Saul Marcus, ND - Naturopathic Doctor

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Homotoxicology - A Model of Holistic Health

Symptoms are not the disease

Symptoms typically are the body's attempt to maintain self regulation.

For example, imagine someone starts smoking. Their body responds by producing a cough.

Does this mean they suddenly have a coughing disease?

No, the cough is the body's attempt to excrete the toxins from smoking.

Imagine that the cough was treated as a disease in and of itself. It is thus treated with cough suppressing drugs in order to cure" the patient of his/her cough.

Does this mean the patient is truly cured?

No, it means the symptoms of the real problem have been suppressed and now the disease can move deeper into the body.

The chart below shows the progression of increasingly worse or "deeper" diseases that are cause by smoking. In the model of homotoxicology, we can see that supposedly different "diseases" represents a different strategy the body uses to deal with toxic assault.

Excretion Phase Inflammation Phase Deposition Phase Impregnation Phase Degeneration Phase Dedifferentiation Phase
Cough Bronchitis "smokers Lung" Chronic Bronchitis Emphysema Lung Cancer

The phases of Homotoxicolgy


Symptoms are the body's attempt to excrete toxins. Examples are sweating, production of mucous, increased urination, vomiting and diarrhea.


The body produces inflammation in order to more aggressively excrete toxins. Examples are dermatitis, impetigo, bronchitis, tonsillitis, nephritis, some forms of arthritis, and more.


At this point, the body can not sufficiently mobilize toxins out of the body. It therefore deposits toxins in in the intracellular space between cells. Examples are be gallstones, swollen lymph nodes, eczema and nasal polyps. Think of diseases of cysts of polyps.


Toxins are now being deposited inside of cells, disrupting cellular function. Disease which are examples of Impregnation include: rheumatoid arthritis, chronic bronchitis, coronary heart disease, and chronic infections.


This phase is characterized by destruction of the cell due to toxins. Examples are Alzheimer's disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, congestive heart failure.


Neoplastic changes in the cells. Examples are cancers and tumors.

Homotoxicology diagram. As toxins go into the body they cause progressive vicariation and illness. To get well, toxins move be moved out body - this is called regressive vicariation

Homotoxicology In Practice

Homotoxicology can be used as a model to understand how the different "diseases" a patient experiences over their life are related.

Consider a child who has frequent ear infections which eventually goes away then later develops irritable bowel syndrome as a teenage followed by asthma later on in life. In conventional medicine these 3 “diseases” would require different different specialists and medications. However, using the model of homotoxicology it becomes clear that is in fact 3 different manifestations of the same underlining problem.

Childhood ear infections are a commonalty a sign of food allergies (especially to milk). As we grow, the anatomy of the ear canal changes so ear infections are much less likely to happen.

Irritable bowel is commonly related to food allergies. The allergies cause inflammation and disrupts the immune system. In times signs of a weakened immune system will manifest elsewhere.

Asthma is a possible response to an allergic reaction. Often allergies and imbalances in the gut flora (ie, Candida or other pathogens) effect the immune system so inflammation in the lungs is triggered.

If this process continues, even mental symptoms such as anxiety can emerge. This does not mean there is a "chemical imbalance" in the brain or that the patient was randomly struck by "generalized anxiety disorder." Rather, mental symptoms should be seen as manifestations of underlining problems.

Generally speaking, suppressing symptoms with drugs (such as steroids) may give the appearance of improved health, but in reality just drive the disease deeper into the body.

The goal of natural health is not to replace drugs with supplements, and use the supplements to suppress symptoms. While using supplements in lieu of medications is generally safer, this sells short what is truly possible.

The goal of natural therapies is to assist the body in its attempt to heal itself. This means taking a complete case and then initiating treatment based upon the true underlining causes of illness. The most immediate symptoms may be treated to make life more comfortable for the patient in the short term. However, true healing comes from treating the person and not the disease.

Power point video on homotoxicology

© Naturopathic Wellness, 2017