Website editor’s note: The article below discusses a form of homeopathy known as homeoprophylaxis (also spelled homoeoprophylaxis). This form of homoeopathy is intended to prevent, rather than treat, a disease.
This article briefly discusses the history of homeoprophylaxis and gives some examples of how mass homeoprophylaxis campaigns have been successfully used to reduce the risk of infectious disease.
It also discusses the use of homeoprophylaxis as an alternative to standard childhood vaccinations. (This use of homeoprophylaxis is sometimes referred to as “homeopathic immunisation”.) In this regard, while further research would be desirable, homeoprophylaxis represents a promising approach to disease prevention.
Homeoprophylaxis could be especially helpful in low income countries given the low cost of homeopathic remedies and the fact that, unlike standard vaccinations, homeopathic remedies they do not require refrigeration. (The fact that these remedies.do not require refrigeration means that they would also be useful anywhere that a natural disaster has caused significant infrastructure damage.)
Homeoprophylaxis and the Cuban Experience
By Lee-Anne McCall, Dip. Hom (NZ)
What is homeoprophylaxis?
Homeoprophylaxis (HP) is a method in which homeopathic remedy known as a nosode is given to decrease any susceptibility that a client may haves contracting a particular disease. A nosode is a micro- diluted homeopathic preparation of the bacteria that causes the disease or from the matter from a person with that disease. (The microbe – or sample of sputum, saliva etc – from which the remedy is made is heated to sterilise it prior to it being made into the remedy.)
Some people refer to nosodes as “homeopathic vaccinations”. However the purpose of giving a nosode is not to encourage the body to create antibodies in response to the administration of the nosode. The appropriate nosodes have, however, been shown to help protect against infectious disease.
Homeopaths tend to think in terms of susceptibility. Why did one person contract the latest epidemic ‘flu and the other did not? What made that person who became ill susceptible to the disease?
Susceptibility can be from a myriad of causes such as mental and emotional stress or just plain lack of minerals and poor physical health. Often if we can work out what was likely to have made that person susceptible to becoming ill, then that will often narrow down our remedy choice in a chronically ill client who has sought constitutional homeopathic treatment.
A Brief History of Homeoprophylaxis
Homeoprophylaxis differs from constitutional treatment in that we are treating the susceptibility of a client before they have even contracted the disease and therefore helping to prevent them from becoming ill. Homeopaths have been using this method for years. It dates back to 1798 when the founder of homeopathy, Samuel Hahnemann, was treating a child with Belladonna for her complaint, described in his Lesser Writings as “an external affection on the joints of her fingers”. A short time later the entire village became ill with scarlet fever. The child that Hahnemann had treated did not succumb to this epidemic illness.
In homeopathy, Belladonna is used to treat people suffering from symptoms such as high fever, hot, dry, reddened skin etc that are very similar to the symptoms of people who have scarlet fever. Hahnemann reasoned that since the child had already received Belladonna as a remedy, it had strengthened her resistance to the disease, thus preventing her from contracting scarlet fever.
In Lesser Writings Hahnemann goes on to explain how he continued to give Belladonna prophylactically to other children, and those given the remedy prophylatically did not succumb to the disease – even though other children in the same household (who had not been given Belladonna) became ill with scarlet fever.
About a century later, in 1907 Dr Charles W. Eaton wrote a paper called “Variolinum” in which he reported on the effectiveness of homeoprophylaxis in preventing smallpox. In this paper, he reports on the results of physicians in Iowa who used Variolinum 30c to prevent smallpox during the epidemic. The remedy Varolinum is made from “the contents of a ripened pustule of smallpox”. These are some of the figures reported in Dr Eaton’s paper:
Of 2806 people who were given the remedy Variolinum 30c, 547 were definitely exposed to smallpox thereafter, and 14 developed small pox. He calculated the effectiveness of Varolinum as being 97.5%. Dr Eaton’s original paper may be read at this link: http://www.whale.to/v/eaton.html
For over 80 years, French people have been taking the homeopathic remedy Oscillococcinum (which is made from the heart and liver of a duck, a bird species that is known to be a reservoir of influenza viruses) at the beginning and during the flu season. This remedy is well known in France as helping to prevent people from becoming victims of the latest influenza virus doing the rounds. (Oscillococcinum has also been the subject of a clinical trial of its efficacy in treating influenza, which found that it was superior to placebo. Younger patients and those who were less ill responded best. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2125.1989.tb05373.x/abstract )
Leptospirosis and the Monsoon Season in Cuba
Leptospirosis is caused by strains of the bacteria Leptospira spp. It is mainly carried by animals. Transmission to humans is through contact with the urine of infected animals. The disease has many symptoms in common with meningitis, hepatitis, myocarditis, mastitis and multi-organ failure. It is normally severe in tropical regions and in developing countries. While it can be treated with antibiotics, in some cases it is fatal.
In Cuba there is an epidemic outbreak of leptospirosis each year during the monsoon season when it rains so much that pools of water become contaminated with rat urine. The months of October, November and December are when the highest incidences of leptospirosis occurs in the population. There are three regions in particular that suffer a higher incidence rate due to the higher rate of hurricanes and rainfall there.
In 2007 these three regions were badly affected by severe hurricane which caused infrastructure damage. Incidence of the disease was spiking. Due to the infrastructure being compromised, the normal conventional vaccine was unable to be rolled out at this time. The number of cases of leptospirosis in November 2007 in this region was 96. This was much higher than the 26 case of the year before.
Faced with these difficulties, the Cuban government and the Findlay Institute (a World Health Organisation vaccine manufacturer) commenced a homeoprophylaxis programme in November 2007, in week 45 of the year. This was only conducted in the three most severely affected regions. By Week 47, the incidence of leptospirosis cases had dropped dramatically in these three regions but not in the rest of Cuba where people had not received the HP program. The cases recorded in December 2007 of leptospirosis for the three regions were 33. This is compared with 56 cases in November for the rest of Cuba and almost double that for December at 101 cases.
The most interesting thing was that in 2008 the HP programme was repeated in the three regions that had received the 2007 programme. This time a much higher potency homeopathic dose was given and the incidence of the disease in those regions in November of that year was eight cases, while in December there were nine cases. This compares to the rest of Cuba which had 43 cases in November and 68 in December.
(Graphs showing the impact of the HP programme on reducing the impact of leptospirosis infections may be viewed at http://hpathy.com/homeopathy-papers/homoeopathic-immunisation-against-leptospirosis-in-cuba/. )
This is clear evidence that homeoprophylaxis is an efficient way to preventing disease. This programme and consequent study of the statistical evidence was undertaken by scientists, not homeopaths. Dr Bracho and the Findlay Institute were responsible for this and the Findlay Institute is now continuing to research HP in diseases such as Hepatitis A and Dengue Fever.
Other Applications of Homeoprophylaxis
Homeoprophylaxis is a very real alternative to vaccines. It works very differently but has clear results. Dr Isaac Golden, an Australian homeopath, who is a leading proponent of homeoprophylaxis, was invited to Cuba in 2008 to help review the statistical results from the Cuban study. He has been using HP since 1985 with his clients to help prevent the childhood diseases and to provide an alternative immunisation programme for parents who do not want their children to have standard vaccinations. Dr Golden has kept careful statistics which show that children who have had this intervention have excellent health outcomes. http://www.homstudy.net/Research/Isaac-Golden-Research.pdf
When I was researching HP to use in my clinic, I was struck by the following statement by Dr Isaac Golden when referring to the “hygiene hypothesis”. The hygiene hypothesis says that a child’s immune system will be assisted to mature when they have some of the infectious childhood diseases.
“…It can be argued that if the stimulation caused by an infectious disease is beneficial, then the similar stimulation on the subtle level provided by the HP remedies will be similarly beneficial, but without the risks sometimes associated with either the natural disease or the vaccine.” – Dr Isaac Golden, PhD
2) Hahnemann, Dr. S; Lesser Writings ; 1801
3) Golden, Dr. Issac: The Complete Practitioner’s Manual of Homoeoprophylaxis, 2012
About the Author:
Lee-Anne McCall Dip Hom (NZ) is a homeopath whose website is www.healinghaven.co.nz. She is a regular contributor to The NZ Journal of Natural Medicine.
About The NZ Journal of Natural Medicine:
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