I love Mark Twain. I grew up in Connecticut, near where Mark Twain spent a good part of his adult life. Weekend trips were sometimes made to the cozy haven that was his home in Hartford and some of my best childhood memories include reading Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. For me, Twain exemplifies a beautiful mix of wit, intelligence and reflection.
Recently I found out that he also knew of, and may have been an advocate for, homeopathy. In an article for Harper's Magazine in 1890, he gives an overview of some of the more horrendous medical practices of the past (think bloodletting), then writes that "you would be taking them to day yourself but for the introduction of homoeopathy, which forced the old-school doctor to stir around and learn something of a rational nature about his business, you may honestly feel grateful that homoeopathy survived the attempts of the allopathists to destroy it, even though you may never employ any physician but an allopathist while you live." I read this and interpret it to mean that homeopathy created enough of a movement to at least get allopaths thinking about their methods. I have heard similar things from teachers while studying homeopathy; Hahnemann should be remembered, if not for creating homeopathy, at least for bringing awareness to the appalling methods that allopaths were using. (I would cite that comment, but I can't find a good source, so take it with a bit of salt - I don't really know if Hahnemann did create a movement of awareness about allopathic methods..) Another possible interpretation is that homeopathy has benefited everyone, due to the movement it created as well as it's ability to heal, whether they see a homeopath or an allopath.
Mark Twain also mentioned homeopathy in his book A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. At the end of the book, the main character's child becomes ill and traditional medical doctors can't cure the child. The protagonist then calls for a homeopath, but a wizard puts a sleeping curse on the protagonist, who wakes thirteen centuries later. Because we don't know if a homeopath came to the child, nor do we know what happened to the child makes me think it is less likely that Twain was truly an "advocate".
One of Twain's doctors, Cincinnatus Taft MD, was a homeopath as well. So it is likely he thought it was a meaningful therapy at the very least. I am not convinced this means he was generally "appreciative of various schools of thoughts in healing", as Dana Ullman argues.
Whether or not he supported the use of homeopathy or not, I found this information exciting. because it shows how homeopathy has shaped our history in insipid ways. I think we often forget how common it was in the US at this time to use a homeopathic physician and how bad healthcare was in the day. The article by Dana Ullman and his book on the similar topic, are particularly great at showing how common homeopathy was and how many of the incredibly intelligent and wise founding fathers (and mothers) used homeopathy. I highly recommend you give them a look over.
A group of videos featuring the Snooks were introduced by the 4Homeopathy group in 2014. I love these videos because they are so straightforward and yet gives an accurate account of what homeopathy is and how it differs from conventional western medicine and Naturopathy. There are three videos total. The other two are: What to Expect When you See a Homeopath and Why Try Homeopathy.
.For more information, take a look at the British Homeopathic Association's website.
January seems to be Arnica month! I uncovered some studies on Arnica montana's role on wound healing. in vitro studies allow us to learn about some possible mechanisms of action for our remedies.
1. "Arnica montana Stimulates Extracellular Matrix Gene Expression in a Macrophage Cell Line Differentiated to Wound-Healing Phenotype" In Public Library of Science, 2016.
2.. "Arnica montana effects on gene expression in a human macrophage cell line. Evaluation by quantitative Real-Time PCR". In Homeopathy Journal, 2016. "This exploratory study provides new insights into the cellular and molecular mechanisms of action of A. montana as a promoter of healing, since some of the genes it modifies are key regulators of tissue remodeling, inflammation and chemotaxis."
3. "Arnica montana experimental studies: confounders and biases?" Journal of Integrative Medicine 2018. Response to criticisms of in vitro studies.
4. "Homeopathic potencies of Arnica montana L. change gene expression in a Tamm-Horsfall protein-1 cell line in vitro model: the role of ethanol as a possible confounder and statistical bias. [J Integr Med. 2017]
Our friend Arnica Montana is making another appearance. There is no other remedy that is quite as useful after surgery as Arnica. From plastic surgery, grafts, organ removals, almost any kind of procedure that has created a wound will benefit from Arnica. Please note however, that you should only take Arnica after a procedure, not before, and of course, always check with your doctor!
Arnica is very versatile because of its key symptom: feeling as if beaten. That is why it is good for the symptoms of muscle soreness (which often feels like you have been beaten), and bruises (which often occur after you have had some kind of physical trauma, like being beaten).
Arnica is unique in how well it has been studied, especially in the plastic surgery area! Here are a few studies on its effectiveness:
Chaiet & Marcus Ann Plast Surg. 2016. Arnica reduces the size and intensity of bruises after rhinoplasty (i.e. nose-jobs). If you are statistics geek, P=0.097 on day 7 for the size, and P=0.074 on day 9/10 for the intensity.
Sorrentino et al. J Intercult Ethnopharmacol. 2017 Jan 3;6(1):1-8. doi: 10.5455/jice.20161229055245: In women receiving a mastecomy, Arnica reduced blood loss, helped maintain weight post-surgically and reduced drainage. P=0.11, 0.03, 0.0223 respectively.
Lee, Yoon & Hwang. Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 2017 Jul;274(7):2685-2694. doi: 10.1007/s00405-017-4535-6.: Meta Analysis of studies "where the outcomes of interest were edema, ecchymosis, and satisfaction rate of patients on postoperative days". "Edema and ecchymosis during the first 7 days postoperatively were statistically decreased in the arnicaadministration groups versus the control group".
Arnica Montana is probably the first remedy anyone interested in homeopathy should know about. Arnica is useful for the symptoms of bruising and other blunt force traumas, muscle soreness after working out, and shock after any kind of accident (car accident, bike accident, etc). It's one of the few homeopathic remedies that have become "mainstream"; arnica gel is now commonly used by olymplic athletes.
Arnica will often be beneficial if the person has some of the following symptoms:
-Aching pains, as if beaten.
-Pains worse from any motion
-Any symptom worse from becoming cold
-Nosebleeds and pain as if the nose were crushed.
-Hot face and cold body
(All information summarized from Boenninghausen's Characteristics)
So if you have been hitting the gym harder than normal, try taking some Arnica and see if it helps.
This is a "rectangle is a square but a square is not always a rectangle" situation.
Naturopaths often use homeopathy, but are always well trained in homeopathy. Naturopaths also offer lifestyle counselling, herbal therapies, acupunture, TCM, and other types of therapies.
Homeopaths generally only use homeopathy. Depending on where you are located, there are different licensing requirements for homeopaths. If you are interested in seeing one, check that they have been trained. In some states/provinces in North America, anyone can call themselves a homeopath, even if they haven't been trained. (This is true of Naturopaths as well)
The differences between these two types of practitioners gets more complicated by the legal system. In every state and province in North America, there are different laws about what naturopaths and homeopaths can and cannot do. Usually homeopaths are not legally able to diagnose any condition and are not able to perform more than basic physical exams. Naturopaths, however, are generally allowed to diagnose and perform the same physical exams an MD would do. In a few states and provinces, naturopaths can prescribe medications like antibiotics or steroids like cortisol. Therefore, check the laws in your area so you know what kind of appointment you are walking into!