Homeopathy – Mostly Mis-Understood

Homeopathy is a safe and effective treatment option for many, many minor health issues as well as for the treatment of more serious, complex disease when it is used by a knowledgable homeopathic practitioner.  It’s true that a neat explanation for the mechanism of action seems to escape discovery by traditional scientific methods, but that does not mean it is not safe and certainly does not mean that we should not continue to use homeopathic remedies which have a proven track record, that is actually longer than traditional allopathic medicines.   In fact, during the turn of the last century all physicians – that’s all, not just some or a few – were trained as homeopathic physicians and therefore practised using homeopathy as their main and only treatment modality.  It was only when the first allopathic medicines were discovered, such as sulfa antibiotics and penicillin antibiotics, that homeopathic remedies began to fall by the wayside.

The discovery of these early medicines and the rapid growth of the pharmaceutical industry in those early days is really very amazing, looking back at that time.  In very short order, the practise of homeopathy by physicians of that day quickly saw them adopt those early drugs such as the early antibiotics and drugs such as chlorpromazine which revolutionized the treatment of many seriously ill psychiatric patients.    The dramatic results of these early agents, no doubt took practitioner’s attentions away from those homeopathic remedies which brought their results over a period of time.   Even more time was necessary for the assessment of the patient and the selection of the most appropriate homeopathic remedy.   Sometimes, this was a somewhat lengthy process involving long patient interviews, and a certain amount of “trial and error” application of the homeopathic remedies.    If nothing else, the “new age of medicines” brought about a more rapid process of patient assessment, diagnosis, medicine selection (in this case, drug selection), treatment and follow up.

Why today is there such a coordinated effort to discredit homeopathy as a treatment option?   A question that continues to puzzle me.   Is it because the idea that a treatment modality other than the traditional milligram or gram quantities of a synthesized molecule, that has NO side effects, NO drug interactions, NO contraindications; that has proven effectiveness in animals as well as humans – is just not acceptable within our current constructs of medical care?    I for one, was certain that we would have outgrown the narrow minded thinking that plagued early medical practitioners.    You know the thinking that said it was impossible that a disease and infections were caused by living organisms too small to be seen by the unaided human eye.    Or the acceptance of the medical practice of “blood letting” to treat everything from gout to schizophrenia.   I mean really!   Reputable medical practitioners actually did this and called it main stream medicine?

There is no doubt that we have yet to develop a complete understanding of the mechanism of action although we do know that traditional “drug-receptor” models that we use to understand drug action, just does not fit here.   In fact, the focus is not on the ingredient – the active principal – but instead on the solution system.    The liquid in which the supposed active principal is dissolved.   Usually a mixture of pure ethanol and a purified water solution to which the active principal transfers it’s energy – it’s essence – to this solution system.   Remember it is not the dilutions that are the real focus, but the many series of “succusions” which simply described is the vigorous, agitation of the active principle in the solvent system.   Each time the active is diluted, it is again succused.   This can occur five, ten, twenty, one-hundred times or more!

What makes this step even more interesting and yes puzzling, is that if such a solvent system is examined using Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (NMR), a unique (one of a kind) magnetic imprint is measured.   NMR is one of the tried and readily used analytic technologies that are commonly used by chemists to characterize or verify the identity of a molecule in a chemical sample as part of a quality control procedure to say, confirm the content of a sample or the purity of the chemical sample based on a variety of spectroscopic procedures which may include not only NMR but Infrared Spectroscopy(IR), Ultraviolet Light (UV) Spectroscopy, and High Pressure Liquid Chromatography(HPLC).   To avoid some complex physics and chemistry theory, it should be adequate to state that this procedure is relied on by chemists around the globe and effectively characterizes molecules in a very, very tiny sample representing only a few molecules.   You can see why a result with such a sophisticated analytical technology might be considered to be a significant confirmation that something measurable has been captured in this simple solvent system of ethanol, water and that something that is being measured.   This is science – giving a description that is very difficult to explain away.

How is this done, this energy transfer?  Well, that’s where science seems to fail us with an adequate explanation, a theory, even a hypothesis.    Of course to start suggesting that there is a transfer of energy from the substance dissolved within this water/alcohol solution is like discussing something paranormal or even a concept akin to quantum physics.    That’s right, E=mc2!   Who knew that Einstein’s theories might best explain how a 200 year old remedy might produce a change in the fundamental energetics of human physiology?   That’s where we might be going with this once science catches up to “homeopathy”.

In the meantime – it works!  It is safe! And it might just carry us through the 21st Century, even if we have to accept that it is a remedy system that continues to be mis-understood.

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