In an epidemic, homeopathy can touch thousands of people in a sweeping action with one well chosen remedy. This has been demonstrated in the epidemics of cholera of the mid 1800s, the Spanish flu of 1919, and Cuban swamp fever in 2008, to name a few. In fact, public health is where homeopathy’s reputation was established in the nineteenth century.
There are three methods by which homeopathy works within a community to aid in public health. These are generally methods that must be utilized strictly by an experienced homeopath. However, there’s a fourth method that lay persons can use on their own without the guidance of a professional. Since it is my intention to teach mothers (and others) how to care for their families on their own, we’ll review those areas that ought to be employed by a homeopath and then incorporate the best part: the remedies that you can use yourself to protect your family. Let’s examine these methods to see how they can be of benefit during a community health crisis.
METHOD ONE: CONTAGION CAN SOMETIMES BE A GOOD THING
An epidemic illness is caused by a contagious microorganism, but the very contagion can be part of the solution. Once the microorganism is identified, the homeopathic remedy choice becomes a simple matter. The very pathogen itself is made into a remedy. Your poison becomes your medicine.
The manufacturing method for all homeopathic remedies in the U.S. is carried out in pharmacies following strict FDA and international homeopathic guidelines. When a remedy is made from products of a disease, it is called a nosode, and it’s in the use of a nosode that homeopaths find a straightforward method of treatment. Its ease in application lies in not having to uncover each individual’s personal reaction to the illness. This method is an important one during an epidemic since the technique offers protection even before the symptoms are known.
Homeopathy is a medical discipline that generally relies on symptoms of the individual to indicate the appropriate remedy. When the pathogen is determined and the nosode is formulated, the simplicity of application is a welcome exception to the usual person-specific rule.
Additionally, by using the remedy made from the offending microorganism, immunity can be conveyed before illness presents. That means it can be used as a prophylactic and thereby offers a real advantage in epidemics.
For example, should an epidemic of the flu descend on us today, and before it’s clear exactly what the presenting symptoms are, a good choice might be to employ the remedy Influenzinum 2011 just as the epidemic reaches your locale. The remedy would be developed from the strains of influenza most likely to manifest in 2011.
As a prophylactic, one of the methods of administration is to take Influenzinum 30 four times in one day, then once per week for a month, and finally once every month until the contagion dies out. That can be as long as two to three months total.
But this remedy can also be employed after someone has already contracted the flu to mitigate its symptoms. In this case, when the illness begins to manifest, it can be taken twice daily until health is restored.
METHOD TWO: WE ALL REACT SIMILARLY IN CERTAIN ILLNESSES
Once the precise symptoms that consistently present in a population affected by a particular illness are identified, the homeopath can recognize a symptom pattern within this entire group. In this case, often one remedy is chosen for all. In other words, in some forms of influenza, the main symptom might be profound fatigue with a dusky appearance as the chief observations. These symptoms would call for the remedy Gelsemium. Another flu might present with coldness up the back and relentless nausea, which would call for Nux vomica as the remedy. Once the symptoms are clear, the appropriate remedy can be used to treat an entire population. For example, if it was determined that Gelsemium was the best choice, then everyone in an infected community would use Gelsemium 30 every day for a week to minimize the chance of contracting the flu. The remedy would then be taken once per week for a month until the threat was over and done.
A single remedy that treats large numbers of people in an epidemic is called the genus epidemicus. Homeopathic methodology states that a remedy is chosen on the individual’s specific reaction to illness. However, with a genus epidemicus, this condition of treatment no longer applies because the individual becomes a part of a whole community. The response within that particular population is represented in the “herd,” so that one remedy will suit many, if not all. The results can be astonishing.
During one of the cholera epidemics of the 1800s, the genus epidemicus was Camphor that did the good work. During the Spanish flu of 1919, it was Gelsemium. In these situations, the remedy would be administered in a 30th potency every few hours for many days.
METHOD THREE: DIFFERENT REACTIONS FOR DIFFERENT PEOPLE
Sometimes circumstances require a third set of rules within the homeopathic framework. Take the Fukushima nuclear reactor disaster, for example. To date, there’s no clarity as to what exactly is being released into the air and water. And in this case, we must contend with toxins rather than contagious pathogens. Instead of a set of symptoms that are alike, we must consider different reactions because the type of poisons have not been fully identified. If we could make the assumption that only radioactive strontium was sent out from the reactor, then the remedy of choice might indeed be Strontium carbonicum. As a prophylactic it might be used in a 200c dose once every two weeks for a period of two months. However, to use this remedy without knowing what instigated the illness would be imprudent.
In light of the Japanese reactor fallout, it’s tempting to seek simple answers. Unfortunately, a sweeping homeopathic solution that will protect or treat all is not yet available because of the number of poisons potentially involved.
Days after the explosions at the Fukushima nuclear reactor, I released to those on my ezine email list a compilation of remedies that I had noted from my teachers in India, Holland and Israel. This is likely only a partial list but will offer an idea of the breadth and depth of the considerations set before the homeopath in discovering which remedy is best suited to the individual. Most are included only to demonstrate the differences in the remedy choices. Homeopathic remedies are not like vitamins or supplements. No remedy on this list ought to be taken without the full homeopathic rationale intact. It is essential that someone suffering from radiation exposure consult with a qualified, classical homeopath.
The following are some of the medicines that may come into play over the next few months and perhaps years, based on the history of homeopathy use in this arena. Note that without a genus epidemicus, the remedies remain person specific, and the tiniest nuance can tip the remedy decision.
• Cadmium iodatum: The forte of this remedy is in thyroid disease, making it potentially useful in those whose thyroid is compromised specifically in relation to radiation exposure. We must know for sure that the thyroid is functioning improperly in order to justify the use of this remedy. The person who would take this remedy must also experience a great deal of heat, among other person-specific characteristics.
• Cadmium sulph: This remedy has been used to treat people with side effects from radiation treatments. It was particularly helpful for my father over two decades ago when he suffered radiation poisoning.
• Ceanothus americanus: Spleen diseases that can be traced to exposure to radioactive material might well indicate this remedy. The spleen is often a target of radiation illness, so if that is the case, this remedy can be strongly considered.
• Kali iodatum: For general radiation poisoning that affects the thyroid as well as the sinuses, Kali iodatum can be a candidate for consideration.There are volumes written about this remedy, and we expect to utilize that information when forming a decision on the individualized remedy choice.
• Strontium carb: Ill effects to the bones after exposure to radiation can point to this remedy. It is one of our best remedies for addressing radioactive illness.
• Radium bromatum: This is a deep-acting remedy in homeopathic literature for those who suffer from radiation burns.
• Uranium nitricum: When illness is associated with exposure to radiation and results in or is coupled with diabetes, this remedy ought to be considered.
• X-ray: Many homeopaths use this remedy routinely after exposure to diagnostic x-rays and other forms of radiation exposure. It certainly can become a potential chief player in radiation poisoning.
METHOD FOUR: SOME TOXINS ACT SIMILARLY—HOME REMEDIES
Although it’s not a simple matter to choose a remedy or protect oneself from radiation sickness and related ills, it would be heartless of homeopathy to leave folks out in the cold. It remains within the scope of this discussion to include some options that can offer at least some protective measures against radiation sickness. Best of all, one can feel safe employing them without the aid of a homeopath.
Many of the remedies used by homeopathy originate from the most noxious substances on earth. That’s because the postulate “like cures like” readily applies to poisonous materials. It is via the dilution process that the toxicity of the material is removed, its curative action is augmented, and we find good medicines. Once properly formulated, the more poisonous the original matter, the more restorative the remedy.
Here’s an example of how this works. Let’s say a child is exposed to arsenic from regularly playing on a deck that was pressure treated with arsenic salts. The signs the child exhibits form a cluster of symptoms known to be associated with arsenic poisoning: thirst, anxiety, restlessness, fidgeting, exhaustion, and, in short, neurological disorders. The child may respond to doses of Arsenicum album since the cause of his condition was the exposure to arsenic. Yet, in a happy turn of scientific luck, it needn’t be only arsenic poisoning from which the illness stems. Symptoms may simply present similarly. The word homeopathy means “of like, or similar suffering.” The cause of the illness, or its etiology, is likely to be similar, not exact.
Often during a circumstance like the nuclear disaster in Japan, people react with anxiety. The most efficacious remedy for anxiety about being poisoned is Arsencium album 30. When the symptoms a person experiences coincides with this cluster, the use of the remedy will release him from the ills associated with poisoning. In the case of heightened anxiety about toxic substances Arsenicum 30, two to three times in one day, for one day only, can be taken to quell fears and minimize toxic overload.
Ruta graveolens is considered in homeopathic literature to protect from cellular damage after exposure to radiation. Most often it would be used in a 6th or 30th potency before and then again after exposure. For example, when using Ruta 30, it might be taken once per week for a month before exposure, and the same schedule after exposure.
Calendula ointment or tincture is prepared from an herb upon which homeopaths frequently depend. It was used in WWII for radiation burns as well as skin wounds in general. This can be used without homeopathic training and every household should have it on hand. Phosphorus is used for ill effects from explosions, thus it might be effective in treating symptoms from having been near a nuclear explosion. It can be offered even months after an incident.
Within the world of homeopathy there is a small but powerful class of medicines called cell salts, or tissue salts. I spoke on this topic at the WAPF conference last November. A couple of these remedies come to mind that can be used on a daily basis as potential overall protection from toxins. The first one is Calc fluor 6x. It is the quintessential cell salt remedy to specifically protect the thyroid and bones, and can moderate the potential for future problems after radiation exposure. Calc fluor 6x can be put to work even with only minimal knowledge of homeopathy. However, like any homeopathic remedy, it’s best to use only if needed and to stop if new symptoms arise. Many folks take this remedy two to three times per day when exposure is imminent.
Nat mur 6x is one of my favorite cell salts for toxic exposure in general. Not only is it associated with thyroid protection, but when someone feels vulnerable, this is often the remedy that is indicated. The remedy has the capacity to gird the person psychologically as well as physiologically when exposed to toxins. This remedy is generally taken two to three times each day; less often if there’s improvement.
A potentially important—though not homeopathic— tip is offered by my friend, Kaayla Daniel, the Naughty Nutritionist. She advises dissolving one pound of baking soda with one pound of salt in a hot bath and soaking until it cools. No additional hot water should be added and this should be repeated once daily. It is reported to aid in releasing toxins from the system.
When it comes to epidemics, pandemics, and environmental disasters, homeopathy offers a conspectus of methods that have been counted upon throughout the world. Some are appropriately administered only from the hands of an experienced classical homeopath, and others are within reach of the public.
CUBA’S SOLUTION TO EPIDEMICS: HOMEOPATHY
As each country and region of the world faces disasters and community illness, homeopathy has been and remains a beacon of protection against community disease, regardless of the cause. An interesting case in point is Cuba and its plaguing swamp fever. In a country of little interest to the pharmaceutical industry, Cuban doctors have learned to fend for themselves outside mainstream practice by incorporating homeopathy into their healthcare system. In this setting, they recently conducted a full research program without Big Pharma’s interference.
Enter the Finlay Institute, a Cuban research foundation. Although it has WHO-authorized services and even produces vaccines, it has turned to homeopathy for one of Cuba’s most burdensome problems, leptospirosis. Sometimes called swamp fever, leptospirosis is the scourge of Cuba.
The spirochete, Leptospira, is transferred from rats to people during the flood season that inundates Cuba virtually every year. Because of the aftermaths of hurricanes and subsequent water contamination, this epidemic runs rampant throughout the island. Symptoms include fever, diarrhea, jaundice, vomiting, meningitis, liver failure, kidney damage, respiratory illness and death. By applying the precept of “like cures like,” Cuban doctors and researchers of the Finlay Institute developed a homeopathic remedy. Derived from the bacterium that causes leptospirosis, the homeopathic remedy was made as a prophylactic and administered in two doses, seven to nine days apart. The wide scale treatment was administered by a team of Cuban doctors underwritten by the Cuban Ministry of Public Health. In 2008, within a population of five million, the nosode Leptospirosis in two potencies was administered to 2.4 million people who were the most susceptible to the disease.
Homeopathic physicians understand that this method of treatment will offer immunity and protection from contracting an illness, or at the least allow for a milder case if infection does occur. To say that the results of this mass homeopathic dosing were positive is to understate the magnitude of the program. The usual expected rate of infection—even when allopathic vaccination and antibiotics were used—was a few thousand cases of the disease, including some deaths. What was expected to occur before the homeopathic prophylactic was administered was calculated from analysis of previous leptospirosis outbreaks and rain schedule forecasts by the Cuban Government. In an astonishing outcome, only ten cases of leptospirosis were reported that year among the 2.4 million people who had been treated with the homeopathic nosode!
Remarkably, or rather, not so remarkably given homeopathy’s history of effectiveness in epidemics in the last two hundred years, the method also produced no mortality of hospitalized patients. This was a success rate worthy of awe and emulation. Leptospirosis had plagued the small country for several years. Yet in the aftermath of the usual flooding in 2008 there was very nearly no disease among those receiving the homeopathic prophylactic! And the cost to the Cuban government? Two hundred thousand dollars. The usual cost for allopathic treatment of the disease had been more than two million dollars. Allopathic intervention, which relies solely on drugs and vaccinations, was proved not only comparatively less effective, but was littered with side effects and pricey programs.
As populations throughout the world search for medical care that produces healthy results and is safe and cost effective, homeopathy has an opportunity to re-emerge not from the top down, but from the grass roots up. The impetus will spread from one doc to another in need of genuine medicine, from one mother to the next, from one good neighbor sharing the word among others. Homeopathy for mass illness and wholesome medicine for humankind make an indomitable duo.
This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly journal of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Summer 2011.