UNDERSTANDING THE POLITICS OF MEDICINE

I am scheduled to present an online presentation at a joint homeopathic conference this June. It is a conference, of course on homeopathic medicine and there will be a focus on how epidemics have been, and can now be, treated successfully with the homeopathic method. Those of you that have been following my posts on this topic, addressing the current epidemic, will understand what I am referring to. A recent post, Nux, To The Rescue, is a good demonstration of that in which a young woman is sick for 11 days and within minutes of the first dose of a homeopathic remedy is showing improvement. This is why homeopathy is remarkable and is worth giving attention to.

In this scheduled conference there are several speakers whose topic is the current epidemic and their experience in treating it. Useful information, what? So imagine the surprise that I get an email this morning from the organizers of the conference warning me (and the other speakers) to be careful what they say. Here is an extract from their message which shows what I am talking about —

“…the US Federal Trade Commission and other US Government Agencies have been restricting what can be communicated regarding the treatment or prevention of COVID-19 that do not comply with strict National Institute of Health policies. Consequently, we will need to be very careful about how we communicate during our presentations. We won’t be able to use terms like ‘treatment’ or ‘prevention’, ‘COVID-19’ or ‘coronavirus’.”

Do you understand the significance of this? It is telling us that a professional conference of medical doctors discussing an entirely legal system of medicine cannot say that they either “treat” or “prevent” the disease. Can you imagine the outrage if this was directed to an allopathic conference? That conventional doctors dealing with this virus disease cannot say they have treated it?

THE HISTORY
How could this come about? We can assume that the message coming from our government is communicating their disapproval of the homeopathic method. They don’t want us to say we are treating it as we will be lying. This is not new. At this point, we are seeing the playing out of allopathic medicine being a monopoly and opposed to all other competing systems. For homeopathy, this started quite some time ago.

Homeopathy was introduced to the US in the very early 1800s by Dr. Burch Gram who had trained in Germany. He treated fellow doctors and converted many of them. As well, the dramatic effectiveness of homeopathy treating epidemics brought many other doctors into the fold. Homeopathy grew steadily and by the middle 1800s, every state had a homeopathic medical school, and 25% of doctors now used this method. The situation changed in 1847. The doctors that had not embraced homeopathy, seeing its continuing development, started an organization to combat homeopathy as well as other forms of medicine such as herbalism, chiropractic, osteopathy, and such like.

From this point, there was continued aggressive movement towards homeopathy culminating in the medical schools having their funding taken away and having to close. The organization was so hostile to homeopathy that if any members even talked to a homeopathic practitioner they would be expelled from the organization. One fellow this happened to, who was expelled from the organization, had committed this serious offense of talking to a homeopathic practitioner — his wife.

What was this organization? It called itself the American Medical Association (AMA).

The result of this process was that allopathic medicine became a monopoly, a state which is actually not accepted in other areas such as industry. However, it has been maintained in medicine. “Wait,” you say “I can get other treatment if I want.” Yes, you can get herbal treatment, homeopathic treatment, etc. — if you are willing to pay out of pocket. They are not covered by insurance and therefore stay on the fringes of the medical system.

A related development has been the incredible growth and power of the drug industry. We are talking billions of dollars. In these days, it is often this industry behind the efforts to eliminate homeopathy. You can see why. It is not unusual that a person, or animal, can be cured with homeopathic treatment of a condition that otherwise would be incurable and require the continued use of medicines for decades. I know of people cured of such, usually incurable, conditions that the total medicinal cost for this cure was less than $10. There would, of course, be the charge of the practitioner but the medicine itself very cheap and also not needing to be continued.

Can you see why this would be a threat to the monopoly?

IN CLOSING
I can understand that some reading this may think I am exaggerating. Perhaps at some point, more information on the historical success of homeopathy in epidemics can be presented. At this point, I will mention one piece of evidence.

In the 1800s there were very severe, high mortality, epidemics in the US, diseases such as cholera, typhoid, or yellow fever. When the US populace saw the extraordinary results of homeopathic treatment, there was enough fervor to organize the erection of a monument to Dr. Samuel Hahnemann, the founder of homeopathy. On June 21, 1900, a monument to Hahnemann was erected in Washington, DC, with the attendance of the president of the United States. It is about a 1/2 mile from the White House. It is on a traffic circle, Scott Circle, and is quite impressive to visit. A picture of it is attached here.

hahn monument

It is very large. If I were to be standing in front of it my head would reach the bottom of the chair Hahnemann is sitting on. When we reflect on this and realize very few doctors have monuments like this, you can get some sense of the impact homeopathy had on our culture at that time. Therefore, in closing, when you hear the criticisms of homeopathy and the denial of its effectiveness, realize where it is coming from. And remember that it has been this way since 1847.

NUX, TO THE RESCUE

Here is a report from one of my medical colleagues:

I just went on quite the roller coaster ride with my daughter being sick in Wisconsin, all alone, and I couldn’t go to her because we’re pretty sure she’s got CoViD. I think she had her first symptoms on Sunday May 17 but I didn’t find out that she was sick until the 20th. Headache, light-headed, confusion, exhaustion, and then I think it was the 21st she lost her sense of smell. Not 100% but greatly reduced, with no congestion. Then she felt a little better on the 22nd and 23d.
May 22 was a Saturday and I got to the PO just in time to express-ship her remedies before they closed at noon.
Then she felt worse on the 25th, yesterday and today (27th). All this time, a week, she sounded horrible on the phone. She sometimes, no, often, couldn’t think straight enough to hold up her end of the conversation.
My remedies didn’t arrive as promised and she finally got them today (27th), two days late. I had her open the package and take a dose of NUX VOMICA 30c while we were on the phone. (She received the remedy on the 27th.)
We continued to chat and in a couple/few minutes, she came back. She sounded alert, she was herself again. (Wow! This stuff never gets old.) Later she texted me that she was trying to find the place to get tested, she was out in her car! I called her this evening (27th) and she really sounds good and says she feels a lot better. Almost 100%. I am so relieved, finally exhaling.
I don’t want to describe the despair I experienced over the last week, but it sure is sweet when it ends. I am relaxing in a way that makes me realize how very tense I’ve been over this.

COMMENT from RP:
This is a very good example of the action of a remedy for an epidemic, what we call the genus epidemicus in homeopathy. Specifically, when the remedy is so very suitable for the treatment of the epidemic, it will act 1) very quickly, 2) with one or two doses.
This is in contrast to finding the need to repeat a remedy over and over which indicates a remedy that is not a close enough match to the problem.
Is it not amazing to see a person that has been seriously ill, physically and mentally, for 11 days respond to the remedy “in a few minutes”? This is what makes homeopathy so remarkable and shows us the uniqueness of this method.

CLIENT SHARES COVID?

I had a client come to see me for osteopathic manipulation – she is a State Health Educator.  She had laryngitis, sore throat, but stated that she felt great.  She has been on a constitutional homeopathic remedy for a chronic illness.  So I decided to do nothing for her but the treatment manually that she needed for alignment.

   On the 4th day after I saw her, I woke up aching and hurting all over with a horrible headache and sinus congestion . I tried to dismiss it but by the evening I had developed a fever of 102, HR 122, Pulse oxygen saturation of 90 (normal is 99-100%).  I thought that I was a “goner” and reluctantly took Nux vomica 30 c 

   After 6 hours I was greatly improved. I took a 2nd dose and by the next day I was mostly comfortable and functional in the house (could not do hard chores outdoors like mucking out the barns . . . . so my husband did it.).

   I am just fine this week now.  Back out doing normal work in the gardens and with the animals.

   Report another 2 days later: “I still feel great.”

Note: not my client (Richard) but that of a medical colleague.

THE IMMUNE SYSTEM, Part 2

THE GUARDIANS

In the prior piece, it was suggested that the antibodies were not the major player in this. So what is? Not likely surprising to you, using the analogy of the house broken into, the most important are the barriers that are keeping the little buggers out in the first place. After all, if they can be prevented from getting into the body, there can be no infection. 

How do they get in? Most of the bacteria, viruses, etc., come through the eyes, mouth, nose, other openings like urethra, vagina. They can also be swallowed and enter through the lining of the intestinal tract. 

What about the skin? The skin is pretty tough and getting past the skin is only possible if it is cut or punctured in some way. Granted there are a few organisms, like some fungi, that just start growing on the skin, but these are few. You can assume that viruses and bacteria come in the other way.

THE DOORS

It actually turns out that the skin is a small area comparatively. For the human being, the skin area is about two square meters while the mucous membranes of the other entries — the openings mentioned above and the mucous membranes of the breathing and digestive systems — are about 400 square meters, about the size of two tennis courts. So this is where most of the attention is given by the immune system. 

The cells that sit in these tissues, that I am calling the Guardians (because I like that word), are also called macrophages. This name comes from “macro” meaning “large” and “phage” meaning “to eat.” They are indeed large cells and eat about anything. They will clean up any mess they run into. They can detect invading organisms by sensing some molecules on the surface of the germ that are not normally found in the body. They make their way to the bacteria (or whatever) and basically eat it. This eating process is taking in the virus, bacteria, fungus, and digesting it inside the cell with chemicals already stored in the cell. 

This is a pretty good method, isn’t it? All these guys are sitting there 24 hours a day, watching, watching, for anything suspicious. This primary defense method has been around a long time — millions if not billions of years if we factor in early forms of life. 

WHERE DO THEY COME FROM?

In humans & other animals these Guardians originate in the bone marrow, the same place that red blood cells are made. They grow from the same cells that make red blood cells, as well as other immune cell types we will get into later. To give you some idea of how active the bone marrow is in this, it has been determined that more than two million red blood cells are manufactured each second to replace what is lost, this being the normal process of a healthy person. I don’t know about you but the numbers are so great I can hardly get my head around it.

These Guardian cells are produced in the bone marrow, move out into the blood on their way to their “stations.” While circulating in the blood, they are called “monocytes” and there are two billion of them in your blood all the time. After about three days they will have moved through the blood system to their stations in the tissues mentioned above. There they sit and wait, with great patience. Are we not lucky?

THE SIGNIFICANCE

These Guardian cells are the first and primary defense. There are other levels of this primary defense (what is called the Innate system which we will get into) but the Guardians are the front line, the most important in terms of keeping anything out. 

This defense system works sufficiently almost all the time if the person or animal is healthy. Realize, if you can, perhaps visualizing, that any virus that comes in through the mouth or nose and lands on a mucous membrane, if it is eaten by the Guardian cells that is the end of the story. There will be no infection. 

Realize too that this happens without the presence of any antibodies. Not only are there no antibodies needed but there will not necessarily be any produced from this encounter. There is no need for that. It is possible there could be antibodies coming about in those encountering large numbers of the virus, or having repetitive exposures. However, a one-time event will not usually be seen as that significant.

Does it impress you to say that 99% of all animals do just fine with just this mechanism we are discussing here? I mean this is the entirety of what they have, no additional antibody or immune cell function like we do. Surely you can see how efficient it is.

THE CURRENT EPIDEMIC

Let us translate what we are discussing here into the issue facing those studying the present epidemic. Those working on this would like to be able to estimate how contagious the virus is, how many are infected, what the death rate is, etc. Can you see that the people who encounter the virus, and have it for lunch, may not show any evidence of that? They will not be sick, they will not be passing on the virus to others, they will not be making antibodies. Basically you cannot identify them. 

To know that a person has been exposed, the evidence necessary is either the signs of infection or the presence of antibodies. Granted it is possible to produce antibodies without showing symptoms (more on that later), but it is also important to know, as said above, that exposure does not always result in this.

Do you see the difficulty? It is very tough to have an accurate estimation of exposure. For example, if the actuality is that 80% of the population is exposed (including those as described above that do not show any evidence of it) and if we were to know that percentage, and then calculate that the death rate is 1%, we would have a reasonably accurate assessment of the how often the virus causes death. 

But a different value will come up if we limit the exposure to those developing antibodies — these being the ones in which the virus got through the door and did some spreading around. If we measure that 20% of the population has antibodies and assume that this is the total of those exposed, the apparent death rate is now said to be 4%. This is not accurate, is it?

Another way to put this is that if the majority of the population is very healthy and basically throws off the virus without developing immunity, then that is a reflection of low susceptibility, a reflection of how healthy the population is. On the other hand, if the population is not very healthy and a significant percentage show antibody production because they could not withstand it, why would we then turn and blame the virus, saying “it is very contagious, very dangerous”?

Tricky business. Well, that is how life is — very clever and not usually as simple as we think.

IMMUNITY

Can you see, from what we are discussing as the primary defense mechanism, how important it is that we are healthy? Our bodies are constantly making these cells, millions each day, and also reproducing the tissues of the mucous membranes. If anything interferes with this, we become susceptible.

What would interfere? Poor nutrition — eating food that contains toxic chemicals — is a big one. As an example, did you know that a recent report found that 98% of Americans have Roundup in their bodies?

There is also lifestyle, how much fresh air and sunlight we experience, how much exposure to radiation (many concerned about 5G coming in), taking drugs that interfere with the immune system like steroids, anti-inflammatories. This a big topic in itself, let us just say here that it would be very effective and intelligent to emphasize maximum health as the best defense. Rather than having everyone wearing masks, maybe it would make more sense to reduce air pollution? 

UP NEXT

There is more to the immune system. There is all the drama that happens if the virus gets past the Guardians. That is what happens in those that actually get sick. The immune system has many more defenses that we can explore as we go along. 

[ Reference: For much of this information I am drawing on a very good book by Lauren Sompayrac, entitled “How the Immune System Works.” You might want to study it if you have that interest.]

The Immune System, part 1

THE IMMUNE SYSTEM, Part 1

There is a lot of focus on the issue of immunity to virus disease because of the current crisis. The immune system is a marvelous mechanism, but often what you hear is not accurate in terms of how it functions. In this writing I would like to help you have a better understanding of this. You will then be in a position of making intelligent decisions yourself.

You likely have noticed that when immunity is discussed it almost always is focused on the production of antibodies. We will get, later, more thoroughly into what antibodies are and what they do, but at this point here is an explanation of the place of antibodies in the whole schema.

THE PLACE OF ANTIBODIES

The first thing to understand is that antibodies are a minor player in this story. This is not saying they are not important, rather they are less important than other aspects of what we call the immune system when we talk about resistance to disease.

This function of producing antibodies is called the adaptive immune system, meaning it can adapt to new situations. This is what gives it the wonderful ability to learn and respond. This function if not present in all creatures, having developed about 200 million years ago in vertebrate animals, those with a spinal cord — basically fish, animals and humans. What is significant in this is to realize that most of living creatures on the planet don’t have this function or use this, and actually don’t need it. That they are still on the planet and doing OK tells us that.

Animals developed this to their advantage and it is wonderful gift and it was added on to the immune system that had already developed over the evolution of life on earth. We will, as we go on, get into the primary immune function, but first let me give you an analogy that may help you understand how the antibody part of this fits in.

AN ANTIBODY ANALOGY

Let us say you have nice home and you have made considerable effort to make it secure. You built a wall, perhaps a water moat around it, have secure doors and windows. You have made it very hard for anyone to break in. However, there are some clever thieves out there and they figure out a way to get past all these barriers, silence the alarm bell, quiet your dogs, and get inside and begin to ransack your place. 

At some point you hear what is going on and seeing the commotion and realizing that all your defenses have been breached you reach for your phone and call 911. “I am being robbed! The house is full of robbers. I need help.” They respond by sending out the police, and if they respond quickly enough they will catch the robbers and take them away. 

This is how antibodies come into the situation. They are the police that are called on when all other defenses have failed. This is important and can be what saves one from excessively long illness or even dying. However, they are not the primary defense. They are the last resort.

THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THIS

I am emphasizing this because it is too narrow a view to consider only the antibody function when talking of immunity. To have a balanced view we must consider the whole immune function because it is the whole immune function that must be in top order for us to have optimal and maximal resistance to all diseases. 

In the next part we can begin to look at the primary defenses.

Homeopathy Treating Epidemics

HOMEOPATHY IN EPIDEMICS

This is in response to many asking for advice in using homeopathy in the currect virus epidemic. In homeopathy the practice of identifying the effective remedy in treating and preventing the disease resulted in a remedy called the Genus Epidemicus. In what follows it some history and explanation of how this has been done.

THE SIMILAR REMEDY

In the discovery and development of homeopathy Dr. Hahnemann first had the understanding of using a similar remedy, a medicine similar in its effect to the disease condition. This is very important to understand. 

Hahnemann found that if he gave such a substance that resulted in more or less the same pattern of disturbance as the patient was presenting, that it brought about rapid recovery of health. It was an unexpected discovery. 

How could it do this? It was not obvious at first but Dr. Hahnemann came to the understanding that this medicine, when given in adequate dosage, became the primary influence in the person. Attention was shifted from the disease to the remedy and the disease was canceled out. Then when the remedy effect ended (in a few hours) the patient was left free of the disease and proceeded to rapidly recover health.

DISEASE STATES

The next development in homeopathic work was the finding that a sick individual was showing a condition unique to them. There may be some patterns, like having a cold, but each person was affected in their own way and not identical to others. The idea of diagnosis was, therefore, discarded, as diagnosis is done so as to group patients together under one label, all of which are to get the same treatment. Dr. Hahnemann found this was not reliable. It was necessary to look carefully at each patient and find which of the available medicinal substances was indicated for that particular person. This is how homeopathy developed at first.

EPIDEMICS

A next discovery was that epidemics were an exception to this rule. There was something different about the epidemic diseases of the time, like cholera, typhoid and influenza. After careful investigation of a large number of patients affected by these diseases the understanding emerged that these diseases were an exception to what was said above. Whereas most conditions were, indeed, unique to that individual, the epidemic diseases resulted in the same pattern of disturbance in all affected. This is more like diagnosis, but qualified. 

The value in making this discovery was coming up with the method of finding out which remedy was most suitable by grouping many patients together — like 20 or more. IN OTHER WORDS, THEY WERE GROUPED AND ANALYZED AS IF THEY WERE ONE PERSON.

This gave a more complete picture of what remedy would be most similar. 

Once this remedy was recognized it could be used for all the persons affected by the epidemic and it would not be necessary to do extensive workup of each person. It saved time. 

As well, the same remedy could be used in the healthy people that were around the sick one (the family) as a preventive of the disease before it made its appearance.

The remedy that was recognized (and sometimes two remedies) by going through this process is called the genus epidemicus.

UNDERSTANDING THE DYNAMIC

If what has been explained so far is understandable, then we can go into the use of the genus epidemicus remedy. 

As said above, the identified remedy could now be used routinely to treat all of those becoming affected. However, this next point is very important to understand. The remedy in its similarity matches the very first disturbance that occurs on exposure to the infectious disease. We know how a cold will start, or a flu condition. There will be early hints of it coming on — a sensation, fever, something like that. It is this very first early stage that the genus epidemicus is similar to. 

If the disease is not treated at that early stage, or treated ineffectively, then as it develops it becomes a pattern that no longer matches the genus epidemicus. This is critical to understand. What Dr. Hahnemann found was that epidemics were different from other diseases in that THE VERY FIRST STAGE OF THE ILLNESS WAS THE SAME IN ALL AFFECTED. However, he goes on to explain that if the disease has developed further, there will be other remedies needed, not the genus epidemicus. He gives examples for cholera and scarlet fever, and such like. 

This is what is happening today with coronavirus. If the person is not treated at the beginning with the genus epidemicus, then using that same remedy later will not be effective. A different one is needed. The different remedy needed is no longer the same in all affected persons (or animals) as they have reverted to the condition of individuality as described above — same as most disease conditions. 

This can lead to confusion in what is reported because a homeopathic practitioner may say there is this list of 6 remedies they have found useful (or more). What they are reporting is the treatment of cases that are in a later stage.

USE OF THE GENUS EPIDEMICUS 

If we can summarize all of this, we can say that epidemics are different as to homeopathic treatment in that the very first stage will be the same in all affected. However, any development of the condition past the beginning will call for careful individual prescribing. 

I will add that is not just that the disease has developed but the same thing happens if at the very beginning a remedy different than the genus epidemicus is used. If that remedy has some effect, it will alter the pattern but the disease continues. This continued disease will also require a remedy other than the genus epidemicus.

SUMMATION 

When we are discussing identifying the genus epidemicus, it is with the idea it can be used successfully in all very early cases. We will see a clinical pattern that confirms this in that the genus epidemicus will most often act with one dose, that being sufficient. When it is reported a remedy is being used, over and over, for days, it is not this situation, it is not using the genus epidemicus.

The genus epidemicus can also be used to prevent the disease in those not affected. How is this done? There is no standard method, but historically a common practice was to give the remedy in 30c potency once a week.

I hope this makes sense to you. Those of you that use homeopathy likely already know this, but many are not clear about it so the intention here is to give you the ability to interpret the reports coming out.

WHY HAS HOMEOPATHY NOT BEEN MORE ACCEPTED?

Part 1

Some of you are wondering about the seeming contradiction between what is being posted here, like the last one about how effective homeopathy in epidemics, and how, nonetheless, it seems to be a minor player in the medical world. It is not “minor” in all countries but certainly not the primary system anywhere in spite of its unusual effectiveness.

The answer has to do with our cultural world view. The way we have been moving the last few centuries is increasingly towards materialism. What this means is that how we understand reality is that there is a physical universe we are derived from. The physical universe is the foundation, primary, and we have evolved from it over time. 

This is the basis for our science and, as well, for the practice of medicine. This way of seeing things is demonstrated in medicine by the emphasis on laboratory data, various physical tests, X-rays, cat scans, etc. As a result, the patient has increasingly come to be seen in fragments. Instead of considering the whole being, which includes their mental, emotional and physical states as one thing, we look away from them towards our physical devices.

Medicine, a century or so ago, was different in that the focus was on the patient as a being. The doctor would spend much time in the physical exam — palpating, touching, listening, questioning and this was the basis for deciding what was wrong. 

Quite different today. You may feel ill, yet the tests done do not show a change so you are told you are not ill though you may feel like crap.

Homeopathy is different. It started when the patient was the focus, as described above, but the way medicines were used was to give drugs, herbs, substances like silver or mercury with the intention of blocking or counteracting the symptoms the person was showing. A simple example would be the person with a fever being given something that would make the fever decrease. 

This is the same method as today, isn’t it? Treatment often is done to decrease or eliminate a symptom from expressing itself. Another way of putting it is that the symptoms are considered to be the disease. When Dr. Hahnemann discovered the effect of using substances that would bring about symptoms in the person much like they were having already, he referred to it as using “similar medicines.” Makes sense, doesn’t it? Instead of giving something to make the symptom diminish through the effect of that substance, he gave what would actually bring about those symptoms in a healthy person. 

I know, doesn’t make sense. But it was a discovery and he did not anticipate it. He was only studying how substances act on a person and saw this happen without expecting it. He probably was shocked by it. In any case, he spent the next six years researching this with patients and volunteers. After he felt confident that it really did work, he released it to the other doctors who began using it. 

As expressed in the earlier post, one of the dramatic things that happened was the extraordinary effectiveness of homeopathy in epidemics and this really confirmed that Hahnemann on to something. 

HOMEOPATHY VS. ALLOPATHY

When Dr. Hahnemann coined the word for a “similar medicine” in 1824 he used the word “homeopathy.” I won’t try to spell the German form of it but the first part of the word “homoios,” from Greek, means “like, similar, of the same kind.” The latter part of the word “patheia” means “disease, also feeling, emotion.” So the Greek word he incorporated meant “having like feelings or affections, sympathetic.”

To make the distinction clear to the fellow doctors he called the other form of medicine of that time “allopathy.” Like the word above it comes from Greek “allos” which means “other.” Again the latter part has the meaning as described above. The meaning he had in mind is that this other treatment did not use similar medicines but rather ones that were quite different in their effects. Instead of stimulating the same symptoms the patient had, the did the opposite, they countered the symptoms. The medicines, therefore, were “other” than the symptoms.

Now, after going through this, can you understand why many people will reject the homeopathy idea as nonsense? How could it be a treatment to give something that actually increases the symptoms? Of course, the homeopathic perspective is that this stimulus actually brings about an improved patient response, one that leads to the recovery of health. 

Let us contrast the two medical methods like this;

  1. The conventional, allopathic, method uses medicines that counteract the symptoms — reduce fever, stop allergic reactions, slow down diarrhea, etc.
  2. The homeopathic method, by studying the details of the patient’s condition, uses a medicine that brings about the same (actually similar) set of symptoms. This stimulates the inherent healing mechanisms of the body. 

This comparison points to a significant difference in the two views in medicine. The usual, conventional, one doesn’t have a lot of confidence that the body can heal itself. Substances are given to regulate or control it. The homeopathic method assumes that the only way health can be restored is if the patient’s system does it for itself. The medicines are a stimulus for that to happen.