|Issue #17 - February 2004|
Welcome to this issue of Naturopathic News, issue #17. It’s my goal to help you find natural solutions to health problems. This newsletter is one way to do that. The more educated you are about your health options the better able you will be to take control of your health. Any feedback in the form of comments, letters to the editor, success stories, etc., is appreciated.
This month, additional background on the fundamental principles of homeopathy. Plus, “Ow, my hand hurts, why am I doing this”??
The Single Remedy
As a homoeopath I do not look at each individual disease name or symptom in isolation. I look at the entire constitutional expression of the individual through the totality of their symptoms. As each individual represents a single mind/body complex any mistunement of this complex produces a constitutional syndrome of signs and symptoms. This singular constitutional state is most similar to "the single remedy" which is the "Simillimum"—the remedy that represents the complete gestalt of the disease. By using a single remedy the maximum healing power is concentrated on the essential picture of the illness rather than in reaction to several simultaneous medicinal influences.
If we give a combination of remedies it is very difficult to truly understand what the reaction is. If there is no reaction maybe the different remedies cancelled each other out. If there is a negative reaction which of the several remedies is to blame? If there is a good reaction, which remedy gets the praise? These questions are very important in the management of any case, especially in the situation of chronic disease.
The medicine of Hahnemann’s time, the late 1700s through the middle 1800s, depended upon the use of toxic substances given in large amounts that produced severe side effects (sound familiar?). In rebellion against this practice Hahnemann strove to stimulate healing in the most rapid, gentle, and permanent manner. The goal was to produce the maximum medicinal benefit with the minimum disturbance. Towards that end Dr. Hahnemann diluted and potentized the remedies. Dilution served to negate the toxic effects of substances such as snake venoms, arsenic, mercury, etc. Potentization awoke the innate medicinal action of even seemingly inert substances such as limestone, oyster shell, etc.
There are two major components in the production of a homeopathic medicine. The first is serial dilution. This is a process whereby the original substance is diluted in a given ratio for a set number of times. Consider a 200c potency of Pulsatilla pratensis. An extract of Pulsatilla (‘windflower’) is made and 1 drop is diluted in 99 drops of a water/alcohol mixture—this is a 1c. 1 drop of this solution is then diluted in 99 drops of a water/alcohol mixture—this is a 2c. This is repeated 200 times for a 200c remedy. At each step of the dilution process succussion (potentization) also occurs. This is the process by which the vial that the remedy solution is in is struck against a firm, resilient surface such as a book or a tabletop (this is not the same as shaking!). Homeopathic medicines that are succussed have been shown to produce a different nuclear ‘signature’ then the same substance that has not been succussed.
This two-step process enables the utilization of powerful medicinal substances with no side effects. In this way homeopathic medicines are made safe for anyone to take—babies, pregnant women, children, people on prescription medicines, etc.
Hahnemann was very careful to follow the ancient Greek teaching, “Do not harm”. For this reason in homoeopathy we first give a single test dose and watch the nature of the reaction very closely. This is the most prudent thing to do. One never knows what will happen before they give the first dose. The question that arises immediately, is the remedy correct? Was it the wrong remedy? Is the dose and potency correct? Is this single dose sufficient or does the remedy need to be repeated at suitable intervals to speed the cure? Many practitioners pay little attention to any of these critical factors. Without the single remedy and minimal dose such sophisticated case management is impossible.
Modern physics states that all forms of energy are contained in small energy packets called quanta. The amplitude of a force is increased when the number of quantum of energy present are expanded at any given wavelength. In the same way, Hahnemann taught that each pill of a homeopathic remedy possessed a certain amount or "quantum" of medicinal energy. In a sense the potency of a remedy represents the waveform or frequency of the energy and the number of pills represents the amplitude or power of the signal. This is why the strength of a homoeopathic dose increases each time the practitioner uses more pills, drops, or more teaspoons when preparing the remedy for ingestion.
As we’ve seen above, a very important step in the production of a homeopathic medicine is the number of times it is succussed. Simply put, succussion increases the potency of the remedy. When you succuss your homeopathic remedy before ingestion, you are increasing its potency. This is an important step as homeopathic practice has shown us over the last 200 years that the response to a medicine is optimal if the potency is changed each time you take it. In fact, Hahnemann wrote of a scale of sensitivity whereby low sensitives might need more succussions and high sensitives might need fewer succussions. Therefore it is very important to maintain the same number of succussions each time you take your remedy—not more, not less.
BGH: MONSANTO AND THE DAIRY INDUSTRY'S DIRTY LITTLE SECRET
From BioDemocracy News #38
Seven years ago, Feb. 4, 1994, despite nationwide protests by consumer groups, Monsanto and the FDA forced onto the US market the world's first genetically engineered (GE) animal drug, recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH, sometimes known as rBST). BGH is a powerful GE drug produced by Monsanto which, injected into dairy cows, forces them to produce 15%-25% more milk, in the process seriously damaging their health and reproductive capacity. Despite warnings from scientists, such as Dr. Michael Hansen from the Consumers Union and Dr. Samuel Epstein from the Cancer Prevention Coalition, that milk from rBGH injected cows contains substantially higher amounts of a potent cancer tumor promoter called IGF-1, and despite evidence that rBGH milk contains higher levels of pus, bacteria, and antibiotics, the FDA gave the hormone its seal of approval, with no real pre-market safety testing required. Moreover, the FDA ruled, in a decision marred by rampant conflict of interest (several key FDA decision makers, including Michael Taylor, previously worked for Monsanto), that rBGH-derived products did not have to be labeled, despite polls showing that 90% of American consumers wanted labeling--mainly so they could avoid buying rBGH-tainted products. Family farm advocates joined consumers in demanding a ban on rBGH, predicting that the controversial drug would drive milk prices down, aggravate an already serious problem of milk overproduction, give factory-style dairies added production capacity (since these were the dairies expected to use the drug), and tarnish the image of milk and dairy products.
All of the major criticisms leveled against rBGH have turned out to be true. (For more on the hazards and controversy surrounding rBGH click on www.organicconsumers.org and go to the rBGH section). Since 1994, every industrialized country in the world, except for the US, has banned the drug. Even the Codex Alimentarius, the food standards arm of the World Trade Organization, has refused to back up Monsanto's claim that the drug is safe. In 1998, Canadian government scientists revealed that Monsanto's own data on feeding rBGH to rats, carefully concealed by the company and the FDA, indicated possible cancer dangers to humans. Since rBGH was approved, approximately 40,000 small and medium-sized US dairy farmers, 1/3 of the total in the country, have gone out of business, concentrating milk production in the hands of industrial-sized dairies, most of whom are injecting their cows with this cruel and dangerous drug.
In a 1998 survey by Family Farm Defenders, it was found that mortality rates for cows on factory dairy farms in Wisconsin, those injecting their herds with rBGH, were running at 40% per year. In other words, after two and a half years of rBGH injections most of these drugged and supercharged cows were dead. Typically, dairy cows live for 15-20 years. Alarmed and revolted by rBGH, consumers have turned in droves to organic milk and dairy products or to brands labeled as rBGH-free. Nonetheless, use of the drug has continued to increase in the US (and in nations like Brazil and Mexico) especially in large dairy herds, so that currently 15% of America's 10 million lactating dairy cows are being injected with rBGH. Compounding the problem of rBGH contamination, most of the nation's 1500 dairy companies are allowing the co-mingling of rBGH and non-rBGH milk, thereby contaminating 80-90% of the nation's milk and dairy supply (including all of the major infant formula brands). For a list of organic and rBGH-free dairies in the US consult the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) website.
The major reason that rBGH is still on the market is that it is not labeled. Supermarket dairy managers, following guidelines circulated by the rBGH and biotech lobby, routinely lie to consumers, telling them either that rBGH is not in their products, or that there's no way to tell, and reassuring them that the FDA has certified that rBGH is safe. Of course, every survey conducted since 1994 shows that if consumers were given a choice, they would boycott rBGH-tainted products. When Vermont passed a mandatory labeling law for rBGH-derived dairy products in 1994, the rBGH lobby (led by Kraft/Phillip Morris and the International Dairy Foods Association) sued Vermont in federal court, forcing the state to rescind the law. When many US natural food stores, consumer coops, and dairies began advertising their products as rBGH-free, Monsanto's attorneys sent out thousands of letters to these businesses, threatening to sue them. Eventually Monsanto did sue two dairies, one in Iowa and another in Texas, but was forced to settle out of court. Responding to the global controversy surrounding the drug, Monsanto put BGH for sale in 1998, but there were no takers.
GP: Monsanto still vigorously attacks any market or dairy that publicizes BGH-free dairy products. Usually these are family-owned small businesses. Are you part of the 90% of Americans that would refuse BGH dairy products if they were labeled? I am. Yet another good reason to purchase certified organic dairy products.
FLAX MAY BE BETTER THAN SOY
Researchers have found postmenopausal women who supplement their diets with flaxseed, as opposed to soy, have a greater chance of reducing their risk of osteoporosis and hormone-sensitive cancers.
The structural similarity of the phytoestrogens enterolactone and enterodiol from flaxseed and genistein and daidzein from soy suggests that they may interfere with estrogen metabolism. Modulation of estrogen metabolism has the capacity to influence tissue estrogen exposure and therefore affect chronic disease.
Researchers conducted a study on postmenopausal women who were either supplemented with a placebo, soy or flaxseed, in the form of a muffin, for a four-month period. Participants contributed blood and urine samples during the beginning and ending of the study. Researchers analyzed the urine samples for phytoestrogens (2-hydroxyestrone, 16-hydroxyestrone), estrogen metabolites, and serum hormones. They also analyzed the urine and serum samples for biochemical markers of bone metabolism.
Results from the study showed urinary concentrations of 2-hydroxyestrone, but not of 16-hydroxyestrone, increased significantly in the flaxseed group. In this group, the ratio of 2-hydroxyestrone to 16-hydroxyestrone was 100 percent linked with urinary lignan excretion. In the placebo and soy group, researchers observed no correlation. When analyzing the serum hormones and biochemical markers of bone metabolism, researchers found no change.
Researchers concluded supplementation with flaxseed modifies urinary estrogen metabolite excretion significantly more than does supplementation with soy.
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition February, 2004;79(2):318-325
The structural similarity of the phytoestrogens enterolactone and enterodiol from flaxseed and genistein and daidzein from soy suggests that they may interfere with estrogen metabolism. Modulation of estrogen metabolism has the capacity to influence tissue estrogen exposure and therefore breast cancer and osteoporosis.
This study showed that supplementing the diet with about one ounce of ground flaxseed, but not with one ounce of soy flour, significantly alters the metabolism of estrogen in favor of the less biologically active estrogen metabolite (2OHE1) in postmenopausal women.
As many other studies have shown soy to be effective this sole study is not definitive. However, the usual caveat applies. Only use organic soy products (soy flour isn’t the best source). Only use organic flax seeds and grind them fresh daily in a low heat grinder.
ANTIDEPRESSANTS AND SUICIDE IN KIDS
A Food and Drug Administration (FDA) scientist who found that antidepressants may increase the risk of suicidal behaviors in children has been prohibited from making his findings public. He was asked by the FDA to write up a safety analysis about children taking the antidepressants Paxil, Effexor and others after reports of high rates of suicidal behavior among children taking such drugs surfaced early in 2003.
During his analysis he reviewed 20 clinical trials involving more than 4,000 children and eight different antidepressants. In his written report, and according to two FDA sources who have read the contents, he concluded that there was a definite link between children who took antidepressants and suicidal behavior.
After learning of this finding, the FDA informed the scientist that he would not be presenting his analysis, saying it was not “finalized,” but he would instead present reports received by the agency from doctors and professionals. Critics fear that the FDA’s action means they are not willing to take stronger measures against the antidepressants despite the possible effects on children. The FDA says there is a possibility that the scientist’s report may eventually be completed and made public.
According to a 2003 study in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, the use of antidepressants among children has more than tripled in recent years and soon the use of these drugs will reach adult usage rates.
San Francisco Gate February 1, 2004
Gregory Pais, ND, DHANP