Homeopathy is a principle used for thousands of years by our ancestors. It comes from the Greek “homoios” for similar and “pathos” for disease and is a therapeutic method based on the principle of similarity: administering a substance in small quantities to affect the expression of disabling symptoms. In the infinitesimal dilution which sees the active principle (sometimes toxic) highly diluted, there remains a trace of the information.
There are different schools amongst homeopaths: unicists look for a single remedy that will help the person in all circumstances; complexists mix a series of remedies together with a certain success rate (a logic that is found in anti-angine homeopathic complexes); pluralists do not refuse to multiply the remedies. The Hahnemannian method speaks of 1CH dilution to 1/100: 1% of the mother tincture is poured into 99% alcohol. To continue towards other dilutions, one takes a drop of the solution obtained by repeating the process which is diluted in 99% alcohol, shaking 100 times, which gives a solution diluted at 2 CH and so on. The Korsakovian method prepares the solution in a single vial, using the same principle, the vial being emptied after dynamization: to what remains on the walls, alcohol is added, which constitutes the first 1K Korsakovian. The higher the numbers, the higher the dilution is considered to be and the more sporadic the use will be as well.
I am interviewing Viviane Olbregts, a homeopath who lives in a beautiful property in a green setting in Villers-la-Ville (Belgium), to continue my reflection on the subject: “These different schools sometimes find themselves in conflict in their visions, which differ on certain points.” This dogmatic attitude of contempt which creates a hierarchy and a power relationship is also to be found in all areas of daily life, in all sectors; it divides beings rather than bringing them together, uniting them. Viviane’s studies in anthroposophy, a science established by Rudolf Steiner which focuses on understanding human nature and, through it, understanding the universe, encouraged her to keep an open mind about homeopathy: “Anthroposophy is close to the vision of Paracelsus, who is a little like the father of homeopathy. He was a completely alternative doctor in the Middle Age, he had an ethical philosophy and wanted to serve humans and to assist them healing, in favour of freedom. His integrity could not be compromised, and this caused him many problems. His services were called by the court but you would also see him officiate as a social physician in cases of epidemics. One can say that he had a philosophical and spiritual vision of the world (Sky) which he applied in his remedies. Samuel Hannehman (a German doctor who, more than 200 years ago, helped to bequeath the legacy of the vision of homeopathy as we know it today) started from the matter (Earth). His father worked in a porcelain factory where many toxic substances and metals were being used. »
Rather than treating a disease, it is the individual that the homeopath is concerned about, a different logic from allopathic medicine. One of the problems related to the credibility of homeopathy is that most often studies which are conducted do not take into account the specificity and the logic of homeopathy and are based on the logic of measurement of allopathic medicine. There is a need to adapt the way in which tests are carried out to measure the effects of homeopathy by taking into account the fact that this medicine is more interested in the origin of the disease and specifically in the way in which the symptom is expressed in the individual. The person remains central to the approach: how will it be happening for the patient? If it is a cough, how will it be expressed? For the same disease, different remedies will be prescribed: “Homeopathy resides between material and immaterial. It is a bit like the daughter of Alchemy. We are going through a period of transition that requires the reunion of this split between the 2 parts of the brain, left and right. Homeopathy has given a voice to much debate because it is at the border of worlds. We do not really know where to classify it. Recently, I have the impression that a new homeopathy is being born, one that seeks meaning, that wants to go beyond collecting the list of patients’ symptoms. There are homeopaths who are constantly seeking to go further. What is the essence of the information in this remedy? What is the function of the plant in the natural landscape? This medicine takes other forms and adopts other currents. »
The second important point is that Viviane Olbregts, who is also a general practitioner who tends towards natural laws, admits that she uses homeopathy less frequently than in the past. The reasons for this are that the permeability of the patient is lessening and that there is a great deal of work to be done in order to regain a satisfactory lifestyle: “I started as a young doctor with a rather family medicine practice. Today, I encounter many cases of cancer and burn-out. The landscape of ailments has changed enormously. Today, we are dealing with perpetual overinformation. We’re not designed to deal with so much at once; the person’s life force is going in all directions. We’re dealing with diseases that have a lot to do with the quality of the lifestyle. The body is much more stagnant than before and no longer responds as fluidly; stagnation is more established, especially through heavier medication. In the past, it only took a little help to get things back on track, and this is still the case when treating children or animals.” Finally, the fact that small laboratories are being taken over by larger ones has an impact on the quality and performance of the produced remedies: conditions for making a quality remedy are no longer necessarily met. It has an effect on the results one can expect too. In addition, many large firms no longer produce certain specific remedies. Homeopathy remains at the top of the pyramid of healing systems based on the logic of treating the expression of symptoms. The ideal would be, if possible, to find the services of a homeopathic pharmacist who still makes his own remedies on a small scale, while at the same time exploring curative approaches such as naturopathy or detoxification so that the body can work its way back to homeostasis.
« Comment guérir par l’homéopathie » (How to heal with homeopathy?); Amyris editions
Published in 1929, the first edition of this work was edited by Dr. Fortier-Bernoville, who shared with his patients, students and young practitioners the fruits of his lifelong experience as a pluralistic homeopath. After his death ten years later, his work continued to be a reference and was updated in 1951 in its third edition with the repertory of symptom sheets by French homeopathic doctor Léon Renard. After observation of the patient and collection of the main symptoms, these cards allow to get closer to the patient’s similar remedy. In the mid-1970s, Doctor Gérard Guéniot consulted these writings for his practice. He decided to work on a revision, regrouping certain sections and keeping the general plan to adapt it to contemporary reality, and adding his own research. This revised vision aims to help anyone wishing to deepen their knowledge and practice of homeopathy by bringing together 70 years of research, passing on this knowledge and experience to the younger generations. Today, the landscape has changed a great deal; some descriptions, dating from an era when pharmaceutical laboratories did not have the imprint that we know today, will have to be put into their historical context, while descriptions of symptoms, reactions and homeopathic remedies are still applicable. The book also discusses the notion of toxin drainage by complementary “similes” during phases of acute illness, thus improving the patient’s inner terrain and increasing chances of finding the remedy closer to the “simile”.