The Essential Role of Homeopathy in Wholistic
Health Care: Case Reports
André Saine, D.C., NCNM fourth year student
The NCNM Review 1981-1982; 3 (2): 9-19.
The highest ideal of cure is rapid, gentle and permanent restoration of health ... in the shortest, most reliable and most harmless way on easily comprehensible principles!
Organon of Medicine—Samuel Hahnemann
But the question arises, first of all, do you cure safely, quickly and permanently?
Lesser Writings—James Tyler Kent
Wholistic health care emphasizes the use of prophylactic, diagnostic and therapeutic approaches that view the human being as a total integration of the mental, emotional and physical aspects. Therefore, health and disease are the dynamic manifestations of the total interaction between the person and the environment.
Wholistic health care as a philosophy may appear simple; in practice, it becomes an art, which demands a special attention and a wealth of experience and wisdom. It can be adopted by any health care professional of any the various healing arts, but for naturopathic physicians it is an intrinsic part of their training.
Naturopathic medicine emphasizes wholistic health care through education of the person and the community, and through the use of any available diagnostic and therapeutic methods (respectful of the distinct philosophy of naturopathic medicine1) that will enhance the person’s health to an optimal level. Thus, the first and only goal of the physician is to promote health. Health, defined as the freedom to be and the freedom to express the spiritual aspect of one’s own nature, becomes the basic emphasis of naturopathic medicine.
Homeopathy can be integrated in wholistic health care to optimize the function of the internal economy of the person. It offers a systematic and scientific approach to healing which has been shown to be highly effective and consistent to stimulating, curative changes in persons presenting with mental, emotional and physical problems.
This paper reviews cases that demonstrate how homeopathy can play an essential role in wholistic health care.
On February 7,1981, P.T., a 25 year old female, came to the Portland Naturopathic Clinic complaining of low back pain associated with a general state of fatigue. The low back pain was the sequella of a pubic joint separation following parturition four months previously. She also complained of poor appetite (3)* irritability (3), anger (1), depression (1), sleeplessness (1) and nightmares waking her 4-5 times per night. She had had these symptoms since early childhood. As a newborn baby she had no appetite.
She described herself as a nervous and “extreme person”(3) with low energy. She felt in a constant hurry during the day (3) and more relaxed at night (2). Her memory was poor (1). She was averse to sex (3) and was unable to cry (2). Since childhood, she had chronic inflammations and a sensation of tingling at the knees and ankles 1-2 times per week.
When she had an appetite, she craved fruits (3), especially oranges, of which she would eat as many as 8, in the middle of the night, 2 or 3 times per week. She also craved salty food (3), chocolate (3) and sweets (3). She was chilly and felt better in hot temperatures(3).
Her history showed that since menarche at the age of 13, she had been suffering from severe dysmenorrhea. Before becoming pregnant one year ago, she had to spend as much as one week in bed each month, taking up to seven different medications including analgesics, narcotics, antispasmodics, anti-inflammatory drugs, hormones and anticoagulants to deal with her menstrual symptoms.
Her family history revealed that one grandmother had had diabetes and her father had had chronic arthritis in the knees and ankles.
On physical examination, a severe pelvic torsion with a moderate functional scoliosis was found. My clinical impression was that this young lady had a sacroiliac syndrome associated with a history of severe primary spasmotic dysmenorrhea, and a Medorrhinum miasmatic influence.(2-4)
Treatment consisted initially of four sessions of manipulative therapy to the pelvis and spine combined wife an exercise program and nutritional and psychological counseling. Following these four treatments, her back was completely asymptomatic with restoration of normal function. She then claimed to feel an increase in her overall sense of wellbeing. She described herself as feeling lighter, with much less nervousness and said that for the first time in her life, she felt straight.
On April 7, she was given one dose of Medorrhinum 200 C. Two hours later, she felt “starved” for the first time in her life. She ate all evening and the next morning experienced nausea and vomiting. Since then she has felt a sense of wellbeing that was new to her.
On May 15, she reported that her energy was optimal and her sleep was normal wife no more nightmares. She felt more open, with no anger, and was able to cry. One week after the prescription, while walking outside, she started to cry for no reason and felt afterward a great release of tension. For the first time, she began to enjoy sex. Her memory had improved and she felt less hurried. She still felt herself to be an “extreme person” but she felt “in control.” Also, she still felt irritable, but instead of being disturbed at trifles for a whole day, it would last only one-half hour. She did not have any more knee and ankle inflammation or tingling. She still craved fruits (2), oranges (2), salt (3), sweets (3) and chocolate (3).
By November 15, she stopped breastfeeding her baby for several weeks and had her first period since pregnancy, which was without pain for the first time in her life.
Discussion of case #1:
The working hypothesis in this case is that the severe somatic dysfunctions were creating neuropathogeneses and exacerbating the dysmenorrhea and neurasthenia in this susceptible patient. The approach was to act first on the precipitating cause (the somatic dysfunctions) and thus prepare to act on the predisposing cause (the Medorrhinum miasm). It is unclear whether pregnancy, manipulative and exercise therapy, or homeopathy would separately have affected the dysmenorrhea. Surely none of these were a nuisance.
When well practiced, one can appreciate the strength of naturopathic medicine, with its broad approach to health and its capacity to combine appropriate therapies for optimal benefit to the patient.
On June 19,1981, E. L., a 52 year old male, presented with a 34-year history of active ankylosing spondylitis. This thin, almost completely ankylosed gentleman had been treated basically with natural therapies for the previous fifteen months and had felt, for the first time, great relief from his symptoms.
He came complaining of burning pains in the shoulders and hips, which were exacerbated by humidity (3) and changes of weather (3) and were ameliorated by cold dry weather (3) and by walking in the open air, especially in elevations. He was a warm person(2). He had dry lips (2) and was thirsty for cold water (2). He craved smoked meat (3), fish (2), salty food (2) and ice cream (2). He had night sweats (3) 2-3 times a week. He was sympathetic to others and had a fear of being hurt (2). He also had fear of dogs and wild animals (1). He had vertigo in high places (1).
In early childhood he had been rejected. Following this rejection he suffered from osteomyelitis, for which he had five operations. At the age of 18, he had tuberculosis for which he received over 500 injections of streptomycin. During the course of this therapy he developed pain in the hip and sacroiliac joints, which was later diagnosed as ankylosing spondylitis. At the age of 22 he experienced a grief from a broken relationship and had been emotionally walled-off since.
On June 19, he was prescribed one dose of Tuberculinum 1 M. From June 26 to June 30 he had an aggravation of his symptoms and was awakened between four and five A.M. with “butterflies” in the chest. The night sweats were also aggravated. Since this aggravation, he has been sleeping “like a king” with no more night sweats. His overall energy has been “tops.” He described a rare feeling of lightness, after pressure from an old osteomyelitis scar was relieved spontaneously. He has been more curious and has had more ambition to learn. He has not been affected anymore by humidity or changes of weather and has felt warmer (3). He re-experienced the old symptoms of taste of bile in the mouth, urinary incontinence and gripping pain in the chest. The pain in the shoulders and hips was considerably decreased.
On July 17, he developed a mild iritis on the left side similar to a condition he had one year previously in the right eye and which was treated with corticosteroids. On July 24, the iritis was worse and he had developed severe photophobia (3). He felt an increased desire for salty food (3) and fish (3) while the desire for smoked meat had decreased considerably (1). He was warmer (3), his lips and mouth were dry and the bile taste was now very strong(3). He was prescribed one dose of Natrum Muriaticum 500 C.
On July 28, the eye was almost normal. He felt an increase in his overall sense of wellbeing similar to the change felt after Tuberculinum. The joint pains were by now totally gone.
It is interesting to note that the last pain he felt was in his hips and resembled the first pain he had experienced 34 years ago and had never felt since.
On August 4, he had a sore throat on the left side similar to a chronic condition he had several years previously which had been treated with penicillin. On August 8, he described a great state of energy and a greater feeling of relaxation than ever before. He also felt stronger physically. His desire for salty food was decreased (1). He had no more craving for fish. The bile taste had disappeared. His body temperature was not bothering him anymore. His sleep was excellent.
To this date (January 1982), the patient has remained asymptomatic with an overall sense of wellbeing.
Discussion of case #2:
This patient presented with what appeared to be clear miasmatic layers of Tuberculinum and Natrum Muriaticum. The order was not absolutely clear but there were some indications that the Tuberculinum miasm was the most limiting.
It seems that in early childhood he became a Natrum Muriaticum after being rejected. Then he developed osteomyelitis. Afterwards, he developed tuberculosis and a miasmic layer was added. Then another grief seems to have reinforced the Natrum Muriaticum miasm rather than laying down a different layer.
Whether it would have been better to prescribe Natrum Muriaticum first, then Tuberculinum and then Natrum Muriaticum again, is unknowable. This patient had an unusually strong vital force and it seems that Tuberculinum followed by Natrum Muriaticum was curative.
Ankylosing spondylitis is an inflammatory disease of supposedly unknown etiology, which characteristically affects young men, causing pain, stiffness and ankylosis. It had been recognized by Hippocrates and the disease has also been described in animals. It affects 1 in 250 people to some degree. The male to female ratio is now established to be 4:1 (instead of 10:1) among Caucasians.5
The association between ankylosing spondylitis and human leukocyte antigen HLA-B27 stands out as one of the strongest and most undisputed associations between a certain disease and a genetic marker. This antigen is now known to be present in 90-95% of patients with “idiopathic” ankylosing spondylitis and in only approximately 7% of a Caucasian control population.6
It has been suggested that HLA histocompatibility antigens act on the cell surface as a marker of self, thus enabling micro-organisms to be recognized as foreign.6 It is suggested that this complex system of identification breaks down in conditions such as ankylosing spondylitis due to a profound disturbance in the immunologic system.6
It is now suggested that HLA-B27-positive individuals have an increased susceptibility to inflammatory disease or an “inflammatory disease diathesis” but that the environmental factors predominate in the development of this condition.6
In our experience with five patients with ankylosing spondylitis, it is remarkable to report that all had a history of grief, were closed, warm blooded and desired salty food. Also, all had a history of physical trauma to the spine, usually in the form of a car accident or a fall immediately preceding the development of ankylosing spondylitis.
From these primary observations, it is suggested that when a HLA-B27-positive individual suffers from a grief or other similar emotional disturbance that depresses the central nervous system and subsequently the immune system, he (she) becomes highly susceptible to deep immunologic disturbances.7-9 It is interesting to note that it was recently found that HLA-positive individuals have a higher susceptibility to depressive disorders.10 Now it appears that when in a state of depression, a physical trauma might precipitate the expression of this “inflammatory disease diathesis” through an autoimmune response. It is important to note that by using homeopathy, wholistic practitioners can emphasize their approach toward predisposing causes (miasms or diatheses). Environmental factors (precipitating causes) such as physical, emotional or mental stresses, can be approached by other means.
On July 7,1981, P. B., a 2-year old girl, was brought by her mother for consultation with Dr. Robin Murphy and myself, who were in Canada for the summer. P. B. had been diagnosed as suffering from an active malignant neuroblastoma, grade IV. Her prognosis at that date was 3 weeks or less of life.
She was covered by a thick wool blanket in spite of the warm weather. She could not walk anymore. She had a cachectic face with deep sunken eyes and little hair on her head. Her abdomen was considerably distended by two tumors, the largest was the size of a large grapefruit. She had been receiving radiation therapy for the past week in spite of her parents’ opposition. There were metastases to the liver, lungs, stomach, spleen and spine.
She was restless (2) because of pain, in spite of a deep state of tiredness (3). She did not want to be touched or even looked at by strangers (3). Sire could not stay alone (3) and always wanted to be covered and held. She was sleepless (3) and when asleep would have her eyes half-closed only. She had little appetite (3). When in distress, she cried without moving. She was chilly (3) and had a constant sweat on the head and feet only. When hungry, she desired yogurt (3), cheese (3), potatoes (3) and cold ice (2). She had an aversion to milk (3), fruit (3), vegetables (3), fish (2) and cereals (2).
She was born without any complications. She appeared healthy till the age of 6 weeks, at which time she received diptheria-pertussis-tetanus vaccine and live trivalent oral polio vaccine. The night following the vaccines she was awake and agitated all through the night. Her sleep dropped to an average of 10 hours a day, and she became irritable, restless and tired. At the age of one year, she fell on her forehead and suffered a mild concussion, which seems to have lowered further her overall state of energy.
At the age of 18 months (December, 1980], she developed a fever with abdominal distension and pain. A mass was found and the diagnosis of neuroblastoma was then confirmed. Soon after, she had an internal hemorrhage and went to surgery immediately. A 1 1/2 pound tumor was removed from the right kidney. She received chemotherapy and blood transfusions for the following 3 months.
On July 7, we prescribed Silica 5 X TID with instructions to stop with any amelioration. Soon after receiving Silica she showed a brightening of spirit and increased energy. Her appetite and digestion became normal. She became animated and wanted to play. She had to receive radiation therapy five times a week for the next 3 weeks. After every radiation treatment, there was a complete relapse, at which time Silica 5 X was represcribed. Only after another dose of Silica would her improved state of energy return. After Friday's radiation therapy, one dose of Silica was enough to restore her energy till the next radiation therapy on Monday.
On July 24, she terminated her radiation therapy and Silica 12 X was then prescribed. On July 28, the parents reported that she was “like a normal kid” with normal appetite, sleep, digestion and energy, for the first time since the age of 1 1/2 months. She was now calm, animated and playful.
On August 19, we saw the child for the last time before our departure. She came running into the office and looked like a normal child. She had received to that date only one dose of Silica 12 X following the radiation therapy. She was well till October 1, when a tumor started to appear in her neck. She received immediate radiation therapy. Her condition got worse with increasingly difficult breathing. On October 9, she died at home in her parents’ arms. She was calm, serene and loving.
Discussion of case #3:
Many questions arise from such a case as this one. First, what were the effects of vaccination on this infant? It appears that her level of health was deeply affected. In no way is this a condemnation of vaccination, but the problem has to be considered more seriously and more objectively. Statistically, certain vaccines may have been proven to be life saving, but at what cost?11-13 It appears necessary to recognize the deep side effects of vaccination and the possible role of homeopathy in correcting these miasmatic conditions.13-14
Second, were the vaccination and the concussion, with their effects of lowering the child's state of health, related in any way to the development of the neuro-blastoma? This is unknown but earlier homeopaths have formulated similar hypotheses after serious questioning and observation.15
Third, if Silica had been prescribed earlier, would the child have recovered completely? Or would higher potencies of Silica have saved the child or would they have exhausted the child's vital force, or would further homeopathic treatment have saved her life? All this is unknown. According to recent studies, she had less than 1% probability of a 2-year disease-free survival from the moment the diagnosis was confirmed.16
Finally, would it have been of greater benefit to the child to receive homeopathy alone rather than in combination with radiation therapy? This, too, is unknown, but it is interesting to note that the level of hemoglobin was 7.3 g/100 ml before the radiation therapy and at the end of four weeks of this therapy the level had risen to 10.4 g/100 ml, to the astonishment of the oncologists.
On November 2,1981, J. L., a 22 year old female was seen at the Portland Naturopathic Clinic by Dr. Steven Sporn and myself. She was complaining of compulsive eating (bulimia] for 2 1/2 years, ever since she had been molested and shortly thereafter had an abortion. When we saw her, she was “binging” and vomiting up to 10 times a day. She had been seeing a counselor for the past 6 months.
She felt “neurotic” (3) from family pressure to achieve, perform and be successful. She felt overwhelmed by others' expectations (3) and felt she could not say no to them without feeling guilty and irresponsible (3). She wanted to be left alone (3). She worried constantly about her health (3), about achieving (3), felt in a constant hurry (3) and was compulsive about her numerous responsibilities (3). She had fear of failure (3), of losing control (3), of crowds (2), of death (2) and of the unknown.
She desired milk (3), mayonnaise (3), chocolate (3), sweets (2), sour foods (2) and pepper (2). She felt worse from drinking milk. She was thirsty (3). She was chilly (2) and had to put on underwear and socks before bed. She was aggravated by cold humid weather (1). She was having nightmares with screaming spells once or twice a week. She had moderate dysmenorrhea for 3-5 days. She also had mild facial acne and mild asthma. She described her family as neurotically competitive and as workaholics. She was given one dose of Calcarea carbonica 200 C.
On January 14,1982, ten weeks later, she reported feeling better and her overall energy was increased. She had no binging or vomiting since the day of the prescription. She did not worry or panic as much when overwhelmed. She felt calmer and was less hurried (1). The fears of crowds and of the unknown were decreased (1). She did not worry as much about her health and about losing control (1). Her sleep was better. She had quit her job as a model and was looking for a more “health” occupation. She still had fear of failure (3) and was still anxious about performing for others (2).
Now she desired peppermint (2), pepper (2) and milk (1). She was warmer and did not need underwear and socks in bed. Her acne and asthma were aggravated. She had stopped erythromycin therapy for her skin condition.
Discussion of case #3:
is not simply a disorder of increased appetite but is a complex syndrome seen almost exclusively in young women. Bulimia followed by self induced vomiting can be understood as a defense maneuver in which food is abnormally employed to relieve profoundly disturbing impulses, feelings and thoughts.18
Most experience great anxiety, depression, guilt and interpersonal sensitivity.19
Most feel unhappy and have an exaggerated fear of becoming obese and seem to see themselves as overweight. Actually, most of these young women are quite thin.20-21
Side effects encountered from bulimia and vomiting are dental erosion, secondary amenorrhea, epileptic seizures, tetany, renal complications and the fatal risk of severe hypokalemia.17-22
According to conventional medicine, no completely successful form of treatment is currently available for bulimia.17-22 So, was Calcarea carbonica an effective stimulant in producing change in the state and behavior of this young woman? Or was the interview alone powerful enough to stimulate the change? It would be difficult to objectively know the answer to these questions. It would be necessary to see if “spontaneous remission” would occur more often after good homeopathic prescribing than after placebo, although the ethical question in such an experiment is formidable.
It is interesting to note that many of the changes that these patients have experienced were subjective. Now, an important question that an objective mind would ask is what part of these changes were due to the omnipresent placebo effect? Indeed, one has to understand that results from any treatment are the synergistic effect of at least three factors, namely, the natural course of the condition, the specific effect of the treatment and lastly, the non-specific effect of the treatment (the placebo effect).
When one reviews the literature, he (she) will discover that there are very few therapies that have been proven to be more effective than placebo, especially in patients presenting with psychological and psychophysiological disorders.23 Park and Covi have demonstrated the powerful placebo effect in an extremely revealing non-blind study.24 To 14 patients presenting with anxious and neurotic complaints, they prescribed placebo capsules (TID) where both the therapists and the patients knew that the capsules contained no medication. After one week, all patients showed marked improvement by doctor and patient ratings on several measures.
It is the author’s opinion that the role of the placebo effect in homeopathy needs to be investigated thoroughly both for the advancement of homeopathy and the improvement of the quality of our health care service.
Those who say they have tested homeopathy and it is a failure have only exposed their ignorance.
Aphorisms—James Tyler Kent
I would like to thank Dr. Robin Murphy for his enlightening teaching and his constant availability for consultation. Also, I would like to thank Dr. Steven Sporn and Dr. Patrick Butler for their excellent clinical collaboration.
› Return to the website
1. National College of Naturopathic Medicine Bulletin 1982-84, Portland, Oregon, 1982.
2. Hahnemann S. Organon of medicine, B.Jain Publishers, New Delhi, 1833.
3. Hahnemann S. Chronic diseases, translated by Louis H. Tafel, Boericke 6V> Tafel, Philadelphia, 1896.
4. Ortega P. S. Notes on the miasms, National Homeopathy Pharmacy, New Delhi, 1980.
5. Doherty S. M., Yates D. H. Ankylosing spondylitis, Practitioner 1980Jan; 224 (1339): 35-43.
6. Ebringer R. W. HLA-B27 and the link with rheumatic diseases: recent develop¬ments, Clin Sc 1980 Dec; 59(6): 405-410.
7. Solomon G. E, Amkraut A. A., Kasper P. Immunity, emotion and stress, Ann Clin Research 1974; 6: 313-322.
8. Amkraut A. A., Solomon G. F. From the symbolic stimulus to the pathophysiologic response: immune mechanism, Int'lJ Psychiatry Med 1975; 5(4): 541-563.
9. Stein M., Schiavi R. C, Camerimo M. Influence of brain and behavior on the immune system, J Science 1976 Feb 6; 191: 435-440.
10. Weitkamp L. R., et al. Depressive disorders and HLA: a gene on chromosome 6 that can affect behavior, NEJM 1981 Nov 26; 305(22): 1301-1306.
11. Fulginiti V. A. Controversies in current immunization policy and practices, Curr Probl Pediatr 1976 April; 6: 3-25.
12. Dittman S. Atypical reactions after vaccinations, Beitr Hvg Epidemiol 1981; 25: 1-274.
13. Neustaedter R., et al. Immunizations: are they necessary? Hering Family Health Clinic, San Francisco, 1981.
14. Vithoulkas G. The science of homeopathy, Grove Press, New York, 1980.
15. Burnett J. C. Vaccinosis, Ray Publishing House, Calcutta, 1884.
16. Coldman A.J., Fryer C. H., ElwoodJ. M., Sonley M.J. Neuroblastoma: influence of age at diagnosis, stage, tumor site, and sex on prognosis, Cancer 1980 Oct 15; 46(8): 1896-1901.
17. Russell G. Bulimia nervosa: an ominous variant of anorexia nervosa, Psychol Med 1979; 9: 429-448.
18. Fairburn C. G. Self-induced vomiting,J Psychosom Res 1980; 24(3-4); 193-197.
19. Casper R. C, et al. Bulimia: its incidence and clinical importance in patients with anorexia nervosa, Arch Gen Psychiatry 1980 Sept; 37(9): 1030-1035.
20. Pyle R. L. Bulimia: a report of 34 cases, J Clin Psychiatry 1981 Feb; 42(2): 60-64.
21. Rau J. H., Green R. S. Compulsive eating: a neuropsychologic approach to certain eating disorders, Compr Psychiatry 1975; 66(3): 223-231.
22. Johnson R. E., Sinnott S. K. Bulimia, Am Fam Phys 1981 July; 23(7): 141-143.
23. Shapiro A. K., Morris L. A. The placebo effect in medical and psychological therapies, in Handbook of psychotherapy and behavior change, bv Garfield S. I. and Bergin A.E., 2nd edjohn Wiley & Sons, New York, 1978.
24. Park L. C, Covi L. Nonblind placebo trial, Arch Gen Psychiat 1965 April; 12: 336-345.