Understanding Homoeopathy

Dr.Jugal Kishore
Origin of Homoeopathy
A young German doctor was translating Cullen’s Materia Medica from English to German, when he came across the explanation given by Cullen about the curative powers of Peruvian (Cinchona) bark in curing cases of Malaria. The doctor was uneasy with the explanation was given, so he took the crude drug himself to see how it acted. To his great surprise he soon developed symptoms like malaria. After a few days he repeated the experiments with the same results. The doctor was convinced that the drug which was the best agent to cure malaria in the sick had produced the very same symptoms of Malaria in his healthy body.

This was the basis of the new & scientific system of medicine called HOMOEOPATHY & the doctor was its Founder Dr. Hahnemann.
Samuel Hahnemann was born on 10th April 1755, to a porcelain painter of Meissen, Saxony Germany. He was the eldest of a family of ten. There was not enough to support a large family & therefore his father wanted him to follow the same trade as himself. But even as a child he showed an intense passion & wonderful aptitude for learning, so that even when his father removed him from school, he continued his studies on his own. Soon his teachers prevailed upon his father to allow the boy to continue his studies & they offered to forego all their fees. Such was his brilliance that by the age of 22, he had mastered 9 languages including Hebrew, Greek, English, Latin, French, Spanish & Italian. Whenever he wanted to know anything contained in a foreign language, he learned that language & obtained from it whatever he needed. In 1779, he got his M.D. & set himself in practice. Besides seeing patients, he wrote many articles on different topics. He became a recognized authority on chemistry & there are some chemical tests in use even today that were formulated by him. As a doctor too he was a physician of such mature reflection & experience, that soon he was accepted as ” one of the most distinguished physicians of Germany”.

Yet Hahnemann himself became more & more disillusioned with the current modes of treatment which were very crude. In his own words, he said ” I have been putting drugs of which I know little into bodies about which I know even less. To become thus the murderer or tormentor of my brethren is to me an idea so frightful & overwhelming that I have decided to renounce the practice of medicine”.

Such was Hahnemann’s love for humanity that he gave up his flourishing practice & endured many hardships & extreme poverty, rather than continue to kill & harm his fellow creatures.

After his experiments with the Cinchona bark in 1789, he conducted similar experiments { Provings } on himself, his family & friends during a span of 6 yrs. He recored the symptoms thus produced & corelated them with the symptoms of the diseases they were being prescribed for. In 1796, Hahnemann published his findings in an article entitled “Essay on the new principle for ascertaining the curative power of drugs” wherein he explained his theory of Similia Similibus Curantur.

By 1810 , he proved many more drugs to be absolutely certain about his hypothesis about the mode of action of drugs. It was then that he published his most important book “The Organon of Rational Art of Healing”. In it he laid down the principles of treatment of diseases & called this system “HOMOEOPATHY”

Hahnemann strongly criticized the prevelant practices of treating patients & hence there was stiff opposition to the Organon. Despite this he was granted permission to teach at the University of Leipzig.. Here many broad minded, enthusiastic students became his followers & started practicing Homoeopathy & also helped him in proving more & more drugs.

Over the next 11 yrs.he had to move from place to place because of the opposition to his system. In 1821, he settled in Koethen , where he practiced for the next 14 yrs. In 1835, he moved to Paris where he remained till his death in 1843. After his death his pupils started to practice & spread this system in various parts of Europe, UK, USA & Australia. England & America have since produced some of the greatest Homoeopaths.

The paradox that “less” of a substance could be “more” effective was unacceptable to scientists & Hahnemann was ridiculed ; but Homoeopathy survived simply because of the remarkable results achieved & eventually scientists too gave credibility to the Law of Infinitismal Dose. The Arnold Schultz Law states that ” Small drug doses stimulate cell activity & larger doses hinder it & still larger doses destroy it.

Homeopathy in India
Homoeopathy came to India very soon after its inception. In 1810 itself some German physicians & missionaries came to Bengal & started treating people with Homoeopathic medicines. Soon it spread all over India & today India has the largest number of Homoeopaths in the world.

Understanding Homeopathy
Would you believe that sand can cure a large festering boil without surgery or antibiotics, or that common salt can cure severe migraines or chronic depression , or that grass can be used to cure acute & chronic colitis. But it is true. This is the magic of Homoeopathy, the pathy which can transform sand, grass, salt & thousands of other substances into powerful medicines capable of curing diseased people. So what is Homoeopathy & how does it work. The word HOMOEOPATHY is made up of two Greek words ” HOMOIS ” meaning “LIKE ” & “PATHOS” meaning ” SUFFERING”. Homoeopathy is the study of medicines rather than diseases.
Homoeopathy is a specialised system of medicine based on the NATURAL LAW OF HEALING – likes are cured by likes — SIMILIA SIMILIBUS CURANTUR. This law was first observed by the Father of Modern Medicine – Hippocrates , but it was Hahnemann who actually put it to practical use in curing the sick. The Homoeopathic law of cure was known to the ancient physicians of our country.

 In Bhagwat Purana, it is said : “Amyo Yashrch Bhootanam Jayate Yen Suvrata Tadev hmnamayam dravyam no Punatu Chikitsanam”

“A substance when taken by a living being causes an ailment, but doesnot the same substance when prescribed according to a special mode of preparation remove the similar ailment ?”

During Hahnemann’s times, very crude methods like blood letting, burning with red hot iron, use of emetics & purgatives etc. were used without any scientific basis. Therefore he wanted the cure to be rapid, gentle & permanent & also to be scientific & logical.

Besides the natural law of similars, Homoeopathy also makes use of the ARNDT SCHULTZ LAW which states “Opposite effects of stimulation can be produced by different doses of the same drug. eg. alcohol produces hyperactivity in smaller doses & in larger doses it depresses the nervous system” .

Homoeopathy uses this opposing effect to bring about cure in a manner somewhat similar to that seen in vaccinations & desensitizing methods employed in modern times.

A small dose of medicine is given ( after having been prepared according to strict rules/procedures laid down by Hahnemann ) to stimulate the body defences. The body reacts to these antigens by producing antibodies against it – thereby raising the immunity of the patient to fight the disease. It thus acts as a powerful IMMUNE-MODULATOR. eg. Just as a small dose of tetanus toxide introduced in the body protects it against Tetanus , similarily the minute dose of the Homoeopathic medicine — Coffea { which in large,crude doses produces sleeplessness } is given to cure sleeplessness ; or minute doses of medicine prepared from onion { Allium Cepa } which in crude form produces watering of eyes & nose is used Homoeopathically to cure severe Allergic Rhinitis ( sneezing & cold ) Hahnemann believed that disease is caused by imbalance or derangement of the VITAL FORCE which maintains the mental, physical & moral balance of an individual. Homoeopathic medicines help the body help itself in correcting this imbalance & thus while removing the presenting acute symptoms, also helps in preventing similar diseases from recurring in the future by raising the body’s immunity.

Where Homeopathy Acts
Homoeopathy is essentially NATURAL HEALING – the remedy assissting the patient to regain health by stimulating nature’s vital forces of reovery. As Homoeopathy treats the patient & not the disease it can be given in all diseases. Still it has its special spheres of action & limitations.

It is most effective for CHILDREN — as it has no side effects, it is easy to administer – in fact the children love to go to the Homoeopathic doctor who gives them sweet piils to cure them instead of bitter medicines & injections. Children resppond best as their vitality is at its highest & hence most receptive to Homoeopathic drugs.

ALLERGIES are so prevalant in our polluted environment. As these medicines act like desensitizing immune-modulating agents- they are very effective in curing allergies.

Some cases like kidney stones, enlarged tonsils , warts etc. which would require surgery, also show excellent results with Homoeopathic treatment.

NO SIDE EFFECTS : The basic difference between Homoeo. & other systems is that it gives small stimuli to the body to help it mobilise its inherent defense mechanism to fight disease. Hence, there are no side effects of Homoeopathic drugs.

AUTO-IMMUNE DISORDERS & other chronic diseases like arthritis are also helped by these medicines.

Even where it cannot cure, Homoeopathy can give relief to terminal cases like CANCER & lessens the side effects of chemo-& radiotherapy.

MODERN DAY STRESSES : Modern age is the age of stress : Stress at work, stress at home & all around. Homoeopathy does away with the need for anti-depressants & tranquilizers & unlike them, can be taken for longer periods without getting addicted to them or having any harmful side-effects.

One of the greatest advantages these medicines have is that they can be safely given to pregnant & lactating mothers, as well as their newborns.

Thus, Homoeopathic medicines have many positive features such as
— Easily acceptable, even by children.
— Very convenient to carry.
— Have a longer shelf life
— Easy to administer
— No toxicity — donot have any known iatrogenic effect.
— And last, but not the least –fairly economical.

Preparation & Potency
Common man relates Homoeopathy to herbal medicines. This is perhaps due to the reason that herbal & homoeopathic medicines have almost a common source of origin & they also share the “NO SIDE EFFECTS” theory. However this misconception needs to be removed from the mind of the common man. Homoeopathic medicnes are prepared from three kingdoms of nature i.e. Plant , Animal & Mineral Kingdoms. Their mode of preperation is very scientific.

It involves making ” MOTHER TINCTURES” from the original substance by taking the alkaloid extract from the natural source. One would be surprised to know that we use snake venoms & poisons like Arsenic — which are otherwise known to be deadly substances, for making medicines. The active principle is extracted from these poisonous substances & they are then POTENTISED for making medicines which cure innumerable diseases.

Special procedures are followed so that they can be prepared under controlled { Zero-Pollution } environment. Further potencies are developed from the prepared Mother Tincture by giving SUCCUSSIONS ( it is defined as measured, controlled shaking done for a specific no. of times ) Potency are made on DECIMAL & CENTISIMAL scales. In centisimal scale – To raise the potency from 0 to 1 , one part of Mother Tincture is taken & 99 parts of alcohol added & succussions are given. Then to raise it from 1 to 2 potency, one part of potency no. 1 is added to 99 parts of alcohol & succussions are given. Thus we get potencies 3, 6, 30, 200 & so on. BUT THE EXTRAORDINARY THING IS that as the medicinal part decreases, its power increases , though the exact mechanism is not very clear. It is somewhat similar to the ATOMIC THEORY where breaking up the atom releases unimaginable power.
After being finally prepared, the medicines have to be protected from strong smelling substances, direct sunlight & are therefore kept in tightly corked bottles in a dry, airy place.

Homoeopathic medicines are usually dispensed in the form of WHITE SWEET PILLS , but are also given as liquids ( mother tinctures/dilutions ) & ( now rarely ) in powder form.

These sweet pills are made of sugar of milk & are basically the carriers of the medicinal substance — which is in liquid form & is poured into these pills which absorb & preserve them. Therefore , though all medicines look alike , they are actually different medicines dispensed in the same form of white pills.

These pills are to be placed on the tongue & the medicine is absorbed through the oral mucosa. That is the reason why it is advisable not to eat or drink anything for 10 minutes before & after taking the medicine — so that the tongue is clean & the medicine is absorbed without any hinderance. These tiny, innocuous looking pills — so easy & tasty to take — do they actually have the power to heal ?

These medicines are strong IMMUNO-MODULATORS working on the basic immune mechanism of the sick individual , enhancing & strengthening it , which in turn overpowers & eliminates the disease, without causing any side-effects.
Besides humans, Homoeopathy is also very effective in treating animals. We can use these medicines safely on our pet dogs & cats with marvellous results.

Drug Proving
The word proving comes from Germa word PRUFUNG meaning testing. A substance in certain form & dose that causes disease like symptoms when given to a healthy human being, may be used to cure the same symptoms in a diseased person. This is the basis of Homoeopathic Provings. Homoeopathy proves drugs not on animals { Animal lovers would be happy to learn this } ; but on healthy human beings. This is done by giving minute doses of the drug substance according to certain set rules to a group of volunteers { The first 50 drugs were tested by Hahnemann on himself & his family & close friends }. These doses are repeated to the point of reversible changes. All the symptoms thus produced are carefully noted & their authenticity tested by repeated provings & clinical results seen in patients receiving these medicines.

All the medicinal provings are recorded in the HOMOEOPATHIC MATERIA MEDICA. As the provings are very detailed observations covering the whole body from head to toe & the mind, Toxicology of Homoeopathic drugs is much larger than an average book of Pharmacology.
A shortcut to help the physician find the indicated remedy is through a classified index of drug symptoms called the REPERTORY eg. all the drugs for pain abdomen will be given under one heading, pain head under another, with various sub-headings & so on.

Case Taking
All pathies take into account the symptoms of the patient. In present day, with specialisation & super-specialisation, a sick person is treated in parts. Hahnemann advised that the TOTALITY OF SYMPTOMS should be taken into account. This HOLISTIC APPROACH treats the sick person as a whole. As is often said — Homoeopathy doesnot treat the disease, but the diseased person. It is possible that thirty people suffering from Asthma may require 20 or even 30 different medicines — depending upon the symptoms presented by them. Conversely, a medicine being given to a child for cough can be given to a lady with menstrual problems.

Homoeopath takes a detailed history & does a thorough examination & notes down all the pathological/radiological test reports. But a Homoeopath goes into greater detail & pays special attention to the individual’s peculiar symptoms, mental makeup, generalities like reaction to cold/heat ; dreams, as well as particular symptoms pertaining to each part of the body . The Homoeopath has to be fully trained in all aspects of medicine – anatomy, physiology, surgery, pathology, besides the Homoeopathic materia medica. After taking the case history, the Homoeopath’s real talent & experience comes into play for he has to match the disease picture of the patient with drug picture of the medicine. A great prescriber is one who can select the right remedy from the numerous available to him.

Thus, the physician endeavours to build a multi-dimensional picture of his patient which will be matched by one of the drug pictures derived from provings of medicines.

Dr.Jugal Kishore
Email : info@drjugalkishoresclinic.com

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