Homeopathy can play a leading role, if not the primary one, in treating food intolerances, food addictions and cravings. I figure that what took me three decades to learn might take others an equal amount of time. It is my mission to shorten that time for those willing to listen.
In my practice, I have noted that dietary changes often did not fully help with food intolerances and addictions, even with the most stringent adherence to the diet. I call this the niggly 40 percent. That is, dietary change, abstinence, and devotion to the finest foods known to mankind may suffice for many while others will only experience about 60 percent improvement. Regardless of their commitment, no additional improvement is evident.
While working in a now yearly fellowship with the Prasanta Homeopathic Research Foundation in Kolkata, India, I had an important experience. These highly trained medical doctors at the Prasanta Banerji Homeopathic Research Foundation employ homeopathy exclusively. They see thousands of patients per day, and treat the same kinds of allergic reactions and sensitivities that I was seeing in my own practice. The difference was that they did not give nutritional guidance. The only guidance they offered regarding nutrition was encouraging patients to eat their indigenous diets. However, given that India is a melting pot of traditional religions with varying dietary customs and most eat wheat-based meals thrice daily, “indigenous” takes on a different meaning than what Dr. Price reported in other parts of the world. As a WAPF advocate, this was particularly interesting to me, since the results of employing homeopathy alone were noteworthy.
Since homeopathy is medicine, we generally don’t use it except in the case of illness. This means that unless there is a condition that needs correcting, a disease has been diagnosed or an illness is present, we don’t typically turn to homeopathy. However, let’s say there is a noticeable craving for sweets. It hasn’t yet caused diabetes but it’s evident that something might be brewing. Or let’s say the craving for copious amounts of coffee or chocolate is over the top. This is a good indicator there may be a problem on the horizon. So what can be done?
Let’s take Bruno as an example. At seven years old, Bruno loves nothing more than to sit down to a meal of macaroni and cheese, pizza or snack foods such as popcorn, cookies or other goodies. That’s it. No matter the effort his mother puts into making the most tasty meals, he will only eat carbs. His behavior is a little off, too; he has difficulty focusing on one transition to the next but is otherwise pretty healthy. There’s one more thing, offered by his mother as an afterthought; he’s pretty energetic (or rather, hyperactive). His teacher complains that he doesn’t sit still long enough to take direction. His father grumbles that he’s a difficult child to be around. But his mother believes it’s just that others don’t appreciate a spirited boy. Without any testing, it’s pretty clear that Bruno’s GI tract and likely his blood sugar are in need of a gentle homeopathic nudge. Indeed, this issue may also be affecting his behavior.
Then there’s Molly, mother of three teens, who owns a small online business that designs marketing apps for the retail clothing industry. There are not enough hours in the week to allow for all of her commitments, both familial and professional. Molly’s habit is to eat chocolate. From the time she was a young child through her twenties, she had pretty chronic eczema and was cautioned to eschew chocolate by her dermatologist, as it aggravates the condition. (Parenthetically, allow me to add I absolutely believe this to be true. In my practice, I regularly note that eczema cases are exacerbated by chocolate, even the purist, most organic, fermented cacao.) Molly eats one large bar of chocolate per day. If she indulges in more, it disrupts her sleep. If she eats less, she’s irritable, particularly before her menses.
Sam is a self-decreed coffee-aholic. His colleagues and wife knew it long before he did. How did they know? They witnessed his, shall we say, “irritability” while driving. If strangers could be contacted for a report, there would be a long line waiting to complain about his rudeness on the road. When his tank was full of his requisite amount of coffee, some noted that he had more than a lilt in his step. It was actually more like he was walking on uncoiled springs that released with each step. When seated, he looked like he was plugged into a vintage vibrating exercise machine from the 1940s. But just like everything else in Sam’s life, there was no stopping him. He really didn’t want to avoid coffee. Additionally, Sam suffered from pains in the area of the liver. It was an aching sensation that he was compelled to rub when it felt sore. Sam’s desire for coffee is closer to an addiction than Bruno’s is to carbs. For this reason, we hope Sam recognizes this and is willing to put the necessary effort into breaking his habit. Without that effort, it is still possible to do so while employing homeopathy, but it will likely return in the future if not controlled by desire as well.
Each of these cases has a component of addiction, though labeling it as such might be too harsh; compulsion might be a better description. And although I’m of the belief that most illicit drug addictions are self-inflicted, hence only able to be corrected with self-determination, when it comes to food addictions, will power is only one piece of the puzzle. We must also employ a medicine that has been clinically shown to displace this kind of ailment.
TREATING COFFEE ADDICTION
A good place to start for Sam is with Camphor 200. It is taken one day only and helps other remedies to act more fully. Chelidonium was recommended for the soreness in his liver area and Nux vomica was chosen for Sam’s coffee addiction; while Nux vomica is not a perfect solution, it’s often a good place to start. Not surprisingly, Sam also suffered from constipation. It was the kind that caused a dry, incomplete stool that was difficult to pass.
This is what Sam’s remedy schedule looked like:
1. Camphor 200 to clear the slate
2. Chelidonium 6, twice daily (liver condition)
3. Nux vomica 200, once daily (coffee addiction)
4. Lycopodium 200 mixed with Plumbum met 200 (dry, difficult, incomplete stool)
TREATING CARB ADDICTION
For a child such as Bruno, since the foods he desires are not substances (even though his behavior would seem to indicate otherwise), we would not call his eating habits abusive. Instead, we assume there is a blood sugar condition that needs to be corrected. We would offer two homeopathic medicines over a period of eight weeks, with the degree of improvement assessed at that time. If Bruno’s behavior is less intense, his food choices more diverse, his cravings less penetrating, and if he is no longer a nuisance in the classroom and at home, we could safely assume that the medicines are acting appropriately.
We open his case the same as we did Sam’s, with Camphor 200 to clear the slate, then start him on Chelidonium 6 twice daily, because of his assumed blood sugar condition. Although he doesn’t exhibit symptoms of the disease, it is often a medicine used for type 2 diabetes. And because Bruno exhibits hyperactivity, Hyoscyamus 6 is also included in his schedule.
Interestingly, upon more in-depth study of Bruno’s case, we find a history of ear infections and tonsillitis, often treated with antibiotics. Bruno’s mom confirmed that after a course of antibiotics, the first appearance of hard stool alternating with soft stool ensued. This was followed by his narrow food choices and hyperactivity. Given this new information, this is how the case was constructed:
1. Camphor 200 to help clear the slate from antibiotic use
2. Chelidonium 6, twice daily (blood sugar condition)
3. Nux vomica 30, twice daily (gut-related issues specifically stemming from antibiotics)
4. Hyoscyamus 6, twice daily (hyperactivity)
Eight weeks after the initial meeting (and after giving Bruno the above medicines) his mom reported that he no longer had alternating stools. They were now pretty consistent and without fanfare. He was still a pretty busy boy, but he was now enjoyable to be around. As for the limited diet of carbs and sweets, Bruno began eating pork chops, eggs and hamburgers. His mom was even getting him to drink her homemade kefir.
Shortly after that appointment, believing that Bruno no longer needed the medicines, she stopped giving them to him. He remained well until a few months later when he got a sore throat and another round of antibiotics. Predictably, his old symptoms returned. After the last day of antibiotics, she began giving Bruno the same protocols above and within a few months (it took longer this time) he was back to where he had been before the last round of antibiotics.
Since then, his mom has learned to use Hepar Sulph 200 every six hours at the onset of a sore throat as a replacement for antibiotics. For many, this halts the infection without side effects, including future food addictions and damage to the gut.
TREATING CHOCOLATE ADDICTION
Molly also had a history of antibiotic use but it didn’t seem to contribute as neatly to her story as did her hormones. After all, who hasn’t had antibiotics as a child? But Molly was aware of the dangers of antibiotic poisoning, so she began eating fermented vegetables, bone stocks and kombucha many years ago. She was pretty confident that her gut was in good order, particularly since her constipation was a thing of the past and she felt fairly well in that department. Molly didn’t feel the same about her hormones though. She was in perimenopause, her libido was down and her sleep disrupted. Additionally, she was experiencing heart palpitations. Creamy milk chocolate was an escape for her.
Was it her thyroid that was causing the palpitations or her chocolate cravings? But Molly had no other symptoms of low thyroid, so I gave her homeopathic remedies more specific to her sufferings. Here is the protocol I put together to treat her addiction to chocolate (and sugar), accompanied by insomnia and racing heart:
1. Camphor 200 to clear the slate
2. Chelidonium 6, twice daily (sugar addiction)
3. Ammonium carbonicum 200, every other day (hormonal shifts around menopause)
4. Coffea 200, twice daily (insomnia, heart palpitations, sugar addiction)
Must Molly avoid chocolate altogether to improve? Not necessarily. My philosophy is that I want everyone to be able to eat at McDonald’s if they want to. It’s not that I encourage anyone to eat a diet full of fast food, but if they find themselves in a situation that keeps them from obtaining homemade whole foods, I want them to be healthy enough to withstand the occasional meal of processed foods. Having said this, if Molly hopes to improve quickly, it would behoove her to curb the chocolate habit for a while and allow her body to rest. (I realize this is sometimes easier said than done.) Meanwhile, this will allow the homeopathics an opportunity to correct the underlying need to count on chocolate and sugar for a sense of well-being.
In our world of proactive behavior, correcting dietary indiscretions is intelligent and prudent. In some cases, the food must be avoided for a while to allow for healing while in others, such as with Bruno, the homeopathic can work in tandem with the person’s lifestyle and act regardless of the diet. Yet, there are certain circumstances in which this is not desirable nor possible. Homeopathy is the medicine that addresses food intolerances, the diseases they cause and displaces the condition from the source. Remember that homeopathy is both person-specific (based on the way the pathology appears) and disease-specific. Three different cravings. Three different people. One homeopathic in common: Chelidonium 6. Who knows? Chelidonium 6 might just be the right medicine to help you or someone you know.
This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly journal of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Fall 2016