When my sons were little, we used to joke about how they could show themselves to be tough guys. They’d say in their normal voice, “Mom, may I have a glass of milk?” Then, wanting to put on their tough guy veneers, they’d finish the request in a deep, raucous voice with “…in a DIRTY glass.”
Afterward, we’d all crack up. It made us laugh that “tough guys” don’t care about cleanliness, germs and other such harms. We believed being a tough guy superhero might be even better, because they could probably wade through all the dangerous and dreaded toxic sludge in the world without worry! Now, I’m no superhero, but I do have a super-weapon at my disposal, perfect for dealing with toxicity: homeopathy.
FROM TOXIC TO HOMEOPATHIC
Some of homeopathy’s best medicines are derived from toxins. In fact, the more toxic the original substance, the more valuable the medicine is, once highly diluted and made into a homeopathic medicine. That’s because the symptoms and conditions the toxin causes are the very ones that can be cured upon homeopathic dilution.
Homeopathic remedies are produced by a process of dilution and potentization. They are usually diluted (depending on the substance) six, thirty, two hundred or more times to the hundredth power and potentized by repeated succussion along the way. What’s great about this method is that it eliminates the toxic properties of the original substance so that only the curative properties remain. This means that a substance that contains elements that can cause illness in its gross form stimulates a healing response in homeopathic form, instead of adding to the body’s toxic burden. In fact, the kinds of symptoms you would expect to see from a toxic dose of the gross substance are the very symptoms the potentized and diluted remedy are most likely to uproot.
Take mercury, for instance. Conventional medical doctors have used mercury in its gross form for several centuries, and dentists started using mercury fillings in the early 1800s. Mercury also has been used in Ayurvedic medicine. I won’t waste time going into the toxicity of the material, as this is well known and documented. Of greater interest to me are mercury’s uses when highly diluted and homeopathically prepared.
There are various kinds of mercury used in homeopathy and cited in our homeopathic “materia medicas,” the books that list homeopathic substances along with indications for their application. (Parenthetically, we use only the Latin names for our medicines—no cutesy marketing gimmicks and no “Lunesta” or “Lyrica” for us. Just the remedy’s given scientific name, period.) In Frans Vermeulen’s Concordant Materia Medica, he states, regarding mercury, that “Every organ and tissue of the body is more or less affected by this powerful drug; it transforms healthy cells into decrepit, inflamed and necrotic wrecks, decomposes the blood, producing a profound anemia. The malignant medicinal force is converted into useful life-saving and life-reserving service if employed homeopathically, guided by its clearcut symptoms.”
Forms of homeopathic mercury include:
• Mercurius Aceticus (Subacetate of Mercury)
• Mercurius Corrosivus (Corrosive Sublimate)
• Mercurius Cyanatus (Cyanide of Mercury)
• Mercurius Dulcis (Calomel)
• Mercurius Iodatus Flavus (Protoiodide of Mercury)
• Mercurius Iodatus Ruber (Bin-iodide of Mercury)
• Mercurius Praecipitatus Ruber (Mercuric Oxide)
• Mercurius Sulphuricus (Sulphate of Mercury)
• Mercurius Vivus (Quicksilver)
Each of these forms of homeopathic mercury has properties with similar homeopathic actions, but the remedy that is most noteworthy because of its most common use is Mercurius Solubilis. It is Mercurius Solubilis, when diluted to the two-hundredth potency, that exhibits an ability to address conditions that involve areas of the mouth, adjacent glands, the gastrointestinal system, infections and certain behaviors.
Allow me to present a case in which Mercurius Solubilis was used. Mattie was fourteen years old and had a history of throat infections. She had a tonsillectomy at age three, but that only rid her of tonsillitis, not bacterial throat infections. At the time, she suffered from these painful ailments approximately twice a year, with accompanying swollen, tender lymph nodes. Her breath often had an offensive odor, and the amount of saliva she produced was so voluminous, it collected along the sides of her mouth, causing her to make a slurping sound before speaking. Her mother insisted she change her pillow case nightly because of her nocturnal hypersalivation. Most troubling for her mother was the fact that Mattie’s behavior was strangely out of character before and during such infections.
After repeated use of antibiotics, Mattie’s mom concluded that not only were they potentially dangerous but the strep infections were becoming chronic, and the antibiotics were not really effective. This was about the time she joined a homeopathy study group to learn how to treat her family. Her principal focus was Mattie’s sore throats.
When choosing a homeopathic medicine, there are three criteria to consider: the diagnosis, how the condition presents in symptoms and the organ that is affected. Mattie’s doctor made it clear hers was a case of recurrent strep throat. That was the diagnosis, and Mercurius Solubilis 200C is the most commonly chosen remedy for strep throat.
In Mattie’s case, there usually had been little to no pain associated with an outbreak. However, Mattie then began to complain to her mom that her throat felt like it had been scraped by sandpaper. Mattie’s mom had been studying homeopathy with a group of other moms and learned that Belladonna is used for sore throat with pain, and especially pain that is burning or resembles a scraping sensation. She also learned, however, that Mercurius Solubilis is the medicine most specific to sore throats where there is an abundance of saliva. How to choose? Considering the saliva problem was of longer standing and was still a high priority for Mattie and her mom, they decided to go with Mercurius Solubilis.
Now, let me go off on a tangent for a moment. Students and clients often ask me, “What if I’m sensitive to (for example) sulfur-based medicines and supplements?” Or, “If sulfur in its gross form causes problems for me, can I still take the homeopathic remedy Sulphur?” My answer is a resounding yes! Why? Because the toxic properties of sulfur that the person is sensitive to have been neutralized by the homeopathic dilution and potentization process.
Mercury in its gross form is a poison. Contrary to what allopathic doctors of centuries ago believed, I can’t imagine anyone would benefit in the long run from taking mercury internally. By doing so, one might expect to experience neurological problems, tremors, muscle weakness and a host of other serious and dangerous symptoms including…increased salivation. So while mercury in its gross form can cause symptoms such as excessive salivation, Mercurius Solubilis in its homeopathic form has been shown to uproot them.
In Mattie’s case this was, indeed, what we saw. Within about a week, after following the Mercurius Solubilis protocol, Mattie’s saliva production returned to normal, her halitosis resolved, the slurping before speaking ceased and her infection cleared without further return. Years later, she remains free of strep throat.
Note that there was no indication that Mattie had ever been exposed to dangerous levels of mercury throughout her first fourteen years. One needn’t have a history of mercury poisoning to use a homeopathic medicine like Mercurius Solubilis. Homeopathy uses the Law of Similars, which means it is using the set of symptoms similar to those that occur when exposed to the original substance in its gross form. What matters is the similarity of the symptoms, not necessarily the root cause. In fact, someone suffering from mercury toxicity due to extensive dental work, for example, might warrant a different remedy than Mercurius Solubilis, depending on the type of symptoms experienced.
Another illustration of the way that homeopathy operates involves the homeopathic medicine made from poison ivy (another toxin), which is known as Rhus Tox. Those suffering a skin rash from poison ivy exposure are more likely to benefit from the remedy Anacardium!
At any rate, homeopaths may not be “tough guys” or “superheroes,” but we do love our toxins. This is because when they are diluted and succussed into their homeopathic formulas, they provide us with some of the most powerful medicines on earth. And that is pretty hard to beat.
This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly magazine of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Spring 2018.