Sunday, July 22, 2012

You Ask
What is Homeopathy ?

Homeopathy was founded by Dr. Christian Friedrich Samuel Hahnemann, more familiarly known as Samuel Hahnemann.  Hahnemann was born in Meissen, Saxony Germany April 10, 1755 and died in Paris France July 2, 1843.

He was trained as a conventional medical doctor who, over time, became appalled by the methods engaged by the medical profession of his time, which seemed to kill more patients rather than heal them.  After experimenting on himself with Quinine, an alkaloid derived from Cinchona bark, he discovered that Quinine was able to cure the symptoms of Malaria due to the fact that it could cause the same symptoms as Malaria, when given repeatedly to healthy people.

Hahnemann's first principle of homeopathy was Similia similibus curantur, meaning, likes are cured by likes, which was an idea that Hippocrates and Paracelsus both observed centuries before. This theory was completely opposed to the philosophy of the medical profession which was based on contraria contrariis curantur or opposites are cured by opposites, in other words, fight disease by using medicine, which produces effects opposite to the effects produced by the disease.

 The term homeopathy comes from the Greek homoios ("similar") and pathos ("suffering" or "sickness"). 

The next logical step for Hahnemann was to conduct further experiments to validate his first principle, by testing a multitude of substances made from animal secretions and venoms,  plant roots and flowers, and minerals.  The term used for this process is "Provings".  Homeopaths  "prove" remedies on numbers of healthy people, known as provers, and collate the results.  The symptoms, experienced by most of the provers for one substance, are recorded in our materia medica.  A materia medica is a reference work listing remedies and their therapeutic actions, and used clinically to address similar symptoms in ailing people.

Homeopathic remedies are prepared by a controlled process of successive dilutions alternating with succussion i.e. strong shaking, until the resulting medicine or remedy, contains no recordable molecules of the original substance, creating an infinitesimal potency.  This is known as The Law of Potentization. 

Homeopaths treat the patient according to their symptoms rather than treating based on the name of a disease.  In other words, a patient comes in complaining of a headache, conventional medicine would likely prescribe a headache pain reliever, whereas a homeopath will ask many questions about the modalities, i.e., What does the pain feel like?, When is the pain worse?, Where exactly is the pain?, What makes it better or worse?

That said, a well trained homeopath is also educated in the sciences of Anatomy and Physiology,
and Pathology.  Homeopaths treat the person as a whole person rather than separating their mental aspects from their physical aspects; or focusing only on the chief complaint being presented. A homeopath wants to know how is this person, sitting in front of me, experiencing eczema, anxiety, or asthma differently from anyone else suffering from the a similar ailment.  We don't only want to know the patient has a cold, but how are they experiencing this particular cold.  Or if they have a phobia, what is characteristic to the way they experience it compared to the way anyone else experiences fears or phobias. [Please refer to my previous article "Strange Rare Peculiar" on this blog for greater detail at].

A Classical or Hahnemannian Homeopath, such as myself, prescribes one remedy at a time, and does not suggest anyone use "combination remedies", i.e. numerous remedies combined in one bottle, and labeled as "Cold Remedy", "Headache Remedy" etc. The problem with "combination remedies" is that if there is an improvement, or worse, an aggravation from it, we cannot know the offending ingredient. Or, if there is an improvement we cannot know which remedy was responsible. The worst drawback from taking a "combination remedy" is that if it is taken repeatedly, and one of the substances causes a "proving" we do not know which remedy caused it.  The indiscriminate mixing of these substances to make the combination will often include remedies that cancel or antidote each other.  "Combination Remedies" are manufactured, with the idea to "simplify" the choosing of a remedy for those unfamiliar with homeopathic case taking.  The often negative consequences and or additional symptoms resulting from their use, are not easily resolved.

The question is often asked, "Are homeopathic remedies placebos?".  Even though there may be placebo results from using homeopathic remedies, there is no question that homeopathy is effective in treating babies or animals, neither of which can be included under the heading of placebo effect when their presenting symptoms are resolved.  A baby or an animal cannot say, "Since my mother gave me something to make me feel better, I do!  There are well designed clinical and laboratory studies on the effectiveness of homeopathic treatment, many published in both conventional medical journals and complimentary medical journals, proving that positive results after taking a homeopathic remedy are not due to the Placebo Effect.

When you visit a homeopath for the first time, the initial interview may last between one to two hours.  This enables the homeopath to get a full picture of the person, what makes them unique from other people mentally, emotionally, physically, and how they have responded to stress and illness in their life. We need to understand what events in the person's life preceded their illness,  how the symptoms have progressed, and to understand how their vital force has or is already attempting to heal itself.  The uniqueness of the patient and symptoms leads us to the remedy that stimulates the vital force to further heal the disharmony of the patient.

The relationship between homeopath and patient is a true partnership in healing.  A big part of the job of the homeopath is to educate rather than commandeer the patient.  

Good Health,

© Lynn Cremona 2012, all rights reserved.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

First Aid Kit - Arnica

In my first installment "Summertime Black and Blues" to this bog , I introduced a number of  homeopathic first aid remedies.  Now I would like to share a little more about each of those homeopathic remedies and then expand that list to include additional remedies that can be used in a first aid kit for the home or travel.

The first remedy is probably the one known to many people, even those not familiar with homeopathy:

Arnica Montana
aka: Leopard's Bane, Wolf's Bane, Mountain Daisy and Bruisewort
Hikers in mountainous, arid regions have seen this little mountain daisy growing in abundance.
Although it is toxic if ingested in its natural state, it is very effective when used as either an ointment and rubbed on sore bruised muscles.  Once the Arnica root is made into a homeopathic remedy it is well known for relieving the muscle soreness of athletes as well as bruising and internal bleeding from injuries.  Arnica should never be topically applied to open wounds, as it will irritate the skin.

© Lynn Cremona 2012, all rights reserved.

The information on this Web site is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. 

Monday, July 16, 2012

Summertime Black and Blues

Some Remedies For  Weekend Warriors
Lynn Cremona

Injuries with swelling and aching, soreness, and pain feels bruised or beaten; injury to male genitals; injuries from blows, including from blunt instruments, which cause much bleeding. Bruises to soft sensitive parts of flesh or muscle; black and blue marks (it repairs damaged blood vessels and reduces swelling); blood blisters after an injury.

Sports injuries and weakness while and after playing sports, work-outs or exercising; wrenched muscle.

Sprains that are very painful particularly of the ankles and wrists; with pain; with bruising; also from over-exertion

Shock and Trauma to the whole system after traumatic injury; 1st remedy given in accidents and injury (especially traumatic).

Head Injuries concussion, contusion, unconscious.
Headaches from shock or injury; concussions to base of spine forgetful, memory loss and amnesia caused by a head injury; meningitis when symptoms start after a head injury.

Arnica can be taken before and after a physical workout to prevent straining.

Sprains that feel contracted as from elastic band around joint; sprains with great soreness.  Ligament injury; sprains with Injury to Muscles and muscular soreness. Joints are sore. Good for old laborers especially gardeners; pain down the front of  thighs.

Sprains to ankle with damage to joint ligaments in which the joints feel hot, painful, swollen, stiff, with redness; sprain to muscles and tendons from lifting.

Faintness caused by the shock of an injury with intolerable nerve pains and inflammation,  deep wounds, with shooting pains which shoots up from the injury.  Sprains, Strains & Sports Injuries.  Sprains and Strains with severe pain and inflammation. Also male genital injuries with nerve pain.

Sprains when the joints are swollen, cold and numb, but cold applications do not relieve.

Strains to muscles, tendons and ligaments, with painful swollen joints, skin red swollen, symptoms worse at night. Strains from lifting, with residual stiffness and rheumatic pain.

Sprains with lameness after an ankle sprain; sprained with dislocated feeling; foot turns under from weak ankle.

Strains  brought on from over lifting heavy weights, strains in weight-lifters, overtraining or overexertion but principally confined to tendons and fibers tissue; of the flexor tendons especially; flexor tendons that are over trained by exertion.

Bruises that go away slowly and leave a hardened spot;  a knotty nodular condition that remains sore;
a lump in the muscle that has existed for months or years; sensitive and sore and nodular.

Blows from blunt instruments, that cause black and blue marks; injury to hard parts that are penetrating to perineum and bones.

© Lynn Cremona 2012, all rights reserved.

The information on this Web site is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. 

Strange Rare Peculiar

Strange Rare and Peculiar
Striking, Exceptional, Unusual, And Oddly Characteristic 
Lynn Cremona

As translated by various editors:
Dudgeon (1849) Striking, Singular, Uncommon, Peculiar...
Wesselhoeft (1876): Prominent, Uncommon, Peculiar...
Fincke (1895): Special, Uncommon, Peculiar...
Kunzli (1980): Striking, Strange, Unusual, Peculiar...
Decker/O’Reilly (1998): Striking, Exceptional, Unusual, Odd...
These are all are followed by the note “(characteristic)” as written by Hahnemann.

The chief (characteristic) signs are those symptoms that are most constant, most striking, and most annoying to the patient. The physician marks them down as the strongest, the principal features of the picture.

We record the striking characteristics of the disease state in an individual patient.
The strikingly characteristic symptoms tell you the nature of the disease state as well as the homoeopathic remedy.

from the Organon, O'Reilly translation:
In the search for a homoeopathically specific remedy, that is, in the comparison of the complex of the natural disease signs with the symptoms set of the available medicines (in order to find among them an artificial disease potence that corresponds in similarity to the malady to be cured) the more STRIKING, EXCEPTIONAL, UNUSUAL, AND ODD (characteristic) signs and symptoms OF THE DISEASE CASES are to be especially and almost solely kept in view. THESE, ABOVE ALL, MUST CORRESPOND TO VERY SIMILAR ONES IN THE SYMPTOMS SET OF THE MEDICINE  SOUGHT if it is be the most fitting one for cure. The more common and indeterminate symptoms (lack of appetite, headache, lassitude, restless sleep, discomfort, etc.) are to be seen with almost every disease and medicine and thus observe little attention unless they are mostly closely characterized.”

It is the striking, exceptional, unusual, and odd [strange, rare and peculiar] (characteristic) signs and symptoms of vital force that are characteristic of the disease in the human constitution.

The more common and vague symptoms (lack of appetite, headache, lassitude, restless sleep, discomfort, etc.) are to be seen with almost every disease and medicine and thus observe little attention unless they are mostly closely characterized.”
i.e. unless they have concomitants, locations, aetiology, modalities and sensations (CLAMS)

We do want to know how this patient in front of us manifests the vomiting, diarrhea, cough, headache etc.  Even though vomiting, fever and muscle pain may be common symptoms of the disease (Influenza), knowing the particulars and modalities must be taken into consideration and repertorized.

In Barthel's Characteristics of Homeopathic Materia Medica we find a brief
summary of the twelve ways in which the "strange, rare, and peculiar" or characteristic
symptom may be understood.

All the examples are from the remedy Phosphorus.

 1. The symptom is characteristic or peculiar in itself: "long narrow stool."
 2. The symptom is characteristic or peculiar through the modality:
     "mania for work before   menses."
 3. The symptom is characteristic or peculiar through its localization: "cold knees at night."
 4. The symptom is characteristic or peculiar through sensations: "anus feels open."
 5. The symptom is characteristic or peculiar through extension: "coryza extends to the chest."
 6. The symptom is characteristic or peculiar through beginning, progression, and end: "pain
     increases and decreases with the sun."
 7. The symptom is characteristic or peculiar through contrary symptoms: "lack of vital heat,
     but heat aggravates."
 8. The symptom is characteristic or peculiar through its periodicity: "headaches every 7th day."
 9. The symptom is characteristic or peculiar through alternating symptoms:
     "weeping alternating with laughter."
10. The symptom is characteristic or peculiar through sequences:
      "bloody vomiting following suppressed menses."
11. The symptom is characteristic or peculiar through vicarious symptoms: "vicarious epistaxis."
12. The symptom is characteristic or peculiar through the absence of expected symptom:
     "increased sexual desire without erections."

I participate with  a group of Homeopaths who study the Organon, led by Lois Hoffer who translates from the German.  It makes a big difference when the actual German and Latin word meanings are understood.  This is her interpretation of aph. 153

Aphorism 153

The basic adjective, "auffallend", is made directly from the verb, "auffallen" which means "to fall on, strike on or upon" and more figuratively, "to astonish, amaze, strike with amazement or wonder, to surprise, shock, to attract or excite attention, to attract notice, to cause scandal".

The more common adjective, instead of "auffallend" is "auffällig", which means "striking,
remarkable, conspicuous, strange, peculiar, odd".

So, we're talking about something which takes you aback, which makes you sit up and take
notice, which hits you over the head with itself, because it's so OBVIOUS, so surprising, or just plain *weird*, odd.

"sonder-" by itself means generally "special, separate, private, exclusive", so we're talking about something which is particular to THIS remedy or disease, and no other. When you add the
"-lich" ending to make a regular adjective of it, you get "considerable, remarkable, eminent, extraordinary".

The Muret-Sanders of 1901 says that the noun "Sonderlichkeit" is equivalent to "Sonderbarkeit", so if we move over to look at "sonderbar", we find the usual translations, "odd, strange, queer, peculiar, curious, singular...". Again, we're talking about something which is unusual, out of the common, which sticks out.

Unusual, Exceptional
this is the negation of "gewöhnlich", and means "unusual, exceptional, out of the common, novel, not in use, singular, strange, rare, wonderful, uncommon".

eigenheitlich (characteristisch):
this is the only one that Hahnemann "defined" by adding something next to it in parenthesis to make sure you knew what he meant by it. And I have to say, it's good he did, because I think this an odd word.

Why didn't he use "eigentumlich"? i.e. something which is "your own, proper to you, characteristic"?

Instead he makes an adjective out of the noun "Eigenheit", which means
"peculiarity, particularity, specialness, trick, singularity, originality, strangeness, oddity, queerness".

In the end, it sounds a great deal like "sonderlich". And yet...given that word in parenthesis, I almost wonder whether Hahnemann didn't make a mistake here and MEANT to write "eigentumlich" except that I know he edited his drafts VERY carefully, so I'd be surprised that he'd have missed it.

And Hahnemann goes on to add:
"...because above all else must these correspond to very similar ones in the Symptom-series of the sought for Medicine if they are to be the most suitable one for the Cure."

Many homeopaths are looking for something so STRANGE, RARE and in the process they are missing the STRIKING, EXTRAORDINARY, UNUSUAL, and ODDLY CHARACTERISTIC SYMPTOMS that are presenting.

All cases have SEUO symptoms!  These symptoms characterize the disease as well as the nature of the similar remedy. They are what individualize the disease state, remedy, and the patient as a unity.

It is the SEUO characteristics that tell the homoeopath the nature of the disease and its most probable group of homoeopathic remedies.  The concomitants are where those symptoms that are not related logically to the pathology, are given special emphasis in the case.  Together that gives us a good totality of symptoms.

Aphorism 153 is pointing out that this is characteristic of this patient's disease case and not common to "all diseases".  All disease do not have such symptoms.

Add to this:
Boenninghausen's  "Seven Attributes of a Complete Symptom"
1. A Location, be that the mind or one of the various regions listed in
    the materia medica. "Where is it?"
2. A quality which includes Sensations and complaints. "What is it like?  How does it feel?"
3. A quantity or severity as well as the nature of the onset and cessation of pains. "How bad is it    
    and what is the nature of its occurrences."
4. Time factor. "When does it start? How long does it last? How often does it come?"
5. Aetiology. Circumstances in which it occurs which include environmental factors,
    personal activities, emotional reactions or other circumstances which
   contribute to the problems. "What seems to cause it or bring it on?"
6. Modalities that aggravate or ameliorate the symptoms. "What seem to
    make it better or worse?"
7. Concomitants or associated manifestations. "Are there any other
    symptoms that seem to come along with it or are experienced at the same
    time, or in alternation?"


Boenninghausen suggested that these seven questions contained all the essential
facets of proper case taking:
Quis? Quid?   Ubi?     Quibus auxiliis? Cur?   Quomodo?            Quando?   
Who,  What,   Where,  With what,        Why,   In What Manner,  When?

Lynn Cremona