Fundamental points in Homoeopathy
THE SINGLE REMEDY – CLASSICAL HOMOEOPATHY
One of the cardinal principles of homoeopathy is the use of one specific remedy at a time – called a single remedy.
This method, which is in fact the one elaborated upon by the founder of Homoeopathy Samuel Hahnemann, is used by all the great masters of homoeopathy. It involves the collection of the totality of a patient’s significant manifested signs and symptoms through careful history taking and examination in the present, i.e. at the time of consultation, and to proceed in finding one singular remedy that is closest in likeness to the picture presented by the symptomatology (A SINGLE REMEDY FOR A PLURISYMPTOMATIC IMBALANCE).
In current modern times, the complex remedy homoeopath and the pluralist homoeopath use techniques which consist of administering several remedies contemporaneously but at a lower potency/dilution, or in a sequence of remedies so that the remedies will each cover/treat the part of the presenting symptoms to which they pertain, i.e. each remedy covers each aspect of the symptoms picture.
The latter mentioned homoeopathic approach is a type of homoeopathy that has a mostly symptomatic localised effect - also because the remedies - taken contemporaneously are potentised at a low dilution, and therefore their action is more or less as aforementioned, targeted to relieving symptoms. It is therefore suppressive.
EXPERIMENTS ON HOMEOPATHY
Experiments have been carried out on homoeopathic single remedies and we can acknowledge the action of a homoeopathic remedy on a patient only if the remedy is taken as a single remedy and allowed to take its action.
As stated earlier, so that a single remedy can work, it is necessary that a resonance, i.e. a similitude be present with the patient’s symptoms and the symptoms provoked by the very same remedy in a healthy individual.
How can we know therefore which symptoms are provoked by a substance?
In order to answer this we must introduce the concept of testing in homoeopathy. A substance is chosen for administration to a healthy individual, and it will bring on the symptoms characteristic of the said substance. Hence, the concept of administering to a healthy individual during any experiment is very important because if the substance were to be given to an individual who already has pathological symptoms the symptoms would only be compounded or interfere with those symptoms already present in the person, and this would create a confusion or misinterpretation of the resulting data and information. Therefore, when experimenting on a substance’s action in the realm of homoeopathy, it is fundamental that the person that the substance is being experimented on be a healthy individual.
When a homoeopathic substance is tested in the first instance, the substance will be administered at toxic doses, i.e. the material or undiluted form; this will provoke an unbalancing or destabilising action on the individual, mainly due to the chemical action and cause symptoms that are mainly physical (e.g. stomach pain, headache, vomiting, cramps, etc.).
Subsequently, the same substance will be administered at energised/potentised doses (see “How an energised/potentised remedy is made”) and therefore its destabilising action on the individual will be from an energetic origin and provoke in the healthy individual, susceptible to that substance, mainly symptoms of an energetic type, i.e.emotional and mental symptoms like fear, anger, poor concentration, mental confusion, etc.
The mental and emotional symptoms are defined energetic because these are more “refined” in respect to material/physical symptoms. Mental and emotional symptoms do not belong to the physical world of matter but instead are part of the energetic world.
All these symptoms (material and energetic) caused by a substance being tested on a healthy person are then categorised and catalogued as “Rubics” in what is called the Materia Medica of tested substances.
HOW A REMEDY IS MADE
These days, much confusion exists in respect of Homoeopathy in that many confuse it with other natural therapies, or they call any natural approach “homoeopathic”, especially in the US, South America and Europe.
Herbs in the form of teas, fluid extracts or tinctures are not homoeopathic remedies. These are phytotherapeutic agents which exert a localised action on a symptom. Herbal/plant medicine, by its intrinsic nature, may stimulate the vital force of an individual to a small degree, but it is a material substance affecting body systems and functions; it is processed through the liver and acts as a synergistic drug.
All homoeopathic remedies are derived from the plant, mineral or animal kingdom; in fact, any substance can be used as a homoeopathic remedy if it is correctly diluted, potentised and tested on healthy people first.
The process through which a substance assumes the characteristics that enable it to become a useable homoeopathic remedy, is the dilution and potentising or energising of the original substance. The raw substance is diluted in a solution, medium of twice-distilled water or pure alcohol (insoluble substances require a titration process in lactose).
Dilution strengths available are:
- Decimal dilutions in which the ratio is 1:2. i.e. 1 drop is dissolved in 9 drops of twice distilled water or alcohol; (X)
- Centesimal dilutions in which the ratio is 1: 100, i.e. 1 drop is dissolved in 99 drops of alcohol or twice-distilled water; (C)
- Millesimal or 50millesimal in which 1 drop is dissolved in 50,000 drops of twice-distilled water or alcohol. (M or LM)
During each dilution the solution undergoes a number of standardised mechanical succussions. This process is very important because it is through this very succussion of the solution that the substance assumes the energetic therapeutic characteristics which will be used to bring an individual back to health.
The dilution and succussion process can be carried out in two different ways: the first consists of changing the container holding the solution at each dilution/succussion step (Hanemann method), and the second method instead retains the same container for all the various dilutions (Korsakov method). There are no significant differences between the two processes; the Korsakov method is merely more practical and less time consuming.
The number of dilutions and succussions of a solution represent in homoeopathy the potency of the remedy (see “Potency of a Remedy).
At the end of the dilution and succussion process, which can take a longer or shorter time to produce, depending on the amount of potency required for the solution, the latter is then impregnated, or rather nebulised onto lactose and saccharose granules or pillules or tablets that are commonly found in small vials or various packaging sold by companies who produce homoeopathic remedies.
Detractors of Homoeopathy sustain that a homoeopathic remedy is nothing more than water since, apart from a certain solution strength (the well known Avogadro’s number), there are no longer any molecules in the original solution - (this passage occurs between the 12th and 13th centesimal dilution), and therefore the remedy cannot have therapeutic properties. This consideration, though based on a specific proven scientific law, is valid only in a measurement when we compare the homoeopathic remedy with a material remedy, i.e. pharmaceuticals or herbal medicine. As we have previously emphasised, homoeopathy is an energetic therapy - the homoeopathic remedy does not contain a material therapeutic substance (unless the remedy is under the 12C potency) - it contains only the energetic memory of the substance. The energetic substance imprint/template contained (in a limited form) in the original raw substance used to make the solution is somehow transmitted via the energetic dilution and succussion method into the remedy.
The efficacy of a homoeopathic remedy is tested on a daily basis in the course of every professional homoeopath’s clinical work with patients whenever he/she is using homoeopathic laws correctly.
THE REMEDY’S POTENCY / THE POTENCY OF A REMEDY
It is to be re-emphasised that the homoeopathic remedy does not contain a therapeutic substance’s matter but rather the material matter’s energetic imprint or “information” with its role of stimulating the body’s defence mechanism which is at that same “wavelength”.
The potency of a homoeopathic remedy implies the quantity of energy present in the remedy.
Those who have already taken homoeopathic remedies will have noticed that next to the name of the remedy, eg. Pulsatilla, Belladonna, Ignatia, etc., is a number which indicates the amount of energy or the potency in the remedy, e.g. Pusatilla 5 … Pulsatilla 30… Pulsatilla 200… Pulsatilla 1000… etc. which corresponds also to the number of dilutions/succusions it has been put through.
We then find next to the number a Roman Numeral, e.g. Pulsatilla 30 X… Pulsatilla 300C Pulsatilla LM… etc. The first letter indicates the type of dilution that the remedy has gone through, e.g. C - means a centesimal dilution, X - means a decimal solution (as previously mentioned in “How a Remedy is Made”). When there is a second numeral it indicates the dynamisation (dilution and succussion) process method, e.g. H - for Hanemann’s method, or K - for Korsakov’s method.
If the number written next to the name of the remedy is high (30 and over) then it means that the remedy is potentised or energised and contains no material substance.
A homoeopath will choose the potency of a remedy based on the intensity of the patient’s symptoms and the clarity of the symptoms’ total picture presented. The homoeopath chooses an appropriately high or higher potency, according to the number of symptoms matching the clarity and intensity demonstrated by a certain substance, (tested in healthy people). When a patient presents with fewer symptoms matching a definite remedy picture, i.e. they are not so clearly definable, then the homoeopath will choose a lower potency.
In any case, it is worthwhile to remember that it is more important for the remedy to be accurately matched to the symptoms, rather than a concern for the accurate potency strength. In fact, a correct remedy will be efficacious at whatever potency.
THE REPERTORY is the Homoeopath’s main clinical reference tool. It resembles a large dictionary containing hundreds of symptoms divided into categories – Rubics. In this Repertory, each particular symptom is accompanied by a list of all the remedies tested on a healthy individual, “proving” the remedy by provoking the symptom it means to cure. Based on the intensity of the provoked symptom and the number of “provings” in the tested individuals, the remedy is then listed together with its various characteristics and aspects.
For example, if a patient presents with an herpetic eruption localised on the lips …… the Repertory is consulted under “Face” until the listing for “Eruptions” is found, and a more specific symptom description in this section’s listing for Herpes-mouth-around; the various remedies are listed: am-c. (ammonium carbonicum), anac. (anacardium), ars. (arsenicum album), borx. (borax veneta), cic. (cicuta), con. (conium), hep-s. (hepar sulphur), kreos. (kreosotum), mag-c (magnesium carbonicum), med. (medorrhinum), nat-c. (natrum carbonicum), Nat-m. (natrym muriaticum), par. (paris quadrifolia), petr. (petroleum), phos. (phosphorus), rhus-t. (rhus tox.), sep. (sepia), sulph. (sulphur).
These are the substances proved on healthy individuals that provoked this symptom and therefore, according to the law of similes, i.e. like cures like, (valid for the energetic imprint of the substance) these remedies can cure the person of herpes simplex on the lips. As already mentioned previously, for those substances to be curative they must be transformed into the energetic state through the diluting and succussing potentising process, i.e. the dynamisation process. A process causing. Another dimension after the material form as is currently understood, as in the transformation of for example, the set substance of ice… applied heat(a temperature frequency) turns it to water and further heated (a further frequency change) to steam! In this instance the matter’s molecular structure is changed into different forms which are still material, whereas in homoeopathy a carrier/solvent takes on the molecular memory and is imprinted with it via the dilution and succussion (electron spin placed on the molecules to imprint the memory into the water molecule as a carrier).
In the abovementioned listed remedies, Nat-m. lists that it caused a strong eruption on the lips in many of the healthy persons tested. Therefore natrum muriaticum is the closest symptom match to the presenting patient’s symptom mentioned earlier as a strong eruption on the lips, and therefore it has the highest ability to cure the symptom. We must remember though, that the homoeopath cures the symptom by rebalancing the whole person, not just a symptom, and in order to be truly curative, the remedy would not act solely on the one symptom. The natrum muriaticum must be prescribed taking into account the matching of the patient’s other symptoms, (other than the lip eruption), which as closely as possible match the characteristics listed for natrum muriaticum.
As another example…. lets take a person who is very afraid of robbers, and has exaggerated feelings of anxiety because he/she is afraid that robbers could break into his/her home; we would open the Repertory to the heading “Mind”, then to the sub-heading “fear” and find the listing “robbers”……… :
alum. (alumina), anac. (anacardium), arg.m. (argentum nitritucum), ARS (arsenicum album), aur. (aurum), bell. (belladonna), con. (conium), ign. (ignatia amara), kali-p. (kali phosphoricum), lach. (lachesis), mag-c. (magnesium carbonicum), mag.m. (magnesium muriaticum), merc. (mercurius solubilis), nat.c. (natrum muriaticum), phos. (phosphorus), sanic. (sanicula), sil. (silicia), sulph. (sulphur), verat. (veratrum album), zinc. (zincum metalicum).
In this case, arsenicum album is the remedy that more than any other “proved” the most active in provoking this symptom, and it was a very strongly felt symptom in almost all the healthy people tested who were sensitive to this substance and manifested this type of fear.
It would be almost impossible for a homoeopath to remember the remedies that provoked the various symptoms supplied by the ill patient during a homoeopathic consultation, in view of the fact that there and hundreds of symptoms that can be expressed by a human being, and there are also hundreds of remedies.
Therefore, the scope of the Repertory lies in assisting the homoeopath to revisit, with a degree of ease and rapidity, all the remedies that “proved” the tested and studied symptoms of any given case. The remedy is chosen because of its repeated presence in the various symptom listings/rubrics consulted, but it will also need to be deliberated and considered against the symptoms picture described for the remedy in the Materia Medica. The description that best fits the remedy is in the Materia Medica, not the Repertory. The object of the homoeopath’s work is to match the essence and the totality of the patient’s symptoms with the essence and totality of the symptoms reflected by the remedy; the best description of a remedy is the one contained in the Materia Medica, not the Repertory. Therefore, the remedy chosen from the Repertory must be studied because the patient’s symptom “picture” gained from the patient in consultation must match the remedy’s “picture”.
If this similitude is present we can give the patient the remedy.
In this article I will indicate the main/principal homoeopathic remedies for some of the general, more acute problems encountered.
We must remember that in homoeopathy, one must always consider the whole person in order to give the individual a remedy whose action is not one of only symptomatic relief but preferably has a curative action at a deeper level, and it is also true that often, acute disturbances are resolved by choosing a remedy based on acute and local symptoms. Anyway, in constitutional cases, analysis and deductions made solely on the presenting physical spathology is not the best approach.
Furthermore, as I have already specified, once the remedy is found, it is necessary to choose the potency (the amount of energy that one wishes to administer via the remedy).
The choice of potency needs to be based principally on the intensity of the symptoms and their clarity, (i.e. easily discernible), the clearer the symptoms are, and the more evident their intensity (synonymous of a good level of vital force in the organism), the more likely that the potency can be chosen at a higher strength.
I emphasise that the aforementioned homoeopathic indications cannot substitute those of your medical practitioner who should always be the first primary carer consulted when suffering a health problem. As a complementary/integrative medicine approach, Homoeopathy is safe, non-invasive and has no interaction with pharmaceutical prescriptions.
THE HOMOEOPATHIC MATERIA MEDICA
The Homoeopathic Materia Medica contains descriptions of the results obtained by the testing, on healthy subjects, of substances that have become homoeopathic remedies.
Every substance is listed, and the “proved” symptomatology provoked in those healthy subjects is described from the physical, emotional and mental aspects.
Not all tested substances have manifested emotional and/or mental symptoms. This depends on the fact that that this type of testing is conducted using only material doses and has not been tested at higher energetic doses (i.e. the substance created an imbalance only at the physical “plane”. Even though an energised substance was repeatedly tested and administered it did not reveal a healthy person sensitive to the energised doses of that substance. Furthermore, it is to be said that a substance can be tropistic, i.e. it may have an ability to easily create symptoms of a physical level, rather than a mental/emotional symptom or vice versa. Tropism is described as the involuntary response of an organism or one of its parts to react towards or away from a stimulus such as heat or light or other frequency/wavelength of energy.
The scope of this article is not to provide a complete treatise of the remedies, but to provide the more essential points of their function and description.
It is not possible to elaborate more on the Materia Medica in this article, given its extensive data. I suggest the book be purchased or downloaded online.
I remind everyone that for a proper and correct use of the remedies it remains fundamental to consult a professionally fully trained homoeopath.
By Claudio Capozza MBBS (Italy), Naturopathic Doctor (Australia) ND & Patrizia Gentile ND