OVERVIEW OF HOMEOPATHY
HISTORY, PRINCIPLES AND USE
Dr. Christina Chambreau
Although formally conceived by Samuel Hahnemann, MD, a brilliant German physician in 1800, the roots of homeopathy go back to Hippocrates, Paracelsus, the Mayans, Chinese, Greeks, Indians (Asian & American), and Egyptians. All used the philosophy of like cures like. Hippocrates and other Greek physicians observed that if a person chronically ill with one disease was infected with a more severe disease that had similar symptoms – the chronic disease would disappear upon recovery from the acute, stronger disease. All older medicinal systems that have persisted through the ages share recognition of an underlying energy component to the individual describes as Pranna, Chi, Spirit & other names.
Hahnemann was the first to combine the spirit like principle and the principle of like cures like to create a well organized system of medicine capable of treating most ailments, even treating the underlying tendency to become ill. The Organon, his book explaining the principles and philosophy of homeopathic practice, is still the primary text for homeopathic students today. Though based on human work, homeopathic medicine works excellently with animals.
The basic principles of homeopathic practice are:
1. Knowledge of disease: The sum total of all the symptoms, past and present represents the underlying imbalance that needs to be corrected.
2. Knowledge of medicines: Homeopathic preparations of herbs, minerals and body substances are tested on humans who report all changes occurring as a result of taking the homeopathic remedy.
3. Ability to match the remedy to the individual in the right strength (potency), amount and frequency.
4. Knowledge of obstacles to recovery: For each individual, learning what practices are detrimental to continued health. The major obstacles in animals include poor nutrition, over-vaccination, environmental toxins, other drugs, changes in life style or people in their life, etc.
5. Knowledge of the possible outcomes of treatment
The basic tools we use in homeopathic practice are:
1. Materia Medicas – books reporting the symptoms from the provings and from clinicians’ clinical experience.
2. Repertories – indexes of the Materia Medicas. These are lists of symptoms with the remedies known to impact on those symptoms.
3. Remedies – purchased from reliable pharmacies.
4. Clinical judgment – from veterinary training, or by working with a veterinarian, from many years experience with a particular species.
5. Study, courses, reading, and learning, learning, learning.
To summarize: Use questioning, Materia Medicas and repertories, to select a homeopathic remedy that you feel is similar to the energy imbalance in the animal, in a potency that matches the level of energy (vital force), avoid obstacles to cure and know how to evaluate the response of the animal to your treatment to know what to do next.
The potentized (diluted and succussed) medicines are tested on healthy people and the details about the symptoms produced are recorded in Materia Medicas.
Hahnemann proved 106 remedies in his life. Currently many people are conducting provings, including David Reilly and Jeremy Sherr. Jeremy’s provings are all double blind. Many follow new drug approval guidelines. All provers’ cases were taken prior to the proving, symptoms recorded for a week or more before the remedy was taken and a professional homeopath supervised the prover daily. We have the symptoms in the prover’s words and the observations of the supervisor. Provings conducted in this way give a picture consistently accurate and reliable for prescribing.
The goal of a proving is to give us enough information to accurately select a remedy for an individual. It does not have to be right the first try. The response of the individual will guide us to a better remedy, if needed. The accuracy of these human provings has been demonstrated in adults, infants, animals, fish, birds and even plants. If a human prover develops right-sided symptoms, a fear of the rain, thirstlessness and yellow discharges, that remedy will cure any living thing with those characteristics (if enough of other symptoms match, as well). The remedies are effective in all species of life.
The information from the provings is collated in Materia Medicas. There are many modern and old Materia Medicas. They are used equally in modern practice. Those with the symptoms listed directly from the provings are more useful when treating animals, but the interpretations of the remedies are useful for learning.
Indexes of the symptoms in the Materia Medica are called repertories. After taking the case, one looks up the symptoms in the repertories and chooses several remedies that have symptoms matching the ill animal. Then one reads in detail about those remedies in the Materia Medicas (more than one is often needed) to choose the best match. The correct potency is chosen and given. After waiting an appropriate time, the response of the vital force is evaluated and further treatment is given. Obstacles to cure such as poor nutrition or concurrent medication must be eliminated, as well.
How are homeopathic medicines prepared, stored and administered? When Dr. Hahnemann first started prescribing according to the law of similars and giving crude medicines, people would become much more ill before recovering. He experimentally diluted the medicines and found them to be as efficacious with only slight aggravations. The United States Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia gives exact directions for the preparation of the tinctures (different for every remedy) and the subsequent potentization (the same for every remedy), that are followed by the homeopathic pharmaceutical companies. Around 1,500 remedies are manufactured from herbs, minerals & body substances. A few examples include sand, oyster shell, snake venoms, club moss, saliva from a rabid dog, poison ivy, lava, bee, wind flower, trees, spiders, sand, nutmeg and dog’s milk.
There are 3 dilution forms – centesimal or c, decimal or x, and LM or Q. The centesimal potencies are made as follows. One drop of the tincture is diluted in 99 drops of diluent (water or alcohol) and shaken (succussed). This makes 1c potency. One drop of this is diluted in 99 drops of diluent and shaken to make a 2c. One drop of the 2c is diluted in 99 drops of diluent and shaken to make a 3c, etc. Commonly available potencies are 6c, 12c, 30c, 200c, 1M (1,000c), 10M, 50M, CM. A 1M potency of a remedy has a very strong energetic effect on the body compared to the milder potency of 6c. The decimal dilutions are produced by diluting one drop of the tincture with 9 drops of diluent (instead of 99) and shaking to make 1x potency. The process continues, producing common potencies of 3x, 6x, 12x, 30x & 200x. The LM (Q) are made by diluting a 3c with 50,000 parts diluent.
By the time the dilution is at 12c there are no molecules of the original substance remaining. This dilution is 10 to the minus 24th, which is more than Avogadro’s #, beyond which there are no molecules from the original substance. The amount of potential energy (strength) of the solution is dependent on the number of dilutions and succussions, and the direction of the therapeutic effect is determined by the energy pattern of the original substance. In this way, we can make inert substances very potent medicines and can make toxic substance safe and effective medicines. The remedies keep getting stronger and more powerful with subsequent dilutions. The potency must match the energetic level of the ill animal to be most effective and least likely to cause stressful aggravations.
All 2,000 remedies, in all the potencies are dispensed in only a few forms: alcoholic dilutions of 20%, 40% & 87%, and milk sugar globules #10, #12, #20, & #35 (poppy seed sized to BB sized) & triturate or compressed tablets. I prefer the #10s or #12s for ease of administration to animals. Remedies are purchased from the pharmacies in brown glass bottles or plastic tubes. They should be stored in dark, medium temperature places, such as desks or linen closets. They are very stable and it is difficult to inactivate the remedies. Possibly high temperatures, very smelly substances such as perfumes, DMSO, eucalyptus, and electromagnetic forces can inactivate remedies in the bottle, but never throw out a remedy before testing it or using it in a non-critical animal.
The most important part of choosing potency is to evaluate the vital force, or energy level of your patient. Just because they can perform (run a long time, track all day, produce milk) does not mean their vital force is strong. They need to be alert, curious, interactive, and not showing too many of the previously mentioned subtle signs of illness to need the higher potencies. An equally important evaluation is risk of death or severe debility from reaction to the remedy. If there is tissue damage such as a kidney that is not functioning, or diabetes, asthma where inflammation could cause serious problems, more care must be given. Much reading and practice is needed to become skilled at this part of the homeopathic prescription, so the following are merely brief guidelines. As a beginner it is best to stay at 30c or lower, except for seizures or very acute conditions.
The lower potencies (3x, 6x, 6c etc.) are more material, less energized and less powerful. They have a “broad spectrum” effect, and can improve the health of an animal even when not the correct remedy. As you go higher, the improvement may cease and you need the more appropriate remedy. The higher potencies (200c, 1M, 10M, etc.) work at a much deeper level. They are more like a laser and need to be more accurately prescribed to be effective. When accurate, the response of the vital to the remedy can be very long lasting to permanent.
– LOWER potency – Give more frequently. HIGHER potency – Give less frequently.
– OLDER animal – Give lower potency less frequently.
– YOUNGER animal – Give higher potency.
– HEALTHIER animal with more vitality (even with one serious symptom) – higher.
– DEBILITATED animal, especially with severe tissue changes – lower potency.
RULE OF THUMB: start low. You can always go higher.
REMEDIES ARE NOT TO BE GIVEN CONTINUOUSLY, FOREVER. The owner must be reporting to the homeopath when symptoms return or new ones develop or when the overall health and vitality are not improving.
If you have to repeat 30c every 7 days, or 200c more than every 3 weeks, or 1M more than every 6 weeks, and give more than a few times, you are probably palliating or suppressing.
The liquid dosing methods will repeat remedies more frequently, still observing the effect of each dose. This can be the 30c added to water or the LM potencies. Even they will not be given forever and will only be repeated if there has been good effect.
Administration of remedies:
Hahnemann’s instructions as to dosing changed over his years in practice. The first method used was giving dry doses. This is the method that most people have used until the last 10 years and many still dose this way. Then he began diluting a pellet in water and shaking before each dose. In the final edition of his teachings (not published for decades after his death) he created a new form of dilution that was both powerful and gentle, the LM form. It is also shaken, and then diluted before each repetition.
While many feel that dry dosing is barbaric and old, many practitioners for people and animals are still having great success with all three methods. In a google search on “homeopathic dosing” the first page was all dry dosing.
1. Measure out the dose:
The tiniest granules, #10s, are the easiest to give to animals because they stick to the tongue. Pour 5 to 10 of the #10 onto a folded piece of paper.
Any larger size, tablets or bigger globules, need to be crushed to a powder. Cut the corner off an old envelope, put in 2 pellets, fold the corner over to make a pouch, and crush with something hard on a hard surface (beware of doing this on an expensive wood table as it may dent.).
In my practice I have been using the dry dosing approach since 1982. I have never had a negative result, then given a larger quantity and had improvement in the case, nor have I seen severe aggravations from a larger quantity. I have some clients giving 1 of the #10 granules, and some giving ½ teaspoon. If the potency is very low (3C and less) use a tiny amount. Since Hahnemann is very specific in the Organon, I am now using the following liquid dosing or LM for most of my cases.
2. Administer it:
BEST: Gently open the animal’s mouth a tiny bit and pour the remedy onto the tongue or any place in the mouth. Hold the mouth shut for a few seconds. They may spit out some of the remedy, but enough will have been dissolved already. It can also be put into the pouch in the corner of the mouth. The remedy dissolves on mucus membranes.
a. The remedy can be diluted in good water and given with an eyedropper.
b. The crushed remedy can be put into a tiny amount of milk or cream.
d. Food is least preferable. If you have the correct remedy, little will inactivate it, but may make evaluation more difficult if a single dose were given a month before and there has been little response. Wrong remedy? Inactivated? I have treated feral cats to good effect putting the remedy in the food, so it can be done. When remedies are being given daily, you can try food and if there is no response, put directly in the mouth. Rule of thumb – put in a clean mouth.
e. For very fractious animals, like the cats hunkered at the back of the cage ready to attack, the remedy can be diluted and put in a syringe and squirted onto their face/open mouth.
To dilute: put one dose in a small amount of water (1T to 1C) and stir or shake a few minutes. Even if not dissolved, the water has the remedy characteristics.
- Hahnemann felt that giving the same potency repeatedly caused problems, so he recommended the following: Put one pellet of the #10 granules (I have used the bigger ones as well) into water. I use 1C at this time, he used from 4-10 ounces of water. Add a small amount of alcohol to preserve it (not needed if it will be used up in a few weeks). Hahnemann first wrote to dose the person according to weight from this bottle, shaking it hard (succussing) one or two times before each administration. Since one pellet (the dose) was used he did not consider it multi dosing, rather split dosing. Later, in hisPariscase books, he showed that he was shaking the stock bottle, then adding the dose to a glass of water (I use 1/4C to 1C, depending on the sensitivity of the patient), then dosing from that.
- Purchase an already diluted stock bottle of the LM potency from the homeopathic pharmacy. (In a practice, you may purchase the LM pellets, putting 1 #10 pellet in a 1 ounce bottle, with a small amount of alcohol (brandy, vodka, everclear) and filling with water.)
- Shake the stock bottle a specific # of times, take a specific # of drops and put them into a specific amount of water in a glass, stir and give a specific amount to the animal. You can change the previous parameters depending on the vital force level and degree of pathology of the animal.
General comments on remedies:
Labels: Only the name and potency of the remedy have any meaning on the label. All the rest is FDA requirements or pharmaceutical company agreements. Quantity and frequency are different for every animal. Remedies do not treat one thing only. Remedies never expire. We are still using remedies Hahnemann made, and I have seen the kit of remedies made by James Kent in the early 1900s. People were going to Lutyes pharmacy until it moved in 2002 or so, and requested their remedy from Dr.Kent’s kit. If it is there and not almost used up, they can take that 100 year old remedy. They have reported great success with those hundred plus years old remedies of Dr.Kent. Pass your remedies down in your will.
Evaluation of Response to a remedy
The goal is to see a deep improvement in energy and emotional levels with a slow resolution of symptoms. If symptoms go away without an overall improvement (as often happens with drugs) then a cure has not happened and future illnesses will probably occur.
Much reading is necessary to be able to fully understand the reaction of an animal. Recording the list of original and past symptoms, then how they have changed with the treatment is key to evaluation. Healthy Animal’s Journal makes tracking symptoms very easy.
The 4 main responses are:
- No apparent change and you waited an appropriate length of time.
- Palliation – temporary improvement.
- Suppression – current symptoms resolve quickly and the animal becomes more seriously ill.
- Cure – the symptoms slowly resolve and the animal becomes healthier. The symptoms never return unless obstacles to cure happen, although there may be temporary illnesses from which they recover easily.
Remedies for First Aid Problems
Rescue remedy can be used along with the homeopathic treatments. Give the diluted rescue remedy (2 – 4 drops in a 1 oz bottle of spring water, kept in the refrigerator) or straight. Give this as soon as you realize there is a problem and, if it seems to relax or ease your companion animal, continue giving it as often as you feel necessary. You may need it, too!
Frequency for giving homeopathic remedies depends on the potencies you have available and the severity of the injury. If life threatening, or very severe, give the indicated remedy every 5 to 10 minutes until there is a response or for 4 doses (3x to 30x or 3c to 12c). If you have 30c, 200x or higher, give every 15 minutes for 2 doses. The liquid split dosing is excellent here. If no change at all, re‑evaluate your choice. If the problem needs veterinary care, give the rescue remedy and the indicated remedy while driving to the hospital. There are many cases where the animal is cured, or significantly better on arrival. If less critical, give the remedies less frequently.
ACONITE – PANIC, FEAR, EYE TRAUMA #1 EYE TRAUMA REMEDY
Use anytime there is panic, or a super fearful response to an event.
Use when there is a history of abuse, shock, fear. (i.e. Gate toppled over on puppy)
ARNICA‑ SOFT TISSUE INJURY # 1 TRAUMA REMEDY
Use it anytime there is trauma ‑ falls, hit by vehicles, stepped on, injured with
blunt instruments, fractures, bruising from bite wounds that had pressure as well
as puncture, any bruising or injury. Sore, bruised, lame feeling ‑ as if they had
been beaten. They do not want you to touch the injury, or even approach them.
May be restless due to soreness. Bleeding into the soft tissues, including into the
eye conjunctiva, retina. After parturition ‑ promotes proper contraction to
cleanse, and stop soreness. Dislocated joints ‑ helps the healing after
replacement of joints.
CALENDULA ‑ topical or internal to promote healing of WOUNDS, and prevent
Infection. Good for torn or wide open wounds. Do not use on punctures, as they will heal too rapidly and seal in infection. Put 1/2 teaspoon in 1 cup water.
Stops hemorrhage, prevents infection.
Internally good for exhaustion from loss of blood and excessive pain.
HYPERICUM ‑ NERVE INJURY
Arnica of the nerves. Crushed, mashed fingers or toes (i.e: stepped on or slammed in door)
Injuries from punctures.
Injuries to nerves, especially hands, feet, fingers, toes, nails, coccyx, gums (dentals)
Spine very sensitive to touch. Back injuries, disc protrusions.
Slightest motion of arms or neck causes crying out.
Abcess from punctures, early punctures – 1/2 teaspoon tincture in 1 cup water.
LEDUM ‑ PUNCTURES #1 FOR INSECT BITES OR NEEDLE PUNCTURES
Another good remedy for sharp puncture wounds, especially when the skin
around the injury seems bluish.
Feels better from cold.
Bruises that are not completely healed with arnica.
Swelling, easily injured carpus or tarsus.
RHUS‑TOXICODENDRON ‑ RUSTY GATE
Muscle injuries from overexertion.
Sprains, strains, torn ligaments, and tendonitis.
Key is that there is pain and stiffness on initially moving and then as
they gently move around and limber up, they move easily and freely.
RUTA GRAVEOLENS ‑ TORN LIGAMENTS
Torn or wrenched tendons or ligaments.
Use after the initial swelling and pain has decreased.
Often needed if Rhus‑tox did not work, or there is NOT improvement on continued motion.
SILICEA – PAINLESS ABSCESS, SPLINTERS
Helps finally heal an abscess when less painful and inflamed.
Can help the body expel foreign bodies (splinters, plant awns, etc).
Often a shy, chilly, thirsty, nice animal.
SYMPHYTUM ‑ BONE HEAL
Give for fractured bones, AFTER they have been re‑aligned.
Speeds up bone healing by large amount.
These are only a few of the remedies used to injuries and abscesses. You will need to read more to be ready for the crises.
Give flax seed oil to birds when they look as if they are going to die.
Further Study and Resources
Classes – I will teach anywhere. My week long homeopathy class is wonderful so if you are interested in homeopathy, plase contact me to host a class in your area. You need 10 people paying $1,000 or 20 people paying $500 for the entire week to cover my costs.
Philosophy Books: The Organon by Samuel Hahnemann, the beginning parts of Homeopathic Treatment of Small Animals by Christopher Day and Homeopathic Care of Cats and Dogs by Don Hamilton, Textbook of Veterinary Homeopathy by Saxton and Gregory, Homeopathy: What to expect – 101 cured cases by De Beukelaer, Radical Healing by Rudolph Ballentine, Homeopathy: Beyond Flat Earth Medicine, by Tim Dooley, Science of Homeopathy by George Vithoulkas, tapes and notes from Dr. Richard Pitcairn and Dr. Christina Chambreau
Animal Treatment books: Day, Hamilton, Saxton, DeBeukelaer, MacLeod, Chapman.