Medical doctors are frustrated! Their hands are tied, and they can no longer practice medicine in the way they originally intended. With the advent of electronic records and innumerable insurance company requirements, doctors’ eyes are glued to the computer screen instead of free to look their patients in the eyes. Pharmaceutical companies have overtaken public media by advertising drugs for every symptom imaginable, drugs that are often accompanied by dire side effects. What happened to “First, do no harm,” and what’s happened to modern medicine?
Actually, one nontoxic and inexpensive form of medicine is alive and well. Homeoprophylaxis, also known as HP, is a safe and effective form of immune education to protect from infectious disease. In countries such as India, where HP is sanctioned by the government, doctors are able to administer HP openly and achieve outstanding results. Homeoprophylaxis costs less than pennies per person due to the fact that very little source material can produce enough HP for thousands, if not millions, of people.
HOW HOMEOPROPHYLAXIS WORKS
Homeopathic practitioners use HP in the context of both short-term prevention during epidemic disease outbreaks as well as long-term prevention of contagious infectious diseases. Samuel Hahnemann, MD, the founder of homeopathy and the very first to use homeoprophylaxis, viewed epidemics as cases of disease that “attack many people and present with very similar suffering from the same causes.”1 In epidemic situations, homeopaths often apply a principle called genus epidemicus (GE) when the epidemic has a similar and characteristic nature in multiple patients. The GE—a homeopathic medicine individually selected for a particular outbreak of an epidemic2—addresses the common symptoms of the disease.
In the case of scarlet fever (also known as scarlatina), for instance, the common symptoms might include fever, red rash and headache. Hahnemann used HP very successfully during a 1799 epidemic of scarlatina.2,3 Homeopathic Belladonna either prevented the disease altogether or, if contracted, reduced the severity significantly and prevented complications, easing recovery and alleviating any post-epidemic symptoms. Homeopathic Belladonna proved so effective that the King of Prussia mandated its use to curtail or alleviate subsequent outbreaks of scarlet fever.
A second method of achieving prophylaxis is through the use of homeopathic “nosodes” of the targeted disease. Nosodes are made in the same manner as all homeopathic medicines. Beginning with a source material—either plant, animal, mineral or disease itself in the case of nosodes—serial dilution and succussion (vigorous shaking) is applied until no molecules of the original substance remain. A dilution of 1:99 repeated twelve times results in a solution devoid of any molecules. This is labeled as 12C, referring to the potency. A high potency such as 10M repeats the dilution and succussion process ten thousand times.
HOMEOPROPHYLAXIS IN INDIA
India has a population of 1.3 billion and is governed under a parliamentary system. There are twenty-nine states and seven union territories. Homeopathy in India is under the control of the Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy (AYUSH).4 In addition, the Central Council for Research in Homeopathy (CCRH) functions as an autonomous organization within India’s government.5 The CCRH oversees standardization, clinical research and trials, training of homeopaths and public awareness.
In response to the persistence of infectious disease as a major problem, India has employed HP effectively for cholera, the H1N1 influenza virus (“swine flu”), conjunctivitis, chickenpox and mosquito-borne viral diseases such as Japanese encephalitis, dengue fever and chikungunya. Researchers at the Government Homoeopathic Medical College in Thiruvananthapuram (the capital of the state of Kerala) surveyed families during threatened dengue and chikungunya epidemics from 2003–2006 to assess the protection provided by HP.1 Of one thousand and five families surveyed in 2003, almost nine in ten took HP for prevention of dengue; of those taking HP, only 14 percent (123/869) went on to contract dengue. In a follow-up study in 2006 of the prophylactic efficacy of HP for chikungunya, the college found a comparable 82 percent efficacy.
The state of Kerala also has used HP to great effect in Alappuzha, an area full of backwaters and coconut lagoons. Though beautiful, living conditions in this area are difficult due to poor sanitation, low socioeconomic status, lack of education, limited health awareness and poor infrastructure. Epidemics can take hold and flourish due to inadequate health care facilities. Narrow canals through mangrove swamps are the roadways, so in 2013 the government started a floating homeopathic dispensary.6 This boat provides free treatment, HP and health education. The program has been such a success that two more boats were launched in 2014 and 2015!
As another example of HP’s acceptance in India, in 2016, in direct response to two cases of swine flu in Hyderabad in the state of Andhra Pradesh, India’s Homoeo Times published the following news statement:
The state government has…directed “all the people to take homoeopathy medicines in order to avoid the attack of swine flu.” The medicine is available for free at all dispensaries. The patients who already have swine flu should take homoeopathy medicines under prescription.7
FURTHER HP SUCCESS IN KERALA
Worldwide Choice is an organization that educates medical providers about HP and offers programs to families.8 In October, 2016, Worldwide Choice conducted a three-day conference in St. Petersburg, Florida, entitled “Homeoprophylaxis: The Evidence-Based Choice.” Two Indian doctors from the states of Kerala and Andhra Pradesh presented some quite remarkable information, which deserves sharing with the Weston A. Price Foundation community and beyond.
The first speaker, Dr. Mohammed Rafeeque, is a medical officer in the Department of Homeopathy for the state of Kerala. Dr. Rafeeque reported on HP as an alternative to vaccination for individuals in India. Dr. Rafeeque also discussed the need for stronger international support for the medical science of homeopathy, including more funding for research on HP, as well as standardization of methods to assess and compare HP results between countries.
Dr. Rafeeque noted that allopathic practitioners often dismiss homeopathy and HP as “untested” because of allopathic medicine’s single-minded reliance on double-blind placebo-controlled studies. However, scientific conclusions are strongest when they evaluate the totality of studies, draw on a variety of research methods, agree on established methodology, show strong effects and publish complete findings. Over the past two hundred years, homeopathy and HP have satisfied all of these requirements, including but not limited to conducting randomized controlled trials.
Questions about HP also have arisen within the homeopathic community itself. For example, classical homeopaths who interpret Hahnemann’s directives in a dogmatic manner may prefer to wait until an epidemic fully breaks out before undertaking homeopathic treatment. The rationale for this approach is that it takes time to gather evidence and determine which remedies will be most effective for a given epidemic. However, significant loss of life may occur during the interim, even though this approach may ultimately prove clinically effective. This is why Hahnemann successfully used homeopathic Belladonna to forestall scarlet fever outbreaks.
Some homeopaths also have expressed concern about administering high potencies homeoprophylactically, fearing “aggravations” or disruptions of the individual’s vital force, but this has not been observed in populations that regularly use HP. Dr. Isaac Golden, a leading expert on HP based in Australia, conducted a fifteen-year study on the safety and effectiveness of HP for prevention of childhood diseases.9 When administering a high 10M potency to healthy children, Dr. Golden detected aggravations in less than 2 percent of children. In fact, high potencies such as 10M are well suited for educating the immune system to recognize the disease in nature and repel it or mount an appropriate immune response.
In Kerala, Dr. Rafeeque was most recently charged with distributing HP to over five thousand people for prevention of chickenpox during a 2016 outbreak. The genus epidemicus (GE) of Eupatorium perfoliatum was also highly effective for preventing chikungunya. In a group that did not receive HP, 73 percent contracted chikungunya disease, while only 17 percent did so in the HP-treated group.
Dr. Rafeeque also noted that members of Kerala’s state legislative assembly take HP for prevention of epidemics. In a blog post, Dr. Rafeeque cited the late Mr. G. Karthikeyan, honorable speaker of the assembly, who said that members of the assembly “do not want empty chairs, that is why homeopathic medicine is given to all members.”10
HP FOR JAPANESE ENCEPHALITIS
The second Indian speaker at the Worldwide Choice conference was Dr. Srinivasulu Gadugu, MD, an assistant professor in the department of organon of medicine at Government Medical College in the city of Kadapa, Andhra Pradesh. Dr. Gadugu is an esteemed clinician, researcher and teacher who has received a variety of teaching and research awards and has made numerous contributions to homeopathic research and pedagogy.
Dr. Gadugu shared valuable information about the prevention of Japanese encephalitis (JE) in Andhra Pradesh. JE is an endemic disease that primarily affects children under the age of fifteen. Globally, JE is estimated to have infected ten million children over the past sixty years.11 In India, outbreaks are widespread, with many concentrated in the southern part of the country. Although less than one percent of individuals infected with JE virus develop clinical illness,12 up to thirty percent of those who do develop illness die.13 Symptoms associated with JE include headache, fever, meningeal signs, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, paralysis (generalized), hypertonia and loss of coordination. For patients who survive, half or more experience steady improvement while thirty to fifty percent suffer long-term neurological deficits.13
The JE virus is transmitted by Culex species mosquitoes. Water birds and pigs play a major role as amplifying hosts. Humans get infected when bitten by an infected mosquito. However, humans are “dead-end hosts,”14 meaning that further spread from human to human does not take place.
Vaccines have been available for JE since 1941, with efficacy of approximately 60 percent. Because of low production capacity and relatively high cost, the vaccines have remained out of reach for most countries. The difficulty of accessing rural areas for intervention, along with interruptions from natural catastrophes, can cause major setbacks in reaching the full population. In India, immunizing one hundred and sixty million people with vaccines in twelve territories would cost more than four hundred and sixty million U.S. dollars. To protect children in hyper-endemic districts would require eighteen million doses (costing fifty-two million U.S. dollars), followed by boosters every two years. Treatment with HP can be done for a few thousand dollars, not millions.
Dr. Gadugu described the trend toward homeopathic treatment of JE in Andhra Pradesh. Between 1993 and 1999, despite vaccination, recorded pediatric JE cases in the state numbered five thousand three hundred and eight, with a fatality rate of 28 percent. In 1999, the government sought the help of homeopaths in combating this epidemic. Dr. G. Sastry, a pioneer in public health, emphasized the need to address JE through homeopathy.
In the past, a GE remedy had been used, but without lasting effect. Dr. Sastry reassessed the disease from a holistic view and proceeded to address its tendency for recurrence. He advocated a unique way of prescribing a plant remedy, followed by a mineral remedy, followed by a disease nosode. His recommendation was that Belladonna 200C should be given on days one, two and three; Calcarea Carbonica 200C would be given on the tenth day; and Tuberculinum 10M on the twenty-fifth day to all children in the birth-to-fifteen-year age group in the month of August every year for three consecutive years.15 The project—known as BCT—was accepted and administered to twenty million children in Andhra Pradesh in 1999.
As a result of the BCT intervention, morbidity and mortality rates associated with JE fell dramatically (Figure 1), prompting the government to acknowledge the efficacy of homeopathy. In the year 2000, three hundred and forty-three cases were reported, with seventy-two deaths (21 percent), whereas in 2001 only thirty-three cases were reported with four deaths (12 percent). The next year, there were only eighteen cases and no deaths, and no cases at all in 2003 and 2004. Dr. Gadugu concluded that HP helped to check the child mortality rate from JE.
RESEARCH ON HP
Because HP is complementary to existing health care and is inexpensive and effective, it warrants further research and application. Eager to continue to test the efficacy of homeopathic Belladonna in the prevention of JE, the Indian government awarded a research grant to the department of microbiology, virology unit, at the school of tropical medicine in Kolkata. In 2010 and 2011, Dr. Bhaswati Bandyopadhyay conducted experiments on two animal models, both of which indicated that homeopathic Belladonna can play a clear role in preventing JE.16
Subsequently, the CCRH took up the task of additional in-depth research in this area. Dr. Gadugu is currently serving as co-investigator in a collaborative governmental research project funded by the CCRH, pursuing work on “Elucidation of molecular mechanism of action of Belladonna and Belladonna-Calcarea Carbonica-Tuberculinum Bovinum (BCT) during Japanese encephalitis (JE) virus infection.”17 Dr. Gadugu emphasized the need for international research collaboration regarding homeopathic epidemic control, given that epidemics do not respect borders.
TRULY SAFE AND EFFECTIVE
India’s experiences indicate that American medical personnel would do well to consider HP as a valid intervention for contagious infectious disease. Powerful corporate interests tout conventional vaccines as the only available form of protection against existing and emerging disease threats but never discuss the chemicals, adjuvants, preservatives and foreign DNA present in all vaccines. HP, on the other hand, is a natural and inexpensive solution that holds great promise. If practitioners can open their minds to being educated about HP, they will see that HP’s safety and effectiveness have been amply demonstrated worldwide.
1. Anand PR, Dinesh RS, Sreejith S, Mridula G. Guidelines for epidemic management in homoeopathy. Homeo Book, September 29, 2015.
2. Taylor W. Taking the case: on the genus epidemicus. Whole Health Now, 2001.
3. Hahnemann S, Jain B. Organon of Medicine, §100 to §102. New Delhi, India, 1842.
4. National Health Portal (NHP) India. AYUSH. http://www.nhp.gov.in/ayush_ms.
5. Central Council for Research in Homoeopathy (CCRH). http://www.ccrhindia.org/index.asp.
6. Homeo Book. World’s first floating homeopathic dispensary at Kerala. December 28, 2013.
7. Homoeo Times. AP govt directed to take homoeopathy medicines for swine flu. September 2016;13(9).
9. Golden I. Homoeoprophylaxis—a fifteen-year clinical study: a statistical review of the efficacy and safety of long-term homoeoprophylaxis. Isaac Golden Publications, 2004.
10. Rafeeque M. Members of Kerala State Legislative Assembly takes homoeopathic preventive medicine. Homeopathy World Community, June 23, 2012.
11. Shipra V, Gupta RD. The use of satellite data for identifying the risk of JE disease in District Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh, India.
12. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC]. Japanese encephalitis: symptoms & treatment.
13. World Health Organization. Japanese encephalitis. Fact sheet no. 386, December 2015.
14. CDC. Transmission of Japanese encephalitis virus. https://www.cdc.gov/japaneseencephalitis/transmission/index.html.
15. Gadugu S, Nyapati SR, Sastry GLN. An open observational study on efficacy of miasmatic prescription in the prevention of Japanese encephalitis. Homeopathy 2014;103(1):78-79.
16. Bandyopadhyay B, Das S, Sengupta M, Saha C, Raveendar C, Chakravarty R, Khurana A, Ray K. Prevention of Japanese encephalitis (JE) virus infection. In: Molecular Virology, M Adoga (Ed.), pp. 111-124. InTech, 2012.
17. Central Council for Research in Homoeopathy. http://ccrhindia.org/pdf/IMR_Collaborative.pdf.
This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly magazine of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Spring 2017.