Homeopathy: The Mechanics and Its
Application for the Dairy Farm, Part 1
By Glen Dupree, DVM
Added January 31, 2009. Of the therapeutic options available to the organic dairy, homeopathy stands alone in its elegance and simplicity. Of all the therapeutic options available for the organic dairy, none are more controversial than homeopathy.
I can make the first of these two statements because homeopathy alone is governed by four simple rules. Within these four rules is the ability to treat any set of symptoms in any species under any
circumstances without having to make exemptions or without having to change the rules.
I can make the second of these statements because nowhere within our currently accepted confines of science are the explanations for the theory and actions of homeopathy. However, even without these explanations, the changes seen in the patient after the administration of the properly selected homeopathic remedy are irrefutable. The sick body responds to curative therapy, even if there is not a commonly accepted scientific model to allow for such action.
The beauty of homeopathy is that if you understand the mechanics and applications of the medicine you can be successful with homeopathy, even if you do not understand exactly how or why the medicine works. The how and why make the medicine more interesting and its use more compelling but the mechanics and application make it successful.
In selecting the indicated homeopathic remedy for the case (whether the patient is an individual suffering some specific malady, an individual who is just not doing right but without a diagnosable disease, or a collective patient comprised of several individuals suffering from similar symptoms), the first rule of homeopathy is that you must select a remedy for the patient that is capable of causing similar symptoms. The medicine can cure symptoms (if given in very small quantities) because it can cause similar symptoms (if given in large quantities).
This sounds counterintuitive and self-defeating. Without delving into the philosophy and the theory as to why this is a necessary component of a curative medicine, we will simply say that by selecting a medicine based on its ability to cause similar symptoms in the patient, you are stimulating the body’s ability to heal itself rather than relying on the external and artificial effects of the medicine itself.
If this is the first rule of homeopathy, then the second rule is necessary to allow for the application of the first rule. The second rule says that if we are to apply the medicine that is capable of causing symptoms similar to the symptoms of the patient, we must first know what symptoms the medicine is capable of producing.
Provings and How They are Documented
This information is gathered through a process called a proving. In a proving a group of healthy individuals are brought together and are given the medicinal substance in sufficient quantity and repetition that they begin to produce symptoms. Since provings are only done on human volunteers, we can get a very accurate and detailed description of all the symptoms on all levels that the medicine is capable of producing. And since a symptom is a symptom regardless of species producing it (a wet cough is a wet cough regardless of the type of animal producing it, an itchy skin eruption is an itchy skin eruption regardless of the type of animal producing it, etc), we can extrapolate this human-derived information into any and every species. In order to keep track of this information, the provings are recorded in books called Materia Medica. These books are basically dictionaries of the remedies, telling the homeopath all the symptoms the remedy is capable of causing and therefore all the symptoms the remedy is capable of curing.
Materia medica run the gamut from the simplistic first aid and emergency manuals that are most useful in crisis situations to the most complete works like Hering’s or Allen’s 10 volume sets which list even the most subtle of symptoms, making them useful for treating the complexities of individual chronic disease.
Homeopathy Uses a Holistic Approach
Building on these first two rules is the third rule that speaks to the holistic approach of homeopathy. Since our patient is a functional totality according to the concepts of holism (the body is a complex unit made up of interdependent and interconnected parts that cannot be treated to the exclusion of the rest of the body since what affects the part affects the whole and what affects the whole affects each and every part), we must take into account the totality of symptoms produced by the patient as we match the proven remedy to the symptoms produced by our patient.
This rule keeps us focused on the fact that we are treating a living patient, not a static diagnosis. Since our patient is a functional totality, then every symptom produced is a clue to its state of illhealth and, therefore, of the remedy necessary to restore health. If we are treating a crisis or an emergency situation, we must take into account all the symptoms of the event, exclusive of the latent and pre-existing symptoms of the patient. If we are treating the subtleties of individual chronic disease in an attempt to remove the patient’s tendency to be sick, then we must take into account all the symptoms the patient is producing currently in all systems and in all levels as well as the historic symptoms that are a record of the previous state of health that has ultimated in today’s condition. In either case we are treating a single totality, rather than multiple diagnoses.
Use of the Repertory for Finding Potential Remedies for the Case
In order to simplify this process, there are books called repertories that are collections of symptoms along with the remedies capable of causing the symptoms. As with the materia medica, repertories range from the ultra-simplistic and diagnosis-driven first aid and emergency manuals to the much larger and complete repertories like Kent’s or Synthesis or the Complete Repertory.
By using the repertory, a potential list of remedies for the patient is developed based on the symptoms produced by both the patient and the medicine. This is a process called repertorization or
To begin the process of repertorization, the patient’s or the crisis’ symptoms are gathered and listed. The more detail involved in the description of the symptom, the more exact the choice of remedy will be.
From this list, the 3-5 symptoms that truly define the patient or the crisis are selected. These symptoms are selected based on consistency, recurrency, periodicity, degree, uniqueness, and
defining modalities (external events that alter the presentation of the symptom such as weather, motion, eating or drinking, etc. A modality is a feature of the symptom that is unique to the patient or the event).
If properly selected these 3-5 symptoms define the case in all aspects and will lead to a list of remedies that contains the correct remedy for the patient. This correct remedy will include all of these symptoms plus all the symptoms displayed by the patient but not used in the case analysis. (The remedy should contain all the symptoms of the patient but the patient will not necessarily display all the symptoms of the remedy.)
The repertory is simply a short cut to the potential list of remedies and does not select the remedy for the patient. This list of remedies must be taken to the materia medica and studied until the exact fit for the patient is found. The remedy selection will be verified by the inclusion in the materia medica of all the symptoms of the patient including those used in the case analysis.
Use One Remedy at a Time
Finally we are at the fourth rule that says we need to use a single dose of a single remedy when it is time to treat. Since we are dealing with a single totality of symptoms there should be only one best
remedy for that totality. And since we are depending on the healing properties of the body rather than the chemical manipulation of the medicine, we must give the dose sufficient time to work. This does not mean that only one dose of one medicine is all the patient will ever need but that at each dosing only one dose of one medicine is given so that we can evaluate the patient’s response and can make corrections if the response is less than curative.
The time involved in making this assessment depends on the dynamics and speed of the disease process. True life-threatening emergencies may be dosed and assessed every 1-2 minutes. Long
standing, latent chronic disease may be dosed and assessed in days to weeks. In either case the response of the patient dictates the next actions of the homeopath.
Initially this process will seem foreign and time consuming. With experience comes speed and accuracy. But until you gain that experience, simply use the selected homeopathic remedy as an adjunct to your current treatment protocol for the condition. If you see improved results with the addition of the remedy, this will give you the courage to try the remedy first and use your previous protocol as an adjunct to the remedy. Then with experience, and because of the ease of administration and the economics of homeopathy, many, if not most, of your previous protocols
may be abandoned.
For example if your farm probably has a particular herbal protocol of one or more herbal mixtures and maybe some vitamins or other supplements for diarrhea or pneumonia or some other malady. You can continue to use this protocol when you see the problem developing but you now repertorize the case and select the homeopathic remedy that best matches the symptoms. To your herbal protocol, you add appropriate doses of the homeopathic remedy.
As you assess the results of your treatment, if the cattle respond quicker, more dramatically, or more economically with the homeopathic remedy than when this protocol was used previously without the homeopathic remedy, this improved response can be attributed to the remedy since this is the only variable introduced from the previous protocol.
If you see this repeatedly, then it will give you confidence in the homeopathic remedy’s ability to treat your cattle. With this confidence, you may opt at the next occurrence to try the homeopathic
remedy first and hold your herbs until later. You can always go back to the old procedures if the homeopathic remedy fails to meet your expectations.
Then with the correct remedy and with additional experience, you will begin to see that the correct homeopathic remedy is capable of addressing the issues with little or no secondary supports. It is at this point that you will be able to appreciate the elegance and the economics of homeopathy on the farm.
Also with experience will come the knowledge that, because of the genetics, the production, the management, the uniqueness of your farm, there will only be a finite number of symptoms and symptoms complexes seen on your farm. With this limited grouping of symptoms, there will be only a limited number of remedies commonly indicated in your stock.
Once you determine the most common disease presentations and the most commonly indicated remedies for your farm, and once you learn these remedies inside and out, the entire process becomes very simple to use. And that is the beauty of homeopathy, whether you understand the theory behind the mechanics or not.
Stay tuned for Part II in the March issue of the NODPA News, where Dr. Dupree will cover the nuts and bolts of administering homeopathic remedies on the farm along with some case studies.
Glen Dupree, DVM, CVH, has practiced veterinary Homeopathy for the past 10 years in Louisiana, Pennsylvania and New York. He received his initial training in Homeopathy from Richard Pitcairn, DVM. Further studies have been made with various human Homeopaths. Currently, Dr. Dupree’s practice of veterinary Homeopathy is based in St. Francisville, Louisiana.