Classical homeopathy is based on the belief that the human being is an embodied intelligence and that disease, at the primary level, is the disturbance of the functional order that is maintained in the body by the 'vital force'.
Medical homeopathy misunderstood the importance of the concept of 'vital force' to the application of homeopathic treatment and instead it focused on the principle of 'similia similibus curentur' that was incorrectly applied to the treatment of medical conditions on the basis of 'like cures like'.
Professor Edzard Ernst's critique of 'homeopathy'
When I started this blog in 2013, it was aimed to rebut Professor Edzard Ernst's scientific examination and critique of homeopathy.
After 7 years of engaging with his posts, I realised that he does not have a clue about homeopathy due to rejecting the central tenet of homeopathy that disorder of the vital force leads to disease and, over time, to incurable medical conditions.
This blog aims to dispel false notions about the philosophy
and practice of homeopathy and I recommend that the widely used clinical
approach to homeopathy is discarded and replaced with spiritual/dynamic
approach to homeopathy that is aligned with the principles set out in
Hahnemann's Organon of Medicine.
Dr. Edzard Ernst has, for more than two decades, engaged in a comical and polemical critique of what he considers to be 'homeopathy':
- He does not hold a recognized qualification in homeopathy.
- His understanding of homeopathy has, from the very outset, been below par: See my post 'Arnica'.
- He associated Bach Flower Remedies with 'homeopathy' because both use potentised substances.
- He included Berlin Wall remedy in his new book, a remedy that he referred to as homeopathy's finest in one of his blogs. Berlin Wall originated in the imagination of Colin Griffith ('New Materia Medica': isn't that hilarious?) and it is not listed in the official Homeopathic Pharmacopeia.
- He continues to write blogs about homeopathic treatment of certain clinical conditions and his study of the 'adjunctive treatment' of asthma with homeopathy is in opposition to Hahnemann's instruction that no other medicines should be used during homeopathic treatment.
- He seems to be unable to understand that homeopathy does not treat medical conditions, and that for classical homeopathy, as set out by Kent, most 'medical conditions' are beyond the curable stage of homeopathic treatment.
- He seems not even to know in detail Hahnemann's works: The Organon, Chronic Diseases, and Materia Medica Pura. Evidence of this is that, in 7 years, I never read a post that was written by him that engaged in a critique of these works.
- He writes silly blogs about Boris Johnson almost being a homeopath.
- He has, on last count, six pages of blogs written in derision and criticism of HRH Prince of Wales.
- In discussion, he even asks the question: 'are you speaking out of your arse?'
- He did a bit of reading on the Russia collusion investigation that he seemed to think was negative against President Trump and worried that the Donald might start world war 3.
- He rated himself as the world's number one researcher in SCAM (so called alternative medicine of which homeopathy is one of the major forms of treatment).
I rate him as the world's number one clown-critic of homeopathy.
Before Dr. Ernst started his journey to become the world eminent critic of homeopathy (and every other alternative health modality), he could have done two things:
1. Undertaken a meticulous study of the works by Samuel Hahnemann and James Tyler Kent in order to gain an understanding of what Homeopathy is. I have yet to read a post by Edzard Ernst that provides a critique of the original works on homeopathy by the founders of homeopathy. Instead, he seems to have preferred to bypass the tedious work of reading texts and substituted his own interpretation of homeopathy in his critical reviews of 'homeopathy'.
Ernst's view, the central tenet of homeopathy that there is a 'vital force' (living intelligence) in the human body must
be rejected because it is an 'outdated' concept of 'vitalism'. It seems to me, from my reading of his posts, that he considers atheism and materialist epistemology to be self-evident and idealist epistemology to be obviously deluded. Edzard Ernst is obviously not the philosophical type because if he was then he would have realised that his rejection of the 'principle of vitalism' automatically invalidates homeopathy as a credible subject of scientific investigation. Why did he waste so much time studying something that is evidently nonsense?
2. Before embarking on expensive and time consuming trials and meta analyses of homeopathy, Dr. Ernst ought to have first sought to find independently verified scientific evidence of homeopathic cures of non self-resolving clinical conditions and illnesses documented in clinical practice and publications. As far as I am aware, there is no hard medical scientific evidence that homeopathy cures any non self-resolving clinical conditions and illnesses and so how sensible was it that numerous researchers conducted RCTs over several decades to test whether or not homeopathy is an effective treatment for medical conditions?
Update: October 2, 2021
After almost three decades of promoting the notion of the credibility of clinical homeopathy through clinical trials and meta-analyses conducted by himself and others, Dr. Edzard Ernst finally came out his morning with a conclusion that defies his past thirty years' work:
This pilot study supports the feasibility of a larger trial in India where people have been told by an irresponsible government to believe in homeopathy. None of the 5 homeopathic treatments generated encouraging findings and none should be explored further. Studies of this nature must be discouraged firstly because homeopaths would not accept the findings of a trial of non-individualized homeopathy, and secondly because such trials will further confuse the public who might think that homeopathy is worth trying. Dr. Edzard Ernst, A new study of homeopathy for the prevention of COVID-19 infections, https://edzardernst.com/2021/10/a-new-study-of-homeopathy-for-the-prevention-of-covid-19-infections/
Clinical / practical homeopathy
Medical-homeopathy is the 'homeopathy' that critics of homeopathy have mostly studied. It is a perversion of homeopathy and was the attempt by medically orientated followers of homeopathy to try to usurp homeopathy into the medical system. After decades of clinical trials of medical homeopathy it failed to produce the convincing evidence of efficacy to satisfy science that it could be legitimately used in medical practice as a genuine treatment (as opposed to placebo for mentally unwell people) of medical conditions and illnesses. My blog suggests that it is not Homeopathy that failed but rather that the attempt to usurp it into conventional medicine failed.
Conventional medicine and allied disciplines, nutritional and lifestyle factors, exercise and fitness, socio-economic, and environmental factors are related to the majority of ailments and conditions that people attempt to address by using homeopathy to help them but fail to obtain the result that they hoped for as the homeopathic remedy cannot correct conditions that are not derived from a disturbance of vital force. For example, conditions related to poor diet and nutritional intake will not respond to Calc Carb, Sil, Sul, etc. If the problem is dietary then the diet must be corrected in order to solve the problem!
I consider homeopathy to be a
healing system that treats the human being or as Hahnemann termed it the 'vital
force' that animates the human body and maintains millions of functions in an
intricate harmony of life. Kent described 'vital force' as 'simple substance'
(spiritual substance) and Dr. Duncan McDougall (1901) believed, through his
experiments of weighing deceased people, that the weight of the human spirit is
'MacDougall believed that the results from his experiment showed the human soul might have weight, his report, which was not published until 1907, stated the experiment would have to be repeated many times before any conclusion could be obtained.' (Wikipedia)
Homeopathy implicitly accepts that the human being is spirit-soul embodied and therefore it is easy for a believer in homeopathy to understand the notion that to medicate a human being (spiritual substance) only requires an infinitesimal dose of medicine.
Hahnemann stated clearly that the physician must heal 'the sick' and who is 'the sick'? It is the sick person that homeopathy aims to treat using 'signs and symptoms' manifested by the disturbed 'vital force'. So, Homeopathy actually treats the sick person in order to terminate the disease before it progresses through the physical body and wreaks its damage.
The fundamental texts of homeopathic philosophy and practice
The study of Homeopathy comprises four major domains: philosophy, science, case taking, and materia medica. It is important to have an understanding of what homeopathy is before you go ahead with a constitutional analysis. In my blog posts, homeopathic philosophy and science are reviewed and the major texts of homeopathy are provided to you to read. The two essential texts on homeopathic philosophy are Hahnemann's Organon of Healing and Kent's Lectures on Homeopathic Philosophy. A range of major materia medica texts including Hahnemann's Materia Medica Pura and Chronic Diseases are provided through web links.
Reading the books on Homeopathic philosophy and materia medica may guide you to discovering remedies that may help you but experience counts and after 40 years of using and practicing homeopathy I have devised a classical approach to discovering the homeopathic constitutional remedy through a questionnaire.
I invite you to an opportunity to
have a constitutional analysis through my Homeopathic Constitutional
Questionnaire but I expect that many homeopaths will have something to say
about the questionnaire not including physical particulars and that therefore
the questionnaire is not a 'totality of symptoms' case taking. The simple response
to that is that a 'totality of symptoms' case ultimately reduces down to the
most important symptoms of vital force disturbance and these ARE the Mind and
Generals. I expect a lot of homeopaths will give the questionnaire a trial and
see that it is effective. I know, I have worked on it for years.
The questionnaire aims to identify your baseline fundamental constitution that is the basis of susceptibility to sporadic and acute outbreaks of mental and physical illnesses, and progression into chronic medical conditions. My questionnaire does not aim to identify the constitutional similimum in order to treat a person for ANY particular medical condition because if the medical condition is already manifest then the vital force illness has already externalised the disorder in the medical condition of the physical body. In that case: see a doctor.
Hahnemann explicitly defined the vital force:
During the healthy condition of man this spirit-like force (autocracy), animating the material body (organism), rules supreme as dynamis.By it all parts are maintained wonderfully in harmonious vital process, both in feelings and functions, in order that our intelligent mind may be free to make the living, healthy, bodily medium subservient to the higher purpose of our being. (Aphorism 9, The Organon)
Constitutional disorders of the vital force are not illnesses and medical conditions associated with inadequate diet, mode of living, psychological trauma, biological conditions requiring conventional medical drugs, conditions requiring surgery, and conditions requiring medical apparatuses for compensation of function. It is essential that before you embark on a homeopathic adventure for any illness or condition that you have sought professional medical advice.
Kent explained very clearly the difference between the disorder of the vital force and the outcome that leads to a medical condition the doctors are able to recognise:
He wrote: 'in most cases the diagnosis cannot be made until the results of the disease have rendered the patient incurable'.
The problem for classical homeopathy practitioners is that the majority of potential 'customers' will present with complaints that even the great medical practitioners have not adequately resolved for the patient. It is ludicrous to use homeopathy to aim to 'treat' medical conditions that are not curable (or treatable) with homeopathy and therefore the scope for professional practice of homeopathy in the field of medicine is limited. This seems to be the reason for 'homeopaths' prescribing herbs and vitamin supplements, giving dietary and lifestyle advice, and delving into counseling as part of their practice of homeopathy.
Homeopathy Evidence Base
I do not provide anecdotal evidence of cases in this blog because:
a) science does not place high value on the validity of case studies and anecdotal evidence of 'cures'.
b) a classical homeopath is a 'priest' of the healing art of homeopathy and would never divulge information obtained from a patient unless compelled by law to do so.
c) every case is unique and just because a particular remedy 'worked' for a particular person that had a particular set of conditions/symptoms it does not follow that the same treatment will 'work' for another person that has a 'matching profile' to the previously cured patient.
Homeopathy does not have undisputed scientific evidence of curing people who have real medical conditions:
'The Select Committee on Science and Technology concluded: There is no evidence that homeopathy works beyond the placebo effect, which is a position that the Government agrees with. By providing homeopathy on the NHS, the Government runs the risk of appearing to endorse it as a working system of medicine.'
Original link has been removed: (https://www.nhs.uk/news/medical-practice/homeopathy-remains-on-nhs/, 2010)
See Wayback machine:
I have never known a person either directly or indirectly that has been cured of a chronic medical condition by using homeopathic treatment. These conditions include: Alzheimer's, asthma, cancer, chronic lung conditions, diabetes, epilepsy, chronic kidney disease, heart disease, and so on. Despite this, I see that medical homeopaths actually advertise and make claims to be able to treat these conditions with homeopathy. It would be great to see the evidence to support these claims! Have there been any Nobel prizes awarded to any person for research in Homeopathy?
I have also never known either directly or indirectly of persons cured of psychiatric conditions through the use of homeopathic treatment: Autistic Spectrum Disorder, Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, Personality Disorders, Schizophrenia and so on.
Scientific research of homeopathic treatment of psychiatric disorders has also not produced evidence of efficacy of homeopathy for mental conditions:
Systematic review of homeopathy treatment for psychiatric disorders:
Conclusion: 'Available data on homeopathy in psychiatric disorders are insufficient to support their use in clinical practice'.
My post on chronic disorders
provides a summary of mental health conditions that should be considered in
homeopathic case taking as the mental and general symptoms are the most
important in the selection of the similimum. In that post, I point out that the
constitutional similimum is more likely to aggravate the condition of people
with mental conditions without much subsequent improvement to their condition.
Similarly, the constitutional similimum is likely to aggravate the condition of
people who have incurable medical conditions without subsequent improvement to
To be clear: in this context 'aggravate' means: to make the mental or physical condition worsen without subsequent improvement. In serious conditions, it is possible that the patient may end up resorting to additional medical suppressive measures in order to subdue the condition back to where it was prior to being aggravated by the constitutional similimum.
Advice on homeopathic treatment
Ideally, homeopaths should be trained medical practitioners with homeopathy as a specialty but this is uncommon in the practice of homeopathy today (South Africa is an exception to the general rule: homeopaths are qualified medical physicians with Masters Diploma in Homeopathy).
Classical homeopaths can be of best service after the patient has seen a medical practitioner for a complete medical assessment. Unfortunately, in my view, there are too many 'homeopaths' who offer to 'treat' medical conditions that will not improve or be managed with homeopathy. It is possible that the patients who have lifelong medical conditions may feel better on the homeopathy pills (they may even carry around bottles of pillules to swallow when they need comforting) but it is very important that people who profess to be classical homeopaths acknowledge that serious medical conditions require medical treatment and management and patients should be referred to the appropriate services.