Posts tagged ‘Homeopathy’

As a homeopath, I oppose the bridge course which is being contemplated for practitioners of homeopathy and other AYUSH (Ayurveda, Unani, Siddhi and Homeopathy) streams. The bridge course will allow AYUSH practitioners in India to practise basic conventional medicine. Here are my thoughts on this and I write it from the point of view of homeopathy being my field of medicine:

1. We have a very effective and strong system of medicine ourselves, so why do we need to prescribe conventional medicine? In an emergency, if life-saving conventional treatment is needed (if the homeopath is not skilled or confident enough of treating it), patients can go to trained doctors in that field. The bridge course is not going to provide high-level ER training in any case.

2. It is said that the reason the government is planning this move is because there are insufficient doctors in rural areas and people living in such places have no access to healthcare. Fine. Why does rural India need conventional treatment only? Why can’t the other systems of medicine be practised there? In fact, this is a good chance to show, in comparative terms, how the other systems of medicine contribute positively to healthcare.

3. This bridge course is not going to help the cause of AYUSH. As students and young practitioners, many want to practise conventional medicine because of status and the perception of higher incomes. It is also a fact that to be a good homeopathic physician, one needs a great level of skill which only comes with hard work and constant learning. It is not as easy as prescribing ‘this for that’. Hence, this bridge course will serve as a back-door entry to conventional medicine practice and will be an escape route to avoid putting in the effort needed to be good homeopaths. Over time, this will reduce the number of skilled homeopaths and will be a dangerous matter for the future progress of our system of medicine. I presume the same would be the case for the other AYUSH streams.

4. Pharmaceutical companies will be very happy at the increase in their profits by getting lakhs of more practitioners who will prescribe their medicines.

5. As it is, conventional medicines unfortunately have loads of side effects. We regularly see patients in our practices, who come for problems and actual diseases that have arisen due to some side-effects of conventional therapy. It is possible that the AYUSH practitioner will be easily blamed for every side-effect that a patient suffers from. The side-effect will be attributed, not to the chemical drug which is actually responsible, but to a lack of skill in the AYUSH practitioner.

6. As a final point, let the Government ensure that every student receives good training and practical experience before they venture out as physicians. Let every physician develop the skill, and practise the field of medicine they were trained in. As homeopaths, let us not forget that we have the possibility of doing great things to improve the lives of our patients, bringing cure in so-many problematic chronic cases, and yes, we have the ability to be life-savers as well, if sufficiently skilled in our science. And this satisfies the soul. Isn’t it worth it?


Last year, in November 13, 2010, the prestigious Journal of Rheumatology published an article with the following heading:

“Homeopathy has clinical benefits in rheumatoid arthritis patients that are attributable to the consultation process but not the homeopathic remedy”.

World famous Greek homeopath, George Vithoulkas responded with an answer to Rheumatology Journal but they refused to publish it.

The article was then sent to another peer review journal “HOMEOPATHY” and here is the answer for those who are interested in defending homeopathy and understanding the truth.

Now, the answer to Rheumatology Journal by Prof. Vithoulkas is available through the website of the International Academy of Classical Homeopathy.

Spinal canal stenosis occurs due to the compression of nerve roots in the spinal canal. Here, there is a combination of narrowing of the disc space, bulging of the disc into the spinal canal and degeneration of the facet joints. This occurs due to wear and tear. A certain degree of spinal canal stenosis is common in the elderly and may not be associated with any discomfort. A diagnosis of spinal canal stenosis is not adequate reason for surgery – surgery is only to be considered when symptoms are severe and disabling. Even then, conservative treatment is first recommended and homoeopathy often plays an important role in avoiding surgery and enabling the patient to live a more normal life.

The case described below is of an elderly gentleman who was diagnosed with Spinal Canal Stenosis and was offered surgery as a last resort to ameliorate his complaints.

This 68-year-old man who lives in Jalgaon, came to my clinic in October 2006. His son’s family lives in Mumbai and they brought him for consultation after recommendation from a neighbour.
The patient had an accident that had injured the spine in 1996. Since then, he used to suffer from pain on and off. The pain had increased in intensity and frequency in the last 2 years, becoming quite unbearable in the last one month.

When he came in for consultation, his symptoms were as follows:
Throbbing pain in the right hip and right sacral region. The pain increased terribly on walking and after walking about half a kilometer, he would have to sit down for a while. The pain was better while sitting, better by support, better by pressure and better by hot fomentation.
There was tingling numbness from the soles up the entire lower limbs that came on while walking, worse in the left lower limb.

He is a vegetarian and has a balanced life, eating all vegetarian foods with no particular cravings or aversions. He drank 8-10 glasses of water per day and bowel and bladder functions were normal. He slept at 8 at night, waking at 5 in the morning. His sleep was deep and he liked to sleep for 2 hours in the afternoons. No significant dreams were elicited. There was a past history of smoking that he’d given up many years ago.

There were no major illnesses in his past history or in his family. His mother was still alive at 90.

He had a helpful nature and was well-respected in his village. People would go to him for advice. He had no fears and had firm religious beliefs. He insisted that there had been nothing unusual in his life and he lived happily with his routines. His ‘routine’ consisted of farming his land.

Based on his presenting symptoms, he was prescribed Sepia 200, once a day, with instructions to reduce the dosing if improvement set in. He was to report after a week.

After a week, he was 75% better where his pain was concerned. He said he could walk longer too. At this point, it was decided that a remedy for long-term improvement has to be selected. Kali Carb 200 was chosen. He was to report after a fortnight. He continued to improve. At the end of 6 weeks, he had no pain on walking, but the tingling numbness would occur on walking about 1/2 a km. Rest, however, even for a minute, would ease the numbness.

6 weeks further down the line, improvement continued. Few more Kali Carb 200 doses were repeated over the next 6 months with a couple of Sulphur 200 doses being given as an intercurrent. Kali Carb 1M was later given and in November 2007, he was completely free of his complaints.

They have referred several people from their village for treatment. The last report I received from the son (in July 2010) stated that his father was doing very well with no complaints whatsoever.

Back problems have become extremely common and are no longer restricted to the older age group. Teenagers and young people in their 20s are also often affected. Most people will experience back pain at some time or other during their life. With good posture and by maintaining strong and healthy back muscles, it is possible to avoid back trouble but very few of us actually put our back muscles to their proper use – that of supporting the spine.

With present day job situations where people spend long periods of time sitting at desks, the risk is increased. Even people who are physically active get at risk if they do not learn correct and safe lifting techniques. When heavy and awkward objects are lifted and carried with a bent back and straight legs, there is great strain on the vertebrae and the cartilage discs between them.

Back pain can arise in any of the structures in or around the spine. Also, the pain arising from inflammation in one area can be transmitted along a nerve to a totally different area; this can be misleading about the actual location from where the pain arises.

85% of all back pain is due to injury, inflammation or arthritis in the various structures that make up the spine. A further 10% are due to true ‘slipped disc’ or prolapsed intervertebral disc which is due to damage to the cartilaginous disc between the vertebrae. The centre of the disc is pushed backwards against the spinal cord itself or against the nerves emerging from it, thus causing pain. This is usually caused by a bad lifting technique or a sudden awkward movement. A small proportion of back pain is caused by serious disease elsewhere in the body. Rheumatoid arthritis and cancer spreading from other sites can erode vertebral bone and cause severe, boring pain in the back area. Occasionally, back pain may be due to gynaecological or kidney problems.

Visualising the normal curvature of the spine can be an important diagnostic tool. When you stand sideways in front of a mirror, you should be able to see the four basic curves of the spine. In the neck region, the spine should curve inwards, towards the throat – a similar curve should be seen in the small of the back. Between the shoulder blades and the back of the pelvis, the spine should curve outwards, away from the body. In certain conditions, this curvature gets altered. For eg., in a prolapsed disc with accompanying muscle spasm in the small of the back, there is loss of the forward curvature in this area and the spine looks flat and rigid. In osteoporosis or ankylosing spondylitis, there is marked forward curvature of the spine between the shoulder blades with hunching of the back and a stoop. Shortening and forward bending of the spine is also seen in osteoporosis.

X-Rays are rarely useful, as soft-tissue injuries are not shown up on X-Rays. MRIs are more useful than X-Rays for diagnosing back-related problems.

Sudden acute back pain brought on by lifting a heavy object or by twisting awkwardly is generally due to trauma to the structures in or around the spine itself. Muscles may be torn or strained, a disc may have prolapsed and may be pressing on nerves, or the nerve may be stretched over a bony outgrowth which is the result of wear-and-tear arthritis. Weakness of the bones due to osteoporosis or metastatic cancer can also cause problems due to sudden movement.

Sharp stabbing pain brought on by movement is probably due to one of the nerves being entrapped – this pain serves as a reminder to the patient that he should be resting. (Very often, instead of taking the time off for healing, patients indiscriminately take pain killers and continue to do their daily tasks, thereby worsening the damage). The pain should settle down within 3 days or so, since most trivial muscle strains and spasms settle on their own by this time. If prolonged, consulting a doctor is necessary. Pain on coughing or sneezing also suggests movement of a freshly prolapsed disc pressing on a nerve – it again needs rest. A slipped disc may create weakness or numbness in the legs, this can have potentially serious consequences for mobility and muscle strength in the legs in future. A severe slipped disc in the lowest part of the spine can bring on difficulty in controlling the bladder or bowels.

Most back pain is long-standing. Muscles heal fairly rapidly but ligaments and inflamed joints take several weeks or months to settle down since they have relatively poor blood supply. Inflammation and arthritis of the joints tends to be chronic and emphasis should also be laid on preventing further deterioration.

Previous back injury like bruised or fractured vertebrae can later on lead to the development of arthritis with resulting stiffness and pain.

Fever, weight loss and fatigue can represent problems affecting other areas of the body as well as the spine. Rheumatoid arthritis could produce all these symptoms, as well as pain, stiffness and swelling in other joints.

If the backache is much worse during a woman’s menstrual period, it could be due to a retroverted uterus. An internal examination by the gynaecologist could confirm that. Prolapse of the uterus can also cause backache. This happens when the muscles of the pelvic floor that support the uterus become weak. It may occur in overweight women or in women who have not toned up their muscles after delivery of children. Associated symptoms are a constant discharge, alteration of bladder and bowel function with possible constipation and even stress incontinence (leakage of urine on coughing, sneezing or straining). There will be a feeling of bearing down esp. when standing or exercising with a dragging feeling in the abdomen. Backache and general tiredness with fatigue is a usual accompaniment. Certain other gynaecological disorders can also produce back pain.

Kidney infections and kidney stones are capable of producing pain in the back because of the location being so close to the spine.

Generalised weight loss with a chronic boring pain in the back could indicate a serious disorder within the body – chronic infections, tuberculosis, blood disorders like leukemia and multiple myeloma and cancer spreading from elsewhere. A full investigation is essential.

In rare cases, a rupturing aortic aneurysm can cause intense back pain. This pain will be felt in the back as well as the abdomen. This is a medical emergency and urgent referral to a hospital is necessary.


Injuries are best treated with initial application of ice, followed by heat later; bed rest is necessary depending on the extent of injury. Homoeopathic remedies are very useful in helping the hurt tissue heal faster. The patient’s symptoms of pain will guide the physician to the correct remedy.

Exercise is very important for patients with osteoporosis. Weight-bearing exercise and walking are particularly beneficial. Homoeopathic treatment will include detailed constitutional treatment along with homoeopathic mineral supplements which have the advantage of better absorption within the body.

Rest and homoeopathy do wonders for people with slipped discs. Later on, homoeopathy and exercise are essential to strengthen the back muscles to prevent recurrence.

Even long-standing back pain can find considerable relief through good holistic therapy, physiotherapy, exercise and correct posture.

The other medical conditions that do cause back pain can also be well treated with homoeopathic remedies. The focus is on curing the underlying condition and not jut giving pain relief by suppression of the pain. Constitutional homoeopathic treatment is necessary – this involves detailed case taking followed by good case management.

“Swine Flu” has become a much dreaded illness in Mumbai, Pune and neighbouring areas ever since the first swine flu death occurred in India a couple of weeks ago. Widespread fear and a state of panic are setting in, esp. due to an initial fanning of the flames by the media and lack of awareness about this illness among the general public.

In this article, we shall try and understand the basics about what exactly swine flu is, how it gets transmitted, risks and dangers involved, how one can protect oneself from contracting this illness and medical prevention and treatment options available.

So far, the media has only highlighted treatment options available in Allopathy/conventional medicine. After days of their drug Tamiflu being raved about and made to appear as a saviour drug and the only available perceived treatment option, recent reports are abuzz with the side-effects of Tamiflu. The pharmaceutical companies are in a race to make a vaccine against swine flu available at the earliest and reports suggest that such a vaccine is going to be introduced this autumn in western countries, to combat the expected second wave of swine flu. It remains to be seen whether this new vaccine will, in any way, be more effective than the earlier Influenza vaccines given every year. Newer variants of influenza vaccines are made available with clockwork regularity as the influenza virus mutates rapidly and makes the previous year’s vaccine ineffective.

To combat the panic all around us, let us also get some perspective on this Swine Flu epidemic. Every year, about 36000 – 40000 people die in the US from regular seasonal flu. As compared to seasonal flu, this Swine Flu virus has not proved to be more virulent or contagious. After the initial panic in the US and Mexico, where this Swine Flu apparently originated, researchers have agreed that the Swine Flu virus was not as dangerous as they initially thought.

Yes, over a thousand people have been infected now in India, but that is still about 0.001% of the Indian population; far from being anywhere near pandemic proportions. Of all those that have been infected, a vast majority recovered without any complications. There will also be a lot more numbers of people infected with the virus than what the media reports – this is because not all of them will fall sick and not all of those who do fall sick will get tested. Many will not fall sick because their body’s immunity will tackle the virus without a problem. Out of those who do fall ill, a majority will not undergo ‘testing’ but will recover by themselves or with the help of local treatment by family doctors.

So now, keeping this in mind, let us now talk about the Swine Flu virus and the ailment it can cause.

The virus causing Swine Flu is the H1N1 virus and spreads from person to person in the same way that a regular flu virus spreads – through coughing or sneezing by people with influenza. Occasionally people may also get infected by touching something that has been contaminated with flu viruses by patients suffering from the flu, eg., door knobs, working surfaces, etc., and then touching their mouth or nose.

People infected with the virus can then spread it and infect others anywhere between 1 day before falling sick themselves to 5-7 days after falling sick.

The illness this virus causes ranges from mild (in majority of cases) to severe (in a few). The symptoms produced are a running nose, cough, sore throat, fever, body-ache, headache, chilliness and exhaustion. Several people affected by it have also suffered from loose motions and vomiting. While most people suffering from it have recovered without requiring medical treatment, there have been a few cases where respiratory complications have occurred resulting in death of the individual. Children younger than 5 years, people older than 65, pregnant women and anyone with pre-existing chronic medical conditions (like heart disease, kidney disease, asthma, diabetes) are at greater risk of developing complications- just as in seasonal flu. From the Homoeopathic point of view, anyone who has recently had a course of antibiotics are also more at risk due to the lowering of the immune response that antibiotic use creates.

Some basic preventive measures can be very useful:

  • The most important thing is to not let STRESS and ANXIETY take over. These negative fearful emotions can lower the body’s immunity making you more vulnerable to viruses and bacteria.
  • Cover your mouth and nose while coughing and sneezing. Dispose used tissues and wash handkerchiefs frequently.
  • Spread awareness about maintaining hygiene.
  • Do not share napkins, towels and handkerchiefs.
  • Wash hands and face frequently with soap and water, esp. after returning home from outdoors. Gargle daily with warm salt water.
  • Avoid touching your mouth and nose unnecessarily.
  • Avoid very close contact with sick people.
  • Drinking tea with ginger and mint is beneficial to boost one’s immunity against viruses.
  • Have a good intake of citrus fruits.
  • Intake of garlic is also a good anti-viral and anti-bacterial measure.


At this point in time people are aware that ‘Tamiflu’ is a drug used to treat Swine Flu and people are trying to procure it by any means and are dosing themselves with it in the hope of it preventing the occurrence of Swine Flu. This is incorrect use of the drug and will result in the virus mutating more rapidly and making Tamiflu ineffective faster. Also, as Tamiflu is available only by prescription, there is further panic among the general population as fears abound about the drug going out of stock.

People should also be aware that Tamiflu has its limitations and side effects, some of which are nausea and vomiting. Other adverse reactions include sleeplessness, vertigo, abdominal pain, cough, bronchitis and fatigue. Recent reports also talk of Tamiflu being unsuitable for use in children since dehydration, nightmares and psychiatric disturbances may occur. Some children under 17 displayed bizarre psychiatric behaviour shortly after taking the drug. These side effects included panic attacks, delusions, delirium, convulsions, depression, loss of consciousness, and in some cases, suicide.

Homoeopathy has proven its worth in previous influenza epidemics, perhaps one of the most recent and serious ones has been the Influenza epidemic of 1918. It was documented during that epidemic that while allopathically treated patients had a mortality rate of 28.2%, those treated homoeopathically had a mortality rate of 1.05%.

In the last couple of days, we Homoeopaths have received plenty of queries about the contents of a text message doing the rounds, giving the name of a Homoeopathic remedy for Swine Flu prevention. Whilst the remedy Influenzinum 200 is appropriate, the dosage recommended in certain text messages is not.

Influenzinum is a deep acting remedy and a few doses should be more than enough to be preventive. Taking many more doses could be counter-productive. One dose of Influenzinum 200 (3-4 pills) a day for 3 days should be sufficient. Any further doses should only be taken under the advice and supervision of a qualified Homoeopathic physician.

Apart from Influenzinum, there are some other remedies that will be useful in the prevention and treatment of Swine Flu. Some of these are Oscillococcinum, Eupatorium Perfoliatum, Arsenicum Album, Ipecacuanha, Baptisia, Gelsemium, Bryonia, etc. Homoeopathy requires strict individualisation, however, in situations like an epidemic where an illness is prevalent at a certain period in time, the individual’s personal symptoms often fade to the background and a common group of symptoms presents in most people suffering from that illness. Based on these symptoms, homoeopaths can then determine the ‘genus epidemicus’ or the remedy most likely to be of use at that time for that illness.

In general, anyone taking homoeopathic preventive remedies will be protected from contracting the illness, but in rare cases, someone could develop the flu. In such cases, it is advised to contact your homoeopath at the earliest, so that treatment can be initiated as soon as possible. Treatment can cut short the course and severity of the illness and the homoeopath does not need to wait for a full blown infection to occur.

It is better to reiterate once again that Homoeopathy as a medical science requires strict individualisation, hence the patient’s symptoms will determine which remedy will really be suitable for cure. It is strongly recommended that patients not self-medicate but consult a qualified homoeopath for a prescription.