankets at night to cool them, even in winter. He also loved pungent things and sweet things. Symptoms from the mental-emotional sphere included a paralysing fear of heights and death. Most of these symptoms had been with him since childhood. Anand was given several doses of homeopathic Sulphur in a range of potencies over the following 6 months during which time his symptoms fully resolved.
Comment: Fortunately for Anand, his symptoms were similar to those experienced by provers who tested the effects of Sulphur during its proving. It was an easy prescription to make.
Anand responded rapidly to treatment with many of his symptoms improving after the first dose. Each time he relapsed, or improvement stalled, another dose was taken. Ascending potencies of Sulphur were needed over the 6-month period.
No other remedies were given as no new symptoms developed during the course of his treatment. Today, he is symptom free and off the Sulphur.
Case 3: My Scaly Bits Fell Off!
kritika came for her homeopathic consultation with the problems of chronic fatigue syndrome and panic attacks. Her fatigue had begun 5 years earlier after a chikungunya infection. At this time she had developed liver pain, bloating, blurred vision, nose bleeds, tremors,chemical sensitivities and a frequent dry cough. A constantly dry mouth made it difficult to swallow or speak. Though much had improved, some of these symptoms still troubled her and at times she was so exhausted she found it difficult to get out of bed in the morning.
Anxiety and depression also bothered kritika. In recent times, her anxiety had worsened to panic attacks. In spite of her tiredness, kritika was restless and full of “nervous energy.” She said that vigorous work improved her tiredness. She also suffered from long-term psoriasis, where she had tremendous dryness and flaky skin with lots of dandruff.
These eruptions were regularly recover (suppressed?) by a steroid creams. At the end of her consultation, kritika was prescribed homeopathic Sepia as the best match for her symptoms.
Six weeks, and several doses later, kritika reported she was much better.Her energy levels had increased and her anxiety, while still present,had reduced in intensity. The bloating was almost non-existent and her trembling and dry mouth had gone.she also feels little bit amelioration in skin dryness and dandruff.
On the negative side,she developed coldness of hands and feet, her bowel function was now sluggish and she had developed a fear of hospitals and flying, especially since making plans for an overseas trip and the news of a friend’s operation. Sepia did not help in ascending potencies and sepia did not match these new symptoms whereas homeopathic Calcarea carbonica did. As it also covered many of her remaining symptoms it was prescribed.
Nine weeks later, kritika’s anxiety had continued to improve. She told me she was no longer “nuts in the head.” The overseas holiday had been “fantastic” and there had been no concern about the plane flight. She was not worried about hospitals and had comfortably visited her friend who had been re-admitted for complications following her surgery.
kritika’s bowel function was regular and the coldness in her hands and feet had improved. She still felt restless and was finding it hard to sleep at night. Her scaly skin eruptions-psoriasis had also worsened and there were now several new outbreaks. Within the last week, a watery nasal discharge had excoriated her nose and upper lip.she also got lot of thirst but prefer to sip water frequently and often. On this information,kritika was prescribed Arsenicum iodatum, a homeopathic remedy that closely matched her newly emerging symptoms.
Within a week she phoned me excitedly to tell me that many or her scaly growths had fallen off! She felt as if she had lost lot of skin from body as well as scalp as like snake shedding.This had never happened before.
Since then she has continued to improve with this remedy, taking treatment from me as needed when improvement stalls or symptoms return. When I last visited me, she said that compared to her first consultation she was 95% better. Her treatment continues.
Comment: kritika’s progression from one remedy to another shows how the prescription should always change to match the symptoms.
Failure to do so leads to failure to cure.
In kritika’s case, one remedy, even in multiple doses or potencies, would not have corrected the underlying imbalance that drove her symptoms. Instead, a series of matching prescriptions was used and she now looks forward to a happier and more productive life.
Catchy but Flawed Analogies
- Like re-inforcements sent to a struggling fighting army or troop, the Vital Force can be strengthened by a remedy that mimics the symptoms it is experiencing; to correct its imbalance.
- In another illustration, the homeopathic remedy acts as a mirror to the Vital Force, reflecting the poor shape it is in. Shocked by what it sees the Vital Force intensifies its efforts to do something about the problem.
Palliation, Supression or Cure?
The human body is designed to heal itself. Given good nutrition, clean water and a healthy environment, that is generally what it will do.
We often turn to treatments or medicines in an effort to hurry the process. When treating symptoms, we can either choose to palliate, suppress, or copy them.
The Low Down on Palliation-
The term palliation, comes from a Greek word that means “to hide or disguise”.
Palliation “hides” the symptoms, giving short-term relief from their unpleasantness. Palliation can be achieved by medicines, therapies, or treatments. For example: the pain of a twisted ankle can be temporarily relieved by an analgesic; sluggish bowels can be stimulated by senna or fruit; eczema can be reduced by cortisone(steroid); or chronically cold feet can be warmed with a bowl of hot water.
Palliation offers rapid relief of symptoms, even though it will not correct the underlying problem that caused them.
They offer a “quick fix” but the symptoms will return once the treatment has been stopped or the medicine wears off.
In acute ailments, the body is usually able to heal itself even when no treatment or medicine is given. The sprained ankle, for instance, will get better in time but an analgesic and anti-inflammatory such as Aspirin will palliate the pain in the process. With chronic ailments, palliation can bring short-term relief of symptoms but will not correct the underlying problem.
The symptoms of the constipation, eczema, and cold feet, for example, though temporarily masked, will return as soon as the treatment has worn off.
The Facts of Suppression
Suppression is similar to palliation in that it provides symptom relief but never fixes the underlying problem.
Suppression differs from palliation in that it completely stops the return of symptoms. These symptoms have not been eradicated, however. They have only been driven inward where, sadly, they will be exchanged for a new set of symptoms at a deeper level.
In a strange way, when we are unwell, our symptoms keep us alive. They act as a vent, or a relief valve, for the pressure of the deeper energetic imbalance that is the true source of our ill-health. Without this vent, the imbalance would increase to the point where life would eventually be lost.
Forcible or frequent palliation of symptoms acts as a plugin this vent, stopping the symptoms of the imbalance from being dispersed. When this has been achieved, suppression takes place. Immediate symptoms are relieved but to the long-term detriment of health.
When anbody is in a state of imbalance, the Vital Force always chooses to vent symptoms in the least harmful way possible such as through a superficial organ system like the skin. If stopped from doing this, it will seek out one of the deeper organs, such as a joint or lung, to use as a relief valve.
In this way, a simple eczema appearing on the skin may change over days, months, or even years into asthma or arthritis if continually palliated or suppressed by a cortisone(steroid) cream.
If the replacement symptoms of asthma or arthritis are again suppressed, more important organs such as the heart or brain will eventually be involved as the Vital Force further seeks to relieve the disturbance.
In effect, the real disease (the imbalance) is driven inwards to reappear in a more serious form.
The person who is unwell often thinks they are getting better during the early stages of suppression. After all, the thing that was causing concern, the eczema, has gone. At this point, unless he or she and their prescribing physician fully understand how the body manages disease, the person will not recognise that they are really getting worse; that over time, their suppressed minor problems are being replaced by more serious ones. As new health problems emerge, the connection is not made with what went before. Suppression of the new problem will only lead to a further deterioration in health.
Suppression also damages and weakens our vitality. It actively works against what the Vital Force is trying to do. The strength of the Vital Force naturally declines with age but suppression will weaken it further. No longer able to maintain health, it will allow the development of chronic disease upon chronic disease as a final attempt to preserve life. For this reason, many of us end up on an increasing number of medicines, and with worsening health and quality of life as we age. It is time to “wise up” – life was not meant to end like this!
Please Just Copy the Symptoms and Give Me the Cure !!!………
The simple way to stop this process is to be wise about symptoms and work with our body rather than against it. Healing only ever comes from the body. The chemicals, treatments, and therapies we use only try to remove the obstacles to cure, or harmness and stimulate the body’s innate self-healing ability. Symptoms have to be recognised as the by-product of an energetic struggle rather than the disease itself. They are sign-posts to cure, giving us vital information on how to help the body in its own healing efforts.
Palliating or suppressing them only works against what it is trying to achieve.
The much smarter way to treat our health problems is with medicines or treatments that actually mimic the symptoms we want to remove. This is what Hahnemann discovered all those years ago and this is why the application of the Law of Similars, or like treating like, is still the bedrock of homeopathic practice.
Working with the body in a “like treats like” approach and reinforcing its own efforts to correct the energetic imbalance is still the best way to restore health and vitality.
So, how are you managing your symptoms? Are you seeing them as positive signs of the body’s way of healing and choosing to support the body in that process – or have you decided to palliate or suppress them? The choice you make about this important issue will largely determine the quality of life you have in the future.
Ashwini sharma’s Story:
I am 7 months pregnant. Recently, I had a lot of indigestion with loud burps, which seemed to be caused by rich fatty foods, especially ice-cream. To stop the pain I took a calpol ( paracetamol) at night before going to bed. This allowed me to go to sleep but the indigestion returned the next day.
I bought some antacid tablets and took omez tab before going to bed. The next day all of my symptoms got worse. They moved from simple indigestion, to loose bowels and exhaustion.
I took antacid tablets for a couple of days more. They provided relief from the indigestion but I needed to take more and more of them as they seemed to become less and less effective. The indigestion would only go away for a short period of time.
After a week of worsening symptoms I consulted my doctors at miracles homeopathic clinic. They gave me potency of Pulsatilla. At first all of my symptoms got worse. The indigestion burned for ten minutes and I had to run to the toilet, but then it all stopped and did not return.
I think my problem got cured!
Ashwini ’s story is a nice example of how her problem with indigestion was first palliated, then suppressed, and finally cured when she got a remedy that copied what her body was trying to do.
When Ashwini’s indigestion first began, she did what we all try to do when we know no better – she took a tablet (paracetamol) to stop the pain so she could get some sleep. Paracetamol, however, is unable to produce the symptoms Ashwini was experiencing and so, it was never in a position to truly cure them.
It could only exert a chemical control over her body to stop it from feeling the pain for a short period of time. Her indigestion was palliated. Ashwini slept well that night but the pain returned the next day so she took herself “off to the shops” for an antacid.
Again, Ashwini was able to palliate her problem with the antacids to get a good night’s sleep but in the process she produced a state of suppression. Her indigestion was exchanged for the more serious and troubling symptoms of diarrhoea and exhaustion.
Interestingly, Ashwini’s account shows that she has a strong vitality. Her Vital Force struggled against the suppression by still trying to relieve its imbalance through the safer symptom of indigestion – and it was winning until Ashwini again tried to suppress her symptoms by stronger and more frequent doses of the antacid. Had she continued in this manner, one of two things would have happened. Either her indigestion would have been exchanged for a worse state of health as it was fully suppressed by the antacid or a different medicine, or, her Vital Force, if it was strong enough, would have continued to release the energetic imbalance through the symptom of indigestion – the antacids would have been ineffective.
Remember, Ashwini’s unborn baby is also part of this unfolding drama – what is happening to Ashwini on an energetic level is also happening to her baby. If Ashwini’s indigestion is suppressed, her baby may be born with his or her own energetic imbalance to deal with. This is a common occurrence but, sadly, not usually recognised.
The minor and not so minor health problems of newborns and infants are usually just seen as part of life when in fact the truth may be very different. Fortunately, Ashwini knew about homeopathy and “wised up” at this point of time.
With help of her homeopathic consultant, they matched her symptoms to the homeopathic remedy Pulsatilla, and decided to use it.
Pulsatilla, when tested in past trials on healthy people, produced among other things the symptom of indigestion following rich, fatty foods such as ice cream. Since then it has also been used extensively to cure indigestion with burping during pregnancy (when other Pulsatilla symptoms have been present). Obviously then, Pulsatilla clearly matched the symptoms Ashwini was experiencing.
Because of the Law of Similiars, or “like treats like” effect (i.e., what a substance can produce in the healthy it can also relieve in the unwell) Pulsatilla was able to match, smother, and replace the original energetic imbalance that was producing Ashwini’s symptoms, after she took a dose. With the original energetic imbalance removed and replaced by a similar imbalance from the Pulsatilla, all that remained was for Ashwini’s Vital Force to rebound strongly and restore health as the effects of the Pulsatilla wore off – and that is exactly what it did!
But why did Ashwini’s symptoms intensify before they got better? The answer is that the dose of the remedy was a little too strong for what was needed. When an energetic remedy replaces the symptoms of an imbalance with those of its own, the effect is usually only experienced only on the energetic level and not on the physical – the person only notices that they are getting better. Occasionally, a person is sensitive enough to experience physically some of the replacement symptoms of the remedy before it leaves their body.
This is called a homeopathic aggravation or a “healing crisis” and this is exactly what happened to Ashwini.
It is a non-toxic effect, usually of “Nuisance Value” only, and a positive sign that the correct remedy has been chosen; improvement will soon follow. To prevent this happening should future doses of the remedy be needed, the person can take smaller doses in a more dilute form as water medicines.
Direction of Cure
Little Ramith had developed eczema not long after birth. Within weeks it had spread from the creases of his elbows and knees to around the folds of his neck. Now, every time he ate some bread or fruit it flared around his mouth and spread across his cheeks. Ramith’s eczema was so itchy he would rub and scratch it until it bled. In desperation his mother obtained a prescription from her skin specialist for a steroid-based cream.
Miracle of miracles, -the eczema began to clear within hours of the cream being applied. Ramith’s mother was understandably delighted but on hearing this story,a homeopath would actually be concerned that future problems would be in store for Ramith.
Sure enough, two months after the rash had gone, he developed a dry wheezy cough that would not clear. Another visit to the paedriatic doctor diagnosed him with asthma and Ramith was commenced on series of medicines from anti-allergic, inhalers to control his asthma.
Ramith’s story is not uncommon but is there something we can learn from it? Was the eczema really cured? Is there any way he could have avoided the asthma? I will explain about the “direction of cure” and how to recognise when it is happening to you.
The Direction of Cure – What is It? ——
In the early days of Homeopathy, practitioners collected a group of observations that identified when true healing was taking place and when symptoms were merely being palliated or suppressed, leading to worsening health.
These observations were compiled by dr .Hering who called them as “The Direction of Cure” that homeopaths have referred to ever since. It says that cure takes place:
- From above down,
- From within out,
- From a more important organ to a less important organ,
- With symptoms disappearing in the reverse order of their appearance .
When symptoms progress according to these directions, cure is taking place. If they move opposite to these directions, the homeopath and their patient should be aware that suppression is taking place and that health is worsening.
From Above Down
Healing is heading in the right direction if symptoms such as skin rashes or joint pains move down the body as they improve during the course of treatment. Symptoms improving upwards through the body indicate that suppression is probably taking place.
From Within Out
When symptoms move from deeper to more surface organs during treatment, such as a liver infection changing to muscle pains, then changing to itchiness of the skin, the patient and practitioner can be confident that healing is underway. Symptoms moving inwards however, indicate the reverse is happening – the person is becoming sicker.
From a More Important Organ to a Less Important Organ
The person whose high blood pressure and chest pains are replaced by sinus problems during treatment is heading towards health – the symptoms have moved from a more important organ to a less important organ. With further treatment, the sinus problem will also improve. The person whose sinus symptoms are exchanged for heart problems following continual suppression by antibiotics and antihistamines, is becoming sicker – symptoms are moving in the wrong direction.
Symptoms Disappearing in the Reverse Order of Their Appearance
The previous two observations show how symptoms move from the exterior of the body as health worsens, to the interior; the Vital Force,weakened by age, suppression, or an unhealthy lifestyle is unable to keep them at bay. Skin problems, for example, can become respiratory problems that can then lead to heart problems, and so on. It happens all the time. If the unwell person is treated according to the Law of Similars with medicines that match their symptoms rather than suppress them, their vitality can be strengthened and the imbalance corrected;
their symptoms will disappear in the reverse order of their appearance, the heart complaint being the first to go and the skin problem the last.
Do All the Observations Have Equal Value?
While Direction of Cure observations provide guidelines of when health is improving and when it is worsening, they do not all have equal value.
The first three are seen less frequently and the fourth, more frequently. In reality, it is possible for a person’s symptoms to just gradually improve overall during the course of homeopathic treatment without following the strict progression of any of the above observations. Perhaps their real value is that they accurately identify worsening health when symptoms move in the reverse of what they state. When this happens, alarm bells should ring.
What about Ramith?
As we have learnt in this and past cases, our life force will try to push the disease to the outside of the body when we first become unwell to protect deeper, more vital organs from harm. For this reason infants such as Ramith, with their normally strong vitality, will develop skin complaints such as eczema and rashes during the first stages of an energetic imbalance. If these skin problems are suppressed by creams or steroids or if vitality weakens, the Vital Force will no longer be able to relieve the disease through the skin and so will use one of the deeper organs as an outlet to preserve life. This is exactly what happened to Ramith.
As his skin problem was suppressed by a steroid cream, it was replaced with the more life-threatening problem of asthma.
If the vitality was to weaken further or the new symptoms again suppressed, the illness would move to deeper organs such as the bowel, the kidney, the heart or the brain.
Sometimes this progression happens rapidly but more often it is a gradual process that occurs over decades as suppression after suppression worsens health and creates deepening levels of chronic disease.
Fortunately, Ramith’s mother brought him to miracles health clinic for consultation before this happened.
In treating Ramith, we prescribed a homeopathic medicine that matched the physical, mental and emotional symptoms of his imbalance. Within four weeks his asthma had improved significantly but the eczema had started to return.
Concerned, Ramith’s mother brought him back to me. I explained that this was not a set-back but a sign of deep healing. I advised her to wait a little longer, confident that the asthma would soon clear, closely followed by the eczema – and this is exactly what happened except for one small incident.
Ramith’s dad decided to go to water park on Sunday afternoon as family’s short-trip . Ramith also enjoyed the water-rides and swimming with family members. But within 2days due to chorine treated water ,Ramith’s eczema flare and started to spread across his body.
Alarmed, his father applied the steroid cream to the rash and over the next few hours it began to settle. The following day, the asthma was back with a strong force.
Ramith’s mom phoned in a panic to tell me the story. I explained how the chorine water had irritated the eczema that had then been suppressed by the cream. Without an outlet to the skin, the disease was redirected into Ramith’s lungs – a far more serious concern.
we reassured his mother that the correct homeopathic remedy would once again strengthen Ramith’s vitality to resolve the asthma and return the eczema to the skin. This is exactly what happened over the following months.
Ramith continued to have homeopathic treatment for another 8 months during which time the eczema cleared completely. He is now asthma-free and full of energy. His parents have trouble keeping up with him as he is hyper-enegetic.
In Conclusion – Potentised Remedies Can Suppress!
Hopefully, it is something you have decided not to do with your symptoms. When we think of suppression, we usually think of it being the result of chemical medicines and their toxic side effects. While potentised remedies are free of chemicals and therefore free of the toxic side -effects normally associated with conventional medicines, few people realise that potentised remedies can also suppress unless they are prescribed according to the Law of Similars.
Return of Old Symptoms
It is the story of a woman called Simi chandra who, in the middle of a “mid-life” crisis, literally turned her life around. This case is a fantastic example of how a person’s life-long symptoms can disappear in reverse chronological order once the correct homeopathic treatment is given.
Simi Chandra and the Menopause
Simi was a woman of a “certain age” entering the menopause. Symptoms were making her life miserable. Up to 20 hot flushes a day caused sweat to drench her clothes, leaving her cold and clammy. The burning in the palms of her hands and the soles of her feet made them feel as though they had been dipped in hot water and at the height of each flush, Simi craved cold drinks. As you can imagine, she had not had a decent night’s sleep since the flushes began.
Simi complained that she now lacked energy and found it hard to get going. She described herself moody” and hopeless. On top of that, she was irritable and frustated. Her husband was taking the brunt of these changes and as a result their marriage was under strain.
On questioning Simi about other symptoms, I found she also suffered from asthma – something she had had since her late 20’s. She was on inhalers to both prevent and control the symptoms but even now had to be careful around flowers, as their fragrance could cause her to wheeze.
Regular pulsating migraines were also a problem. They would occur on the right side of Simi’s head, beginning in the neck and moving upwards to settle in her forehead and eye. Many times, Simi felt nauseated with the migraine. Belching or vomiting would relieve the pain but usually only for a short time. She would also crave sour things and want to lie in the dark. Once asleep, the migraine would often pass. Not so long ago, Simi had been getting these migraines once a week but since beginning the menopause they had been less frequent and not so intense.
Following the Prescription…
Simi ’s menopausal symptoms were similar to those treated by the homeopathic remedy, Sanguinaria Canadensis.
Within a week of its prescription there had been a dramatic improvement. The hot flushes had reduced by half and Simi reported a significant increase in energy. we advised her to continue with the medicines.
A few weeks later, at Simi’s first follow-up appointment, an interesting story unfolded. Simi was now having only one to two mild hot flushes a day and her burning palms and soles were a thing of the past. With these changes, her sleep had also improved. Simi’s asthma was less of a problem and she was now able to breath deeply and easily. While pleased about these positive changes, Simi was concerned about some other things that had happened.
Not long after our previous phone call, Simi had been taken by surprise with a migraine. Where recent ones had been relatively mild, this one was intense – just like those she used to suffer from before the hot flushes began. Also, her right shoulder had been painful for a few days, just as it had been all those years ago before treated by a steroid & pain-killer injections by her orthopaedic doctor. Simi was now concerned that these events could be a sign of things to come. She could still remember how painful those days had been and there was no way she wanted to return to them.
Another unusual thing was that although Simi’s asthma had improved, it had been replaced by allergic rhinitis? – something she had not had since her mid 20’s.
Simi told me that allergic rhinitis had been a serious problem for her during her childhood. She had used “tons of medications” just to get through school.
At the age of 26, surgery had been performed to remove the nasal polyps caused by it. Thankfully, the allergic rhinitis had settled not long after and since then she had been completely free of the burning, itching of eyes and nose with frequent sneezing – until now!
Other problems that had returned from the past included dizziness-vertigo that occurred when Simi turned her head suddenly and painful heartburn after an evening meal.
Although these symptoms had returned for one day only, Simi was concerned they could return in full. What was going on?
What Does it all Mean??????
When we took Simi’s follow-up and noted her past symptoms like these returning during the course of treatment, there is always a feeling of excitement – the outcome for that person is likely to be good! Any “return of old symptoms” indicates that the homeopathic remedy has stimulated the Vital Force to not only heal the current problem but to also work back through suppressed layers of ill-health that have accumulated with time.
when we know no better, we work against our body’s efforts to heal itself if we choose medicines that suppress rather than support our symptoms. While suppression will make us feel better for the short-term, it can not heal deep energetic imbalances that are the cause of symptoms in the first place. Instead, suppression creates the very thing we are trying to avoid – deteriorating health. It weakens our vitality making us less resistant to disease and other health problems in the future.
This is exactly what happened to Simi case. Her allergic rhinitis from all those years had never really been healed but only partially suppressed by medicines that stopped her body from producing allergic rhinitis symptoms.
With this outlet no longer available, Simi’s Vital Force had to find a new way to relieve its energetic imbalance. It chose nasal polyps. When the polyps were surgically removed, another outlet had to be found.
This time, Simi’s Vital Force was pushed into using the more serious condition of asthma in the deeper organs of the lungs – and so her deterioration continued. Through shoulder pain, vertigo, migraines, menopausal symptoms, confusion, poor memory and mood changes her story continued.
Constant suppression and weakening vitality eventually led to her brain and hormonal system being affected.
Giving a homeopathic remedy that copied rather than suppressed what Simi’s body was trying to do, reversed her downward spiral.
By adding to her symptoms at an energetic level the remedy triggered a much stronger response from her Vital Force.
Finally, it was able to overcome the imbalance it was struggling against.
For most people, suppressed symptoms are dealt with only on the energetic level following their homeopathic treatment – they are only aware of their immediate problems improving.
For some like Simi, a break-though effect can occur. Past problems return to the surface one by one as the remedy removes the effects of suppression. When this happens, returning symptoms are usually mild and short-lived. They then disappear according to Direction of Cure principles , never to be seen again. This is exactly what happened for Simi. Today, we are pleased to say she is a healthy and happily married menopausal woman who continues to use homeopathy as her first form of treatment whenever the need arises.
Sanguinaria Canadensis – What a Remedy!
Homeopathic Sanguinaria is prepared from an herb , common name –Bloodroot and is an unusual remedy in that many of its symptoms occur on the right side of the body and some of them, once every seven days.
Health complaints that can be treated by homeopathic Sanguinaria include: headaches and migraines; allergic rhinitis; asthma; reflux and heartburn; coughs, bronchitis and pneumonia; bursitis and shoulder pain; nasal polyps; tuberculosis; and menopausal symptoms.
People needing Sanquinaria can have low energy, feel irritable, and find it difficult to concentrate. They may crave cold water and spicy or sour food. Burning sensations are common, especially with hot flushes, on the palms and soles, in heartburn and allergic episodes, or with vaginal or penile discharges.
Sufferers often describe the sensation as being burnt by hot water or steam. Allergic rhinitis and asthma can be triggered by strong odours or flower pollens and will commonly be followed by diarrhoea.
Homeopathy and Other Medicinal Therapies :
Homeopathy is a complete medical system based on the Law of Similars, or ‘like treats like’.
we will look at some of the other medicinal therapies available today to see how they compare with homeopathy.
Conventional Medicine (Allopathy)
Allopathy is ‘mainstream’ medicine. It uses chemicals manufactured by drug companies. A common example of an allopathic medicine is crocin (paracetamol) – a drug used to reduce fevers. It takes about half an hour for the chemical effect of crocin to lower your temperature. Once it leave your body the fever returns and you then have to take another dose.
Most medicines you buy from a chemist work this way – they will reduce or remove symptoms whilst in your body but once the dose has worn off, symptoms return.
Are there similarities?
Both homeopathy and allopathy try to relieve suffering and restore health.
What is the difference???
Where homeopathy is based on the ‘Law of Similars’, allopathic drugs are prescribed in opposition to the symptoms.
For example, chronic diarrhoea is treated by drugs that produce constipation if given to the healthy person– they produce the opposite of the symptom to be treated.
Prescribing by opposites however, only suppresses symptoms for a short time and never really cures them. As soon as the effect of the medicine wears off, the problem returns, often in a worse form as the body as the body gradually becomes resistance to these drugs.
In contrast, homeopathy uses ‘similars’ to stimulate the body to cure its own symptoms. Remedies are chosen for their ability to mimic rather than oppose the symptoms of the unwell person.
Chronic diarrhoea, for example, would be treated with a remedy that produces diarrhoea if given to a healthy person. This stimulating rather than suppressive approach triggers a rebound effect from the body that restores health.
Another difference between allopathy and homeopathy is that allopaths treat different symptoms as different diseases even though they occur in the one person.
For example, recurrent migraines and diarrhoea would be treated with two different allopathic medicines. Homeopathy would see these problems as part of an overall disorder to be treated as the one illness with one remedy at a time.
Finally, allopathic medicines are hazardous compared to homeopathic remedies. Because allopathic medicines are chemically based, the patient runs the risk of drug interactions and toxic side effects. In contrast, homeopathy uses energetic remedies that do not produce chemical side-effects, poison, or interact with other medications.
Bach Flowers Remedies:-
Edward Bach was a doctor who believed that negative emotions affect our physical health. In the early 1900s he developed 38 flower remedies to rebalance these emotions, so the body was free to return to health.
Are there similarities?
Bach Flowers remedies are similar to homeopathy in that they are energy medicines – they do not depend on chemicals for their effects. They are non-toxic and safe from the young to the elderly, for expectant mothers, and even for pets or animals. They have a similar taste to liquid homeopathic remedies and so are pleasant to use and easy to take.
What is the difference???
Their effects are weaker and gentler than homeopathic remedies and they have a direct effect on the emotions.
In contrast, homeopathy works on physical and emotional areas at the same time. Because they have not been through standard homeopathic provings (trials) it is hard to tell whether flower remedies work by suppressing symptoms through the Law of Opposites or by curing them through the Law of Similars.
Schuessler’s Tissue Salts-
Tissue salts were prepared in the 1800s by a German homeopath named Schuessler. They are also known as Biochemic remedies, celloids, or cell salts. Schuessler believed that a deficiency in one or more of these 12 salts led to disease in the body. He also felt these salts would be absorbed more easily if prepared as weak homeopathic potencies.
Are there similarities?
People are often surprised to find that tissue salts are not supplements but weak homeopathic remedies. The amount of salt left in each remedy is too small for any nutritional benefit.
Tissue salts are prepared in low potencies (3X,6X or 12X) from the decimal potency scale. As with all homeopathic remedies, they are non-toxic and safe but they should be used only when symptoms are present and not repeated endlessly like a supplement.
What is the difference???
Tissue salts are limited in action compared to other homeopathic remedies. They are prepared only in low potencies that may not act deeply enough to impact on the sufferer’s chronic disease or mental-emotional symptoms.
Other homeopathic remedies (and there are thousands) are prepared in numerous potencies that can manage deep-seated chronic problems as well as simple complaints.
Simple put: you have more options with homeopathy.
Vitamin and Mineral Supplementation (Nutritional Therapy) :-
Good nutrition still provides the building blocks to good health. An inadequate diet, poorly absorbed nutrients, or nutrients depleted by stress can make us susceptible to infectious diseases, poor healing, chronic health problems, mood swings and depression.
At these times, artificial supplementation may help but is not a complete answer.
Switching to a nutritious diet, removing stressors and treating the causes of malabsorption leads to true long-term improvement.
Mega doses of vitamins and minerals only mask the contributing problem or create new problems by distorting the biochemistry of the body.
Are there similarities?
The goal of supplementation is to restore the body to a state of “balance.” Homeopathic treatment will often include advice on nutrition and lifestyle changes.
What is the difference ???
Supplements only treat illness superficially. Homeopathy works at a deeper energetic level. In many instances, poor absorption, health problems, food cravings and aversions are caused by an imbalance in this energy. This explains why some people on an adequate diet develop “nutritional” problems while others do not. In these instances, homeopathy can help where supplements cannot.
Herbal Medicine :-
Herbal medicine is as old as humanity itself and uses the medicinal properties of raw plants, or the teas and tinctures prepared from them, to treat symptoms of disease.
Are there similarities?
Some herbs heal by the “Law of Similars” and some suppress by “opposites”. Those that treat by similars work better if given in homeopathic potencies.
Two examples are: Urtica urens (stinging nettle), used herbally for allergic eczema and diminished milk flow, and Cineraria maritima that resolves eye problems such as conjunctivitis.
Both of these herbs treat with greater speed and effect if given in homeopathic potencies.
Many herbalists are unaware of this homeopathic relationship even though many other examples exist.
What is the difference???
While gentler than many conventional medicines, herbs still have chemical effects that can poison or interact with conventional drugs.
When prepared as homeopathic potencies they are free of these problems.
Another notable difference is that most herbal remedies taste awful. This makes it difficult to coax children, and even some adults, into taking their medicine.
In contrast, homeopathic remedies are dispensed as pleasant tasting sugar pills or water.
People often ask what the difference is between naturopathy and homeopathy. Homeopaths are specialists whereas naturopaths are generalists. Naturopathy is an eclectic practice that draws from a range of therapies. Originally, naturopathy used “drugless” lifestyle approaches like diet, exercise, fresh air, pure water, sunshine, and massage.
Today, it may include other therapies such as herbs, homeopathy, supplements, flower remedies, energy work, aromatherapy, and more. Each naturopath will have his or her own preferences for treatment.
Are there similarities?
Naturopaths have received introductory training in homeopathy and can prescribe homeopathic remedies for simple acute complaints or first aid situations. Unless they have undertaken further studies in homeopathy, naturopaths are not qualified to treat long term or chronic problems homeopathically.
What is the difference???
The naturopath is taught ‘a bit of many things’ over a 1-2 yrs(many courses are of distant learning).
A homeopath studies only homeopathy and related subjects in their 5-year full-time course . Your homeopath is qualified to treat the full range of acute and chronic disorders with homeopathy, while your naturopath is not.
The Central Council of Homeopathy (CCH) is governing body for homeopathic education in India who is comes under direct control of goverment department AYUSH( Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy)
Final Conclusion –
While many of the above therapies are useful in themselves, none have the breadth and depth of homeopathy. Some focus only on mental and emotional problems while others deal with just the physical.
Most work by palliation or suppression while some, such as herbal medicine, may occasionally apply the homeopathic effect by accident.
In contrast, homeopathy can be systematically applied at a deep energetic level to heal mental, emotional and physical symptoms of ill-health.
Its remedies are non-toxic, do not interact with other medications, and taste great. Everyone and anyone can use them. Homeopathy is truly a remarkable system of medicine.