Q1. to Dr. André Saine from Dr. Steven Novella
What do you consider to be the best clinical evidence supporting the efficacy of homeopathy for any indication?
ASKED. 2013-03-28 | ANSWERED. 2013-05-20 / PART IV. 2015-03-11
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Part IV of Dr. Saine’s Answer:
Consistently Favorable Results with Homeopathy in Patients with Pneumonia
Perhaps the most striking evidence for the efficacy of homeopathy is the consis-tently favorable results obtained in epidemics. Even in the partial review of the outcome of the homeopathic treatment of patients with pneumonia presented here, two observations are noteworthy:
- Homeopathic physicians consistently reported an extremely low mortality rate in patients with pneumonia;
- There was no iatrogenesis whatsoever.
Consistently Favorable Results with Homeopathy in Other Epidemics
The remarkable results obtained by homeopathy in patients with pneumonia, particularly during the NIP, are not isolated events, for the same favorable re-sults have been reported consistently for more than two hundred years when-ever homeopathy has been practiced in epidemics, regardless of the time, place, physician, or particular disease.
In 1918, in the midst of the NIP, Dr. William Boericke, professor of Materia Medica and Therapeutics at the University of California in San Francisco and editor of the Pacific Coast Journal of Homoeopathy, explained why we should not be surprised by the constancy of favorable results that homeopaths were ob-taining with CIP patients throughout the country: “In considering some features of the homeopathic therapeutics of grippe, as recorded in different parts of the country, we notice a remarkable harmony of results and of means employed. But this singular unanimity is further accentuated by its harmony also with the recorded experience of the homeopathic school fifty years ago. Yes, our treatment of epidemic grippe today is practically the same and with similar remedies as fifty years ago. And if future epidemics come, as they undoubtedly will, judging from the past, the same remedies will always rightfully come into play. Why? Because they are the results of application of law and partake of the certainty and simplicity of all operations of natural law. … Compare the results of the average homeopathic treatment with that of the old school. Ours renders most every case a comparatively mild one and short in its duration. Not amongst us do we hear of long weeks of treatment with most tedious convalescence. Where are the complications, the sequelae, the death roll from grippe that so markedly characterize the old school treatment? You all can bear testimony, as every homeopathic physician throughout the land can bear testimony that it is not with us. Why this difference? They [the old school practitioners] have the good of their patients at heart as genuinely as we; they are as anxious to save him suffering and sickness; they are as expert and even more particular about diet and extra medicinal measures. It must be, therefore, because their use of repressive measures by means of powerful drugs, such as modern chemistry has placed in their hands. The quinine and coal tar products, the antipyretics and hypnotics, coupled with morphine, etc., are accountable for it. It is not our duty, therefore, to call attention to this difference in methods and results, and especially to this remarkable effectiveness of homeopathy. Remarkable? No, we expect it, because it is the expression of the operation of law.”(421)
Mortality with Different Methods of Medicinal Treatment
One of the goals of the present exercise is to determine the gentlest and most efficacious medicinal treatment for pneumonia patients. That can best be done by comparing mortality under the different methods of medicinal treatment, namely PAA, CCC, and homeopathy.
Dr. William Osler had pointed out in 1912 that regardless of the allopathic treatment used, there had been “an extraordinary uniformity in the mortality rate” throughout the PAA era, a rate which averaged about 30% according to his own statistics(422) and about 24% according to the statistics presented in this review.
Since the mortality in patients with health-care-acquired pneumonia tends to be very high—between 50% and 70%—the mortality associated with CCC has been limited in this review to CAP. In the last available meta-analysis, the mortality of CAP was 13.7%. (423)
For close to 200 years, homeopaths have been reporting consistently superior results in pneumonia patients, results that can be summarized as follows:
- Among homeopathic physicians the average death rate for patients with pneumonia was 3.4% (based on 25,216 cases).
- The risk of dying from CIP during the NIP was eight times as high with PAA as with homeopathy.
- The odds of developing pneumonia for pregnant women with influenza during the NIP were 1 to 17 under homeopathy, and even odds, or 1 to 1, under allopathy.
- The risk for pregnant women of dying from CIP during the NIP was 41 times as high under allopathy as under homeopathy;
- Today the relative risk of dying from CAP is till four times as high with CCC as with homeopathy.
Interpretation of the Results Obtained with Homeopathy
The startling difference in the results reported in pneumonia cases by the two schools of medicine might be explained in three ways if we limit our discussion for the time being to PAA:
- Homeopathy did neither harm nor good, and PAA killed people; therefore the outcome was better with homeopathy;
- Homeopathy saved lives, and PAA did neither harm nor good; therefore the outcome was even better for homeopathy;
- Homeopathy saved lives, and PAA killed people; therefore the outcome for homeopathy was even better again.
Again it must be asked whether the low mortality rate obtained with homeopathy could be due solely to the fact that homeopaths do not use crude drugs or other heroic treatments? That is an explanation that has been offered for two centuries by almost all allopathic observers and commentators.
For example, in 1846 Dr. George Balfour(424) of Edinburgh conducted an inquiry into the practice of homeopathy by observing every patient was admitted for a three month period into the homeopathically managed hospital of the Sisters of Mercy in Gumpendorf, just outside of Vienna. He concluded, “I think you will see by what I have stated, that the strength of the homeopaths lies not in the greater rationality or practical superiority of their treatment, but is founded on the weakness of allopathy; that they not only do not help their patients, but—if they are strict homeopaths—are for ever shut out from helping them;—that in their treatment of acute diseases—simpler, at least, if not better than that of their opponents—their success depends entirely on the hitherto unrecognized powers of Nature.”(425)
Dr. John Forbes, the editor of the British and Foreign Medical Review, in which Dr. Balfour’s paper was published, further remarked, “The great and important practical question is—whether or not the homeopathic remedies administered in these cases contributed in any degree—or if in some degree, in what degree—towards the cure of the diseases, particularly the cases of pneumonia? This is a question, which will be answered differently by different persons. No doubt, Dr. Fleischmann and homeopaths generally will regard these cases not only as highly favorable to the claims of homeopathy, but as unquestionable proofs of its great remedial powers. We, on the contrary, in common with our reporter, see no other powers operating in these cases but the natural powers of the living system, called into action under very favorable circumstances. The general aspect of the whole cases, favorable and unfavorable alike, and the minute details of each case, convey to our mind the most perfect conviction that, throughout, Nature, not art, was the worker. … The materials supplied in Dr. Balfour’s Report, like those formerly supplied in Dr. Fleischmann’s, do not in any degree authorize the general conclusion that homeopathic treatment is as good as that of ordinary medicine, much less that the latter like the former is valueless, Nature being all-sufficient in the cure of diseases; but both go powerfully to corroborate the following, among other important inferences formerly deduced by us from a review of the whole question, viz.—1. That Nature is more powerful in curing diseases, and has practically a much greater share in the ordinary cure of diseases, than is commonly believed. … 4. That in the present state of our knowledge, the Hygienic—Eclectic—Hippocratic—Natural system of treating diseases, is the only one that can be justified or safely followed.”(426)
Later in 1859, Dr. Balfour reviewed the history of bleeding in medicine and reported that in Edinburgh it had been abandoned in pneumonia cases, as had been done many years earlier in Vienna. He wrote, “Moreover, the undoubted success which has been attained by Hahnemann and his followers in the treatment of acute diseases has reduced the argument to a dilemma, which is this: either the homeopathic globules are truly active and energetic remedies, or the partisans of bleeding have been grossly mistaken in the fancied utility of their favorite remedy.”(427) As Dr. Balfour favored the second hypothesis, he never pursued any further investigation into the practice of homeopathy.
More recently, the British skeptic Dr. Ben Goldacre, wrote in the Lancet in 2007, “During the cholera epidemic in the 19th century, the death rates at the London Homeopathic Hospital were three times lower than those at the Middlesex Hospital [16.1% versus 53%].(428) The reason for homeopathy’s success in this epidemic is even more interesting than the placebo effect. At the time, nobody could treat cholera, and while medical treatments such as bloodletting were actively harmful, the homeopaths’ treatments were at least inert.”(429)
Dr. Goldacre does not produce any evidence to support his interpretation of the results obtained with homeopathy, as is incidentally the rule among the opponents of homeopathy. What Dr. Goldacre writes is most likely accepted without question by is readers since he presents himself as an authority on the subject. To an informed reader, however, it is clear that he is an expert neither in homeopathy nor in medical history.(430)
That raises three points of interest:
- It is common for commentators to offer glib explanations of phenomena that they have never observed or experimented with, but which have been reported by millions of other observers.
- In the 1854 cholera epidemic in London, which Dr. Goldacre refers to, blood-letting was not once mentioned as having been used by any of nearly 300 London physicians, who had been required by law to report their cholera cases to the General Board of Health with a description of all the treatments used and their outcomes. It is contrary to all evidence to assume that bloodletting or any of the other numerous allopathic treatments that were used during the 1854 cholera epidemic were responsible for the extra 37 deaths out of every 100 cases reported by the allopaths. In fact, numerous authors who reviewed the literature on cholera before the advent of rehydration in the 1960s, including Brierre-de-Boismont,(432) Seider,(433) Elliotson(434) Fabre,(435) Sticker(436) and Kiple,(437) report the same death rate for the majority of cholera patients, regardless of the type of allopathic intervention or lack of intervention
- Commentators who have attributed the difference in results between allopathy and homeopathy to a combination of iatrogenesis with allopathic treatment and the placebo effect of homeopathy, have never dared to test their hypothesis in actual practice and have not even suggested that it would be a useful subject for medical research.
Expectancy in Pneumonia Patients
Whether PAA killed pneumonia patients and at what rate, and what percentage of patients were saved by homeopathy remain open questions for investigation. The best way to answer those questions would probably be to examine the records of expectancy in the treatment of pneumonia patients.
Expectancy, or the expectant method, means that patients are not given any medication or submitted to any “active” treatment, such as bleeding, cauterization, or cupping, but are cared for with diet and hygienic measures. For some clinicians who used the expectancy method, such as Dr. Joseph Dietl of Vienna, expectancy also included water-only fasting.
At the end of each year from 1844 to 1849, the Austrian homeopathic journal Oesterreichische Zeitschrift für Homöopathie published the annual statistics of the homeopathic hospitals in Austria. Year after year, the mortality rate from pneumonia at these hospitals was strikingly and uniformly low compared to that at allopathic hospital in Europe. At the Sisters of Mercy Hospital in Gumpendorf, for example, Dr. Wilhelm Fleischmann(438) reported having treated during that time 281 cases of pneumonia with 10 deaths, a mortality of 3.6%(439) Similarly, Dr. Reiss reported having treated at the Sisters of Mercy Hospital in Linz 88 pneumonia cases with only one death, a mortality rate of 1.14 %.(440)
These favorable results from homeopathic physicians in Austria persuaded Dr. Dietl to try the expectant method with pneumonia patients at the Vienna General Hospital, where he was the director,(441), (442) as Dr. James Rogers wrote in his book, On the Present State of Therapeutics, with Some Suggestions for Placing It Upon a More Scientific Basis, “The cases reported by Dr. Fleischmann naturally present themselves first to our attention; for it was these cases which, in this country [Great Britain] at least, first seriously drew the attention of medical men to homeopathy. … There can be no doubt whatever, that the great changes which have taken place more recently in the treatment of this disease, must be ascribed in the first place to the results obtained in practice by some homeopathic practitioners, especially by Dr. Fleischmann of Vienna. They emboldened Dr. Dietl to make trial of the expectant plan on a gigantic scale in this disease.”(443)
Like many other allopathic observers, Dr. Rogers recognized the accuracy of the statistics reported by homeopaths but without acknowledging the efficacy of homeopathy, “Some trustworthy reports have been furnished by physicians attached to homeopathic hospitals, which leave no reasonable doubt about the large proportion of recoveries that occur in their practice, … [these] results as satisfactory as those of any other method … [may be] ascribed either to the curative power of the organism itself, or to that aided by the action of the drugs.” However, his investigations stalled at the conclusion of the implausibility of the small doses, “From the small quantities of medicine contained in homeopathic doses, they must be regarded according to the known laws of matter as quite inert.”(444)
Dr. William Henderson, professor of Clinical Medicine and General Pathology at the University of Edinburgh, made the following interesting comment about Dr. Dietl’s interpretation of the results reported by homeopaths in Austrian hospitals, particularly Dr. Fleischmann: “[Dietl’s] conclusion is valuable, at least to this extent, that it admits the accuracy of the homeopathic statements as to the rate of mortality under the system, and the fairness with which the homeopathic statistics of the successful treatment of pneumonia are given by his fellow-citizen Fleischmann. For Dietl seeks no solution of the question by gratuitous and unmannerly insinuations regarding the candor and ability of the latter, the justice of whose claim to be considered a trustworthy physician he must have had opportunities of knowing, and does not dispute; as indeed he could not for another reason, that, regarding homeopathy as merely an expectant practice, he must admit it to be at least as successful as his own expectant treatment.”(445)
When Dr. Dietl reported in 1848 the results he obtained with expectancy in patients with pneumonia, it was said that it took the medical world by surprise:(446) “This famous historic study reverberated through the world of medicine. … He demonstrated that bleeding in pneumonia is not indicated, since it does not promote recovery and is indeed harmful, raising mortality rates.”(447)
Mortality at the Vienna General Hospital for the years 1844 to 1846 was on average 20.4% with active treatment, which only occasionally included bleeding; under expectancy during the same years it was 7.4%. Such a low mortality rate not only raised serious doubts about the usefulness of bleeding and other heroic treatments that were standard practice in “regular,” “rational” and “scientific” medicine, and of allopathic treatment in general but also strongly suggested that they were dangerous.
Of course, the proponents of active treatment were skeptical of Dr. Dietl’s results. They didn’t have to wait long to have their doubts confirmed, for the mortality reported by Dr. Dietl in later years and by other physicians who had been influenced by his success and had applied the expectant method in pneumonia cases was unsettling. At the end of 1852, Dr. Dietl published the results of a more extensive trial that lasted from 1847 to 1850, in which the mortality under expectancy had gone up slightly: namely, of 750 cases, 69 died, for a mortality of 9.2%.(448)
A very important point, which helps to give a more accurate perspective on Dr. Dietl’s results, was that he reported having excluded from these last statistics deaths from pneumonia that was secondary to other acute or chronic diseases.(449) In 1854, Dr. Schmidt, a Dutch physician, reported having treated solely with expectancy 47 cases, with 12 deaths, a mortality of 22.2%. In 1855, Dr. C. de Bordes of Amsterdam also applied expectancy and lost 17 out of 77 cases, a mortality of 22.1%.(450) In 1856, Dr. Wunderlich of Leipzig treated 157 pneumonia cases with expectancy and lost 33 of them, a mortality of 21%.(451)
In 1857, Dr. Arthur Mitchell of London, who was in Vienna, was requested to collect the statistics of pneumonia patients at the Vienna General Hospital. He examined the hospital records for the previous 10 years, namely from 1847 to 1856, and reported many interesting findings.(452)
First, he noted that mortality from pneumonia can vary greatly from year to year, despite the fact that treatment remained the same, “The general line of treatment, pursued in the Vienna Hospital during the last ten years, so far as I know, has remained nearly the same, or at any rate has not been undergoing material or essential changes. We might be apt to suppose, therefore, that this changing rate of mortality had resulted from alterations in the type of the disease.”(453)
For instance, the mortality from pneumonia was at its lowest level in 1850 at 20.8% and at its highest level in 1855 at 31.5%. He wrote, “All the circumstances being otherwise equal, this difference would tend to prove that the well-established severity of a given disorder may vary from year to year within pretty wide limits—a theory which, moreover, is in accordance with the experience of ages.”(454) However, the average mortality from pneumonia over these 10 years was exactly the one calculated earlier in this paper for the PAA period. From 1847 to 1856, 5,909 cases of pneumonia were admitted in the Vienna General Hospital with 1,439 deaths, a mortality of 24.4%.
|Mortality from Pneumonia at the Vienna General Hospital from 1847-1856|
|Year||No. of Cases||No. of Deaths||Mortality Rate|
Second, he reported that Dr. Dietl’s so-called expectant method was actually not without treatment, for when bronchial secretions became copious, Antimonium tartaricum or Ipecac was given in crude doses.(455) It is interesting to note that these two remedies are part of the homeopathic materia medica; they have the same indication, namely, copious secretions in the suffocative stage of pneumonia, and, when well indicated, can truly save lives.
However, Dr. James Rogers confirmed that Dr. Dietl’s method was on the whole based on expectancy, “Except in some complicated cases, his treatment was purely expectant. He frequently employed such palliative remedies as mixtura oleosa, potio acidula, infusum liquiritiae, mixtura gummosa, etc., which could not exercise any marked influence on the progress of the disease. In his work on bleeding, Dr. Dietl says: ‘Pneumonia runs its course best when not interfered with [by] medicines;’ but he does not mean to say that all treatment is superfluous, or injurious. In many cases he says, venesection is an excellent symptomatic means; and in cases of complication with severe bronchitis, in which suffocation is imminent, cupping and counter-irritation may save the patient.”(456)
Third, Dr. Mitchell mentioned the reasons bleeding was abandoned at the Vienna General Hospital, “Their opinion seems to be this, that when physicians became more expert at the physical examination of pulmonary disease, they found that bleeding did not affect in any favorable manner the real progress of the disease, and, therefore, they were led to discontinue it.
“The results seemed to justify the change; and thus, without discarding loss of blood as a remedy in pneumonia, they discarded the principle on which it was employed. The new ground on which they placed it was one, no doubt, of great importance, but statistics prove, beyond all question, that they very rarely found it necessary to summon its services to accomplish its new aims.
“In other words, finding they did not attain the ends for which they bled formerly, they ceased to bleed for these, but continued to do so for others, in their hands apparently of rare occurrence.
“They seem to be of opinion, however, that although there is, as the result of this change, a diminution of the mortality, it is not very great, but they think the recoveries quicker and much more satisfactory.”(457)
Fourth, Dr. Mitchell reported that Professor Sigmund preceded Dr. Dielt by about 10 years in using expectancy in patients with pneumonia. His records covered his private practice in Vienna from 1837 to 1841 and the ones at the Vienna General Hospital from 1842 to 1857. In total, Professor Sigmund treated by the expectant method 743 pneumonia cases, with 104 deaths, a mortality of 14%. Dr. Mitchell commented, “Although the average mortality was 14% it differed in hospital and private practice, the first being 17.0 and the last 11.0%. In the note in which Professor Sigmund communicated these results, he thus describes his treatment: ‘Rest in bed without increased heat; tepid watery drinks; where there was very great pain, friction with oil over the affected part and warm water fomentations; when there was frequent cough, sweetened water, very dilute orgeat, gum-solution with sugar; in obstinate constipation, enemata of syrup and water.’”(458)
In his 1870 critical review of the literature on expectancy in patients with pneumonia, Dr. Jules Le Beuf confirmed that the expectant method was also not long-lived in Vienna.(459) Furthermore, Dr. Mitchell reported that the official records of the Vienna General Hospital for 1854 showed that under expectancy there had been 19 deaths out of 92 cases of pneumonia, a mortality of 20.7%, while out of 474 pneumonia cases treated in the six other divisions of the hospital there were 122 deaths, a mortality of 25.7%.(460)
Thus, Dr. Dietl’s original results could not be replicated by other clinicians or even by him in the longer term: “They have been contradicted not only in Holland, but even in the heart of the hospital in Vienna.”(461)
Fifth, and perhaps the most important of Dr. Mitchell’s observations, is that there was a form of triage that determined which treatment would be used depending on the intensity of the disease: “The therapeutics were regulated by the intensity of the malady. In the department for diseases of the chest (which showed the most favorable rate of mortality) the treatment was expectant. Rest and the withdrawal of all nourishment during the continuance of the fever, water as drink—occasionally emulsion of almonds. On the occurrence of copious bronchial-secretion, Tartar emetic or Ipecacuanha in large doses. Blood-letting was not at all resorted to. Convalescence was on an average short.”(462)
Dr. Mitchell noted that among seven different wards of the Vienna General Hospital that were treating pneumonia patients all at the same time, mortality varied greatly from one ward to another, or from one staff and its method of treatment to another. Neither Dr. Dietl nor Dr. Mitchell said to what extent triage influenced mortality on Dr. Dietl’s ward. He wrote, “We have thus a remarkable example of the enormous difference of the results of similar treatment in the hands of different physicians practicing on the same population at the same time under the same general circumstances, and consequently having to deal with the same type of the malady.”(463) For instance, he provided the statistics for 1849 (shown below) during which time the mortality varied in the different wards from 18.6% to 31.6% under “similar” active treatments.
|Mortality from Pneumonia at the Vienna General Hospital in 1849|
||Mortality Rate (%)|
|Special Division for Diseases of the Chest (Dietl)
The average mortality rate for the first six divisions, in which active treatment was administered, was 24.7%, whereas in the special division for diseases of the chest, in which Dr. Dietl was applying the expectant method, it was 14.1% (17 deaths out of 121 cases).(464) The disparity of 10.6 percentage point in the death rates between the two groups suggests either that patients were being killed by active treatment or being saved by expectancy.
To the six trials that tested expectancy reported by Dr. Le Beuf, I have added Dr. Dietl’s records of 1854 and those of Professor Sigmund that were reported by Dr. Mitchell. In total in these eight trials, there were 2,061 cases, with an av-erage mortality of 13.0%. Six of the eight trials include comparative concurrent mortality rates under active treatment versus expectancy; there were a total of 1,194 cases and 276 deaths with active treatment, for a mortality of 23.1%, which is 10.1 percentage points greater than with expectancy.
|Comparative Mortality Between Active Treatment and Expectancy |
|Method of treatment ||No. of cases||No. of deaths||Mortality (%)||No. of cases||No. of deaths||Mortality (%)|
| || || || ||743||104||14.0%|
|Antimonium tartarirum |
in large doses
|106||22||20.8%|| || || |
|Dietl (1852) |
(1847-1850 minus 1849)
| || || || ||629|
Official report of the hospital
| || || || ||53||11||20.8%|
|Total||All active treatment|
These numbers suggest that on average, expectancy saved or PAA killed about 10% of the patients with pneumonia. Homeopathy, on the other hand, saved at the very least an extra 11% of its cases beyond expectancy; that could explain the 21 percentage point difference between the mortality with homeopathy and with PAA, which were on average 3.4% and 24.4% respectively.
It has therefore been known since at least the mid-1800s that homeopathy saved lives in pneumonia cases and that PAA killed patients. That raises three very troubling questions:
- Why did the dominant school of medicine, which called itself “regular,” “rational” or “scientific,” not immediately drop its practice of “active” or heroic treatment, and, at the very least, adopt homeopathy for patients with pneumonia, which throughout the nineteenth and twentieth ce and early part of the twenty-first century one of the greatest causes of death throughout the world?
- Since the results reported by homeopaths were considered authentic and were assumed to be due to nature, and since the expectant method with the use of palliatives was clearly inferior, why has the hypothesis that the successes of homeopathy in patients with pneumonia were due to the placebo effect never been tested scientifically?
- Why has the public to this day never been informed of the odds of dying from pneumonia with each of these three methods of treatment, namely, expectancy, homeopathy and allopathy?
How to Interpret Dr. Dietl’s Results
The results Dr. Dietl first published remained unexplained beyond the fact that triage was practiced at the Vienna General Hospital and he excluded from his statistics deaths from pneumonia that was secondary to other acute or chronic diseases.
Dr. Conrad Wesselhoeft, professor of Pathology and Therapeutics at the Boston School of Medicine, pointed to another fact suggesting that something in Dr. Dietl’s approach was actually different from that of his successors: “It was asserted by Dr. Dinstl, Dr. Dietl's successor, that after the departure of the latter, the mortality increased again from 20 to 27%, although bleeding and drugs were rarely used.”(465)
Dr. Rogers also confirmed that once Dr. Dietl left the hospital the mortality for pneumonia patients went up even though there were fewer complicated cases: “There is one circumstance, however, which, in the absence of any printed documents containing the histories of the cases, throws doubt on the correctness of Dr. Dietl’s statements. It is the fact that, in the same hospital in which he had made his observations, the mortality of pneumonia had enormously increased a year or two after he had left it for a chair in the University of Cracow. According to Dr. Dietl’s account, published in the year 1854, it was about 20%; and in printed reports which I have of that hospital for the years 1859, 1861, 1863, 1864, it was respectively 25%, 20.33%, 20.86%, 27.23%. What was the cause of a mortality two or three times greater than in Dr. Dietl’s time? There was no change in the general condition of the patients treated after Dr. Meltzer became head physician of the hospital. Bleeding and drugs were perhaps more frequently employed in the treatment of pneumonia than when Dr. Dietl held that appointment; but certainly not to such an extent as to have any marked influence on the mortality of the disease.”(466)
In addition, Dr. Rogers confirmed that this inexplicable difference in mortality was apparently not due to an increase in difficult cases: “I have heard it suggested that the great number of complicated cases was the cause of the subsequent increased mortality; but the proportion of complicated cases of pneumonia diminished rather than increased after Dr. Dietl’s departure. The proportion of complicated to uncomplicated cases in the 750 which he had treated was 52 to 100, or rather more than one-half; in the same hospital in the year 1859, it was 50.4; in 1861, about 42.8; in 1863,43.3; and in 1864, 44.6, to 100. Under these circumstances, I think Dr. Dietl lies under a grave obligation to medical science: he must either publish his cases in a tabulated form, or he must explain the cause of the great difference in the mortality of pneumonia in the Wiedner Hospital during the two periods to which I have referred.”(467)
Very likely the reason why the mortality rates in Dr. Dietl’s ward were so much lower than in the other departments of the hospital was the water-only fasting that Dr. Dietl used with his patients at the Vienna General Hospital. In fact, Dr. John Bennett, professor at the Institute of Medicine at the University of Edinburgh, who also used water-only fasting with pneumonia patients, reported an even lower mortality rate—three deaths out of 105 patients, and used as well water-only fasting in his restorative approach to patients with pneumonia.(468)
Dr. Tessier’s versus Dr. Dietl’s Experiments
At the same time that Dr. Dietl was conducting his experiments with expectancy in Vienna, another hospital director took a more direct approach to testing the results that homeopaths had been publishing for close to 20 years in patients with pneumonia.
In 1847, Dr. Jean-Paul Tessier, “one of the distinguished practitioners of medicine in Paris,” and “known as an allopathic practitioner of most respectable attainments, to say the least of him,”(470) began a methodological investigation of the efficacy of homeopathy in the treatment of patients with cholera and pneumonia at the St. Marguerite Hospital, which was a branch of the famous Hôtel-Dieu Hospital in Paris, which has been home at different times to Trousseau, Paré, Bichat, Chomel, Dupuytren, Magendie and Bernard.
Dr. Tessier wrote that he presented himself “neither as a partisan nor opponent of homeopathy but as a scientist guarding himself against the misguiding bias of blind passion,” and that he would “endeavor to strictly adhere to the legitimate demands of a scientific inquiry.”(471)
He explained the approach he followed in his scientific investigation of homeopathy: “After studying the writings of Hahnemann and his disciples, I read the records of a number of cases treated by the new method. Having understood the meaning of the formula similia similibus curantur, I had to try the efficacy of infinitesimal doses. I devoted six months to this clinical verification in such acute and chronic maladies where these trials could not possibly result in the least injury to my patients. In a few days already I had obtained the most complete evidence of the efficacy of infinitesimal doses; nevertheless I continued my experiments. At the end of six months I set about investigating the merits of the new system
as a complete therapeutic method, and in this new investigation, proceeded with the strictest precision.
“My experimental treatment of pneumonia required the greatest precautions. It is not by any means a slight responsibility to substitute, in the treatment of an acute disease, a new method for one that enjoys the sanction of universal experience. It was therefore necessary not to expose the patients to any danger, or else to give up the new method. …
“The anxiety, which I endured in making these first experiments, is indescribable. In spite of my determination to bleed, if the condition of the patient should get worse; in spite of my frequent visits to these patients, it always seemed to me that some catastrophe would take place. But nothing of the kind happened. The first patients which I treated homeopathically, all got well, and some others were speedily relieved. In upwards of two years I only lost one patient. Two other patients died, but they were brought to the hospital in the last stage of suppuration. If they are recorded in my list, they can have no possible weight in deciding the therapeutic merits of the system.
“Since then, I have pursued the same treatment in a large number of cases of pneumonia, and my former apprehensions have gradually been removed. I do not wish to say more, and shall let the facts speak for themselves. …
“Serious minds will infer from this that they ought to study Hahnemann’s method; I have no other object in view than to provoke clinical and experimental investigations on this subject.”(472)
Years later in 1859, he made many interesting and pertinent points while comparing Dietl’s experiments with the ones he had conducted 12 years earlier at the St. Marguerite Hospital, where he was the chief of staff: “In the hope of leading hospital physicians to submit homeopathic treatment to the crucible of a rigorous clinical verification, both in regard to the medicines employed in experimental ‘provings’ as well as the imponderable (‘infinitesimal’) doses, I published, ten years ago, notices of 42  cases of pneumonia treated after Hahnemann’s method. I have chosen pneumonia on account of its dangerous character, on which there is but one opinion amongst the profession. I well remembered seeing Magendie leave to themselves several of the patients in his charge, but the results appeared to me so disastrous that I supposed there was but one physician who would push the mania of skepticism so far. Further—with Magendie skepticism was but a pure fantasy. …
“Excepting that celebrated zootomist (Magendie), I never knew a physician, to whatever sect he might belong, who believed one could leave pneumonia to itself. Some insisted more on bloodletting; others on antimonium tartaricum; others on blisters. No one doubted the necessity and efficacy of treatment. Not a single work on medicine had stated ’expectant medicine’ as possible in such a case. I thought, then, I had chosen an excellent subject for demonstrating the efficacy of the homeopathic method.
“I supposed that a serious subject would be seriously examined. I could not believe in a systematic hostility to observation on the part of physicians who profess to believe nothing but facts. I had reckoned without my host; and the Numerical School(473) has shown us how far hatred to truth can go.
“At first there was spread abroad a whispered rumor of the innocuousness of pneumonia. Some hospital physicians made some inconclusive trials;—not one published the result of his researches, so that things remained in the state of mere rumor. But with persons under the influence of passion a rumor serves every purpose, and to prejudiced minds it justifies everything.
“It was therefore recognized, on the authority of the rumor, that pneumonia got well ‘all alone by itself.’ It was, then, (said they) no wonder that the homeopathic treatment—the dilutions and the globules—should have given good results, because the absence of all medical treatment—bread pills—had had the very best results.
“This farce lasted for some time in the form of a rumor. The Numerical School leagued itself with the ‘Medical Union’ to give substance to the rumor, and to deceive the profession on the question. It was agreed between Bertrand and his friend that the journal should publish a regular refutation of my work, and should never insert my reply. The clique was still able to practice a certain amount of intimidation. The journalists were afraid of losing customers, and each vied with the other as to who should most betray the cause of observation and of truth.(474)
“It was then acknowledged in the name of the Numerical School and the Medical Union that pneumonia got well of itself, and that consequently the homeopathic cures were simply spontaneous! The number of dupes was immense, and the success of the maneuver was complete. Nothing more was now wanted but the combined efforts of three or four farce actors, supported by the Numerical School. This is the last exploit of the sect.
“A most extraordinary thing is that mixture of audacious lying on the one hand, of credulous simplicity on the other hand, when passion rules over each party. Have we not seen two hospital physicians, attacked by pneumonia, abstain from treatment—such was their conviction of the spontaneous cure of pneumonia—and both fall victims to the false reports spread by the sect of ‘observationists,’or ‘expectant physicians?’ Now, in the face of such a state of mind, what must we say?
“Evidently bide our time; for we belong not to the school of scientific homicide, and we could not experiment bravely or cowardly (whichever you like to call it) on the patients in our charge to prove by facts that mortality is frequent when pneumonia is left to itself.
“We have waited for the moment of the return of good sense into the heads of the medical world. Daily experience was enough for us; and the lies of the statisticians and their friends were not calculated to shake our convictions. Who does not know that pneumonia treated too late often terminates fatally? Who does not know that all therapeutic efforts are directed to check the tendency to terminate in suppuration? Who, then, is ignorant that such a termination is frequent in parenchymatous inflammations, and that particularly in inflammation of the parenchyma of the lungs? What signifies, then, the twaddle of the Numerical School? In France, the sect had not dared to experiment regularly. It was other-wise in the Austrian school of Vienna. There they had the sorry courage to attempt experimenting systematically. The first results were favorable to pure ‘expectancy.’ This was a new triumph for the Paris sect. She did not like to acknowledge that pneumonia left to herself proceeded not at all like pneumonia treated homeopathically: that would have been to establish the efficacy of that system—the very thing which she had to deny. The difference, which I have just pointed out satisfied our convictions, and we were watching for the time and the observation of fresh documents. Now here are some which are calculated to unmask the errors entertained by the ’observationists;’ and we wish to give our readers the benefit of these.”(475)
After reporting the results of Dr. Mitchell’s investigation in Vienna, which I described above, Dr. Tessier focused on the impracticability of the triage method that was used in the Vienna General Hospital: “Now, that one-third or one-fourth of pneumonia cases in general, and that a still larger proportion amongst young people in particular, may get well spontaneously, apart from all treatment, and even in spite of some indiscretions, no one will be tempted to deny that one might then strictly leave all that class to themselves; but to justify such a practice it should be based on a rigorous prognosis (diagnosis beforehand). Very well! What physician will take upon himself to affirm at the outset of pneumonia that such a patient will die—such an one, again, will infallibly recover? For my own part, I do not feel myself forced to make this trial (triage); and if, in the course of acute maladies, non omnino tutae sunt proenotiones nec vitae nec mortis [it is not entirely safe to predict either life or death], one may affirm that such a presumption at the outset of the malady would be a sign of folly in the physician who should exhibit it. The trial (triage)being impossible, we must secure to all the patients the benefit of treatment. Well, twelve years of practice have convinced me that the treatment of pneumonia by Hahnemann's method is more efficacious (aye, evidently efficacious) than the treatment of intermittent fever by sulphate of quinine.”(476)
He therefore submitted to his own interpretation of Hahnemann’s method all the patients with pneumonia that were admitted to his ward at the St. Marguerite Hospital between 1847 and 1849. He described every case in detail, including age, sex, constitution, evolution of symptoms, severity of the condition (i.e., one or more lobes affected), complications and circumstances, concomitant conditions (i.e., tuberculosis), remedies and dosage used, course and duration of the disease, and post-mortem examination. It is interesting that of the different series of pneumonia cases published by homeopaths and by allopaths who practiced expectancy, only the ones treated with homeopathy were described in detail.
Dr. Tessier reported three deaths out of a series of 41 cases with pneumonia, of which many were seriously ill patients, since there was no triage of the patients.(477)
The exact mortality rate he encountered in his entire experiment is not known because his series of 41 cases was preceded and followed by other cases not included in his statistics, as he explained, “It might be observed, perhaps, that I ought to have related all the cases which I have treated, in order to furnish a complete statistical series. I have not adopted this method for the simple reason that I have not yet felt authorized to place the old-school treatment of pneumonia in such an evident position of inferiority, as it would undoubtedly have occupied, if I had related every case. For it would have been found that all the patients who came to my wards before suppuration had set in, were cured except one. Even if I had not directed particular attentionto this fact, others would have done it for me, and the result would have been the same. I have been desirous of avoiding a premature conclusion, and collecting a great number of data before pronouncing my final verdict. I shall not yet compare the result of Hahnemann’s method with those of other methods of cure, I shall do this at a later period after having accumulated all the facts upon which such a comparison should be based. Even if I had intended to institute such a comparison, the data for it do not exist. Most of our statistical tables are intended to demonstrate the superiority either
of bloodletting, or tartar emetic [Antimonium tartaricum], or blisters. Every author simply wished to express his predilections or antipathies in numbers. To compare the two methods satisfactorily, each ought to be employed with all its means and resources and all its conditions of success. Where do we find a statistical table of pulmonary inflammations treated in this manner? Those, who treat them well, do not count them. I shall content myself with calling the attention of the reader to one point. Might not the cure of my cases be attributed to a natural tendency inherent in pneumonia to get well, provided the course of the disease were not interfered with? At first sight, this objection seems specious. It is the last refuge of the opposition, and it is incumbent upon the opponents to prove the truth of our denial.”(478)
In the conclusion of his experiment, Dr. Tessier asked, “What do the facts which I have related, show?”, to which heanswered, “The Hahnemannian treatment of pneumonia seems to exercise a most happy influence over the symptoms, course and duration of this disease. Hence I affirm that this mode of treatment should be made a subject of scientific analysis and observation.”(479)
Duration of Pneumonia and Recovery Time
Aside from mortality, two other useful measures for evaluating the efficacy of treatment would be duration of the disease and recovery time. That information would be of benefit to all parties concerned, especially those who pay for the health care bills.
The duration of pneumonia was as a rule “computed from the first symptoms of the inflammatory fever to the cessation of the local physical signs, or complete disappearance of the hepatization.”(480)
In 1854, Dr. Henderson reviewed the average duration of pneumonia that was reported by Dr. Dietl at the Vienna General Hospital: “The average duration of the cases treated by venesection [was] 35 days; of those treated by tartar emetic, 28.9 days; and of those under the expectant method, 28 days.”(481)
He then compared those numbers with Dr. Tessier’s, which was 9.1 days under homeopathic treatment, and added, “In a few of Tessier’s cases the last report regarding the state of the lung is, that resolution was almost complete. To the duration of such cases I have added two days succeeding the final report, which is at least not too little. … Of the whole expectant cases, 36 (not much less than one third) were prolonged to between 30 and 60 days, while only 5, or less than one-eighth, of the homeopathic cases lasted beyond 18 days, and only once did the duration extend to 27 days.”(482)
|Duration of Pneumonia Under Different Therapeutic Approaches |
|Method of Treatment||Duration in Days|
|Homeopathy under Dr. Tessier||11.1|
These statistics suggest that pneumonia lasted 25% longer with bleeding than with expectancy, but 250% longer with expectancy than with homeopathy.
Dr. Henderson wrote in the conclusion of his comparative analysis of the treatments of patients with pneumonia: “The facts which I have just adduced present not only a triumphant and irrefragable testimony to the positively remedial powers of homeopathy, but they likewise prove, I think, that it cures, and saves life, in a different way from that in which unassisted nature does in this disease; it tends to cut short the disease by preventing exudation, or restraining it within very narrow limits, both of extent and degree. Consolidation may indeed take place under homeopathic treatment, but that it does not consist in any considerableamount of exudation into the air cells, appears from the rapidity with which it vanishes. Within an average of four days after the cessation of the fever, the whole local disease was gone, whereas in Grisolle’s mild cases, left to diet, the process of resolution had then only begun, and took from 11 to 17 days to be completed.(483)
“With this analysis of the most important particulars of pneumonia, under different methods of treatment, I draw these remarks to a close. I have compiled the facts with the utmost care and fairness. For some of the comparative results I was not prepared when I began the investigation, but I did not on that account the less faithfully record them as they successively emerged, and if each in its turn bears its unequivocal testimony to the efficacy of homeopathy, and to the serious evils of the common practice, the explanation is to be found solely in the details as I found them in authentic publications.”(484)
This speed of recovery with homeopathy was observed to be the same in elderly patients. Dr. Pierre Jousset, a student of Dr. Tessier’s at the St. Marguerite Hospital, published his own series of 10 pneumonia cases and analyzed them with Tessier’s 41 cases. He pointed out that resolution tends to be delayed in older people, with all forms of non-homeopathic treatment, but that under homeopathy, resolution is the same as in younger people and begins on the third day of treatment, even if treatment is only started between the sixth and twelfth day of the disease: “Case 43 is a good example of an old man, 70, whose treatment did not begin until the 6th day and resolution was complete on the 10th day. In case 42, treatment began on the 8th day in this 72 year-old man and resolution was complete on the 14th day. Similar results are seen in cases 37, 21 and 3. In case 6, treatment was begun on the 12th day and resolution was complete on day 14, which is the third day of treatment.”(485) He concluded his essay by saying, “For having put to the test a new method of treatment in a transparent and public experimentation, Dr. Jean-Paul Tessier was banned by official medicine; his students were forbidden to write examinations, and he was pursued throughout his career by a hatred that did not diminish even with his death.”(486)
Dr. William Holcombe wrote in his book The Truth About Homoeopathy: “At a meeting of the French Academy of Medicine, Dr. Tessier, in charge of the St. Marguerite Hospital, offered a report on the treatment of pneumonia in his wards with Bryonia and Phosphorus at the 6th dilution, with a remarkably small percentage of deaths. While he was reading the members gave unequivocal signs of astonishment, incredulity and suppressed indignation. When he had finished, many men sprang at once to the floor with cries of homeopath! Homeopath! Traitor! Charlatan! and demanded his immediate removal from the hospital and his expulsion from the academy. In the midst of the storm Chomel, the oldest and the most illustrious member of the academy, arose to his feet and waved his hand. His great reputation and his venerable appearance commanded regard and inspired silence on the assembly, when he spoke to this effect: ‘Gentlemen: Dr. Tessier is an educated, respectable physician, a member of this academy; he has exercised his undoubted right of experimentation. If experimentation with new remedies upon novel principles is to be prohibited you may as well close every hospital in France. Dr. Tessier has a right to be heard and to have his paper respectfully discussed. The only scientific way of treating this matter is for you to repeat Dr. Tessier’s experiments in similar cases with the same remedies and make your reports, which will either verify or refute his statements.’ Golden words were these! Chomel’s influence was so great that his counsels prevailed, at least in part and for a time, Dr. Tessier’s report was silently accepted and he was left in charge of his hospital. …
“How differently speaks a great French allopathic authority, Dr. Renouard, [“the best historian of medical science” according to Holcombe] in his standard work, The History of Medicine, ‘What can we answer,’ he writes, ‘when these homeopaths say to us:’ ‘The most efficacious means possessed by the healing art, viz.: Specifics, which according to common consent produce themildest, promptest and most durable cures, are proscribed by your official medicine as much as possible. It excludes them from its theory if not from its practice. We, on the contrary, come to teach you a means to discover and a method to employ these admirable instruments of cure.’ ‘What have we to respond to such an argument as this? Nothing, positively nothing serious and logical.’ Chomel, another illustrious French allopath, once gave his own party some excellent advice, which Dr. Browning would do well to follow when he contemplates another Quixotic tilt against homeopathy. He will probably discover, what he does not now seem to know, that in his first raid he broke his lance against a wind-mill of his own imagination.”(487)
The Experiments of Drs. Wurmb, Caspar and Eidherr in Vienna
In his 1864 essay On the Use of High Potencies in the Treatment of the Sick, Dr. Carroll Dunham of New York summarized the experiments conducted in a Vienna hospital over a 10-year period, which tried to determine the most efficacious potency of homeopathic remedies: “In 1850 Drs. Wurmb and Caspar took charge of the Leopoldstadt Hospital, in Vienna. … In their Clinical Studies, published in 1852, they thus express the posological views with which they entered on the charge of the
hospital: ‘We have given almost always the thirtieth decimal dilution, and only exceptionally a higher or lower dilution. … We propose to adhere to this dilution for two years longer, then to give another dilution for an equally long period, and finally to give for a similar period still another dilution. Such experiments as these are indispensable to the solution of the question of the dose, but manifestly they are valid only in the case of [a] disease with regard to [which] the preliminary question, what can nature [expectancy] do, and what can art [treatment] [do]? has already been definitely answered, and in favor of the latter.’
“Here is the plan of an experiment which, if faithfully carried out, gives promise of some very conclusive data on the subject of the dose. Such questions as this require for their solution a multitude of instances such as can hardly be gathered in aprivate practice; but a hospital affords an appropriate and sufficient field for their collection. The hospital of Dr. Wurmb is the only one which has been devoted to such uses.
“Before the expiration of the three periods, of three years each, involved in the plan as above stated, Dr. Caspar was succeeded by Dr. Martin Eidherr, who has published in the Oesterreichische Zeitschrift for 1862, the result of the ten years’ experiment.
“At this point it was suggested that the material in the shape of clinical records which had been for ten years accumulating in the archives of the Leopoldstadt Hospital might, if collated, throw some further light on the subject.
“Dr. Eidherr undertook the task. He resolved to confine his investigations to a single disease, pneumonia, which by the way is very prevalent in Vienna, for the reason that the diagnosis of this disease is easy, and that, by means of the physical signs, its course and progress and decline may be more accurately followed and observed than is the case with many other acute diseases.
“During the ten years, from 1850 to 1859 inclusive, all cases in the Leopoldstadt Hospital had been treated for the first three years with the thirtieth decimal dilution, for the second period of three years with the sixth, and for the remaining four years withthe fifteenth decimal dilution. It was proposed to compare the results of the treatment of pneumonia during these three periods. But, in order to avoid a fallacy in drawing conclusions from this comparison, it was necessary, first, to enquire whether the genius epidemicus was the same for these three periods, or, if not the same, how great an influence, and in favor of which period, did the difference exist?
“The first section of his treatise consists of tabular statements of the meteorological phenomena of the decennium in question, and of the relations of these phenomena to the prevalence of pneumonia as observed in the great General Hospital of Vienna.
“The second section comprises short and succinct accounts of the cases of pneumonia treated in the Leopoldstadt Hospital during the three periods into which, as already stated, the decennium was divided.
“The third section contains a statement of the results of the treatment by the different dilutions used during the three periods in question, taking into account the modifying influence of the different atmospheric conditions of these periods.
“The cases occurring during the three periods of time into which the whole period of ten years was divided are called by Dr. Eidherr—Groups, 1, 2, 3.
“Group No. 1, embracing the years 1850, 1851 and 1852, was treated exclusively with the thirtieth decimal potency.
“Group No. 2, embracing the years 1853, 1854 and 1855, was treated exclusively with the sixth decimal potency.
“Group No. 3, embracing the years 1856, 1857, 1858 and 1859, was treated exclusively with the fifteenth decimal potency.
“In observing and recording cases of pneumonia in this hospital, the physical signs have always been carefully noted, and records have been made of the following points in the history of each case:
The comparison between the three groups was made with reference to all of those six points. However as the analysis of Dr. Eidherr was quite extensive I will limit it to a summary.
- The seat of the infiltration.
- Its duration, reckoned from the time at which it was first perceived to the time at which it was noticed that it began to be resolved.
- The time at which resolution of the infiltration began.
- The time at which resolution was completed.
- The time at which all physical signs disappeared.
- Duration of convalescence.”(488)
First, if we look at resolution, we find that it began for:
Group 1, on day 3.
Group 2, on day 3.5.
Group 3, on day 3.2.
Second, we find that resolution was complete for:
Group 1 on day 4.9.
Group 2 on day 6.9.
Group 3 on day 6.3.
Third, on average infiltration lasted for:
Group 1, for 3.0 days.
Group 2, for 4.1 days.
Group 3, for 3.4 days.
Fourth, the length of hospitalization without convalescence was for:
Group 1, 4.4 days.
Group 2, 5.3 days.
Group 3, 4.8 days.
Fifth, regarding the length of hospitalization with convalescence:
“Dr. Eidherr gives also a tabular statement of the average number of days during which each case of each group remained in hospital—that is the total duration of each case from its reception to its dismissal, as follows:
- “Group 1, treated with the thirtieth decimal dilution, fifty-five cases were treated, their aggregate residence in the hospital amounted to 680 days on an average of 11.3 [12.4] days each.
- “Group 2, under the sixth decimal dilution, thirty-one cases, 606 days, an average of 19.5 days for each case.
- “Group 3, treated with the fifteenth decimal dilution, fifty-four cases, and 795 days, an average of 14.6 [14.7] days for each case.”(489)
Dr. Dunham summarized Dr. Eidherr’s conclusion: “I now proceed to give as briefly as possible the conclusion to which Dr. Eidherr is led by this careful study of his statistics. He says, ‘This is the most extensive experiment that has ever been made, bearing on the question of the dose. Its subjects were 107  cases of pneumonia. Each case was the subject of careful investigation. Every imaginable care was taken to obviate every source of fallacy.’
“The experimenters were not radical homeopaths. Their prepossessions were rather against the high potencies. I can bear personal testimony to the fact that, in 1851, while the thirtieth dilution was the standard used in the hospital Dr. Wurmb frequently expressed himself, as believing that statistics would decide in favor of lower dilutions. It was not known how statistics had decided until Dr. Eidherr made the analysis from which I have quoted, and which shows that in every point of view the action of the thirtieth dilution, in so acute and dangerous a disease as pneumonia, is more certain and more rapid than that of thefifteen or the sixth dilution; that the fifteenth is preferable to the sixth dilution—or, to translate the decimal into the centesimal scale, the fifteenth is better than the seventh, the seventh than the third.”(490)
Dr. Rogers regretted that no mortality rate was presented in these tabulations since the cases were selected to illustrate the
action of different homeopathic potencies.(491) However, Dr. Wurmb published independently his own statistics for pneumonia cases from 1850 to 1854. Despite a very poor application of the law of similars, the results were fair, for he reported 119 cases with eight deaths, a mortality of 6.7%. He wrote, “The absolute rate of mortality, viz. 6.7% would of itself prove the excellence of the homeopathic treatment, especially as not a few cases were admitted in the advanced stages of pneumonia and after abundant bloodletting. We may, however, venture to abstract three from the number of deaths, for two were admitted nearly dying; and in another case death was caused by cholera, thus the rate of mortality would be reduced to 4.3%, which would add greatly to the honor of homeopathy. The number of cases of pneumonia in each year is as follows:
|Year||No. of Cases||No. of Deaths||Mortality Rate|
“As in the above mentioned years the treatment as well as nursing were the same; the difference of the rate of mortality must be ascribed to the character of the prevailing epidemic.”(492)
All evidence so far reviewed shows that (1) with homeopathy, mortality in pneumonia patients is very low; (2) recovery is faster than with other methods of medicinal treatment; and (3) the higher the potencies used the better the results on all six criteria that were measured.
Mortality in Homeopathic Hospitals beyond Pneumonia
Dr. William Henderson extended his analysis of the mortality from pneumonia in hospitals to other inflammatory diseases: “A single remark remains to be made, and although it does not bear on the further elucidation of the subjects treated of in the preceding pages, it is a plain and most important inference from some of them. The homeopathic hospital statistics,regarding the mortality of pneumonia, being proved to be correct by the evidence adduced from two sources, as narrated in the course of this chapter, the same hospital statistics regarding other acute inflammations, deemed not more dangerous than pneumonia has generally been supposed to be, are to be regarded as equally entitled to credit. The good faith and accuracy of the authorities having been demonstrated, in reference to what have been stigmatized as their incredible allegations regarding their success in pneumonia, a disease so deadly in allopathic practice, they are justly entitled to the benefit of that demonstration in respect to their not more extraordinary allegations as to the success of their practice in pleurisy, peritonitis, pericarditis, and other acute diseases. Of all these inflammations, peritonitis is probably the most serious, and we have something like an admissionof the alleged success of homeopathy in that disease, by an opponent of the system, who was an eyewitness of its operation in Fleischmann’s hospital.
“True, says he, they cure peritonitis readily enough, but then their cases are, for the most part, only tubercular (scrofulous) peritonitis. I need not remind any professional reader, of respectable attainments, that tubercular peritonitis, when of any considerable extent, as it must be in many instances, is the most incurable form of the disease, (that which follows perforation excepted), if indeed it is ever cured. Yet such an explanation of the homeopathic success as this, was actually made by a writer against homeopathy, in Dr. Forbes’s Review, whose opinions and statements are even still quoted and referred to as authoritative by Dr. Simpson, Dr. Routh, and other allopathic controversialists!
“Even if we grant that, in a large proportion of such cases of tubercular peritonitis, the inflammation was subacute, and not extensive, the superiority of homeopathy, in the treatment of peritonitis, would be in no degree less manifest; for it is not pretended that tubercular peritonitis, even in its slighter forms, was not equally prevalent in the allopathic hospitals of Vienna, in which the proportion of deaths among cases of peritonitis is so much larger than in the homeopathic; indeed, the writer in question admits that he saw such slight cases only in an allopathic hospital! It is altogether unnecessary, after the complete vindication contained in the preceding analysis of the various statistics of pneumonia, of the accuracy of the homeopathic statements regarding the success of homeopathic practice in that disease, to enter into any details in proof of the superiority of the same plan of treatment in other inflammatory diseases.
“Pneumonia has been regarded as an important and dangerous disease, scarcely inferior in gravity to any of the other common inflammations; it affords the largest statistical tables, on both sides, for the institution of a comparison between the claims of the rival methods of treatment; and a searching analysis of these statistics, along with the application to each class of the test of their respective merits, and to one class, whose accuracy has been ignorantly or maliciously impugned, the test of its correctness, afforded by the expectant practice of M. Dietl, has proved both the fidelity of homeopathic statements, and the vast superiority of the homeopathic treatment over the allopathic. The inference, from the proofs which have been adduced, of the correctness and fairness of the homeopathic records concerning pneumonia, which I am entitled to draw, as bearing upon the homeopathic statistics of other inflammations, is this, that they too must be regarded as correct and fair, for there was nothing known of the peculiarities of pneumonia, in reference to spontaneous recovery, prior to the researches of Dietl, that was not equally known regarding the other inflammations; and as the former could not therefore bemisrepresented by homeopaths, in order to meet a corroboration which they did not know was possible, but has been shown to be a fair and faithful record, therefore the other homeopathic records must be held to be equally fair and faithful, whether they shall meet with a similar corroboration or not.
“I content myself, then, with a simple notice of the results of the same treatment in other inflammatory diseases, regarding which the homeopathic statistics are not more incredible than they were supposed to be in regard to pneumonia, prior to the proofs of their accuracy. Among 299 cases of pleurisy the homeopathic practice in the German hospitals lost only 4, or 1 in 74; among 189 cases of peritonitis it lost only 9, or 1 in 21; while in these two diseases the allopathic mortality is from eight to sixteen times greater.(493)
“Among 345 cases of erysipelas, there were only two deaths in the homeopathic hospitals; and a similar success attended the practice in membranous inflammations of the heart, and in dysentery. The records from which these facts are taken extend over a period of about fourteen years, a circumstance which obviates every objection that may be made on the ground of variable types of the several diseases in different years.(494)
“It is not in acute diseases of the inflammatory kind only that homeopathy is superior to the common practice. But as I have already exceeded the space I had intended for the comparison of the two systems in the treatment of particular diseases, I must satisfy myself with the testimony of Dr. Forbes,the distinguished allopathic reviewer, in regard to this point. Alluding to Fleischmann’s reports, he gives him the character of being a ‘well-educated physician,’ ‘of honor and respectability,’ says, ‘we cannot, therefore, refuse to admit the accuracy of his statements as to matters of fact,’ acknowledges the general correctness of his statistics of mortality among acute and chronic diseases, and of fevers he affirms—‘the amount of deaths in the fevers and eruptive diseases is certainly below the ordinary proportion;(495) although he explains this on the ground that homeopathy does merely no harm, while allopathy often does. We may take the liberty of denying the validity of the explanation, in so far as homeopathy is concerned; but we are satisfied for the present with the admission of the fact, that the superior success is on our side.”(496)
Prophylactic Aspect of Homeopathy
Another advantage that homeopathy offers to pneumonia patients is that every homeopathic intervention is at the same time prophylactic.
Prophylaxis, which in infectious diseases consists first in preventing diseases before they develop, and second in mitigating the severity and complications of diseases once they come under treatment, is an important consideration for weighing the overall benefit of any therapeutic approach. The first aspect of homeoprophylaxis was briefly addressed earlier in this paper; I will now also briefly address the second one.
Toward the end of the NIP in January 1919, Dr. A. H. Grimmer of the Hering Medical College in Chicago wrote, that under genuine homeopathy it is rare for pneumonia to develop and that during “a great scientific pow-wow here in Chicago”(497) to discuss strategies for dealing with the current influenza epidemic, “one of the visiting officials at this convention frankly admitted that the over zealous treatment of pneumonia had undoubtedly killed many patients and advised less or no medicine, stating that the role of the physician should rather be that of an entertainer to divert the patient’s mind from his illness and give old Mother Nature a chance to do the curing. … These things are mentioned to show the weakness and folly of a supercilious and arrogant system of medicine which seeks to inflict its false and perverted methods on all and which would, through control of the public press and legislative bodies compel all those whose teaching and methods differ from theirs to submit without question to their dictum. Such procedure must drive out all other methods of treating the sick from the field and thus stifle competition and progress. The testimony from the homeopathic side presents an amazing contrast inthe positive curative results obtained, in the infinitesimal death rate and shortened time of illness. Out of reports gathered from various sections of the country from a goodly number of our prescribers a list of about forty of our proven remedies is noted which pretty nearly completely covers the epidemic. Out of this group of forty, a smaller group of seven remedies is named which covered about ninety percent of the straight influenza cases—not the pneumonias. It is a rare thing for a pneumonia to develop if a good homeopathic physician is called during the first twenty four hours of an attack of influenza.”(498)
In 1919, soon after the end of the NIP, Dr. O. S. Haines, professor at Hahnemann Medical College of Philadelphia, pointed out that this second prophylactic aspect of homeopathy is a universal experience among homeopaths and is far from being negligible: "The phenomenal success attained by homeopathic practitioners during the epidemics of influenza that have swept over this country, and, especially during the epidemic of 1918, is deserving of more than passing notice. The reason that our practitioners have been enabled to show a very low mortality rate is because, in the great majority of instances, they relied upon the homeopathic method in the treatment of this disease. They looked askance at such palliatives as aspirin—at such very doubtful measures as the serums and vaccines; and they stuck to the law of similars as the safest and surest guide. This simple law of drug selection made us sure when otherwise we might have been doubtful. It enabled the homeopathic physicians to start their treatment of the initial stages of the disease, promptly. They lost no time. This was important because an influenza checked or mitigated in its incipiency, becomes less dangerous in its later manifestations. The remedies used were simple ones, that did not depress nor deplete the vitality of the patient; but rather tended to strengthen the vital resistance of the influenza victim. Our practitioners did not seem to be so much concerned and confused by the various opinions expressed regarding the nature and pathological eccentricities of the disease in its fatal stages. They were only concerned in preventing it from reaching that stage. Probably not more than a half-dozen simple remedies were found necessary, but these were almost invariably used by all our practitioners, because the indications for their employment were so apparent. Three things must surely have impressed those of you who relied upon the law of similars in your treatment of uncomplicated influenza: First, that convalescence started easily and early. Second, that complications were not apt to supervene during the convalescent period, in those cases that called you early. Third, that the final recovery was really quite complete and clear-cut, and sequelae were not common. It is a great thing to be able to select remedies for the sick that will not only assuage immediate suffering; but, that will at the same time favorably influence a progressive pathology, in its infancy. We should all recognize the prophylactic power of homeopathic therapy, for it is real."(499)
By treating an individual from birth to old age, homeopathy is able to correct, along the way, deviations from health, including epidemic disease, whether old or new. In a 1920 paper entitled The Place of the Homeopath in the Public Health, Dr. L. K. Van Allen of Ukiah, California, noted the central role homeopathy can play in a society: "A large percentage of the unfit physical cases of adults dates from some childhood illness. Just here is where the homeopathic treatment wins many of its laurels. It has been fully demonstrated that under proper homeopathic treatment a very small percent of children suffering from diseases of childhood go through life invalided or semi-invalided. This one matter alone puts society in debt to the homeopath.
"Nor is it in childhood alone that the homeopath wins out. But [sic] diseases of adults yield to his care fully as readily. Many an epidemic has been robbed of its high mortality rate under his treatment. The recent influenza epidemic has demonstrated this fact again in a very forceful way. It has shown us that with homeopathic remedies we of today can do the same wonderful things that the early homeopaths did in the cholera and scarlet
fever epidemics of their day.
"Now the logical question to ask is, 'Why does not the public demand universal homeopathic treatment?' and the logical answer is that they do not know what homeopathy can and does do for them. …
"There is another field where the health of the public would be greatly helped were homeopathy to be employed. That is in the government service, in both army and navy. We have to hang our heads in shame when we mention the medical branch of our army medical service. We are justly proud of the sanitary, prophylactic, and surgical branches but the medical branch is a disgrace. We know that if homeopathy could be adopted as the official medical treatment we could be proud of the medical branch also. Is it being too bold to demand such a thing? We live in a time when the unusual and the impossible are being done. Why not have a little faith and back it up by more action and do what we know is our duty to our country by having homeopathy officially recognized by our government."(500)
Revisiting Comparative Mortality between the Two Schools of Medicine
Any investigator can verify the data presented here by opening the numerous record books of the two schools of medicine, such as The Comparative Merits of Alloeopathy, the Old Medical Practice, and Homoeopathy, the Reformed Medical Practice, Practically Illustrated by J. G. Rosenstein, which contains statistics for the first half of the nineteen century,(501) and The Logic of Figures or Comparative Results of Homoeopathic and Other Treatments, edited by the medical historian Dr. Thomas Lindsley Bradford, which is a compilation of the most important available statistics of the two schools of medicine for the second half of the nineteen century(502) .
However, it is important to understand that the clinical evidence for homeopathy has never been fully evaluated, as the great majority of it is lying unexamined in a vast literature consisting of case reports, cohort studies, expert opinions, and official records of boards of health, public health services, hospitals, armed forces, insurance companies, state prisons, orphanages, and mental asylums. As an example of the wealth of information that is waiting to be analyzed by professional researchers and historians, I will mention two observational reports on the comparative mortality in the two schools of medicine.
Comparative Mortality Reported by a Life Insurance Company
In 1876, the Homoeopathic Mutual Life Insurance Company(503) of New York analyzed over 80,000 deaths reported by allopathic and homeopathic physicians to the boards of health in five large American cities. The company's purpose was to answer the following questions, as it explained in a circular it issued:
1) What physician should one employ?
2) Which school of medicine cures most pleasantly?
3) Which cures most speedily?
4) Which cures most safely?
The Medical Director of the company, Dr. E.M. Kellogg, wrote in the introduction: "The within figures and tables have been compiled from official sources with the utmost care and impartiality, and have been thoroughly revised to insure the fullest accuracy. Should any one desire to test or verify, he can find in the office of this publication, not only the names of the compilers, but also lists showing the exact number of deaths occurring under the charge of each individual physician practicing in the cities and years specified. …
"The principal cities of the United States have each now a Board of Health, which, among other duties, takes cognizance of all the deaths occurring within its jurisdiction, and keeps an official record of the same, with full particulars of nativity, age, cause, and place of death, and name of attending physician. These official records we have now for some years been engaged in analyzing, in order thereby to obtain positive data of the comparative mortality occurring in the private practice of all homeopathic and allopathic physicians in acknowledged good standing. We have totally excluded from our consideration all deaths occurring inhospitals; for, inasmuch as a very great proportion of these public institutions are exclusively under the charge of allopathic physicians; it would be manifestly unfair to include the deaths occurring therein, without any corresponding mortality to offset them on the homeopathic side. We have also thrown out all deaths occurring from stillbirth, accidents and violence, as having no bearing on the question of medical treatment. We thus obtain a comparison of the mortality in private medical practice only—the practical point at issue.
"Our researches cover New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Newark, and Brooklyn—five of our largest cities, and extend over the last four years; thus giving a mass of results so large and so similar in the conclusion they present, that we must needs accept them as approximately, if not absolutely, true."(504)
After the statistics for only one city (New York) had been compiled, the difference in mortality was so startling between the practitioners of the two schools of medicine that before proceeding further with the statistics of the other four cities, Dr. Kellogg asked himself: "How can we account for this? Is there any fallacy in it? Do these figures tell the whole truth? In reply, this question suggests itself: Do the homeopaths treat as many patients, proportionately, as the allopaths? What is the ratio between the number of patients treated by the two schools, and the number of deaths given in these tables?
"This query, which at first sight seems vital, proves, upon examination, to be of little or no practical importance. We could not honestly and fairly compare the mortality occurring in the practice of any two physicians as a test of their relative success, unless we really know how many patients each had treated during the year; but when we compare the two schools of practitioners in a mass, thus including hundreds, and even thousands, of every age, and grade, and degree of ability, we are safe in assuming that the average homeopath on one side treats as many patients per annum as the average allopath on the other; and that this is a fair assumption will be readily believed by any one who will compare the apparent business success and thrift of the two classes of physicians. Consequently we believe and maintain that these tables of mortality, as they stand, are a fair exponent of the relative merits of the two medical systems."(505)
Dr. Kellogg proceeded by presenting the statistics for the four other cities and in each case asking the four questions mentioned earlier by stating pertinent facts and figures, which led him to conclude: "Now let us look at the grand total. Adding together the comparative statistics already given of the five cities of New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Newark and Brooklyn, we have this result:
- 4,071 allopathic physicians report 72,802 deaths.
- 810 homeopathic physicians report 8,116 deaths.
"Or, judging from a total of over 80,000 cases, the average allopathic physician annually loses by death more than 17 of his patients, while the average homeopathic physician loses only 10.
"Or, had all these 80,918 cases been treated homeopathically, upward of 32,000 lives might have been saved to their families and the world. What a startling commentary is this upon the dominant practice of medicine! And yet with what self-conceit does the old school bar its doors against the homeopathic physician, refuse to meet him in consultation, and brand him as a quack! Such a cumulative mass of statistics (the accuracy of which is proven by their slight individual differences [between the five large cities]), gives us a result so positive and overwhelming, that it can neither be denied nor explained away. All sincere searchers for the truth must yield to the 'inexorable logic of facts.' And these facts indubitably prove that the homeopathic practice cures most pleasantly, most speedily, most safely, and MOST SURELY."(506)
Mortuary Experience for 1875-1876
As an appendix to the above report, Dr. Kellogg included some statistics for the company's previous fiscal year under the heading "Lower Rates to Homeopaths": "The argument and statistics herein presented so clearly prove that homeopathy tends to longevity, that the justice and business soundness of the rule of the Homoeopathic Mutual Life Insurance Company, to insure homeopaths at lower rates than are charged by any other mutual company, needs no further demonstration. And while the Company makes a reduction of more than ten percent in premium charge, it believes that its members will receive great additional advantage, also, in the average longevity of its members.
"The Mortuary Experience of the Company (to April 1st, 1876) furnishes a more marked contrast even than the figures herein given—being as follows:
|No. of Policies Issued||No. of Deaths|
"And while such a result may be exceptional in its very great disparity, it confirms, in the most marked manner, the argument of all the other experience."(507)
Those statistics show that at the very least:
- The odds of a policyholder living throughout the 1875-1876 fiscal year were 109 to 1 when under homeopathic care versus 30 to 1 under allopathic care.
- The relative risk for policyholders of dying during the 1875-1876 fiscal year was 3.5 (95% CI 2.5 to 5.0) or 3.5 times as great under allopathy as under homeopathy (P < .0001).
- The odds that a policyholder would be alive at the end of the 1875-1876 fiscal year were 3.6 (95% CI 2.5 to 5.2) under homeopathy as compared to allopathy (P < .0001).
Comparative Mortality in Major U.S. Cities from 1891 to 1895
From 1891 to 1895, Dr. David A. Strickler, professor of History of Medicine at the Denver of Homoeopathic Medical College and Hospital, was in charge of collecting comparative vital statistics from public-health offices of large U.S. cities for the American Institute of Homeopathy. In 1895, the population represented in the last collection of statistics was 4,607,066, or about 1/15 of the population of the United States at that time.(508)
Dr. Strickler summarized the results of his exhaustive labors for the year 1895 as follows: "The results in 151,259 deaths reported show that for the same number of cases treated, the old school lost from measles, 499 to our 100; from scarlet fever, 180 to our 100; from typhoid fever, 149 to our 100; from obstetrical cases, 246 to our 100; from acute stomach and bowel diseases, 195 to our 100; from acute respiratory diseases, 192 to our 100; and from all causes, 181 to our 100. That from the amount reported, the saving in life in the United States of America from homeopathic treatment would be about 500,000 per annum. These are facts, which influence us in maintaining a separate existence. Until the medical world understands the law of similars and gives it a fair show by unbiased trials, the homeopaths, if true to themselves, and to their trust, must maintain a separate existence. Until then, as a sect in medicine, we have a right to exist and to ask you to study a special therapeutics."(509)
It would be quite possible to make a similar comparative analysis of mortality records for the period of the NIP, for, as Dr. Florence N. Ward pointed out, the boards of health of a number of large U.S. cities kept mortality reports for every physician during the NIP.(510) Dr. Bill Gray of Los Gatos, California, who has practiced homeopathy since 1971, recently wrote, "When I first embarked on homeopathy, I met a pathologist who had been in the San Francisco Health Department. He published similar results. 40% of patients [with influenza] admitted to allopathic hospitals died. In all of the homeopathic practices in the Bay Area (about 3,000 cases total, as I recall), there was only one death.(511)
In 1901, Dr. S. S. Smythe, professor of Gynecology at the Denver Homeopathic Medical College and Hospital, made some important inferences the statistics presented by Dr. Strickler in a paper entitled The Demand of the Hour: "In discussing the comparativestatistics of this country before the American Institute of Homeopathy, Professor David A. Strickler made the following sweeping, but entirely trustworthy declaration: 'It matters not in what city, what disease, nor what method of comparison is instituted, the records show universally in favor of homeopathy.' With records like this, and many others equally convincing, it becomes our duty to unite as one man in placing homeopathy where it rightfully belongs in public estimation.
"Here let me say, en passant, that in the census year 1890, the government reports gave the total number of deaths in the United States as 872,944. No mortality report from the 1900 census has been published, but will probably show considerably more than a million deaths for last year.(512) If now an epidemic should invade our country and increase the number of deaths 500,000 above the ordinary mortality, the people would be panic stricken, and the government would be called upon to use every possible means to arrest the scourge regardless of expense; yet little attention is paid to the fact, as shown in all of our comparative vital statistics, that allopathic treatment annually adds to our mortality lists many thousands which might be saved under homeopathic treatment. During our four years' civil war, when nearly four millions of men were engaged in killing each other, the number killed in battle was (in round numbers) 67,000; died from wounds, 47,000. Total, 114,000. The number who died from sickness was 200,000, all under allopathic treatment.
"I leave it to you to draw your conclusions from these figures, but I am sure there are some kinds of medical practice more fatal than war and epidemics; more dangerous to human life than the battle field. … "Since the publication of Dr. Strickler's statistics (Comparative Vital Statistics(1891-1895) ), the allopaths have become suspiciously silent, and it is impossible to secure reports from any of their hospitals. … Under the circumstances, their silence is not very mysterious, and reports, like comparisons, might be odious. …
"In view of all these things, it becomes our highest duty to unite all our forces for the purpose of placing homeopathy where it justly and rightfully belongs before the law and in the understanding of the people. It is a duty we owe to the truth, to the world and to humanity. Through our many organizations, it ought to be possible, under well-directed effort, to convince all intelligent people that the law of homeopathy is of universal application in the treatment of disease, and that its universal adoption would result in immense saving of human life.
"Homeopathy has been held in abeyance by sheer force of numbers and the unscrupulous opposition of the old school. The time has come when we must force upon public attention the advantages to be derived from homeopathic treatment, not only among the people, but in all branches of public service, the army, the navy, and in all public institutions.
"This may seem a huge undertaking even now, but when we review the accomplishments of the past, the task will not appear impossible to those of us who believe that truth will eventually overcome all obstacles to its progress.
"The old records, showing the triumphs of homeopathy, should be brought forward and placed again and again before the public. New records should be gathered in our hospitals and from all available sources. Comparisons should be instituted, and every endeavor should be made to bring about competitive tests between the schools. We seek no advantages and ask for no favors in any such tests, but something of this kind is demanded at this very time to convince the public that homeopathy continues to be superior as a healing method over all others. …
"From its inception homeopathy has been obliged to withstand the most violent opposition of the old school. It has been assailed in a way that would crush anything but truth itself. No ordinary medical theory could have withstood the assaults which have been hurled against it. Its enemies have been unscrupulous and unsparing in their denunciations, but such is the vitality of the truth in homeopathy that nopower on earth ever has or ever will destroy or crush it. A century of the bitterest antagonism has but served to show that the discovery of Samuel Hahnemann possesses that inherent force which we call 'truth,' and which is impregnable and indestructible."(513)
In 1902, Dr. J. A. Kirkpatrick, professor of Pathology at the Hering Medical College in Chicago, made many important comments Dr. Strickler's statistic in a paper entitled Do Your Own Thinking; But First Inform Yourself that: "Few stop to think of the consequences when they choose a doctor or recommend one to their neighbors. People of wide experience and observation who have witnessed death many times are slow to use their influence and assume so great a responsibility. …
"But is there not danger of becoming blindly trustful when this confidence shall become the basis of credulity, which will help to perpetuate error that involves a consequent loss of life? Does not history teach that there was a time when the learned and much beloved physician, as we now know, used measures that actually hindered recovery and caused the unnecessary loss of life? …
"It is not enough to have faith—there must be intelligence. What a person may think does not settle a question. It does not change facts. Life is fixed by laws; break them and you suffer. It makes no difference whether you do so through ignorance or prejudice. …
"If a fruit grower set out 100 apple trees and 28 died, and a neighbor only lost 6 trees out of 100, think you that he would not try to find out the cause of his greater loss?
"Are you not of much more value than many trees? Every one is deeply interested in human life. Why not investigate?
"There never was a time when more accurate records were kept. They are not perfect, but there are enough to make some reliable comparisons. They are to be found in hospitals, asylums and other charitable and public institutions. …
"Dr. Strickler, who gathered and compiled these statistics, says, 'n any basis of calculation the allopaths sign twice as many death certificates as the homeopaths. It lies with the allopaths to explain why this is so.' …
"It seems almost incredible that such a difference in mortality should continue to exist in an enlightened land and age. History is simply repeating itself, for there have been many similar examples in the past that could be enumerated. Our generation is no exception; we are still fettered by ignorance and prejudice.
"Truth is mighty and will prevail, but must have an advocate. Armed with truth 'one can chase a thousand and two put ten thousand to flight.' …
"'Knowledge is power.' It is the foundation of wisdom, understanding, righteousness and true happiness. …
"The only hope for deliverance from medical imposition lies along the line of an increased general intelligence.
"Homeopathy deserves careful investigation. It has no secrets. Its books are open. It is founded upon law. Its principles are in harmony with the latest researches in physiology and pathology. Every one should know its plan, its principles and its success.
"When a person knows the comparative value of the various forms of treatment then he will be qualified to choose a doctor for himself and recommend one to others.
"To fail to qualify ourselves is to base judgment upon mere opinion or hearsay and trifle with human life."(514)
Summary of Results of Homeopathic Treatment of Pneumonia
When all confounding factors, including expectancy, are taken into account, the results obtained by genuine homeopathy in the treatment of pneumonia demonstrate that:
- The treatment effect of homeopathy is positive.
- The magnitude of the treatment effect of homeopathy is remarkable.
- Homeopathy clearly saves lives (21 lives were saved out of every 100 cases of pneumonia).
- Homeopathy greatly shortens the duration of the disease and the time of recovery without leaving patients weakened by the treatment.
- Homeopathy offers the safest and best outcomes ever demonstrated by any system of medicine.
Evidence-Based Medicine and Homeopathy
Proponents of evidence-based medicine recommend that physicians integrate the best available clinical evidence into practice;(515) meanwhile, the public demands access to the best that medicine can offer.
The evidence for the success of homeopathy in patients with pneumonia is not only clear and robust but is also predictable and reproducible, and that should persuade health authorities to offer homeopathic treatment to pneumonia patients at the very least. That would not require any leap of faith, since homeopathy is supported by basic science research on the UMPs, in vitro experimental research with all types of living organisms (microorganisms, yeast, cultured cells, plants, etc.), experimental research with plants, clinical and experimental research with animals, large and long-term observational studies, prospective and retrospective epidemiological studies, and well-designed and rigorous RCTs.
Lack of Recognition of Homeopathy
If one school of medicine or method of treatment can demonstrate all around better results than any other method, such as high benefits, minimal harm, and low cost, one would assume that it should be recognized and universally adopted.
Soon after the NIP, in May 1919, in an address to the Illinois Homeopathic Medical Association, Dr. C. E. Sawyer, who was then the physician to U.S. President Warren G. Harding (whose father and brother were both homeopathic physicians), hoped that the results obtained by generations of homeopaths would "some day" be vindicated: "The greatest force of our past has been expressed in clinical results and this year above all others have we been able in the treatment of the dread influenza to demonstrate beyond question that Hahnemann's theory was to become and is a wise practice, for during this winter thousands of cases under homeopathic treatment have been saved, that under less effective treatment would have died. Some day when the statistics have been completed and the records are made available homeopathy will be found still on the way, its color bearers in the forefront of the procession of medical progress and its destination outlined in the word 'accomplishment,' and where we are going from here will be expressed in the quotation, 'All is well that ends well.'"(516)
In 1919, Dr. L. A. Royal of West Liberty, Iowa, while reporting the clinical outcome of CIP patients from 18 of his colleagues, which they had obtained during the NIP, emphasized the magnitude of these results: "Probably nothing since the beginning of homeopathy has done more to bring the truth of Hahnemann's teachings before the public, than the phenomenal results that the homeopaths have had in the treatment of that terrible epidemic that swept our country in fact the entire world, with a greater number of deaths than the terrific world war that was going on at the same time."(517)
The same year, Dr. H. M. Stevenson, president of the Southern Homeopathic Medical Association, pointed out the enormous value of the service that homeopathic physicians had provided to the American people during the NIP but which had hardly been noticed by the health authorities and has yet to be officially recognized by medical historians: "During the stress of war, the country was afflicted by the most ravaging epidemic of disease that has occurred in its history. In this epidemic, thousands of homeopathic physicians were called upon for unusual service, in which their efforts were blessed with exceptional success. A multitude of people, who bythem were treated, will forever remember with appreciative admiration the devoted, capable service accorded. The value of homeopathic remedies in the treatment of influenza and its complications, the ability of these remedies to carry so many cases through to recovery without complications, confirmed the belief of homeopathic patrons in the work of this school; and to those who for the first time employed homeopathy, a creditable example of its efficiency was afforded."(517)
However, despite overwhelming evidence that homeopathy is the most efficacious and safest treatment for CIP patients, its availability over time has been mostly limited to people who, through self-education, have sought the most intelligent and wisest system of medicine they could find for their family. From that perspective, our medical and health authorities and governments have plainly failed to fulfill their responsibilities to the public.
It is a remarkable phenomenon that although homeopathy has the best clinical record that medicine has ever produced, it has never received official recognition for its achievements. Instead of leading to a revolution in medical thinking, as it logically should have, the record of homeopathy has remained to this day invisible to academics, health care authorities, and governments.
Whenever they are made aware of the record of homeopathy, as in the current exchange, they retreat into an embarrassed silence, because homeopathy is taboo and is too challenging to their conception of the world. Or if they become aware of the great interest all over the world in the homeopathic healing art, they conspire to destroy homeopathy—especially where the interests of the pharmaceutical industry are at stake. Century-old beliefs and opinions are not abandoned in one day, even by the most advanced thinker; and sound evidence in favor of homeopathy is ignored, because the belief that it just can't be true is so deeply ingrained in the critic's mind.
After the NIP, there was only a short-lasting burst of interest in homeopathy, from physicians, students of medicine, and philanthropists—but not from governments or institutions. In 1921, Drs. Scott Runnels and Dean W. Myers, two professors of medicine at the University of Michigan, discussed this short-lasting interest in homeopathy that followed the NIP: "Despite the fact that for the past twenty-five years there has been a steady decrease in all schools of medicine, there has been no falling off in membership in the homeopathic societies of the country: a) Last year the Homeopathic Medical Society of the State of Michigan received into membership forty-eight new members, which was the largest number received in any one year of the society's history; b) The American Institute of Homeopathy received five hundred and fifteen new members in 1920, which is also a record; c) The present student body in the Homeopathic Medical School of the University of Michigan, which was reduced by advanced entrance requirements and the war, is showing a marked growth, the freshman class being twice that of the sophomore, while it, in turn, is nearly double that of the junior."(519)
However, beyond that short-lasting interest, homeopathy did not receive the necessary support in America to sustain its growth and development into the twentieth century. It is a remarkable situation, for most of the arts and sciences, such as medicine, law, and engineering, not only benefit from the moral support of official institutions, but have also found protection and financial support both from state governments and private philanthropists.
Instead of multiplying, however, medical schools in the U.S. that were teaching homeopathy continued to close their doors one by one after the NIP. In a 1922 hearing before the Board of Regents of the University of Michigan, Dr. Royal Copeland, Commissioner of Health of New York City, who was opposing the amalgamation of the homeopathic and the regular medical departments, said, "No university is doing its duty unless it perpetuates the teaching of homeopathy. ... Gentlemen, I think you are under moral obligation and probably legal obligation to the City of Ann Arbor to maintain a homeopathic hospital so long as you make use of the'Smith property,' the five acres given for the homeopathic hospital. ... The popular vote was on raising 'Funds for or against homeopathic hospital grounds.' The result stood 656 to 16, I believe, and this practically unanimous vote was intended to show the State of Michigan that the City of Ann Arbor desires to have a homeopathic hospital perpetually. Aside from all these historical, economical and legal features of the controversy, has homeopathy a place and does it continue to deserve public confidence and support? The people of this state have said so for 70 years."(520) Soon after, the homeopathic department was amalgamated into the regular medical program of the University of Michigan and homeopathy was slowly but surely phased out of the university.
The same year, in 1922, in a letter addressed to alumni for raising money to ensure the continuation of their alma mater, Dr. William H. Dieffenbach, professor of Physical Therapeutics at the New York Homeopathic Medical College, wrote that, by supporting homeopathy, people were essentially helping to save lives: "Homeopathy has done so much for humanity. … The statistics of the recent epidemics of influenza and pneumonia have again called attention to the superiority of homeopathic medicine in infectious diseases in which it has always been preeminent. Thousands of lives would have been spared if homeopathy had been generally practiced in these epidemics. … In pneumonia, the general death rate is from twenty-five to sixty-five percent. Many homeopathic prescribers treat scores of pneumonias without losing one case. Answering a recent questionnaire, over five hundred cases of pneumonia were reported by homeopaths with only nine deaths, and nearly all of those nine who died had had aspirin or other coal-tar products before the homeopaths were called in. … In view of these facts and considering that every advance in medicine receives due recognition and study in our college ..., I am convinced that I can appeal to you for assistance in so worthy a cause. We are, at the college, teaching all branches of medicine plus homeopathic medication. This plus [homeopathy] may be themeans of saving a life dear to you and no money or gift can recompense for such an achievement."(521)
Fourteen years later, in 1936, the New York Homoeopathic Medical College was renamed the New York Medical College, marking the end of 76 years of homeopathic medical education in New York City.
It is perhaps fair to say that this lack of recognition was partly the fault of the homeopaths themselves, who had neglected to publicize their record. After the first wave of the NIP, Dr. William Boericke of the University of California remarked, "It seems to us that the homeopathic school, with very few exceptions, has missed its great opportunity afforded by the influenza epidemic in not calling attention more publicly through the daily press and to the people at large to the unquestionable value and superiority of homeopathic remedies in meeting all the medicinal requirements of the disease."(522)
At about the same time, Dr. C. C. Wiggin of Osage, Iowa, wrote in an editorial in the Iowa Homeopathic Journal that homeopaths had however a good excuse: "The homeopaths have been so busy looking after patients and curing them with medicine, that they have not given any serious thought to the future of our school. We have never thought that state or federal laws might be enacted making it impossible for us to continue in our placid course. But the lessons we have learned from the Great War are beginning to have their effect. If we wish to live as a school of medicine, if we wish to continue to prove ourselves the most successful, efficient exponents of the healing art, if we wish to continue undisturbed in our every day practice of medicine as we understand and believe in it, we must fight just as earnestly and persistently as did the allied armies against Prussian autocracy. We must show that we have a right to live, to exist as equals to any in the medical world. We are 'up against' a medical autocracy, aggressive, intolerant, and intent on ruling the medical world. … Ignorance and prejudice are serious obstacles to overcome, but constantly and consistently keeping in mind the necessity for education and enlightenment is absolutely necessary for progress. The majority of the dominant school are yet sophomores in the art of healing. We cannot compel them to accept our views in therapeutics, but we can create a public demand for physicians skilled in homeopathic methods of healing. The laity will then demand a respectful investigation of our methods."(523)
History teaches that in medicine, reputation and prestige have often taken precedence over truth and science. Citizens should be more aware of the incompetence of their authorities, who claim to provide them with good medical care, but are in fact preventing them from obtaining the best that medicine can offer. This is ethically unacceptable and calls for a revolution in awareness of this situation and a demand for what is just and right for all.
Lack of Recognition by the Armed Forces
Dr. Carol R. Byerly, historian for the Office of the Army Surgeon General, wrote recently(525) about the effect that influenza had on the U.S. Armed Forces (USAF) during WWI: "By the War Department's most conservative count, influenza sickened 26% of the Army—more than one million men—and killed almost 30,000 before they even got to France. On both sides of the Atlantic, the Army lost a staggering 8,743,102 days to influenza among enlisted men in 1918. The Navy recorded 5,027 deaths and more than 106,000 hospital admissions for influenza and pneumonia out of 600,000 men, but given the large number of mild cases that were never recorded, Braisted put the sickness rate closer to 40%."(526)
It was recognized that, with rare exceptions, soldiers who died from influenza actually died from pneumonia. Epidemiologists that were sent to Camp Upton to study the epidemic reported: "Secondary bronchopneumonia, with its complications and sequelae, was the sole cause of death in the influenza epidemic. The mortality for pneumonia (including its complications and sequelae) secondary to influenza,calculated to Jan. 1, 1919, was as follows: for the whole period of the primary and secondary epidemics (from September 13 to November 30, inclusive), 28.70 percent. … Pneumonia, therefore, was the one danger that threatened life. Pneumonia developed in over one fifth of all cases of influenza, and killed almost one third of those it attacked."(527)
It is tragic that the story of homeopathy was not given its due in the history of the great advances in medicine or in the military, whose personnel could have benefited so greatly from it during the NIP. Just imagine how many of those young men would have avoided the fate that was awaiting them if homeopathy had been implemented in the army. In less than one year more people died in the NIP than in any war or famine in the entire history of humanity.(528)
One can only imagine the contribution which homeopathy would have made to the destiny of a nation that had institutionalized homeopathy.
Considering the mass of evidence favoring homeopathy as a system of medicine from every point of view examined, it is incomprehensible that governments and the armed forces in particular have not made homeopathy universally accessible to its population and its soldiers. Is the evidence so far produced in this paper, which represents a small fraction of the existing evidence, not sufficient reason to conduct, at the very least, an unbiased and thorough investigation into the benefits homeopathy might have to offer? In the armed forces, the extraordinary results obtained by homeopathy continued to be largely ignored after the NIP. Soon after WWI, the International Hahnemannian Association (IHA) passed a resolution based on the following recommendation of their president: "When the Surgeon General called for fifteen hundred medical men from the homeopathic school, the fifteen hundred were supplied, but no organized effort was made to have the homeopathic remedies supplied and consequently in most cases our men were not permitted to use them. I recommend therefore that this association pass a resolution calling to the attention of Congress the remarkable difference in the death rates between the influenza cases treated homeopathically and the influenza cases treated with other drugs, and requesting of Congress that our polychrest remedies be added to the Manual of Drugs used in all army and navy hospitals and that we as a School be recognized in government service."(529)
That resolution and a number of others were sent to the Surgeon General of the United States Army,(530) which in reply requested more information and data about mortality rates during the influenza epidemic.(531) The IHA sent the information, but no more interest was expressed by the Surgeon General. Presumably any further communication was blocked by powerful opposition behind the scenes, as no doubt had happened in the past when homoeopaths demanded to be fully recognized and integrated into the USAF.
So once again, when the United States went to war, this time in 1939, it went without the benefit of homeopathy. Upon the outbreak of WWII, Dr. Hoyle (now 78 years old) and his wife offered their services to the French Red Cross. Dr. Hoyle wrote, "They at once and courteously replied that they had examined our records, which were fully satisfactory, but that they had over 300,000 beds ready, and all fully staffed, etc.," but without offering the option of homeopathic system to their soldiers.
Decades after the NIP, Dr. Dorothy Shepherd of London, England, further pointed out that results obtained with homeopathy tend to attract very little attention and be quickly forgotten; "It is a pity that these figures which show such staggering differences are never referred to or made known to the general public. A system of treatment which cures people so rapidly and thoroughly is well worth investigation in my opinion. The trouble is firstly ignorance of the true facts of the case, secondly disbelief in their truth, and thirdly, as far as the doctors are concerned, the great difficulty is differentiating between the various remedies needed to cure a sick person rapidly and efficiently."(532)
This arrogance in thoughtlessly brushing off homeopathy is tragic, because losing patients with pneumonia is rare under genuine homeopathy, whereas it is commonplace under allopathy. At the very least, the armed forces should be independent of the influence of the bio-medical industry that endangers their soldiers. With the massive budgets they have at their disposal, it is disgraceful that the armed forces have never conducted their own inquiry into homeopathy.
Homeopaths have said it all, but perhaps not loudly and persistently enough. In January 1918, a few months before the first wave of the NIP hit army camps throughout the nation and abroad, Dr. George H. Martin, who had been an assistant surgeon in a large army hospital, wrote in the Pacific Coast Journal of Homoeopathy how the armed forces would most likely benefit from homeopathy: "Measles and pneumonia are at present epidemic in many of the training camps and the mortality is high. It is in just such diseases that old school treatment often fails and homeopathy is successful. When this fact is proved in the army, and has become a matter of military record, homeopathic treatment will be more generally used and will help tremendously in lowering the mortality in these diseases, and, in consequence, will aid materially in increasing the efficiency of the army. …
"It is deplorable that so many of our young men are dying from the effects of these two diseases even before they get out of their own country. Camp conditions, as well as improper clothing, have a great deal to do with the causation of these diseases, but, after the soldier is stricken, then the treatment begins, and it is here that we can show our results. …
"When the army goes to the front, and the diseases incidental to actual warfare develop, then again the homeopathic physician will have a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate the effectiveness of his system of treatment. Never before in the history of war has there been such enormous numbers of men made insane during battle, or their nervous systems so completely disorganized as during the present conflagration. The effect of decompression from high explosives is shattering both mind and body, and the continual and terrific roar of heavy artillery is crazing men by the thousands. In such cases the soothing and quieting effect of homeopathic treatment would be invaluable and restore many so affected to normal. In surgical cases from battle wounds there is always more or less shock to the nervous system. If this effect of shock upon the nervous system be treated by the proper homeopathic remedy, recovery from the wound will be tremendously enhanced.
"It is not that we so much desire to impress the value of homeopathic treatment upon the medical corps of the army that we wish for the opportunity to use it, but to give to the millions of men suffering from disease and wounds the benefit of its wonderful efficiency. We who are homeopathic physicians, and the millions of patrons of homeopathy throughout the world, know full well what it will do; for it is no experiment with us; it is a proved fact, and we should like to have those men who are giving so much, and who will give so much more for the cause for which they are fighting, to have the benefit of it. Many there are in the ranks who prefer this system of treatment but cannot get it. Let, therefore, those homeopathic physicians who are already in the service, and those who may be in the future, use every effort and spare no pains to give to those who so sorely need it the benefit of their peculiar knowledge of drug effect according to the homeopathic law of cure."(533)
Unfortunately, homeopathy was never given this opportunity. Moreover, homeopathic physicians who had enlisted in the USAF were discriminated against in their use of homeopathy. Homeopathic physicians serving in the armed forces could request only a fraction of the remedies they used in their daily practice.(534)
Such discrimination against homeopathic physicians by the American armed forces took place at a time when a large part of the American population, and therefore its soldiers, were being treated homeopathically. A 1915 survey about the medical faith of the population revealed that 35.5% used homeopathy and 48.5% were favorably disposed toward it.(535) It is even more striking when we consider that up to 1920 it was estimated that one-third of the wealth of the United States was controlled by patrons of homeopathy.(536)
Soldiers Who Died of Pneumonia Were among the Most Fit in the Nation
During WWI, members of the USAF were undoubtedly among the fittest young men in the nation, for in order to enlist, they had to go through two physical examinations, and only 65% passed both of them.(537)
Nevertheless, during the war, 51% of all deaths in the armed forces and 43% of all deaths in the army were due to disease and 85% of those deaths were due to pneumonia.(538) Had genuine homeopathy been universally employed by the USAF, some 42,000 members of armed forces who died would likely have survived.
Prejudice can have fatal consequences; the members of the U.S Armed Forces were betrayed by the prejudice and ignorance of their superiors, who did not provide them with the best available medical care and protection from disease. If they had done so, many of the horrors of WWI due to disease could have been avoided: "The disease at Camp Upton was equal in intensity and virulence to that at the other neighboring camps mentioned. The impression received in going through our pneumonia wards (holding at one time about 900 patients) was one of horror at the frightfulness of the sight of the hopelessly sick and dying and at the magnitude of the catastrophe that had stricken wholesale the young soldiers prepared to face another enemy but helpless before this insidious one. The memory of this sight will haunt for life the minds of those who saw it."(539)
In January 1919, Dr. L. D. Rogers, editor of the North American Journal of Homeopathy, asked two thought-provoking questions in reference to the case of a Chicago soldier at Camp Grant who had refused to be inoculated against typhoid and was therefore condemned to 25 years in the disciplinary barracks at Port Leavenworth: "Any line of treatment or procedure which conserves the health of the great mass of the public should be enforced. … During the world pandemic of influenza, the death rate under regular orthodox treatment has been simply enormous, while under regular homeopathic treatment it has been very small. Hundreds of homeopathic physicians have treated hundreds of cases without the loss of a single individual. Why should not the Government also compel every individual having influenza to be treated homeopathically. Why not imprison physicians for failing to prescribe homeopathically in flu and pneumonia?"(540)
Dr. J. W. Means of Troy, Ohio, accused the allopaths of "entrenched ignorance and bigotry" for not making a step towards homeopathy: "In the treatment of the recent epidemic of influenza among the soldiers and laity, the mortality was so great under allopathic treatment, that the leading medical journal of the United States called attention to the fact and asserted editorially in said journal, that the medical profession should be indicted for murder."(541)
Deaths Caused by Iatrogenic Diseases
For more than 200 years homeopathy has been practiced with a complete absence of iatrogenesis. Meanwhile, it was being denounced as quackery by its opponents, whose system of medicine is plagued by iatrogenesis. In fact,iatrogenesis is such an essential issue in medicine that it should be at the forefront of any informed health-care decision.
Because allopathy depends on crude doses of toxic drugs that disturb the normal physiology of the body, it is continually plagued by high iatrogenesis. And since it relies so greatly on surgery and procedures that are palliative, instead of dealing with the causes of disease, it will continue to be plagued with unnecessary and unacceptable morbidity and mortality from iatrogenesis, which is intrinsic to such a way of practicing medicine.
For instance, a study published in 2004 reported that the incidence of perioperative myocardial infarction, stroke, and death in patients receiving carotid angioplasty and stenting was found to be 6.7%.(542) In 11 large carotid stent series that excluded very high-risk cohorts, the overall reported rate of procedure-related mortality rates was 0.6% to 4.5%, major stroke rates 0% to 4.5%, minor stroke 0% to 6.5%, and a six-month restenosis rate about 5%.(543)
In-hospital mortality associated with coronary stents and other percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) is 1.13%,(544) and with bypass surgery is 3.5%.(545) The number of strokes occurring during a PCI is 1.3%,(546) and 0.5% for heart attacks.(547) The average hospital cost is around $70,000 for each PCI and $150,000 for each bypass surgery.(548) In 2006, the American Heart Association estimated that about 1.3 million PCI and 450,000 bypass surgeries were performed annually in the US,(549) which means that every year in the US, nearly 30,000 people die and another 50,000 suffer severe complications from those two procedures alone, and at a staggering cost of about $160 billion.
This is unjustifiable, because cardiovascular disease is on the whole preventable and reversible with a change of diet and lifestyle, at a fraction of the cost, and with extra benefits that include a great reduction in obesity, diabetes and cancer.(550, 551)
Dr. Michael Greger, a founding member of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, made pertinent comments on this issue, "Preventive medicine, is, frankly, bad for business…. When the underlying lifestyle causes are addressed, patients often are able to stop taking medication or avoid surgery. We spend billions cracking people's chests open, but only rarely does it actually prolong anyone's life. In contrast, how about wiping out at least 90% of heart disease? …
"So why don't more doctors do it? … Well, one reason is doctors don't get paid for it. No one profits from lifestyle medicine, so it is not part of medical education or practice. …
"After Dr. Dean Ornish proved you could reverse our #1 cause of death, heart disease, open up arteries without drugs, without surgery, just with a plant-based diet and other healthy lifestyle changes, he thought that his studies would have a meaningful effect on the practice of mainstream cardiology. After all, a cure for our #1 killer! But, he admits, he was mistaken. Physician reimbursement, he realized, is a much more powerful determinant of medical practice than research."(552)
In fact, Dr. Dean Ornish et al. wrote in 2009, "Despite these costs [for PCI and bypass surgeries], many studies, including one last month in the New England Journal of Medicine, reveal that angioplasties and stents do not prolong life or even prevent heart attacks in stable patients (i.e., in 95 percent of those who receive them). Coronary bypass surgery prolongs life in less than 2 to 3 percent of patients who receive it. In contrast, the INTERHEART study, published in the Lancet in 2004, followed 30,000 people and found that changing lifestyle could prevent at least 90% of all heart disease. Think about it, heart disease accounts for more premature deaths and costs Americans more than any other illness and is almost completely preventable simply by changing diet and lifestyle. The same lifestyle changes that can prevent or even reverse heart disease can prevent or reverse many other chronic diseases as well.
"It is not part of medical education; it is not part of medical practice. Presently, however, physicians lack training and financial incentives to help people learn how to eat a healthy diet, exercise, stop smoking, manage their weight, or address the effects of environmental toxins. So they continue to do what they know how to do: prescribe medication and perform surgery."(553)
In this context, Dr. Greger addressed the patronizing and unscientific attitude of orthodox medicine toward the public, which is not unlike their desire to dictate what treatments people should have access to: "There's been controversy, though, as to whether the trans fats naturally found in animal products are as bad as the synthetic fats in partially hydrogenated junk food. The latest study supports the notion that trans fat intake, irrespective of source—animal or industrial—increases cardiovascular disease risk, especially, it appears, in women.
"'Because trans fats are unavoidable on ordinary, non-vegan diets, getting down to zero percent trans fats would require significant changes in patterns of dietary intake,' reads the NAS [National Academy of Sciences] report. One of the authors, the Director of Harvard's Cardiovascular Epidemiology Program, explained why—despite this—they didn't recommend a vegan diet: 'We can't tell people to stop eating all meat and all dairy products," he said. "Well, we could tell people to become vegetarians,' he added. 'If we were truly basing this only on science, we would, but it is a bit extreme.' Wouldn't want scientists basing anything on science, now would we?"(554)
As well as not dealing with the fundamental causes of diseases, the official system of medicine is responsible for a vast amount of morbidity and mortality, which however doesn't seem to be of much concern to the medical profession, health authorities, governments, or the public. Probably very few people outside the medical profession are even aware of it.
In 1955, Dr. David P. Barr of New York was the first one to raise the alarm about the dangers and extent of iatrogenic diseases, in an article called Hazards of Modern Diagnosis and Therapy—the Price to Pay. He wrote: "Therapeutic preparations are confusingly numerous and varied. In the lists of 1953, more than 140,000 medicaments were available to practitioners, and 14,000 new preparations were added during the year. Accretion is still far greater than deletion, although it has been estimated that perhaps 90% of drugs now in common use have been introduced within the last 25 years. … In a medical service of a great hospital, over a period when approximately 1,000 patients were admitted, more than 50 major toxic reactions and accidents [>5%] consequent to diagnostic or therapeutic measures were encountered."(555)
In 1964, Dr. E. M. Schimmel of Yale University School of Medicine confirmed Dr. Barr's startling statistics in a paper called The Hazards of Hospitalization: "During the 8-month study, 1,014 patients were admitted one or more times to the medical service, for a total of 1,252 admissions. The house staff recorded 240 episodes occurring in 198 different patients." Thus, 20% of patients admitted to a university hospital medical service suffered one or more iatrogenic incidents, and 20% of those incidents were serious or fatal.(556)
In 1981, Dr. Knight Steel et al. from Boston University Medical Center likely sounded the most disturbing alarm. In a thorough five-month prospective study, they reported, "We found that 36% of 815 consecutive patients on a general medical service of a university hospital had an iatrogenic illness. In 9% of all persons admitted, the incident was considered major in that it threatened life or produced considerable disability. In 2% [15 patients] of the 815 patients, the iatrogenic illness was believed to contribute to the death of the patient." "Major toxic reactions" greater than the 5% previously reported by Dr. Barr were now found to be 9%. The authors pointed out the inertia of the system and the total lack of progress since Drs. Barr and Schimmel had reported the same problem 28 and 17 years earlier respectively.(557)
Ten years later, in 1991, the Harvard Medical Practice Study looked at iatrogenic incidents in patients hospitalized in New York State in 1984. They found that nearly 4% of patients suffered an injury that prolonged their hospital stay or resulted in measurable disability. That was 98,609 patients in one year alone. Nearly 14% of these incidents proved fatal. They postulated that if this rate of iatrogenesis was extrapolated for the United States, then 180,000 people were dying each year as a result of iatrogenic injury occurring in hospitals, which is the equivalent of three jumbo jets crashing every two days. Again, the researchers pointed out the lack of improvement and the inertia in the system in first reporting iatrogenic incidents, and secondly in striving to prevent them.(558, 559)
When MedWatch was introduced in 1993, it was recognized that "only about 1% of serious iatrogenic events are reported to the FDA."(560)
A 1997 study found that there were close to 199,000 reported deaths related to the side effects of well-prescribed drugs in non-hospitalized patients,(561) which would have then constituted by itself the third leading cause of deaths in the United States.(562)
The problem of iatrogenesis is always found to be much larger in prospective studies and more so in the ones that are long-term than it is in voluntary reporting. A 1998 article entitled Time to Act on Drug Safety, written by a team of American epidemiologists, including a member of the FDA's drug safety advisory committee, reported, "Discovering new dangers of drugs after marketing is common. Overall, 51% of approved drugs have serious adverse effects not detected prior to approval."
The epidemiologists reported that in 1994, the FDA received just 3,863 (5.2%) of 73,887 reports of adverse reactions directly from physicians. They wrote, "A major weakness of spontaneous anecdotal reporting is that it is difficult or impossible to estimate reliably how often adverse events might be occurring since, according to FDA estimates, only about 1% of adverse events are ever reported. For example, toxic effects of digoxin, including a particularly serious arrhythmia, are well documented. The average of 82 adverse reaction reports received by the FDA each year for digoxin suggests that this known risk does not pose a problem. However, a systematic study of Medicare records disclosed 202,211 hospitalizations for digoxin adverse effects in a 7-year period [a 0.3% rate of reporting]. … The monitoring system based on spontaneous reports is also incapable of detecting many important potential dangers of approved drugs. For example, if a drug causes an event that might be expected as part of the natural history of the disease being treated, the spontaneous detection system fails. It is not capable of detecting that flosequinam increases mortality in congestive failure, or that flecainide and encainide can cause cardiac arrest. A spontaneous reporting system also cannot capture adverse effects that manifest themselves as a disease with high prevalence or with a long delay between exposure and clinical manifestation. Cancer is the classic example. While the spontaneous reporting makes a valuable contribution, it provides only a fraction of [the] information required to develop programs to protect the public from health risks of marketed drugs."(563)
In 1999, a team from Boston and Stanford Universities estimated conservatively that 16,500 patients with rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis were dying every year in the United States just from the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID).(564) If these deaths from gastrointestinal toxic effects caused by NSAID were tabulated separately in the National Vital Statistics Reports, it would constitute the 15th most common cause of death in the United States. Yet these toxic effects remain largely a "silent epidemic," with many physicians prescribing and most patients using these drugs totally unaware of the magnitude of the problem. Incidentally, iatrogenesis is never shown as a cause of mortality in the United States in the annual report of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The CDC has been asked several times why that is, but it has never given an answer.
In 1999, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) published a monograph in which it wrote, "Health care in the United States is not as safe as it should be—and can be." It estimated that 106,000 hospitalized patients were dying every year from the side effects of properly prescribed medications. That would make iatrogenesis the eighth leading cause of death in the United States.(565) The same study also estimated that medical errors accounted for between 44,000 and 98,000 deaths and as many as 1,000,000 unnecessary injuries every year in the United States.
When it was argued that this report exaggerated the incidence of iatrogenesis,(566) Dr. Lucian Leape, the leading researcher of the Harvard Study, replied, "Three reasons suggest that the IOM report did not exaggerate the extent of medical injury and death. First, despite the limits of record reviews, it is unlikely the reviewers found adverse events that did not exist. However, they undoubtedly missed some that did occur because many adverse events and errors are never recorded in the medical record, either because they are concealed or not recognized. Other errors are discovered after the patient is discharged. In fact, in the Medical Practice Study, an additional 6% of hospital-caused adverse events were discovered after discharge, but were excluded from the analyses because they were an unknown fraction of all such events. Therefore, any record-review study produces at best a 'lower bound.'
"Second, neither of the large studies examined the extent of injuries that occur outside of the hospital. More than half of surgical procedures (numbering now in the tens of millions) take place outside of a hospital setting, and the adverse event rates for these procedures have not been studied. Even if complication and death rates are much lower than in hospital care, the absolute numbers must be substantial, as suggested by the recent report of deaths associated with liposuction.
"Third, when prospective detailed studies are performed, error and injury rates are almost invariably much higher than indicated by the large record-review studies. In a large study of patients who died from acute myocardial infarction, pneumonia, or cerebrovascular accident (conditions that account for 36% of all hospital deaths), DuBois and Brook found that 14% to 27% of deaths were preventable. Andrews et al. found that 17% of intensive care unit patients had preventable serious or fatal adverse events. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 500,000 surgical-site infections occur each year. One large controlled study found the excess mortality rate of surgical-site infections to be 4.3%, suggesting 20,000 deaths annually from this cause alone. These data are strong evidence that record-review studies seriously underestimate the extent of medical injury."(567)
The same year, a study published in JAMA estimated that there were 90,000 reported deaths due to infection contracted in hospitals in the U.S.(568)
In 2007, the IOM reported that 400,000 preventable drug-related injuries were occurring every year in American hospitals. Another 800,000 were occurring in long-term care settings, and roughly 530,000 were occurring just among Medicare patients in outpatient clinics. The committee noted that these statistics were likely underestimates compared to other studies that "involve direct contact with patients, which yields much higher rates." It is important to note that the expression "preventable drug-related injuries" in this report typically excluded the side effects of "properly" prescribed medications, for which no numbers were given.(569)
In 2009, hospital mortality associated with complications from inpatient surgery was measured from a pool of 84,730 patients who had undergone in-patient general and vascular surgery from 2005 through 2007, using data from the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program. It was found that the death rate from major complications following surgery was about 17%.(570)
As long ago as the early 1990s, the Congressional Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations had extrapolated from similar figures that nationwide about 2.4 million unnecessary operations were performed annually, resulting in a cost of $3.9 billion and 11,900 deaths.(571)
In its most recent mortality report for the United States, which is for 2010, the CDC tabulated that 598,000 people died from heart disease and another 575,000 from cancer.(572) At the very least, iatrogenesis is the third leading cause of death in the United States even if one counts only the 180,000 deaths due to iatrogenesis in hospitalized patients that were estimated by the Harvard Medical Practice Study(573, 574) , and the estimated 199,000 deaths due to the side effects of well-prescribed drugs in non-hospitalized patients,(575) for a total of 379,000 deaths.
It is important to note that mortality reports due to iatrogenesis do not include deaths related to OTC medications, suicides induced by medications, and accident-related deaths, since no numbers seem to be available. Those numbers cannot be negligible, as overdoses of OTC drugs comprise about 40% of all medication overdoses.(576)
For instance, analgesic nephropathy and increased risk of end-stage renal disease (ESRD) in people taking analgesic drugs was first described in the 1950s. A 1994 study called Risk of Kidney Failure Associated with the Use of Acetaminophen, Aspirin, and Nonsteroidal Antiinflammatory Drugs reported, "Approximately 8 to 10 percent of the overall incidence of ESRD was attributable to acetaminophen use. A cumulative dose of 5,000 or more pills containing NSAIDs was also associated with an increased odds of ESRD (odds ratio, 8.8)."(577) It has long been known that many NSAIDs inhibit the formation of cartilage in joints. Patients that habitually take NSAIDs for joint pain are at a high risk of accelerating degeneration of their joints.(578) Most studies of NSAIDs and joint pain are short-term studies. There is no study of the long-term effect, after 5, 10, or 15 years for example, of NSAIDs on the joints and the person as a whole, but many rheumatologists question the safety of their long-term use, which is common.(579)
The long-term side effects of drugs used in psychiatry has also barely been touched upon. Robert Whitaker, who won the 2010 Investigative Reporters and Editors book award for best investigative journalism for his article Anatomy of an Epidemic: Psychiatric Drugs and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America wrote, "Over the past 50 years, there has been an astonishing increase in severe mental illness in the United States. The percentage of Americans disabled by mental illness has increased fivefold since 1955, when Thorazine—remembered today as psychiatry's first 'wonder' drug—was introduced into the market. The number of Americans disabled by mental illness has nearly doubled since 1987, when Prozac—the first in a second generation of wonder drugs for mental illness—was introduced. There are now nearly 6 million Americans disabled by mental illness, and this number increases by more than 400 people each day. A review of the scientific literature reveals that it is our drug-based paradigm of care that is fueling this epidemic. The drugs increase the likelihood that a person will become chronically ill, and induce new and more severe psychiatric symptoms in a significant percentage of patients."
He continues, "The modern era of psychiatry is typically said to date back to 1955, when chlorpromazine, marketed as Thorazine, was introduced into asylum medicine. … However, since 1955, when this modern era of psychopharmacology was born, there has been an astonishing rise in the incidence of severe mental illness in this country. … In 1955, the government reported 1,028 episodes per 100,000 population. In 2000, patient-care episodes totaled 3,806 per 100,000 population, which is nearly a fourfold per capita increase in less than 50 years. …
"The combined sales of antidepressants and antipsychotics jumped from around $500 million in 1986 to nearly $20 billion in 2004 (from September 2003 to August 2004), a 40-fold increase."(580)
The United States Surgeon General David Satcher acknowledged in his 1999 report on mental health that the causes of mental disorders "remain unknown."(581)
Whitaker continues, "Yet, scientists have come to understand how the drugs affect the human brain, at least in terms of their immediate mechanisms of action. In 1996, the director of the National Institute of Mental Health, neuroscientist Steven Hyman, set forth a paradigm for understanding how all psychiatric drugs work. Antipsychotics, antidepressants, and antianxiety drugs, he wrote, 'create perturbations in neurotransmitter functions.'
"In response, the brain goes through a series of compensatory adaptations. For instance, Prozac and other SSRI antidepressants block the reuptake of serotonin. In order to cope with this hindrance of normal function, the brain tones down its whole serotonergic system. Neurons both release less serotonin and down-regulate (or decrease) their number of serotonin receptors. The density of serotonin receptors in the brain may decrease by 50% or more. As part of this adaptation process, Hyman noted, there are also changes in intracellular signaling pathways and gene expression. After a few weeks, Hyman concluded, the patient's brain is functioning in a manner that is 'qualitatively as well as quantitatively different from the normal state.'
"In short, psychiatric drugs induce a pathology. … Once psychiatric drugs are viewed in this way, it is easy to understand why their wide-spread use would precipitate an epidemic of mental illness."(582)
It should also be noted that the long-term effect of drugs on the environment and their capacity to change normal physiology permanently and to create persistent pathology in living organisms has barely been explored.
In summary, iatrogenesis is a huge problem that will continue to plague medicine as long as it continues to use drugs in crude doses and to rely on palliative surgeries and procedures for conditions that can be prevented and treated with modifications to diet and lifestyle. Our societies have unreflectingly embraced a medical system that relies heavily on crude doses of drugs and symptomatic treatments with a resulting high level of iatrogenesis; at the same time they have largely ignored a medical system that deals with the causes of diseases without any iatrogenesis. If the goal of medical practice is to preserve health and save lives, something has clearly gone terribly wrong, for it is obvious to any objective observer that our official medical system is very dangerous. And yet that dangerous school of medicine has remained dominant even though there is a medical system that can remove the causes of disease without killing a single patient.
The Politics of Medicine
Despite the fact that homeopaths have been reporting their successes for more than 200 years, the medical and political authorities in most countries remain ignorant of the immense potential of homeopathy and the law of similars for the well-being of their people. So too do their citizens, who, at least until the advent of the Internet, were likely to receive most of their medical information from the medical profession.
Since the advent of homeopathy, allopathy has retained its dominance in the practice of medicine, not because it is more successful or scientific, but largely because of preconceived beliefs, propaganda, and the political and economic power of the medical establishment, which spurred the extraordinary expansion of allopathic medicine.
Governments, not surprisingly, are largely dependent on the medical establishment for information and advice about public health, and so they too are influenced by the bias and propaganda of the dominant school of medicine and the vast interests that support it. The blatant rejection of homeopathy should give social scientists and philosophers of science much to ponder.
In 1919, Dr. Clifford Mitchell pointed out how the politics of medicine had crippled homeopathy at the beginning of the twentieth century and had likely been fatal to hundreds of thousands of Americans: "Suppose ... that all the money spent during the years 1907 to 1919 in supporting the propaganda, which put so many homeopathic medical colleges out of business, and all the money also spent in teaching preventive medicine to the exclusion of therapeutic medicine had, instead, been expended in endowing homeopathic colleges and supporting the teaching of homeopathy, to such extent that homeopathy had been taught in every medical college in the country and that homeopathic papers in medicine were printed in every medical journal in the country, honeycombing, as it were, the medical profession with homeopathy. Is it not reasonable to believe that had such expenditure of money been made it would have all come back to us with interest during the autumn of 1918 when 400,000 persons perished in spite of the eminence and power of scientific medicine?
Homeopathy, the medical system that is scientific throughout its development and application, has been ignored in favor of a dangerous, expensive, empirical approach to health. Homeopathy operates in harmony with the fundamentals of biology by considering every person a totally unique individual, for biology makes it is clear that every living organism, including human beings, is an individual, a unity or an indivisible whole. Individual implies individuality, identity, and indivisibility. The strict individualization process unique to homeopathic treatment fully respects this fundamental aspect of biology, which is foreign to conventional medicine.
A prominent French homeopathic physician and philosopher discusses the divide in conventional medicine between, on the one hand, its two main goals of preventing disease and healing of the sick and, on the other hand, the quest to know every detail of every cell and molecule of the human body, a quest that prevents the fundamental goals from being attained.(583) He points out that homeopathy prescribes in an individualized manner because the living organism can exist, biologically and scientifically, only as an individual: "It is thus ... a scientific reality that makes homeopathy scientifically logical. Indeed, the reason that in homeopathy every patient is is prescribed an individualized remedy for the same generic disease (such as asthma, rheumatoid polyarthritis, or hypertension) is that we all are biologically individuals, in two senses: firstly, we are unique and singular beings and, secondly, we cannot be divided into organs and tissues or separated into body and psyche, etc. Homeopathy thus takes into account the biological unity and uniqueness of each being."(584)
On the other hand, the orthodox approach to treatment, which consists of treating a part of an individual or a disease and which as a rule does not take into consideration the individuality of the patient, is illogical and contrary to the fundamentals of biology.
Dr. Osler and the Course of Medicine
Among the main influences on the politics and the course of medicine, including attitudes to homeopathy, are the opinions of the medical authorities.
Those authorities may be individuals, such as Hippocrates, Galen, Andral, Holmes, Osler or Mayo; or institutions, such as the French Academy of Medicine, the Vienna School of Medicine, the University of Pennsylvania, Johns Hopkins University, the Rockefeller Institute, Harvard University, or today's Institute of Medicine, Centers for Disease Control, or the National Institute of Health.
Probably the most influential medical authority in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries was Dr. William Osler, who is often referred to as the Father of Modern Medicine, and some of the reasons for the bitter antagonism toward homeopathy can be found in his writings.
If we first look at pneumonia, this was for Dr. Osler "the Captain of the Men of Death,"(585) "a self-limiting disease" that "runs its course uninfluenced in any way by medicine. It can neither be aborted not cut short by any known means at our command."(586) It is therefore extremely doubtful that Dr. Osler had ever read the literature on the homeopathic treatment of the pneumonia patient.
If we look at medicine in general, the following passage in Dr. Osler's A Concise History of Medicine published in 1919(587) offers some clues to his thinking, which has greatly influenced the practice of medicine: "The new school does not feel itself under obligation to give any medicines whatever, while a generation ago not only could few physicians have held their practice unless they did, but few would have thought it safe or scientific. Of course, there are still many cases where the patient or the patient's friends must be humored by administering medicine or alleged medicine where it is not really needed, and indeed often where the buoyancy of mind which is the real curative agent, can only be created by making him wait hopefully for the expected action of medicine; and some physicians still cannot unlearn their old training. But the change is great. The modern treatment of disease relies very greatly on the old so called 'natural' methods, diet and exercise, bathing and massage—in other words, giving the natural forces the fullest scope by easy and thorough nutrition, increased flow of blood, and removal of obstructions to the excretory systems or the circulation in the tissues.
"One notable example is typhoid fever. At the outset of the nineteenth century it was treated with 'remedies' of the extremest violence,—bleeding and blistering, vomiting and purging, and the administration of antimony and mercury, and plenty of other heroic remedies. Now the patient is bathed and nursed and carefully tended, but rarely given medicine. This is the result partly of the remarkable experiments of the Paris [inefficacy of bleeding and heroic medicines] and Vienna [efficacy of expectancy] schools in the action of drugs, which have shaken the stoutest faiths; and partly of the constant and reproachful object-lesson of homeopathy. No regular physician would ever admit that the homeopathic preparations, 'infinitesimals', could do any good as direct curative agents; and yet it was perfectly certain that homeopaths lost no more of their patients than others. There was but one conclusion to draw—that most drugs had no effect whatever on the diseases for which they were administered."(588)
It is distressing to see that the judgment of a man of Osler's intellect at the mercy of prejudice and preconceived beliefs, even when the lives of millions are at stake.
Dr. Henry Lindlahr, an eminent early twentieth-century pioneer of naturopathic medicine in Chicago, said about these comments by Dr. Osler: "With regard to the origin of the modern treatment of typhoid fever, however, the learned doctor is either misinformed or purposely misrepresents the facts. The credit for the introduction of hydropathic treatment of typhoid fever does not belong to the 'remarkable experiments of the Paris and Vienna schools.' These schools and the entire medical profession fought this treatment tooth and nail.
"For thirty years Priessnitz, Bilz, Kuhne, Father Kneipp and many other pioneers of Nature Cure were persecuted and prosecuted, they were dragged into the courts and tried on the charges of malpractice and manslaughter for using their sane and natural methods.
"Not until Dr. Brand of Berlin wrote an essay on the good results obtained by the hydropathic treatment of typhoid fever and it had in that way received orthodox baptism and sanction, was it adopted by advanced physicians all over the world. … When Dr. Osler says that most drugs have no effect whatsoever, he makes a serious misstatement. While they may not contribute to the cure of the disease for which they are given, they are often very harmful in themselves."(589)
In fact, Dr. Osler summed up his own bias against homeopathy when he wrote, "no regular physician would ever admit that the homeopathic preparations, 'infinitesimals', could do any good as direct curative agents" and that "the real curative agent" was "the buoyancy of mind."
Here we have to assume that Dr. Osler was really misinformed about homeopathy rather than purposely misrepresenting it. If he had been better informed, if for example, he had known even the one fact that homeopaths practicing genuine homeopathy rarely lost a pneumonia case—contrary to his false view that "homeopaths lost no more of their patients than others"(590) —he could have changed the course of medicine for the better and probably for ever. It is ironic that at the age of 70, Dr. Osler contracted influenza, which eventually developed into serious pneumonia and the empyema typical of the NIP, and died.(591)
Dr. William Mayo and the Course of Medicine
Another very influential medical authority was Dr. William J. Mayo, who went further than Dr. Osler in his views regarding the dangers of medicine, as it was also apparently clear to him that more people died under the "nasty medicines" of the dominant school of medicine than under what he called the "mental suggestion" of homeopathy, which was essentially, in his view, a placebo response.(592)
Why then did he not recommend that homeopathy be generally adopted? Is not the prevention of suffering and the saving of lives the fundamental goal of medicine? Why didn't Dr. Mayo and his like-minded colleagues promote homeopathy loud and clear in order to prevent vast amounts of suffering and save countless lives? But they remained complacent and idle in the face of the "nasty medicines" of orthodox medicine. As a result, people have continued to this day to suffer and die needlessly by the hundreds of thousands in epidemics and from iatrogenic incidents, people who could have been saved by a simple act of courage. Even though the ability of homeopathy to save lives had not yet been fully discovered at that time, the simple fact that patrons of this system had eight times greater odds of surviving CIP, and 41 times greater if they were pregnant women, the best option was clear, and it should have been courageously chosen. Was this not also sufficient evidence for beginning a full and complete investigation of the power of homeopathy to reduce suffering and save lives?
With CIP alone, we are looking at over 189,000 lives that could have been saved in the United States annually around 1920,(593) when Mayo made his speech, called The Medical Profession and the Public, at the opening of the Cleveland Clinic.(594)
Dr. Julia Minerva Green of Washington, D.C., reported that the mortality from pneumonia remained as high as ever in 1927: "Last winter here in Washington, over 1,300 cases of pneumonia were reported to the board of health in the first three months of the year, with between 300 and 400 deaths. Think of it! One-third to one-fourth of all cases died! Nearly all these patients went into pneumonia from grippe or flu. Why? Because the flu was suppressed and not cured.
"There are few cases of pneumonia under homeopathy and nearly every one is cured, even though many of them come to the homeopath uncured from other kinds of treatment. There are good reasons for this state of affairs:
- Most cases are aborted before they reach pneumonia.
- Patients treated habitually by homeopathy build up resisting power to acute disorders.
- We have homeopathic remedies which prevent pneumonia patients from advancing into the dangerous stage.
- All homeopathic effort is against suppression of symptoms.
- The action of the homeopathic remedy is gentle even in the affliction as violent as many pneumonias.
- It is marvelous how the remedy, correctly prescribed, will overcome all the harm already done by suppression in those cases which come from other treatment.
- We have invaluable tools in the deep constitutional remedies as builders of health in convalescence. …
"It is perfectly wonderful how the old and feeble: respond to this sort of treatment and regain strength as quickly as the young and robust could possibly do it. Under such blessings of homeopathy patients of 75 to 90 years' and more often recover from pneumonia as well as their sons and daughters could. They live on in peace and comfort and die quietly and rather quickly several years later. If people could understand the harm of suppression of chronic symptoms all through life, old people would be in far better health, happiness and peace."(595)
In the 1930s, CIP accounted for 10% of all-age deaths and was the third leading cause of death in the United States.(596) Today it is the eighth leading cause, being responsible for 4% of all deaths, or about 54,000 annually, a number which has been rising steadily in the last decade.(597)
In 1934, Dr. Petrie E. Hoyle wrote in an article called Pneumonia and Its Treatment: The Deadliness of Orthodox Incompetence, "An orthodox authority says that '0%, of all deaths in the civilized countries are due to pneumonia and that practically 30%, of all pneumonia cases are sure to die.' When pneumonia is treated homeopathically less than five percent die. These two averages are for adult cases, of all classes and all ages. What I have to say to you regarding the terrible difference in death risks demands your earnest and immediate attention. … The very great difference in death rates shows the serious extra risk you run if you are being treated by orthodox methods. … You are much safer if you employ homeopathy."(598)
It is clear to the medical historian that through the centuries medicine and its authorities tend to be blind to their own shortcomings. Medicine today is largely the extension of the blindness that existed at the times of Drs. Andral, Holmes, Osler, and Mayo. Today, however, iatrogenesis is likely even more pernicious and ubiquitous.
A discovery made repeatedly and almost since the birth of homeopathy is that even the most indisputable facts and statistics cannot override deeply entrenched prejudices, even when thousands of lives are at stake. The discourse of homeopathy can't be heard, and its data can't be seen, because it is incomprehensible to its opponents—it simply doesn't fit into their understanding of the world.
One day, however, enlightened and courageous medical authorities and scientists will bring homeopathy to the forefront of medicine and science until a tipping point is eventually reached, which is now just a question of time, because the overwhelming evidence of the effectiveness of homeopathy cannot be ignored for ever.
Skeptics and the experts on whom they rely and who present false premises and flawed evidence against homeopathy have greatly retarded the progress of medical science. For there never was any good reason to reject homeopathy and there is even less today, since homeopathy is clearly efficacious and the information on its efficacy is available to anyone with an Internet connection or a library card.
Evidence of the effectiveness of homeopathy has been presented over and over in the last 200 years and, as a rule, has been ignored or rejected without having been submitted to careful examination. Prejudice can be powerful, but truth will always be more resilient, and homeopaths will never stop their quest to have their record heard and properly judged in the court of true science.
Homeopaths will not rest until the value of homeopathy is recognized, and the evidence is overwhelmingly in their favor. They will always welcome frank and rigorous debates with skeptics in order to clear up misrepresentation, misapprehension, and misinformation until the truth is generally recognized. Dr. William Holcombe had been a staunch allopath before he discovered the truth of homeopathy soon after the 1849 cholera epidemic in Cincinnati. With this background he wrote, "We accept the situation, not without regret, but with righteous determination. We must and will float the flag of homeopathy until it is known and respected throughout the world, until the whole medical profession shall recognize its merits and do justice to us and honor to itself by adopting our principles and practice. Then, and not until then, will the homeopathic lamb lie down in peace with the allopathic lion. The slow, but inevitable and progressive evolution of the human mind, will bring it to pass."(600)
He added that homeopaths "have accumulated facts and established principles, which, like the pure mathematics, are fixed and permanent."(601)
The value of the results reported by several generations of homeopaths from around the world will one day be considered a priceless asset for humanity.
Homeopathy Is Discovered Through Experience
An interesting phenomenon in this collision of paradigms is that when a patient is saved from the brink of death by a homeopath, physicians of the dominant school of medicine usually close their minds and dismiss the significance what they have just witnessed. Surely one would expect that, as a scientist, every physician who had witnessed a remarkable homeopathic cure would want to investigate that system of medicine.
Sometimes that has indeed happened, as in a case reported by Dr. Daniel Coleman of New York of a child who was dying from pneumonia while presenting with great dyspnea, rattling of mucus, and a flaring motion of the nostrils: "Some years ago, a doctor friend of the 'old school' talked to me about a child with pneumonia whom he was treating. He was very worried and counsel had been called, I told him that I would see the child with him for nothing to prove the value of homeopathy. He said he would call me if necessary. In about a day later I received the following telephone call from him. It ran thus, 'I would like to have you see that child, Coleman, but I don't think you can arrive before she dies.' I hurried to the patient. She presented a perfect picture of Lycopodium. I sat down and said to my friend: 'The child is desperately ill; if you think you can cure her, go ahead, but if you can't and you wish me to treat her, it is hands off with any medication.' He answered, 'I can do nothing, I am at the 'end of my rope,' if you can cure that child, I will believe in homeopathy.' He then laughed in a most annoying manner. I gave Lycopodium 30th and told the nurse that I would return in a few hours. ... The child made a perfect recovery. The doctor was convinced of the truth of homeopathy. He told of the case in an enthusiastic manner at one of his medical meetings and attended lectures on homeopathic materia medica."(602)
In another example of a patient dying from pneumonia, Dr. Cora M. Johnson of Skowhegan, Maine, related the conversion of Dr. William E. Payne, who later became the great pioneer of homeopathy in New England: "Fifteen years after Dr. Gram(603) returned to this country to practice the new doctrine, which he had learned in Europe, a foreign practitioner of homeopathy named Dr. Sandicky came to a hotel in Bath where the late Dr. W. E. Payne was boarding. He loaned him the Organon to read; and the description of his reflections, as, unmindful of the fleeting hours, he read on and on, until the gray light of morning broke in upon him, is charming. 'Give me a rule,' he thought, 'that will hold good in all parts of the world, as well in the Eastern as in the Western hemisphere—in the malarious regions of India, as well as in the salubrious climate of New England. Is Similia similibus curantur this rule? Is all this true, and will it stand the test of experience?' He obtained a copy of Hering's Jahr(604) and a few remedies. His trial case was a desperate one of pneumonia that had threatened to defy all routine treatment. The promptness with which the disease yielded to his remedies gave him courage to proceed with his experiments, and as brilliant success crowned his further efforts he abandoned the old practice utterly and cordially embraced the new and better system.'"(605)
But only a small minority of physicians permit themselves to seriously investigate homeopathy after seeing the prompt recovery of patients who were expected to die. One would think that the physicians trained in our universities would be highly qualified scientists who would recognize when they had witnessed an important phenomenon and would wish to investigate it.
The Story of How Dr. William Holcombe Became a Homeopath
As mentioned earlier, Dr. William Holcombe, like the great majority of his peers, was a staunch allopath until he discovered homeopathy. The story of his conversion, which is typical of most conversions, even though long, is worth repeating because it touches on many aspects of the conflict between homeopathy and allopathy but from the point of view of an allopathic physician. His story, How I Became a Homeopath begins thus:
"I am the son of a doctor. I was born and bred in a medical atmosphere. My father's office was a favorite place for my games when a little boy, and for my reading and study when a youth. ... Physicians were, in my opinion, the wisest and greatest and best of mankind. I saw the whole faculty through the venerated form and character of my good father.
"My father gave me his name, and I coveted his profession. In that happy period of boyhood when our stick-horses are as real as grown men's hobbies, I played the little doctor, and galloped from tree to tree and from post to post visiting my imaginary patients. Before I was fifteen I had read Doctor Rush's half-literary, half-scientific, Introductory Lectures, and was eager to precipitate myself into the vortex of professional study. The child is father of the man. But I was wisely held to a long course of academic preparation. Still my penchant for medicine appeared in every thing. I applied my earliest Latin and Greek to analyzing the medical terms in old Hooper's Dictionary; I acquired the Natural Sciences, as mere stepping-stones to the Vital; I studied French, not for 'Gil Bias' or 'Corinne,' but for Milne Edwards' Zoölogy; and in my botanical lessons, although there were ladies in the class, I had an eye rather to the properties of drugs than to the poetry of flowers.
"My father was a Virginia gentleman of the old school, conservative in all his principles. The associates of his forty years' career will testify to the deep-rooted, thorough-going honesty of his nature, and to the chastity of his professional honor. So I followed my father's footsteps, walked the hos¬pitals, frequented the dissecting room, took notes on the lectures, and graduated at that excellent institution. I returned home full of l'esprit du corps, devoted to my professors, proud of my diploma, and crammed full of principles which I was ready to put into practice, at the pecuniary and physical expense of my patrons.
"I am not writing an autobiography. These personal details would be out of place, did they not furnish a kind of psychological key to something that follows. I am about to portray the struggles of an ardent and inquiring mind, whilst emancipating itself from the bondage of authority, and emerging into the light and liberty of truth. My experience is typical. Every man, physician or layman, who ignores, misrepresents, ridicules and despises homeopathy and homeopathic physicians, as I did, does so from similar causes or motives. The traditions of the past, the teachings of masters, the example of friends, the power of custom and fashion, the opinions of society, weigh like an incubus upon us all, and take away not only the means, but the will to investigate a new truth from an independent standpoint. These vast powers, which retard the progress of mankind, press upon us like the atmosphere, invisibly and unfelt. We are not conscious how blind and feeble, how ignorant and prejudiced and silly we are. There is folly which thinks itself wise, and ignorance which struts in the garb of knowledge. The rulers, the doctors, the chief priests and Pharisees of human thought and fashion, who hold the high places and the fat offices of the world, never recognize the genius of Galileos, and Harveys, and Jenners, and Fultons, and Hahnemanns, until their doctrines have triumphed by their own merits—until they have risen, like the sun, high into the heavens, dispersing the deep mists of error and prejudice which at first concealed them from sight.
"I heard of homeopathy, at Philadelphia, as all medical students hear of it. One professor, with a show of philosophic bearing, gave it a mock analysis, and dissipated it into thin air. ... Another, whose private practice it had probably injured, denounced it bitterly, as an atrocious imposition upon the credulity of mankind. A third took a good-natured, jocose view of the whole affair, and laughed (all the students laughing in echo) at infinitesimals as transcendental medicinal moonshine. ...They predicted its speedy death and final extinction. Of course I believed every word they said. I was not expected or taught to seek for truth, but to receive what my masters imposed on me as truth. They dogmatized—I accepted. ...
"So I passed out into the great world of action—bigoted, did not know it. Scores of intelligent physicians were adopting the new practice; thousands of intelligent families were becoming its adherents; books were being printed, journals established, colleges founded; a great school of thought was growing up about me, as every genuine truth always grows, slowly but surely—and of all this I had no living conception—it was all as unreal to me as the angel presences which are said to throng invisibly our earthly career. I was like some old mariner, who still hugged closely the barren shores of tradition, whilst others, armed with the magnetic needle, explored boldly the ocean of truth. ...
"It was fortunate for me that I entered on my profession in partnership with my father, who was then enjoying a large practice in one of our Western cities. It not only gave me fine opportunities for observation, at a period when most young physicians are waiting for business, but it threw me into daily and most instructive contact with a richly stored, sagacious, cautious, and practical mind. Experience with many physicians is merely a routine repetition of errors; with my father it was a steady advance toward the truth. His skepticism was continually chilling my enthusiasm. He was coldly empiric disdaining speculations and distrusting all authorities. I thought we had twenty specifics for every disease; he knew we had twenty diseases without a single specific. I thought that doctors were ministering angels, bestowing health and blessings around them; he knew that they were blind men, striking in the dark at the disease or the patient—lucky if they killed the malady, and not the man. I thought that medicine was one of the fixed sciences, true in theory and certain in practice; he had discovered the wisdom, as well as the wit, of Voltaire's famous definition—'the art of amusing the patient whilst nature cures the disease!'
"I had passed a year or two in active practice, ... when I came suddenly into contact with what I regarded as the most gigantic humbug of the day—homeopathy. It was in this manner: I was called out one cold winter night to a fine, plump little boy, suffering with the worst form of membranous croup. I gave him an emetic: he grew worse. I put him in a hot bath: he became hoarser and hoarser. I repeated the emetic and the bath, with no beneficial result. His difficulty of breathing became frightful. He then sank into a stupid state, with hot head and dilated pupils. I became alarmed. I saw that unless a speedy change could be induced, death was inevitable. I determined to bleed him, to relieve his congested brain, and then trust his fate to broken doses of calomel.
"When I announced my ... intention, the poor mother burst into a violent paroxysm of weeping, mingled with exclamations that her child should never be bled. ... The husband took me into another room, and told me that his wife had once been insane, after the death of a child, and was confined for mouths in a lunatic asylum. He said he dared not thwart her will in so important and delicate a matter—that the child must not be bled. ... The upshot of it was that I was dismissed, not at all sorry that I had escaped the charge of a death which I deemed inevitable. ...
"The next day I expected to hear of the death of my little patient, but no such rumor reached my ear. The morning after I looked in the daily papers for a general invitation to his funeral, but no obituary was to be found. I was puzzled. What doctor, capable of saving life under such circumstances, could have been called in after I left? How I envied him his knowledge or his good luck! Imagine my amazement when I saw the child playing in his father's yard about the middle of the day! My curiosity was piqued, and became too strong for my professional hauteur. I determined to know who my skilful successor in the case was. I rang the bell, asked for the lady of the house, and with some little embarrassment made my inquiries. I was informed that a homeopathic physician had been summoned; that he put a towel, wrung out of cold water, around the child's neck, and some little sugar pellets on his tongue. The pellets were repeated every fifteen minutes until the breathing became easy, the cough loose, and the patient roused up, from which time the convalescence was rapid.
"A sensible mechanic, who discovered that another mechanic executed some piece of work more rapidly, perfectly, durably and scientifically than himself, would be anxious to see how the new principles had been put into practice. In this case one would suppose that I said to myself, 'This is very remarkable. I will see this new doctor; I will learn what he gave this child, and why he gave it. We will at least amicably exchange ideas: I may learn something useful to myself and others.' That would have been common sense, but it would not have been allopathic sense. That is what any sane man, who really enjoyed perfect freedom of thought and action, would have done; but I was bound hand and foot by the invisible but powerful trammels of education, prejudice, interest, fashion and habit. I derided the treatment as the climax of folly, and had the effrontery to claim that the child was cured by my remedies, which began to act after I left. The lady dissented from this opinion, and was evidently a convert to homeopathy. My suspicion that the new system was a disgraceful imposture now became a conviction, and not long after I refused to be introduced to the worthy gentleman who had saved my patient.
"This Doctor Bianchini, who incurred my juvenile contempt, was a respectable graduate of the University of Genoa, venerable for his age and his experience. Seventeen years afterwards I met him under more agreeable circumstances. I had learned his secret of curing croup, and had employed it in hundreds of cases without a single failure. Of course we saw each other in a different and better light, and we laughed together at my harmless allopathic pomposity. ...
"On reviewing the state of my mind at that period, and asking myself wonderingly why such a striking homeopathic cure should have made no impression whatever on my thinking faculties, I remember that I was laboring under two great delusions respecting homeopathy, which prevented it from obtaining the least foothold on my faith. I was bitter because I was ignorant, as some animals are said to be fiercest in the dark.
"In the first place, I regarded homeopathy as a doctrinal monstrosity, and its practitioners as uneducated impostors. True, I had never read a single book or journal of the New School. I had never conversed with one of its physicians. I knew positively nothing about the whole matter, as is the case to-day with nine-tenths of the allopathic physicians in the United States; my ignorance was the cause and measure of my intolerance. The London Lancet,(606) the mighty Hector of the orthodox hosts, was my oracle. I took everything at second-hand. ...
"I needed some judicious, intelligent friend to show me what I now see so clearly—that homeopathy is the crowning piece, the cap-stone of medical science; that it begins only where allopathy ends. It is a grand philosophic reform in the highest and last-studied department of medicine—the application of remedies to the cure of disease. The entire course of scientific instruction necessary to the accomplished physician is the basis from which the true Homeopath must work upward and onward in his noble mission. Hahnemann stood head and shoulders above the crowd of his detractors. Jean Paul Richter calls him 'that rare double-head of genius and learning,' and so he was. The Germans who planted the new system on this continent—Hering, Wesselhoeft, Gram, Haynel, Pulte, and others—were in every instance gentlemen of extensive and varied erudition. Their first American disciples—the apostles of the school in our different cities—were in most cases men of superior mental endowments, and of thorough classical and scientific culture. In New York City, for example, Gray, Wilson, Channing, Hull, Curtis, Bayard, and others of the early homeopaths, were men who would have added luster to any of the medical or social circles in London or Paris.
"In the second place, I was precluded from feeling the least interest in the social or scientific status of homeopathy by a foregone conclusion, that infinitesimal doses were nothing at all—attenuated far beyond the possibility of any material power, and that homeopathy was therefore a perfect humbug. True, I had never tried them, nor would I credit the evidence of those who had. Unless I could be satisfactorily convinced of the why and the how and the wherefore of the phenomena, I determined to deny the existence of the phenomena themselves. This false and vicious mode of reasoning is almost universal. Nevertheless, all genuine philosophers, from Bacon and John Hunter to Bartlett and Hugh Miller, tell us that no a priori reasonings or considerations can establish either the truth or falsity of alleged facts. Experiment only can fairly verify or confute. John Hunter used to say to his class, 'Don't think, but try!' yet, in relation to homeopathy, people think, think—instead of trying. ....
"In 1849 we were visited by that dreadful scourge, the Asiatic cholera. It loomed up like a black cloud in the East, and moved westward with frightful rapidity, spreading sorrow and death in its mighty shadow. We prepared for its visitation by earnest thought and study. We mastered the opinions and practice of those who had witnessed the previous epidemics. They were so discordant and unsatisfactory that we faced the great enemy with fearful misgivings of our power to contend with him successfully. ...
"So we went to work with all the resources at our command. If there was no bile secreted, it was not for the want of calomel; if the sufferings of the poor patients were not mitigated, it was not for want of opiates; if they sank into fatal prostration, it was because brandy and capsicum and ether, and a hundred other stimulants, could not rally them; if they became cold as death, it was because mustard plasters and blisters, and frictions and burning liniments, and steam baths and hot bricks, and bottles and boiled corn, and all the appliances for creating artificial heat from without, were no substitute for the animal heat, which was no longer generated within. The theories and practices in cholera, as innumerable as they are contradictory, reveal in the strongest light the fallacies, the absurdities, the non sequiturs, the monstrosities of allopathic philosophy. ...
"Very many cases of diarrhea, which would no doubt have become cholera, were cured by repose, diet, and simple mixtures, of which camphor was generally an ingredient. But when cholera was fully developed—when there was vomiting and rice-water discharges, and cramps and cold skin, and cold tongue and sinking pulse—our success, honestly reported, was poor indeed. Death dogged our footsteps wherever we went; nor were we more unfortunate than our fellow physicians. Boasted specifics came crowding upon us from the journals and papers, and by rumor and tradition. All were tried, and all failed. Our hearts sank within us, and amid the wailings of bereaved friends, and in the streets, black with funeral processions, we deplored in anguish the imbecility of our art. My honest old father exclaimed to me one day in his office, 'My son, we had as well give our patients ice-water as any drug in the materia medica. The cases which get well would have recovered without treatment.'
"This candid, truthful outburst of an experienced and strong-minded allopathic physician is as true to-day as it was twenty-five years ago, when it was made. The allopaths have done nothing for the human race in the amelioration of this terrible plague—positively nothing. They are ready to deny it—-to boast over again of calomel and laudanum, to declare the cholera to be as curable as toothache or neuralgia (which, by the way, they so seldom cure), and to vaunt their 'philosophical' theories and 'rational' practice in the very face of death and panic and depopulation. Some few sturdy, honest thinkers amongst them will occasionally tell the truth. Let the young Esculapian who ... thinks himself ready to cure every case of cholera, read the following extract from Aitken's Science and Practice of Medicine, (allopathic) page 2441, and let it sink deep into his soul, for sooner or later he will see and feel its truth:
"'There are few diseases for the cure of which so many different remedies and modes of treatment have been employed as in cholera, and, unfortunately, without our discovering any antidote to the poison. ...'
"This palpable failure of allopathy ... in a disease in which the symptoms are so striking and the indications of treatment so plain, set me to thinking, and I began to ask myself if we had not over-estimated its real value and importance in all other diseases. I gradually passed into a skeptical phases of mind. I became quite disgusted with the practice of my profession. I began to think ... that the materia medica was a strange medley of inexact ideas, puerile observations, and illusory methods. I admired the remark of the dying Dumoulin, that he left the two greatest physicians behind him—diet and water; and I echoed in my private cogitations the exclamation of Frappart: 'Medicine, poor science!—doctors, poor philosophers!—patients, poor victims!'
"I was roused from this state of disgust, incredulity, and apathy in the fall of 1849, by floating rumors of the successful treatment of cholera, at Cincinnati, by homeopathy. First one friend, and then another, echoed these marvelous stories, professing to believe them. A letter from Rev. B. F. Barrett, of Cincinnati, was published in the papers, well calculated to excite attention and inquiry. Mr. Barrett (afterwards a very kind friend) was personally known to me as a gentleman of distinguished worth and intelligence, and of unquestionable integrity.
"Mr. Barrett's statement was in substance this: He had one hundred and four families under his pastoral charge. Of these, eighty-six families, numbering four hundred and seventy-six individuals, used and exclusively relied upon the homeopathic treatment; seventeen families, numbering one hundred and four individuals, employed the old system. Among the former there were one hundred and sixty cases of cholera and one death; among the latter thirty cases and five deaths. This amazing difference between the two methods was supported by the assertion, that twenty cases of cholera occurred in the iron foundry of Mr. James Root, a respectable member of his congregation, all of which were homeopathically treated, without a single death.
"About the same time Doctors Pulte and Ehrmann of Cincinnati, published statistics of their treatment for three months. They managed eleven hundred and sixteen cases of cholera, of which five hundred and thirty-eight cases were of the severe type; from sixty to seventy collapsed, with thirty-five deaths. They gave the names, dates and addresses of all their patients, so that the facts could be verified, and challenged investigation and comparison.
" .... Making all due allowance for the extravagance of enthusiasm, credulity, imagination, and predilection, and also for errors in diagnosis and inaccuracies of detail, there was enough residuum of solid truth in all this to bring me silently to the conclusion—'There's something in homeopathy, and it deserves investigation.'
"When I made up my mind to give homeopathy a fair trial, I did it in the right manner. I did not read Professor Simpson's big book against it, nor Professor Hooker's little book against it, nor yet Professor Holmes' funny prose and poetry against it, and then tell my friends that I had studied homeopathy, and found nothing in it;—that is one very common allopathic way of studying homeopathy from the allopathic standpoint; nor did I get Hahnemann's works, and read them with my old pathological spectacles, and decide that the why and the how and the wherefore of infinitesimals were all incom¬prehensible, and that homeopathy was a delusion;—that's another allopathic way of studying homeopathy, almost as absurd as the first. No; I believed, with Hugh Miller, that scientific questions can only be determined experimentally, never by a priori cogitations. I got a little pocket cholera case, containing six little vials of pellets and a printed chart of directions. I determined to forget all that I knew for the time being, and to obey orders under the new regime, with the unquestioning docility of a little child. I awaited my next patient like a hunter watching for a duck.
"I was called up in the middle of the night to see a poor fellow, said to be dying of cholera, on a flat-boat which had just landed. I found him collapsed; he was cold and blue, with frequent rice-water discharges, and horribly cramped. His voice was husky, pulse feeble and fluttering; he was tossing about continually, begging his comrades to rub his limbs. I immediately wrote a prescription for pills of calomel, morphine, and capsicum, and dispatched a messenger to a drugstore. This was to be my reserve corps—ready for use if the infinitesimals failed. I consulted the printed direction: they ordered Cuprum metallicum when the cramps seemed to be the prominent symptom. I dissolved some pellets in a tumbler of water, and gave a tea-spoonful every five minutes. I administered the simple remedy, apparently nothing, with incredulity and some trepidation. 'I have no right,' said I to myself, 'to trifle with this man's life. If he is not better when the pills come, I will give them as rapidly as possible.'
"The messenger had gone for the pills a good way up town ... and it was quite three-quarters of an hour before he rushed on the boat with the precious allopathic parcel. My patient had become quiet; his cramps had disappeared, and he was thanking me in his hoarse whisper for having relieved him of such atrocious pains. The allopathic parcel was laid on the shelf. I consulted my printed directions again. Veratrum album was said to be specific against the rice-water discharges and cold sweats, which still continued. I dissolved a few pellets of Veratrum album, and ordered a teaspoonful every ten or fifteen minutes, unless the patient was asleep. Before I left the boat, however, an allopathic qualm came over me, ... and I left orders that if the man got any worse, the pills must be given every half hour till relieved, and I might have added—or dead.
"I retired to my couch, but not to sleep; like Macbeth, I had murdered sleep—at least for one night. The spirit of allopathy, terrible as a nightmare, came down fiercely upon me, and would not let me rest. What right had I to dose that poor fellow with Hahnemann's medicinal moonshine. ... His apparent relief was probably only a deceitful calm. Perhaps he was at that moment sinking beyond all hope, owing to my guilty trifling with human life. ... I was overwhelmed with strange and miserable apprehensions. ... I left my bed of thorns at daybreak, and hurried to the boat, trembling with fear lest I should find the subject of my rash experiment cold and dead. He was in a sweet sleep. The sweating and diarrhea had disappeared, and a returning warmth had diffused itself over his skin. He was out of danger; and he made the most rapid convalescence that I had ever witnessed after cholera. ... I began to believe in homeopathy. I remembered my case of croup, which Doctor Bianchini had cured so quickly, and I felt like giving the new treatment a little more credit for the cure. Let not my reader imagine, however, that I went enthusiastically into the study and practice of homeopathy, as I ought to have done. No, indeed!—it was two long years of doubting and blundering before I was willing to own myself a homeopath. We may be startled into admissions by brilliant evidence like the above, but we really divest ourselves very slowly of life-long prejudices and errors. I have cured many a man with infinitesimals, and found him as skeptical as ever. I myself witnessed the triumph of these preparations in scores, yes, hundreds of cases, before my mind advanced a step beyond its starting-point—'There is something in homeopathy, and it deserves investigation.'
"My father, like the sensible man he was, did not sneer or scoff at my homeopathic experiments: he recognized the partial truth of the principle—Similia similibus. He used to say that he had too frequently cured vomiting with small doses of ipecac, and bilious diarrhea with fractional doses of calomel, to question the fact, that a drug in minute quantities might relieve the very symptom which it produced in large ones. He came in one day from a bad (really hopeless) case of cholera, and proposed I should try my Cuprum metallicum and Veratrum album on it. The poor fellow died, and quite a damper was thrown on my young enthusiasm. We expect everything—perfection, magic, miracle—from a new system. Allopathy may fail whenever it pleases—it has acquired the privilege by frequent exercise of it; but let homeopathy fail, and all inquiry ceases, until something forces it on our attention again.
"When I visited Cincinnati, soon after, I had interviews with Mr. Barrett, and also with Dr. N. C. Burnham, the first homeopathic physician I ever conversed with, and obtained much surprising information about the homeopathic treatment of cholera and other diseases. I supplied myself with books and medicines, and began the systematic study of the system. I confess I found it very difficult, and even repulsive, with the limited material at our command at that time. I discovered, however, what many allopathic explorers fail to discern, that homeopathy offers us the only medical theory which professes to be supported by fixed natural law, and that it requires thorough scientific training to understand it properly, or to prosecute it successfully. I wonder now at the slow reception—the lazy, frequently interrupted study—the apathy, the indifference of that period. I would sometimes practice allopathically for weeks together, and only think of homeopathy in obscure, difficult, obstinate, or incurable cases.
"Singular injustice is perpetrated against homeopathy every day by both physicians and people. The allopathic incurables—the epileptics, the paralytics, the consumptives, the old gouty and rheumatic, and asthmatic and scrofulous, and dropsical and dyspeptic patients—come to the homeopathic doctor for prompt, brilliant and perfect cures. Failing to obtain these after a few days' or a few weeks' trial, they go away, and disseminate a distrust of the value of homeopathic medication. All these cases are treated better in the new than the old way. They are more frequently cured—much more frequently relieved; they live longer, with less pain and more comfort. But these are not fair test cases of the power of homeopathy. ... If a man wishes really to discover what Homeopathy can accomplish, let him try it in acute, sharply defined, uncomplicated diseases, such as cholera, croup, erysipelas, pneumonia, dysentery, hemorrhages, neuralgia, and the various forms of inflammation and fever. Having settled its value in these simpler and better understood diseases, he can advance to its trial in the more complex, and he will never be so much disappointed as to be willing to relapse into the old cobweb theories and practices of the past.
"The dysentery followed the cholera throughout the Western country. I treated many cases homeopathically, and with admirable results. I had occasion to try my new practice on myself in this painful disease. I persisted in the use of my infinitesimals, although I suffered severely; and my father, becoming impatient, brought me a delicious dose of calomel and opium, which he requested me to take. I declined doing so, on the ground that I ought to be as willing to experiment upon myself as upon others. I made a rapid recovery. ... He gave very little medicine, and dieted very strictly. I insisted, however, and I believe correctly, that the average duration and severity of the disease were less under the new than under the old system.
"In 1850 I moved to Cincinnati, and entered on a wider and more stimulating field of thought and action. My professional activities were sharpened and brightened; and yet, strange to say, my interest in homeopathy waned and almost expired. I had the books and medicines in my office, and occasionally prescribed according to the Similia similibus; but my studies, my associates, my ambition, and my general practice were allopathic. I kept aloof from homeopathic physicians. I professed to believe that homeopathy had some indefinable value, but had received too imperfect and obscure development as yet to be trusted at the bedside. I wrote my first medical essay for an allopathic journal. When I reflect on this course of mine, I am not surprised that a family sometimes uses homeopathy for a while, seems very much pleased with it, having every reason to be so, and then quietly glides back, under the influence of personal friendships or fashion, into the old, respectable, well-regulated dominions of calomel and Dover's powder.
"Every man has a magnetic or spiritual sphere emanating from him, which tends to bring others into rapport with him, and so impose his opinions and views upon them. A society or institution, whether a church, a political party, or a scientific school, is a large sphere, the aggregation of the individual ones, which has a powerful magnetic quality, binding all the similar parts in strict cohesion, and repelling from it everything dissimilar which would resist its bonds or question its authority. The majority of men are unthinking, and they are drawn and held, like little particles of iron about a magnetic centre, unconscious of their slavery, and fondly believing themselves capable of independent thought and action. The medical profession—a vast, learned, influential and 'intensely respectable' body—insensibly exhales from itself a sphere of dignity, authority and power well calculated to reduce its subordinates to a respectful submission.
"This was the secret of my vacillation of opinion. My hopes, my aspirations, my friendships, my social position, were all associated with the old medical profession. I was again, as at Philadelphia, in the charmed atmosphere of colleges and journals, and hospitals and dispensaries, and medical authors and genial professors. I loved the books of the Old School; I admired its teachers, respected their learning, and coveted their good opinion. To array myself against what I so much hon¬ored and respected—to cut loose from these fashionable and comfortable moorings—to throw myself into the arms of those whom I had been absurdly taught to consider as less respectable, less scientific, less professional than myself and friends, was a task difficult to accomplish. The discovery and the acceptance of truth are alike painful. It is a continual warfare with one's self and the world: it is a fight in which defeat is moral death, and in which victory brings no ovation. My inglorious repose under the shadow of the allopathic temple was suddenly broken by the iron hand of a better destiny.
"In the spring of 1851 I visited an uncle in the extreme South. ... I was returning to Cincinnati, ... when the cholera broke out among the German immigrants, who crowded the lower deck of the steamboat on which I had taken passage. The clerk of the boat ... told me that I was the only physician on board, and requested my assistance for these poor people; I was surveying the medical stores in the large brass-bound mahogany chest which our river boats always keep, when the clerk remarked to me, 'Ah, doctor, I have got a better medicine chest than that, from which I select remedies for such passengers as have good sense enough to prefer homeopathy to allopathy.' With that he brought out a nice little homeopathic box, and I determined at once to make a grand Homeopathic experiment on our Teutonic travelers. ...
"We put every new case on tincture of Camphora, one drop every five minutes —enjoining absolute rest and strict diet. The fully formed cases were treated with Cuprum metallicum, Veratrum album and Arsenicum album, according to the symptoms. Many cases of cholerine were immediately arrested. Thirteen passed into fully developed cholera, of which two were collapsed. There was not a single death. This outburst may have been of milder type than usual, for similar epidemics have occurred on plantations, many cases with inconsiderable mortality. I did not think of that or know it at the time; and my success made a powerful impression on my mind in favor of homeopathy. Two Old-School physicians came on board at Memphis, and were all suavity, examining my cases with great interest, until they learned that I was practicing homeopathy on them, when they turned up their noses and withdrew to a distance quite as agreeable to me as to themselves.
"I returned to the study of homeopathy with redoubled zeal. I not only read Hahnemann, but everything I could get hold of bearing on the subject, for and against. ... I also proved medicines on myself—Aconite, Nux vomica, Digitalis, Platina, Podophyllum, Bromium, Natrum muriaticum and Eryngium aquaticum, and became convinced experimentally of the truth of those homeopathic teachings about the action of drugs, which are revolutionizing the materia medica. I sought the acquaintance of homeopathic physicians. ... I began also to practice homeopathically, with more precision and success than before. Indeed, I was bursting my chrysalis shell, and getting ready to soar into the golden auras of a better philosophy.
"The last case I treated out and out allopathically was that of a dear friend, a promising young lawyer. He charged me especially not to try my little pills on him; for ray use of homeopathy was getting to be pretty generally known. So I treated his case, typhoid fever, with as much allopathic skill as I could display. He became worse and worse. I called in the distinguished Doctor Daniel Drake in consultation, and Professor John Bell, of Philadelphia, then filling a chair in the Ohio Medical College, was added to the list of medical advisers. My poor friend lived six or seven weeks—his constitution struggling, like a gallant ship in a storm, not only against his disease, but against the remedies devised by his well-meaning doctors for his restoration. Modesty of course demanded that a young man like myself should stand silent and acquiescent in the presence of such shining lights of the medical profession. But the spirit of free criticism had been awakened in my brain, and I watched the ever-varying prescriptions they made, and the shadowy theories upon which they were based, with mingled feelings of surprise, incredulity, and pity. I mean no disrespect to these eminent and excellent gentlemen, both of whom treated me with the most genial civility, and paid me social visits after my formal separation from the Old-School profession; but having seen allopathy practiced in a long and painful case, in the best manner and spirit, by its best representatives, I determined to abjure it, as a system, forever.
"This determination was arrived at by the contrast between the two systems, which I was now enabled to make by my previous study and practice of homeopathy. A few years earlier I would have received the dicta of Doctors Drake and Bell as words of oracular wisdom—I would have taken notes of the principles and practice involved in the case, and would have thought I had gained some invaluable knowledge from these consultations. What jargon to me was all their learned phrases about correcting secretions, equalizing the circulation, allaying irritation, obviating congestion, determining to the cuticle, etc., and all their various means and measures for doing these things, when I knew that Bryonia and Rhus tox in very small doses, prevented the development of the typhoid condition, for the very simple reason that they produced it in large ones—every drug having opposite poles of action, one represented by large doses, and the other by small! How useless, and even injurious, were their opium and hyosciamus and lupulin, etc., checking secretion, benumbing sensibility, obscuring the case, when a few pellets of Coffea would have produced sleep or quieted irritability! And then, how much better infinitesimal Arsenicum album or Mercurius would have checked that obstinate diarrhea than all the chalk mixtures and astringents in the materia medica! And so of every feature in the case. The fact is, there are many exceedingly valuable empirical preparations in allopathy, for this, that, and the other morbid state or symptoms; but the general mode of philosophizing is false, vicious, and irrational, and the resulting practice frequently destructive: therefore, although I might continue to give quinine for intermittents, bismuth for gastralgia, etc., still, as I discarded all the allopathic theories, and nine-tenths of their practice, having a better system, thoroughly practical, safe, prompt, pleasant, and efficacious, I could no longer call myself, or consent to be called, an allopathic physician.
"Now arose a delicate and difficult question. If you believe that homeopathy is merely a reform in the highest sphere of medical science—that all scientific culture is preliminary, necessary, and adjuvant to it—if you intend retaining many of the best Old-School empirical prescriptions, because your new system, although magnificent as far as it goes, is still imperfect—why do you cut yourself off from your old friends and associates, and assist in founding a new and antagonistic School of Medicine, instead of infusing the spirit of your reform into the old one? Ah! but could I have done this noble work? Could I have taught the power of infinitesimals, and have reported my homeopathic cures in the established journals of medicine? Of course not. That failing, could I have written books on Homeopathy, contributed articles to homeopathic journals, consulted with homeopathic physicians, and have remained in good standing and loving fellowship with the intolerant members of the Medico-Chirurgical Society? Of course not. My dignity, self-respect, candor, honesty, and spirit of independence, all demanded that I should send in my resignation to that Society, as to a party of gentlemen to whom my opinions and practice had become obnoxious.
"I have now been a homeopath for twenty-four years [since 1853]. I have practiced it in all our Southern diseases for twenty-two years. Having studied both sincerely, I can contrast the two systems correctly. In all acute diseases, from the worst of them, cholera and yellow fever, to the earache or a cold in the head, homeopathy cures more frequently, promptly, and perfectly. In the chronic and organic diseases it sometimes achieves brilliant results; but in some obscure, complicated, or incurable cases, we have still occasionally to borrow the empirical crutches of allopathy, for which we are sincerely grateful. Having been true to myself and my conscience, and, as I firmly believe, to science and humanity, I have so long ignored the scoffs, the taunts, the base insinuations of some of my old confreres, that I have almost forgotten they ever existed."(607)
Prejudice Against Homeopathy
Since the time of Hahnemann, homeopaths have had to fight to keep homeopathy alive against the enormous bias they continually had to face.
We can find in the literature innumerable cases of discrimination against homeopaths and homeopathy. As a typical example, we find Dr. Baumgarten of Magdeburg who was prosecuted in 1843 following a coroner's inquest after one of his patients had died from pneumonia because "the method of treatment pursued was not fitted to avert the fatal issue of this inflammation of the lungs, and heart, and that the death of Knoll was probably to be attributed to the want of a necessary condition for her cure, even in itself trifling lesion of the chest, viz., a proper medical treatment."
In his long defense, Dr. Baumgarten presented many statistics, which among others included the ones of Dr. Fleischmann in the Hospital of the Sisters of Charity, namely that he treated from 1838 to 1841, 133 patients with pneumonia with nine deaths, a mortality of 6.8%, and 27 patients with endocarditis without losing a single patient.
He wrote to sustain his defense, "I might have referred to the above mentioned results in inflammations of the chest in public hospitals, just because they are public establishments, but I will exhibit another list of the cures hitherto published. The experiments of Dr. Marenzeller at Vienna, and those of Dr. Herrmann at Tulzyn, are the only experiments of importance instituted under the particular direction of the State, and are, therefore, also given:
"As respects the views of the examining bodies, it is not for me to pronounce a judgment; and I simply observe, that they declared themselves satisfied with my knowledge and principles, and that my own opinion is, that, by a right knowledge of homeopathy, I have very much increased my advantages in the cure of disease.
As I cannot deem a purely allopathic Medical Board competent to judge of this case in an authoritative manner, I have taken the liberty of publicly submitting it, through the Allgemeine Homöopathische Zeitung, to the judgment of all medical men."(609)
In 1919, Dr. L. D. Rogers made some pertinent comments about the comparative mortality favoring homeopathy during the NIP: "We have not heard of any 'regular' orthodox medical society appointing a committee to investigate the claims of homeopathy or of taking any steps to make their members acquainted with the system of treatment that had a mortality rate in flu and pneumonia thirty times less; in other words, which lost one patient where it lost thirty. … If the tables had been turned and the homeopaths had lost 30 out of every 100 they treated, and the 'regulars' only 1, every homeopathic physician in the United States would now be in jail or under bond for his liberty, and possibly for his life. They would have been branded as 'criminals,' 'assassins,' 'quacks,' 'fakes,' and the product of 'low grade schools.'"(610)
Similarly, Dr. R. F. Rabe, editor of the Homeopathic Recorder commenting on the results reported in a survey conducted among the members of the American Institute of Homeopathy, said, "Were these figures reversed the homeopathic school would speedily be legislated out of existence."(611)
In fact to this day, homeopathy continues to be ridiculed in the popular, medical, and scientific media. When one mentions during academic, medical, or social meetings that one specializes in homeopathy, conversations often falter, and eyes and people gradually move away. The bias against homeopathy has been as enormous as its successes. And it is indeed bias, for there has never been, even in modern times, an open, in-depth, rigorous scientific discussion by its opponents about the outstanding clinical record of homeopathy. What would really be the point of such an exercise, as its opponents firmly believe that homeopathy was long ago found to be false?
|Place||No. of Cases||No. of Deaths||Mortality Rate|
|Dr. Marenzeller's experiment at the Military Hospital in Vienna
|Experiment at the Military Hospital in Tulzyn
Thus homeopathy became a medical outcast even though homeopaths never chose to be separated from general, orthodox medicine. But in order to survive, they had to create their own institutions. Dr. Holcombe continued his exposition: "It would be well for him to remember the fate of an allopathic doctor in the State of New York, who denounced a young homeopath located in his neighborhood as a quack. He was brought before a court of justice on the charge of insult and abuse. The case turned upon the definition of quack, and the applicability of that definition to the plaintiff. The quack is an ignorant pretender to knowledge. The young homeopath produced his certificates and diplomas, proving that he had received a good classical and medical education. A quack is a boastful advertiser of his own merits and capabilities. The young doctor had announced his business in a modest and unpretending manner. The quack is a vender of secret medicines and nostrums. The plaintiff secreted nothing, deceived nobody. He invited investigation, and was ever ready to explain his system and his measures to those who wanted information. The definition was exhausted; it did not fit the case; the allopath was guilty of insult and abuse. The judge imposed a heavy fine upon him and administered a severe and well-merited rebuke."(612)
The rhetoric of the skeptics on homeopathy has so far been unsound and their opinions unreliable, for they reject homeopathy without providing evidence and thereby deter medical progress, leading to unnecessary suffering and countless loss of lives. But owing in no small part to the credulity of the scientific world, as well as that of governments and the public at large, a bigoted and self-serving medical establishment has succeeded in dominating the medical discourse.
Scores of homeopaths throughout the world have been unfairly tried, prosecuted, and even jailed for practicing homeopathy. In 1873, for example, eight members of the Massachusetts Medical Society, the majority of whom were graduates of Harvard University, were accused and found guilty, among other things, of trying to "disorganize and destroy the Massachusetts Medical Society."
Dr. Israel T. Talbot, a founder of the first medical college for women and performer of the first successful tracheotomy in America, was one of the accused and acted as counsel for his colleagues. He made the following demands to the Board before the hearing: "1) That the trial should not be held with closed doors, but that
their friends should be allowed to be present. Demand refused. 2) That reporters for the press should be allowed to be present; that as this was a matter affecting the character of the accused, the public had a right to know the evidence produced and the manner of conducting this trial. Demand refused. 3) That the accused be allowed legal counsel, since it is proposed to dispossess them of rights, privileges and personal property. Demand refused. 4) That they be allowed to have an advocate, not a member of the Massachusetts Medical Society, present to advise them. Demand refused. 5) That, as they have reason to object to the record of the Secretary, a phonographicreporter of the trial should be appointed by mutual consent, and sworn to the faithful performance of his duty. Demand refused. 6) That the accused may employ a phonographic reporter. Demand refused. 7) That an amanuensis, not a member of the Massachusetts Medical Society, be allowed to sit beside the accused and assist him in taking notes of the trial. Demand refused. 8) The right to peremptory challenge. Demand refused. 9) The right to challenge members of the Board of Trial for good and sufficient reasons. Demand refused."(613)
Most importantly, because the weight of evidence has not been used to judge the efficacy, harm, and benefits of homeopathy, people the world over have been deprived for more than two centuries of the best that medicine can offer because of fierce theoretical opposition and underlying economic interests.
In effect, homeopathy has been largely pre-labeled and condemned, without having been subjected to any objective or thorough scientific analysis. Magicians are instead called in to expose the supposed deception; homeopathy is ridiculed and everyone has a good laugh.
But it goes beyond laughter. For most, some of the most shameful manifestations of cowardice and dishonesty in the history of science have occurred when conventionally trained physicians and well-known scientists in the medical establishment decide to put homeopathy to the scientific test and find its underlying principle to be real and efficacious in practice. Then their sanity is questioned, their reputations are destroyed and they are ostracized in professional and academic circles. That happened to Dr. William Henderson, professor of Clinical Medicine and General Pathology at the University of Edinburgh, to Dr. Jean-Paul Tessier, the protégé of Dupuytren who conducted trials at the St. Marguerite hospital in Paris, and in the twenty-first century, to Dr. Jacques Benveniste, head of INSERM (the French institution which is equivalent to the NIH) who was short-listed for a Nobel prize, and Dr. Luc Montagnier, the 2008 co-winner of the Nobel Prize for Physiology and Medicine.(614)
Many scientists have told the author that they would endanger their careers by showing any interest in homeopathy. It is strange that even today homeopathy can attract so much hostility, particularly in individuals who are unable to accept factual evidence that conflicts with their philosophical convictions.
The Decline of Homeopathy
If the results homeopathy obtained during the NIP were so extraordinary, how can we explain its slow and progressive decline in America after the NIP?
In fact, the decline had already started 50 years earlier, when the standards for being a homeopath were lowered and its educational system on the whole stopped graduating physicians capable of practicing genuine homeopathy. The decline became more apparent after homeopathy had reached its numerical acme around 1900. This can be seen with progressive disappearance of its medical schools. In 1901, there were 20 medical schools teaching homeopathy in the United States.(615) By the time of the Flexner Report in 1910, only 15 remained.(616) By 1920, this number had dropped to 8. Dr. W. A. Dewey reported then in a Bulletin of the Bureau of Education of the Department of Interior: "At the present time homeopathic medicine is taught in Boston University School of Medicine; New York Homeopathic Medical College and Flower Hospital; Hahnemann Medical College of Philadelphia; Homeopathic Medical School of the University of Michigan; Homeopathic Medical School of Ohio State University; and Hahnemann Medical College and Hospital of Chicago. Two other State universities
include in their medical curriculums the teaching of the homeopathic system of materia medica and therapeutics, namely, Iowa State University Medical School and the Medical School of the University of California [in San Francisco]."(617)
By 1940, only one homeopathic medical school was left, the Hahnemann Medical College of Philadelphia. In 1999, historian Julian Winston described the slow phasing out of the teaching of homeopathy: "In 1945, as soon as the pressure to supply physicians for the war eased, the American Association of Medical Colleges and the American Medical Association Council on Medical Education notified Hahnemann [Medical College of Philadelphia] that it was being put on probation. Teaching homeopathy did not help its probationary standing. … In 1949, the probation was lifted and Hahnemann Medical College divested itself of homeopathy."(618)
Another factor that converged with an internally weak profession was the changes that took place in medical education of all schools of medicine in America in the early twentieth century. The most notable change was the closing of many medical colleges and a resulting decline in the number of medical students. That was described in 1922 by Dr. Scott Runnels, director of Homeopathic Laboratories at the University of Michigan: "There has been a general falling off in the number of medical students in the country during the past twenty years. The following statistics are illustrative of the percentages in both schools: From 1905 to 1917, both the allopathic and homeopathic schools of medicine experienced a similar decrease of close to 50% in the number of students registered in their colleges.(619) However, the homeopathic school experienced an increase in its graduates in 1920 because of the increased interest in homeopathy following the NIP.(620)
In 1922, Dr. William H. Dieffenbach, chairman of the Alumni Permanent Endowment Fund Committee of the New York Homeopathic Medical College explained the new economical reality of medical schools: "During the past three decades medical education has undergone such changes that a great many colleges have been closed, while others must meet the requirements of advancing laboratory equipment and clinical teaching or close in the near future. It is vital to the health of the community that every medical college should be preserved. In New York State alone there has been a loss by death of 350 physicians a year in excess of the number of doctors graduated by the medical schools. … My college, the New York Homeopathic Medical College and Flower Hospital, is the only Homeopathic College in New York State and its importance to our branch of the profession as 'the Keystone to the Arch of Homeopathy' cannot be over-emphasized. The College has been established over fifty-five years and has thus far withstood all the vicissitudes of the demands of the times. We are now faced with the necessity of taking care of its annual deficits and meeting the demands for new equipment. … Homeopathy has done so much for humanity that our appeal to our friends and patients will not go unanswered. While the spectacular advances of other branches of medicine have tended to place the administration of drugs into the back-ground, the truths of homeopathy have been proven and reproven for the past one hundred years."(621)
The homeopathic profession was found unable to meet the new economical reality and to muster the support it needed from governments, institutions, and philanthropists to finance its medical schools. Having no more graduates, homeopathic institutions were slowly absorbed by the dominant school of medicine, particularly after cooperation had developed between the two schools.
In 1921, Dr. Hubert Work, president of the American Medical Association said before the annual meeting of the American Institute of Homeopathy, at a time when relations between the two schools of medicine were peaceful and without any apparent open conflict: "Your school of medicine and the school in which I was trained had so many things in common and so few points of difference that I cannot understand to this day why there is the distinction between us. … The training in the essentials of medicine, in preventive medicine, our school course in anatomy, physiology, and everything that pertains to the practice of medicine, except the administration of drugs, the essentials in the great scheme of the practice of medicine are taught by the two schools alike, are practiced alike. We are together in our work as regards the fundamentals. … You people do not care very much what your physicians prescribe provided they have laid the foundation to prescribe intelligently; we do not care at all what ours prescribe provided they have the education to prescribe intelligently, and so the essentials do not differ at all. … I am glad to have the opportunity to extend to you officially the greetings of the American Medical Association, and to say to you that as an association we are proud of you and wish to be considered American physicians with you."(622) The same evening, Admiral Edward Still, Surgeon General of the U.S. Navy, said, "I know that [Dr. Joel] Boone(623) has not told you about it because he keeps quiet on that score, but Boone for bravery in face of the enemy in France is the most decorated man in the Medical Corps of the Navy."
At that time, the homeopathic profession in the United States had high expectations for its future, the members of the American Institute of Homeopathy were received at the White House by President Warren G. Harding and the First Lady, and General Charles Sawyer, past president of the American Institute of Homeopathy, was President Harding's doctor. The profession was blind to the approaching demise of its institutions.
Without the necessary support from institutions and governments, the homeopathic profession, exhausted from constantly being in survival mode and fundamentally weak from an inadequate educational system, continued its slow decline in the United States in the years following the NIP. Furthermore, as Dr. R. F. Rabe, editor of the Homoeopathic Recorder, pointed out in 1919, even professed homeopaths were not immune to the delusive appeal of modern medicine: "Established medicine today finds itself doing its best work in the field of prophylaxis and immunity, while it is practically as helpless as ever in the field of curative therapy. We need only point to the truly appalling number of deaths under old school treatment in the recent pandemic of influenza and pneumonia for verification of this statement. But in our own school, where therapeutic results have been so strikingly superior, strangely enough we find little or nothing done to advance our knowledge of the very thing, which has enabled us thus far to achieve this superiority. We, too, are blinded by the magnificent luster of modern science and in its glare fail to see or to seize the very diamonds sparkling at our feet.
"What then ought we to do if there is to be an awakening within us which shall arouse us to action and cause us to place homeopathy where she rightly belongs, in the very keystone of the arch of drug therapy? For after all, homeopathy is and will remain a therapeutic specialty, and as such, by virtue of its fundamental law, will always be supreme in its legitimate field."
The Core Issue in the Conflict Between Homeopathy and Its Opponents
Scientists who have an opinion on homeopathy can essentially be divided into two groups:
- The first group is like the people who refused to look into Galileo's telescope. Here we have a complete rejection of homeopathy on the basis of its implausibility. No argument can dissuade them the conviction that homeopathy is a gigantic fraud since the increase in potency by further diluting a solution is obviously absurd. If they are shown evidence of any superiority of homeopathic treatment, they attribute it to the danger of allopathic drugs and the placebo effect of homeopathy and are ready to uphold any systematic opposition to homeopathy.
- In the second group, we find those scientists who take a completely different approach. While they realize the apparent absurdity of the UMPs they are willing to examine evidence and conduct experiments, which is what scientists are expected to do.
The dilemma related to the question of homeopathy has become clearer through the present exchange. One on hand, we have skeptics who reject homeopathy, not from facts, but primarily from a theoretical point of view. On the other hand, we have physicians who are interested in healing the sick in a safe, gentle and efficacious manner—therefore rationally and scientifically—and have accepted homeopathy after carefully examining its claims and conducting their own trials. We are in fact witnessing one of the most striking paradoxes in the history of medicine, namely, that what a homeopath considers to be evidence of effectiveness and excellence of practice following a purely scientific method, it is claimed by skeptics to be implausible and fraudulent and its splendid outcomes to be due simply to the placebo effect. It is at any rate unscientific. Whenever evidence of the effectiveness of homeopathy is reported in the world of science, skeptics are quick to reply that something must be wrong with the experiment, the observations, or the analysis of the results.
In fact, some skeptics go even further, according to Dr. Josef Schmidt, professor of ethics, history, and theory of medicine at the Ludwig-Maximilian University in Munich, Germany: "In order to raise the threshold into infinity, out of any reach of homeopaths, so-called scientific skeptics advocate a substitution of evidence-based medicine by the stricter concept of science-based medicine. According to that, also positive results of randomized clinical trials would no longer prove anything if their underlying rationale is not plausible to modern scientists. Since, according to their view, homeopathy is based on implausible principles such as the laws of similarity, infinitesimals, miasms, etc., any positive result of any future study whatsoever based on premises like that would henceforth—a priori—be judged as futile and irrelevant. … Drawing on the knowledge and methods of most advanced modern sciences, such as epistemology, quantum physics, chaos theory, systems theory, and history of science, today it seems clear that the mechanistic and materialistic Cartesian and Newtonian approach is not able to cope with the systemic, non-linear, and complementary conditions of living beings."(626)
Moreover, it is extraordinary to observe how ostensibly rational scientists become passionately irrational on the question of homeopathy. Many cannot bear the idea that a phenomenon cannot be explained, and so they deny its existence. But science does not limit its field of investigation because a result appears to be paradoxical or strange; it relies on facts alone, particularly when they are consistent, repeatable, predictable, and extraordinary numerous. True scientists do not allow themselves to be blinded by prejudice and personal opinion but instead follow wherever science leads them.
The theoretical physicist Dr. Richard Feynman points out that the infinitely small and large dimensions of the universe are not easy to understand, and he stressed the necessity of accepting Nature as it is: "Electrons, when they were first discovered, behaved exactly like particles or bullets, very simply. Further research showed, from electron diffraction experiments for example, that they behaved like waves. As time went on there was a growing confusion about how these things really behaved—waves or particles, particles or waves? Everything looked like both.
"This growing confusion was resolved in 1925 or 1926 with the advent of the correct equations for quantum mechanics. Now we know how the electrons and light behave. But what can I call it? If I say they behave like particles I give the wrong impression; also if I say they behave like waves. They behave in their own inimitable way, which technically could be called a quantum mechanical way. They behave in a way that is like nothing that you have seen before. Your experience with things that you have seen before is incomplete. The behavior of things on a very tiny scale is simply different. An atom does not behave like a weight hanging on a spring and oscillating. Nor does it behave like a miniature representation of the solar system with little planets going around in orbits. Nor does it appear to be somewhat like a cloud or fog of some sort surrounding the nucleus. It behaves like nothing you have seen before. …
"The difficulty really is psychological and exists in the perpetual torment that results from your saying to yourself, 'But how can it be like that?' which is a reflection of an uncontrolled but utterly vain desire to see it in terms of something familiar. … I think I can safely say that nobody understands quantum mechanics. So do not take the lecture too seriously, feeling that you really have to understand in terms of some model what I am going to describe. ... I am going to tell you what nature behaves like. If you will simply admit that maybe she does behave like this, you will find her a delightful, entrancing thing. Do not keep saying to yourself, if you can possible avoid it, 'But how can it be like that?' because you will get ... into a blind alley from which nobody has escaped. Nobody knows how it can be like that."(627)
Science is based on the careful gathering of evidence through meticulous observation and experimentation and sound reasoning with the ultimate goal of obtaining a body of precise, consistent, and reliable knowledge. Physicians rely entirely on such precise scientific knowledge to obtain the highest degree of success in preventing disease, promoting optimal health, and achieving the therapeutic ideal in every sick person, which is the gentle, rapid, complete, and lasting restoration of health. It is a remarkable fact that the opposition to homeopathy is not based on scientific evidence but on the belief that homeopathy is implausible. But in science, it is not enough to put forward a hypothesis without testing it, and the opponents of homeopathy have never seriously tested their hypothesis, even though it would be extremely easy to put homeopathy to the test, for instance, in patients with pneumonia. To reject homeopathy on scientific grounds would require facts based on impeccable experiments that were more numerous than the ones that show its effectiveness. That should be as obvious as it is to verify whether it is raining outside by opening the window and putting one's hand out rather than arguing about it while looking away from the window. However, skeptics refuse to follow that simple scientific procedure.
In short, the conflict between homeopathy and its opponents boils down to a clash of facts versus ideas, which greatly resembles other conflicts on scientific questions that have been argued through the centuries. Typically, one of the two parties of professed scientists presents a set of evidence based on irrefutable facts, which are opposed by the other side for being unacceptable from a theoretical or ideological point of view.
The dispute between the creationists and the evolutionists is a good example of such a conflict in the world of science that resembles the one in which homeopathy has been involved since its beginnings. Here, we find creationists, who still maintain that there is no persuasive evidence for evolution. It has been said that no amount of evidence will make the slightest difference for creationists, who have closed minds and are convinced that they are right. Similarly we could say that no amount of evidence will make the slightest difference to skeptics who can't be bothered to examine the full evidence of homeopathy. Clearly, the skeptics have confused or convinced a lot of people for a long time about homeopathy. But homeopathy will eventually have the upper hand in this argument because, in the long term, sound facts are more powerful than unsupported beliefs and assumptions.
Skeptics have always considered a priori that any evidence in favor of homeopathy must be flawed because they view homeopathy as being implausible. Of course, that argument is presented in the guise of science whereas it is in fact the antithesis of science, since it is based on personal opinion and theoretical or philosophical objections rather than on clinical or experimental facts.
Another remarkable fact in this long-lasting conflict is that the opponents of homeopathy have never attempted to dispute the foundation of homeopathy, which is the law of similars. Nor have they ever been able to show solid, experimental evidence against the phenomenon of potentization used in the preparation of homeopathic remedies.
In view of the overwhelming evidence for the effectiveness of homeopathy, the scientific community and the general public should ask the skeptics for nothing less than incontrovertible facts that negate the law of similars, the phenomenon of potentization, and the clinical results of homeopathy, because the health and lives of millions of people are at stake.
Homeopathy is now at the end of the second stage of Arthur Schopenhauer's description of the three stages of truth acceptance: "All truth passes through three stages: First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident." Of all major scientific discoveries, homeopathy may have had the longest period of being opposed before receiving universal acceptance.
In his 1875 presidential address to the American Institute of Homeopathy, Dr. William Holcombe expanded on the idea that the conflict between homeopathy and allopathy will continue until the fittest survives: "In matters of pure science, determinable only by observation and experiment, why this partisan feeling, akin to political or religious prejudice? The meaning is this, that the contest between allopathy and homeopathy is a great conflict of ideas. Ideas govern the world. Erroneous ideas are eradicated with much difficulty. Great and true ideas are always of slow and painful birth and tardy growth. A conflict of ideas is a battle or series of battles, and presents all the meanness, the cunning, the stratagems, the bitterness and sometimes the violence of actual war. ... Men have been burned at the stake for believing in the unity of God, the central position of the sun, the rotundity of the earth and the plurality of worlds. ... [W]e are no readier than our ancestors to give any new idea a hospitable reception, especially if it clashes with our preconceived opinions, our religious prejudices, the dogmas of our school or the evidence of our senses! ...
"Ideas which incur the persistent neglect, contempt, animosity or persecution of the age in which they are presented, belong to one of two classes. Those of the first class are fundamentally false, erroneous in theory, dangerous in practice, kept alive for a time by the enthusiastic zeal of friends, but slowly dying out from inherent want of vitality, and from the pressure of hostile influences brought to bear against them. Such were the many forms of religious, philosophical and medical doctrine which have illustrated the eccentricities and the vagaries of the human mind. Among these ephemera, it is the fashion for the allopathic school to class our beloved homeopathy, and its prophets continue to predict that the next generation will witness the burial of the last adherent of the infinitesimal heresy.
"On the other hand, the greatest ideas are not received, but are rejected, despised, persecuted and resisted, when the ground has not been prepared for their reception, when they are sprung prematurely upon an unappreciative world; for ideas, like plants, have to be furnished with proper soil and suitable culture. The fundamental ideas of homeopathy are these: Diseases are cured by remedies which produce similar symptoms in the diseased parts, and ... cures may be effected with doses entirely inappreciable by our senses. The uninstructed mind immediately and instinctively revolts against both these propositions, as the child revolts against the idea that the world is round or that the sun is stationary in the heavens. ...
"If in one age of the world homeopathy and a belief in it are impossibilities, and in a succeeding age homeopathy is not only discoverable but acceptable and accepted, there have been causes at work to produce the change, which it is exceedingly interesting and instructive to trace.
"Our subject belongs to that department of the philosophy of history known as the history of opinion and discovery. ... It will be sufficient in our limited space to consider briefly four great causes which have led to the discovery or development of homeopathy and prepared the public and professional mind for the partial acceptance it has already received.
"These causes are:
1st. The growth of the critical spirit, insuring free discussion and inquiry, and bringing about greater flexibility of thought and readier acceptance of new ideas.
2nd. The development of experimental philosophy and the consequent elevation of fact entirely above theory and speculation.
3rd. The discovery of the microscope and its application to anatomical researches.
4th. The wonderful advances made in the last half century in the laws and phenomena of the imponderable and elementary forces of nature.
"1st. History is full of the persecutions of those who have advanced ideas which were repugnant to the unthinking but dominant majority. Galileo, Harvey, Jenner, Fulton, and Hahnemann himself are stereotyped illustrations. But to form a vivid conception of the difficulties which have been overcome, imagine the entire medical profession to be composed of such men as Simpson, Holmes, Hooker and the editors of the London Lancet. With what scorn and even violence would such bigots, a few hundred years ago when they had the power, have repressed the doctrine of Similia similibus and the use of infinitesimal doses. Homeopathy would have been strangled in the birth by these watchful guardians of their own opinions and interests. Indeed it is probable that the homeopathic idea has been frequently prevented from taking form and shape and coming to the light. ...
"2nd. When I stated that the development of experimental philosophy was a necessary antecedent to the discovery and acceptance of homeopathy, I asserted a truth of great significance. Experimentation is altogether a modern process. The ancients, who were keen observers and good describers of facts, knew nothing of experiment in our sense of the term. They observed and speculated; the moderns observe and experiment. To experiment is to operate upon a substance in such a manner as to discover or elicit some fact or facts about it unknown before. This method began with the great revival of thought in Europe after the long night of the dark ages. ... This method of investigating and as it were interrogating and cross-examining nature is the cause of our rapid strides in physics and chemistry, and of the vast and ever-increasing development of arts and sciences.
"Homeopathy is the child of philosophical experiment. Hahnemann was himself a chemist as well as a physician. He was fond of the laboratory and of the practical study of nature. Dissatisfied with the current theories of drug action, he experimented boldly upon himself, when in perfect health, with Peruvian bark. It was one of the grandest and most fruitful experiments ever made. ... The bark produced on him an attack of ague and fever. It was a new fact, unknown, undiscovered before. Peruvian bark cures ague and fever—an old fact. It causes ague and fever—the new fact, discovered by experiment. Put the two facts together, compare them, reason from them, and you have a new idea. It cures ague and fever because it has the power to produce it. Similia similibus curantur is uttered! Homeopathy is born! And a thousand hitherto detached and lawless facts are drawn together by a new thought and reduced to a common law. Light breaks in, a new system is inaugurated, and the world is wiser and better for the change.
"Such was the glorious beginning of homeopathy, not in the dreams of the poet, the speculations of the philosopher or the visions of the saint, but in the bold experiment upon his own body by a determined and sagacious physician. Such an achievement was impossible in any other age but ours, for the world was not ripe for it until experimentation became the ruling thought, principle and habit in the scientific mind. From that day to this experiment on the healthy system has been the guide and key to the construction of the homeopathic materia medica. Something has been learned from accidental poisonings, something from empirical observations on the sick; but true homeopathy depends for its scientific precision upon the discovery of new facts by experiment, the great instrument of modern thought. ...
"3rd. The homeopathic law having been established, and a new materia medica created by novel and fruitful experiments, the next difficulty to both physicians and laymen was the homeopathic dose. A very minute dose was found, also by experiment, to be more efficacious than a merely small dose; and it was afterward discovered that an infinitesimal quantity of the drug, chosen on the homeopathic principle, was, in some cases, not more powerful but more curative than the very minute but still appreciable doses. This was a very puzzling fact, and the difficulty was to realize the existence of any medicine at all after it had been so comminuted as to elude the evidence of the senses and transcend the possibility of chemical analysis.
"The compound microscope and its applications have made the homeopathic dose comprehensible by the human mind. I may safely say that previous to the discovery of that wonderful instrument, the conception of an infinitesimal dose would have been an impossibility. The microscope has done for the infinitely minute side of nature what the telescope has done for the infinitely vast and remote. It has revealed a new world to us, and enabled us to realize what a universe lies beyond the reach of our senses or the tests of our chemical art.
"Take ... [an] illustration, from the crystalline lens of the eye of the codfish. This minute pellucid object is found by the microscope to consist of about five million distinct fibers. These fibers are furnished with teeth like those of a watch-wheel, and the teeth of the adjacent fibers lock into each other. Now there are sixty-two thousand five hundred millions of these teeth. Each tooth has six surfaces which come into contact with the corresponding surfaces of the adjacent teeth, so that the number of touching surfaces is three hundred and sixty-five thousand millions.
"Think of this extraordinary fact; realize it in your imagination; reflect that each of these surfaces is a space, a reality, a mechanical power, and you can readily conceive that the atom [i.e., the smallest quantity] of the highest homeopathic attenuation retains form, and substance, and properties, and has its part to play in the mechanism of cure.
"This is still more comprehensible when we remember that our own nervous tissues and blood-globules are just as inconceivably minute as the lens of the codfish, and that our homeopathic processes simply bring the medicine into a state of corresponding minuteness. The crude substances of allopathy never get into these secret recesses, these molecular and atomic spheres of vitality, no more than a steamship can get from the sea into the little mountain rill away up near the snow line.
"Hear what Hughes Bennett says of this infinitesimal anatomy, in which homeopathy works its wonders: 'The intricate molecule has never been reached even with the highest magnifying powers. In the same manner that the astronomer with his telescope resolves nebulae into clusters of stars, and still sees other nebulae beyond them, at present irresolvable, so the histologist with his microscope magnifies molecules into granules, and sees further molecules come constantly into view.'
"One of the greatest modern philosophers, La Place, looking with comprehensive spirit on the wonders of animal life, exclaimed: 'Beyond the limits of this visible anatomy commences another anatomy, whose phenomena we cannot perceive; beyond the limits of this external physiology of forces, action, and motion, exists another physiology, whose principles, effects, and laws it is of greater importance to know.'
"This invisible anatomy and physiology constitute the field where homeopathy works with its invisible atoms and its invisible operations, but its sure and perceptible result. Within the allopathic world of wonders there is another world still more wonderful; within the molecule of old medicine lies a still more energetic atom opposite in its action. It is not surprising that men, living for ages with no scientific methods or instruments, did not penetrate into this mysterious sphere. It lay undiscovered, because the means of its discovery had not been invented. Homeopathy is the new continent, the western hemisphere of medicine, and Hahnemann was its Columbus."(628)
The implications of this long-lasting conflict between the proponents and opponents of homeopathy are wide-ranging and probably more important than most people realize. It is more than just a simple feud between two systems of medicine, because it is really the story of a great injustice to humanity.
Some countries have made homeopathy an official system of medicine and have enjoyed its advantages. In India, for instance, millions of people have benefited since homeopathy was integrated and institutionalized in the 1960s and 1970s. The great humanitarian spirit and clinical success of homeopathy in India stands in stark contrast to the tyranny of skepticism and the deplorable mixture of profit seeking with medical science that has dominated Western discourse on homeopathy for the last 150 years.
Homeopathy as an Art and Science That Can Be Taught and Learned
The main limitation to the successful practice of genuine homeopathy lies in the difficulty in training doctors capable of practicing it proficiently, owing to the lack of a widespread high-quality educational system. But once the right kind of system of medical educational is established, homeopathy will be able to reach its full potential to help suffering humanity.
In the hands of beginners, success with homeopathy can be around 10% to 20%, while in the hands of true experts it can reach close to 100%. That is the reason that Hahnemann recommended a conscientious and complete study of homeopathy after the study of medicine before beginning its application in full-time practice.(629) He said it is not sufficient to prescribe remedies that were prepared by a homeopathic pharmacy. To be homeopathic, remedies must be prescribed with one goal in mind, which consists in having the physician's complete attention and care focused on treating each patient as an individual without trying to fit him or her into any category.(630) Ideally, homeopathy should be part of the core curriculum of medical education and the study of the basic sciences and specialties should be subservient to it.
Application of the Principle of Similars to Any Epidemic Disease
A doctor practicing genuine homeopathy is always ready to face any new epidemic disease, because the principle of similars can be applied to every sick person at any time. When poliomyelitis made its first appearance in New York City in 1916, homeopaths sought in its store of established remedies the ones most similar to symptoms experienced by the sick. Just before being named New York City Health Commissioner, Dr. Royal Copeland reported how homeopaths had coped with the new epidemic, which carried a high mortality rate: "During the past summer there stalked the streets of New York City a more terrible form of death than ever before came to plague a civilized and sanitary people. It entered ten thousand homes, snatched to its bony breast a multitude of precious ones, and left behind an army of deformed and helpless children—many worse than dead. As might be expected, the medical and sanitary officials of the city arose in their might to exterminate this dread disease. But alas! the scourge halted not!
"More doctors were called into consultation, famous laboratories were opened for study of the problem, and every local scientist was requisitioned for service. Still the epidemic widened its field. In desperation there was a call made for every sanitarian in North America. There assembled the greatest aggregation of public health experts, bacteriologists, laboratory directors, professors of hygiene, epidemiologists, and medical experts ever brought together for a single purpose. Days were spent in gathering first-hand information regarding the epidemic, visiting afflicted sections of the city, examining patients, making laboratory tests, and estimating therapeutic values. No possible method of treatment or remedy was overlooked. What did it all avail? Absolutely nothing. The death rate was undisturbed and oneout of three children afflicted gave its life. Cases treated one way or another, or left untouched—all suffered the same fate. The medical profession was baffled, and the only confident physician was the one who had not seen the disease.
"At this stage, the [homeopathic] Flower Hospital opened its doors to a group of infantile paralysis patients. The first wagon-load came from the wards of another institution, glad to be rid of hopeless cases. Five of them died within a few hours of admission to Flower, one within twenty minutes. Certainly, we may properly exclude these cases from our statistics; they were dying when they came and had practically no treatment. But out of thirty-five other cases, just one died, and every single one of the living and paralyzed children had improvement of the paralysis before dismissal from the hospital. I doubt if any other group of cases in the city of New York can show anything like as good a report. Now, what treatment did these children receive? Either our doctors made more skilful use of the ordinary methods, or else they did something different from the usual procedure. Which was it?
"Our doctors had seen an occasional case of infantile paralysis, but never enough to form any opinion as to treatment. They were as helpless in general as were all the other scientific gentlemen, who had met in solemn conclave to discuss the disease. But our men had the advantage of an elaborate store-house of knowledge, the homeopathic materia medica. They ransacked this collection until they found Cicuta, Curare, Belladonna, Gelsemium and Hydrocyanic acid, homeopathic remedies, with symptoms corresponding to the symptoms of their little patients. As the wing of the bird fits the air, so did one of these remedies or another fit the symptoms in an individual case. No generalization, no shot-gun procedure, no cure-all, no universal specific—no such unscientific way was followed, but for each case its own remedy was prescribed. …
"Once more, my friends, and in a spectacular way has homeopathy demonstrated its superiority to all other methods of cure. ... [I]n our own Flower Hospital ... have we seen its virile and potent strength! ... By supporting [the homeopathic college] and endowing it, humanity is being supplied with a means of cure when other means fail. Homeopathy shortens disease, relieves human suffering, and prolongs the span of life. Are we not justified in presenting the case of homeopathy and urging its more general adoption?"(631)
Waiting for Homeopathy To Be Heard In the Court of Science
In 1921, Drs. Scott Runnels and Dean W. Myers, two professors of medicine at the University of Michigan, envisioned bringing the conflict between homeopathy and its opponents into "the court of science": "Few of those who condemn homeopathy have a knowledge even of its principles, to say nothing of its practice, and even less of its track record. Wherefore, it is clear that in the court of science, their testimony, however voluble and dogmatic, would be vain. Their arguments against homeopathy are from a theoretical point of view, while homeopaths base their claims upon clinical experiments millions of times repeated. Clearly at the judgment bar of science, only experiments equally careful, equally numerous, but leading to opposite conclusions can be accepted as countervailing arguments. The question in brief is a practical one. Are the claims and statements of homeopaths justified? Hahnemann has set forth a law of nature which has never been disproved by any department of science, and on the contrary positive proof of its veracity is overwhelming."(632)
The purpose of the current discussion is to point out the fact that homeopathy is based upon a definite law which is scientifically provable and that it is the only known law in medicine directed at medicinal therapeutics which specifically triggers a general healing reaction, also referred to as an allostatic response of the whole person (ARWP).(633, 634)
On several occasions the American Institute of Homeopathy requested the American Medical Association to appoint a committee to act, with or independently of, a like committee of the American Institute of Homeopathy to investigate and prove or disprove the law of similars. These invitations were never accepted.(635, 636) Perhaps, the time has now come.
Different methods of treatment yield different results. The main factor for weighing the value of each method of treatment should be evidence based on the most incontrovertible facts; however belief and dogma have been the basis of judgment for too long in this most vital medical and scientific issue. The long accepted and classic way of proceeding in all the natural sciences should not be any different for homeopathy, because there is no place for bias in science and medicine.
No one has a right to oppose homeopathy upon purely theoretical grounds, particularly when it is has been practiced all over the world for more than two centuries with all experience showing its immeasurable value to humanity.
Physicians who refuse to recommend homeopathy to patients with pneumonia, for instance, are in fact signing the death warrant for ten or more persons out of every hundred with this disease, and an informed public should hold them responsible.
Beliefs, influence, and politics have so far greatly determined the legitimacy of medical education and practice. Once Similia similibus comes to be recognized as the therapeutic principle of choice by a physician, the difference between homeopathy and allopathy becomes clear, particularly in the outcome experience in every patient, which is a world apart from the old practice.
A Challenge to Scientists
Scientists who are up for the challenge presented by homeopathy and decide to look into Galileo's telescope will have a rich and vast body of evidence to examine, whether it is the infinite number of extraordinary and consistent cases of recovery from acute or chronic mental, emotional, or physical conditions; long-term observational studies on large populations; innumerable prospective and retrospective epidemiological studies; in vitro experiments with all types of living organisms; well-designed and rigorous RCTs; or basic scientific research.
In view of this mass of evidence, there is no justification for the argument that homeopathy cannot be true because it is implausible.
When dogma is more important than factual evidence and scientists give credence to the allegations of the opponents of homeopathy, they bring discredit to the whole world of science; when that is pointed out, scientists tend to remain silent, as in the current debate.
Medical historians, who time and again investigate epidemics, should be encouraged by the academic and scientific communities to break the code of silence that has been imposed on them and to examine the record of homeopathy critically and report it objectively. That record, consisting of the results and experience of generations of homeopaths from all over the world, is contained in books, journals, and official reports that can be found in medical libraries all over the world. Historians would soon realize from their investigation that these results are authentic and that homeopathy is real.
The next step would be to conduct trials with very sick patients. If after such trials the physicians become convinced that the principle of similarity is true and decide to adopt genuine homeopathy, they will have a fascinating and gratifying medical career.
Rating the Quality of the Evidence and Strength of Recommendations
The Canadian Evidence-Based Care Group writes, "Occasionally the benefits of an intervention are so clear, and the harms and costs so small, that there is little or no need for rigorous evaluation."
Let us proceed through this exercise and evaluate from the perspective of evidence-based medicine (EBM) the clinical evidence supporting the efficacy of homeopathy for patients with CIP. The main purpose of such an evaluation process is to rate the evidence and strength of a recommendation for an intervention with a particular population of patients. (637)
Four questions should now be asked in this evaluation process:
- Does homeopathy work as an intervention or not?
- How effective is homeopathy in the treatment of patients with CIP?
- On the basis of its effectiveness, what should be the strength of a recommendation for homeopathic treatment in the case of patients with CIP?
- Aside from patients with CIP, what is the expected prognosis in patients having any of the numerous WPDs if they were treated with genuine homeopathy?
Does Homeopathy Work As an Intervention or Not?
The first question in this rating process is, "Does homeopathy work as an intervention or not?"
Reliable evidence from rigorously conducted RCTs has conclusively demonstrated that homeopathy works.
Even without the evidence provided by RCTs, all experience and data support the evidence that homeopathy forms a consistent and robust intervention with a scientific basis and sound principles; that experience and data are found in numerous in vitro experiments, an enormous collection of clinical reports and case studies, expert opinions, cohort retrospective studies, and prospective observational and epidemiological studies.
The fact that every aspect of homeopathy, from its development to its final application to patients with all types of conditions, is consistent with the purest methods of experimental and natural sciences and that the clinical outcomes have been consistently outstanding are sufficient evidence to demonstrate the soundness and effectiveness of homeopathy.
The robust epidemiological and observational evidence clearly establish cause and effect between the homeopathic treatment and the recovery of health and the saving of lives.
The question of causality becomes even more convincing when the fundamental sciences support the plausibility of the high dilutions commonly used in homeopathy. Moreover, extensive in vitro research with cultured cells, microorganisms, enzymes, yeasts, and plants entirely supports the biological plausibility of the law of similars and of the highly potentized remedies. Finally, clinical research in animals confirms all the experience that has been reported in humans.
In fact, all evidence and experience indicate that the law of similars is a real and irreducible phenomenon.
Scientists who have studied the question seriously would all agree that the record of homeopathy is unique in the history of medicine, for no other intervention presents such a huge amount of high-quality evidence for the prevention of disease and the recovery of health by patients with all types of acute and chronic conditions.
Effectiveness of Homeopathy in the Treatment of Patients with CIP
The next question that follows in this rating process is, "How effective is homeopathy in the treatment of patients with CIP?"
Often observational studies yield only low-quality evidence, but there are unusual circumstances in which guideline panels will classify such evidence as of moderate or even high quality.(638)
Because the results obtained with genuine homeopathy are consistent, reliable, predictable, and highly favorable in patients with CIP, regardless of the confounding factors examined and regardless of the time, place, or physician, we may be very confident about these results, which indicate a high quality of evidence.(639)
It has been known since at least the mid-1800s that homeopathy saved lives while PAA killed patients with CIP, and all experience shows that significantly fewer people die of CIP under homeopathy than under PAA or CCC. Therefore these facts yield an extremely large and consistent estimate of the magnitude of the treatment effect.
Some critics may question the value of the epidemiological and observational evidence presented in this essay. However, Dr. Daniel J. Hoppe et al. of McMaster University have argued, in a paper called Hierarchy of Evidence: Where Observational Studies Fit In and Why We Need Them, that when treatment effect in observational studies is very pronounced, when it shows effectiveness adequately, and when no confounding factors could account for such a large effect, the study design is no longer so critical.(640)
Because of the shear mass, homogeneity, and consistency of the results and the large effect obtained by homeopathy, particularly in critical cases, the evidence becomes very strong. Dr. Gordon H. Guyatt et al. write, "When methodologically strong observational studies yield large or very large and consistent estimates of the magnitude of a treatment effect, we may be confident about the results."(641)
The evidence of the effectiveness of homeopathy in CIP patients is therefore of a high quality and with an extremely large treatment effect, and further research would be very unlikely to change the confidence in the estimate of the effect of the homeopathic treatment in these patients.(642)
Strength of a Recommendation for Homeopathic Treatment for Patients with CIP
The third question is this rating process is, "On the basis of its effectiveness, what should be the strength of a recommendation for homeopathic treatment in the case of patients with CIP?"
Any question about the best clinical evidence for the effectiveness of homeopathy leads to a rating of the strength of the recommendation attached to it, and that depends on two factors: 1) the tradeoff between the benefits and the risks and burdens; and 2) the quality of the evidence regarding treatment effect. In the highest category, the tradeoff is clear and leads to a strong recommendation.(643)
Since there is no harm or risk from genuine homeopathic treatment, the balance of benefits and harm can be classified only as a net benefit; and since most reports cited in this paper show much higher recovery rates and much lower mortality rates with homeopathy than with PAA and CCC, the magnitude of the benefits of homeopathic treatment is certain. Therefore, there should be no hesitation in making the strongest possible recommendation that homeopathic treatment be adopted for patients with CIP.(644)
However another point is usually considered here, namely, "Are the net benefits worth the costs?" Since the cost of homeopathy is low from a technical and medicinal point of view, it should receive the highest recommendation of any intervention (1A/strong recommendation with high-quality evidence). Furthermore, each homeopathic intervention is preventive, and the incidence of CIP in patients who had already been treated homeopathically would be less than in the rest of the population. Indeed, by enhancing the healing process in every individual who is being treated with genuine homeopathy, the patient's general health is optimized, the organism is better able to regulate itself, and a greater immunity to various diseases is thereby obtained. Moreover, as a rule, as soon as homeopathic treatment is begun in CIP patients, any further development to the advanced stages or complications of CIP is prevented.
The prevention of adverse outcomes leads therefore to the highest recommendation.()
Such a strong recommendation for patients with CIP should, as a rule, also apply to patients with other infectious diseases, because homeopathy does not attack microorganisms, such as viruses or bacteria, but instead strengthens the organism's capacity to defend and regulate itself. For that reason, homeopathy should be offered to patients suffering from inflammatory diseases, and to a lesser degree and with certain exceptions, to patients with a variety of other medical conditions, just as one would recommend a health-promoting diet and lifestyle.(646)
All experience, trials, and reports existing in the voluminous homeopathic literature, which consists of some 30,000 volumes, show a consistent and most favorable balance of risks and benefits, a high quality of care, and a high significance and magnitude of the outcomes in patients with both acute and chronic conditions. All of that should all be a strong incentive from a purely scientific perspective to adopt homeopathy universally as a mainstream method of treatment.
It goes without saying that the best prophylactic and therapeutic methods should be at the service of everyone, and homeopathy has amply demonstrated that it is the intervention of choice and should be universally available, not only to any population threatened with infectious and epidemic diseases, but also to the rest of the population.
One of the unique features of homeopathy is that it treats patients and not diseases. Therefore, since there will always be new infectious and epidemic diseases, homeopathy, instead of having to create new remedies for every new disease, simply uses from its store of more than 6,500 established remedies the ones that will most likely be indicated in any newly emerging infectious and epidemic disease.
For instance, when homeopaths first encountered yellow fever, they were able to rely on remedies they already had that presented pictures of diseases most similar to those presented by patients with yellow fever. In that way they dealt successfully with many epidemics throughout the Americas. At the time of writing, there is an outbreak, largely in West Africa, of Ebola hemorrhagic fever (EHF), which has an average mortality rate of 78.5%.(647) As the symptoms of EHF are very similar to those of yellow fever, the remedies most often indicated in the various stages of yellow fever should be the ones that will be indicated in the different stages of EHF. Despite the fact that the average mortality in yellow fever with PAA and without treatment is about 50%, homeopaths have been able bring that down to about 5%.
In 1867, Dr. H. M. Paine of Albany, New York, compared the mortality rate under allopathy and homeopathy in patients with yellow fever throughout the Americas. He found that the average mortality under allopathy was 44% and under homeopathy was 5%. He wrote, "The results of the treatment of yellow fever show that from one hundred deaths under allopathy, nearly eighty-eight (87.8) would have been saved by homeopathy; that is, in every hundred lost by allopathy, only about twelve would have been lost by homeopathy—making over eight times (8.2) the mortality in any given number of cases."(648)
Not surprisingly, the growth of homeopathy rose and fell with epidemics. The nineteenth century was a time of deadly epidemics of such diseases as typhus, cholera, typhoid fever, malaria, scarlet fever, smallpox, membranous croup, yellow fever, diphtheria, influenza, etc., and the popularity of homeopathy continually grew after each of those epidemics. In 1894 when the U.S. population was about 65 million, Dr. Holcombe remarked: "Ten million of the people of the United States patronize the homeopathic system. The figures, indicating the real progress of homeopathy, have doubled every twelve or fifteen years ever since its first introduction into this country."(649)
Twenty years earlier in 1874 during the golden age of homeopathy, Dr. Holcombe recited the gains that the homeopathic school had recently achieved: "Witness the vast strides which homeopathy has made in the teeth of all opposition; its five thousand practitioners, most of them graduates of the old school, its growing literature, its schools, hospitals, dispensaries, and asylums, and its lay-adherents numbered by the million.
"Witness the conceded fact, that it is not the practice of the ignorant and incapable, or of the fantastic and hypochondriacal; but that it absorbs and holds the lion's share, in proportion to numbers, of the strong-minded, intelligent, traveled and cultivated portion of society, which recognizes and treats homeopathic physicians as honorable and enlightened men, and benefactors to humanity.
"Witness the effort made by scores of the most distinguished and aristocratic men in England to have homeopathy introduced into the army and navy of their country.
"Witness the recent law in the State of New York, that applicants for licenses to practice in that state shall be examined upon homeopathy as well as upon allopathy by the State Commissioners.
"Witness the splendid banquet given by the Common Council of Boston to the members of the American Institute of Homeopathy—a national organization containing more members than the American Medical Association; a banquet given on the spot where, twelve years before, Oliver Wendell Holmes facetiously predicted the speedy and utter extinction of our school.
"Witness the great Fair in Boston, given while the Massachusetts Medical Association was expelling the homeopathic members from its body; a fair which it took three of the largest halls in the city to hold, which was visited and patronized by the elite of the old Bay State, and which realized one hundred thousand dollars for a homeopathic hospital.
"Witness how the New York Ophthalmic Hospital—the largest and best endowed eye and ear hospital in America—passed entirely from allopathic into homeopathic hands.
"Witness the Legislature of New York appropriating one hundred and fifty thousand dollars to the establishment of a homeopathic insane asylum.
"Witness the people of Michigan insisting through their representatives in the Legislature that homeopathy should be taught in their State University.
"Witness how the Common Council of St. Louis compelled the allopathic professors to admit homeopathic students to the hospital clinics on an equal footing with their own.
"Witness how the State Hospital of Pennsylvania, at Harrisburg, was recently given over to homeopathic physicians and surgeons because the whole allopathic staff resigned, indignant that homeopathic practice was permitted in a certain ward of the institution.
"Witness the indignant remonstrance of the people at the removal of a homeopathic Commissioner of Pensions from office by his allopathic superior, on the sole ground that he was a homeopath; remonstrance so wide-spread and influential that they induced the government of the United States to reverse the action of its subordinates, and to declare that no distinctions should be made on account of differences of medical opinion.
"Witness a decision of the New York judiciary, fining an allopathic doctor for calling a homeopath a quack; declaring quackery to consist in conduct, and not in creed, and assuring the protection of the law to honest and intelligent men when assailed by rude and malignant partisans of another school. The quacks on both sides are exactly alike; and so are the gentlemen."(650)
Such a strong recommendation for homeopathy would have the following implications:
- Patients with CIP and other infectious and inflammatory diseases (CIPOIID) who are clearly informed of the basis for such a strong recommendation would want to be treated with homeopathy.
- Clinicians should offer genuine homeopathic treatment to patients with CIPOIID.
- Policy makers should ensure that homeopathy is adopted as a standard treatment for this population of patients.(651)
When setting priorities, governments and public health officials must also consider factors beyond the strength of a recommendation, which would include the following:
- The high prevalence of CIPOIID and its high morbidity and mortality. Worldwide about 13 million people die every year from infectious diseases. More than 2 billion people are infected with the TB bacillus. An estimated 247 million are infected with malaria every year, and in recent years, the number has increased significantly.(652)
The Autoimmune Related Diseases Association estimates that 50 million Americans, or about one in six, suffer from an autoimmune disease and that the prevalence is rising.(653)
- Considerations of equity for disadvantaged populations: As homeopathy is very inexpensive both for short- and long-term treatment, disadvantaged populations can greatly benefit from homeopathy. Homeopaths have had a rich tradition of setting up free dispensaries to serve such population.
- Long-term health benefits of homeopathic treatment: People who receive homeopathic treatment throughout their lives experience a major improvement in their health and the overall quality of their lives.(654)
1920, Dr. W. A. Dewey of the University of Michigan remarked after the NIP the benefits that homeopathy had brought to the people who had access to it, "The homeopaths of this century have really done more for the cure and eradication of disease than all the allopaths have done in the last three hundred years. … There can be no better reason for the existence of the homeopathic school of medicine than is furnished by a comparison of the results of homeopathic treatment of influenza and pneumonia with those of the therapeutically floundering allopathic school, driven by the paucity of its therapeutic measures to a quack nostrum on the transcendent scientific basis of 'said to be good,' and upon absolutely no other basis."(655)
The same year, Dr. W. B. Hinsdale, dean of the Homeopathic Department of the University of Michigan Medical School, remarked that the superiority of homeopathy during the NIP demands everyone's respect: "There is no sense in spending either words or evidence upon one who will not give heed either to tests or evidence. If the evidence is presented to an open mind it cannot fail to command respect, if not acceptance. The problem resolves itself to this: enough rational and honest men, versed in the theories and methods of homeopathy, have employed them with confidence and even those who do not admit the reliability of the principle admit that just as many people recover from illness under homeopathic medical service as under any other system of practice. We who practice it challenge with our statistics any other system to show so small a percentage of deaths and so large a percentage of recoveries as we can array. The evidence of superiority of homeopathy in the recent epidemics should demand of itself the sober respect of all mankind, especially of those who are entrusted with the care of the sick. The medical man who does not give considerate heed to the statistical evidence of homeopathy as well as to its intrinsic merits is not doing full justice to his patrons."(656)
Governments can play an important role in ensuring that homeopathy is taught in all medical schools, as it is currently in Germany, and that it is made universally accessible to the general population. In 1850, Dr. John F. Gray of New York said in an address entitled The Duty of the State in Relation to Homeopathy, "There should be no coercion on the part of the State in the matter of medical doctrines, for very obvious reasons; but the State should undertake to aid in the advancement of Medical Science by measures which shall permit the conflict of opinions among the members of the profession to take place in the presence of the learners of that science—it should open a fair field and show no favor to any combatant in the lists."(657)
Prognosis for WPD Patients Treated Homeopathically
The final question for rating the evidence is, "Aside from patients with CIP, what is the expected prognosis in patients having any of the numerous WPDs if they were treated with genuine homeopathy?"
As homeopathy doesn't directly address WPDs but rather patients experiencing acute or chronic states of dysregulation, it would be easier to identify the patients who would not benefit from homeopathy, such as those suffering from problems due to purely mechanical causes (e.g., surgical cases, cases of poisoning where either an emetic or an antidote would be indicated, or cases of heavy metal poisoning where the use of a chelating agent would be indicated, etc.). However, even purely surgical cases do better when homeopathic treatment is administered before, during, and after surgery.
Essentially, homeopathy can be applied to any person or animal with an acute or chronic condition. By surveying the vast homeopathic literature, we could say with confidence that by directly strengthening the capacity of the organism to defend and regulate itself, homeopathic treatment is curative in patients with acute and chronic physical, emotional, and mental conditions that are curable in nature.
Homeopathy can also be successfully used for palliation in incurable conditions. Even patients with irreversible tissue changes or fixed genetic diseases with 100% penetrance of their genetic expression(658) still benefit from homeopathic treatment.
Effectiveness studies considering all available systematic reviews have demonstrated that homeopathy is safe and cost-effective, and has consistent and strong therapeutic effects and real-world, long-term effectiveness.(659, 660)
Opposition to Homeopathy Has Been a Huge Mistake in Our History
The same bias and arguments against homeopathy, which originated in the first part of the nineteen-century on wholly invalid evidence, have continued to exist to the present day. Unlike the intentions of evidence-based medicine, the opposition to homeopathy is based on tradition, authorities, expert opinions, misinformation, and misapprehension, or conflicts of ideas, paradigms, or schools of thoughts.(661)
Much energy, time, and resources have been wasted in disparaging homeopathy by focusing on plausibility and arguing about the wrong things. As a result, for over 200 years medical progress has been stalled and countless patients have suffered or died unnecessarily.
Hopefully, exchanges like the current one can help disperse misapprehensions about homeopathy and create a more serious and fruitful discussion.
In fact, there has never been evidence to justify the rejection of homeopathy: quite the contrary in fact. In view of the iatrogenesis associated with allopathy, homeopathy should have been adopted officially over 200 years ago because of the risks and benefits ratio, low cost, preventive aspects, and undoubted effectiveness. With the strength of the evidence presented, it is remarkable that the nineteen-century homeopathic detractor Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes could call homeopathy a delusion and that modern skeptics have been able to convince almost the totality of the academic and scientific communities and policy makers that it is a dangerous pseudoscience.
Also astonishing is how the comparative records of homeopathy and PAA, especially for CIP patients during the NIP, have been almost completely forgotten.
Skeptics often claim that the results reported by homeopaths are all anecdotal,(662) implying that they are not true or reliable, because they are based on personal accounts rather than on facts or research.
In science, anecdotal evidence refers to information that is not based on facts or careful study; to reports or observations by usually unscientific observers; to casual observations or indications rather than rigorous or scientific analysis; and to information passed on by word-of-mouth but not documented scientifically.(663) But none of that applies to the evidence for the effectiveness of homeopathy, which consists of an enormous data bank of clinical experience and experimental findings.
Unique Quality of Care Offered by Homeopathy
Genuine homeopathy is likely the only medical system that fully abides by the following six fundamental principles of medicine in every encounter or intervention with patients: a) the prevention of disease and promotion of health, b) addressing the fundamental causes of disease,(664) c) minimal or nonexistent iatrogenesis, d) helping the regulation of the natural healing power of living organisms, e) considering all aspects of each individual in its examination of the patient and therapeutic outcome, and f) having as its ultimate goal a recovery of health that is rapid, gentle, pleasant, certain, complete, and lasting.
The quality of care offered by physicians who practice genuine homeopathy is unique, for every visit is a further opportunity to prevent disease and to promote health. The long-lasting benefits to members of a population who receive homeopathy in every stage of their lives are therefore magnified.
Judging Homeopathy by Its Results
In the face of all the facts presented here, even the most incredulous mind should be haunted by many questions. Why has homeopathy had so many enemies who have condemned it before first examining its principles and data? Why have the public and the academic and scientific communities believed the biased arguments against homeopathy for so long? Can prejudice still be stronger than facts in our supposedly free and democratic societies? Why have health officials and policy makers not acted upon the evidence showing the clear advantages of integrating homeopathy into their health care systems? Who benefits when the evidence of the life-saving power of homeopathy is suppressed? The truth or falsity of the fundamental principle of genuine homeopathy, which is the principle of similarity, can be proved every day by any clinician through well-conducted clinical trials.
Most allopathic physicians who have adopted homeopathy became convinced of the truth of homeopathy by conducting their own trials, usually with very sick patients; in other words, they conducted clinical tests, which are a scientific way of proving the validity of any intervention. Dr. Holcombe remarked in an essay called Why Are Not All Physicians Homoeopathists? that mental inertia and moral cowardice are the two most powerful reasons why not all physicians do become homeopaths:
"I recommend the inquirer to provide himself with as much of the above material as possible, and to study, long and carefully, undeterred by difficulties. Let him get a small supply of good medicines, and give them at first in the plainest cases, and where his books tell him the homeopathic practice promises the most brilliant results. He will soon acquire faith and confidence, which will increase every day he lives. He need not begin with intermittent fever, Bright's disease, consumption, cancer, paralysis, or any other of the opprobria of medicine in general; but croup, influenza, dyspepsia, facial neuralgia, sciatica, hysteria, hemorrhages, pleurisy, pneumonia, dysentery, and the whole catalogue of curable inflammations and fevers will disappear so rapidly under his globules and powders, that he will be firmly convinced that homeopathy, however imperfect it may still be, is a vast, genuine, philosophical, therapeutic reform, in comparison with which all the allopathic discoveries of the age sink into insignificance. …
"The allopathic tribe cannot kill the dissenting homeopath, punish him or silence him; but it expels him, ostracizes him, traduces him and stops its own ears when he speaks.
"'Toleration,' says a great thinker, 'is of all ideas the most modern. It is learned in discussion, and, as history shows, is only so learned. In all customary societies bigotry is the ruling principle. In rude places to this day one who says anything new is looked upon with suspicion, and is persecuted by opinion if not injured by penalty. One of the greatest pains to human nature is the pain of a new idea. It is, as common people say, 'so upsetting.' It makes you think that, after all, your favorite notions may be wrong, your firmest beliefs ill-founded. Naturally, therefore, common men hate a new idea, and are disposed more or less to ill-treat the man who brings it.'
"...To the allopathic mind, the growth of homeopathy is simply a disagreeable fact, which is either denied or ignored. ... It expels, snubs and insults all who examine and believe. To read a homeopathic book, to take a homeopathic journal, to be on friendly terms with a homeopathic physician causes one to be regarded with distrust and dislike. The study of homeopathy is always discouraged, sometimes absolutely prohibited. One college refuses to grant its diploma except to those who sign a pledge never to investigate homeopathy. Another threatens to recall its diploma from any one who adopts it. Some moral obliquity, some intellectual infirmity is always suggested as the cause of a conversion to the new school. The great Professor Henderson ofEdinburgh, who lost his position and his practice by his brave adhesion to homeopathy in its early struggles, was not only persecuted during his life, but the hyenas of the medical press charged him after his death with having stained his professional reputation for money! ...
"For fear my reader may think this is a partisan representation of the allopathic spirit, I quote from an editorial in one of the best conducted allopathic journals in the United States—the New York Medical Record: 'The profession in America has been inclined to discourage rather than to encourage original thought among its members. … We write in memory of the time when one of the greatest surgical discoverers of the country, whose name all Europe has delighted to honor, was first received here with coldness and despising; when, even in New York, the most progressive of cities, his theories were scouted and his facts discredited, and all the medical colleges closed their doors against him. We write in memory of the time, but eight years since, when the reviver of the practice of external version, which our leading obstetricians now boast of having performed, was driven into exile, hounded not only by his own townsmen, but by medical professors from all parts of the country. We write in memory of the time, when, in one of our principal medical societies, a well known member of the profession used the influence of a deserved reputation and the weight of an honored name, to prevent the discussion of a department of science that is already growing into transcendent importance both in Europe and America.'
"How strangely these humiliating confessions of stupidity, bigotry and persecution in their own ranks compare with the speeches of allopathic professors at college commencements and on other public occasions, glorifying the liberality, the scientific research, the independence and the progress of the medical profession!
"Is it strange that most young men trained in such a school are intolerant, self-satisfied and stationary? Is it strange that the born heretic or dissenter, whom nature, with her constant tendency to variation, is ever producing, to dare and do, to suffer and to achieve, should find himself unhappy and dissatisfied, oppressed and stifled in such an atmosphere? Is it surprising that the young physician, anxious for more light, and willing to investigate, should feel afraid to move in the shadows of such despotism? Should be ashamed to be seen with homeopathic books and medicines and should beg the assistance of friends to enable him to prosecute a private and secret study? Is it surprising that many so-called allopathic physicians are homeopaths at heart, and homeopathic in practice, so far as it can be concealed from the prying eyes of their ignorant and intolerant brethren? Is it astonishing even that they write books, saturated with homeopathic ideas—witness Ringer's Therapeutics—without one word of acknowledgment of the source whence they were obtained?
"Persecution, charge of base motives, social ostracism, professional contempt, ridicule and general intimidation are the means employed to prevent physicians from examining homeopathy or to punish those who adopt it. But mental inertia is the most powerful cause why all physicians are not homeopaths. Nature, while producing heretics and reformers for the advancement of the race, secures the stability of human affairs by leaving the vast majority of mankind thickheaded, inattentive, not inquisitive and unprogressive. The medical world is kept especially steady by this kind of ballast or dead weight.
"'Few men think,' said Berkeley, 'but all have opinions;' and he might have added, the more shallow the thought, the more fixed the opinion. It is in vain to quote the great mottoes from the profoundest thinkers to these stationary spirits. 'The largest minds are the least constant,' said Bacon. 'In knowledge,' says Faraday, 'that man only is to be despised who is not in a state of transition.' And again, 'nothing is so opposed to accuracy of philosophical deduction as fixity of opinion.' On the contrary, our medical unimprovables regard an obstinate adhesion to the opinions and practice of their fathers and their instructors as a special virtue. ...
"Besides the timid who are ashamed to investigate homeopathy, and the stupid who are incapable of doing so, there is a large body of medical men in the old school, educated, intelligent, respected, filling the high places and enjoying the honors and emoluments of the profession, from whom the world has a right to expect better things. It is the theory of the public, of the students they teach, of the young men they influence, and especially of their own patients, that these gentlemen have given homeopathy the most thorough and scientific investigation and have pronounced conscientiously against its claims. This is the theory, but the fact is quite different. Nine out of ten of these distinguished doctors know nothing whatever of homeopathy, except what they may have gleaned from ex-parte statements from Simpson's big book or Hooker's little book written against it or from the vituperative articles in their own medical journals.
"Nor do people generally recognize the fact that homeopathy has the least chance of being fairly heard from these very men, who are supposed to be devoted to pure science and to be capable of the most enlightened opinion. These men are so hedged in by influences, which oppose a candid investigation, that they enjoy less freedom of thought and action than any others. They have become oracles and expounders of the allopathic system, fully committed to its doctrines. They have a certain intense professional feeling, an esprit du corps, akin to the partisanship of politics and the fanaticism of religion. Their reputations, their social positions and, above all, their worldly interests are involved in their medical creed. They believe in allopathy because they bask in the sunshine of the old, wealthy, time-honored institutions, which still hold in their hands the great official honors and rewards they desire. They disbelieve in homeopathy because its study would demand labor and patience and self-sacrifice, and its adoption would be followed by trials and penalties they cannot persuade themselves to endure.
"Converts to our system are frequently taunted with having left the old school with the hope of making more money in the new. It is strange that educated physicians should adopt a young, persecuted, struggling system of medicine, leaving an old, rich and powerful school, where the prizes of professional ambition are ten to one, in the hope of making money. The ignorant adventurers, who sometimes take a box and a book, and impose themselves on the people as homeopathic physicians, soon betray their incapacity and fail to achieve their mercenary ends. The pecuniary attractions are far greater on the allopathic than the homeopathic side, and most assuredly professional emolument is the strongest argument, which keeps many thousands in the old school ranks.
"This question of self-interest is a double-edged sword, which cuts both ways. It is a serious one, for it pervades our whole nature; is organic, indestructible, and unless under moral control, may be subversive of every virtue.
"Herbert Spencer says our opinions have no logical foundation, but are the result of our wishes and character.
"'People generally stick,' says Hazlitt, 'to an opinion which they have long supported, and which has supported them.'
"Lecky declares that opinions are usually the result of complex influences, of which self-interest is always the most powerful.
"Martineau says that the smallest probability will outweigh the greatest if it falls in with our wishes.
"The wish is father to the thought in many a profession of faith, religious, political or medical, and all the world knows that the love of money keeps the allopath in his well-feathered nest, quite as often as it allures his hungry brother to some supposed El Dorado of popular credulity.
"Next to self-interest, the fear of each other is the strongest influence which keeps your average, flourishing, well-to-do allopaths from examining homeopathy. A friend of mine asked one of the most distinguished old school physicians in the United States what was the reason the old school profession did not study homeopathy thoroughly and fairly. His answer was: 'Moral cowardice.'
"Such are the reasons why all intelligent physicians do not at once become homeopaths.
"All this must and will change. Our antagonisms prove our intellectual activities, and union will be effected by the triumph of truth. Free, continuous, tolerant discussion is the sure remedy for all dissensions. Discussion must be full, not one-sided. Such discussions as we have had hitherto have been mere attacks and defenses, not fair questions and answers with legitimate cross-examinations. The parties have never even been brought face to face—but have cannonaded each other across a turbid river of prejudice. It has been war, not parley.
The question must be put on its rational merit alone. It must be discussed freely and fairly, face-to-face, in the same associations, the same hospitals, the same journals, and open to public and universal criticism.
"Toleration is induced by discussion; because each party, by the conflict of thought, acquires more respect for the opinions and characters of the other, as well as some wholesome skepticism as to its own superiority. Discussions in time become more and more tolerant, until, the feeling of brotherhood having been fairly engendered, men who had before appeared inimical to each other are friends and coworkers in the common cause of truth."(665)
A large volume could be filled with stories of the conversion of allopaths to homeopathy. On the other hand, there is no known homeopathic heretic. Dr. Robert Liston of Edinburgh, who was an eminent pioneering Scottish surgeon, conducted in his own trials with homeopathy in patients with erysipelas, which he reported in the Lancet in 1836, some years before it had become a complete anathema to disclose any association with homeopathy: "Since I last spoke on the subject of erysipelas, we have succeeded in subduing the action of the vascular system, without either the use of the lancet or tartarized antimony, by giving small doses of the Aconitum napellus, and afterwards of Belladonna.
"Two cases in which this treatment has been most successfully employed have been accurately detailed in some late numbers of the Lancet. You have no doubt read them, as well as watched the cases themselves in the hospital.
"The first case was that of a woman who the first time she was in the hospital was treated for erysipelas by antimony, punctures, and fomentations. It was some time before she recovered, and her convalescence was exceedingly tedious. In the second attack, after subduing the inflammatory fever in some measure by antimonials, we administered extract of belladonna in very minute doses, and in two or three days she was quite well.
"The second case was that of a woman who had been much subject to the affection, having had successive attacks of it at intervals, seldom recovering from them under a fortnight. Small doses of the aconite, followed by belladonna, were given her, and in the course of three days she also was convalescent.
"There has been another case lately here of a man who had small ulcerations of the leg from the toes up to the knee, aggravated by a scald, and who walked about until the leg became exceedingly swollen and red. He suffered besides considerably from fever. In this state he was admitted. We subdued the fever, and then administered to him the extract of Belladonna, and in twenty-four hours the disease had quite disappeared.
"Of course we cannot pretend to say positively in what way this effect is produced, but it seems almost to act by magic; however, so long as we benefit our patients by the treatment we pursue, we have no right to condemn the principles upon which this treatment is recommended and pursued.
"You know that this medicine is recommended by the homeopaths in this affection, because it produces on the skin a fiery eruption, or efflorescence, accompanied by inflammatory fever. Similia similibus curentur, say they. They give, in cases where a good night's rest is required, those substances which generally in healthy subjects produce great restlessness, instead of exhibiting, as others do, those medicines termed sedatives. It is like driving out one devil, by sending in another.
"I believe in the homeopathic doctrines to a certain extent, but I cannot as yet, from inexperience on the subject, go the lengths its advocates would wish, in as far as regards the very minute doses of some of their medicines. The medicines in the above cases were certainly given in much smaller doses than have ever hitherto been prescribed. The beneficial effects, as you witnessed, are unquestionable. I have, however, seen similar good effects of the Belladonna, prepared according to the Homoeopathic Pharmacopoeia, in a case of very severe erysipelas of the head and face, under the care of my friend Dr. Quin. The inflammatory symptoms and local signs disappeared with very great rapidity. Without adopting the theory of this medical sect, you ought not to reject its doctrines without due examination and inquiry. We shall continue the employment of this plan of treatment in erysipelas, so long as we find it as successful as it has been; should it fail, on continued trial, of course we shall resort to other means in its stead. At the same time that I adopt this constitutional treatment, I should not think myself justified at present in neglecting auxiliary measures of a local kind. We must, in order to be successful, neglect nothing which is likely to be serviceable; in fact, we must meet this and many other affections, armed at all points."(666)
Dr. John Gideon Millingen, who was a British physician, army surgeon, and prolific author, had been an ardent opponent of homeopathy. However, since he was open-mind, he conducted his own trials with homeopathy. In 1838, he wrote in his fascinating book Curiosities of Medical Experience, "It is a matter worthy of remark, that, while the doctrines of homeopathy have fixed the attention and become the study of many learned and experienced medical men in various parts of Europe, England is the only country where it has only been noticed to draw forth the most opprobrious invectives."(667)
After reviewing the scientific basis of homeopathy, he reports six cases (involving concussion, an excruciating headache, tonsillitis, hemiplegia, hectic fever, and recurring deafness in a young person) in which he tested homeopathy and found most surprising benefits: "But the facts I am about to record—facts which induced me, from having been one of the warmest opponents of this system, to investigate carefully and dispassionately its practical points—will effectually contradict all these assertions regarding the inefficacy of the homeopathic doses, the influence of diet, or the agency of the mind; for in the following cases in no one instance could such influences be brought into action. They were (with scarcely any exception) experiments made without the patient's knowledge, and where no time was allowed for any particular regimen. They may, moreover, be conscientiously relied upon, since they were made with a view to prove the fallacy of the homeopathic practice. Their result, as may be perceived by the foregoing observations, by no means rendered me a convert to the absurdities of the doctrine, but fully convinced me by the most incontestable facts that the introduction of fractional doses will soon banish the farrago of nostrums that are now exhibited to the manifest prejudice both of the health and the purse of the sufferer."
After describing his successful treatment of those cases, he continued, "I could record numerous instances of similar results, but they would of course be foreign to the nature of this work. I trust that the few cases I have related will afford a convincing proof of the injustice, if not the unjustifiable obstinacy, of those practitioners who, refusing to submit the homeopathic practice to a fair trial, condemn it without investigation. That this practice will be adopted by quacks and needy adventurers, there is no doubt; but homeopathy is a science on which numerous voluminous works have been written by enlightened practitioners, whose situation in life placed them far above the necessities of speculation. Their publications are not sealed volumes, and any medical man can also obtain the preparations they recommend. It is possible, nay, more than probable, that physicians cannot find time to commence a new course of studies, for such this investigation must prove. If this is the case, let them frankly avow their utter ignorance of the doctrine, and not denounce a practice of which they do not possess the slightest knowledge.
"... The history of medicine affords abundant proofs of the acrimony, nay, the fury, with which every new doctrine has been impugned and insulted. The same annals will also show that this spirit of intolerance has always been in the ratio of the truths that these doctrines tended to bring into light. From the preceding observations, no one can accuse me of having become a blind bigot of homeopathy; but I can only hope that its present vituperators will follow my example, and examine the matter calmly and dispassionately before they proceed to pass a judgment that their vanity may lead them to consider a final sentence."(668)
In an 1870 address called Freedom of Medical Opinion and Action: A Vital Necessity and a Great Responsibility, Dr. Carroll Dunham warned that physicians who adopt homeopathy should not be surprised if henceforth they are shunned by their professional friends, and he told the following anecdote: "Two young physicians, firm friends and classmates, and alumni of the same college, were earnest students of microscopic morbid anatomy. One of them became a homeopath. It chanced that about ten years after their graduation, they became residents of the same city and renewed their acquaintance. The homeopath, having met with a rare specimen of structural metamorphosis, called upon his friend with it, stating the result of his own examinations, and proposing that his friend should investigate it with him, as had been their custom of old. To this, the 'regular' replied: 'James, personally, I highly esteem you, and as a histologist I would like to examine your specimen; but, you know, I am a member of the American Medical Association, and its laws forbid my consulting with a homeopath. I must therefore deny myself the pleasure of conversing with you on professional topics."(669)
About that anecdote, Dr. William Holcombe commented: "The case of this last allopathic physician seems to be one of mental inertia, bordering on imbecility. It is incurable. He will never be converted to homeopathy. Archbishop Whately said: 'A man will never change his mind who has no mind to change.' This man is, perhaps, organically incapable of free thought or independent action. He is the hindmost sheep in a flock, and follows his leaders. He lives and breathes, and suns himself, and is satisfied and happy in the atmosphere of the American Medical Association. That august body fills his whole mind, thinks for him, dictates to him, governs him, owns him soul and body. … Meditating with sadness on the two cases detailed above, one of mental inertia and the other of moral weakness, I was led to investigate more deeply than usual the causes of such a state of things. When homeopathy is so strongly sustained and so clearly proven, why should not all intelligent physicians become homeopaths? The real causes are not visible on the surface. They lie deep in the very constitution of the human mind, and in the laws which govern the evolution of society—for every thing is evolved from its primordial chaos by fixed and eternal laws; not only the material world and its three kingdoms, but social order, government, religion, philosophy, science and medicine.
"As the causes lie very far back and operate with invariable precision on the savage and the sage, on all men and all their institutions alike, I will take for the illustration of my subject an incident which was witnessed by an English traveler in the Fiji islands: 'One of the chiefs of the island was ascending a mountain-path with a long string of his people following him in single file, when he happened to stumble and fall. Immediately every man in the long procession, except one, stumbled also, and lay flat upon the ground. When the chief arose, they all arose likewise, and fell upon the dissenting or neglectful member, who had dared to deviate from the sacred custom of the tribe, and beat him to death with their clubs.'
"This little incident is a miniature picture of a great law of evolution which runs in one unbroken thread through the entire philosophy of history. He who will study the origin of social order and government will see how hard it was in the beginning to break the savage instincts of man, to bend him to obedience, to accustom him to sustained labor and regular habits, and to fit him for concerted action with his fellow-men. All governments, religions, and institutions have been slew of growth and difficult of construction. They always imply the coercion of ages, physical or spiritual, and frequently both. Societies and institutions, once organized, are held together by all the forces of conservatism—self-interest, transmitted habits of obedience and order, hereditary usages, fear of and respect for constituted authority, reverence for tradition, and the mighty despotism of custom and fashion.
"The traits of character thus acquired were transmitted from father to son; and progress would have been soon arrested and a fixed, stationary tyranny of custom in all things imposed upon mankind, if nature, always prolific, had not provided for our indefinite expansion by another great law, that in every succeeding product of her hands there is a tendency to variation. If her first and hardest work is the formation of institutional order, her second and greatest is the production of heretics. Given—institutional forms of all kinds, acquired by ages of obedience to custom and authority, and coerced into strength and usefulness by conservative forces—and super add a radical spirit, forever attempting to revolt against them, and to improve or destroy them, and the onward progress of mankind is secured."(670)
The strong recommendation that homeopathy should receive for its high benefits and low costs should inspire every physician to learn more about genuine homeopathy and even conduct their own trials, which the more skeptical could divide into two phases. In the first phase, the principle of similarity would be tested by treating very sick patients (e.g., patients with pneumonia) with very low potencies, let's say the 3 X, 6 X or 12 X potency, which still contain molecules of the original medicinal substances. In a 3 X potency there is one part of the original medicinal substance for 1,000 parts of the menstruum (10-3); in a 6 X remedy, there is one part for 1 million parts of the menstruum (10-6); and in the 12 X, there is one part per billion (10-12). To be successful in this phase, a complete case must be taken; namely all the symptoms experienced by the patient at all levels must be noted and graded, and the remedy that presents a picture that is most similar to the totally of the characteristic symptoms of patients must be prescribed.
Physicians should not be dubious about the scientific basis of such trials for they are entirely compatible with biomedical observations, as Dr. Daniel Eskinazi of Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons points out. First in regard to high dilutions (i.e., low concentrations): "When homeopathic drugs contain molecules of the active substance, claims of homeopathy are compatible with common biomedical observations, and there is an overlap between the range of higher dilutions shown by biomedical research to have biological activity and the range of lower homeopathic dilutions considered to not contain molecules of active substances"(671)
Dr. Eskinazi then gives other reasons why homeopathy is entirely compatible with biomedical sciences: "If the facts discussed in this article were acknowledged, homeopathy could not be dismissed on the grounds that its principles are incompatible with current scientific observations."(672)
He then points out the compatibility of the law of similars with biomedical sciences by listing a large number of drugs and other substances that may induce symptoms that they can also alleviate in other concentrations: "Furthermore, in the following examples, the therapeutic activity of drugs was not discovered based on homeopathic principles, and the observed paradoxical effects are usually considered as odd coincidences. Therefore, these examples, taken as a whole, are suggestive of an independent reconfirmation of the principle of similars by biomedicine. First, drugs and other substances may induce symptoms they can relieve. For example, aspirin at a therapeutic dose can be used to lower temperature, whereas a toxic dose may induce life-threatening hyperthermia. Agents used to manage angina or arrhythmia (atrial fibrillation) can induce or aggravate angina (e.g., nitroglycerin) or arrhythmia (e.g., digoxin). Also, allergens are used to desensitize patients whose allergies have been induced by these specific substances." He finally lists numerous drugs and other substances that have measured biological effects in extremely low concentrations, such as the luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone with concentrations of leukotrienes in the range of 10-18 to 10-20.(673)
Once good responders(674) are identified in the first phase of the experiment, the second phase would verify the phenomenon of potentization. The potency could then be raised, first to a 30 C and then a 200 C potency.(675) The greater the similarity that exists between the symptoms found in the materia medica of the remedy and the symptoms presented by any individual patient, the stronger will be the reaction of that patient to the remedy as the potency is raised. Again a doctor should not be hesitant about this part of the experiment because it was clearly demonstrated clinically over a 10-year period in a Vienna hospital that the higher the potency, the quicker the recovery.
Physicians are thus asked to follow the scientifically sound method developed by Hahnemann more than 70 years before Dr. Claude Bernard, who wrote the Introduction to the Study of Experimental Medicine in 1865. Like any other scientific question, the efficacy of homeopathy can only be settled through meticulous experimentation, not through a priori reasoning. Samuel Hahnemann in a paper entitled Nota Bene for My Reviewers wrote in 1825, "This doctrine appeals chiefly, but solely to the verdict of experience—'repeat the experiments,' it cries aloud, 'repeat them carefully and accurately, and you will find the doctrine confirmed at every step'—and it does what no medical doctrine, no system of physic, no so-called therapeutics ever did or could do, it insists upon being 'judged by the result.'"(676)
Dr. James Rogers, a nineteenth-century allopath and author, said in reference to the circumstances which led Hahnemann to think that Similia similibus was the principle underlying the cures witnessed in certain patients with intermittent fever who were treated with Peruvian bark (Cinchona): "Similia similibus became the basis of his therapeutics; and although the principle was not a new one, as it had been frequently referred to by medical men since the time of Hippocrates, yet it must be confessed that in his hands it received a far greater, and in some respects more scientific, development than any of its former supporters ... had even attempted to give it. The seeming simplicity and completeness of the principle are admirable. If true, it contains within itself a complete system of therapeutics; to find a remedy for any given case of disease, it is only necessary to discover a drug that can produce in the healthy individual symptoms similar to those of the disease to be cured."(677)
Is It Time for a Fundamental Revolution in Medical Education and Practice?
It is difficult to explain the lack of attention the scientific community as a whole has paid to the principle of similars, and how medical historians have, as a rule, completely ignored the authoritative success of homeopathy. For more than 200 years, prejudice has prevailed over an enormous amount of robust evidence even though the well being and lives of million of people are a stake. When the burden of proof has been overwhelmingly met by a medical system that clearly improves quality of life and saves lives, one expects a shift of sentiment, particularly in this modern age. How much longer will it take for the medical and scientific communities to recognize the superb record of homeopathy and the crucial importance of the principle of similars in the practice of medicine?
Imagine how much less disease there would be today and how much lower mortality rates and health care costs would be if policy makers had met their responsibilities in the last 200 years. Think how much less the sick would have had to suffer if they had always been treated by the most efficacious methods. Perhaps these questions will inspire investigations that will lead to the discovery of what homeopathic physicians have known for generations, namely, that never before has the disparity between scientific knowledge and its benefit to society been so vast.
Some may say that many of the extraordinary results of homeopathy occurred over 100 years ago. But facts are facts regardless of when they were observed, and what was true yesterday remains true today and will still be true tomorrow. Aldous Huxley said, "Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored,"(678) and Nehru said, "Facts are facts and will not disappear on account of your likes."(679)
The results obtained by homeopathy during epidemics have been consistent, from the first two epidemics where Hahnemann used homeopathy, namely, a scarlet fever epidemic in 1796 and the great typhus epidemic of 1813 in Leipzig,(680) to those in modern times, such as the meningitis epidemic in Brazil in 1974-75, the leptospirosis epidemic in Cuba in 2007, and the acute encephalitis syndrome that is currently endemic among the children of India.
With the universal adoption of homeopathy, allopathy would not entirely disappear, because certain conditions would still require allopathic medicinal intervention, such as anesthesia or hormone replacement therapy (e.g., in patients with type I diabetes). But even now, most of the allopathic therapies that were developed in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries have already been discarded. On the other hand, homeopathy, which is based on a set of principles discovered through the inductive method common to the natural sciences, has since its inception met the criteria of EBM better than any other approach in medicine; moreover, the innumerable observations reported in its journals and books are as valid and useful today as when they were first published, even 200 years ago. On the other hand, a system of medicine that is essentially based on empiricism is condemned to be in a state of perpetual change, discarding what was celebrated yesterday for the novelty of today, while in a system of medicine that is based on principles knowledge is always cumulative and nothing needs to be discarded.
Putting a Face to the Comparative Records of Homeopathy and Allopathy
In 2011, Dr. David Katz, founding director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center, wrote a moving article called Facing the Facelessness of Public Health. Though he was talking about the failure of public health authorities to put their knowledge into practice, much of what he says can be applied to homeopathy: "We have known since 1993 at least ... that the leading causes of both premature death and persistent misery in our society are chronic diseases that are, in turn, attributable to the use of our feet (physical activity), forks (dietary pattern), and fingers (cigarette smoking). Feet, forks, and fingers are the master levels of medical destiny for not just thousands or tens of thousands of people on any one occasion but the medical destiny of millions upon millions year after year.
"We have known, but we have not managed to care. At least not care deeply enough to turn what we know into what we routinely do. We have failed to achieve ... passion for the crucial causes of modern public health.
"Were we to do so, we could eliminate 80% of all heart disease and strokes, 90% of all diabetes, and as much as 60% of all cancer. Whether or not that is news to you—whether or not you are mouthing 'wow'—you almost surely do not feel a sudden surge of genuine passion. Surely you do not have a tear in your eye ... Statistics have the emotional impact of ... well, statistics.
"But now forget the bland statistics of public health, and ask yourself if you love someone who has suffered a heart attack, stroke, cancer, or diabetes. You are exceptional if you do not.
"Now imagine their faces, whisper their names. Recall what it felt like to get the news. And while at it, imagine the faces of other readers like you and me imagining beloved faces.
"Now imagine if eight of 10 of us wistfully reflecting on intimate love and loss, on personal anguish, never got that dreadful news because it never happened." ...
"Which leads to what I am asking you to do about it: put a face on public health every chance you get. When talking about heart disease and its prevention—or cancer or diabetes—ask your audience to see in their mind's eye the face of a loved one affected by that condition. Then ask them to imagine that loved one as beneficiary among the 80% who need never have succumbed if what we knew were what we do. ...
"The things we know, and could do, to advance public health on a grand scale deserve our passion."(681)
Similarly, we have known since the mid-1800s that homeopathy is safe and effective, "but we have not managed to care. At least not care deeply enough to turn what we know into what we routinely do. We have failed to achieve ... passion for the crucial causes" of high mortality and morbidity, at the very least in patients with CIPOIID.
We could add, let's put aside the bland statistics comparing homeopathy with PAA and CCC, and ask if you have loved someone who died from an infectious disease or a chronic inflammatory disease or is suffering from one of the many autoimmune diseases (rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, ulcerative colitis, lupus, etc.) and who could have benefited or could benefit now from the safe and effective treatment commonly provided by genuine homeopathy.
Homeopathy is another master "of medical destiny for not just thousands or tens of thousands of people on any one occasion but the medical destiny of millions upon millions year after year."
Every period must learn from its own history. The things we now know about the extraordinary potential of homeopathy and the contrast offered by the current system of health care deserve our passion.
Everyone's Duty Toward Homeopathy
It is clear that opposition to homeopathy on purely theoretical grounds is unscientific, for all the evidence shows it to be a priceless gift to the world.
We should all be outraged at the injustice that has been perpetrated against humanity for the last 200 years by misinforming the public about homeopathy and hindering medical progress. The discussion about homeopathy has been dominated by a medical autocracy characterized by prejudice, bigotry, ignorance, and intolerance, not to mention deception, intrigue, and intimidation, all of which have gone hand in hand with an unreflecting credulity on the part of the scientific world, the media, and the public at large.
As individuals we all have a part to play in the course of our history. We must all work together to ensure that our health-care system makes homeopathy available to everyone.
Citizens should be outraged at the incompetence of the authorities who have failed to provide them with the safest and most effective medical care. They should therefore be very careful in choosing a doctor and a type of medical care, which should be measured by its safety and effectiveness.
They should choose health insurance policies that include comprehensive homeopathic care, and insurance companies should offer comprehensive homeopathic coverage in their health insurance policies.
They should ask their politicians to require public medical schools to teach genuine homeopathy and ensure that it becomes available in every public hospital.
They should hold doctors that refuse to recommend homeopathy for pneumonia patients responsible for the deaths of
10 or more people out of every hundred with this disease.
I encourage idealistic young people who are interested in medicine to study homeopathy, preferably at a naturopathic medical college with a good homeopathy program, because that will give them the best opportunity to become a well-rounded physician.
Patients should request, whether from doctors in private practice or from public hospitals, a standard of medical care that includes homeopathy.
Physicians of the allopathic school should defy the forces of peer pressure and recognize the reality of the medical system they have been practicing. They should enroll in graduate programs that offer a complete training in the principles and practice of genuine homeopathy.
They should begin experimenting with homeopathy, particularly in severe cases or with patients who are not responding well enough to conventional treatments.
Clinicians should systematically offer genuine homeopathic treatment to patients with CIPOIID.
Clinical researchers should not delay in instituting trials with homeopathy, beginning with CIPOIID patients, particularly the most sick and vulnerable.
Medical students should request that their schools offer undergraduate instruction in genuine homeopathy and graduate programs for those who wish to specialize in it.
Naturopathic medical students should demand that their courses teach nothing but the highest standard of genuine homeopathy instead of the counterfeit homeopathy being taught in certain schools. They should be outraged that 95% of the graduates of some naturopathic medical schools are unable to practice homeopathy effectively because of the substandard training they received.
The principles and practice of homeopathy are clear and easy to learn, but when the teaching misrepresents the fundamentals, repeated failures in practice are inevitable.
Medical associations should promote homeopathic training by organizing state-of-the-art graduate programs on the principles and practice of genuine homeopathy and encouraging their members to learn and practice it. They should hold physicians responsible for the consequences if they refuse to recommend homeopathy to pneumonia patients.
Scientists should contribute to this debate on homeopathy by upholding the highest standard of objectivity and sound reasoning for all parties, and should insist that skeptics present, not opinion and theoretical objections, but incontrovertible facts based on experimentation.
Insurance companies should offer comprehensive homeopathic coverage in their health insurance policies.
The state should take responsibility for advancing medical science by establishing commissions and organizing open and fair debates about the place of homeopathy in our society.
Elected politicians should not rest until they have enacted laws worthy of a democracy by protecting freedom of choice in medical care, mandating public medical schools to teach genuine homeopathy and making it available in every public hospital and clinic to patients that could benefit from it.
Health authorities should facilitate the integration of genuine homeopathy into all levels of the health care system and should inform the public of the odds of dying from pneumonia with the different therapeutic approaches.
Policy makers should ensure that homeopathy is adopted as a standard treatment for any population of patients that could benefit from it.
At the same time, governments should make every effort to recognize and resist the influence of the dominant school of medicine and the vast economic interests that support it.
Philanthropists should support or establish organizations and institutions that promote genuine homeopathy. NGOs should ensure that homeopathy is offered to every citizen in developing countries.
The media should try to inform the public about the benefits of homeopathy: the significantly lower mortality and morbidity, speedier recovery, uniformity of response in elderly and weak patients, the low cost to society, the two important prophylactic aspects of homeopathy, the short- and long-term health gains, and the lack of fatal side effects.
Medical historians should examine why their profession has almost completely ignored homeopathy and begin investigating and documenting comparative statistics from the official records of boards of health, public health services, hospitals, the armed forces, insurance companies, state prisons, orphanages, and mental asylums.
We should all be unrelenting in our quest for justice, for the well being of humanity is at stake.
AIH – American Institute of Homeopathy|
ARWP – allostatic response of the whole person
CAP – community-acquired pneumonia
CCC – conventional contemporary care
CDC – Centers for Disease Control
CGI – Conners' Global Index
CIP – combined influenza and pneumonia
CIPOIID – combined influenza and pneumonia and other infectious and inflammatory diseases
EBM – evidence-based medicine
ESRD – end-stage renal disease
FDA – Food and Drug Administration
HCAP – health-care-acquired pneumonia
IHA – International Hahnemannian Association
IOM – Institute of Medicine
JAMA – Journal of the American Medical Association
NIH – National Institutes of Health
NIP – 1918-1919 influenza pandemic
NSAID – nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug
OTC – over-the-counter|
P – placebo
PAA – pre-antibiotic allopathy
PCI – percutaneous coronary intervention
PD – Parkinson's disease
POMS – Profile of Mood States
RA – rheumatoid arthritis
RCT – randomized controlled trials
SARS – severe acute respiratory syndrome
TCS – totality of the characteristic symptoms
UCSF – University of California in San Francisco
UMP – ultra-molecular preparation
USAF – United States Armed Forces
USCDC – United States Centers for Disease Control
USPHS – United States Public Health Service
V – verum
WHO – World Health Organization
WPD – well-defined patho-physiological disease