(Health Secrets) The School of Natural Healing, founded by Dr. John R. Christopher, is the oldest licensed herbal collage in the U.S. It has been teaching herbal medicine for 54 years. Recently it announced the creation of a Homeopathy course, constructed from live lectures from David Card, a leading expert in Homeopathy. This action highlights the fact that although herbology and homeopathy are two distinct disciplines, they share a great deal.
Herbology is all about plants, generally whole plants and natural extracts of whole plants. This varies and gets into alchemy with Chinese medicine and gets into chemical extractions in modern herbal medicine, but always we are talking about the medicinal, nutritive and energetic values of plants.
Homeopathy, on the other hand, does not depend on plants alone. Many remedies are not plant-based at all. The original homeopathic preparations included some plants, some poisons and some minerals. Today, homeopathic preparations can include just about anything you can imagine.
At one extreme there are toxic chemicals and animal parts, at the other extreme there are totally pure flower remedies known as Bach Flower Remedies or North American Flower Remedies.
Homeopathy also includes some preparations that are just water, which then gets charged with the “frequency” of the energy needed to effect healing.
Herbology counts on the plant containing medicines, foods, vitamins, enzymes and so forth. Homeopathy contains none of the actual particles of the original substance, but is very dilute so that only the energy remains.
Herbal medicines might heal, repair, regenerate or balance directly. Some herbal medicines may also have a homeopathic action. Homeopathic preparations themselves actually only have a true homeopathic action about half the time.
True homeopathy works by essentially tricking the body into thinking that an action is about to happen to the body that must be resisted somehow. The resistance is mounted, but (of course) there is no actual action, just the energy. This resistance that the body mounts is predictable. This then is used to treat disease.
Here is how it works: Let’s say the body has an infection that it simply is not fighting. If you can give a specific homeopathic preparation that makes the body “think” (this all happens energetically) that there is an invader to fight, the body will mount an attack on the invader. Of course, in homeopathy, there is no real threat, only a perceived one. The person with said infection gets better because the body inadvertently fights the infection in the process of fighting the perceived invader that the homeopathic remedy carried.
This leads to the name “homeopathic” which means: “same as disease.”
Actually, though, many homeopathic remedies are not homeopathic at all. They are highly dilute (only energy), but they are not homeopathic in the true sense.
Like Bach Flower Remedies, many of the original homeopathic remedies work by starting something that the body seems to carry on as though it has to. It is as though the body simply cannot bear the thought of having this energy be for nothing, so it carries out the action.
A perfect example is Arnica. Arnica, the herb, works by virtue of its particular coumaric acids that cause the rapid diffusion of blood wherever it has begun to collect (such as in a bruise or any inflammation). This is a direct medicinal action – nothing homeopathic about it.
Arnica, the homeopathic, works exactly the same. It is highly diluted but it still causes the same diffusion of blood. There are arguments about which is more potent, but they both work. The energy of the arnica in the homeopathic causes the body to respond just as though the actual coumaric acids are there! The advantage to the homeopathic is that you can safely take it internally (something you probably should never do with arnica the herb).
Conversely, herbs frequently work in homeopathic ways also. A current favorite in this country is Echinacea. One of the many actions of Echinacea is that it increases the production of factors in the skin that protect against the spread of poisons through the skin into the body. This same action results in a sudden, but temporary, arousal of the immune system. All of this happens because the body believes that one of the complex molecules in the Echinacea is, in fact, a poison from an invading organism (a bite or an infection).
This then gets the immune system into a state of arousal due to the presence of something that appears harmful, but is in fact harmless. This is a homeopathic action when it is used to protect against snake bite (one of the oldest uses of Echinacea) or against infection where the immune system is not responding very well.
We see that homeopathy and herbology are distinct from one another and yet they share much. Some homeopathic preparations are just plants and are a little more happily accepted by herbalists. Others are made of the energies of all sorts of interesting things, frequently things that are toxic, designed to get the body to react predictably in a way that it is not reacting (or acting) as it should.
Well, good luck to the School of Natural Healing and its homeopathy course. There is certainly room for both. Purist herbalists often admit that herbs work best when people change their lifestyles. If you don’t intend to do that, you might get better results with homeopathic medicine, which does not seem to need a change in lifestyle to work.