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 and 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 not generally well trained in homeopathy. Naturopaths also offer lifestyle counselling, herbal therapies, acupunture, TCM, and other types of therapies. If you would like homeopathic treatment from a naturopath, I recommend asking the naturopath if he/she has had any additional training in homeopathy outside of naturopathic school.
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.
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!
Hope this helps to clarify this situation.
Aphorism 2: "The highest ideal of cure is the rapid, gentle and permanent restoration of health...in the shortest, most reliable, and least disadvantageous [gentlest] way, according to clearly realizable principles". Organon of the Medical Art by Samuel Hahnemann
No form of medicine I have encountered has been as
-Based on clear principles (meaning that it is a science that can be learned and applied by anyone)
Other therapies can be gentle, but may not be fast or permanent. For example, massage. Patients generally have to go a few times before getting strong results and the results don't usually last long. However massage is definitely effective and incredibly gentle. Conventional medicine can be fast, permanent, based on some key principles such as relying on clinical trials, relying on synthetically made compounds, etc, but it is rarely gentle. Gifted spiritual healers are fast, gentle, and often permanent, but not based on principles. Therefore these gifted healers are one-offs, and very few people are able to learn their methods and follow in their footsteps. This therefore limits the amount of good they can do; access to healing has been limited by their inability to impart their gift to others.
A foundation of clear principles allows for easily reproducible results and the goal of gentle, fast, and permanent cures guides practitioners to make choices that are sometimes different from other practitioners. The combination revolutionizes care.
Many of us find therapies that work for us and stick to them. Some people respond well to nutrition, to pharmaceutical medications, to supplements, or to homeopathy.
When we find something that works for us, extrapolating is easy; we believe friends, family, patients will be cured by the same treatment.
This is when the definition of medicine and cure in The Organon of the Medical Art becomes humbling for me:
"A medicine's power lies in its ability to alter the human condition" (aphorism 19). Therefore anything that alters the human condition can be considered a medicine. A supplement, a new diet, a new lifestyle all can alter our condition and therefore can be considered medicine.
Disease is removed by medicines acting on our whole person and removing all of our symptoms. We are all individuals and will need different forms of healing. I encourage you to experiment and find the one that works best for you, whether or not it's conventional medicine or alternative medicine.
"certain remedies such as Sepia, Pulsatilla nigricans, Platina, Cimicifuga, Lilium tigrinum, Sabina and Secale appear to have a focus on female related symptoms. We see statements declaring 'this is a women's remedy...." (The fairer sex)
It's a shame but it's true. The other day I heard a practitioner call Sepia the "lesbian remedy". Not only do I find that insulting to homosexual women (in this day and age, are we really going to insinuate that homosexuality is a pathological process?), but it's also completely inaccurate. The first prover of Sepia was male!
He meant "infectious agent".
Miasms were not invented by Hahnemann. During Hahnemann's time, there was a debate raging about the origins of disease. There was a miasma theory and the germ theory, which eventually was proved by microbiology, as we all know. "In miasma theory, diseases were caused by the presence in the air of a miasma, a poisonous vapour in which were suspended particles of decaying matter that was characterised by its foul smell. The theory originated in the Middle Ages and endured for several centuries. That a killer disease like malaria is so named - from the Italian mala ‘bad’ and aria ‘air’ - is evidence of its suspected miasmic origins" (Science Museum's History of Medicine ).
Hahnemann in his lesser writings writes the essay "Appeal to thinking philanthropists respecting the mode of propagation of the asiatic cholera" on how cholera spreads from town to town. People who believed in the miasma theory believed the infection to be spread through the air, but he disagrees and says:
"in those confined spaces [ships], filled with moldy vapors, the cholera miasm find a favorable element for its multiplication and grows into an enormously increased brood of those excessively minute, invisible, living creatures so inimical to human life, of which the contagious matter of the cholera most probably consists....this concentrated aggravated miasm kills several of the crew; the others, however, being frequently exposed to the danger of infection and thus gradually habituated to it at length become fortified against it and no longer liable to be infected. These individuals, apparently in good health, go ashore and are received by the inhabitants without hesitation into their cottages, and...those who have approached nearest to them are suddenly carried off by the cholera. The cause of this is undoubtedly the invisible cloud...composed of probably millions of those miasmatic animated beings" (Hahnemann's Lesser Writings, page 758) Italics mine.
This passage clearly describes almost the exact same process that happens in infectious diseases, now proven by microbiology (which of course didn't exist when he was writing this). From this passage, his use of the word "miasm" clearly means an infectious disease agent like a virus or bacteria. Therefore his theory on chronic disease does not mean he was thinking about our genetic or epigenetic lineage (those are not infectious diseases) nor does it mean you treat the chronic disease with the infectious disease the caused the miasm (e.g. treat a tubercular miasm with tuberculinum) because that would be isopathy, not homeopathy. He thought that chronic disease was caused by an infectious disease agent that created subtle disease symptoms over decades that would get worse slowly (think of Herpes Zoster/Shingles - the virus infects us when we are children but lays dormant for decades and can manifest in many different ways).
Therefore the different theories on miasms are not in accordance with Hahnemann's original meaning of miasm, and should be called something else in order to avoid confusion (e.g. "symptom patterns" "patterns of presenting illnesses"). The interesting question though, is how much of his theory should we use at all. After all, we now have microbiology, genetic, and epigenetics to draw information from. The possibility exists that this knowledge could make us better homeopaths.
Prescribing based on Kingdoms is too close for comfort to the doctrine of signatures.
Doctrine of signatures is an idea that a remedy source will tell you what diseases it can treat. For example, a plant that has yellow flowers will treat liver issues. This kind of thinking is common in folk medicines, and especially in Christian and Muslim traditions; in traditionally Muslim or Christian nations, folk healers believed Allah/God deliberately made plants look like the parts of the body the plant could heal.
This idea has often proved useful in folk medicine, however it has no place in homeopathy. Homeopathy, as stated before, is matching a proving symptom to the symptom of the patient. Where the remedy is derived from has no implications for its prescription. Prescribing based on which kingdom the remedy comes from or where the remedy comes from in the periodic table directly implies that a remedy's source can tell us its use. For example: a mineral is structured, therefore the person who needs a remedy prepared from a mineral will have structural issues. This is a vast generalization, and there are many exceptions to such generalizations:
Phosphorus, a remedy made from the mineral phosphorus, produces symptoms of incredible sensitivity and hypersexuality, but sensitivity is associated with plants and hypersexuality is associated with animals. Hyoscyamus niger (a plant) produces some of the most intense sexual mania seen in the materia medica. However hypersexuality is, again, supposedly, a symptom associated with the "animal" symptom. The classic example of a "split in two" personality (a symptom associated with animals) is Anacardium orientale, another plant remedy. Even generalizing based on plant families can lead us astray. The solanaceae family includes the highly poisonous Datura stramonium, Atropa belladonna, (both lethal in small doses) but also potatoes, eggplants and tomatoes. Attempting to generalize based on remedy source will filter the remedies into artificial categories that can easily confuse a remedy prescription.
Hahnemann in Essay on a New Principle (Hahnemann's Lesser Writings, page 249) explains that we cannot generalize based on the remedy's origins (although such connections can be useful in memorizing), but rather we must pay attention to the proving symptoms in determining prescriptions.
Generalizing in this way is detrimental in another way: it's a generalization. My interpretation of the people I meet in the field of alternative health, and homeopathy especially, is that they want a repose from the de-humanizing categorizations and disease labels given to patients by the conventional medical profession. One of the virtues of homeopathy, supposedly, is that it is the only system of medicine that does not categorize people but keeps them as true individuals. This is different from Ayurveda and TCM, which also put people into the categories of "spleen qi deficient" or "vata". If homeopathy puts its patients into these kingdom and miasm boxes, are we not doing exactly the same thing?
Additionally, the definition of homeopathy matching patient symptoms (this does not include normal attributes of your personality) with the symptoms that arose from a proving. Note that in this process, there is no theorizing about the patient nor about the remedy; the process is a simple matching of one set of facts to another set of facts. If we match patient attributes to kingdom traits, we are in fact not practicing homeopathy.
Abstract: Homeopathy. 2006 Oct;95(4):237-44. Heuristics and bias in homeopathy. Souter K.
"The practice of Homeopathy ought to be strictly logical. In the Organon Samuel Hahnemann gives the impression that the unprejudiced observer should be able to follow an algorithmic route to the simillimum in every case. Judgement and Decision Research, however, indicates that when people grapple with complex systems like homeopathy they are more likely to use heuristics or empirical rules to help them reach a solution. Thus Hahnemann's concept of the unprejudiced observer is virtually impossible to attain. There is inevitable bias in both case-taking and remedy selection. Understanding the types of bias may enable the practitioner to reduce his/her own bias."
All practitioners must actively work to discover their own bias. As with all areas of homeopathic study, no shortcut to mastery exists.
In Anshutz's New Remedies you can find the original proving of Chionanthus virginica. For those new to homeopathic language, a proving is when a healthy person takes a dose of a medicine in order to understand the effects that medicine has on the body. Every remedy should be tested in this way before being given to patients. Many provings were done during Hahnemann's time (mid nineteenth century) and the original results have been lost; we only have access to secondary sources: compilations of of the original results with the intent to allow homeopaths to prescribe remedies based on the data.
Recently I went through the original proving of Chionanthus viriginica and I encourage others to do the same. The exercise raised more questions than it answered. How do you decide on time modalities? If someone wakes at 4am, is the symptom: worse at 4am OR is it because the prover took the tincture three hours previously? How many of the symptoms in this one proving characteristic (common and consistent) and how many are specific to this individual prover?
Our materia medica was put into perspective for me; it's a compilation of symptoms that are not as concrete and discreet as they seem. Additionally it became apparent that symptoms can only become concrete and discreet after many provings have been done.