Homoeopathy for Preventative Health

Homeopathy as Preventative Medicine
You may all have an awareness of how homœopathy can be used to treat acute illness (coughs, colds, stomach bugs, bites and stings) and chronic illness (eczema, chronic fatigue, irritable bowel syndrome etc). But did you know that homœopathy has a history of being used to prevent illness? Samual Hahnemann, the founding father of homœopathy, discovered this by chance.

In 1801, he was treating a family with scarlet fever with the remedy, Belladonna. He decided to give this remedy to the children in the same house who did not have the illness and discovered that they did not contract scarlet fever. And again in 1853, another 11 doctors followed Hahnemann’s example and used Belladonna to prevent scarlet fever during an epidemic. Of 1646 children exposed to scarlet fever and given Belladonna as a preventative, only 123 contracted the symptoms and infection. Within the general population, the rate of infection was documented to be 90%. (Golden, 2012, p. 7)

There were other epidemics where Hahnemann’s theory for preventing illness was tested and proved effective, such as the cholera epidemic in 1831, influenza epidemic in India in 1968, meningococcus eipidemic in Brazil in 1974 and again in 1998, where it was shown to have 78.9% and 95% efficacy respectively in large sample sizes. (Golden, 2012, p. 7 - 13) The most recent study has been conducted in Cuba in the last decade. It was a study run in liaison with the government, where millions of people were given homœopathy to prevent contracting leptospirosis, a severe type of gastro, known to be life-threatening. The group given homœopathic preventatives had a significantly lower rate of infection and death during the seasons the project was running.

The name for using homœopathy to prevent infectious illness is homeoprophylaxis (HP). It is not the same as vaccination. HP does not stimulate the immune system to generate antibodies to specific microorganisms that can be measured by a blood test. In fact, we don’t know the mechanism of action that creates this type of protection. Isaac Golden is an Australian homœopath who collected data on HP for over 30 years, resulting in his work being awarded a PhD from a mainstream university.

Isaac has developed protocols for using HP to prevent routine childhood diseases, for international travel and for epidemics. In Australia, this is controversial because it is not in line with the recommendations from the medical fraternity and Australian government. However, there are people for whom routine vaccination is contraindicated for medical reasons. For anyone considering HP as an option, it is essential to read widely and get information from all perspectives and to make an informed choice.

My personal opinion
Over the years, I have struggled with the philosophical perspective of HP. If the founding principle of homœopathy is ‘like cures like’, then how can a remedy be given to a person with no symptoms? How is this the Law of Similars? However, considering Hahnemann’s life’s work and clinical experience and the research conducted since then, the evidence for the prevention of epidemic diseases with HP is definitely worth more research. There have been times in life where I had a significant event, felt the flu coming on and took a homœopathic prophylactic remedy, which worked. However, I don’t routinely recommend that. For mild routine illness, I consider acutes as part of a healthy immune system and that we need to listen to our bodies. If we are sick because we have been overdoing things and need to slow down, then it’s best to take a break, rest and recuperate rather than soldier on. If your symptoms are causing unmanageable discomfort or are outside of the normal range, then use indicated medicines and therapies that support the body's natural ability to heal itself. If you want to know more about this aspect, see my attached article, Dis-ease: Communicating With Your Body.

With regards to general HP for routine childhood illness, this is a very personal choice and I respect people’s right to choice in healthcare.

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