Friday, March 27, 2009

Homeopathy and Chinese Medicine: Uniting Two Forms of Energetic Medicine

Source : Townsend Letter

Homeopathy and Chinese medicine are both forms of energetic medicine that address imbalances which may be preventing patients from obtaining health and healing. Whether the goal is to balance qi or the vital force, patients have benefited from both types of medicine physically, emotionally, and mentally. The amazing results and responses from patients treated by homeopathy and Chinese medicine are proof that often there can be underlying issues that have not been or cannot be addressed in order to treat the whole person. It is these underlying issues that can bring about physical manifestation of pain and poor healing. Although many see classical homeopathy and Chinese medicine (acupuncture and/or herbal medicine) as completely separate forms of therapy, these two different systems share some areas of resemblance in diagnosis and treatment that may allow open-minded practitioners another tool in their clinical practices.

Two Forms of Energetic Medicine with One Common Goal
A frequent question for practitioners who use some form of homeopathy and acupuncture together in practice is, when it is most effective to use one over the other? For those who use both types of medicine, there may not be a clear answer. Both are able to treat acute and chronic symptoms; treat the mental, emotional, and physical aspects of a person; and address conditions that can be expressed as either superficial or deep. One possible answer may be that while acupuncture treats the physical, superficial manifestation, homeopathy may be best suited for addressing the energetic level that originates at a deeper realm. This use of combining homeopathy and Chinese medicine may be beneficial for those patients who seem to have multiple layers to their complaints. The public is familiar with the use of acupuncture for physical aliments like pain, but homeopathy may be more recognizable as addressing mental/emotional issues, perhaps due to its almost psychological approach to case-taking. In these cases, the different aspects of a patient's main complaint may be addressed in a synergistic fashion by using one modality to treat the acute and superficial and another modality for the deeper, hidden issue.

The Physicality of Homeopathy
In the practice of homeopathy, the primary focus of remedy selection is based on distinguishing the individual's mental and emotional state. The patient's physical presentations are used as confirmatory symptoms in the final remedy selection.

When practitioners use physical symptoms alone, often the wrong remedy is selected and the medicine simply does not work. In his classic repertory, Kent gives instructions on how to use it when emphasizing the mental symptoms:

    The mental symptoms, must first be worked out by the usual form until the remedies best suited to his mental condition are determined, omitting all symptoms that relate to a pathological cause and all that are common to disease and to people. When the sum of these has been settled, a group of five or ten remedies, or as many as appear, we are then prepared to compare them and the remedies found related to the remaining symptoms of the case.1

When focusing on the physical, it is easy to get lost in a sea of remedies that all have similarities. This is because the larger polycrest remedies have so many indications. The homeopathic materia medica is a laundry list of symptoms, and one can find almost any physical symptom under the larger remedies like sulfur.

The Mental/Emotional Realm of Chinese Medicine
Modern Chinese medicine has primarily been known to treat pain and organ disharmony by using acupuncture and herbal formulas based on Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) pattern differentiation. There are some schools and practitioners of more esoteric treatments that place more emphasis on treating the mental aspect of the patient, such as five-element theory as developed by the late J. R. Worsley. His principles would later be presented in an Oriental medicine psychology textbook, Five Elements of Acupuncture and Chinese Massage. From that book is a description of the physical manifestation of emotional constraint that would be appropriately treated with acupuncture:

    All thought process and mental states coexist with related muscular activity and tension. If a therapist is able to affect muscle tension activity, he/she will, ipso facto, affect the same degree of thought processes and mental states. …

    Rigidities on the level of the psyche will tend to externalize corresponding to rigidity on the level of the soma. Fixed ideas are all too often the precursors of fixed or stiff joints. Even if auricular or muscular rigidity are not yet present, one would select and treat points as if they were.2

The roots of acupuncture and classical Chinese medicine are of a deeply spiritual nature, and the Taoist origins are rich with mental and emotional significance. However, TCM as we know it is a modernized system that was handed down to us through the Communist government of China and has essentially limited those types of teachings. Still mentioned as a part of basic theory is the influence of the seven emotions, as first discussed in the classical text Neijing Suwen as a cause of internal imbalance creating illness in the body similar to that of an exterior pathogen. Later texts focused on groups of points to treat emotion disorders and even possession. The "Window of the Sky" points, mainly located near the head, were used to promote clarity of thought and treat psychoemotional disorders. Another set called the "thirteen ghost" points were used to treat epilepsy and manic disorders as far back as the seventh century.3 When the focus of modern medicine began to disregard any emotional connection to a patient's physical complaint, the use of such points faded, and they were replaced with the more popular points of the Eight Principles of Disease as taught in texts like Peter Deadman's A Manual of Acupuncture and Xinnong's Chinese Acupuncture and Moxibustion. Chinese herbal formulas based on pattern diagnosis that continued to place some focus on emotional disharmonies are found in the chapter listed as "Calming the Shen" in popular teaching texts and materia medicas by Dan Bensky and John Chen.

Modern and Classical Disease Pattern Discrimination
The developing interest in combination homeopathics, as opposed to classical homeopathic prescribing limited to single-remedy treatments, has brought about another possible link between these two systems. In 1952, Hans-Heinrich Reckeweg introduced the principles of homotoxicology and biotherapeutic drainage, combining a mixture of low-to-middle remedies to create complexes that treated diseases which appeared at different stages of deregulation in the body. In this theory, a homotoxin affects cells and tissues on different levels, passing through six phases, two subsections per three phases. The transition between phases is described as vicariation, with indicating signs that the illness is progressively growing in strength and requiring new treatment strategies.4 A similar process, also broken down into six stages of disease transmission, is taught from one of the earliest Chinese medical texts, the Shang Han Lun, written by Zhang Ji around 220 CE. It described how cold disease enters the body at a superficial level and could penetrate deeper into the body, changing its clinical manifestations and organ pathology, finally becoming fatal at the deepest level.5 It follows disease from the outermost levels to the innermost level while providing simple herbal formula recommendations and modifications for each stage. These same six stages, along with the Four Levels of Disease introduced in the later text Wen Bing, became the basis for classical and modern acupuncture-point prescriptions. In both forms of medicine, the importance lies in treating only at the appropriate level of disease to bring about a cure.

Illness can travel both forward and backward throughout these different levels, hopefully being expressed and released externally instead of penetrating and lingering deeper within. Clinical manifestations of illness can change dramatically for the good or bad in patients, often leading to the formulation of new treatment plans or selection of a new, more appropriate remedy. The progression of a disease towards cure was explained by Hering's law of direction of cure, the second law of homeopathy following only the law of similars. Reiterated by Kent, "The cure must proceed from centre to circumference, from centre to circumference is from above downward, from within outwards, from more important to less important organs, from the head to the hands and feet."6

A similar progression of disease is mentioned in the Neijing Suwen, when the Yellow Emperor Huang Qi is told by the great scholar Qi Bo, "When it [a pathogen] remains in the body for a long period of time, the pathogenic factor will transform, internalize, and stagnate to the point where the flow of qi is impaired, top to bottom, side to side, or between yin and yang."7 Treatment and monitoring changes in disease progression between these two forms of medicine have some similarities in thought, even though there are centuries separating their great masters.

Mutual Energetic Treatment Strategies
Homeopathic remedy selection may depend on the current state of the patient, whether he is to be treated acutely or if his underlying constitution needs to be addressed. These changes can lead to the selection of a new remedy or changes in dose administration or potency. The same idea can be observed in Chinese medicine, especially if herbs are being prescribed. A patient's condition may only match a formula's given indication from as little as a few days or as much as two weeks before another formula becomes more appropriate. Acupuncture also will use certain points from more acute situations that may include clearing heat from the body to revive consciousness, such seen with the Jing-Well (Ting) points on the tips of the extremities or the Ying-Spring points.8 Constitutional treatments, often described as treating the root of the disease instead of its branches, may involve the selection of points like the Front Mu (Alarm) point for each individual organ, along with its Back Shu (Associate) point in order to provide a deeper effect on the body's qi. Where selection in point prescription may change on a daily basis, changes in a patient's homeopathic picture may also change abruptly, which may be seen with selection of the wrong remedy or prescribing at too high potency, leading to patients who begin to prove a remedy's rare and peculiar keynotes.

New Concepts on Combining Both Medicines in Clinical Application
In our study of both forms of medicine, we have noticed indications in which both the use of Chinese medicine and homeopathy may be applicable. These ideas first came about while reviewing basic acupuncture point descriptions that sounded similar to the characteristics symptoms of certain remedies. Another indication was the common phrase from patients, "I've never been well since…" or they had cases that looked and felt more suited to homeopathy than acupuncture. These patients all had something in common: they seemed to have deep-seated issues that were being expressed outwardly in physical form. Often these patients would have been to Western medical practitioners, were treated unsuccessfully, and were now turning to alternative medicine. These were the patients whose physical pathology seemed to manifest from a disturbance in their life force, as opposed to a physical trauma or clear disease pathology. It was these situations in which we thought a combination of homeopathy and Chinese medicine might be a valid option. We examine three ways the two could be used together to best suit patients' needs:

1. The combination use of specific acupuncture points that match keynote symptoms of remedy for acute treatment. A particular example would be using the polycrest Belladonna alongside acupuncture point Liver-2, located on the dorsum of the foot between the first and second toes just below the webbing. Liver 2 has an indication for clearing strong heat patterns in the body and helping to release the free flow of qi throughout the body, as well as within the Liver meridian. The Liver channel is known to be strongly affected by emotional influences, and when qi cannot flow freely, emotions such as rage, anger, and even mania can occur.9 The mania, restlessness, and hot sensation accumulating in the body that can affect the patient's mental clarity seem very similar to the keynote symptoms of out-of-control behavior and blood and heat rushing to the head typical of Belladonna. A combined treatment may involve the use of acupoint Liver 2, as well as other points like LI-11, ST-44, and UB-40 to clear intense heat, along with low-dose Belladonna while in the office. In this case the homeopathic remedy is used to help treat the acute symptoms and calm the patient while the acupoints move qi and rebalance the affected channel to help clear excess heat in order to help ground the patient. Unlike using a remedy that is chosen based on the "like cures like" principle, Chinese herbal therapy would use the oppose to clear heat by having the patient take a strong cooling herb like Shi gao (gypsum).10

2. Confirmation of a patient's remedy or disease state through traditional Chinese medicine observation and palpation techniques. Pulse and tongue observation are used by TCM practitioners to help determine a patient's underlying pattern. They serve as nonverbal indications of the internal and external patterns for determination of treatment. Pulse and tongue observations are listed in both the homeopathic materia medica and repertory, but are not considered relevant to remedy selection. There was a time when homeopaths were medical doctors trained in the art of pulse and tongue diagnosis. Modern homeopathic training does not include them; however, a skilled observer can use them to help confirm a remedy. The following is an example of how this method could be used to differentiate headache remedies: Boericke lists Belladonna with a rapid but weakened pulse and a strawberry-red, swollen tongue.11 This could be compared with the pulse and tongue of Natrum muriaticum, another important headache remedy, which has a fluttering, palpating, and intermittent pulse with a frothy coating with bubbles on the side and a sense of dryness.12 In sum, tongue and pulse information is used for confirmation, not as a primary diagnostic tool.

3. The use of homeopathic remedy dilution methods for administration of Chinese herbal formulations. One of the benefits of homeopathic dilutions is that they allow for toxic substances too dangerous taken orally to be used energetically. Chinese herbalists have historically used toxic substances in some of their traditional formulas.13 Other substances have also been difficult to obtain for many different reasons, such as Ma Huang (ephedra) due to FDA banning, high-potency Ren Shen (Korean ginseng) due to high cost for the best-quality root, or Lu Rong (deer antler velvet) due to animal protection regulations and lack of availability. Using the same concepts of titrations and successions that Hahnemann himself used for his first proofs, one might be able to test if it would be possible to use dilutions of single Chinese herbs or formulas in clinical situations. An educational pseudo-proving of Ma Huang Tang (ephedra formula) made from its raw ingredients demonstrated that the participants involved with making the low-dose potency began to develop some of the indications listed in texts for the use of the formula. This leads to many more questions as to the use of not only homeopathic remedies, but also the processes used to manufacture remedies as another route of administration for traditional raw herbal formulas.

Homeopathy and Chinese medicine have both been used to treat physical, mental, and emotional aspects of patients by addressing energetic imbalances within the body that are often overlooked in other forms of medicine. While both types of medicine have similarities in their basic concepts, they are viewed as two individual medical treatments. Those practitioners interested in combining their benefits will have to focus on addressing deeper mental/emotional issues that may be provoking a patient's physical complaints. The following translated Chinese passage describes how to formulate individual treatments much the same as classical principles may guide a homeopathic practitioner:

    Illness may be identical but the persons suffering from them are different. The … emotions and the … excesses affecting people are not the same. … If one treats all those patients who appear to suffer from one illness with one and the same therapy, one may hit the nature of the illness, but one's approach may still be exactly contraindicated by the influence of qi that determines the condition of the individual patient's body. … Physicians therefore must take into account the differences among the people and only then decide whether the therapeutic pattern they employ suits … the individual constitution on the basis of the criteria mentioned above

Friday, March 13, 2009

High Dilution Growth Factors/Cytokines: Positive Immunologic, Hematologic and Clinical Effects in HIV/AIDS Patients

High Dilution Growth Factors/Cytokines: Positive Immunologic, Hematologic and Clinical Effects in HIV/AIDS Patients

Source : Bastyr University Research Institute

Barbara Brewitt, PhD; Leanna Standish, ND, PhD Biomedical Explorations, Seattle, WA; Bastyr University Health Clinic, Seattle, WA

Objective: Determine efficacy of administering 4 high dilution cytokines; platelet-derived growth factor BB, insulin-like-growth factor-1, transforming growth factor beta 1, and granulocyte-macrophage colony simulatin factor (GM-CSF).

Methods: Sixteen weeks treatment group ("TX")/placebo group ("PL"): CD4 counts 200-500 and 16 weeks open label study: CD4 counts 1250550, 10 drops/3X day/bottle p.o. growth factor type or placebo. Exclusion criteria: antiretroviral or steroidal therapy. Monthly evaluations: T/B lymphocytes, blood chemistry plus lipids, complete blood count, platelets, erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), weigh, opportunistic infections (OIs) and HIV viral load (open label only). Growth factors/cytokines diluted (10-60, 10-400, 10-2000 molar), well beyond Avogadro's number.

Results: TX/PL started with CD4s of 330±14 cells/ul (SEM). TX (n=13) raised CD4 & CD8 counts by 13±12 cells/uL and 83±4 cells/uL, respectively, vs. -55±15 CD4 cells/uL (p<0.008) by 16 weeks and -246±60 CD8 cells/uL (p<0.04 within group) by 20 weeks in placebo group (n=9). TX had no OIs vs. 20% Ois in PL. ESR with treatment decreased from 19±3 to 11±2 mm/hr between 8th and 16th week (p<0.01) vs. no change in placebo group, 20±5 to 17±4 mm/hr. TX gained +2.0±1.0 lbs vs. -4.0±1.4 lbs. in the placebo (p<0.01). Viral load was measured monthly in a separate group of patients (n=8) with CD4 count of 242±23 cells/uL. Viral decreased from 203,400±106,300 to 105,000±43,500 RNA copies/mL after 16 weeks of treatment, a decrease of 0.3 log unit. When PL patients were crossed over to treament for another 16 weeks, CD4, CD8 counts and viral load stabilized (112,000±19,000 RNA copies/mL) plus weigh loss was reversed. Eight patients completed 11 months of treatment with ending viral loads of 19,500±6,000 and 38% had no detectable virus, with CD4 and CD8 counts stable at baseline values. Twenty-five percent of patients were thrombocytopenic. During their first month of treatment, platelets rose 23% (111,000±22,000 to 136,000±29,000 plt/uL); 57% patients achieved normal values. Two patients enrolled in a single high dilution GM-CSF treatment, rose from 16,000 to 48,000 and 141,000 to 174,000 plt/uL after only one month of treatment.

Results suggest that unknown biophysical mechanisms of high dilutional growth factors/cytokines may exert immunological effects in HIV/AIDS.

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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Get Complete Repertory 2009 on your computer. FOR FREE!

Courtesy : Edwin van Grinsven & Roger van Zandvoort

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Friday, March 06, 2009

60 per cent of doctors’ surgeries prescribe homeopathic or herbal remedies in Scotland

Sixty per cent of doctors’ surgeries in Scotland prescribe homeopathic or herbal remedies, according to a study of nearly two million patients, published in the December issue of the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology.

Source : Homeopathic and herbal prescribing in general practice in Scotland. Ross S, Simpson C R and McLay J S. British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology

 Researchers from the University of Aberdeen analysed official prescribing data from 2003-4, covering 1.9 million patients from 323 practices.
Their findings have led them to call for a critical review of homeopathic and herbal prescribing in the UK National Health Service, particularly the high levels given to babies and children under 16.
The research team discovered that:
• 49 per cent of practices prescribed a total of 193 different homeopathic
remedies and 32 per cent prescribed 17 different herbal remedies.
• Five per cent of the practices included in the study prescribed 50 per cent
of the remedies and accounted for 46 per cent of the patients receiving
• 4160 patients (2.2 per 1000 registered patients) were prescribed at least
one homeopathic remedy during the study period. 73 per cent were female
and the average age of patients was 47.
• Children under 12 months were most likely to be prescribed a homeopathic
or herbal remedy (9.5 per 1000 children in that age group), followed by
adults aged 81-90 (4.5 per 1000). 16 per cent of homeopathic prescribing
was to children under 16.
• 361 patients were prescribed at least one herbal remedy during the study
period (0.2 per 1000 registered patients) and 12 per cent of these were
children under 16 years old. 72 per cent of prescriptions were issued to
females and the average age was 61.
• Doctors who prescribed patients a homeopathic remedy also prescribed
them a median of four conventional medicines during the study period.
This figure went up to five for people prescribed herbal remedies.
• Four per cent of patients prescribed a herbal remedy were, at the same time, prescribed conventional medication that has been documented to
interact with herbal treatments.
• The top five prescribed homeopathic remedies were
Arnica montana (for injury, bruising),
Rhus toxicodendron (joint symptoms, headache)
Cuprum metallicum (cramp, poor circulation)
Pulsatilla (PMT, menopausal symptoms, breast feeding problems) and
Sepia (PMT, menopausal symptoms, fatigue).
• The top five prescribed herbal remedies were:
Gentian (poor appetite, digestive problems),
Cranberry (urinary tract infection)
Digestodoron (indigestion, heartburn, constipation)
Evening primrose (PMT) and Laxadoron (constipation)
“Our study shows that a substantial number of Scottish family doctors prescribe homeopathic and herbal remedies” says co-author Dr James McLay
from the University’s Department of Medicine and herapeutics.
“This level of prescribing raises important questions about homeopathic and herbal provision in the UK’s National Health Service
“The major problem with homeopathic preparations is the lack of scientific evidence that they are effective.
“Given the rise of evidence-based medicine and the trend toward prescribing
guidance in the UK, should therapies with no convincing positive clinical trial evidence be prescribed and funded by the health service?
“Or are proponents of such remedies correct in stating that the difficulties inherent in trialling such therapies make evidence irrelevant.
“Whatever the arguments, our study shows an apparent acceptance of homeopathic and herbal medicine within primary care, including extensive use
in children and young babies. We believe that these findings underline the need for a critical review of this prescribing trend.”
“The research by the University of Aberdeen adds an important dimension to the ongoing debate about homeopathic remedies, as it shows what is actually happening at grass roots in Scottish general practice,” adds Dr Jeffrey
Aronson, Editor-in-Chief of the Journal and Reader in Clinical Pharmacology at Oxford University.
“In September 2006 the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory
Agency (MHRA) introduced new rules to regulate homeopathic medicines, allowing manufacturers to specify the ailments for which they can be used.
“This move has been criticised by a number of leading UK scientific institutions, who argue that homeopathic medicines should not be allowed to make ‘unsubstantiated health claims’ and that the policy is damaging to patients’ best interests.
“We hope that this paper will further inform the debate, as it provides clear evidence on prescribing patterns within the NHS and raises a number of important issues, particularly about prescribing homeopathic and herbal remedies to children.”

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Research Supporting Homeopathy



The first double-blind crossover study ever performed was conducted by homeopaths in 1906. This study was run concurrently in eleven different cities on fifteen subjects. The documentation of this experiment consisted of 665 pages, published as Research Provings of Belladonna. Also at the turn of the nineteenth century, a book on homeopathic research was published called The Logic of Figures or Comparative Results of Homeopathic and Other Treatments. This book provided dozens of charts comparing disease and death rates in homeopathic and allopathic (mainstream) hospitals. This research also investigated statistics on the epidemic diseases of scarlet fever, yellow fever, and typhoid. The research showed that homeopathic hospitals had an average of 50 to 80 percent fewer deaths per 100 people, depending on the disease compared.
During World War II, an early double-blind study of homeopathy was sponsored by the British government. The experiment demonstrated that those given homeopathic remedies experienced a significant improvement in burns from mustard gas compared to those given placebo.
Many modern clinical trials are currently underway, looking for evidence of the efficacy of homeopathy from controlled trials in human subjects. More than 100 clinical trials have been conducted, some published in highly prestigious journals such as Lancet and JAMA. In 1997, K. Linde and W. Jonas, directors of the Alternative Medicine Evaluation Department of the National Institute of Health, co-signed a meta-analysis which evaluated 186 clinical trials on homeopathic therapies. Among the 105 trials whose results could be interpreted, 81 presented positive results, while homeopathy did not have a positive effect in 24 others. The authors concluded that, "the results of this meta-analysis are incompatible with the hypothesis that the clinical effects of homeopathy are due exclusively to a placebo effect."
Proliferation of interest in the area of clinical research abounds. In April 2003, a two-day conference was held in London on the topic of clinical research. Dick Koster  reports: "Those who are opposed to homeopathy…base their conclusion on the last negative study…. Followers of homeopathy herald all positive news and complain about serious design flaws in negative studies…. Both sides claim their successes and failures as definitive while in reality, new research…would only add or subtract a small effect to or from the already existing evidence…of homeopathy being true." This being said, Koster goes on to say that "homeopaths look at their patient results and believe that no amount of negative research could topple their belief in homeopathy."
A recent double-blind study has shown the antiviral effect of homeopathic remedies. Eight of the ten remedies tested inhibited viruses in chicken embryos from 50 to 100 percent depending on the potencies used. German scientists at a Veterinary College showed use of the homeopathic remedy Chelidonium lowered serum cholesterol when given twice a day to rabbits on a cholesterol rich diet.
The British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology published a double-blind experiment on patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Of those given a homeopathic medicine, 82 percent experienced some relief of symptoms, while only 21 percent of those given a placebo experienced any similar degree of improvement.
Research has also been conducted in the use of homeopathy in cancer. In 77 mice that received a transplant in fibrosarcoma, 52 percent survived more than a year when treated with homeopathic remedies. The 77 untreated mice died within 10-15 days.
Many critics of homeopathic research site flaws in the designs of the studies, weakness in reporting and measuring techniques, small numbers of study participants, and the difficulties in replicating results. Homeopathy works and the proof is in the pudding. Because the science is based on one remedy for one person, it is difficult to construct studies and judge the results. Clinical results have noted homeopathic cures taking place around the globe for over 100 years. The miniscule doses are still immeasurable by today’s science, but in the future, equipment will be designed that can adequately measure the healing effects of homeopathy.