Homeopathy, Skeptics & Chinese Food: A Placebo Effect Cul De Sac, Featuring Tina Fey & Her New Book, Bossypants

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When I am not busy trying to make the world safe for homeopathy, I am often busy reading books and reviewing them for the New York Journal of Books—and, in doing so, I am busy trying to make the world safe for readers as well.

In the book I am now reading for my next review, Bossypants by Tina Fey, I came upon a short chapter that resonated with me.  Called “I Don’t Care If You Like It,” the chapter had to do with the concept of whether it is right or wrong for women to be comedians.  But there was something in the universality of people having the right to do or think as they like that hit close to home with me.  So I thought I’d share it with you.

First a few chapters from Bossypants:

“Amy Poehler was new to SNL and we were all crowded into the seventeenth-floor writers’ room, waiting for the Wednesday read-through to start.  There were always a lot of noisy ‘comedy bits’ going on in that room.  Any was in the middle of some such nonsense with Seth Meyers across the table, and she did something vulgar as a joke.  I can’t remember what it was exactly, except it was dirty and loud and ‘unladylike.’

“Jimmy Fallon, who was arguably the star of the show at the time, turned to her and in a faux-squeamish voice said, ‘Stop that!  It’s not cute!  I don’t like it.’

“Amy dropped what she was doing, went black in the eyes for a second, and wheeled around on him.  ‘I don’t fucking care if you like it.’  Jimmy was visibly startled.  Amy went right back to enjoying her ridiculous bit.  (I should make it clear that Jimmy and Amy are very good friends and there was never any real beef between them.  Insert penis joke here.)

“With that exchange, a cosmic shift took place.  Amy made it clear that she wasn’t there to be cute.  She wasn’t there to play wives and girlfriends in the boys’ scenes.  She was there because she wanted to do what she wanted to do and she did not fucking care if you like it.

“I was so happy.  Weirdly, I remember thinking, ‘My friend is here!  My friend is here!’ Even though things had been going great for me on the show, with Amy there, I felt less alone.

“I  think of this whenever someone says to me, ‘Jerry Lewis says women aren’t funny,’ or ‘Christopher Hitchens says women aren’t funny,’ or ‘Rick Felderman says women aren’t funny…Do you have anything to say to that?’

“Yes.  We don’t fucking care if you like it.

“I don’t say it out loud, of course, because Jerry Lewis is a great philanthropist, Hitchens is very sick, and the third guy I made up.

“Unless one of these men is my boss, which none of them is, it’s irrelevant.  My hat goes off to them.  It is an impressively arrogant move to conclude that just because you don’t like something, it is empirically not good.  I don’t like Chinese food, but I don’t write articles trying to prove it doesn’t exist.”

Which all goes to show that cosmic shifts can happen anywhere, any time.  They can happen while reading the next book that you are to review.

So thanks Tina Fey for setting me straight, for letting me see just how arrogant it is of the Skeptics to not only decide that homeopathy is not for them, but to also take the next step and, like Chinese food, start writing articles and making videos announcing that it does not exist.

If I have had not just one but multiple healings through the use of homeopathy, then, say the Skeptics, either it was all a coincidence and my symptoms were going to go away anyway, or I am just too much of an idiot to know that I have been tricked and fooled, again and again.  Because I am ssssoooooooooo easily lead that I can believe that I have been healing just because someone waves a wand at me and says that I have been healed.  (Funny how that never seems to work with allopathic drugs, no matter how many wands are waved and now matter how much I believe in them as well.  But placebo effect is a wacky old thing, it just comes and goes, comes and goes…)

So let me say this to the Skeptics (and, by the word Skeptic, let me note that I am not addressing those who are generically skeptical, those who are actually asking questions with the intent of getting answers, no I am addressing those who have more formally named themselves Skeptics and who have made it their business to be more or less the medicine police for a world that neither needs not wants such a service), in Tina Fey’s vernacular, when it comes to homeopathy, those of us who have spent our lives studying it, practicing it and/or being treated by it “don’t fucking care if you like it.”

You can take it or leave it.  As can I.  And I choose to keep it.  I choose to continue being treated by it, and writing about it, and studying it and seeing to it that it remains a legal form of medical treatment in my own country and in countries around the world.

Because this is where you really make me mad, Skeptics, when you don’t just satisfy yourself stamping your feet and shouting.  When you take it upon yourself to try and see to it that the laws change and that I no longer have the right to have the medical treatment of my preference.  And that is where you are making your mistake, Skeptics.  You should have stuck with your phony “Oh, look I overdosed by taking homeopathic remedies incorrectly in a way that would never actually cause an overdose for a homeopathic remedy, although, were it an allopathic drug, it likely would have killed me!” videos.  Because when you seek to take away my legal rights, you get me mad.  And millions of others just like me.

You see, people don’t like being told what to do, especially by an arrogant group of loudmouths.  You may get some media attention just for the novelty of it all, but I think that you will find that, in trying to drive homeopathy into the ocean, you actually get many people who have no intention of actually taking homeopathy themselves, upset enough to see to it that your measures don’t work.

Why?

Because just like Tina Fey, millions of people agree that “just because you Skeptics don’t like something, does not mean that it is empirically not good.”

And we don’t have to convince you of anything.  We don’t have to prove a damned thing to you.  And we have the right to choose when it comes to our own medical care–not you, never you.  Honestly, and we mean this from our holistic little hearts, we just don’t fucking care if you don’t like it.

Homeopathy exists.  And homeopathy is loved by millions.  Just like Chinese food.

From Educator to Activist

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I feel that I am undergoing a change.  Something that maybe has been happening in the background while I have been busy doing other things.

I think that the way I view myself in terms of homeopathy and the global homeopathic community is changing.  Not because I had intended it to, or even wanted it to, but because it has to.

Those who have been reading this blog are aware that I have been studying homeopathy for thirty years now, teaching the principles that guide its practice for twenty-five and authoring books, educational materials, articles, blogs and tweets for years as well.

Until now I have done all this for a very simple reason:  for the love of homeopathy.  As anyone else who does this sort of work will tell you, you don’t do it for the money.  With eight books in print and the next one coming out this spring, I can honestly tell you that being an author on the subject of homeopathy is one step up from being a Match girl on New Year’s Eve.

Now, however, at the moment in my life in which I thought I would lie back and rest a bit, at the moment at which many of my fellows retire or semi-retire, I have instead decided that there is simply too much work to do for me to rest on my laurels.  Although all the books I have written are still in print, and while there is a great deal that I have written on the subject of homeopathy that can speak for me when I am not around, the new truth of the situation is that new forces have arisen and that, in answer to those forces, I feel the need to not only NOT be quiet and turn to my iPad for comfort as I wile away the afternoon playing Angry Birds, but instead to get a great deal louder in sharing with the world or what little part of it I am capable of reaching, the reasons why I love homeopathy and the reasons why I believe with my whole heart that it must remain a legal alternative therapy to standardized allopathic medicine.

I keep telling others in the global homeopathic community that it is time to make some noise.  Indeed, high time that we shouted down those who seem to feel that it is their right to control the conversation concerning health care, just as they seem to feel the need to control control control in general…

It has occurred to me over these past weeks that if I am unwilling to stand up and be heard myself, I have no right to ask the same of others.  So, change is in the air.  A cranky old man who was once a homeopathic author and educator now wishes that his legacy be that he became a homeopathic activist.  The who what when where and how of that remains to be seen.  But you may expect from me more blogs, more books (two more in the pipeline, with more to come after that), more organizations, more media work and, in general, more noise.

And I’m just a tiny part of a big effort.  The era of holistic activism has begun.

 

Ill Wind

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News from Great Britain, as usual, sucks.

 

Now anyone with any knowledge of the kinds of stunts and dirty tricks that are ongoing in GB was most certainly aware that after Prince Charles walked out on that limb to see to it that the citizens of that great nation remained able to choose their method of medical treatment as part of the national health service, those who have rather petulantly made it their business (and one has to wonder why) to see homeopathy not only removed as a medical option, but also ridiculed to the point that it has become rather like an elementary school shunning, would most certainly not simply accept their defeat and go on their way.  They have, of course, most certainly not.  Because theirs is not an idea of a free nation, one in which people have the right to choose all sorts of things like who they marry, what work they undertake and what kind of medical treatment they prefer.  No, theirs is a notion that they know better and that you had damned well listen to them when they tell you how to go about your day and live your life.

 

Well, here they come again, and if they can’t win in the open, they will accept winning by trickery, deceit and secret means.  Take today’s issue, one in which  just a little bit of the legal code can be rewritten in order to say that, while homeopaths can talk about homeopathy all they want to, they can no longer touch or sell homeopathic remedies.  For that, for the actual remedy, you will now have to see an M.D., who will have to write you a prescription.  Now, this dance has been attempted here in these United States in the past and has failed.  Because, thanks to the overly complicated laws of these United States, the states themselves to a large part govern and control medical treatments.  Indeed, the states themselves reserve the right to define just what constitutes medical treatment and what does not, which makes such skullduggery as is being attempted in England a far more difficult thing to do in my beloved land of the free and home of the brave.

 

If you don’t know what the hell I’m talking about, then just click here.  The linked article explains it very well.  It is, simply put, a political version of the shell game.

 

So, today’s post is something of a plea.  For those of you reading to take up pen (well, keyboard) and write a letter.  You may have seen one like it on the internet.  It is being daisy chained all over the place.  This letter needs to get off in a hurry to poor besieged Andrea Farmer, who needs to be told in no uncertain terms that you really really really think it is wrong to deprive millions of people of the right to be treated with the medicine of their choice just because they happen to be British.  Now, that may be a good reason to deprive them of a great many other things, but not medicine.  Surely not medicine.

 

So, here’s the information you need.  A letter to be used as a pattern by which you can create one of your own and Andrea Farmer’s contact information.  It’s a snooze or lose time and those come up infrequently, so make sure to not just sit there–do something.  Let your voice be heard.  Even if you are not British, speak to Andrea as the distant cousin you are and let her know what you think of this infringement of basic human rights.

 

Here’s the info:

 

 

Copy and paste into your email server. Personalize your message.

 

Dear Andrea Farmer,

I am writing to you about the MHRA consultation document entitled; Review of

Medicines Act 1968: informal consultation on issues relating to the PLR

regime and homeopathy. As a member of the public who chooses to use

homeopathy and benefits from its application/practicing homeopath (delete as

applicable), I am deeply concerned by the current orchestrated campaign

against homeopathy, which is led by a self appointed pressure group, Sense

About Science, and a number of bloggers.

 

I consider it to be a fundamental right of any citizen living in a country

which purports to be a democracy, to have ready access to the healthcare

option of their choice. This includes homeopathy, which as you know is

included in the original NHS charter.

 

I find your statement below acceptable for the new registration labels, and

can see no reason to change this statement:

 

“A homeopathic medicinal product licensed only on the basis of safety,

quality and use within the homeopathic tradition”

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Your signature here

 

Send to

andrea.farmer@mhra.gsi.gov.uk

 

Andrea Farmer

MHRA, Area 5M

151 Buckingham Palace Road

Victoria, London SW1W 9SZ

 

 

 

Time to put up or shut up.  There are some powerful (and power-hungry) people in England who have targeted homeopathy, as well as some rather loopy and fun folk who have sadly gotten caught up in the cause.  It’s important that politicians all around the world start to hear from other persons with other opinions and that those of you who count on homeopathy stop thinking that it will always be there for you and start doing something to make sure that that’s the case.

 

More later.  Get busy.

 

Re: Flying Monkeys

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Well, this has been a wacky day in Psora Psora Psora land.  Thanks to all who made it so special and so much fun.

Return often, if you will.  It gave what would otherwise have been a dreary, wet day some welcomed activity.

Did we resolve anything?  No.  Is it likely that we will resolve anything?  No.  I truly believe in homeopathic medicine.  I truly believe that there is no such thing as false hope, only hope and that hope is too valuable a commodity to ever dismiss.  Ever.  And I truly believe that healing is always possible.  Healing on every level of being:  body, mind and spirit.

I am, I admit, somewhat surprised that there are those who feel that these are controversial beliefs.  Or worse, that find them to be deluded beliefs or even dangerous beliefs to write about on a little blog floating out there somewhere on the internet.

But it appears that it is highly controversial to suggest such things and that, in suggesting them, I am being, among other things, a coward, a hypocrite and deluded.  As I said, among many other things.

This all having been said, I posted something as an answer to a comment in the last thread that I think, upon reflection, is just too good to hide away.  The Bible says we should never hide our light under a basket.  Journalists say we should never bury the lead.  So I want to move this answer to a comment up here–to make it a post all on its own.

I took a lot of hits today, and got called a lot of names.  I found that surprising.  Shows what an internet novice I still am.

Some of the heat I took was over calling my friends from Great Britain Flying Monkeys.  And for showing pictures of the monkeys in the posts.

In answer to one of the posts about my choice of the Flying Monkey moniker, I wrote:

I do think that allusion to the Flying Monkeys is apt. And also funny. They did come launched at me the first time as a like-minded army, all saying the exact same things. That time there was a lot of discussion about the merits (or lack thereof) of bleach. This told me that the monkeys were not ever aware of my blog or what I had been writing. They did not bother to read the blog, they just commented/ranted on it.

It undermines their argument when they all fly in that way. How much better to get one post that is real and thoughtful (and I DID get a few, I admit it), then to get dozens that are just the same thing over and over again. When argument comes in this fashion it can never seem to be the result of contemplation, of real thought. Instead, it seems like (as I’ve said before) the Tea Party rhetoric that we have had a good deal of lately here in the USA. People who offer nothing but criticism, who betray no sense of reason, no search for a point of commonality have very little to offer. With Rhys and with many others, I have reached, I think, a point of agreeing to disagree. For those who choose allopathic medicine, I hope that it brings them the relief and full cure that they are hoping for. I would rather be wrong about my dislike for allopathy than to have anyone suffer as a result of using it. In the same way, I would like to think that those who disagree with me can still wish me well and hope that my choice works well for me.

This is as it should be. This is how we should be.

And, along the way, we should never lose our sense of humor.

I stand by this.  I hope that you will, on reading it, stand next to me.  At least on this.  At least as far as what has been said here in this post at the end of a very long day.

Do-It-Yourself: Homeopathic Remedies for the Treatment of Cough

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My friend Rhonda, whose first cold of the season inspired me to write about the most commonly used homeopathic remedies for those who suffer from colds and flu, writes:

“I have a request. I loved your blog post about the colds and sore throats. I think I have a better understanding, although still extremely shallow, of how the homeopathic remedies work. The Allium Cepa was amazing. Then, as my cold morphed into other symptoms, I just wasn’t ready fast enough to respond. By the time I had identified where I was, and what I should take, I had moved to the next stage. Could you write another column that talks about what to do when the cold reaches the chest? Varieties of cough, and spasm cough, and so on. If I had both columns to use as a reference, I think next time I could be ready. I’ve never been more aware of the stages and changes in a cold as I have been this time, and that is a homeopathy inspired awareness. Before, a cold was a cold, but I didn’t really pay attention to what was going on other than I felt awful.

“Thank you so much for sharing this knowledge. It is quite exciting to find there are viable options out there that are not in the pharmaceutical companies’ pockets.”

Who am I to disagree with Rhonda?  So I happily share with you the names and descriptions of the most commonly-used homeopathic remedies for coughs that accompany colds.  This list will help all those whose colds move down into their chests.

There are just a few basic cough remedies, although getting to be able to tell the difference among them just by the sound of a cough takes a lot of practice.  So try to use the cough as just one of several symptoms and consider the totality of what is happening with the patient aside from the cough and you’ll have a much higher success rate.

The Three most common remedies for those with a cough are:

DROSERA:  This is the remedy for dry, spasmodic and croupy coughs.  Use this remedy when the coughing patient sounds like a barking dog.  Listen for the ringing sound to the cough.  There is almost an echo to the cough, it is a rounded sound as well as an explosive sound.  The patient’s larynx will look red, inflamed and irritated.  Like SPONGIA, there is a constriction in the throat.  The patient commonly will complain of a tickling in the throat..  The cough may be shallow in the throat, or deeper in the chest, making it a croupy cough.  Sometimes the patient may insist that the cough is coming from the abdomen.  Patients needing this remedy often suffer form spasms of coughing that they cannot control. Spasms of coughing most often suddenly appear after midnight and may be so severe and long-lasting to cause vomiting.  Look for the patient to have to support his or her chest and/or stomach from the coughing fit.

SPONGIA TOSTA:  This is by far the easiest remedy to tell by sound alone.  Listen for a harsh cough that sound like a saw cutting through wood.   The cough is sudden, loud and frightening, for patient and caregiver alike.  While ACONITE and HEPAR SULPH will both also have croupy coughs, neither will have the jarring surprise quality of SPONGIA.  Listen carefully: the SPONGIA cough has a rasp to it.  SPONGIA patients will be awakened by the sound of their own cough, usually soon after going to bed, in the period of time before midnight.  Like the LACHESIS, the SPONGIA patient will feel a constriction and suffocation in the throat.  They are worse from talking, from cold drinks and from over-excitement.  Indeed, the SPONGIA patient may have difficulty speaking at all because of their cough.  Along with it, they will experience shooting pains in the chest or a fixed sensation of a heavy weight in their chest.

RUMEX CRISPUS:  Made from yellow dock, RUMEX heals patients whose coughs are dry and shallow.  These coughs are set off by a tickle in the throat or in the pit of the throat just above the breastbone.  The keynote symptom is that the patient will keep the covers up over his or her mouth as he or she breathes in order to warm the air before breathing it in, as cool air triggers a coughing fit. (No other remedy for those with coughs will have the sensitivity to cold air that Rumex has—this is a very helpful symptom to use in the selection of this remedy.)  Another keynote symptom of RUMEX is that the patient feels that it is taking all their strength of body and mind to keep from coughing.  So the patient will breathe as shallowly as possible and as slowly as possible.  The patient does not want to talk, because it will make them cough.  Doesn’t even want to be spoken to.  The cough is worse before midnight and when lying down.  Touching the throat will bring on a coughing fit.  NOTE:  RUMEX is commonly used to treat coughs that come on in the autumn, when days are warm and nights are cold.  RUMEX is the general remedy for all upper respiratory conditions that come on during this time of year.

The Go-To remedy for Colds that move into the Chest:

PHOSPHORUS:  PHOSPHORUS is the first remedy to think about for colds that begin in the head and throat but quickly moved down into the patient’s chest.  This is particularly important if the patient is a child.  Also if the illness involves the patient’s ears as well, with either earache or ear infection.  (Constitutionally, this is the first remedy to consider for young patients who are prone to ear infections and/or upper respiratory weakness.)  The PHOSPHORUS patient is among our most pleasant.  This is a needy patient, one who wants company, but not a demanding or angry patient.  The PHOSPHORUS will seek attention and will feel better when he or she gets it.  They love to talk and to laugh, although both may trigger a coughing fit.  The PHOSPHORUS cough starts as a simple, dry cough.  It then becomes loose and the patient may cough up a good deal of mucus.  The mucus may be blood-streaked.  (This is a clear indication of the need for this remedy.)  The patient will experience heat in his or her chest.  The patient will crave cold water and cold foods, which will soothe the throat but make the cough worse.  Look for the patient’s breathing to be shallow and rapid and for the patient to experience a sensation of tightness all across the chest.  Typically, with the onset of illness, the PHOSPHORUS patient’s ears will turn bright red and very hot.  This is a keynote sign of this remedy.  NOTE:  all the PHOSPHORUS patient’s pains will be burning in nature, this, too is a sign of the need for this remedy.

Other Remedies for patients with coughs:

ACONITUM NAPELLUS:  Think of this remedy for coughs that accompany the onset of the cold.  That do not develop over time, but burst suddenly forth, after the patient has been exposed to cold, dry wind.  For coughs that suddenly come on, usually accompanied by a sudden, high fever, after a child has been out playing in the cold weather.  These are coughs that are common in autumn and winter.  Sudden coughs in excited, flushed patients who do not want to rest, but want to run about.  Excited patients who may be fearful or exhilarated.  ACONITE is also an important remedy for children who have sudden croupy coughs.  The ACONITE cough is typically hoarse, loud and dry.  The patient will complain of a sensation of tingling in the chest that comes on after fits of coughing.  For the sudden cough that is accompanied by fever in an excited patient, always think of ACONITE.

LACHESIS:  If the patient coughs in his or her sleep without waking or coughs when awake without being aware of it, strongly consider a dose of LACHESIS.  This is the remedy for simple dry coughs that come on in suffocative fits.  If the patient feels as if he cannot breathe when coughing and rushes to the window and it relieved by breathing in cold, fresh air, the remedy of choice is LACHESIS.  The LACHESIS patient is very sensitive to touch, particularly in the area of the throat.  If the patient refuses to allow you to examine his throat or to touch him on his throat, or if he responds to having this throat touched by feeling suffocated, the remedy of choice is LACHESIS.  The patient may complain of the sensation of a plug in his or her throat.  They may also complain of a tickling in their throat that is the cause of their cough.

HEPAR SULPHURICUM:  The need for this remedy is a sign that the illness is becoming more serious and that perhaps an infection is present.  The patient will complain of the sensation of a plug, or, more commonly, a stick caught in their throat.  The patient’s throat feel raw and ragged.  This the remedy when the patient’s cough is very loose, and he or she is coughing up a great deal of mucus.  The mucus is yellow and thick.  It may be bloody at times.  The HEPAR patient coughs when he is cold, when any part of his body is uncovered.  This is a patient who wants to be warm, wants to rest.  Look for the HEPAR patient to typically have to sit up in order to breathe and to bend his head back while sitting.  This is the only way he feels he can get enough air.  Listen and you will hear the the HEPAR cough has an unusual croaking sound to it.

IPECAC:  This is a remedy to consider for a cough that is moving toward bronchitis.   The illness that responds to IPECAC comes on swiftly, moving from a simple head cold down into the chest in just a day or two.  The cough is damp and very deep.  Listen for a rattling sound in the chest when the patient coughs.  There will be a great deal of mucus in the chest.  The IPECAC patient will commonly experience choking and a sense of suffocation when they cough.  The patient may have a hard time breathing.  The patient’s fits of coughing are commonly accompanied by nausea, which is keynote to this remedy, and can be accompanied by vomiting as well. When the coughing fits end in vomiting, this is the remedy of choice.  The IPECAC patient is worse in a warm room.  Concomitant symptoms include a stuffy nose and nose bleeds.  The IPECAC patient is needy, but often doesn’t  know just what he or she needs.  The IPECAC patient flails in his or her illness and wants attention, wants to be cared for.

ANTIMONIUM TARTARICUM:  Historically, this remedy is known as the “drowning man’s remedy,” for reasons that will become clear.  This is the remedy to keep in mind for a really deep cough, one that is moving or has moved into bronchitis.  Listen for rattling in the chest and a chest full of mucus.  The patient seems to be drowning from within, and has difficulty breathing. The symptoms come on very slowly, and the cold, which may have been mild enough in the beginning, has moved deeper and become a more serious situation.  The patient will cough and cough and will be unable to bring up any mucus.  The cough sounds wet, and will become more and more painful for the patient as he or she becomes weaker and weaker.  The patient may ultimately be too weak to expectorate the mucus.  In general, the patient is short of breath but lacks the strength to sit up in order to breathe more easily.  Note that with symptoms this serious, a trip to the doctor or the emergency room may be called for.

With this short list of remedies, you have more or less the full picture remedies for patients with coughs that accompany colds and flu.  As the season progresses, I will add to this group of lists, with a list specific to fevers and another for flu.  For a more detailed account of these remedies and many others and their home use, take a look at my book Practical Homeopathy.

 

The Organon, an Introduction

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If there is one book, one document that best expresses both the basic theory and the correct practice of homeopathy, it is Samuel Hahnemann’s Organon of the Medical Art.  (Note that in some translations it is referred to as the Organon of the Healing Art.)

 

"S. Hahnemann"

Samuel Hahnemann, The father of Homeopathy, author of the Organon

 

When I first heard of the book, I imagined it an encyclopedia of homeopathic practice, and was surprised on finding it that it is a small volume, containing just 291 aphorisms.  Each of these individual paragraphs contains a nugget of information, a piece of the puzzle of what homeopathy is and why it offers us the true potential for healing.  You see, each of the aphorisms represents a discovery: The Organon itself evolved with Hahnemann, as he improved upon his original vision of homeopathy through clinical experience and scientific trials.
The first edition of The Organon was published in Germany in 1810.  The second in 1819.  The third in 1824.  The fourth in 1829.  The fifth in 1833.  With each new edition were new aphorisms, new discoveries.  The fifth edition of 1833 was itself annotated and updated and published again in 1833.
Hahnemann’s letters to his publishers note the completion of a sixth edition as of February 1842.  Hahnemann, however, did not live to see this edition published.  Hahnemann’s widow, Melanie, and his other heirs did not release this sixth edition for publication until 1920.  Their reasons are matters of argument for Melanie’s supporters and detractors.
The sixth edition was revolutionary, even in homeopathic circles, in that it contains not only the sum total of Hahnemann’s work and inquiry that had been included in the previous five editions, but also because it included an exploration of the LM potencies, a new theory that was central to the final years of Hahnemann’s practice.
“Organon” is a Greek work, meaning “organ,” or “instrument.”  It, therefore, refers to the manner in which any philosophical or scientific research may be conducted.  “Organ” is a term applied to any number of works by various medical writers.  Francis Bacon adapted the term into the latinized “Organum” in his own writings on philosophical methods.  Hahnemann’s use of the term refers to the organ of knowledge required for him, as a physician, to be able to effectively carry through his life’s work.  While Hahnemann certainly published no small number of pamphlets and papers in his time, and also managed to present a Materia Medica of his original remedies, it is The Organon that presents the information that is central to his practice.
It is, therefore, amazing to me that The Organon is not studied by all those who wish to understand homeopathy, both professionals and lay persons alike. I do believe that you cannot practice homeopathy on any level without first studying The Organon.  It is, to me, rather like attempting to understand the beauty and mysteries of Christianity without ever reading the Bible.
It is my belief that, like many nominal Christians, whose entire knowledge of their faith is given them in weekly doses of not more than twenty minutes before the doxology, too many of us who profess a great interest in homeopathy would rather turn our attention to a book that lists three or four symptoms covered by each individual remedy before swallowing a remedy and getting as far away from homeopathic theory as possible, rather than to read Hahnemann’s own work and wrestle with what healing is, and how and why homeopathic healing takes place.  This, it seems to me, makes many who profess to be homeopaths nothing more than allopaths with milk sugar remedies, rather than true homeopathic practitioners and consumers.
No, we must read The Organon.  And those who wish to study it have been given a great gift:  in recent years, Wenda Brewster O’Reilly has presented the world with a new translation of the text, from its original German into English.  This new edition presents the work in a new light.  It is at once vibrant and highly readable, enlightening and comprehensible.  I could not recommend it more highly.

Do-It-Yourself: Twelve Tried & True Homeopathic Remedies for Patients with Sore Throats

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In continuing to look at the remedies that you might want to have on hand for the upcoming cold and flu season, here are twelve tried-and-true remedies for patients with sore throats.  I based this list on the one in my book Practical Homeopathy.  Which causes me to ask:  if you steal from your own work, is it still plagiarism, or are you just being lazy?

As is always the case when using homeopathic remedies for the treatment of everyday emergencies in the home, choose the remedy whose actions best match the patient’s symptoms.  The remedy that best mirrors the symptoms associated with the patient’s unique experience of the sore throat will most swiftly and effectively work to aid the patient’s own immune system in the restoration of health.  I suggest that these remedies not be used in any potency above a 30C unless you are told otherwise by a medical professional.

First, two remedies for sore throats that come on after exposure to cold air:

ACONITE: Think of ACONITE first for a sore throat that comes on quickly, most especially if that sore throat begins after exposure to cold, dry wind.  Look for the throat to look red and swollen and for the patient to feel chilled, even during an accompanying fever.  Patient’s face will be bright red, hot to the touch and dry.

CHAMOMILLA:  This is the remedy for sore throats that come on after you go out into cold air while perspiring.  Singing and burning pains in the throat.  There is a sensation that you should be able to cough something up from the throat and then you will feel better.  Often the remedy for children’s sore throats, especially when the child is cross.

Now two remedies for sore throats that are often associated with tonsillitis.  (Although, note, they may be used for other cases of sore throat as well, so don’t limit their use in your thinking.)

BELLADONNA:  This is the best remedy to think of in cases in which the pain is associated with tonsillitis, but it may be useful in other sore throats as well.  The pain comes on quickly.  The tonsils and throat will be bright red.   The pain is burning in nature, and—look for this, it is a good indicator—the patient swallows constantly, even though it hurts for them to swallow.  They may have trouble swallowing food or water.  They want lemons or oranges.  Look for a fever to accompany the sore throat.  The patient wants to rest in a quiet cool place, often in a half sitting position.  In the same way, the patient may seem half asleep, half awake much of the time.

FERRUM PHOSPHORICUM:  The other remedy to think of in cases of tonsillitis.  Think of this remedy when the pain does not occur as suddenly as it does with BELLADONNA, but comes on slowly, and starts out rather mildly, usually in the middle of the night or just before bedtime.  Usually the symptoms will not reach the point of severity or drama as they do with BELLADONNA.  In fact, FERRUM PHOS  is often given for fevers and sore throats that are notable for their lack of specific symptoms.  They simply are there.  Sore throats where pain is accompanied by fever and hoarseness.  NOTE:  FERRUM is also a good remedy to have on had for people who lose their voices from overuse, especially from straining due to singing.  Think of this remedy if the patient feels better from drinking cold water.

Now some general sore throat remedies:

APIS:  Think of the general APIS picture and apply it to a sore throat.  In other words, think of a bee sting, how it feels and how the skin at the point of the sting looks and feels.  The sore throat is red and swollen; it feels stung and burning.  The pain is made worse by drinking warm things, and is better for drinking very cold things.  The throat is dry; the patient is thirsty.  The throat may look to be shiny as well as red.  In ACONITE, the throat looks swollen.  In APIS, it feels swollen as well.  Patient will say that the throat hurts whether or not they swallow.

PHOSPHORUS:  This is a great remedy patients who lose their voice from overuse; for what they used to call  “Preacher’s throat.”  Think of it in terms of the patient having given over too much of himself or herself, and now they are exhausted.  The patient loses his voice because he has nothing left to say.  This sore throat demands cold drinks, ice, and ice cream.  Patient may become nauseous as these things warm in the stomach but he still needs to have them for the sake of his throat pain.  The PHOSPHORUS patient wants to be made to laugh, even if that makes the throat hurt worse.  This sore throat may involve the ears as well and may hurt into the ears on swallowing. Look for the patient to experience tightness of chest and for the sore throat and cold to move down into the chest as well.  The PHOSPHORUS patient usually will experience discomfort in ears, throat and chest during illness, as opposed to symptoms in the sinuses.

RHUS TOXICODENDRON:  This is a great remedy for those patients who lose their voices often, due to overuse.  It is the best friend to all actors and singers whose voices are in doubt.  Consider this remedy first if the patient’s pain is worse on initial swallowing, but better from continued swallowing. This is the keynote symptom for RHUS TOX. The patient is made worse from cold in any form and is better from warm drinks.  The patient will, in general, feel better from warmth, especially the damp heat of a hot shower.

SULPHUR:  Think of this remedy as a general tonic for the throat.  It can be used for any situation in which the patient has a mild sore throat in which the pattern follows the general SUPHUR symptoms:  a hot, sweaty lazy patient.  The sore throat pain is better from cold drinks, worse from warmth in any form.  The pain is made better by salt and from eating salty things. The patient will want to eat potato chips–things that are both greasy and salty.   The pain in the throat is burning in character.

CAUSTICUM:  Think of this remedy for the hoarse and rough sore throat that is accompanied by a hoarse voice.  When the pain is always worse in the morning.  This is a very good remedy for obstinate cases, especially with pain in the chest as well as the throat, so this remedy often follows PHOSPHORUS well when that remedy fails to totally heal the condition.  CAUSTICUM is usually an emotionally-related remedy, for cases in which emotional upset is involved with the onset of pain.  The CAUSTICUM patient may lose his voice when shouting out about causes that excite him—as with PHOSPHORUS and RHUS TOX, overuse of the voice may be involved, but the CAUSTICUM speaks in anger before losing his voice.  NOTE:  In a flip-flop from the other remedies, the CAUSTICUM patient will actually feel better in cold, wet weather.

LACHESIS:  Everyone knows that LACHESIS is made from snake venom, and so it goes to follow that the throat, the most snake-like part of the body, will be most vulnerable to sore throat pain.  The pain is usually on the left side, or begins on left and moves right. (NOTE: if the pain begins on the right and moves left, choose between ARSENCUM and LYCOPODIUM.) Look for the left side of the throat to be more swollen or deep red/purple in color.  The sore throat pain is worse from swallowing any liquids, especially warm liquids, better from swallowing solid food.  The patient’s throat is overly sensitive to touch.  Nothing can cover the throat and no one can touch it.  The patient will be very protective of his or her throat.

Two remedies to think of when the sore throat is severe:

HEPAR SULPHURICUM:  Think of this remedy when the pain feels as if there were a stick caught in the throat.  As with ACONITE, the pain begins usually after the patient is exposed to cold air, although this may not be the case in all instances, so don’t rule this remedy out needlessly.  The sore throat will ache into the ears, especially on swallowing.  The sore throat pain is made better by drinking hot drinks.  This is a remedy to think of in cases of more severe sore throats when an infection is suspected.  NOTE:  the HEPAR SULPH patients will not want to be touched or bothered and may become quite irritable.

MERCURIUS:  Think of this remedy in cases of very severe sore throats in which some sort of infection is present.  Usually, when MECURIUS is called for, the ailment is not a simple sore throat, but is usually a case in which a cold has settled into the throat.  Therefore, MERCURIUS is not a remedy for a simple sore throat, or one that has just begun, but is instead to to be considered when a throat continues to be sore for a period of time.  Look for swollen glands under the jaw.  Look for a swollen tongue and for the patient’s mouth to have  a great deal of saliva in it.  The patient drools at night.  The patient’s pain is raw; the throat is constricted.  The patient’s throat will be visibly swollen. Tonsils will be swollen.

These aren’t the only remedies that can be used for patients with sore throats, of course, although they are among the most commonly used remedies.  For more information on these remedies and others, give a look at my book Practical Homeopathy, of, if you have young children in the home, consider Household Homeopathy.

 

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