Samuel Christian Friedrich Hahnemann (1755‐1843) was a German physician, born in Meissen, who discovered what he believed to be the key to curing the sick while translating a Scottish medical book in the early 1800’s. His formulation of a fundamental law of healing, called the law of similars, stated that a patient will be cured by a medicinal substance producing the same disease symptoms in a healthy person. Hahnemann died at the age of eighty‐eight in 1843. Since then the scientific basis of homoeopathic medicine has been both enlarged and refined. But Hahnemann’s writings still remain the ultimate authority on its doctrines and practice, and of all his works the Organon gives the key to his ideas.
The first edition of the Organon in 1810 therefore gave an entirely new perspective on what was then regarded as conventional treatment, but attracted immense criticism from the orthodox medicine practitioners of that time, since it competed with what was then relied upon as mainstream medical practice.
Experiments by Hahnemann gave him the insight to discover the fundamental basis of homoeopathy, viz., the Law of Similars (“Like Cures Like”). Discouraged from allopathic medicine by his displeasure of using harmful substances for medicines, Hahnemann experimented on himself, firstly with Peruvian Bark (Cinchona), thereby substantiating the characteristic symptoms of Peruvian Bark poisoning. From this discovery, Hahnemann developed the ‘Law of Similars’, noticing that small doses of a particular substance given to a healthy individual would produce symptoms in that person that would be a reflection of the actual symptoms seen in a person suffering from a condition related to that substance (similar terminology used in the Australian Therapeutic Goods Legislation).
For example, a person poisoned by Belladonna (Atropa belladonna), Deadly Nightshade, a plant containing the alkaloids ‘hyoscyamine’ and ‘atropine’, would present with severe fever, exhaustion, mydriasis, and hallucinations. These very same symptoms might appear in a healthy person to whom Belladonna was administered in a small homoeopathic dose. And it is from experiments such as these that the original “provings” were obtained. This greatly differed from herbal medicine experiments since no similar proving could properly be undertaken. Some homoeopathic provings dealt with serial dilutions of very poisonous and dangerous substances from which they were initially derived. The danger, however, does not subsist once the diluted preparation has been made. This is one of the greatest contentious issues of homoeopathic medicine because it is difficult for some people to comprehend the concept of ‘vibrational’ or ‘resonance’ healing.
For Hahnemann, the substances that he used were serially diluted to an extent where virtually nothing of the active ingredients were present in the final formulation being administered, and therefore no consequential poisoning occurred, even if the overt symptoms of the relevant poisoning might have been evident in a particular person. But that is the accepted nature of the homoeopathic remedy. If the same were to apply to poisonous plants prepared without serial dilution, the result would be extremely dangerous, and in some cases obviously potentially fatal.
The originating substances or mother tinctures of some homoeopathic remedies are indeed quite poisonous. However, after numerous serial dilutions, where nothing of the original substance remains, the remedy has none of the active ingredients contained in the starting materials. All that will remain is the ‘resonance’ of the remedy, and it is that resonance that leads to improvement. This is the main reason why some people have difficulty in accepting the efficacy of homoeopathic remedy preparations, and indeed homoeopathy itself.
However, accepting that not all plants and natural substances are harmless by any means, caution and circumspection must be exercised when prescribing herbal treatment, for instance, even though poisonous herbs are not used. Homoeopathic remedies, on the other hand, are generally regarded as quite safe if no active ingredients of the original substances are present in the final formulations to be dispensed, although a completely wrong application may not necessarily be useful or beneficial in any event.
HOMOEOPATHIC PREPARATION NOMENCLATURES
The standard and traditional format for the nomenclature of a homoeopathic remedy is to adopt the Latin or botanical name of the substance that is used for its mother tincture, followed by the dilution level and relevant scale, for instance, Lycopodium 6x; Lycopodium 30C; Belladonna 12x or Belladonna 9C. Notably, some remedies are made from substances other than plants or mother tinctures and the dilutions must be extensive.
Homoeopathic preparations are generally derived from their originating mother tinctures after serial dilution (and ‘potentisation’). The nomenclature scale of recognition that is used throughout homoeopathy reflects the dilution levels of a particular homoeopathic preparation (i.e. the “homoeopathic”).
In homoeopathy there are two main scales of serial dilution, the “x” [or “D”] scale and the “C” scale. A homoeopathic preparation bearing the suffix “x” (e.g. 1x, 2x, 6x, etc) is greatly different from that bearing the suffix “C” (e.g. 1C, 2C, 6C, 30C, etc). In simplistic terms, the “x” scale relates to 10, whereas the “C” (centesimal) scale relates to 100, as will be seen immediately below.
The “X” or “D” Scales of Serial Dilution
Ethyl alcohol or distilled water can be used in the preparation of homoeopathic remedies. Therefore, if 1 drop of a mother tincture is mixed with 9 drops of either alcohol or distilled water, this produces a 1x dilution of the formulation (i.e. 1 plus 9 = 10). A 2x solution is then determined by adding 1 drop of the already prepared 1x solution to another 9 drops of the alcohol or distilled water.
A 3x solution takes the already prepared 2x solution and 1 drop of the 2x is added to a further 9 drops of the alcohol or distilled water. The process continues until the desired level of serial dilution is achieved, according to the numerical value to be attributed to the serial dilution of the preparation as required.
The “C” (Centesimal Scale of Serial Dilution)
The process of serial dilution to the “C” scale is the same as that of the “x” scale except that instead of using 9 drops of alcohol or distilled water one uses 99 drops (1 + 99 = 100); this makes a 1C preparation. Therefore, a 2C dilution will be determined by adding 1 drop of an already made 1C preparation to a further 99 drops of alcohol or distilled water.
This process continues until the desired level of centesimal serial dilution is achieved. A 3C serial dilution will therefore reflect a serial dilution of 1 part in 1 million (i.e. 100 x 100 x 100).
If, however, a homoeopathic is seen as designated by the letters LM, then that signifies that it has been subjected to a serial dilution of 1:50,000. In serial dilutions, the particular preparation is shaken vigorously at each level that it is made, generally regarded as the effect of ‘potentisation’ of the homoeopathic remedy. If other forms of homoeopathic preparations are made, for example, globules or pills, they will have been immersed in the prepared liquid serial dilution, and then either actually dried or merely allowed to dry.
Notably, the greater the serial dilution, the more ‘potent’ the preparation will be regarded. When one speaks of the ‘minute’ or ‘minimal’ composition of a homoeopathic remedy being administered, the whole concept of the “minimal dose” becomes easier to understand if, for example, 1 drop of the remedy is prescribed twice per day.
But with the concept of ‘minimal dose’ also comes the attraction for some to criticize the possibilities of its efficacy in healing or as part of any scientifically based method of treatment, since the final homoeopathic preparation contains virtually nothing of the original substance from which it was derived. However, the beneficial results obtained from homoeopathic remedies are too frequently seen to properly discount their efficacy in health and healing. Many countries, such as Germany, Indian, Sri Lanka, France, Australia, New Zealand, and the United states are well known for their healing advances by the use of homoeopathic preparations.
HOMOEOPATHIC PHILOSOPHIES IN PRACTICE
With regard to the science of homoeopathy, Vithoulkas remarked that attainment of health exists as an essential prerequisite to the attainment of the fundamental objective in life, namely, unconditional happiness, thereby enabling individuals to attain the highest evolutionary states. (Vithoulkas, 1980, at 8)
However, the world in which we live vastly differs from that of previous centuries, and each country has its own unique cultures and healing specifications. The attainment of ‘happiness’ in life is for some reflected by the perceived need for an abundance of wealth, sometimes at the expense of good health. This may be in the hope that wealth and happiness will travel along the same path. But in times of natural disasters, where all physical possessions are lost, wealth has very little significance when placed against survival and improved health. Money and possessions have little value when there is neither food nor shelter available to purchase. Yet, when disaster passes and normality returns, the need for some wealth becomes apparent and people must fend for themselves. In health, however, when childhood ends and adult decisions are made individually, there is never any donated assistance in that regard; each must decide alone what fundamental path one’s health is to take.
CULTURES, ENVIRONMENTS, AND IDIOSYNCRASIES
To re-establish the health of an individual is the primary objective of a practitioner, but to achieve it practitioners must understand the nature of a human being and, most of all, the construction and functions of that human being. The construction is not difficult to see since it is mainly based on anatomy, physiology, and biochemistry. But the laws and principles that govern human function in health and disease (Vithoulkas, 1980, at 13) is what Vithoulkas regards as crucial for the essential understanding of the professional practitioner. Without this knowledge, the practitioner may possibly flounder.
Human life, whether in a healthy or diseased state, will to some extent be a slave to the immediate environment in which a person is living. However slavery is not in the psyche of rational humans, and they learn to adapt to their environment, co‐existing in harmony with their world, if they can. Regrettably, other humans located many miles away can seriously affect a singular environment, sometimes on the other side of the world where pollution reigns supreme and particular economic progress rarely falters. Yet still the human species learns to adapt even to that. There are major differences between Inuit Eskimos living in the Northern hemisphere and tribal Indians living in the remote forests of Brazil, for instance.
In such extreme examples, all must adapt according to their immediate environmental surroundings. Consequently, diet is a major consideration, since it will have a marked effect on the physiology of those who reside there, as will weather and temperature. Similarly, remedies fit for people of one culture may not be entirely appropriate for people of another culture. Although, for instance, Ayurvedic medicines may be entirely appropriate for those living in India and nearby countries, they are perhaps less likely to be well received by the Eskimos of the North. Chinese herbal medicines may also be in the same bracket when taken by western inhabitants. With similar reasoning, western herbs may not be suitable for an Asian culture, and its people may not respond as well to western herbal preparations. It therefore follows that an immediate environment can certainly affect the health of its residents. For someone to adopt the nutritional or medicinal patterns of other cultures may cause discomfort in a body that is not used to dramatic changes in foodstuffs or medicines derived from foreign parts of the world. Even the Tao would suggest that food and medicine derived locally is more beneficial.
Recalling the principles of ‘horary periods’ in traditional Chinese medicine, although they may well be equal as to time, they are not necessarily equal as to effect in so far as night and day are concerned. In areas close to the North Pole, darkness falls quickly at some time of the year, and for long periods. In the Brazilian rain forests, heat becomes intense, as it does in the deserts of North Africa. Therefore, in all these cases, adjustments have to be made. In the more affluent of Western societies, these adjustments are often regarded as too difficult to make, or otherwise rarely contemplated.
Vithoulkas maintains that a disturbance in the body is always to be viewed as an imbalance in the body’s ability to manage internal and external influences. (see Vithoulkas, 1980, at 15) In this respect, some of the external influences are well described in traditional Chinese medicine as, for example, “spleen damp”, “liver wind”, “cold in the stomach”, “heat in the intestines”, and so on. Consequently, both internal and external influences should be assessed in any diagnostic protocol.
One must recall that a person, even without being aware of it, is always acting through the mental, emotional, and physical planes, and to varying extent, a spiritual plane also. Therefore, how patients attempt to overcome illness or dysfunctions, and how they cope with them, are also very relevant considerations. What individual decisions they have made to alter lifestyle, change diet, or access medication, is vital information for the practitioner. Whatever it is that patients have previously done in order to overcome their illnesses should never be derided or criticised.
UNDERSTANDING DISEASE STATES IN HOMOEOPATHY
But the most important mental aspect of a human being is “understanding and consciousness”. (Vithoulkas, 1980, at 25) If people “understand” their illness and are fully “conscious” of its manifestations then they are more likely to adopt the necessary treatment protocols to rectify the particular dysfunctions that flow from it. On the mental plane, understanding and consciousness can calm the mind, reduce the worry, and settle the nerves.
Vithoulkas sees the mental and spiritual aspects of a person as his or her true essence, with youth having altered physical and mental capacities from exposure to “suppressive therapies” (cf. Vithoulkas, 1980, at 25/27). Arising from ‘broken ambitions’ and ‘broken attachments’, Vithoulkas further sees a need to meditate on the “source of mental and emotional suffering. (Vithoulkas, 1980, at 29)
With the same line of thought, Swami Niranjananda Saraswati, at a Satsang held at the Satyananda Ashram, Munger, India in 2006 spoke of the mind and its wanderings being overwhelmed by memories of the past and thoughts of the future. With the pendulum of the mind swinging one’s thoughts constantly from one extremity to the other, as he explained, then never will the pendulum be allowed to stop at the centre of “now”, releasing the mind and its mental confusions. However, with yoga, meditation, and other relaxing practices, a calmer mind can be achieved, with mental stress greatly reduced.
For Vithoulkas, the practical application of the ‘functional hierarchy’ of the Cosmos and the laws that would govern their interactions had immense importance in understanding the true nature of disease in the human body. Seeing some similarity between the climatic condition of the heavens and the human body, Vithoulkas remarked that there is a ‘hierarchy’ evident in humans where a small area of damage to the brain will have considerably greater effect than a similar area of damage on the skin. The extent of the disease will be determined by the entirety of the disturbance existing on all three levels [Mental/Spiritual; Emotional/Psychic; Physical]. (Vithoulkas, 1980, at 38)
In their practical application, the three levels (or planes) of the ‘hierarchical construction’ spoken of by Vithoulkas are not always easily discernible. Nonetheless, what he refers to as the “center of gravity” (Vithoulkas, 1980, at 38) of a condition is, to my mind, basically what can be regarded as the most prominent level of disturbance giving rise to the manifestation of the outward signs of dysfunction. Applied to a very simple example, constant worrying on an emotional or mental level can easily give rise to nervous irritability manifesting in stomach disorders and producing pain. But the stomach is not the originating cause of the stomach disorder. Even so, the real cause is also not the worry itself but the “root” of the worry, namely, the actual “reason” for the worrying (i.e. why it came about and what prompted it). So the stomach becomes the place where the pain appears to reside; the nerves in response produce the sensation of pain in the stomach; the worrying affects the stomach that produced the disturbance giving rise to the experience of pain; and the “reason” for the worrying in the first place [i.e. the ‘root’ of the worry; thought processes of impending disaster, financial ruin, fear of the future, memories of the past, etc] started off the whole episode that finally culminated in the stomach dysfunction.
With this scenario, one might expect that if the original reason for the final manifested result is removed or relieved, the chain of causational events would also be expected to desist, and the pain would dissipate. In a simple world this may be true, because in all reality the stomach may not have required any treatment at all in the short term. This is because the ‘centre of gravity’ was not just on the physical plane, but also on the mental/emotional plane. Had the worrying continued for a lengthy period of time (maybe even some years), the stomach might become damaged to a point where it actually required positive treatment, e.g. if a stomach ulcer develops. In this respect, the actual last‐occurring cause is seen as the ‘causa causans’.
The stomach disorder is therefore regarded as the ‘tertiary causa sine qua non’; the worry itself is the ‘secondary causa sine qua non’; and the actual reason for the worry is the ‘primary causa sine qua non’. And even if the stomach improves to a degree because it is compelled to respond to a forced treatment, the real underlying problem will still be resident. It is that underlying circumstance that becomes of great interest to the practitioner because other organ dysfunctions may follow the stomach disorder.
It is also the several ‘causae sine qua non’ that will be most relevant here, because the physical manifestation of the stomach disorder will only be a reflection of the emotional/mental disturbance from which it arose. This simple example indicates that the human body and its components do not operate in isolation, but act as an integrated and whole organism. Just as liver cells unite to form the liver, so also do kidney cells unite to form a kidney. Cells that unite to form a particular component are directed to the functions attributed to that component. If these cells are defective, then so also will the organ to which they are bound be defective. Mental and emotional disturbances can frequently be attributed to those defects.
The duty of the ‘liver’ is vastly different from the duty of the ‘heart’, whilst that of the ‘lung’ is different from that of the ‘bladder’. The various ‘tissues’ of the body are designed to perform different ‘functions’ according to their location and composition. Therefore, when function is disaffected or compromised, it is to the tissues of the relevant body component that one should look. If defective in any way, the ‘function’ attributed to them will be incompetent. If the integrity of the body as a whole from its first point of conception is reflected in the body that emerges from its mother, then the primordial layers of the ‘ectoderm’, ‘endoderm’ and ‘mesoderm’ lines from which the human organism develops will reveal the solidarity of that integrity. Damage at this early stage of life carries through to birth and beyond; errors at any stage of development possibly consigning to that body a burden of considerable magnitude in time to come. Yet, every life form has an energy force, whether it is the ‘vital force’ spoken of by Vithoulkas, and described by him as “electrodynamic vibrations” (Vithoulkas, 1980, at 78), the ‘Qi’ identified by the ancient Chinese philosophers, or the ‘prana’ of yoga the philosophies. And it is this vital energy force, constantly fluctuating in intensity, which provides strength or weakness in the human body.
An illness that has arisen, or a disease that has set in, indicates that the vibration rate has altered. In this respect, once vibrations (i.e. the “resonant frequencies”) (Vithoulkas, 1980, at 80) have altered, the body’s defence processes are then implemented. The main purpose of the homoeopathic practitioner in these circumstances is to select a homoeopathic remedy that matches the vibration of the illness or disease, as determined by analysis of a person’s entire holistic symptomatology.
Once given, the remedy will assist the body to resume its vital force to eradicate the dysfunction by operating beneficially on all three planes, mental, emotional, and physical. It is a person’s holistic symptomatology, not the isolated symptoms, that directs the homoeopathic physician towards the correct choice of remedy. Vithoulkas maintains that since the activity of the defence mechanism originates on the dynamic plane, it is more logical as a therapeutic approach to enhance and strengthen that level, thereby increasing the effectiveness of one’s own healing process (Vithoulkas, 1980, at 89). So, in order to produce lasting curative results, there is a need to increase the intensity of the electromagnetic field of the particular therapeutic agent used, or to put it another way, he says, to liberate the energy contained within the agent in a way that makes it more accessible for interaction with the dynamic plane of the human organism (Vithoulkas, 1980, at 101).
If the defence mechanism is weak, he points out, or the stimulus powerful, the vibration rate will stay altered, with the organism unable to find its resilience to return to its original state alone. It is for that reason that substances are potentized so that they can strengthen the dynamic level. They are then prescribed according to the Law of Similars so as to take advantage of the principle of resonance between that therapeutic agent and the resulting vibration level of the organism. (Vithoulkas, 1980, at 106)
Predisposition to chronic disease states were identified by Hahnemann, described by what are termed miasms, namely, ‘psoric’, ‘syphilitic’ and ‘sychosis’. Vithoulkas explains Hahnemann’s description of the three basic miasms, namely by referring to the underlying causes of chronic disease.
In any given person, there might be a single miasm, or any combination of miasms. (Vithoulkas, 1980, at 125) For Vithoulkas, a most important contribution of Hahnemann’s exploration into miasms was the idea that there are existing layers of predisposition that underlie the “waxing and waning of temporary ailments”, layers that must be accounted for in treatments that intend to complete a cure (Vithoulkas, 1980, at 127). For Vithoulkas, homeopathic treatment must therefore continue until all layers of predisposition are removed. (Vithoulkas, 1980, at 128)
The Concept of Resonant Frequency
In homoeopathic practice, it is often seen that an improvement in health occurs shortly after treatment, only to be followed some time after with an apparent relapse. It is not uncommon for a patient to feel worse, but with a different feeling of unwellness. However, this can be explained by the person first having a layer of predisposition to disease removed, yet also having an underlying layer subsequently emerge in lieu, and then presenting with further symptoms commensurate with the underlying layer that has then emerged. Yet even under these circumstances the homoeopathic physician should not be discouraged, but continue with appropriate treatment until the entire matter resolves.
In homoeopathy, Vithoulkas explains illnesses and diseases having different ‘resonant frequencies’. (Vithoulkas, 1980, at 92/93) If, therefore, the correct homoeopathic remedy having the same resonant frequency of a disease is given to a person ‐ the resonant frequency of the remedy and that of the disease being the same – the disease no longer manifests because both ‘resonate’ with each other. In order to directly affect the dynamic plane and produce ‘resonance’, Vithoulkas says, one must find a similar enough substance to the resultant frequency of the dynamic plane in order to produce that resonance. (Vithoulkas, 1980, at 91)
Hering’s Law of Cure
Constantine Hering was a German Homoeopath, who emigrated to the USA (circa 1830). He regarded healing processes as consistently occurring in a certain pattern. From that curative pattern of events, he described what is now known as ‘Hering’s Law of Cure’. In some respects his ‘Law of Cure’ can be compared to the ‘invasion’
principles of traditional Chinese medicine, where organs are penetrated in a certain order, commencing superficially, and then penetrating to the deeper organs, i.e. a description of the “penetration order”.
In homoeopathy, patients will often experience the effects of Hering’s Law after treatment, but without fully comprehending their occurrence as a beneficial ‘healing crisis’ (as it has become known), regarding their additional symptoms as another entirely different ailment. The additional ailment that they perceive is however regarded as the body’s way of systematically bringing about healing via the many layers of health restoration that are required to effect the ultimate eradication of the original disability or condition. Nonetheless, Hering’s law is not only confined to homoeopathic principles, but is also adverted to by naturopaths, herbalists, and other natural health practitioners practising other modalities.
In Hering’s view, and upon which his ‘Law of Cure’ was established, healing will progress from the deeper aspects of the body to the more superficial, for instance, the skin, limbs or extremities of the body. Then, as the order of healing progresses, symptoms will appear in a chronological order but completely opposite to the order in which they originally appeared. The effect of this progression is that some symptoms can often be remembered by a patient as having occurred at a time previously experienced, sometimes many years before.
Additionally, according to Hering’s Law, healing progression will be identified as occurring from the superior parts of the body to the inferior parts. Upper body symptoms appear to resolve but concomitantly producing a condition in the lower body.
Therefore, put in a ‘macadamia nutshell’, and not necessarily in the order that Hering offered his findings, nor its simplicity, after treatment one might experience:
Vithoulkas identified the hierarchy of organs in homoeopathic philosophy, namely the “hierarchy of organs in the physical body based upon their importance to the organism”, and placed them in the following order: 1. Brain; 2. Heart; 3. Pituitary Gland; 4. Liver; 5. Lungs; 6. Kidneys; 7. Testes/Ovaries; 8. Vertebrae; 9. Muscles. (Vithoulkas, 1980, at 36) As he explained, it allows a practitioner to understand the direction in which a disease state will take, and the dysfunctional progress that it will make. If a disease progresses upwards in the hierarchy, it is not travelling in a beneficial direction. If it progresses downwards, from brain toward muscles, there is a clear indication of improvement. (see Vithoulkas, 1980, at 36)
Ailment progression is not only an important landmark for determining the direction in which healing is taking place, but also a similar landmark for identifying that healing is not being effected, and that the ‘healing crisis’ as witnessed ‐ so often suspected of being beneficial ‐ may actually be a warning that a condition in a superior hierarchical position might be emerging. If after treatment of any sort a ‘healing crisis’ occurs in an organ or body system in a ‘higher level’, then one might suspect that the treatment is mis‐positioned or inappropriate. For example, if treatment for a condition of the kidneys (the 6th hierarchy organ level identified by Vithoulkas) produces a liver dysfunction (the 4th hierarchy organ level), the anticipated downward healing progression is viewed as not yet occurring. If seen to be produced in a lower level, favourable results are likely to be occurring.
With symptoms, sometimes patients often feel great improvement for a while, only to feel worse shortly after. Therefore, believing that they are suffering from a relapse or a different ailment, unrelated to the condition for which they first sought treatment, they undertake further treatment for the perceived additional problem without fully realizing the occurrence of the subsequent symptoms then being experienced. However, these circumstances should not discourage continuance of the homoeopathic treatment. If, though, suppressive synthetic medication is taken, the disease state may be entrenched without resolution, resulting in further illness.