Dr (Mrs) Smita Nisanth
Dr K M.Nisanth Nambision
Since its inception 200 years ago, homeopathy has attracted support from European royalty, the educated elite, and leading artists. It was thus no surprise that the most expensive painting ever sold was that of a portrait of a homeopathic physician, Dr. Gachet, drawn by her personal friend and patient, Vincent Van Gogh. Although homeopaths use exceedingly small doses of medicines, it seems that people greatly value portraits of them. In this case, the portrait of Dr. Gachet sold for $82.5 million.1
Friday 26 August 2005, Lancet medical journal, Published a study conducted by Matthias Egger of Switzerland’s University of Berne the study’s lead author and statistical analyst, wrote “We acknowledge that to prove a negative is impossible, but we have shown that the effects seen in placebo-controlled trials of homoeopathy are compatible with the placebo-hypothesis.”
“The report should be treated with extreme caution. It is being heavily spun,” Peter Fisher, clinical director at the Royal London Homoeopathic Hospital, said on behalf of the BHA.
“For a prestigious medical journal it is a strange bit of reporting. It is a small sample and they don’t even tell you what they are basing this on. Yet they come to these very sweeping conclusions and write this very strongly worded editorial,” he said.
“Homoeopathy has been suffering these types of attacks for 200 years but it goes from strength to strength because people want it and many studies prove it works.”
Why has homoeopathy baffled some people, with vested interest, all over the world? Some facts about the growth of Homoeopathy speaks for itself:
WHO report, which states that most of the studies published in the last 40 years have shown homeopathic remedies to be superior to placebo and “equivalent to conventional medicines in the treatment of illnesses, in both humans and animals”. (http://www.guardian.co.uk/medicine/story/0,11381,1556831,00.html)
The World Health Organisation states that Homoeopathy is the second most used medical system internationally, with over $1 Billon in expenditures for such therapy. Twenty to 30 percent of French & German physicians use Homoeopathy in clinical practice. In Great Britain, five Homoeopathic hospitals are part of the National health System, and over 30% of generalists use Homoeopathy. In the United states, there are more that 500 physicians and 5000 non-physicians using Homoeopathy in clinical practice, and 2.5 million Americans currently use Homoeopathic medicines – of which two-thirds are self-prescribed spending more than $250 million annually .17
THE EXPLOSION OF HOMEOPATHY IN EUROPE:
According to recent surveys in France, an astounding 40% of the French public have used homeopathic medicines, and 39% of French physicians have prescribed them.2 At least six French medical schools offer courses leading to a degree in homeopathy, and homeopathy is taught in all pharmacy schools and in four veterinary schools.3
A recent survey of French Doctors revealed that approximately 11.000 physicians utilize Homeopathic Medicines. Twenty Thousand French Pharmacies now sell Homeopathic Medicines.
Homeopathy is growing so rapidly in France that a recent cover story of Le Nouvel Observateur, one of France’s leading magazines, noted That President Mitterrand and six Medical School Deans had called for more research on Homeopathy.
In a prominent French news magazine President Francois Mitterand and six medical school deans called for more research on homeopathy, and Dana Ullman editorialized, “It is a fact that homeopathy obtains results, sometimes spectacular results.”4
One further bit of evidence for the growing acceptance of homeopathic medicines as a household items in France is that the most popular cold and flu medicine is not Contact or any other conventional drug; it is a homeopathic remedy.5
Homeopathy is not as popular in England as it is in France, but according to an article in the British Medical Journal, 42% of British physicians surveyed refer patients to homeopathic physicians.6 Another survey of British physicians discovered that 80% of recent graduates wanted training in either homeopathy, acupuncture, or hypnosis.7
In Britain alone, sales of homoeopathic medicines have grown by a third in the past five years to 32 million pounds in 2004.
The Scots hate to be overshadowed by the English, and this is true in homeopathy too. According to The Times of London, homeopathy is now the fastest growing alternative therapy in Scotland. The number of Scots who have used homeopathic medicines have more than doubled from 1985 to 1990, increasing from 5% to 11%. Similarly, in 1985 23% of those Scots interviewed in 1985 said they would “seriously consider” going to a homeopath, and in 1990 this figure grew to 40%.8
Homeopathic medicine is very popular in Germany as well. One respected author estimated that 20% of German physicians use homeopathic medicines occasionally.9 At present, the most popular hay fever remedy in Germany is a homeopathic medicine, and other homeopathic medicines for the common cold, sore throats, and circulatory problems are in the top ten of their respective categories.10
To further aid the growth of homeopathy, the late President of Germany, Karl Karstens, and his wife, Dr. Veronica Carstens, who is a medical doctor and a homeopathic physician, recently started a homeopathic research foundation.11 Numerous new research efforts in Germany and throughout Europe have begun in the past couple of years.
It is also interesting to note that homeopathy is gaining such respect in medical and business circles that the same company that owns the BMW car company owns one of the leading German homeopathic manufacturers.
In addition to homeopathy’s popularity in France, England, Scotland, and Germany, it is also very popular in The Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, and Greece.
HOMEOPATHY IN INDIA
Despite homeopathy’s impressive popularity in Europe, it is even more popular in India. Presently, there are over 100,000 homeopathic doctors and over 180 four- and five-year homeopathic medical colleges in this country.
Homeopathy has achieved such respect that in 1987 the government established homeopathic drug detox clinics in six different police stations in New Delhi. A recent conference in India which described impressive results in the homeopathic treatment of drug addiction received accolades from India’s Minister of Health and Family Welfare, the Finance Minister, and the Chief Justice.12 In addition to the Indian government’s support of homeopathic drug detox clinics, they have also supported various research projects and homeopathic hospitals and clinics.
Even Mother Teresa, who for many decades has served India’s poorest citizens with medical care, has added homeopathic care to the services offered at her missions. Mother Teresa has a special interest in homeopathic medicine because of its effectiveness and low cost.
At present, four charitable homeopathic dispensaries are run under the guidance of the Mother’s Missionaries of Charity. One of these dispensaries primarily provides homeopathic medicines to poor and sick children in Calcutta, while the other three provide homeopathic medicines to anyone who needs them. Considering the serious health problems that poor people in India experience, it is truly miraculous that homeopathic medicines are so effective as the primary method of treatment for many children and many adults.
Mother Teresa opened her first charitable homeopathic dispensary in Calcutta in 1950. She is known to prescribe homeopathic medicines herself sometimes.Dr. (Sister) M. Gomes, a physician who has worked at the Mother’s Mission in Calcutta since 1945, notes that one of the obstacles to the spread of homeopathy in the Mother’s work is inadequate funding for homeopathic hospitals.
Homeopathic peristroika in the soviet union 13
Homeopathy is even relatively popular in the Soviet Union. Although there are only about 500 homeopathic physicians, they are popular enough that most of them charge for their services. Since most Russians receive free conventional medical care, it is indeed a tribute to homeopathy that a growing number of Russian citizens are paying for homeopathic care.
Because Russian homeopaths charge for their services, they have become part of the new entrepreneurial “peristroika” that is presently occurring.
Even Izvestia recently published a series of articles on homeopathy in which they reported that a homeopathic clinic established for factory workers in 1984 resulted in a 10.1% decrease in days lost due to sickness. The series of articles concluded with an editorial that advocated further support for it from the Ministry of Health.
As a further sign of homeopathy’s growing acceptance, President Gorbachev awarded a medal to Dr. Demyan Popov for his work in popularizing homeopathy in the USSR.
Homeopathy is also relatively popular throughout South America, especially in Brazil and Argentina. Homeopathy has become a bit of a legend in Argentina because its greatest hero in the 19th century, General San Martin, was known to carry a homeopathic medicine kit when he travelled.
Homeopathy is also quite popular in Mexico there are five homeopathic medical colleges, including two in Mexico City.
Homeopathy in America
At the turn of the century there were over 20 homeopathic medical schools in America, including Boston University, University of Michigan, University of Minnesota, and Hahnemann College in Philadelphia. There were also over 100 homeopathic hospitals and over 1,000 homeopathic pharmacies. In 1900 homeopathy was more popular in America than anywhere else in the world.14
However, as the result of a concerted effort by the American Medical Association and the drug companies, homeopathy went into a sharp decline. By the 1950s there were less than 200 homeopathic physicians.
Although homeopathy in America is presently lagging behind the rest of the world, Americans hate being second to anybody. Lucky for us all, homeopathy is growing at an extraordinary rate. According to the F.D.A., sales of homeopathic medicines grew by 1,000% from the late 1970s to the early 1980s.15 According to the Washington Post, the number of physicians in the United States who specialize in homeopathy doubled from 1980 to 1982.16
In the past two years homeopathy has received more media coverage than it has in the past 50 years. More research on homeopathy has also stimulated its growth, and more and more new books have been published that have updated old homeopathic knowledge.
Homeopathy may be more popular in other countries, but because America is just waking up to homeopathy’s impressive healing potential, we can all expect a tremendous resurgence of this marvelous healing art and science.
“The natural healing force within each one of us is the greatest force in getting well.” – Hippocrates
Learn from everyone, from everywhere, from every source, from every incident.
Learn, apply and utilise. Life is a glorious opportunity. Utilise this opportunity to the maximum so that we can say at the end as Hahnemann said, “Non inutilis vixi.” (I did not live in vain.)- Dr. P. Sankaran
Dignitaries who have supported homeopathy:
In England, The Royal Family has regularly used Homeopathy since the 1830’s. Today, QUEEN ELIZABETH II is a patron to the famed Royal London Homeopathic Hospital and PRINCE CHARLES is known to carry Homeopathic medicines whenever he travels.
Gay Gaer Luce. Ph.D. (twice winner of The National Science Writer’s Award) said that, “Homeopathy is a highly developed health practice that uses a systematic approach to the totality of a person’s health. Anyone seeking a fuller understanding of health and healing will find Homeopathy extremely important and applicable.”
MARK TWAIN once said: “…. (For) the introduction of Homeopathy, which forced the old school doctor to stir around and learn something of a rational nature about his business. YOU MAY HONESTLY FEEL GRATEFUL THAT HOMEOPATHY SURVIVED THE ATTEMPTS OF THE ALLOPATHS (THE ORTHODOX PHYSICIANS) TO DESTROY IT.” Harper’s Magazine. February 1890.
WILLIAM JAMES stated that, “An enormous mass of experience, both of Homeopathic doctors and their patients, is invoked in favor of the efficacy of these remedies and doses.”
JOHN D. ROCKEFELLER thought that Homeopathy is a “progressive and aggressive step in medicine.”
“Homeopathy is wholly capable of satisfying the therapeutic demands of this age better than any other system or school of medicine.” — Charles Menninger, M.D., Founder, Menninger Clinic
“Effective natural remedies that have no side effects.” — Robert Mendelsohn, M.D., Professor, University of Illinois Medical School and best-selling author
“Homeopathy is the safest and most reliable approach to ailments and has withstood the assaults of established medical practice for over 100 years.” — Yehudi Menuhin, world famous violinist
DIGNITARIES WHO HAVE SUPPORTED HOMEOPATHY —
In the past:
John D. Rockefeller
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Harriet Beecher Stowe
Samuel F.B. Morse
In the present:
Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of England
Tina Turner, Singer. Actress
Yehudi Menuhin, Master Violinist
Nicholos Von Hoffman, Syndicated Columnist
William Tiller. Ph.D., Stanford Professor
Pat Riley, Coach of the L.A. Lakers
Lindsay Wagner, Actress
Andrew Weil, M.D., Researcher and Author
OJ Simpson, Football Superstar
Jim Bouton, Ex-Yankee Pitcher
Bob MacAdoo, NBA Rookie-Of-The-Year 1972
Sally Little, Pro Golfer
Kate Schmidt, Two Time Olympic Medallist in The Javelin
1.Suzanne Muchnic, “Van Gogh Painting Sells at Record $82.5 Million,” Los Angeles Times, May 16, 1990.
2.F.Bouchayer, “Alternative Medicines: A General Approach to the French Situation,” Complementary Medical Research, May, 1990, 4(2)4-8.
3.Poll I.F.O.P., February, 1989.
4.”Medecines douches: La revanche de l’homeopathie,” Le Nouvel Observateur, April 12, 1985, 36-41.
5.”Herbal and Homoeopathic Remedies: Enhanced Status for Alternative Medicines,” OTC News and Market Report, July, 1990.
6.Richard Wharton and George Lewith, “Complementary Medicine and the General Practitioner,” British Medicine Journal, 292, June 7, 1986, 1498-1500.
7.David Taylor Reilly, “Young Doctors’ Views on Alternative Medicine,” British Medical Journal, 287, July 30, 1983, 337-339.
8.”Take a Little of What Ails You,” The Times, November 13, 1989.
9.Lynn Payer, Medicine and Culture, New York: Holt, 1988.
10.”Herbal and Homoeopathic Remedies.”
11Berlin Journal on Research in Homoeopathy, Universitatsklinikum Steglitz, 1000 Berlin, Germany.
12.”National Congress on Homoeopathy and Drug Abuse,” New Delhi, India, Sponsored by the Foundation for Medical Research and Education and the Dehli Police Foundation for Correction, Deaddiction and Rehabilitation, March 16-18, 1990.
13.”A First for Homoeopathy in USSR,” Homoeopathy Today, Winter, 1987-88, 17-20. Also, a personal report from Yuri Sidorenko.
14.Dana Ullman, Homeopathy: Medicine for the 21st Century, Berkeley: North Atlantic Books, 1988.
15.”Riding the Coattails of Homeopathy,” FDA Consumer, March, 1985, 31.
16.Ann Chase, “Options: Homeopathy,” Washington Post, April 28, 1983, 31.
17.Lawrence M.Tierney, Jr. et al, “Current Medical Diagnosis & Treatment”, USA: The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. 2004