Friday, 24 October 2008

Like cures like

One of the core principles of homeopathy is let like cure like. In practical terms that means we use remedies made from substances, which in larger amounts, would cause similar symptoms. Just think what happens to you when you chop up a strong onion and you can see why a homeopathic remedy made from onion might be useful for hayfever. Another example is that a remedy made from coffee might be appropriate for helping someone with insomnia.

This principal of like cures like is also used in conventional medicine but not as frequently as in homeopathy. In patients who are in a persistent vegetative state there have been some successes when they have been given sleeping pills.

A very recent example is of children in the USA with extreme peanut allergies who have been given small amounts of peanut protein in liquid or powder form. Initially they are given the equivalent of one thousandth of a peanut and this amount is slowly increased over time. Four children who have completed years of the treatment are now able to tolerate 13 to 15 peanuts without showing even mild symptoms.


Another case of like cures like, and one with a strong homeopathic connection, is the use of radiation to treat tumours. Dr Emil Grubbe developed blistering and tumours on his hands and neck while he was experimenting with X Rays as a student at the Hahnemann Homeopathic Hospital in Chicago in the 1895. As the radiation was very clearly the cause of the tumours one of the professors suggested it might be a useful therapeutic tool in treating cancers. Dr Grubbe was the first person to use radiation therapy on Mrs Rose Lee
for breast cancer in 1896 and she benefited from this treatment. For reasons which remain unclear, he is often referred to as a radiologist, physicist or doctor but his homeopathic connections and credentials rarely get a mention!

Dr Emil Grubbe (1875-1960)

Monday, 20 October 2008

Food for the Brain

As well as being a homeopath I am very interested in how diet and lifestyle can affect health and mental health in particular. I recently went to London to attend a conference organised by Food for the Brain - they are a charity whose aim is to raise awareness of the link between learning, behaviour, mental health and nutrition. Food for the Brain have done some excellent work, particularly in schools and young offenders institutions. These studies have shown great improvement in learning ability, attention and behaviour by using supplements of vitamins, fish oils and/or improving diet.

The speakers at the conference were leaders in their field and had come from all parts of the world to present their current research. The conference covered nutrition and child development, Alzheimers and memory loss, addiction and psychiatric disorders.

The majority of the conference delegates were nutritionists but it was interesting to see that there were also many nurses, psychiatrists, GPs and teachers who wanted to know more about current developments in these areas.

A recent government report said

A diet lacking essential nutrients or containing ingredients that are detrimental, is likely to have adverse consequences for brain function, mental health and behaviour. Evidence of the links between nutritional status and childhood disorders, depression, aggressive and anti-social behaviour merits further publicly funded research. Because of the major potential benefit for the fields of education, crime, health and well-being of vulnerable sections of society, we believe more research is urgently needed in this area and we recommend that more Government resources are devoted to this.

The Associate Parliamentary Food and Health Forum, 2008

For more information have a look at the Food for the Brain website