Saul Marcus, ND - Naturopathic Doctor

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Homeopathy: what it does and how it works

Primary and secondary actions

When we put something into the body (a food, medication, nutritional supplement, etc...) there are two actions:

  • Primary action. The direct physical effect on the body.
  • Secondary action. The body's response.

So for example ingesting large amounts of alcohol will produce numerous primary actions. It will alter fluid balance, brain function, blood sugar levels and so on.

In response there are secondary actions, such as up regulating production of enzymes in the liver that detoxify alcohol.

Picture - Primary and second action of substance on the body

In the case of toxins we can say that:

  • The primary action is the direct toxic effect of some agent
  • The secondary action are symptoms produced as the body tries to cleanse heal itself from the toxin

Examples of secondary actions include:

  • Up regulation of liver enzymes to remove toxins
  • Inflammation to catabolize toxins
  • Opening up of routs of elimination (vomiting, diarrhea increased urination, minor skin rashes, phlegm, etc ... )

What homeopathy does

Homeopathy uses minute dilutions of various substances to stimulate the body's ability to heal itself via the secondary action.

Stimple studies prove that homeopathy can stimulate a healing, secondary action

In the following study mice were exposed to toxic levels of arsenic. They were then given homeopathic arsenium album, which was then proven to enhance the mice ability to detoxify arsenic.

Ameliorating effect of micro doses of a potentized homeopathic drug, Arsenicum Album, on arsenic-induced toxicity in mice;

The results of our earlier and present studies convincingly demonstrate that the potentized homeopathic drug, Arsenicum Album, not only has the ability to help removal of arsenic from the body, but these drugs in micro doses appear to have the ability to detoxify the ill- effects produced by arsenic in mice [...] Therefore, the present findings would further add support to our earlier contention that the potentized homeopathic drugs could be strong candidates for effective use in alleviating arsenic-related diseases

Arsenicum album is a homeopathic remedy made out of arsenic. When a remedy is made out of the same material that has poisoned the body, this is called an isode.

Aggravation and amelioration

Commonly the correct homeopathic can provoke numerous symptoms. This is called an aggravation.

Aggravations should not be confused with side effects. Side effects are the unwanted toxix effects of treatmnet. Aggravations are self healing response which are provoked by treatment.

Since a homeopathic aggravation is a cleansing response - when allowed to run its course the patient will be far healthier afterwards than before.

For example, someone with chronie digestive symptoms, by experience rapid bowel movement, or diarrhea in response to the correct natural treatment. This would be the body clearning out toxins, or even parasites as it heals itself.

Homeopathic mechanism of action

Homeopathy is often said to work by giving the body "information." This may sound vague but can be easily in terms of the mechanism behind the secondary action.

The study: Dynamized Preparations in Cell Culture has demonstrated that homeopathy can effect gene expression:

We have evaluated the cytotoxic activity of 30C and 200C potencies of ten dynamized [homeopathic] medicines against Dalton's Lymphoma Ascites, Ehrlich's Ascites Carcinoma, lung fibroblast (L929) and Chinese Hamster Ovary (CHO) cell lines and compared activity with their mother tinctures during short-term and long-term cell culture. The effect of dynamized medicines to induce apoptosis was also evaluated and we studied how dynamized medicines affected genes expressed during apoptosis. Mother tinctures as well as some dynamized medicines showed significant cytotoxicity to cells during short and long-term incubation. [...] The dynamized medicines were found to inhibit CHO cell colony formation and thymidine uptake in L929 cells and those of Thuja, Hydrastis and Carcinosinum were found to induce apoptosis in DLA cells. Moreover, dynamized Carcinosinum was found to induce the expression of p53 while dynamized Thuja produced characteristic laddering pattern in agarose gel electrophoresis of DNA. These results indicate that dynamized medicines possess cytotoxic as well as apoptosis-inducing properties.

This is just one possible mechanism of action. More research is needed in this area to better understand exactly how homeopathy works.Nonetheless, clinically speaking, what matters is that properly prescribed homeopathy has a track record of helping patients. This is backed by 200 years of clinical observation.

How are homeopathic remedies made?

Mother tincture and succussion

  1. Start with the source material - usually this is a plant or mineral. It can be something else, such as insect (Apis is made from bees) or a few are made from animals (Sepia is from the cutler fish)

  2. A mother tincture is made by soaking the material in a mixture of water and alcohol.

  3. Once the mater tincture is made process of succussion beings

    To make a X potency one drop of tincture is put in a vial along with 9 drops of water. The solution is then succussed by banging it against something such as a book or table several times. This is now a 1X homeopathic.

    To make a 2X, 1 drop of the 1X remedy is mixed in with 9 drops of water and the process is repeated.

How much original material remains in the homeopathic?

  • A 1X is diluted 1 to 10th power, or 1/10th dilution

  • A 2X is diluted 1 to 100th power, or 1/100th dilution

  • A 3X is diluted 1 to 1000th power, or 1/1000th dilution

  • This process can continue indefinitely, so according to the math, a 30X is a 1 to 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 dilution

Most homeopathics are in either X or C dilutions. X is 1/10 dilution per succussion and a C is 1/100. Therefore a 200c is diluted, 100 to the 200th power

Technically speaking what is happening is not dilution. This process can quickly lead to a dilution number that is greater than the atoms which exist in the tincture. So a 200c dilution really isn't physically possible

What is really happening is potentization. Materially speaking, homeopathic's are just water. However, with each succussion structure is imprinted into the water. An analogy is coal and diamonds. Both have the exact same composition (carbon atoms) but the structural arrangement of the atoms causes them to have very different properties.

It is this structure (or could say information from the source material) which allows the homeopathic to stimulate a healing response.

"Imprinting" the structure of one substance onto a liquid is called epitaxy. An in depth explanation of this process is found in the paper: the Structure of Liquid Water; Novel Insights from Materials Research; Potential

How homeopathy works - summary

  • Homeopathic remedies are prepared in such a way that the original source material is longer present in large enough amounts to cause primary toxic reaction

  • The potentization process allows "information" from the source material to remain, provoking a secondary action

  • The secondary response is the body's attempt to cleanse itself of toxins. Thus, homeopathic gives the body information (one mechaism is altering gene expression) that allows it to better cope with and eliminate toxins

  • A cleansing reponse called an aggrevation is typically provoked

  • After the aggrevation is done - the patient is truly better, as the body has now been able to rid itself of some toxin