Excerpted from How Homeopathy Can Help by Ellen Hodgson Brown, J.D.
Like vaccination, homeopathy involves inoculation by challenge with a like toxin, inducing a mild reaction in the body by simulating the larger reaction constituting the disease. Homeopathic remedies consist of minute doses of natural substances -- mineral, plant or animal -- that if given to healthy people in larger doses would cause the symptoms the patient is experiencing. A nosode is a homeopathic remedy in which the "active" ingredient is diseased tissue or a disease-causing entity (virus, bacteria, parasite, etc.) that has been rendered sterile.
Where vaccination involves viral or bacterial macromolecules that can induce unwanted side effects, homeopathic remedies are without side effects because they are extremely dilute --- at some strengths so dilute that no molecule of the original substance is likely to be left in solution. The remedies are repeatedly diluted and "succussed", or shaken vigorously with each dilution, to increase their vibratory field. The remedies work by stimulating the body's own healing energy, rather like a tuning fork that sets disharmonious chords back on track.
"Like cures like," the principle on which homeopathy is based, actually originated long before vaccines. It was formulated by Paracelsus in the sixteenth century. Samuel Christian Hahnemann, M.D. (1755-1843), the German physician who founded homeopathy, reformulated the principle in 1795, a year before Jenner made his cowpox vaccine discovery premised on the same theory
Dr. Hahnemann was the first practitioner to use remedies prophylactically. He found that a girl whom he had treated with homeopathic Belladonna for an unrelated problem did not develop scarlet fever when the rest of her family got it. Then he found that "provings" of homeopathic Belladonna fit the disease picture of that particular epidemic of scarlet fever, and that by administering Belladonna he could both prevent and cure the disease. Other homeopaths later found that the remedy Ailanthus could prevent scarlet fever. Lathyrus was found to work against polio, Mercurius Cyanthus against diphtheria, Baptisia against typhoid fever. Other remedies were found to be effective against measles, mumps, chicken pox, hepatitis, and so forth.1 Homeopathy became the rage in Europe after cholera swept the Continent early in the nineteenth century. Hahnemann advocated the use of homeopathic Camphor to prevent or treat that disease at a time when he had never seen it but had only heard descriptions of its symptoms. The treatment proved to be remarkably successful. According to Julian Winston, editor in chief of Homeopathy Today, the mortality rate for cholera under conventional treatment in the 1830s was reported at between 40 percent and 80 percent. The mortality rate in London's ten homeopathic hospitals during that decade was reported at 9 percent; in Bavaria, at 7 percent; in Russia, at 10 percent; and in Austria, at 33 percent (compared to 66 percent under conventional care).2
Cholera also swept the U.S. at that time, along with yellow fever, typhoid, and scarlet fever. When homeopathic treatment proved to be far more successful than conventional medicine in treating those epidemics, homeopathy spread like wildfire across the American continent. In 1844, the American Institute of Homeopathy was founded as the first national American medical society, preceding the American Medical Association (AMA) by several years.
Meanwhile, evidence for the effectiveness of homeopathic nosodes kept accumulating. In the United States during the 1850s, there were several epidemics of yellow fever in the southern states. Mortality from yellow fever using conventional medicine was reported at between 15 and 85 percent. Holcome and Davis, homeopaths in Natchez, reported a mortality of 6.43 percent and 5.73 percent, respectively, in yellow fever victims under homeopathic care during that period. In 1878 the mortality from the same epidemic in New Orleans was 50 percent under allopathic care versus 5.6 percent in 1,945 cases under homeopathic care.3 In the 1860s, a diphtheria epidemic struck. In the records of Broome County, New York, from 1862 to 1864, an 83.6 percent mortality rate was reported among victims treated conventionally, compared to a 16.4 percent mortality rate among those treated homeopathically.4
It could be argued that the disparity in these figures was due more to the nature of nineteenth century conventional treatment, with its emphasis on bloodletting and mercury compounds, than to the virtues of homeopathy itself. But homeopathy continued to score successes in the twentieth century. Its remarkable performance during the influenza epidemic of 1918 was reported in detail in an article in the May 1921 Journal of the American Institute for Homeopathy. Dr. T. A. McCann, of Dayton, Ohio, reported that 24,000 cases of flu treated allopathically had a mortality rate of 28.2 percent, while 26,000 cases of flu treated homeopathically had a mortality rate of 1.05 percent. The latter figure was supported by Dean W.A. Pearson of Philadelphia, who recorded the results of 26,795 cases of flu treated homeopathically. In Connecticut, 30 physicians reported 6,602 cases treated homeopathically with 55 deaths, or less than 1 percent.5
Nosodes also performed well in a number of twentieth century polio epidemics. In a 1956-58 study, a researcher named Heisfelder gave Lathyrus to over 6,000 children, in whom no cases of polio and no side effects were reported. Grimmer, a homeopath in Chicago, gave it to 5,000 young children, none of whom developed polio. In a polio epidemic in Buenos Aires in 1975, Lathyrus was given to 40,000 people with the same 100 percent success rate.
1 M. Zacharias, "Nosodes", Natural Rearing Newsletter (January 1996).
2 J. Winston, "Historical Perspective", National Center for Homeopathy, www.homeopathic.org(2001), citing T. Bradford, M.D., The Logic of Figures (1900), F. Humphreys, Cholera and Its Homeopathic Treatment (1849), and many other books.
3 J. Winston, op. cit., citing Holcome, Yellow Fever and Its Homeopathic Treatment (1856) and C. Neidhard, The Efficacy of Crotalus Horridus in Yellow Fever (1860).
4 T. Bradford, op. cit.
5 J. Winston, op. cit.