Single versus multiple remedies Symptoms versus lab findings Precision versus guesswork Individualization versus routinism

By Ahmad Fakir Muhammad, Homoeopath, Karachi, Pakistan

Lately, some Homoeopaths have started ordering unnecessary tests as their counter-parts in allopathic practice do. Another trend, clearly an imitation of allopathic practice, is to prescribe patent medicines with abandon.

That their practice is against the basic laws and principles of homoeopathy hardly needs to be restated. When confronted with objections from their peers, they advance the following arguments to justify their practice:

  1. We work in a highly competitive situation. The patients have high expectations and if we fail to provide them relief in a reasonable time, they would switch back to allopathy which will be a blow to the cause and reputation of homoeopathy.
  2. By prescribing compound and patent medicines, we are able to provide relief to the patient right from the very first visit which in a majority of cases might not be possible under orthodox homeopathy.
  3. Symptoms alone cannot provide a reliable basis to prescribe on. They must be interpreted in the light of laboratory findings.
  4. Our approach must progress with the changing times. We cannot remain indifferent to the advances in the field of pathology, bacteriology, virology, genetics, etc. Our system should be geared to meeting the demands of changing times. Our outlook should be modernist, not regressive.
  5. In most cases, our initial attempt meets with a failure. Even second and third attempts are no guarantee that we would succeed in hitting at the right remedy. By prescribing combinations, we increase chances of our success several fold.

(For the readers who do not have homeopathic background or have recently adopted it, it seems pertinent to clarify that by “orthodox homeopathy”, they mean, practicing homeopathy in accordance with its principles based on the classical works of Samuel Hahnemann including prescribing only one remedy at a time. Orthodox homeopathy does not admit of mixing two or more remedies or prescribing commercially marketed patent medicines which contain more than one remedy.)

Having said that, let us revert to the main topic. One can hardly disagree with them on the need to provide quick relief to the patient. Also laboratory tests become an indispensable necessity in some cases. Also, no one will disagree with the contention that our approach should be in line with the changing times to meet the emerging demands and challenges.

However, the statement that quick relief cannot be provided under orthodox homeopathy emanates from a lack of proper understanding of homeopathy and its basic principles.

However, that requires knowledge and a lot of hard work. If you want to see 30-70 patients in a single day, that is not possible through orthodox homeopathy as that requires a long case taking and giving sufficient time to each patient to understand his problems. It is also true that compound and patent medicines provide quick relief. But how long does that relief last? And is the patient cured permanently?

I do not want to dwell into history nor want to quote from personal practice. In either case, hundreds of examples of outstanding cases can be given.

Secondly, we should not be in competition with allopathy rather we should work together to complement each other. Let us shun some of our ego and admit that ours is not a “cure-all” medicine. There are areas and diseases where we can do nothing. For example, what are you going to do with a patient who has a 19 mm calculus in right kidney and a 8 mm calculus in left kidney. Homeopathy can expel the 8 mm left kidney calculus but what about the 19 mm right kidney stone? I have seen many a case of renal failure and even of death due to unwarranted homeopathic prescribing in cases which fall outside its domain and jurisdiction. Call it what you may, arrogance, lack of knowledge or greed, such an attitude and approach can only bring undeserved reproaches to homeopathy and suffering to patients and their families.