Evidence-Based Homeopathic Family Medicine

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked

Story at-a-glance

  • The principles of homeopathy were originally developed by Dr. Samuel Hahnemann (1755-1843), a German physician to the Royal family, and are based in the law of similars, also known as “like cures like”
  • In 1900, homeopathy was a leading therapy in the U.S., with 22 homeopathic medical schools. This began changing when, in 1901, the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research was established, and in 1910 when the Carnegie Foundation in secret collaboration with the AMA published the “Flexner Report”, with the aim of replacing homeopathy and herbs with chemical drugs
  • The more a medicine undergoes a specific pharmacological process of “potentization,” that is, serial dilution with vigorous shaking, the more effective and long-lasting it is, as nanodoses are able to penetrate the blood-brain barrier and cellular membranes with greater ease
  • There are more than 300 double-blind and placebo-controlled trials published in peer-reviewed medical journals, including The Lancet, The British Medical Journal, Pediatrics, Rheumatology, the journal Cancer and many others
  • According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, some homeopathic remedies contain no active ingredient, yet it still claims homeopathic remedies can be dangerous

Editor's Note: This article is a reprint. It was originally published December 2, 2018.

Homeopathy has been a form of medicine for hundreds of years. Dana Ullman, whose father was a medical doctor, a pediatrician and allergist, has dedicated a significant portion of his professional life to the practice of homeopathy. Ullman was introduced to this medical art as a junior at University of California (UC) Berkeley, in 1973.

"A Stanford-trained doctor and a male midwife created a group of people to study homeopathy together: three doctors, two nurses, two yoga teachers, a dentist and several laypeople. We met weekly for five years. Towards the end of that, I was honored to be arrested for practicing medicine without a license. That was in 1976.

We won an important court case settlement by differentiating medical care from health care. We made it clear that I wasn't treating a disease. I was treating a person with a disease.

The courts agreed that was a reasonable interpretation, and that as long as I have written contracts with my patients that differentiate medical care from health care, as long as I refer patients for medical care, which is not what I am providing, then it can work out. I've been doing that ever since," Ullman says.

Definition of Homeopathy

The principles of homeopathy were originally developed by Dr. Samuel Hahnemann (1755-1843), a German physician to the Royal family, and are based in the law of similars, also known as "like cures like."

"Homeopathy is a type of natural medicine that uses nano-doses, really small doses of plants, minerals, animals and chemicals," Ullman explains. "We look to find whatever toxicological symptoms that substance causes. Once you know what syndrome or symptom a substance causes in the toxic dose, you can use specially prepared nano-sized doses of that substance to treat the syndrome that it causes.

The logic of that … [is that] your body does whatever it can to survive. Your symptoms are not the result of breakdown. Your symptoms are the result of that doctor inside of you that is trying to defend you and is trying to heal you. Your symptoms are part of your defenses.

And the very word, 'symptom' means sign or signal, and symptoms are just that. They're signaling us that something's wrong. Instead of turning off that signal, in homeopathy, you turn into the skid.

One of the things that your driver's education teacher probably taught you is that when you skid, you turn into the skid — that's the best way to get control of the vehicle and come to a stop more easily …

In about 20 percent of our patients with chronic illness, [there's] a healing crisis at first, where their symptoms get worse … in the first 48 hours. Sometimes they re-experience old symptoms they haven't had in many months, years or even decades … Especially, it brings out skin problems, or women might have an early menstruation that will be clotted, because it's almost like they're going through detox.

When they begin talking about old symptoms coming back, those symptoms were typically treated in an allopathic way, and thus suppressed. One of the things people have to understand is that when we say conventional medicines work, all too often, that's the bad news.

That means they were effective in suppressing a symptom and a disease, and from a homeopathic point of view, the reason there's more mental illness, more cancer and heart disease, chronic fatigue and immune dysfunction is because we treat illness in a suppressive way.

Our body-mind is so brilliant that it does whatever it can to defend itself and heal. Whatever symptoms we're having are the best effort of our body at that time to defend ourselves. If we cut off that defense, then it's like the body surrenders, and our body gets suppressed and then develops a new serious syndrome."

Homeopathy Was a Leading Medical Treatment Until 1901

In 1900, homeopathy was the leading alternative therapy in the U.S., with 22 homeopathic medical schools, including Boston University, University of Michigan, Ohio State, University of Minnesota, University of Iowa and New York Medical College, which at the time was called New York Homeopathic Medical College.

All of this changed when, in 1901, the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research was established, and in 1910 when the Carnegie Foundation (in secret collaboration with the A.M.A.) published the “Flexner Report,” with the aim of replacing homeopathy and other natural medicines, such as herbs, with chemical drugs.

Ullman also delves into some of this backstory in this interview so, for more, listen to the audio or read through the transcript. Here's just one sordid tidbit:

"In 1860, homeopathy was beginning to gain a lot of traction. Homeopathy was already appreciated by the smartest people in America, most of the literary greats — the transcendentalists, from Mark Twain to William James, Emily Dickinson, Louisa May Alcott and Harriet Beecher Stowe — they were all big advocates for homeopathy.

The American Medical Association was so threatened that they wrote into their ethics code that if any conventional doctor simply consulted with a homeopath on a patient, they would lose their membership in the AMA. In the 1860s, that meant you lost your medical license until, finally, the homeopaths organized and created a separate medical board. So, at least if you got your license revoked from the AMA, you could go to the homeopaths."

Homeopathy Basics

Homeopathic remedies are essentially nanomedicines. A 2012 study published in the journal Langmuir, published by the American Chemical Society (ACS), tested six homeopathic medicines — gold, silver, copper, tin, zinc and platinum — at three different dilutions:

  • 1 to 100, six times
  • 1 to 100, 30 times
  • 1 to 100, 200 times

There's a principle in chemistry that says if you dilute something 1 to 100, 12 times, none of the original molecules will remain. This is a mathematical estimation, which turns out to be untrue. Ullman explains:

"What actually goes on is this — and it's quite amazing. In homeopathy, we use test tubes made out of glass … because we thought glass was inert. But guess what, it isn't.

Modern spectroscopy [shows] that if you take double-distilled water, which is the highest pharmaceutical-grade water presently known … [and] shake it vigorously in a glass container, the nanobubbles [hit] the side walls, and six parts per million of silica fragments fall off into the water.

The vigorous shaking, the 40 shakings, create turbulence and increase the water pressure to what the head of Stanford's Department of Material Science estimated to be at 10,000 atmospheres … What that means is that whatever you're making into a medicine will be pushed into these silica fragments.

Then, when you dump out 99 percent of the water to make a dilution, a lot of the fragments cling to the glass walls. This ACS study found that no matter how many times you did these dilutions [fragments remain]. Three different types of spectroscopy measured the original gold, silver, copper, tin, zinc or platinum in the water.

And guess what? Our body's hormones and a lot of our neurotransmitters operate at nano-dose levels. They actually found nano-doses of each of these substances, no matter how many times they did these dilutions …

Whenever you see a homeopathic medicine that says 6 X — X is a Roman numeral for 10 — that means it was diluted 1 to 10, six times, 12 times or 30 times. When it has a C after it, that's a Roman numeral for centesimal. That means it was diluted 1 to 100. Two C's would be 1 to 1,000. M stands for 1,000. That means it was diluted 1 to 100, 1,000 times. Now we even have 50,000, 100,000 [times] and even more.

Over 200 years of clinical experience by tens of millions of patients, we have consistently found that the more these medicines go through this potentization process, the longer they act, the deeper they act, and the less doses are needed."

Less Is More

In other words, the more diluted the medicine is, the more effective it becomes. While this may sound incredibly paradoxical to the modern mind, there's a good explanation for it. One is the simple fact that these nano-doses are able to penetrate the blood-brain barrier, entering into deeper recesses of the brain.

These nanoparticles can also enter cellular membranes with greater ease without triggering a defense mechanism. A more concentrated dose can set off a proverbial alarm in the cell, causing the membrane to lock itself down to prevent the foreign substance or toxin from entering.

"Once it's inside the brain, the body realizes 'We've just been infiltrated by lead, silver or gold,' and says, 'How do I get rid of it?' When a patient has the symptoms of gold or of the substance that they're having, the body then has a powerful immunological reaction that begins to heal it," Ullman explains.

Another major benefit is the fact that there are no side effects. Were you to select the wrong remedy, nothing happens. There's no reaction — no benefit, but also no adverse effect.

Is There Scientific Evidence That Homeopathy Works?

The media will typically tell you there’s no evidence that homeopathy works. In reality, there are more than 300 double-blind and placebo-controlled trials published in peer-reviewed medical journals, including The Lancet, The British Medical Journal (BMJ), the journal of Pediatrics; the Chest (the journal of the American College of Chest Physicians); Cancer (the journal of the American Cancer Society); Rheumatology (the journal of the British Society for Rheumatology); Pediatric Infectious Diseases Journal, and many more.

"Many of the best journals in the world have published positive studies on homeopathy," Ullman says. "So, whenever you hear people say there's no evidence that homeopathy works, they are either misinforming you or directly lying.

You have to realize that it's a lie, and then you also have to remember that Big Pharma advertises on TV news so that they can own the news … That's one reason why we're not getting accurate information about natural therapies and about the importance of vaccine safety. It's because Big Pharma really runs and owns the news …

And if you think conventional medicine is scientific, please know statistics show that, last year, enough drugs were prescribed to give every man, woman and child in America 13 prescription drugs. Yet there's no evidence of safety or efficacy of multiple drugs together. They don't do science that way. Conventional medicine is standing on Jell-O. The evidence base is really limited."

The AMA has also gone to great lengths to keep homeopathy suppressed, and if it weren't for the AMA, there'd be a whole lot more scientific research backing homeopathy. Here's just one of the stories Ullman recounts in this interview:

"We’re all familiar with the Sloan Kettering Foundation. What people don’t know was that Charles Kettering was a big advocate for homeopathy. Kettering was vice president of General Motors (GM). Alfred Sloan was president of GM, but Kettering was the inventor. He was the one that developed the electric battery. Delco battery was his company.

In 1920, he gave $1 million to Ohio State University for their homeopathic medical schools' research department.

Wouldn't you know it, a month later, one of the key members of the AMA went to meet with the president of Ohio State and gave him an ultimatum, saying that unless you return that million dollars back to Kettering, the AMA would reduce the grade of Ohio State's allopathic conventional medical school (Ohio State had a homeopathic medical school and an allopathic one).

As it turns out, the president of Ohio State returned the million dollars to Kettering. That was supposed to go to homeopathic research. Once again, a million dollars in 1920 money is like a billion dollars today."

The Irrational Stance of FDA

When it comes to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), its stance on homeopathy is irrational to say the least, because on the one hand, it claims there's no active ingredient in some homeopathic medicines, in other words, it's essentially a placebo, yet on the other hand it claims homeopathic remedies are dangerous.

As explained by Ullman, the FDA was created in the early 1900s, but the agency really wasn't empowered until 1938, during Franklin D. Roosevelt's reign, when New York senator Dr. Royal Copeland wrote the Federal Food, Drugs and Cosmetics (FD&C) Act of 1938, which charged the FDA with the regulation of drugs. Ullman offers the following bit of historical background:

"Royal Copeland was not just a senator. He was a medical doctor — a homeopathic physician. He was the dean of the New York Homeopathic Medical College. Before that, he was the mayor of Ann Arbor, where he grew up. He was a professor at the University of Michigan, which had a homeopathic department.

A part of this legislation gave recognition to homeopathy on par with the United States Pharmacopoeia. The United States Pharmacopoeia and the Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia were on equal footing. Then, in the late ‘70s, the FDA deemed that homeopathic medicines are primarily over-the-counter drugs, because they’re so basically safe, you don’t need a doctor’s prescription to use them.

Up until that time, the FDA and the homeopaths had a good working relationship. In fact, up until literally a year or two ago, we had a good working relationship in that our medicines were allowed. There were certain [homeopathic] medicines that only medical doctors and naturopathic physicians were allowed to prescribe due to dose issues. We're fine with that too. But the vast majority were over-the-counter drugs.

However, in the last year or two, as a result of pressure brought by Big Pharma and skeptics of homeopathy, they began to change the regulations. We don't know with specificity what they are planning to do. They're saying now that they're changing it from the present model to what's called risk-benefit model.

Because their position is that homeopathy provides no benefits, we are concerned they’re going to find little risks in different things, like they did with Standard or Hyland’s Homeopathic teething tablets … We’re now waiting for them to come out with the specifics of their [new] guidelines.

We've written to them, many of us, in detail, making our recommendations. We're now ready for them to respond … They say they're going to maintain most of the homeopathic remedies, but I am worried they may reduce access to what are called homeopathic nosodes.

Nosodes are homeopathic medicines, super diluted, made from different bacteria and viruses. Right now, only medical doctors, naturopathic doctors and professional homeopaths have access to these nosodes. I'm fine with that. But it would be a real problem [if they were taken away]."

Homeopathy Versus Drugs

Again, it's worth remembering that the FDA must approve all pharmaceutical drugs, and the average American is often taking of several simultaneously — many of which have flimsy justification for their use at best. Drugs, as a general rule, never treat underlying causes. They treat symptoms by suppressing them.

The insanity of this model is evidenced by the fact that drugs, when properly taken as perscribed, kill an estimated 106,000 Americans each year. Yet, in the name of "protecting public health," the FDA claims homeopathic remedies may need to be reined in because they might be dangerous, but also claim that some have no active ingredients. Some preparations do contain active ingredients in concentrations sufficient to have physiological effects. As noted by Ullman:

"Here's where your bullshit detectors need to go up, because it's so obvious that homeopathic medicines are safer. To reduce access … to the safe medicines, and yet have complete access to so many conventional drugs, which are so dangerous, would be the epitome of a 'doctatorship.' That's a word I developed.

There is also what I call 'medical chauvinism.' There's the assumption that there's only one way to heal people. You and I, and I bet every other person listening to this, knows there are other methods. We need to stand up for ourselves."

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