Editorial Lead Dipali Singh Senior Editor Glenda Fernandes Senior Designer Romi Chakraborty

Designer Kadambari Misra Senior DTP Designer Balwant Singh DTP Designer Pushpak Tyagi DTP Coordinator Pankaj Sharma


Senior Editors Janet Mohun, Jill Hamilton

Senior Art Editor Nicola Rodway Executive Managing Editor Adèle Hayward Managing Art Editor Karla Jennings

DTP Designer Traci Salter Production Controller Rebecca Short US Consultant David Riley


Senior Editor Stephanie Farrow Project Editor (Ailments sections) Jude Garlick Editor Joy McKnight Senior Art Editor Hilary Krag Designer Claudia Norris Senior Managing Editor Krystyna Mayer Deputy Art Director Carole Ash DTP Designer Bridget Roseberry Senior Production Controller Sarah Coltman

Important notice

Do not try self-diagnosis of or attempt self-treatment for serious or long-term problems without consulting a medical professional or qualified practitioner. Do not undertake any self-treatment while you are undergoing a prescribed course of medical treatment without first seeking professional advice. Always seek medical advice if symptoms persist. Do not exceed any dosages recommended without professional guidance. Before taking any remedy or supplement, refer to Consulting a practitioner, page 176, and Choosing a remedy, page 216.

Homeopathic remedy names are usually used in abbreviated form. Commonly accepted abbreviations are used throughout the book. Remedies are listed in the materia medica by Latin name.

To M, who showed me where my reset button is

First published in the United States in 2000 by DK Publishing, Inc., 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014 Copyright © 2000, 2006 Dorling Kindersley Limited Text copyright © 2000 Dr. Andrew Lockie Updated by Dr. David Owen and Dr. Patricia Ridsdale All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the copyright owner. Published in Great Britain by Dorling Kindersley Limited. DK books are available at special discounts for bulk purchases for sales promotions, premiums, fund-raising, or educational use. For details, contact: DK Publishing Special Markets, 375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014 or [email protected]

A CIP record for this book is available from the Library of Congress. ISBN-10 0-7566-1871-1 ISBN-13 978-0-7566-1871-1

Reproduced by Colourscan, Singapore Printed and bound in China by Toppan

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Introduction 6 How to use this book 8

Theory & practice

History of homeopathy 12 • Key principles & theories 18 Building a materia medica 22 • Development of homeopathy 24

Materia medica

How remedies are made 28 • Major plant remedies 30 Major mineral remedies 66 • Major animal remedies 102 Minor remedies 116

Serious ailments

Consulting a practitioner 176 • Nervous system 178 Respiratory system 180 • Circulatory system 184 • Digestive system 188 • Skin & bones 192 • Reproductive systems 198 Immune system 204 • Mind & emotions 210

Homeopathic self-help

Choosing a remedy 216 • Nervous system 218 • The eyes 220 The ears 222 • Respiratory system 224 • Circulatory system 230 The mouth 232 • Digestive system 234 • The skin 240 Emotional problems 244 • Children's health 246 Health in adolescence 254 • Women's health 256 Men's health 264 • Health in later life 266 • First aid 270

A-Z Quick-reference guide to remedies by homeopathic name 276 How to find a practitioner & useful addresses 312 Bibliography 314 Index 316 Acknowledgments 336


Homeopathy is a holistic form of complementary medicine, aiming to treat the whole person rather than just the physical symptoms. It works on the principle that the mind and body are so strongly linked that physical conditions cannot be successfully treated without an understanding of the persons constitution and character.

Whereas in conventional medicine, people diagnosed with the same condition will generally be given the same medicine, in homeopathy the remedy given to a patient may depend on a whole host of other factors, such as temperament, state of mind, and lifestyle. The key to the practice of homeopathy is the ability to understand and interpret the patients symptoms—the outward signs of internal disorder—both before and after a remedy is given. This continuing relationship helps to make homeopaths particularly effective at discovering the underlying causes of frequently recurring ailments.

Homeopathy's safe, gentle approach complies with one of the most important rules of medical intervention—namely, that it should do no harm. Many common, everyday ailments may be treated safely and effectively at home using homeopathic remedies; should the common ailment develop into something worse, however—a cold into a chest infection, for instance—then a conventional doctor must be consulted. In general, a conventional doctor should be consulted for any ailment that can be quickly and effectively treated by conventional medicine, or for any condition that requires conventional investigation. Certain serious ailments may also be alleviated using homeopathic remedies, but in the treatment of these conditions, the experience of a qualified homeopathic practitioner is essential from the outset.

My aim in this book has been to give a wide-ranging and comprehensive account of homeopathy that is easy for the layperson to understand and use. With several hundred homeopathic remedies available, choosing the right ones is obviously a complex matter. I have included more than 320 remedies and a great many ailments. Those in the serious ailments section should under no circumstances be considered for self-treatment but always referred to a homeopathic practitioner. With their accompanying case histories, the inclusion of these serious conditions is intended to give the reader a greater insight into the way a homeopathic practitioner might approach particular problems and how consultations can help unlock a case and provide an understanding of how the illness has developed.

For this book, a great deal of research has been carried out into the scientific classifications of the substances from which remedies are made, in order to correct the various errors and confusions that have crept in over the past 200 years. Thus, this book is currently the most scientifically accurate and up-to-date publication available on homeopathy. I have used current biological, zoological, and mineralogical classifications where possible, which has meant that some Latin names in this book differ from those to be found in earlier homeopathic textbooks. The remedies are listed in alphabetical order according to these Latin names in the materia medica.

It is a truism that no one system of medicine can cure every illness every time in every patient. However, an integrated approach to medicine can provide a flexible and pragmatic approach to healthcare, and homeopathy has an important role to play in this process. In many countries, conventionally trained doctors are already turning increasingly to complementary therapies such as homeopathy to widen the range of treatments available to them.

To some extent, this is a response by the medical profession to the wishes of a growing number of patients, who would like to take more responsibility for their own health. More and more people want to understand what they can do themselves to prevent illness and, if they do become ill, to understand the causes of their illness and determine how they can help themselves recover. Homeopathy offers a simple, effective, relatively inexpensive, and extremely safe way of accomplishing this, provided it is practiced with common sense.

Introduction to updated edition

Homeopathy is far more than just a different set of "pills" for everyday ills. It provides a language for diagnosis and a range of approaches to health. This book provides the information necessary to use homeopathy to treat many every day illnesses by focusing on the cause and the presenting symptoms. Central to this is an understanding of the homeopathic remedies themselves. The clear descriptions and illustrations in this book make the exploration of homeopathy and its medicines a delight and bring accurate use of homeopathy for minor ailments into the home. In addition, more serious conditions are described, and the way homeopathy can play a part in the holistic management of these conditions is explored. In this book, Andrew Lockie has provided an excellent and straightforward introduction and overview of this broad subject. We, like Dr. Lockie, believe that many more people can access both the benefits of homeopathy and the wonders of the remedies through this book.



This encyclopedia is organized into distinct sections. The first section puts the therapy in its historical and contemporary context, and outlines the key theories and principles on which it is based. The second section contains an extensive materia medica, while the final sections deal respectively with serious ailments and those for which a degree of self-help may be appropriate. Guidelines for using these sections are outlined here. An appendix gives information on finding a practitioner.


More than 320 remedies are outlined here. The most important ones are organized in three sections according to their plant, mineral, or animal origin, while the fourth section comprises an overview of minor remedies. The remedies are listed by their Latin names. For easy reference, in the main index on page 278 the common remedy names appear in bold type.

O latin name Botanical, mineralogical, or zoological name of the plant, mineral, or animal from which the remedy is made. 2 Remedy name Commonly used name for the homeopathic remedy. Q key symptoms Primary symptoms associated with the remedy. O introduction General information and history of the remedy source. Q remedy profile Outline of the principal physical, psychological, and emotional symptoms associated with the remedy and the conditions treated. 6 ailments Key symptoms treated. Q symptoms better/worse Factors that improve or exacerbate symptoms.

Q origin Habitat or source of the Q common names Commonly remedy substance. used name or names of the remedy

Q background Historical, medicinal, source.

or general context of the substance. © see also Cross-references to examples

0 preparation How the remedy is of the remedy's usage in the serious made from its primary source. ailments and self-help sections.


This section features certain common, chronic conditions that may benefit from professional homeopathic consultation and treatment. They are not suitable for self-help. The conditions are primarily physical ailments, although some mental and emotional problems are included. They are organized into subsections according to the body system affected by each particular group of ailments. At the beginning of each subsection there is a clear, illustrated explanation of how the relevant body system works.

o ailment title Common name of the condition.

2 introduction General description of the ailment and those affected by it.

Q symptoms Key symptoms associated with the condition. O causes Principal reasons for the development of the condition. Q conventional care Diagnosis and typical treatment using conventional medicine.

6 homeopathic medicine Typical homeopathic approach to treatment. Q lifestyle Recommendations concerning diet, exercise, and general lifestyle that may affect the condition and its treatment. Q caution Developments in the condition to watch out for, and general cautionary measures.

Q case history Details of an actual patient's experience of the condition, an outline of the homeopathic treatment prescribed, and update on subsequent progress.


Arranged in chart form, this section covers a wide range of minor and acute physical, mental, and emotional ailments that may respond well to self-help measures. General conditions are organized by body system. Sections on specific ailments that are prevalent at particular stages of life follow, along with a first-aid section.

o section title Body system or life stage to which ailments typically belong.

2 introduction Body-system or life-stage context for the ailments in the section, and the potential of homeopathy for treating them.

3 disorder Symptoms of the ailment, along with causes, contributing factors, and possible wider implications for health. Additional self-help measures are also listed, as well as cautionary advice.

q specific ailment Brief description of a particular key symptom that may be associated with the disorder. q physical symptoms Details of the particular profile of physical symptoms


— HAY FEVER & ALLERGIC RHINITIS Hay rera wth • Streaming, tuning caarn that may itart in


associated with the specific ailment. 6 psychological symptoms Details of the particular psychological symptoms associated with the specific ailment. Q symptoms better/worse External or internal factors that may cause the

particular combination of symptoms to improve or deteriorate. o remedy & dosage The appropriate remedy for the set of symptoms, along with the recommended dosage and the duration of treatment.


In addition to the specific cautions listed in the ailments sections, you should check the general cautions below and the red-light symptoms (see right) before attempting to treat yourself homeopathically. Unless otherwise stated, treatments recommended are for homeopathic remedies only; they do not advocate ingestion or application of the actual plants, minerals, or animals from which the remedy is made.

General cautions

• Consult a conventional doctor immediately if you have any of the red-light symptoms (see right).

• See a conventional doctor if there is no improvement within two to three weeks (48 hours in children under five) or if symptoms get worse.

• Do not stop taking any prescribed conventional medication without first consulting a conventional doctor.

• Tell your homeopath about any prescribed conventional medication you are taking, and any other complementary treatments you are receiving.

• Tell a conventional doctor about any homeopathic remedies you are taking.

• Always check with a conventional doctor before embarking on any course of complementary treatment if you have any existing, chronic medical conditions or symptoms of illness.

• Do not embark on any program of vigorous exercise without first consulting a conventional doctor if you have any serious medical condition, such as high blood pressure or a heart condition, or if you are pregnant.

• Do not begin a course of homeopathic treatment without first consulting a conventional doctor if you are trying to conceive or are already pregnant.

• Do not use any herbal or aromatherapy products during the first three months of pregnancy or if breast-feeding unless supervised by an herbal practitioner.

• If in any doubt about administering homeopathic treatments to children under 12 who have a chronic medical condition, or who are taking conventional drugs, consult a doctor or a medically qualified homeopathic practitioner.

• Do not exceed the recommended dosage of any nutritional supplements without professional supervision.


Consult a conventional doctor immediately for:

• Chest pain or breathing difficulties; if there is acute pain in the chest, arms, jaw, or throat, call 911.

• Unexplained dizziness.

• Persistent hoarseness, cough, or sore throat.

• Difficulty in swallowing.

• Persistent abdominal pain or indigestion.

• Persistent, unexplained weight loss or fatigue.

• A mole that changes shape, size, or color, or itches or bleeds.

• Change in bowel or bladder habits.

• Passing of blood in the stools.

• Vaginal bleeding between menstrual periods, after sexual intercourse, or after the menopause, or unusual vaginal discharge.

• Thickening of a breast, formation of a lump in a breast, or change in the shape or size of a breast; discharge or bleeding from a nipple.

• A lump in a testicle, or change in size or shape of a testicle; persistent failure to get an erection.

• Severe headaches; persistent one-sided headaches; visual disturbances.

• A sore or swelling that does not heal.

• Frequent and persistent back pain.

• Unexplained leg pain and swelling.



The theories and principles of homeopathy have their origins in medicinal traditions established thousands of years ago in ancient Greece and Rome.

In the 5th century bce the Greek physician Hippocrates (?460-?377 bce) clearly established the idea that disease was the result of natural forces rather than divine intervention, and that patients' own powers of healing should be encouraged (see page 19). Contemporary medical theories were based upon the Law of Contraries, which advocated treating an illness by prescribing a substance that produced opposite or contrary symptoms. Diarrhea, for example, could be treated by a substance that caused constipation, such as aluminum hydroxide.

In contrast, Hippocrates developed the use of the Law of Similars, based on the principle that "like cures like" (see page 18). This theory proposed that substances capable of causing symptoms of illness in healthy people could also be used to treat similar symptoms during illness. For example, Veratrum album (white hellebore), which was considered effective against cholera, caused violent purging that led to severe dehydration if administered in large doses—symptoms exactly like those of cholera itself. Between the 1st and 5 th centuries ce the Romans made further developments in medicine. They introduced more herbs into the pharmacopeias, improved public hygiene, and observed the structure and function of the human body, although this was limited by social taboo, which prevented the dissection of bodies. Existing medical knowledge was codified and rationalized by Galen (?130-?200 ce), a Roman physician, anatomist, and physiologist. He adopted many ancient Greek principles, including the Aristotelian theory of the "four humors," which claimed that the human body was made up of four humors—blood, choler (yellow bile), melancholy (black bile), and phlegm— that must be kept in balance to ensure vitality and health.

After the decline of the Roman empire, little progress was made for centuries in the field of European medicine. A combination of herbal folklore, religious influences, and Galenic theory provided the basis for understanding and treating

classical origins of homeopathy This Greek votive relief, dating to the early 4th century bce, illustrates the medicinal traditions of ancient Greece, on which both homeopathy and conventional Western medicine are based.

illness right through to the 17th century. Only when the Swiss physician and alchemist Paracelsus (1493-1541) began to develop his theories did the study of medicine start to evolve again. Paracelsus revived the ancient Greek theory of the Doctrine of Signatures, which was based on the premise that the external appearance of a plant—God's "signature"—indicated the nature of its healing properties. For example, Chelidonium majus (greater celandine) was used to treat conditions affecting the liver and gallbladder because the yellow juice of the plant resembled bile.

Paracelsus argued that disease was linked to external factors such as contaminated food and water rather than to mystical forces, and he challenged his contemporaries to recognize the body's natural ability to heal itself, claiming that the practice of medicine should be based on detailed observation and "profound knowledge of nature and her works." According to his theories, all plants and metals contained active ingredients that could be prescribed to match specific illnesses. Concentrating on practical experiments rather than on alchemy, he laid the foundations for the early stages of chemistry and subsequent development of pharmaceutical medicine, introducing new medicines, such as opium, sulfur, iron, and arsenic, into the contemporary repertory. His exploration of the chemical and medicinal properties of many substances, and his advocacy of the Hippocratic concept of "like cures like," also made Paracelsus a key figure in the development of homeopathy. According to the British homeopath James Compton Burnett (1840-1901), the author of several important works on homeopathy that are still in use today, "Paracelsus planted the acorn from which the mighty oak of homeopathy has grown."

philippus aureolus paracelsus One of the greatest scientists of the 16th century, Paracelsus was considered responsible for the transition from alchemy to modern chemistry. Known as the "father of chemistry," he believed in exact dosage, and stated that "it depends only on the dose whether a poison is a poison or not."

philippus aureolus paracelsus One of the greatest scientists of the 16th century, Paracelsus was considered responsible for the transition from alchemy to modern chemistry. Known as the "father of chemistry," he believed in exact dosage, and stated that "it depends only on the dose whether a poison is a poison or not."

Medical practices by the 19 th century

The period between the 16th and 19th centuries saw continued advancement in medical knowledge. The development of the printing press, and the publication of herbals in languages other than Latin, brought herbal knowledge into homes on a wide scale and decreased the monopoly of doctors and apothecaries on the treatment of illness. Hugely influential English-language herbals, such as the Herball of John Gerard (1545-1612), and The English Physitian by Nicholas Culpeper (1616-54), were published during this period.

Despite medical advances and greater dispersal of herbal lore, however, the general health of the population remained poor in many Western countries. Industrialization was accompanied by population transition from rural areas to polluted, overcrowded cities

allegory of death Between the Middle Ages and the Enlightenment there was little faith in medical practice: in this 15th-century French book illumination, doctors examine a patient's pulse and urine, while death waits in the wings.

with working conditions that were often unsafe. Standards of public hygiene and medical care were often low, and the mentally ill were treated in asylums. Violent medical practices, including blood-letting, leeching, and purging, became increasingly widespread and were often detrimental to peoples health. Toxic substances such as lead, mercury, and arsenic were in common usage medicinally, and the cure often proved to be more harmful to patients than the illness, with some patients dying and many more suffering serious long-term side-effects as a result of the drastic or extreme treatments they had received.

The origins of homeopathy

This was the cultural and scientific milieu in which the German doctor Samuel Christian Hahnemann (1755-1843) began practicing in 1780. He continued in practice for nine years, during which time he became increasingly disillusioned with the harsh medical methods of the day. In articles written to supplement his income, Hahnemann attacked the extreme medical practices of the day, advocating instead good public hygiene, improved housing conditions, better nutrition, fresh air, and exercise. Eventually his convictions led him to cease work as a doctor. He wrote later that it had been agony to work "always in darkness," with no secure principles in place regarding health and disease.

At this time a period of great social and political change evolved in Europe. The Industrial Revolution and the Enlightenment were accompanied by great technological and scientific advances, and increasing freedom of thought and expression. This intellectual climate encouraged important developments in the study of medicine, including the isolation of active ingredients from herbs, such as the extraction of morphine from the opium poppy in 1803. It was in 1790, while translating A Treatise on Materia Medica by a Scottish teacher, physician, and chemist, Dr. William Cullen, that Hahnemann began an investigation which was to prove paramount to the subsequent development of homeopathy. In his treatise Cullen argued that quinine, when isolated from Cinchona officinalis (see page 49), was a good treatment for malaria because it was an astringent. Hahnemann knew that other, more powerful, astringents had no such effect on malaria. He dosed himself with quinine, recording the results and effectively beginning the first "proving" (see page 22). Although he did not have malaria, he found that he began to develop symptoms of the disease one after the other. With each dose of quinine, the symptoms recurred and lasted for several hours, but if he stopped taking quinine his symptoms began to disappear. Hahnemann went on to test quinine on other people, noting their reactions in great detail. The test subjects were not allowed to eat or drink strong foods such as spices, alcohol, or coffee, which he felt might distort the results. He repeated the proving process on other substances that were in use as medicines, such as arsenic and belladonna, and used the results to build up a "symptom picture" of each remedy's effects (see page 23).

After conducting provings for six years, Hahnemann extended his research to the sick. Prior to prescription, he gave his patients a thorough physical examination and noted any existing symptoms. He questioned them closely regarding their lifestyles, general health, outlook on life, and other factors that made them feel better or worse. Following the principle of like cures like, Hahnemann then matched individual symptoms as closely as possible to the symptom picture of a remedy, and prescribed accordingly.

samuel christian hahnemann Born in 1755 in Meissen, Germany, Hahnemann studied at the universities of Leipzig, Erlangen, and Vienna before qualifying in medicine and chemistry in 1779. Abhorrence of the medical practices of the time led him to devise a new system of medicine, which he called homeopathy.

Development & definition

Hahnemann's work gradually brought about the establishment of new type of medicine. In 1796 he published his first book on the subject, entitled A New Principle for Ascertaining the Curative Powers of Drugs and Some Examinations of Previous Principles. He called his new system "homeopathy," from the Greek homeo meaning "similar" and pathos meaning "suffering." In 1810 he set out its principles in The Organon of Rationale Medicine, and two years later he began teaching homeopathy at the University of Leipzig. During the course of his lifetime, Hahnemann proved about 100 remedies, and also continued to develop and refine the theory and practice of the system (see page 18).

The medical establishment remained generally very sceptical of Hahnemann's theories, and he in turn continued to be intensely critical of conventional medical practice. He became known as the "raging hurricane" due to his furious tirades and sarcastic critiques during lectures at Leipzig. He also antagonized contemporary pharmacists by giving only one medicine at a time, which was contrary to their (highly lucrative)

practice of generally prescribing expensive mixtures of several remedies. During the 19th century, homeopathy spread rapidly across Europe to Asia and the Americas. In the US, Dr. Constantine Hering (1800-80) and Dr. James Tyler Kent (1849-1916) were responsible for popularizing the therapy and introducing new ideas and practices (see page 19). By the time of Hahnemann's death in 1843, homeopathy was firmly established in many parts of the world, although there remained antagonism and distrust between the advocates of conventional medicine and those of homeopathy. Between 1860 and 1890 homeopathy flourished, as many homeopathic hospitals and schools were opened, and many new remedies were proved, considerably enlarging the materia medica. Hahnemann's followers were often doctors who defected from conventional medicine after personally experiencing treatment, including an English doctor, Frederick Quin (17991878), who was cured of cholera by the Camphora remedy. Quin first visited Hahnemann in Germany in 1826, and went on to introduce homeopathy in the UK, founding the first homeopathic hospital in London in 1849. During a cholera outbreak in 1854, the mortality rate at his hospital was less than half that of conventional hospitals. This information was suppressed by the national Board of Health on the grounds that "the figures would give sanction to a practice opposed to the maintenance of truth and the progress of science," illustrating the close stranglehold the medical establishment had achieved within social institutions.

Decline & resurrection

The predominance of conventional medicine was echoed in the US. By the late 19th century, homeopathy had become a significant part of US medical practice, with about 15 percent of doctors being practicing homeopaths. During the early 20th century, however, homeopathy became largely overshadowed by conventional medicine, principally due to the rise of the American Medical Association.

dubious medical practices Hahnemann believed passionately that many contemporary medical practices were harmful, exploiting the infirm or gullible, and he was not alone in his criticism. Medicine was often the subject of satire for its "quackish" treatments, as shown in this 19th-century cartoon illustrating the "Sweat Cure," with the servant inquiring, "Is Your Lordship Still Not Sweating?".

dubious medical practices Hahnemann believed passionately that many contemporary medical practices were harmful, exploiting the infirm or gullible, and he was not alone in his criticism. Medicine was often the subject of satire for its "quackish" treatments, as shown in this 19th-century cartoon illustrating the "Sweat Cure," with the servant inquiring, "Is Your Lordship Still Not Sweating?".

london homeopathic hospital The astoundingly low mortality rate at this hospital during the 1854 cholera outbreak in London prompted a government inspector to note, "if it should please the Lord to visit me with cholera I would wish to fall into the hands of a homeopathic physician."

The British Medical Association played a similar role in the UK, and divisions within homeopathy began to weaken the force of its message still further. Strict followers of Hahnemann and Kent's original theories followed "classical" or "Kentian" constitutional prescribing, believing that a person's emotional characteristics and physical symptoms should be taken into account and favoring high potencies (see page 19). Led by the British homeopath Dr. Richard Hughes (1836-1902), one strand of practitioners had, however, begun to prescribe on pathological symptoms alone, favoring low doses. This unfortunate division in homeopathic practice enabled the conventional medical establishment to gain the upper hand, and by the 1920s homeopathy had been largely suppressed in the UK.

During the late 20th century there has been a resurgence in the popularity of homeopathy, possibly due to disenchantment with aspects of conventional medicine. In many countries, particularly in central Europe, its popularity never waned to the same extent as in the UK and US, although differences in practice have evolved. Single-remedy classical prescribing is prevalent worldwide, although in Germany and France complex homeopathy or polypharmacy (the use of combination remedies or several remedies) is also popular (see page 21). In Australia there is a strong link with naturopathy, with homeopathic remedies often incorporated into naturopathic practice. In India, homeopaths have long worked successfully alongside traditional Ayurvedic medicine and conventional medicine. In the 1990s, courses in Eastern Europe pioneered by British teachers revitalized interest in homeopathy, and in Russia it continues to be implemented and developed. In South America, homeopathy is widely taught in medical schools, while in the US it is undergoing a major resurgence of popularity. According to a 1998 survey of Americans and their health, over 6 million Americans had used homeopathy in the preceding 12 months. Noting that it had been integrated into the national healthcare systems of numerous countries, including Germany, the United Kingdom, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Mexico, the World Health

Organization is publishing a

Building Clouds Point
fabiola hospital Situated in northern California, the Fabiola homeopathic hospital was one of more than 100 homeopathic hospitals operating in the US at the turn of the 20th century. There were also 22 homeopathic medical schools and more than 1,000 homeopathic pharmacies.


Homeopaths believe that good health derives from an equilibrium between the mind and body, which is maintained by a "vital force" that regulates the body's self-healing capabilities.


According to the concept of like cures like, also known as the Law of Similars, substances that are capable of provoking certain symptoms in an otherwise healthy body can also act curatively on similar symptoms in a sick person. For instance, belladonna would be used to treat scarlet fever, since the symptoms of belladonna poisoning closely resemble those of scarlet fever.

The vitalistic concept of science had existed for many years by the time Hahnemann was developing his theories. It claims that all living things possess a subtle energy beyond their physical and chemical states, and that even inanimate matter may contain vitality. Hahnemann applied this view to both the human body and to seemingly inert substances from all the kingdoms of matter. Thus the vital force of any plant, mineral, or animal could be harnessed to produce a powerful medicine when "potentized" (see right). Hahnemann viewed ill-health as the result of an internal imbalance affecting the body's vital force and disrupting its equilibrium. If this vital force is put under strain or weakened by this imbalance, illness may develop. In stimulating the body's self-healing abilities to fight any imbalance, the vital force produces symptoms. These may manifest externally, producing such symptoms as fever or a skin rash, or may emerge as emotional or psychological states, such as weepiness or great irritability. An effective medicine must help the vital force to redress the internal imbalance, enabling the symptoms produced by that imbalance to disappear, and this is what homeopaths seek to achieve. Hahnemann adopted the principle of similia similibus curentur, or "like cures like" (see box), first established in the 5th century bce by Hippocrates. His "provings" of remedies (see page 22) aimed to establish the particular set of symptoms, or "symptom picture", produced by taking a substance. When the symptom picture matched the particular set of symptoms produced by an illness or imbalance in a patient, that remedy was indicated as the most effective at stimulating the vital force to treat the disorder. The key was - and in classical homeopathy still is - to establish which remedy most exactly matches a patient's symptom picture.

hippocrates This Greek physician became known as the "father of medicine " for his work in moving healing away from mysticism and religion. He laid the foundations for the science of medicine as it is known today, and established key principles, among them the theory of "like cures like" (see box, opposite).

Many of the substances from which remedies are made are highly potent or possibly even poisonous. Hahnemann used only small doses of substances in his medicines, but to his consternation his patients still tended to suffer side-effects, or "aggravations", as he called them. He developed a technique called "potentization" (see page 28), which involved diluting and shaking the medicine vigorously or banging it on a hard surface during preparation. This turbulent motion, which Hahnemann called "succussion", apparently released more potency into the medicine, even at lower dilutions. To Hahnemann's surprise, his research showed that microdilutions prepared with the additional turbulent energy provided by potentization seemed to have a much stronger effect than standard dilutions, providing a rapid and gentle effect that was long lasting. Homeopaths therefore need to give only this minimum, completely safe dosage. Hahnemann's original theories were expanded further by the US homeopaths, Dr. Constantine Hering and Dr. James Tyler Kent (see page 16). Dr. Hering developed three basic Laws of Cure to explain how illness is cured in homeopathy (see box), while Dr. Kent established a clear framework by which a course of treatment could be understood. Possible scenarios included: the patient gets better; the patient gets worse; the patients condition remains unchanged; the patient initially gets worse but then gets better. Dr. Kent laid down 12 different possible outcome scenarios, including the above, which enabled homeopaths to determine how treatment should be continued and assess whether a particular remedy had been successful or not. Since the 1970s the Greek homeopath George Vithoulkas has done a great deal of research to update the scenarios and refine the theory and practice of homeopathy.

dr. constantine hering This 19th-century US homeopath formulated three "Laws of Cure" that provide a useful guide for interpreting a patient's development.


As a patient progresses towards cure, symptoms move from the inner organs of the body (those most vital to life) to the outer, less vital tissues and organs.

Cure usually takes place from the top of the body to the bottom; so, for example, head symptoms clear first, gradually followed by any symptoms on the extremities.

Old symptoms often resurface during the curative process, usually in the reverse order to that in which they had first appeared. Immunologists claim that the body has the capacity to "remember" every "assault" on the system that it has ever reacted to, and this process confirms that capacity.

Constitution & susceptibility

In homeopathic terms, a persons "constitution" describes their state of health, including their temperament and any inherited and acquired characteristics. Homeopaths believe that healthy people resist developing sickness, despite being constantly exposed to an enormous variety of potentially harmful viruses and bacteria, since their vital force is strong and their susceptibility is therefore low. Their degree of susceptibility to ill-health may change, however, from hour to hour and day to day. It depends on a particular

dr. james tyler kent This hugely influential US homeopath was responsible for establishing a clear framework on which to judge the efficacy of prescribed treatment (see page 19), and also carried out a great deal of research into new substances to enlarge the materia medica of homeopathic medicines.

stress or emotional distress, overworking, exposure to pollutants, or intake of drugs (see page 177). Underlying "miasmatic" factors may also affect the ability of the vital force to withstand any onslaught (see below). Some homeopaths place great importance on the patients "constitutional type" when they are prescribing treatment, choosing remedies whose "symptom picture" (see page 23) exactly match the individual's psychological and physical makeup when healthy. These remedies are taken when healthy to strengthen the patient's vital force and build up resistance to developing symptoms that may occur in the future. Health problems generally fall into two categories: acute or short-term illness, arising rapidly and potentially clearing up quickly (such as a cold or minor digestive problem); and chronic, long-term ill health (such as rheumatoid arthritis or diabetes), which has a tendency to be recurrent, deep-seated, or progressively degenerative. Homeopathic remedies work to support the self-healing powers of the vital force in its response to illness: to speed recovery from acute illness and make the duration of the illness less debilitating; or to aid recovery from recurrent illness or prevent it from recurring altogether. Remedies must be carefully chosen, however, if they are to work at optimum efficiency, and chronic conditions are best treated by qualified homeopaths rather than left to self-diagnosis.

Miasms & predisposition

After many years developing his ideas, Hahnemann noticed that some patients still did not seem to respond to the remedies prescribed for them, or that they relapsed after a short time. He studied these cases all together as a group, and concluded that general, inherent, higher-level themes of ill health were to blame. These he called "miasms." They can be described as the chronic effect of an underlying disease or disease susceptibility, present in an individual or in previous generations of that person's family history. Three particular miasms were identified by Hahnemann—Psora (which relates to scabies), Sycosis (which is linked with gonorrhea), and Syphilis (which is based on syphilis). Cancer and tuberculosis are regarded by some as further potential miasms. He developed remedies called "nosodes," made from the diseases themselves, to combat these miasms. Since all infected material is sterilized before the potentizing process of dilution and succussion, it is completely safe to use.

The concept of a miasm proposes a model of people's health that has layers of predisposition or imbalance. In some


Hahnemann developed nosode remedies to counteract the miasms he believed to be responsible for sometimes "blocking" treatment. They were made from infected tissue or bacteria, but were perfectly safe, since the substances were sterilized and potentized. Psorinum, for instance, is made from scabies-infected tissue, while Carcinosin is derived from cancerous tissue.

cases more layers need to be peeled away than others to reach lasting good health. At a certain stage in the treatment process, an underlying miasm may become clearly active. Treatment can then be tailored to overcome it. However, it should be emphasized that this does not mean that a person actually has the diseases that are implied by the names of the miasms. Rather, the names describe the inheritance of a predisposition to a specific pattern of possible symptoms or a tendency to fall ill in a particular way—the persons susceptibility. For instance, Psora relates to slow development and poor nutrition; whereas Sycosis is associated with a frantic pace of life and overactivity of both mental and physical processes; and Syphilis describes a pattern of breakdown, decay, deterioration, and eating away.

Types of homeopathic practice

Various prescribing habits have developed in different countries or at different times. A clear conceptual division has emerged between two main schools of practice, classical and complex. Classical homeopaths generally treat with a single remedy that exactly matches the patient's inherent constitutional type and symptom picture. There are occasions, however, particularly in the case of acute illness or injury, where the physical symptoms far outweigh the emotional and other symptoms. In cases such as these a more pragmatic approach may be taken, using combinations of remedies in low potencies. Thus, for instance, five or six remedies known to be helpful for influenza might be combined in a single tablet. This is the complex approach, based on the theories of the British homeopath Dr. Richard Hughes (see page 17), and also known sometimes as combination homeopathy or polypharmacy. In some situations, generally of an acute nature, it may be adopted by classical homeopaths, but in certain countries it is actually the standard method of prescribing. In 1948 it was officially sanctioned by the American Institute of Homeopathy, and in many European countries, such as France and Germany, polypharmacy is more common than classical homeopathy.

Further variations on the homeopathic principle include isopathy, in which a potentized microdilution of the substance causing the disorder is actually used to treat the symptoms: for example, Apis (which is made from the sting of bee) might be given to someone to treat a bee sting. A classical homeopath will generally only expect a 20 to 30 percent success rate using this method, since it does not take into account the unique constitution of each patient. A refinement of this concept is tautopathy, in which the exact substance triggering the symptoms is used to make a remedy for treating those symptoms. In theory this means that the remedy for a bee sting would be prepared from the actual bee that had inflicted the sting. In practice the concept is most commonly used for allergic reactions, such as treating a child with a remedy made from a vaccination to which the child has reacted.


More than 4,000 substances from the plant, animal, and mineral kingdoms have been tested since Hahnemann first developed his theories, resulting in a materia medica that contains over 2,000 remedies.

The reasons why particular substances were selected as homeopathic remedies are complex and varied. Many were familiar from traditional Western folklore or herbal lore. Some, such as mercury, were used in contemporary conventional medicine. Others included minerals or elements that had been used as nutritional supplements, such as zinc. Out of curiosity, or because they had a long herbal tradition or were known to have a strong, even toxic, effect, different substances were tried and the information cataloged. The greatest influence came initially from herbalists in Europe but, as knowledge grew of the medicinal traditions of other cultures, more substances were tested for their homeopathic potential. European explorers and settlers filtered back information amassed on their travels. Dr. Constantine Hering (see page 16), for instance, visited South America and discovered the healing properties of the bushmaster snake (see page 109).

Hahnemann set down strict guidelines for testing, or "proving," potential remedies. This term developed from Prüfung, the German word for a trial. A set of volunteers, or "provers," take a trial substance in different strengths, or potencies (see page 19), and make a detailed,


The eclectic assortment of plants and minerals mixed and dispensed in a standard 18th-century apothecary are illustrated in this painting of the period by an anonymous artist. Many of these medicines were tested by Hahnemann and others for their curative potential as homeopathic remedies.

daily record of their moods, sensations, and any symptoms that develop. Symptoms are categorized as general, relating to a temperamental picture, or specific, affecting a particular part of the body. Surrounding or provoking circumstances, and triggers that make symptoms better or worse, are all noted. Certain general, physical, and psychological affinities appear more evident than others, and some symptoms will be very common among the provers; for example, a headache first thing in the morning that gets better after eating, or indifference to loved ones. These are "first-line" symptoms. Other symptoms may be experienced by only a few, or even one, prover. These are known respectively as "second-line" and "third-line" symptoms. Any symptom that can be shown to be unlike the persons usual state of health will be recorded. This information is then compiled to produce a "symptom picture" that takes into account the potential variations produced by different provers' constitutional types. Often this will then be compared with information about the substance and its characteristics, possibly from its prior use within herbal or folk medicine, or from knowledge of its toxicology, to deepen understanding of the remedy. As understanding of each remedy's "symptom picture" grows, an archetypal "character" emerges. Essential or "keynote" characteristics, both mental and physical, can be established to give a thumbnail summary, enabling homeopaths to recognize cases where a particular remedy is appropriate. Dr. James Tyler Kent (see page 19) carried out a great deal of research to enlarge knowledge of the remedies in the materia medica, and his work has been built on and augmented by many other practitioners.

Beyond the individual remedies, it is possible to make connections between remedies and to establish group relationships. Studying the group of remedies based on potassium or calcium compounds, for example, reveals themes, such as physical weakness with all Kalium remedies, or sensitivity and shyness with all Calcium remedies. This thematic analysis is most obvious in clear categories like families of the periodic table, which have recently been researched by the British homeopath Jeremy Sherr. Relationships between plants within the same botanical family, or between animals with common links, can also be found. For example, all snake-based remedies tend to affect the blood and nervous system, and are for highly oversensitive individuals. The Indian homeopath Rajan Sankaran is working on an approach to case-taking that emphasizes the underlying sensations a patient feels, and linking this to a framework running through the animal, plant, and mineral kingdoms and families that form the basis of remedies. The breadth of information available from some of the old provings is not complete, whereas other provings are very well documented. New provings tend to be carefully managed and usually give a full picture.

ENLARGING THE MATERIA MEDICA Explorers to new worlds, such as the Victorian naturalist depicted in this engraving, published in 1868, collected samples and information on a wide range of plants and animals, some of which were then added to the materia medica of homeopathic remedies.


Hahnemann's first experiments on himself arguably constituted some of the earliest medical trials. Medical research has become far more sophisticated since then, yet strict clinical trials into the efficacy of homeopathy were rare until as late as the 1980s.

While funding existed for major drug research due to investment by drug companies, such funding has been harder to find for homeopathic trials. Nor do homeopathic trials have the same kind of access to the research facilities of universities, hospitals, and researchers. Trials into homeopathy are further disadvantaged by the fact that so much depends on the skill and judgment of the practitioner in assessing the appropriate remedy for the patient. One of the most important issues to be addressed in trials is the influence of the placebo effect (see box). Clinical trials conducted by Dr. D. Taylor-Reilly in 1986 in Glasgow, Scotland, demonstrated a clear, statistically significant improvement in patients treated homeopathically that could not be attributed purely to a placebo response. He concluded that either homeopathy does work or clinical trials do not. There have also been meta-analyses, in which a large group of similar trials are analyzed as if they were one huge study, often yielding more significant results than small-scale trials might do individually Three of the most important meta-analyses to date are that led by Prof. J. Kleijnen, published in the British Medical Journal in 1991; that led by Dr. J. P Boissel, which was carried out for the European Commission and published in Brussels in 1996; and that by Dr. K. Linde and others, published in The Lancet in 1997. All three meta-analyses were done by skeptical, independent researchers, none of whom were practicing homeopaths, and all three concluded that, despite their best efforts to show otherwise, homeopathy has an action above and beyond that of merely a placebo. Valuable trials of homeopathy in veterinary medicine, undertaken by the British homeopathic veterinarian Mr. C. Day in 1984, suggest that homeopathy's action cannot be attributed purely to a placebo effect if it works on animals, since animals are not susceptible to such influences. Various individual trials have demonstrated a degree of success for homeopathic treatment of specific ailments, such as a 1980 study by Dr. R. G. Gibson in Glasgow of homeopathic treatment for rheumatoid


In clinical drug trials, some of the test subjects are given a genuine, active medication, while others are given a placebo—an inactive medication, often a sugar pill, which is given in place of genuine treatment. Test subjects do not know whether they are receiving the active drug or the placebo. Research into the immune system has revealed that the expectations of patients can actually influence their healing processes. Thus, since they expect their medication to work, the placebo may have a therapeutic effect. Clinical trials test active drugs against a control group receiving a placebo to ensure that any positive effects take into account this placebo response. The experimental group must perform significantly better than those taking the placebo for the test drug to be deemed effective.


arthritis, and a 1994 trial of homeopathy for diarrhea in Nicaragua by a US pediatrician, Dr. J. Jacobs. There have also been positive trials on the efficacy of homeopathy on toothaches and teething, including a 1985 French study in Lyon by Dr. P Berthier, and a German study, published in 1994 by Dr. A. Vestweber in Erfahrungsheilkunde.

On the theoretical side, there is ongoing research into finding a scientific explanation for how a homeopathic remedy can be effective when it has been diluted so much that not a single molecule of the remedy's base ingredient is left in the water. However, research suggests that water "remembers" a substance, or leaves a "molecular fingerprint." More work is now being conducted to determine the properties of homeopathic remedies on an energetic or "quantum" level.

An effective alternative

Alongside clinical trials there have been a number of outcome studies that, while not being double-blind and controlled, ask patients about the outcome of their treatment. Outcome studies at the Glasgow Homoeopathic Hospital in Scotland, on patients who had already had unsuccessful conventional treatment for a range of illnesses, including depression, multiple sclerosis, and cancer, reported a significant decrease in their use of conventional medicine. While these studies are not directly clinically controlled, they have great implications, not just for patients' health but also for the financing of medical services. Possible consequences include the use of cheaper medication, a decrease in hospital admissions, and the reduced costs of treating the side-effects of conventional medication. A 1998 report by the Faculty of Homoeopathy in the UK argues that clinical trials consistently demonstrate the benefits of homeopathy in terms of patient care and cost-effectiveness.

In many Western countries there is a public trend away from some aspects of conventional, drug-based medicine, and sympathy with the idea of a more "holistic" way of treating the "whole person." There is growing interest from the medical establishment in exploring the possibility of integrating some complementary therapies, including homeopathy, into their treatment approaches. This is in part due to rising healthcare costs, the alarming side-effects of some medical treatments, and the lack of success in conventionally treating some conditions, such as cancer. If integration is to become a reality, however, high standards of education, practice, and research within homeopathy are needed. Ultimately, the aim is to ensure that homeopathy is being delivered to the public by suitably qualified and regulated practitioners operating according to a strong code of ethics to protect the patient. While there are still clearly key questions as to how homeopathy works, research and experience suggest that it is, as Hahnemann first proposed, safe, gentle, and effective. The active ingredients are given in highly diluted form and homeopathic remedies are virtually 100 percent safe and can be given to babies, pregnant women, and the elderly. Homeopathy integrates well with conventional medicine and can be used in a truly complementary fashion.



Remedies are made by the process of dilution and succussion. Strictly speaking, remedies are not in themselves homeopathic; they become homeopathic only when they are prescribed according to the principle of "like cures like" (see page 18). When the remedy is given accurately and effectively "mirrors"

the patients symptoms (see page 177), it can then be considered to be acting homeopathically. The experience, judgment, and skill of the practitioner are responsible for selecting the appropriate remedy. Remedies are prepared to exact guidelines, but may vary in strength.

Remedy potencies

Hahnemann laid down precise guidelines for the preparation of a homeopathic remedy (see opposite). Measurements and methods were all strictly and scientifically controlled. He also developed a unique process called "potentization," which allowed the full strength, or potency, of the substance to be released into the remedy mixture (see page 19).

The theory of dilution

Many remedies are based on highly active or even poisonous substances. Hahnemann established that remedies needed to be diluted to a very great degree to avoid side-effects. To his surprise he discovered that, paradoxically, the more diluted the remedy, the longer its action, the deeper its effect, and the fewer doses needed. Because the remedies are diluted to such a great degree, it is highly unlikely that even a single molecule of the original substance remains. This means that, although remedies may be based on highly poisonous substances, they are completely safe to use, even on children. However, this is also the main reason why homeopathy is still viewed with such skepticism by many orthodox doctors and scientists (see page 24).

The potency prescribed is gauged by the homeopath according to the condition to be treated, the strength of the patient, and the circumstances. Not only must the remedy given be suitable, but the potency chosen must also be appropriate for the individual.

Scales of dilution

Homeopathic remedies are generally prepared according to one of two scales: the decimal (x) and the centesimal (c).


preparing a potency The mother tincture (see opposite) is usually diluted in a mixture of pure alcohol and distilled water according to one of several scales (see above, right). The ratio of alcohol to water varies depending on the base substance of the mother tincture. To produce a 1c potency,

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