Looking Into Your Natural Medicine Cabinet

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It seems like everyone I know is publishing a book these days.  Which is great.  We can never have too many good books on health and healing, since, it seems to me, that that is the most important topic we could spend our time exploring.

The new book in question right now is Your Natural Medicine Cabinet, but Burke Lennihan.  It has a publication date of September 1, 2012, but it is available for purchase today.

What sets this book apart from others on similar topics is that, while this book is certainly homeopathy-centric, it is not limited just to homeopathic remedies.  Other therapies related to homeopathy, notably Bach Remedies and cell salts, are also considered, as are supplements and herbal remedies.

In other words, Your Natural Medicine Cabinet takes a more general, naturopathic approach to family health care.

 


The book is well written, well researched and very well organized.  Everything is according to diagnosis, with conditions listed alphabetically and treatments outlined for each condition.

So it should be very useful for many common household emergencies.  With one proviso:  you should never wait until the emergency to read the book.  Spend time with it when you get it. Absorb it, consider it.  Then, when the emergency comes and your husband has a toothache in the middle of the night, or you baby has a fever at 2:00 a.m., you will be much more centered and focussed in your reaction and much more helpful to your loved one.

One question, though.  Should I be bitter than, in listing her favorite books on homeopathy, Dana Ullman and Miranda Castro get the lion’s share, with Amy Lansky and Judyth Reichenber-Ullman also on the page, but none of my books are mentioned?  Surely not.  No.  Certainly not.

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Juicy Juicy

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I guess that it should not surprise me that I haven’t written as much about my experiences on the month-long journey of the juice fast as I’d intended to. The days have caught up with me. I’m surprised to look at the calendar and see only one more day left of fasting. I was on the phone with my naturopath two days ago, checking in with her, and going over some of the foods that I will be using as I start my raw diet for the next ninety days.

While I have done juice fasts before (I have habitually done juice fasts in the high heat of August every year, fasting as briefly as three days or for as long as the entire month, depending upon the year, my schedule and the way my body feels), I have never attempted a raw diet—vegetarian, yes, raw, no—before and needed some guidance.

I was pleased to hear from her that perfection is not required in a raw diet, that only about 80% of the foods need to be strictly raw and that I was allowed, for instance, brown rice (which I love) and baked tofu (ditto) while on the diet. I feel that with these allowances, and with the occasional baked sweet potato, I’ll be able to make the diet work, especially with the help of books like Raw Food Made Easy by Jennifer Cornbleet and Ani’s Raw Food Essentials by Ani Phyo to help offer food plans, great recipes and, perhaps most important, composed shopping lists for staple foods.

But I digress: the juice fast.

The who/what/when/where/how of it. The thing in life that I have found easiest and hardest, both at the same time.

The first thing you need to know about juice fasts is that you are not really fasting at all. You are flooding your body with every nutrient it needs, in a form in which it need not be digested, only absorbed directly so that every ounce of the goodness is easily used by your body. You will be amazed by the lack of waste. Your body will use everything you give it if your juice is well-composed. And the energy (and a great deal of energy it is) that your body usually uses for digestion is instead used to heal that which needs healing.

Thus, after a juice fast, I have been told by a dental assistant that I had the healthiest gums she’d ever seen. I have had my blood tested before and after juice fasts to prove that the process of fasting has a dynamic influence over everything, from high blood pressure to cholesterol to blood sugar.

Everything comes into balance; the body heals itself. This is the blessing of the juice fast.

Along with the complete detoxification that also takes place. Using only pure organic juice allows the body to flush out all that it is holding in. The bowels detoxify. (I leave that process to your imagination. I will only say that that part of the fast—the first ten days or so—is unpleasant.) The body breaks down fat that is has hurriedly stored, in which it places excess sugars, uric acid, etc. (Also no fun, but the way you feel after it has been broken down and the toxins flushed away is well worth it.)

The process of detox can be harsh; the person fasting may need to use probiotics to support this phase and may also need to use a source of protein (I use brown rice protein powder) to supplement the juice in order to keep strength up. Once the detox phase passes (you can see it pass by watching your tongue, which will at first be thickly coated and later a clean pink as the toxins leave your system), the fast becomes pleasant.

I have never experienced actual hunger while on the fast. Because I make sure that I have plenty of juice at all times. I make sure I am satisfied; so what I miss is not actually eating but chewing. There is something in the act of chewing that is pleasurable. Believe me, you miss it when it’s gone.

To give you some general information about juice fasts, it’s important, right up front, to point out that they should always be undertaken with the agreement of and supervision of your health care professional. Like anything else that dynamically impacts health, they should never be done in secret. (It always amazes me how many Americans feel that their health care professional should be able to help them, even though they keep secrets form them, go to other doctors to get other pills that they want that they never mention to their primary care doctor. They abuse the trust that exists between themselves and their doctors and then get angry when that doctor can’t help them to get well.)

Once you’ve set up the terms of the fast (and, as I’ve said, they can be as brief as three days or as long as thirty—after thirty days, the body may begin to digest muscle as well as fat, and we don’t want that, so thirty days is the absolute limit, even though I tend to feel, after three weeks in, as if I could fast endlessly, which is when my naturopath steps in and tells me to stop), you begin to prepare yourself for it.

First, you need a proper juicer. There are many on the market. Over the years, I have come to the conclusion that Breville makes the best juicers. They are expensive, but they have strong motors that last a long time, sharp blades and, best of all, wide mouths that all whole apples to pass into the machine without needing to be chopped. You can do the research for yourself; there are many fine juicers on the market. But one tip: don’t bother with those under a hundred dollars. They never work right and break immediately under constant use (and during the fast they will be used constantly).

Find the juicer that is right for you and order it. While you are waiting for it to arrive, begin to prepare yourself for the fast. You can’t just start fasting, you must allow your body to slowly prepare itself.

You do this by dropping specific foods over the days. Stop meat first, then the rest of animal proteins (dairy, eggs and the like), then stop with any processed foods, like catsup, and then stop with the carbs, like rice or wheat, and then slowly winnow down off vegetables and fruit alike until you are ready to let go completely. I take a week to do this. (On the other end of the fast, you have to do the exact same thing and add foods in slowly, slowly to allow your body to adjust.)

Then, juicer in hand, you begin. Over the years, I have always used a full array of fruits and vegetables when I’ve fasted. I would make “meal” juices of vegetables and “snack” juices out of fruit.

This time, I decided to do a much stricter fast. One that involved only green vegetables. So I was juicing kale, Swiss chard, cucumber, zucchini, celery, cabbage, parsley, watercress, and the like. For fun, I occasionally threw in carrots (too much sugar for this fast, so I limited them), tomatoes, and radishes.

What I have found is that the juice fast that involves fruit juices in easier and more fun, with its balance of sweet and savory juice, but the fast like the one I am on now, the fast involving green vegetables only is deeper and far more powerful. I’ve lost more weight on this fast than I have on any other. It also has cut through bloating, and given me a deeper sense of detoxification as well. I recommend it, although it is a more difficult fast.

In fact, as I look over the last paragraph, I see that I (subconsciously?) omitted broccoli from the list of things I juiced. Perhaps because I’ve found broccoli juice to be the single worst taste I’ve ever had on my tongue. And yet, broccoli is such a powerfully healing food, it is needed to be included in the juice. (By all means, mix some coconut water—you can find raw coconut water if you are a stickler—and some green tea into the juice to cut it and give it a sweeter, more pleasant flavor.)

I make three juices a day and I make about 30 to 40 fluid ounces at a time. This is a lot of juice, several glasses per juicing. But in this way, as I’ve said, I never experience hunger.

It is important that you drink the juice within fifteen or twenty minutes of juicing for best benefit, but, as we live in an imperfect world in which we tend to be running around all the time, it is possible to keep juice for a few hours. It won’t be as good as it would have been in the first few minutes, but what can you do? Just keep it in a closed, opaque container, like a water bottle. Don’t let the air get to it, or the juice will oxidize like an apple that has had its skin removed. Nothing will kill the benefit of the juice faster than contact with air. And make sure the container is opaque to keep it away from sunlight as well. Finally, keep it cold. Either in a hamper, like you’d use on a picnic—I know people who keep these in their trunks to protect their juice during the workday—or the refrigerator.

Finally, there is one other aspect of the juice fast that I want to mention: time.

You will find that, during the fast, you have so much more of it. You don’t take hours a day to prepare food. You don’t take more hours to eat it. When on the fast, I find that I have more time for myself and my thoughts than at any other time. And this is great, because I also find that, during the fast, while my body heals, my mind and spirit do also. In taking the time to slow down, to rest (and you do have to rest as much as possible as you simply will not have all the energy that you regularly do and because rest is key to the healing process), issues that have been as or more toxic to the body than sugar, flour, etc, will also be washed away. The fast brings a mental and spiritual clarity as well as physical.

As I said in the beginning of this post, I was talking to my naturopath the other day to help set up the plan for the days ahead when I step away from fasting (which is, strangely akin to going away to a health spa, even if you are at home in your own bed, kitchen, etc) and return to eating.

What I haven’t shared as yet is what I said to her. I told her that, since beginning my fast, I’ve been sleeping deeply, drinking in sleep. I’ve awakened energized, where I usually awaken to find myself still exhausted. I’ve lost weight—about twenty-five pounds so far. All bloat is gone. My feet have bones showing. My chin has reappeared and the shape of my face has changed from round to the oblong thing that is was twenty years ago. My skin is clearer and the texture of it has changed. My energy is up—in the last week or so of the fast, it always amazes me how much energy that I have in spite of not having had a solid meal in weeks.

My naturopath said to me, “You sound so good.” She sounded very pleased. Then I thanked her for her help and said that she had quite literally given me my life back. The arthritic pains that trouble me constantly have fades. My joints are fluid. My feet don’t hurt. I now have dropped two pants sizes and one shoe size. I’ve even dropped as ring size. Best of all, I look and feel younger, rejuvenated.

“The only thing that worries me,” I said to my doctor, “Is where I will be in five years. Will I be able to keep this up?”

“As long as you know me you will,” she answered.

I found this very comforting.

Homeopathy Hits a Homer

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If you haven’t heard by now, here’s an incredible article on the efficacy of homeopathy, via Dana Ullman, writing for Huffington Post.

Recently, the Swiss government (not any pressure group, think tank or pharmaceutical company–the actual government of the country of Switzerland) released a report on homeopathy and related CAM treatments.  Their findings are astounding, in that they give evidence, once and for all, of the efficacy of homeopathic treatments.  Further, the report notes that half the population of Switzerland uses or has used CAM treatments, specifically homeopathic medicines, and that a full eighty-five percent of the population of that nation believes that CAM treatments should be covered by the national health care plan.

Such a difference from the folks in the UK, who have allowed themselves to be deceived by a small group of very vocal “skeptics,” whose role it is to drive homeopaths and homeopathic medicine into the icy waters of the North Atlantic.  Perhaps if the British government could see it way clear to conduct its own exhaustive research into the matter they, like the Swiss, would conclude that homeopathic medicine and other CAM treatments not only should be part of the national health care, but also are actually more effective, cheaper and safer than their allopathic alternatives.

I live for the day when allopathy is considered the “alternative” to mainstream homeopathy.  And I won’t shut my big mouth until that happens.

Read Dana’s article about the Swiss government’s findings here.  And help spread the word by cut and pasting this link all over the internet.

Starting Over from Scratch

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For me, it all started with numbers. I disliked all the numbers associated with me. My age. My blood pressure. My blood sugar. The waist size on my pants. My shoe size. All of them described someone older than I, sicker than I, more restricted by life than I. Over time, it came to seem as if gravity were pushing me down more than others.

So I decided to make a change.

I have been doing juice fasts every year for years now. Always in the high heat of August, when it feels so good to drink down the cool juice and then to sit outdoors, catching what breezes I can.

Sometimes the fasts are as brief as three days, just enough for a little detox and a little rest. Other times they can last a full thirty days, a period of time in which I can reassess, decide what aspects of life are working for me and which ones are not. It is a time to reassess work, relationships, and, most important, lifestyle choices—food, locale, etc.

Last August, I had set out to do a full thirty days. And I was nearly there. On day twenty-eight, Hurricane Irene swept up the East coast and walloped the state of Connecticut. We were without power for days. And, with no power, I had no juicer. Our excellent health food store, New Morning, was closed. Everything was closed. Trees were down everywhere, roads were flooded. Radio stations disappeared. The batteries on our old radio failed and stores were closed. So we went without.

In short, that fast ended abruptly.

One day I was juicing carrots, zucchini and cucumber. The next I was baling out the basement.

And after that we ate what food we had. Canned things. Bottled things. Crackers with peanut butter. Not the usual ending of the fast. I had intended to move onto raw foods for a time to continue losing weight and cleansing my body. But Irene changed my mind. Within two weeks it was as if the fast had never happened.

So, I’m on to the next fast now. To change those numbers. And I pray this time for a soft landing.

It was a funny thing that motivated me this time. It was a picture that I saw on Facebook. It has been all over the Internet by now, I’m sure, but I’ll post it here:

This bloated possum serves as the "Before" image for my juice fast

It’s a possum you broke into a bakery in Australia. You can see from the hole in the back of the box that he was a good bit smaller when he chewed his way into the box then he was when he finished eating. Image what the little guy must have thought when he got into that box. I’m sure he smelled the pastry, and so he had a clue as to what was ahead. But to find so many! And so many flavors! He apparently ate all night until he not only was too swollen to get back out of the box, but even to move.

Take a close look at the picture. His expression tells the whole story.

So I saw this picture and, at first, laughed. It is funny. (I just hope that the people who had the sense of humor to take the picture also had the sense of humor to let the poor thing go.) But then I began to identify with the animal. I realized that I look like that too many nights after too many dinners. That could be me on the couch instead of the possum in the box. And, like the possum, my own discomfort, my own bad numbers (aside from age) were those that I earned from my own bad choices.

So I have decided to make a good choice for a change and to decide to go on a juice fast as a means of starting from scratch. If you’ve never experienced a juice fast, it is an amazing thing. A time of detox, which can be quite difficult, followed by a time of rest and reflection that can yield powerful results if you let it. And then, at the end, there is a time of joy, as your being feels charged with energy and healed from within. It it, as I say both a difficult thing that requires determination and a wonderful, powerful tool for healing.

Last summer, I mentioned my juice fast in passing here at Psora Psora Psora, as a bit of an amuse bouche. This time, as the stakes are higher, I intend to write in more detail, giving notes on how to do a juice fast safely and effectively. Even with a nod to giving some recipes for specific juices. (Hint: lots of carrots are involved.)

There’s nothing that I can think of in life, short of joining the witness protection program, that can give you a fresh start like a juice fast. I hope that, as you read these entries, you come to agree.

The Thing About Colchicine

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On first consideration, you may not think that this is very important. After all, it likely doesn’t involve you directly. However, as a warning sign, this is something that should alarm every American and drive them to action. So read on:

Colchicine is a drug that has been in use literally for thousands of years. It is made from the flower the Meadow Saffron, also called the Autumn Crocus (Colchicum Autumnale). As the allopathic drug (the planet is also made into a homeopathic remedy called Colchicum, which, happily in not affected by the events discussed here) is still taken more or less directly from the plant and not from a chemical equivalent, it might almost be considered an herbal remedy that has, for generations, been used by allopaths in the treatment of gout.

In fact, as a treatment for gout, Colchicine has likely been around for as long as gout has. First recorded treatments for patients with gout date back to 1500 B.C., when physicians in Egypt began using the medicine for patients with rheumatism. It began being used specifically for gout in Rome in 500 A.D. After hundreds of years of being used in Europe, none other than Benjamin Franklin brought Autumn Crocus plants to America so that he could grow the herbal medicine for the treatment of his own case of gout. And it was “purified” into an allopathic drug for the first time in 1833. It has been used in exactly the same way ever since.

Colchicine works by leeching uric acid from the human system; and as uric acid build-up is the cause of gout, the medicine is effective not only for gout attacks, but can be used daily as a preventative, in that the medicine will keep the amount of uric acid in the system low enough to keep attacks from occurring. Note that Colchicine is also an anti-inflammatory, although it is not effective against other forms of arthritis or realted conditions.

For years, Colchicine was the go-to medicine for those with gout. It was easy to get a prescription for, it was cheap and it was effective—on average, a thirty-day supply cost as little as five or six dollars. And the drug was effective enough that, for many patients with gout, it was the only drug needed to keep their disease under control. So, what’s the issue with Colchicine? With everything going so well, a safe, effective, readily available and cheap medicine for one of the most painful conditions known to mankind, what could have possibly gone wrong?

Why the FDA, of course.

It is important to note that Colchicine was such an old drug that it actually pre-dated the FDA itself. There are a number of other drugs that are in the same position of having been grandfathered in when the FDA was formed, drugs that had been in use for decades and were an established part of the allopathic pharmacy, in regular use all over the United States on a daily basis. But of certain, specific reasons, Colchicine suddenly was targeted by the FDA.

Although no deaths or other catastrophic reactions to the medicine were uncovered (indeed, Colchicine is one of the few allopathic drugs that a person like me—someone who is almost rabidly dedicated to homeopathy to the point of avoiding almost all aspects of allopathic medicine at all times—could feel good about. It was as close to natural as possible and still be a part of the allopathic pharmacy.

And it was fairly safe to use. The only negative side-effect associated with the drug that I know of is that it will cause diarrhea if over used. And, indeed, many patients using Colchicine chose to take it until it caused diarrhea, knowing that, in doing so, the uric acid would be flushed away more quickly, if not more comfortably.

But a few years back, the FDA very quietly decided that Colchicine was not safe. That it had never been tested effectively enough. And so they very quietly once more (and the FDA can become remarkably stealthy when they want to) removed the drug from the market, saying that they had reason to suspect that it was not safe. Which was, let’s face it, much like the Bush administration insisting against all evidence that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction as an excuse for declaring war.

Here’s the thing about Colchicine. The FDA turned the drug over to URL Pharma, with whom they had entered into a new agreement for the medication. URL Pharma agreed to invest $100 million in the drug, $45 million of which went to the FDA itself as an “application fee.” After Colchicine (I really shouldn’t call it that at this point, because the drug formerly know as Colchicine had been taken from the market and legally no longer existed) passed the various tests and was officially declared safe, was it simply put back on the market under the same name for $6 for a thirty day supply?

Of course not.

Colchicine was renamed Colcrys and returned to the market. And who has been given an exclusive license for the drug? URL Pharma. And what is the cost of a thirty-day supply of Colcrys? Ninety dollars.

That’s right: in “proving” that a drug that has been used for thirty-five hundred years is safe and effective, a pharmaceutical company has been given the right to increase the cost of the exact same drug from five dollars to ninety dollars for a one month supply. But why? Why is Colchicine worth re-licensing?

It’s all about gout.

You see, in our nation, somewhere around fifty million people have high blood pressure. And many, many of those patients are given diuretics in treatment for hypertension, with the idea that, if the amount of fluid in the blood flowing through blood vessels is reduced, then the pressure of the blood beating against those vessels will be reduced from an unsafe higher level to a safer low level. All well and good.

But what the doctors prescribing diuretics don’t tell their patients is that one common issue with using them is that they can cause gout. As the amount of fluid in the body is reduced, then the amount of uric acid is increased. And because uric acid weighs more than water, the acid flows down to the feet, where the acid crystals (the excess of the acid) are stored by the body in the joints of the feet, most often the joints of the big toe, with the result of a gout attack.

Because of the misuse of diuretics, millions of Americans now have gout, a disease that, once established in incurable. The condition can be managed (with the use of Colchicine—excuse me, Colcrys), but not cured.

And so, over the past twenty years, literally millions of hypertension patients have become gout sufferers as well. And those patients needed a medicine for that condition for the rest of their lives. But what did allopathic medicine have to offer? The best remedy was this old, old medicine, one that was nearly worthless in terms of profits. But not, it turns out, if it were taken off the market and remarketed as a new drug under a new name. Then you can increase the cost of the medication nearly twenty times and, as a result, profits are huge.

Can anyone tell me how, in any way, shape or form, the FDA was looking after the interests of the American pubic in the way it dealt with the drug Colchicine? Instead of investigating the use of diuretics in the treatment of hypertension, something that leads directly to the creation of gout symptoms in many patients, the FDA instead takes a medicine that has been used safely and effectively for thousands of years and declares it safe so that it can pocket a huge fee and then allow a pharmaceutical company to extort the members of the public who need that medicine.

This result is that those patients without insurance can no longer afford their medicine, and that insurance companies are forced to pay a much higher amount for those who do have the medicine (this results, of course, in higher medical costs for all). When will the FDA actually make a decision, take an action that is in the best interests of the American public, a community that they are sworn to protect?

The thing about Colchicine is that it proves that they are not doing it yet. And there are other drugs—and plenty of them, that were grandfathered in, that the FDA could use to perform the same magic act of taking a drug with little profit and turn in into a new profit center. So the question is: where will the FDA strike next. And that’s not a very nice question to have to ask about an agency of our own federal government. I’d like to think that my government is working for me, and not against me, as it did with Colchicine.

Homeopathy, Allopathy, Skeptics & That Amazing Old Randi–All’s Fair in Love & War & ‘Homeophobia’?

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So just a couple of days ago, I was reading a post in the blog of a British homeopath and discovered that the Amazing Randi is a gay man.  And that he had the courage to announce himself as such at age 81.  Now Randi and I have never seen anything eye to eye in the past.  I have found his attacks on homeopathy to be rather vile at times, as he does not always satisfy himself with a debate over ideas, and does, from time to time, get a little irritable, and, in his irritability, tends to deride those of us who uphold the principles of homeopathy, both in philosophy and action.

But upon reading the screed against Randi and his, to use the blogger’s vernacular, “lifestyle,” I couldn’t help but wonder what that has to do with homeopathy, allopathy or the ongoing debate between the two for the hearts and minds of patients everywhere?

Let me go on record again as stating that Randi and his minions have attacked me here in the past, I’ve received death threats from some and just some rather juicy rude comments from others (I guess that Randi’s recent disclosure will remove some of the juiciest rude remarks from the vocabulary of his Flying Monkeys–time will tell.), and that I in no way support anything that the Skeptics do other than simply talk, as I believe in the right of free speech for all.  They are free to disagree with me as often and as loudly as they might.  They may not, however, attempt to in any way stop me from using homeopathy, from making the decisions that I am free to make in terms of medical treatment or to try and shout down, Tea Party style, any homeopathic lectures, meetings or study groups.  You get the idea:  debate when appropriate, but respect the fact that those who disagree with you have an equal right to believe as they will and to state their opinions freely.

Randi, Amazing, The

Before continuing, I want to post a link to a site on which you can hear Randi speak about his sexuality and his process of coming out.  I think that it is important to share this link, as I find his words to be thoughtful and well-presented.  (Here’s the link.)  I want to congratulate Randi for having the courage to come out, even at age 81.  It takes guts for any public person of any stripe to announce himself or herself to be openly homosexual, and so I want to state on the record that I am in full support of the man personally and that I hope he finds much caring support when it comes to his honesty about his sexuality.

But now I need to switch gears.  Again, Randi has been a vocal opponent of homeopathy many years.  In that time, he has made fun of, called names concerning and offered money to vex anyone and everyone in the homeopathic community.  I have never understood his hatred of homeopathy.  I have read again and again that he consider it quackery.  I get that, but that does not usually lead to such an emotionally explosive response.  I’ve always rather suspected that Randi saw homeopathy as an odd enough and a politically weak enough branch of medicine that he rather cynically latched onto it as a means of making a name for himself, as he thought that we would be able to drive homeopathy and all homeopaths into the sea rather easily.  This has not proven the case, however, no matter how many Flying Monkeys Randi launched.

But now, for a homeopath of some note, John Benneth, to sink to Randi and the Monkeys’ level and lower, to issue a rant of pure homophobic bigotry, well, this is the sort of thing that I have never been willing or able to keep silent about.  Most of the time, I read the posts in internet homeopathic groups, nod or shake my head, and just read on.  But, upon reading this screed, I knew I had to say something.  And that something is:  a man’s life and his sexuality is his own business, no matter his political goals, no matter his fame or lack of same.  To take the fact that the man is an acknowledge gay man and to try and warp that into anything other than a simple fact of life is not only inappropriate, it is despicable as well.

If you haven’t read the post, dated October 22, on Benneth’s blog, creatively named “The John Benneth Journal,”  well, here’s that link.  It’s important that you visit his blog and that you read and understand what he is trying to do with his post and with his comments that follow.  In a post entitled “Homeopathy Hater’s Lover Exposed,’ Benneth uses NY Post and Fox News techniques in order to prey upon the lack of understanding that many feel concerning homosexuality in order to paint Randi as “other,” as a lesser thing than a human being.  Further he alludes to the possibility that Randi may or may not have had charges of sexual abuse of a minor thrown at him in the past.  I hope not.  There are few things that I abhor more than any adult who would destroy the life of a child through the use of rape.  But Benneth has no proof to offer, only the whiff of guilt, which he mixes with his own bigoted notion that all gay men are rapist of children to try and get his readers to agree.  This sort of use of fear and anger combined with ignorance has given rise to political action in the past, but I hope it will fall on deaf ears now.  Indeed, I hope that Benneth will hear loud and clear from his readership that his methods and the content of his attack are both outrageous.  He needs to remove the offending posts and to stay far away from crossing this line again in the future.
What makes Benneth’s personal and base attack all the more outrageous is that Benneth is himself a homeopath, a healer.  And yet, in this case, with this argument, he has taken the low road.  I posted a comment on his blog which lead him to immediately attack me in very much the same way.

It saddens me a great deal to see such a bitter and vile underside of the global homeopathic community.  I have heard from another practitioner that not only is homosexuality a form of mental illness, but that the sad and desperate little homosexuals (to use that practitioners jargon) can be saved through the use of homeopathic remedies.  In that the homosexuals I know are neither sad, nor to be pitied, I can only say that this practitioner and others who would, like Benneth agree with him, are apparently not content to merely study Hahnemann’s homeopathy, but have apparently found a way of traveling back in time to live with Hahnemann back in the 1850s, so woefully antiquated are their arguments.

My experience of homeopathy and homeopaths has always been that they have taken the high road, seen themselves as healers and lived that role, by elevating the thoughts of those with whom they come in contact, even those who disagree with them.  To learn of their new idea that debate itself should be a “like for like’ thing and that the homeopaths, therefore, should stoop to the same shabby comments at their opponents truly upsets me and makes me question the health of the homeopathic community itself.

P.S.  I must admit that I almost, in opening this piece, commented that at least now we know why Randi spells his name with an “i,”  but that would be wrong, wouldn’t it?  Totally wrong.

Oprah, Isaac Newton, Homeopathy & Me

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Like most of the rest of the American public that enjoys the freedom to watch television in the middle of a workday afternoon, I recently watched the last three episodes of “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” the two-part special featuring a twenty-five year assortment of topics and guests and the final, quiet, Johnny-Carson-inspired last show.

In that last show, Oprah told us that she wanted to leave with us a few of the principles that guide her life.  It was one of these principles that made me sit up and take notice.

Because this was the first time in all these years that I was aware that Oprah and I had something—or someone—in common.  And that someone is Isaac Newton and the something his Third Law of Motion.

Now I have to admit that I usually take a break at four in the afternoon in order to watch Judge Judy enact her Senior Rage against those who allow themselves to be foolishly placed in her power by her television production staff, so the switch to Oprah, with my usual cup of tea, was not so unusual in terms of time period, just in terms of content (the lack of yelling “Stand Up!” was amazing).

About a third of the way into the show—just as I was quite honestly considering taking a look to see who Judy was hectoring that afternoon—Oprah suddenly mentioned Newton, in a manner similar to the way that I have brought in up in my classes over the past twenty or so years.  She used Isaac Newton to explain the spiritual concept of Karma.

Before showing a great clip from the film “The Color Purple” in which Celie finally stands up to her abusive husband Mister and tells him, “All that you have done to me you have already done to yourself,” Oprah explained that, as a universal principle, Newton’s Third Law can be applied to everything in our universe—applied to our own lives and how they work as well.

At that moment, I thought of another moment a long time ago, in which I finally understood homeopathy on a fundamental level when I realized that it is the embodiment of Newton’s Third Law—that it is the Third Law applied to medicine.

The great thing about using Newton as a learning tool, is that he comes already loaded in the hard drive of all our brains.  Whether we remember the year in school in which we learned it or not and whether we remember that it is called Newton’s Third Law of Motion or not, we all know it by heart:  “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.”

Every time I bring it up in class, I start by giving them the first part of the statement.  I say, “For every action there is,” and I’ve yet to meet a student yet who does not fill in the second half of the equation, “an equal and opposite action.”

Then I simply tell them that, if they understand that, they already understand homeopathy.  Because the First Law of Cure states the same thing:  “Like cures like.”

Homeopathy, you see, is the only form of medicine that works by Newton’s principle, that works WITH the laws governing our universe and our bodies.

Allopathic medicine works in direct opposition to Newton’s law.

Think about it.

If you have a patient who is ill and if you can picture that sick patient as swinging on a pendulum from a place marked “Health” to a place marked “Illness,” then that patient is swinging from Health to Illness.  The allopath, because he gives medicines that work in opposition to the symptoms that the patient is experiencing naturally in his illness (he gives, for instance, a medicine that dries up the sinuses to the patient with a cold or allergies and gives a medicine that puts a patient to sleep for the patient with insomnia, etc.) gives the patient a potent (and some would say toxic, but let’s worry about that another day) medicine that sends that patient abruptly swinging the other way.

This is the honeymoon period of the allopathic dose.  For a time, the allopath’s medication allows the patient to pretend that he is not ill, as the medicine, through its direct and primary action suppresses the patient’s symptoms of illness.  It is important to note that, of course, they are still there, the medicine in no way has cured the cold or the insomnia, only allowed the patient to not have to feel them for a brief period of time.

But then something happens, that equal and opposite reaction.  And the honeymoon period ends.  Because the body reacts to the medicine and, again, sends the patients swinging in the opposite direction—this time toward illness.  And the patient is left with a choice:  keep taking the medicine, often in greater and greater doses in order to achieve the same result (because the body will continue to counter the action of the medicine, in keeping with that Third Law of Newton’s) or experience an even more powerful form of the illness that has been created by working AGAINST the equal and opposite action.

On the other hand, homeopathy works completely in keeping with Newton’s principle:  when you give a homeopathic remedy, you are COUNTING ON the equal and opposite reaction in order for the healing to take place.  Homeopathic treatments are based in the concept that the body will heal itself—that in all cases of medical treatment, the purpose of the medicine is to assist the body in healing itself and not to take over the self-healing task from the body (another important topic for another day).

So homeopathic treatments work like this:  The first or primary action of the remedy is actually to continue the patient’s arc INTO illness.  This is why so many homeopathic treatments begin with an aggravation.  Because the remedy given will, in a totally well person, create the symptoms that the patient is experiencing naturally (already all on his own), then the remedy will actually enhance the symptoms and, in doing so, will alert the immune system that a more powerful response is needed than had been planned for.  In this way, the homeopathic treatment actually assists and enhances the immune response.

The equal and opposite reaction in this case is for the body’s immune function (Vital Force for all the Vitalists out there) to push back against the symptoms associated both with the illness and with the remedy (that acts in a manner just like the illness—remember:  Like Cures Like) and, in doing so, bring about a healing response.

Unlike the allopathic treatment in which the symptoms are suppressed and hidden for a time, the patient numbed to his own pain and suffering, in the homeopathic treatment the symptoms are removed, not by the action of the remedy, but by the body’s own healing mechanism, which has been assisted by the remedy’s potency.  How good is that?  How elegant and how in keeping with the way in which we heal?

Given that Oprah can make the leap to see karma as the expression of Newton’s Third Law, I live in hope that one day she will see how homeopathy is the embodiment of that law in terms of health and healing.  And then, on that day, homeopathy will gain its greatest advocate.

May that day come soon.

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