The information below is used with permission from author, Dana Ullman, MPH, CCH, one of America’s leading advocates for homeopathy.
Homeopathic medicine presents a significantly different pharmacological approach to treating sick people. Instead of using strong and powerful doses of medicinal agents that have a broad-spectrum effect on a wide variety of people with a similar disease, homeopaths use extremely small doses of medicinal substances that are highly individualized to a person's physical and psychological syndrome of disease, not simply an assumed localized pathology.
Homeopathic medicines are so small in dose that it is appropriate to refer to them as a part of the newly defined field of “nanopharmacology” (the prefix “nano” derives from Latin and means dwarf; today, the prefix is used to refer to “nanotechnology” or the “nanosciences” which explore the use of extremely small technologies or processes, at least one-billionth of a unit, designated as 10 -9). To understand the nature and the degree of homeopathy's nanopharmacology, it is important to know the following characteristics of how homeopathic medicines are made.
Before discussing the recent well-controlled and double-blind clinical trials, it is important to make reference to homeopathy's history in order to provide additional evidence for the clinical efficacy of homeopathic nanopharmacology.
Homeopathy first developed a significant popularity in Europe and the United States primarily because of the astounding successes it experienced in treating people suffering from the various infectious disease epidemics in the 19 th century. The death rates in the homeopathic hospitals from cholera, scarlet fever, typhoid, yellow fever, pneumonia, and others was typically one-half to even one-eighth of conventional medical hospitals (Bradford, 1900; Coulter, 1973). Similar good results were also observed in mental institutions and prisons under the care of homeopathic physicians compared to those under the care of conventional doctors. These consistent and significant results could not be attributed to a placebo effect. In other words, there is clear empirical evidence that homeopathic medicines were highly effective in treating various infectious diseases and in psychiatric disorders.
Unfortunately, conventional physicians and scientists have continually provided misinformation about the status of scientific evidence about homeopathic medicine. They have frequently and incorrectly asserted that there is no research to prove that homeopathic medicines work, and they further have asserted that there is no way that the extremely small doses can have any effect whatsoever.
This type of statement simply reflects ignorance of the scientific literature. It is remarkable to note that some of the earliest placebo-controlled and double-blinded studies ever performed were actually conducted by homeopathic physicians. For a detailed history of the 19 th century and early 20 th century studies, see The Trials of Homeopathy by Dr. Michael Emmans Dean. For those people who want an excellent summary of this history, it is a part of a special e-book, Homeopathic Family Medicine (anyone interested in a comprehensive, historical, and up-to-date review of clinical research testing homeopathic medicines would benefit from obtaining and subscribing to this e-book). Another source of modern basic science and clinical research on homeopathic medicine is the Samueli Institute.
It is commonly known that certain species of moths can smell pheromones of its own species up to two miles in distance. It is no simple coincidence that species only sense pheromones from those in the same species who emit them (akin to the homeopathic principle of similars), as though they have developed exquisite and specific receptor sites for what they need to survive and to propagate their species. Likewise, sharks are known to sense blood in the water at distances, and when one considers the volume of water in the ocean, it becomes obvious that sharks, like all living creatures, develop extreme hypersensitivity for whatever will help ensure their survival.
One metaphor that may help us understand how and why extremely small doses of medicinal agents may work derives from present knowledge of modern submarine radio communications. Normal radio waves simply do not penetrate water, so submarines must use an extremely low frequency radio wave. However, the terms “extremely low” are inadequate to describe this specific situation because radio waves used by submarines to penetrate water are so low that a single wavelength is typically several miles long!
Before discussing these scientific studies, it may be helpful to make brief reference to a subject for which there is common knowledge. Basic principles of physics teach us that hypersensitivity exists when there is “resonance.” An example from music is helpful here: Whenever a “C” note is played on a piano (or any instrument), other “C” notes reverberate, while other notes are not affected at all. Even when one instrument is relatively far away from another, its C strings will reverberate when a C note is played.
Using a nanodose that is able to penetrate deeply into the body and that is specifically chosen for its ability to mimic the symptoms that the sick person is experiencing helps to initiate a profound healing process. It is also important to highlight the fact that a homeopathic medicine is not simply chosen for its ability to cause a disease similar to that which a person has but for its ability to cause a similar overall syndrome of symptoms of disease. By understanding that the human body is a complex organism that creates a wide variety of physical and psychological symptoms, homeopaths acknowledge biological complexity and have a system of treatment to deal with it.
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