Healing With Holistic Wisdom

Words: Dr RAJGOPAL NIDAMBOOR

Most open-minded folks consider homeopathy as a link between orthodox medicine and holistic approach to health. Modern homeopathic physicians, likewise, look at the system, not as an alternative, but as complementary to orthodox treatment.

Homeopathy is a side-, or off-shoot, of orthodox medicine. It originated as a mode of treatment primarily for acute disease; the chronic ‘mantle’ came much later. This is precisely the reason why homeopathic physicians themselves concede that the system could, perforce, achieve no more than a modest improvement in extremely chronic conditions. The fact remains that homeopathy, not to speak of its concepts, is attracting increasing interest worldwide.

It would be illogical to understand homeopathy without taking a dekko at its roots. Homeopathy began with its founder, Dr Samuel Hahnemann, MD [1755-1843], a German medical genius, who was also as good as any classical chemist of his time. Disgusted with the prevalent practice of medicine, which was based more on dogma than anything else, Dr Hahnemann gave up his medical practice and made a living by translating scientific works into German and other languages, since he was a fantastic polyglot — with a fine grasp in 14 languages. He had one passion: to finding out the right method of medicinal treatment of the sick, which would be, at once, safe, sure, and simple in its form and content.

Discoveries are, more often than not, by-products of accidents. Dr Hahnemann’s homeopathy was no exception. A passage from Dr William Cullen’s Lectures on Materia Medica, a standard work of that age, was to Dr Hahnemann what the cover-drive was to Virat Kohli. While translating the Scottish physician’s treatise [in 1790], Dr Hahnemann came across a statement, which stated that cinchona [quinine] bark possessed specific ‘febrifugal’ action, because it was the most aromatic and bitter substance known.

Dr Hahnemann was not impressed, trained as he was by his father who had impressed upon his brilliant son not to accept anything without examining it. Dr Hahnemann thought that there were more barks, more substances having bitter and aromatic properties, but they did not have the power to ‘cure’ malaria-like fevers. He decided to find out the why and how of it, pronto.

The Cinchona Perestroika 

Dr Hahnemann prepared a decoction of cinchona bark and took it for the first time in medical history, 2,000 years after the law of similars was touched upon, in passing, by Hippocrates in 400 BC. And, presto, he developed the symptoms of malaria in himself. Critics, however, have objected that quinine, in small does, does not, in fact, produce the symptoms of malaria. Or, it’d be at best a hypersensitivity response. This is beside the point, because Dr Hahnemann believed it did, while suggesting to him the idea of homeopathy.

He began to work on a number of similar experiments, without the help of a clinical thermometer which was unknown at that time, and concluded, that, a drug that is capable of producing a set of its own peculiar and characteristic symptoms when given in its attenuated form to the healthy, sensitive individual, can cure harmlessly, permanently and quickly a patient with a disease exhibiting a similar set of symptoms. The cinchona assay was, thus, a case in point and the touchstone for the development of Dr Hahnemann’s novel discovery.

Dr Hahnemann was no routine experimenter. He experimented with an eye on scientific justification and observation. In this, he was his own mariner’s compass, his own radar.  He saw to it that there was no error in his induction.

He asserted: treat the patient, not the disease, based on a proper understanding of the individuality of the patient and administering a homeopathic remedy that best suits ‘that’ individuality.  For example, there may be two persons bogged down by a common illness. While one of them does not need blankets [feels warm], the other may need warmth, a blanket [feels cold]. This is individuality; it calls for the use of two different homeopathic remedies for treatment.

Verifiable Knowledge 

It was discovered by Dr Hahnemann that medicinal substances, after undergoing the process of homeopathic preparation, where their medicinal power is increased by repeated succussion [shaking] for crude medicinal substances in their liquid form, and by trituration [grinding] of non-medicinal powders [e.g., flint, or sand], developed their inherent curative action manifold and became extremely powerful — in tune with the atomic theory — and, yet immensely safe agents in the treatment of the sick. He called this potency, related to the natural law of cure, similia similibus currentur [‘like cures like’], the motto of homeopathy. As Dr James Krauss, MD, once said, “Science is verified, or verifiable knowledge, produced by conception of percepts, induction of deducts. For scientific imagination, conceptuation from perception, not many percepts are needed.”

Dr Hahnemann called the system homeopathy [homoios = similar; pathos = sickness].

To emphasise an important point, more so in the context of homeopathy’s earlier beginnings, and in the modern context — more so, for people who think homeopathy is something related to metaphysics and empiricism. We have nothing more to say, but invite them to look at, or explore, what Dr Richard Hughes, MD, the English homeopath, achieved through his independent research and critical analysis. Dr Hughes was a cut above others in his zeal for homeopathy and its scientificity.  Dubbed by his critics as a ‘pathological prescriber,’ he made gallant endeavours to erase the Material Medica of too many theoretical observations and information recorded by some ‘experts’ who had the deplorable tendency to copy from one another sans inhibition.

Dr Hughes’s idea was simple. He thought of the pathological side of the homeopathic remedies vis-à-vis the conditions which they could both cause and cure, or vice versa. He went into the proving aspects in animals by way of experiments. Although his great efforts fell short of his avowed and cherished goals, Dr Hughes did singular service in bringing the homeopathic Material Medica to the logical path of provings and toxicology. If homeopathy becomes a regular part of educational curriculum in orthodox medical colleges in the future, it would be the neo-Hughesian concept — albeit Hughes’ credo is much more than outdated in today’s context — that may, in its updated context, find favour in futuristic homeopathic teaching.

Potency Issue 

Yet another bugbear is the potency issue. While the potency theory is still the bone of contention between homeopathy and orthodox medicine, or science, recent attempts to explain the homeopathic perspective on the basis of advanced scientific experiments that demonstrate there is ‘biological activity,’ even in extremely low dilutions, have not been conclusive as yet. It is only hoped that a possible and acceptable scientific explanation will emerge in the course of time. Until this happens, homeopathy would continue to be an empirical [‘scientific’] pursuit, as also an integral part of evidence-based medicine.

Dr Hahnemann found out that by the addition of a first non-lethal dose of a ‘like’ as Belladonna to a ‘like’ such as scarlet fever, which was like adding fire to engulfing flames, it was akin to liberating more and more curative power.  His inference: Belladonna [atropine, deadly nightshade] can cause scarlet fever, when taken in the minutest form, and, as such, ‘cure’ a ‘like’ patient of that state, when taken in the homeopathic potentised form.

Dr Hahnemann held that the basic causes of illnesses started in the mental plane as a result of the individual fulminating the natural laws, at a time when psychology was still a part of philosophy. He explained that they start unusual desires to which the individual mistakenly yields and attempts to fulfil by conscious physical endeavours and ‘scheming.’ The disease forces get established and/or rendered constitutional, handed down from generation to generation, while triggering a host of hereditary disorders and chronic syndromes, which can, however, be treated by competent homeopathic intervention.

Dr Hahnemann explained that a drug produces an artificial disease. Like any foreign material, it produces a specific stimulus. Its curative action/effect, therefore, lies in eliciting the reaction from the human organism. This is also the raison d’être of homeopathic ‘provings’ from their curative viewpoint too. Homeopathy may, therefore, be called, in essence, the medicine of vital stimulation, or immunological medicine, in a purely physiological sense, but also vital reaction, or autoregulation. Because the amount of stimulus required to provoke reaction in an organism rendered hypersensitive by disease is seldom material.

You get the point. The human body, for example, manufacturers only fifty-to-a-hundred-millionth of a gram of thyroid hormone each day.  Yet, a small excess, or depletion, in this already `infinitesimal’ amount could affect the health of the individual — subtly, as also substantially.

You get the point? Right.

Dr RAJGOPAL NIDAMBOOR, PhD, is a wellness physician-writer-editor, independent researcher, critic, columnist, author and publisher. His published work includes hundreds of newspaper, magazine, web articles, essays, meditations, columns, and critiques on a host of subjects, eight books on natural health, two coffee table tomes and an encyclopaedic treatise on Indian philosophy. He is Chief Wellness Officer, Docco360 — a mobile health application/platform connecting patients with Ayurveda, homeopathic and Unani physicians, and nutrition therapists, among others, from the comfort of their home — and, Editor-in-Chief, ThinkWellness360.

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