HOW HOMEOPATHY WORKS?
A Scientific ‘Working Hypothesis’ Regarding the Molecular Mechanism of Homeopathic Therapeutics
In this article, I do not endeavor to answer the most commonly asked question whether homeopathy works or not. It is an already well answered question for homeopaths, even though skeptics go on asking it again and again as part of their efforts to discredit homeopathy. Nobody can reasonably interact with, or convince those prejudiced minds, whatever evidence or ‘logic’ we provide. According to my long years of experience with homeopathy, I am fully convinced that it works beyond any doubt. However, all those millions of ’clinical evidences’ we provide will be ‘verifiable’ or ‘acceptable’ to scientific community, only when we succeed in at least proposing a viable WORKING HYPOTHESIS regarding the biological model for homeopathy that could be subjected to scientific experiments for proving ‘how it really worked’. Here I am trying to address the question ‘how homeopathy works’, since I consider it as the most vital point to be resolved first. To be recognized as a branch of medical science, I think we have to be successful in explaining the molecular mechanism of homeopathic therapeutics in a way fitting to the existing modern scientific knowledge system, and proving our explanations according to scientific methods.
I know, whatever be the experiences, claims and explanations of homeopathic community, scientific community still considers homeopathy as ‘pseudo-science’ . Wikipedia says: “Homeopathy is a system of alternative medicine based on the belief in giving a patient with symptoms of an illness extremely dilute remedies that are thought to produce those same symptoms in healthy people. These preparations are often diluted beyond the point where any treatment molecule is likely to remain. Studies of homeopathic practice have been largely negative or inconclusive. No scientific basis for homeopathic principles has been substantiated”.
For the last 250 years since its inception, homeopathic theoreticians were trying to explain the ‘modus operandi’ of potentized homeopathic medicines using one or other hypotheses available or evolved by them. They go on spinning diverse types of fanciful ‘theories’ using ‘ultra-scientific’ jargon, that contribute only to make homeopathy a piece of unending mockery before the scientific community. Actually, nobody could so far even propose a scientifically viable ‘working hypothesis’ about homeopathy, that could be presented as a reasonable candidate for verifications according to scientific methods.
Homeopaths falsely claim all their fanciful ideas and explanations to be ‘theories’ and ‘hypotheses’. Scientifically, the term ‘hypothesis’ means a ‘proposed explanation’ or “educated guess” for a phenomenon that we observe around us. Every ‘proposed explanation’ cannot be considered a ‘scientific hypothesis’. To be a ‘scientific hypothesis’, the scientific method requires that one can test the hypothesis using available scientific tools and methodology. Every new scientific hypotheses are generally based on previous observations that could not be satisfactorily be explained with the existing scientific theories. The words “hypothesis” and “theory” are often used synonymously in common and informal usage, even though a ‘scientific hypothesis’ is not exactly the same as ‘a scientific theory’. A hypothesis should be proved ‘using scientific tools’ in order to become a scientific theory.
A ‘working hypothesis’ is a provisionally accepted hypothesis that is ready to be proved. Experimenters will have to test and reject several hypotheses before solving the given problem ultimately. Testability (using existing scientific tools), Simplicity (avoiding excessive numbers of entities), Scope (apparent application of the hypothesis to multiple cases of phenomena), Fruitfulness (hypothesis may help to explain further phenomena in the future), and Conservatism (fitting with existing recognized knowledge-systems) are considered to be the essential qualities of a good scientific ‘working’ hypothesis.
Viewing from this standpoint, it is very much clear that most of the presently existing most celebrated ‘theories’ regarding homeopathy cannot be even considered as ‘scientific hypotheses’ since they contain concepts and conclusions that ‘could not be tested by any scientist using currently available scientific tools and methodology’ or do not ‘fit with existing recognized knowledge-systems’.
When attempting to provide a scientific explanation to homeopathy, first we have to propose a ‘scientific hypotheses’. That means, a hypothesis that ‘could be tested by any scientist using currently available scientific tools and methodology’ and that ‘fits with existing recognized knowledge-systems’.
Such a ‘working hypothesis’, over and above the aforesaid qualifications, should also be immediately useful to the practitioner, because homeopathy is a therapeutic art of practical implications. Besides lending the essential scientific credibility to the homeopathic paradigm, any hypothesis we propose should try to meet some practical utility criteria as a minimum requirement.
There are already many imaginative and ‘scientific’ ‘theories’ going around that seek to explain everything about homeopathy but fail to predict or offer anything of relevance. If a hypothesis fail to predict some relevant practical outcomes, then it becomes scientifically untestable, and therefore, unusable in practice.
Assumptions being proposed by a scientific hypothesis should be simple, testable and their numbers should be held to a minimum. The assumptions should also reflect the basic experience that is already generally held to be known.
Any working hypothesis about homeopathy should clearly identify a ‘biological mechanism’ that represents the action-reaction homeostasis of ‘vital processes’, and explain the molecular mechanism of homeopathic therapeutics on that basis, instead of the unscientific ‘vital force’ theory in homeopathy. Such an explanation should be fitting to the verified scientific paradigm of modern biochemistry and molecular biology.
Once a ‘working hypothesis’ is proposed, there is much more research to be done before that is accepted as a ‘scientific theory’. The hypothesis needs to offer predictions that can be repeatedly and conclusively proved or disproved in the laboratory and in the clinic with out any bias.
I think it would be helpful at this point, if I provide a abstract of the ‘working hypothesis regarding how homeopathy works’ proposed by Dialectical Homeopathy:
As per the concepts proposed by Dialectical Homeopathy, homeopathic potentization involves a process of ‘molecular imprinting’. This is exactly similar to modern technology of ‘molecular imprinting in polymers’ done in polymer chemistry. Essentially, ‘molecular imprinting’ is a way of creating recognition sites in polymeric materials. Only difference is that instead of polymers, homeopathy utilizes water/ethyl alcohol mixture as the imprinting matrix.
Our concept of ‘molecular imprinting in water’ is based on the available knowledge regarding supra-molecular properties of water, hydrogen bonding, water clusters, clathrate phenomenon etc. Water exhibits some ‘polymer-like’ properties at supra-molecular level, which make it an ideal medium for molecular imprinting. Individual constituent drug molecules act as ‘guest’ molecules and water/ethyl alcohol molecules act as the ‘host molecules’ in this imprinting protocol. Through the process of serial dilution and succussion, water/ethyl alcohol molecules forms supra-molecular clusters, into which the configuration of individual ‘guest’ molecules are imprinted as 3D nanocavities, which are exactly complementary in shape to the ‘guest’ molecules.
Dialectical Homeopathy tries to explain homeopathic therapeutics utilizing the modern scientific understanding of molecular kinetics of bio-molecular interactions. According to this view the phenomenon of ‘life’ consists of complex chains of inter-dependant biochemical pathways called ‘vital processes’ which are mediated by diverse types of protein molecules. There is no ‘life’ with out these bio-molecular interactions and conversions. According to the role they play, molecules participating in these chemical processes are called either ‘ligands’ or ‘targets’. Any bio-molecular interaction takes place in two distinct stages. In the first stage, ‘functional group’ of a ‘ligand’ molecule identifies an appropriate ‘target’ molecule having a configuration complementary to it, and binds to it. Second stage involves the real chemical interaction, which is determined by the specific charges carried by ‘ligand’ and ‘target’. Foreign molecules having ‘functional groups’ having configuration identical to ‘ligands’, with out appropriate charge affinity, can ‘mimic’ as the real ligands and bind to the targets, with out any chemical interaction or molecular conversion taking place. This phenomenon of incomplete molecular interactions plays a great role in pathological molecular blocks.
Homeopathic therapeutics utilizes this ‘key-lock’ mechanism involved in ‘ligand-target’ interactions. ‘Molecular imprints’ prepared in water/alcohol matrix with configuration complementary to the pathogenic molecules are used to bind them and inactivate them, thereby effecting a therapeutic action. ‘Molecular imprints’ of drug molecules are the real active factors of potentized drugs. When introduced into the organism, due to the complementary relationship, these ‘imprints’ can bind to ‘pathogenic’ molecules having configuration similar to the original drug molecules used for imprinting. By this process, the biological molecules are relieved from the molecular blocks created by pathogenic molecules, thereby rectifying the pathologic molecular deviations happened in the biochemical pathways.
BIOLOGICAL MECHANISM INVOLVED IN ‘SIMILIA SIMILIBUS CURENTUR’, AS ENVISAGED BY THE CONCEPTS OF MOLECULAR IMPRINTS THERAPEUTICS COULD BE SCHEMATICALLY EXPLAINED AS FOLLOWS:
Let BIOLOGICAL MOLECULES be represented by ‘M’, and PATHOGENIC MOLECULES by D.
Pathogenic molecule D bind to biological molecule M to form a pathological molecular complex MD. MD represents a pathological molecular error or DISEASE.
Therapeutic process involves with relieving of M from the inhibitions caused by D.
Let crude drug molecules be represented by D1. If D1 can produce symptoms in healthy organism similar to pathological symptoms produced by D, that means D and D1 has similar molecular conformation, so that they could bind to same biological molecules and create similar molecular errors in the organism.
We say D1 is similimum to D, which caused the disease MD.
Molecular imprints of D1 may be represented by ‘d’, with a 3D configuration complementary to D1.
If D1 is siimilimum to D, molecular imprints ‘d’ will be having strong complementary towards D also. That means, ‘d’ can act as ‘artificial binding site’ for D, and selectively bind to it.
When applied as a therapeutic agent, ‘d’ can specifically bind to D of the MD (pathological complex) due to comparatively stronger affinity to form Dd (pathogenic molecule-molecular imprint complex) , thereby relieving M from pathological molecular blocks.
TO SUM UP:
M (biological molecule) +D (pathogenic molecule) > MD (Pathology).
If D1 (drug molecule) is similimum to D (pathogenic molecule), and ‘d’ is ‘molecular imprint’ of D1 (drug molecule),
‘d’ (molecular imprint) will be complementary to D1 (drug molecule) as well as to D (pathogenic molecule).
When ‘d’(molecular imprint) is applied as therapeutic agent,
MD (pathological molecular complex) +d (molecular imprint)> M (free biological molecule) +Dd(pathogenic molecule-molecular imprint complex).
M (biological molecule) is free now (CURE)
Dd ((pathogenic molecule-molecular imprint complex) is now bio-degraded or eliminated from the system
This is the proposed molecular mechanism involved in homeopathic therapeutics. This concept is logically and scientifically explained in this article in detail.
Re-Building Homeopathy- A Historical Mission
Time has come for a meaningful dialogue regarding a scientific re-reading and REBUILDING of the fundamental principles and methods of Homeopathy. A radical re-building of the whole system on a rational and scientific foundation is essential, emancipating this powerful therapeutic art from the clutches of unscientific, metaphysical and vitalistic ideologies. Modern physical sciences and technologies have evolved into such a state of maturity that we can now at least attempt with their help to provide a scientific and satisfactory explanation to the centuries-old mysteries and riddles associated with this wonderful therapeutic system. Such a fundamental re-building shall obviously help in enthroning homeopathy on its rightful status of the most advanced branch of modern medical science, unfairly denied for more than last two hundred years.
I would like to entitle this emerging scientific version as DIALECTICAL HOMEOPAHY, since this reclaiming is essentially achieved utilizing the theoretical tools of dialectical methodology. DIALECTICAL HOMEOPATHY is basically an innovative and positive enhancement of classical Hahnemanian Homeopathy, and as such, may be considered as its ‘dialectical negation’ at large. Historically, it represents a qualitatively higher stage in the natural evolutionary growth and maturation of Homeopathy. ‘Dialectical’ also indicates its readiness to open up to new ideas, and engage in creative dialogue with other scientific disciplines. It advocates to discard all forms of dogmatism existing in homeopathy. Whereas ‘Homeopathy’ is the ‘seed’, ‘Dialectical Homeopathy’ is the emerging ‘seedling’- that much similar, that much different.
In this modern era of scientific enlightenment and technological advance, we can no longer hope to proceed further ahead with Homeopathy, without the help of a well proven and universally acceptable scientific THEORY an PRACTICE. We can no longer hope to depend merely upon certain set of somewhat mysterious ‘quotes’ and philosophical speculations inherited from our great masters. It is very important that Homeopathy has to be first of all dealt with as a subject of science, not as a religion or metaphysics. Essentially, the principles of Homeopathy have yet to achieve the right to be recognized as part of modern medical science. To begin with, it has to attain acceptability among the modern scientific community, at least in terms of a rational methodology and paradigms.
Science is not a mere heap of lifeless and dry inflexible theories and dogmas. It is a live cognitive system, undergoing an endless process of self-renewal and growth. It is the the sum total of the ideas wrapped in the expressed words that really matter, than the ‘words’ of masters. It is the readiness on its part to prove its propositions on practical level, to imbibe new ideas, and to discard obsolete ones mercilessly, that makes science distinct from other intellectual activities. PRACTICE is the touch-stone of THEORY, according to scientific method. There is no water-tight compartments in the realm of science, and the basic principles and approach will be the same in any branch of science. To be scientific, our approach to the constantly advancing human knowledge should be dialectic, not dogmatic.
Human knowledge develops and unfolds itself through a never ending dialectic process of simultaneous assimilation and negation of history. It is impossible for anybody to proceed with his intellectual quest without drawing resources from the treasures of knowledge amassed by the by-gone generations. Same time, no genius can totally overcome the objective limitations imposed upon him by the space-time context of his life and activities. Development of human knowledge should be perceived in relation with this objective context of historical evolution. Man knows today much more than he knew yesterday. Certainly he would know infinitely more tomorrow, than what he knows today. The knowledge of yesterdays, however great they might have been, were much incomplete than that of today. Tomorrow, human knowledge would be definitely more expansive and more comprehensive than that of today. The basis of scientific perspective of knowledge lies in realizing this fundamental truth.
We should never forget the objective historical context of 18th century Germany, where Samuel Hahnemann lived and developed his novel therapeutic system. Two hundred and more eventful years have passed since it happened. It is not to be seen as a disrespect to say that his thoughts and propositions were ‘historically’ confined by the limitations imposed by the infantile level of science and technology then existed there. Even though the the essence of the therapeutic principle he developed is capable of transcending the boundaries of centuries to come, it would be unfair to try to evaluate his achievements and contributions detached from his objective time-space framework.
Human knowledge has attained an ever greater maturity of more than two centuries, compared with the knowledge environment that existed when Hahnemann lived. It is an indisputable fact that we are privileged to have a much better idea about the diverse phenomena of this universe than Hahnemann. Hahnemann had developed homeopathy using the existing knowledge about the universe available to him. Naturally, it is bound to bear the limitations imposed by the objective historical and geographical context. Had he happened to live in this world 200 years later, the towering genius of Hahnemann would have presented to humanity a therapeutic system totally different, and much more advanced and scientific than what we now call Homeopathy. He would have definitely rewritten completely what we preach and practice as Homeopathy today.
All these facts underline the crucial relevance of a complete re-reading and rebuilding of the theory and practice of Homeopathy in conformity with modern scientific and historical context. Whenever we try to learn the ‘words’ of Hahnemann, we should be on the look out to understand what he would have said about those subjects, if he were elaborating them in the modern context. We should not take his ‘aphorisms’ as if they were ultimate TRUTH, unquestionable and beyond any scope of further revisions and improvements. We should honor the great master by following his teachings as valuable guide to tread forward, and not as lifeless dogmas. This is the approach of dialectical methodology.
The theory and practice of Homeopathy has been always a matter of endless controversy, since its inception two hundred years ago. Representatives of the so-called ‘official science’ were always in a state of undeclared war against it. Rather than being hailed as a possible new medical breakthrough to give better health for all, homeopathy has been ridiculed, ignored and systematically suppressed through centuries. We repeatedly hear about ‘successful” attempts by its opponents, to ‘disprove’ it ‘scientifically’, and time and again declaring it a ‘fraud, placebo, or pseudoscience’. In spite of all these scorns, ridicules and ‘witch hunts’, homeopathy still exists and thrives all over the continents, alleviating pain and sufferings of millions. The rising acceptance of homeopathy not only by the millions of lay public, but by the heads of states, members of royal families and many other dignitaries all over the world, has produced a state of dilemma in the world of medicine. Either all of these millions had fallen victims to a successful global scale ‘medical hoax’, or the ‘learned scientists’ striving to disprove homeopathy, are being proved themselves wrong.
On the other side of the matter, most unscientific and absurd concepts and notions still dominate the mindset of many who ‘represent’ Homeopathy on international platforms. They raise questions about the ‘scientificness’ of modern science, and engage in ‘scholarly’ discourses regarding the futility of science and scientific method! All sorts of ‘pseudoscientific’, ‘spiritualistic’, ‘energy medicine’ theories are propagated, which ruin the scientific credentials of homeopathy. They mix up homeopathy with all those nonsense practiced under CAM umbrella. DISTANCE HEALING, HAIR TRANSMISSION, PC RESONANCE REMEDIES, DREAM PROVING, MEDITATION PROVING, REFLEXOLOGY, DOWSING, RADIONICS…. list of occults practiced and propagated in the label of homeopathy is really mind blogging.
Then there is a class claiming to be ‘classical homeopaths’. They declare themselves to be practitioners of what they call ‘True Homeopathy’. They are not real followers, but only worshipers of Samuel Hahnemann. For them, Hahnemann is omnipotent and omniscient like a God! They will not tolerate any attempt of additions or deletions to what the master has said regarding homeopathy two hundred years back. According to them, homeopathy is the ‘ultimate’ ‘scientific’ therapeutic system, and all other medical systems are absolutely ‘unscientific’.
We also meet certain clever MARKETERS who try to sell homeopathy maximum through their own private outlets, by assigning attractive trade labels and PACKAGES. Still another set of people ‘strive’ in vain to make homeopathy ‘competent’ to KEEP EQUALS with modern medicine, by establishing commercially motivated corporate networks of HIGH COST homeopathic practice, that alienate this medical system from common man. Making the scenario still worse and hopeless, all sorts of unscientific and unethical commercial patented formulations are flooding the market, in the guise of “Scientific Homeopathy”.
The irony is that all these people of various colors and clowns are claiming themselves to be the only ‘true’ disciples of a great Genius, who displayed the intellectual courage to reform and re-write his own ‘Organon of Medicine’ six times in his life time, as part of his unrelenting quest for truth and perfection. As this undeniable historical truth remains, it is a pity to note that people who claim themselves to be the ardent followers of the great Master, are shutting their doors on the face of all new knowledge and scientific enlightenment with such hideous tenacity.
The Parallel Road Pursued by Hahnemann
Samuel Hahnemann, the great founder of Homeopathy, was born on 10th April 1755 in Germany. He died on 2nd July 1843. ‘Similia Similibus Curentur’ or ‘Likes Cures Like’ is the expression of a universally applicable natural therapeutic law revealed to him as a result of his extraordinary observational skills and ardent study. Based on this fundamentalobservation of natural curative process hitherto unknown to humanity, Hahnemann laid the foundation for a new therapeutic system called homeopathy. A detailed theoretical frame work and practical tools for this new system of therapeutics were also developed during his later years.
The epoch-making OBSERVATION of Hahnemann regarding the fundamental law of cure was of so much relevance and implications that it really deserved to be recognized in the history of human knowledge along with Newton’s Theory of Motion, Theory of Gravitation, or Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. It was a grave unpardonable historical blunder on the part of contemporary scientific world that such a recognition did not happen. Had it been possible for them to imbibe Hahnemann’s findings into the existing scientific knowledge system, the fate and course of modern medicine would have been entirely different.
Physical Sciences of 18th Century Germany was in its early infancy, and obviously, could not recognize the importance of the new therapeutic law discovered by Samuel Hahnemann. The toolbox of contemporary science and technology was not sufficiently equipped to address this task. Mindset of of the leading personalities working in diverse disciplines of physical sciences were governed by the world outlook of mechanistic materialism. Naturally, they could not take up the task of assimilating Hahnemann’s findings and propositions, which presented much more complicated theoretical and practical issues that were beyond the boundaries of their mechanistic methodologies. This situation resulted in some sort of willful neglect and apathy from the part of mainstream scientific community towards Hahnemann and his discoveries. They miserably failed to comprehend the revolutionary content and epoch-making relevance of Hahnemann’s findings. Hahnemann, whose apathy towards the contemporary medical system and its professional community is well known, may also have chosen to keep himself aloof from mainstream science. His unrelenting ideological rebellion against the influence of mechanical materialism existing in the dominant medical stream may have led him inevitably into some sort of metaphysical and idealistic philosophical gleanings, which dominated the contemporary non-scientific intellectual arenas. Inevitably, homeopathy was constrained to follow an independent parallel intellectual course, far removed from the mainstream science. Hence it is not really unexpected that homeopathy is reveling in an atmosphere much akin to speculatory theorizations, rather than an objective scientific activity. Even today, homeopathy is not able to free itself from the clutches of the above mentioned parallel path. Still it has not come to terms with modern mainstream Science.
As a simple and effective therapeutic system, free of any fear of unwanted side effects, homeopathy has already gained acceptability to a great extent during the by gone two centuries. The principle of ‘Similia Similibus Curenter’ has sufficiently proved its ‘right of existence’ through thousands and thousands of miraculous cures by homeopaths all over the world. But we cannot overlook the fact that we have not yet succeeded in explaining this principle scientifically enough. Modern physical sciences and molecular biology have accumulated a huge wealth of knowledge in recent years, unraveling even the minutest secrets of the phenomenon of life . But we have not yet been able to recreate the fundamental principles of homeopathy scientifically and convincingly enough, by taking advantage of the above mentioned modern scientific achievements. Homeopathy shall be duly recognized and respected as an advanced branch of modern molecular medicine, only when such a scientific recreation of its basic premises is attained. Until then, acceptance of our claim that homeopathy is a science will remain confined to ourselves alone.
Material Basis of Vital Processes
Modern Science has already unraveled many fundamental facts regarding the ‘chemistry of life’, crucial in exploring the secrets of the biological phenomena of life, health, illness, cure and death. To take up the task of providing scientific explanations to the theory of ‘Similia Similibus Curentur’, it is imperative that we should be well equipped with a clear understanding about these fundamental facts.
By the term ‘living organism’, we indicate a material system with a specific quantity, quality, structure and functions of its own, which is capable of self-controlled growth and reproduction of its progeny, by accepting matter and energy from its environment. The phenomenon of life exists through a continuous chain of highly complex biochemical interactions which control each other, depend up on each other and are determined by each other. A ‘living organism’ represents a much higher and advanced level of existence of the same elements of matter we meet in the inorganic world, different only in its structural organization and functional complexity. The universal phenomenon of material motion we find as part of primary existence of matter itself, attains the wonderful qualities of life, due to this complex structural organization. In fact, ‘life’ is the result of a continuous evolutionary process of primary matter in this universe through millions of years, attaining different levels of organizational and functional forms. Primary forces, sub-atomic particles, elementary atoms, simple chemical molecules, complex inorganic molecules, carbon containing organic molecules, bio-molecules, complex bio-polymers, RNA-DNA-Protein structures, organelles, unicellular organisms, multi-cellular organisms, diverse species of plants and animals, and ultimately Homo Sapiens- these are the prominent milestones in the known evolutionary ladder on earth, panning through millions and millions of years. Human beings represents the highest form of this material evolutionary history on earth, as far as it is known to us. Parallel to this biological evolution, we can perceive a systematic evolution and perfection of the nervous system also. Simple forms of conditioned reflexes that existed in primitive organisms, gradually evolved into nerve cells, neural networks and ultimately into a well organized nervous system in higher animals. In higher forms of life such as humans, this nervous system has attained such a structural and functional perfection that human brain and its diverse faculties have begun playing a decisive role even in the existence and development of that species and even life on earth itself. Of course, collective labor, language and social relations also played a major role in this evolutionary process.
A living organism can exist only through a continuous interaction with its environment. There is an unceasing flow of matter and energy in both directions, between internal and external environments of the organism. Metabolism, or ‘life process’ is the term used to describe the sum total of this flow. The moment this bi-directional flow of matter and energy ceases, the organism can no longer exist.
Chemistry of Life
A living organism is distinguished from other non-living forms of matter by certain fundamental features such as: high level of structural organization, the ability to convert and utilize energy, continuous material exchange with environment, self regulation of chemical transformations, and, reproduction or transfer of hereditary information. A state of disease may ensue when any of the bio-chemic channels governing these fundamental factors of life are disturbed. Obviously, it is impossible to make a scientific study of pathology and therapeutics without an understanding of these subjects.
Complex bio-molecules which participate in the diverse chemical processes of life are broadly classified into four major groups: Proteins, Carbohydrates, Lipids and Nucleic Acids. These are polymers of simple chemical components or sub units, called monomers. The monomers of proteins are amino acids, and those of carbohydrates are monosaccharides. Lipids are polymers of fatty acids. The monomers of Nucleic acids are known as nulcleotides. These bio-molecules are considered to be the building blocks of life on earth, and are never seen in the non-living world. These bio-molecules, with their highly complex structure and organization, interact each other in the organism through hundreds of bio-chemic pathways, collectively called ‘vital processes’.
Importance of Proteins and Enzymes
Scientific explanation of HOMEOPATHY should be based on a proper understanding of the the complex dynamics of bio-molecular interactions involved in vital processes, especially PROTEIN BIOCHEMISTRY.
Proteins are a class of highly complex nitrogen-containing bio-molecules, functioning as the primary carriers of all the biochemical processes underlying the phenomenon of life. There exist millions of protein molecules belonging to thousands of protein types in a living organism.
Each protein molecule is formed by the polymerization of monomers called amino acids, in different proportions and sequences. Each protein type has its own specific role in the biochemical interactions in an organism. Most of the amino acids necessary for the synthesis of proteins are themselves synthesized from their molecular precursers inside the body. A few types of amino acids cannot be synthesized inside the body, and have to be made available through food. These are called essential aminoacids. There are specific protein molecules assigned for each biochemical process that take place in the body. Various proteins play different types of roles, such as biological catalysts or enzymes, receptors, transport molecules, hormones, antibodies etc. Some proteins function as specialized molecular switches, systematically switching on and off of specific biochemical pathways.
Proteins are synthesized from amino acids, in conformity with the neucleotide sequences of concerned genes, with the help of enzymes, which are themselves proteins. ‘Protein synthesis’ and ‘genetic expression’ are very important part of vital process. It may be said that genes are molecular moulds for synthesizing proteins of specific conformations. There are specific genes, bearing appropriate molecular codes of information necessary for synthesizing each type of protein molecule. Even the synthesis of these genes happens with the help of various enzymes, which are protein molecules. There is no any single bio-molecular process in the living organism, which does not require an active participation of a protein molecule of any kind.
The most important factor we have to understand while discussing proteins is the role of their three-dimensional spacial organization evolving from peculiar disulphide bonds and hydrogen bonds. Water plays a vital role in maintaining the three dimensional organization of proteins intact, thereby keeping them efficient to participate in the diverse biochemical processes.
Proteins exhibits different levels of molecular organization: primary, secondary, tertiary and quaternary. It is this peculiar three dimensional structure that decides the specific biochemical role of a given protein molecule. More over, co-enzymes and co-factors such as metal ions and vitamins play an important role in keeping up this three-dimensional structure of protein molecules intact, thereby activating them for their specific functions. Buffering properties of body fluids also are decisive in maintaining the specific conformations of proteins and keeping them reactive.
Whenever any kind of error occurs in the particular three-dimensional structure of a given protein molecule, it obviously fails to interact with other biomolecules to accomplish the specific functions it is intended to play in the concerned biochemical processes. Such a failure leads to harmful deviations in several biochemical processes in the organism, that require the participation of this particular protein, ultimately resulting in a cascading of multitude of molecular errors. This is the fundamental molecular mechanism of pathology, which we perceive as disease of some or other category.
These deviations in biochemical pathways are expressed as various groups of subjective and objective symptoms of disease. The organic system exhibits a certain degree of ability and flexibility to overcome or self repair such molecular deviations and preserve the state of homeostasis required to maintain life. Anyhow, if these deviations happen in any of the vitally decisive biochemical pathways, or, if these are irreversible, the bio-chemical processes ultimately stop and death happens.
DISEASE is a state of derangement in biochemical interactions so as to disrupt the normal pathways of vital processes of the organism
Derangement in normal biochemical interactions amounting to a state of DISEASE may happen due to diverse reasons.
1. GENETIC FACTORS: Defects in genetic codes arising from heredity or acquired by mutations result in the absence of certain proteins (enzymes, receptors, antibodies etc) that are essential for normal biochemical interactions. defective genes may also synthesis faulty proteins with wrong conformation, which can act as endogenous pathogenic agents by binding to various biological targets.
2. EPIGENETIC FACTORS: Defects of enzymes involved in genetic expressions and post synthetic translations and modifications of protein molecules act as epigenetic factors of diseases.
3. NUTRITIONAL DEFICIENCIES: Nutritional deficiencies of essential building blocks and precursors of biological molecules , such as amino acids and other monomers, vitamins, co-factors, elements, metal ions, minerals etc may disrupt the normal biochemical interactions. Any shortage in the availability of various amino acids and their precursers may lead to non- production of essential proteins in the organism. In some cases, it may also result in the production of defective proteins.
4. PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENT: Biochemical interactions happen only if an appropriate pH level and temperature is maintained in the body fluids. Any physical influence that may derange these physical parameters will act as pathogenic factors by deactivating protein molecules. Temperature, magnetic field, electromagnetic radiations, vibrations and various other physical influences can affect the normal biochemical processes. Physical influences actually act as pathogenic agents by producing derangement in protein conformations, which are deactivated or converted to pathogenic molecules.
5. EXOGENOUS MOLECULAR FACTORS: Chemical molecules released by infectious agents invading the organism, drugs, toxins, food articles, environmental pollutants alien proteins entering the body act as EXOGENOUS factors of disease by binding to various biological molecules such as enzymes and receptors and producing molecular inhibitions.
6. ENDOGENOUS MOLECULAR FACTORS: Antibodies, hormones, neuro-mediators, neurotransmitters, cytokines, growth factors, super-oxides, enzymes and various biological molecules of endogenous origin may cause molecular inhibitions of proteins such as enzymes and receptors, thereby acting as pathogenic agents.
It is obvious that almost all conditions of pathology we normally confront, including those resulting from genetic origin, are involved with some or other errors or absence of some protein molecules that are essential for concerned biochemical processes. Moreover, most of such molecular errors other than of nutritional deficiencies or genetic origin, arise due to binding of some exogenous or endogenous foreign molecules or ions on the active, binding or allosteric sites of protein molecules, effecting changes in their three-dimensional conformations. A host of diseases originating from viral-bacterial infections, allergies, poisoning, drugs, food articles etc, belong to this category. Chronic diseases caused by antibodies, which are considered in homeopathy as miasmatic diseases and modern medicine as auto-immune diseases, also belong to this class. Diseases caused by emotional factors, hormones, neuro-mediators, neurotransmitters, cytokines, growth factors, super-oxides, enzymes and various biological molecules also include in this group. Diseases belonging to these categories can be effectively treated by removal of molecular inhibitions using MOLECULAR IMPRINTS or POTENTIZED DRUGS.
The most important factor we have to bear in mind when talking about kinetics of proteins in general, and enzymes in particular is their highly defined, peculiar specificity. Each type of protein molecules, or some times even some part of a single protein molecule, is designed in such a way that it can bind only with a specific class of molecules, and hence participate in a specific type of bio-chemic interaction only. This functional specificity is ensured through the peculiar three-dimensional configuration of the protein molecules, exhibited through their characteristic folding and spacial arrangement. Reactive chemical groups known as active sites, binding sites, and regulatory sites are distributed at specific locations on this three dimensional formations of protein molecules. These chemical groups can interact only with molecules and ions having appropriate spacial configurations that fits to their shape. This phenomenon can be compared with the relationship existing between a lock and its appropriate key. Just as a key with an exactly fitting three dimensional shape alone can enter the key hole of a lock and open it, molecules with exactly fitting three dimensional structure alone can establish contact and indulge in chemical activities with specific protein molecules. This key-lock relationship with substrates defines all biochemical interactions involving proteins, ensuring their optimum specificity. Obviously, any deviation in the three dimensional configuration of either lock or key makes their interaction impossible.
It has been already explained that the primary basis of any state of pathology is some deviations occurring in the biochemical processes at the molecular level. Endogenic or exogenic foreign molecules or ions having any configurational similarity to certain biochemical substrates can mimic as original substrates to attach themselves on the regulatory or the active sites of proteins, effecting changes in their native 3-D configuration, thereby making them unable to discharge their specific biochemical role. This situation is called a molecular inhibition, which leads to pathological molecular errors. It is comparable with the ability of objects having some similarity in shape with that of key, to enter the key hole of a lock and obstructing its function. As a result of this inhibition, the real substrates are prevented from interacting with the appropriate protein molecules, leading to a break in the normal biochemical channels. This type of molecular errors are called competitive inhibitions. It is in this way that many types of drugs, pesticides and poisons interfere in the biochemical processes, creating pathologic situations. Such substances are known as anti-melabolities.
Homeopathy has devised its own method of closely following even the minutest deviations in the biochemical processes in the organism, through a special strategy of monitoring and recording the perceivable symptoms caused by such deviations. Obviously, deviations in a particular biochemical pathway resulting from such a nano-level molecular inhibition produces a specific train of subjective and objective symptoms in the organism. In other words, each specific group of symptoms exhibited by the organism indicates a particular error occurred in the molecular level. Homoeopathy chases these train of symptoms to their minutest level, from periphery to interior, in order to study the exact molecular errors underlying any particular state of pathology. Not even the sophisticated tools of ultra-modern technologies can monitor those molecular errors with such perfection. Then, those pathological molecular inhibitions are removed by applying appropriate therapeutic agents, selected on the basis of ‘law of similars’ or ‘Similia Similibus Curentur’. This fundamental strategy underlying the homeopathic system of therapeutics evidently surpasses even the most scientific methods of modern molecular medicine. It is high time that the scientific world had realized and recognized this truth, and incorporated this wonderful tool into their armamentarium. Obviously, “similia similibus curentur” is the most effective technique of identifying and removing the pathological molecular inhibitions in the organism.
Symptoms – Indicators of Biochemical Processes
We time and again hear our critics sarcastically declaring that homeopaths indulge in a totally unscientific way of medical practice, considering the external symptoms alone, and accuse that the basic causes of diseases are not dealt with in homoeopathic treatment. ‘Homoeopaths treat only the symptoms, not the disease’- they say. Even now these learned friends utterly fail to understand the logic of homoeopathy, and the fact that it is a highly scientific method of therapeutics. The subjective and objective symptoms presented by the organism are the only reliable indicators to help us correctly understand the minute molecular deviations underlying a state of pathology. Each group or train of symptoms represent a specific molecular error that had occurred in a particular biochemical pathway. These symptoms invariably indicates the specific type and character of the endogenic or exogenic foreign molecules or ions responsible for the particular molecular inhibition. By studying the train of symptoms carefully and systematically, homoeopaths are really observing these exact molecular inhibitions. This symptomatology-based analytical method of homoeopathy is far more exact and superior to the multitude of expensive complex laboratory chemical tests and imaging technologies we consider to be scientific. Identifying the exact molecular errors in the organism of the patient by observing the expressed symptoms, and identifying the most appropriate therapeutic agents from the similarity of symptoms the drugs could produce in healthy organism- this is the scientific essence of “similia similibus curentur”.
If a drug substance is introduced to a healthy living organism, which exists in state of comparatively dynamic equilibrium, constituent molecules of that drug substance are conveyed by the internal transport systems, and bind by their configurational affinity to any of the complex bio-molecules engaged in natural biochemical processes. As a result of such molecular binding, the bio-molecules are subjected to deviations in their three-dimensional configurations, and becomes incapacitated to deliver their natural molecular functions. All the biochemical processes mediated or participated by those bio-molecules are affected, and dependent biological pathways are subsequently blocked. Since different biological pathways are inter-depedent, deviations in one pathway naturally affects the dependent ones also. The cascading of molecular deviations influence the neuro mediator-neuro transmitter systems and endocrine systems and finally manifest in the form of particular groups of subjective and objective symptoms. This is the real molecular kinetics of pathology.
Logic of Drug proving
Homoeopathy has devised its own peculiar way of experimenting and documenting the properties of medicinal substances in relation with their capability to produce various pathological conditions. This is called drug proving. For proving a particular drug substance, it is introduced into a healthy organism, and, the subjective and objective symptoms and their modalities representing the diverse molecular deviations caused by the drug, are carefully observed and recorded. Each specific group of symptoms that appear as part of diverse pathological conditions are thus artificially created in healthy individuals. These symptoms are compiled as a materia medica of the substance used.
Small quantities of a particular drug material are administered to a large controlled volunteer group of apparently healthy individuals, as part of this drug proving program. (Some drug provings, especially with highly toxic substances, are conducted using their highly potentized forms. In such instances, proving happens through a different molecular mechanism, since potentized drugs contain only ‘molecular imprints’, instead of original drug molecules. We shall discuss this mechanism later). When we introduce a sample of drug substance into the living organism for ‘proving’, its constituent molecules are instantly subjected to various processes such as disintegration, ionization, hydration and certain chemical transformations. Individual constituent molecules are carried and conveyed through blood and other internal transport systems into the cells in different parts of the body. They interact with various enzymes, receptors, metabolites and other biological molecules inside the organism. The drug molecules get themselves bound to various bio-molecules participating in the essential biochemical activities in the organism. These interactions are decided and directed by the specific properties such as configuration and charge of active groups of individual drug molecules, and their specific affinity towards biological target molecules. The three dimensional structure of the individual drug molecules, and that of the concerned bio-molecules are the decisive factors in this process of formation of molecular binding between them. This peculiarity is called molecular affinity. It is very important to note that drug substances interact with different biological molecules, not as a singular entity, but as individual constituent molecules and ions. These individual drug molecules and ions are capable of binding to some or other biological molecules, effecting configurational changes in them, and thereby inhibiting the essential bio-chemical processes which can take place only with their presence and mediation. Such molecular inhibitions in various bio-chemical pathways result in a condition of pathology, expressed in the form of a train of subjective and objective symptoms, due to the involvement of various neuro-mediator and neuro-transmitter systems.
On the surface of any bio-molecules belonging to protein category, with their characteristic three dimensional organization, there will be different functional groups suitable for engaging in various types of biochemical bonds. These functional groups belong mainly to two categories. Certain functional groups play a role in establishing contacts between molecules, and are called ‘binding groups’. Functional groups performing real chemical processes are known as ‘active groups’. Different types of binding sites and active sites exist on the same complex bio-molecule. We can compare these binding sites and the active sites of bio-molecules to the three dimensional key-holes of ordinary mechanical locks, and their ligands to ‘keys’. A key will be suitable only to the particular complimenting key- hole with exact three dimensional structure that fits to the shape of the key. In the same manner, various molecules engaged in biochemical processes identifies and interacts with their ligands with the help of peculiarities of their spacial configurations. A different key, with a three dimensional structure only partially similar to that of the original key, may partially enter in the key-hole, but it fails to open the lock, and results in mechanically obstructing the key-hole. Molecular mechanism underlying a disease process may be broadly compared to such an obstruction and inhibition of molecular locks by binding of some foreign molecules, partially similar to but different from original ones mimicking as the real ligands. Due to such an inhibition, the particular bio-molecule becomes incapable of interacting with its real molecular keys or ligands, thereby hindering the concerned normal biochemical process. This situation amounts to a pathology at molecular level. We can also visualize a different scenario of molecular inhibition, where the original key or ligand itself becoming structurally deformed, thereby hindering its interaction with its appropriate molecular lock. There may also be such occasions as some dirt getting collected inside the key-hole, or the key or the keyhole itself has some inherent manufacturing defects etc. All such presumed situations are possible in the case of bio-molecules also, and may result in bio-molecular inhibitions of some sort or other
Even though modern biochemistry and molecular medicine has made great strides in the study of diverse molecular inhibitions related with diseases, still there are grave limitations. It is imperative that modern science should strive to find out means to define the exact bio-molecular deviations and inhibitions responsible for each and every one of the multitude of diverse symptoms and modalities expressed in particular disease conditions, in order to evolve a most scientific method of removing such inhibitions. We may hope, that such a day will not be too far, when it could be possible for humanity to devise a perfect technology to recognize and rectify each and every pathological molecular processes. That should be the ultimate aim of biochemistry and molecular medicine of the future. Until that happen, the most reliable practical technology available for us is the homoeopathic method of studying the underlying molecular processes of diseases by minutely observing the expressed symptoms, the language of nature. Here lies the paramount importance of the homoeopathic theory of similimum and drug proving. Homeopathy considers “totality of symptoms” as the only clue to the understanding of molecular level pathology, as well as deciding the appropriate therapeutic tools to rectify that molecular errors. Viewing from this perspective, “similia similibus curentur” is a highly scientific principle of therapeutics, deserving to be greatly honored by modern science at least in coming days.
All the major controversies related with homeopathy are essentially concerned with its theory and method of potentization of drugs. Homeopathic potencies or dilutions are made by adding crude drugs with sugar of milk or a mixture of ethyl alcohol and water, and subjecting to a peculiar serial mechanical process involving so-called Trituration, Dilution and Succussion. These homeopathic potencies are prepared mainly in three series known as Decimal, Centesimal and Millecimal. These are dilutions in the multiples of ten, hundred and million respectively. Homoeopathy claims that even objects which are comparatively inert chemically, turn into very potent medicines through this some what simple mechanical process. As per homeopathic theoreticians, “inherent dynamic medicinal energy” of drug substances are “released” by this process of potentization. The modern scientific world not only refuses to accept this concept, but they are very much reluctant even to consider this theory worth serious discussions. Most of the scientific personalities always prefer to make it a mockery when talking about this concept of homeopathic potentization. The biggest intellectual challenge homeopathy face today is to explain and demonstrate this process of potentization in such a rational and convincing way that modern science could understand and experiment it using their tools and methodology.
We should realize that there is no much scope for our habitual empty pseudo-philosophical theorizations any more, trying ever to keep homeopathy as a “mystical science”. We cannot save homeopathy merely hiding behind centuries-old hypothetical explanations and hollow verbal exercises. We have no other go but to demonstrate and explain our fundamental principles scientifically, and answer the following questions: What really happens at ‘material’ level during the process of potentisation? What are the active principles in the potentized medicines? How these potentized medicines exactly influence the biochemical processes and relieve the pathological molecular inhibitions? Only when these fundamental questions are answered satisfactorily, will homoeopathy be accepted and crowned as part of a rational scientific system of mainstream medical art.
Several attempts had been made so far by many, to explain the phenomenon of potentization and similimum. Almost all of those theoretical experts of homeopathy so far claim that some mysterious ‘dynamic power’ contained in the medicinal substance is liberated through the process of potentization, and that this dynamic power which remains in some sort of ‘non-material’, ‘non-corporeal’, ‘spirit-like’ form acts up on the dynamic ‘vital force’ of the patient in some ‘mysterious’ way and effects a cure. According to them, both disease and cure takes place not in the material level, but in a mysterious ‘dynamic’ level. They try to introduce a concept of a medicinal power and a vital force which are beyond any scope of analysis and explanation through the known tools and methodologies of material sciences. They talk about a medicinal force and a vital force which exist and interact on some unknown super-material level. At least, we have to understand that it will never be possible for us to convincingly present homoeopathy as a branch of scientific medicine with the help of such ‘supernatural’ and ‘dynamic’ explanations, which is far from a rational and scientific world outlook.
Yet another class of ‘experts’ shock us with their ‘scientific’ explanation of homoeopathy, declaring that some mysterious sub atomic particles are released during the process of potentization. They confuse people by using all the complex vocabulary of “quantum physics” to establish the most unscientific concepts in the guise of homeopathy. It is really an absurdity not even a primary school student can tolerate, to hear that atomic division is possible through such a very simple mechanical process like potenlization. Further, it is very unlikely that those people who talk about atomic energy in homoeopathic medicines had ever thought about how the simple sub-atomic particles could preserve and exhibit the specific medicinal properties of highly complex drug molecules subjected to potentization.
It is only a primary knowledge of any student of physics that an object loses its gross molecular level properties when it is divided into atoms, and loses even the atomic level properties when atoms are divided in to sub-atomic particles. It is beyond any comprehension and common sense how the individual medicinal properties of complex drug molecules can be preserved and exhibited by simple sub-atomic particles they contain, as our ‘scientific’ interpreters of homoeopathic potentization try to ‘prove’. All the similar particles at sub-atomic level are same, whether they come from nux vomica or sulphur or gold. Such irrational ‘pseudo scientific’ arguments only help in making Homoeopathy a subject of unending mockery. We should always bear in mind the fact that such a simple mechanical process involved in homoeopathic potentization can never effect any atomic division at all. Only division we can imagine is ionization of atoms and molecules during this mechanical process. In a knowledge-based society having clear understanding about various forms of energy and forces, our slippery talk about mysterious ‘dynamic medicinal energy’ and ‘dynamic vital force’ has no any relevance in a scientific dialogue. Let us hope that common sense will prevail on all the concerned.
According to proven laws of chemistry, the number of molecules contained in one gram mol quantity of any substance is 6.0221367 x1023. This number is known as Avogadro’s constant. Since the molecular weight of oxygen is 32, 32gms of oxygen will contain 6.0221367 x1023 molecules of oxygen. That means, number of molecules contained in one gram of oxygen will be (6.0221367 x 1023)/32. It is evident that, as the structure of individual molecules become more complex, and their molecular weight increase, the number of molecules contained in one gram of that substance gets proportionally reduced.
If the drug substances contain large complex molecules with high molecular weight, the limits of Avogadro’s number will be crossed even before the process of potentization reaches 10th dilution in the centesimal scale. If the drug molecules are simple and small in size, this may happen above 20th dilution or so. As hydrogen is the smallest molecule, with least molecular weight, it will be the last to cross the Avogadro limit during dilution process. It is evident from calculations that in a homeopathic potency above 23C, which is very much diluted than the Avogadro limit, not even a single molecule of the original drug is likely to remain. It will contain only the molecules of water and alcohol used as the medium of potentization, along with some probable contaminants. 30C potency means the drug is diluted in a ratio of 1:1000000000000000000000000000000. In the case of 200C, this is 1: 1X1200. Even though we name those highly diluted preparations using labels such as sulphur, mercury etc, which were used to start the process of dilution, the undeniable truth remains that they contain not a single atom of those substances. Same time, the fact remains that we successfully utilize those ultra dilutions to cure diseases, according to our therapeutic law: ‘similia similibus curentur’. We are obliged to prove how it works, and provide a reasonable explanation for this mysterious riddle, if we hope homeopathy has to be finally acceptable to the modern scientific world.
Whatever the critics of homeopathy may say, we are fully confident of the fact that these highly diluted homeopathic preparations exhibit specific medicinal properties. These preparations can be effectively used as therapeutic agents on the basis of the principle of ‘Similia Similibus Curentur’. These facts are regularly being proved beyond doubt in everyday experience by thousands of homeopaths all over the world. It has been also proved in various controlled in vitro tests in the laboratories. The sarcastic comments of our opponents that ‘homeo medicines act only as placebos’ may be dismissed as expressions of their arrogance resulting from ‘scientific ignorance’ regarding matters happening outside the dominion of their comprehension. Actually, these off-hand sarcastic comments about homeopathy points to certain limitations of existing scientific thought and the methodology they follow. Even in such a case, we are bound to convince the scientific community, how these highly diluted preparations preserve and exhibit the ‘reverse’ therapeutic properties of original drugs, even in the complete absence of their molecules. We should realize that it is of no particular use, trying to evade from this obligation by labeling this phenomenon with non-specific phrases such as ‘dynamic force’ or the like, which even the die-hard homeopaths fail to fully comprehend.
It is obvious that during the initial process of ‘trituration’, the complex molecules contained in the drug substances probably get liberated themselves from their inter-molecular bonds and get ionized, when they are mixed with crystals of ‘sugar of milk’ and subjected to strong molecular friction. These ionized drug molecules thus attains a full expression of their chemical and biological properties, and become more virulent than the tightly packed original molecules. The secret of even those substances which seem to be chemically inert, turning into potent medicinal agents through the process of homeopathic trituration may be due to the liberation and ionization of individual molecules contained in those drugs.
But, apart from low potencies, we cannot explain the medicinal properties of the highly diluted homeopathic potencies even on the basis of ionization. Or liberation of individual drug molecules. There is least chances of even a single molecule of the drug substance still remaining in those preparations. More over, the medicinal properties exhibited by these high potency dilutions are exactly reverse to the medicinal properties of the same drug substances in crude forms. Homeopathic potencies are capable of removing disease symptoms that are ‘similar’ to those produced by the original drugs substance during drug proving. It means that homeopathic potenices act not exactly as original drugs, but in an exactly reverse direction. Any theory we put forward regarding potentization should also be capable of explaining this peculiar phenomenon. The fact that the higher potencies behave somewhat like antidotes towards their original drug substances obviously indicates that properties of drug substances are somehow transferred into the medium in a some what reverse order during the process of potentization. This important observation gives us certain vital clues in solving the whole mystery.
Homeopathic potencies are prepared using a special medium of water and ethyl alcohol, mixed in in a particular ratio. (60 power rectified spirit- density 0.8298). This mixture contains is 87% w/w of ethyl alcohol, and the remaining part is water. The wonder is that, it has been proven through minute chemical analysis, that even after the process of potentisation is completed, the mixture still remained simply water and alcohol in the same initial proportion. In other words, The medium used for potentization, and the product of potentization are similar in chemical structure. The hardest challenge we face is, how to explain the diverse specific medicinal properties and therapeutic effects exhibited by these potentized preparations, having only a chemical structure of simple alcohol-water mixture. It is imperative that a satisfactory answer to this question should given at least to the people who do not have any doubts regarding the therapeutic capabilities of homeopathic potencies.
Another important factor we have to note is that the therapeutic properties of potentized homeopathic preparations are found to be lost by the influence of certain physical forces such as violent motion, strong magnetic fields, powerful light, excessive heat, electricity, and other electro-magnetic radiations. Every homeopath would have observed this phenomenon during his clinical experience. It means that the medicinal properties of homeopathic potencies are preserved in such a particular form that can be adversely affected by above said physical influences. It is evident from this observation that through the process of potentization, the water-alcohol mixture attains some sort of physical transformations that can be reversed by certain physical influences described above. Obviously, it is through this transformations of purely physical nature, without any chemical changes happening, that the therapeutic properties of the original drug substance are transferred into the alcohol-water mixture in a reverse order. With the help of modern material sciences, we have to inquire into the exact mechanism of this physical transformations, so that we can solve the riddle of homeopathic potentization once and for ever.
It should be especially noted that the therapeutic properties of homeopathic potencies are exactly reverse to the medicinal properties of original drug molecules used for potentization. Diseases with symptoms similar to those produced by a drug substance during proving are cured by the potentized form of the same drug. Since no chemical changes take place in the alcohol-water mixture during potentization, we can conjecture that changes happens only at the level of the physical formations. More over, these physical transformations occurring in the nanoscopic level are liable to be reversed by the influence of above-said physical forces. As a result of this nanoscopic physical transformations happened through potentization, the alcohol-water mixture attains the capacity to interfere in the biochemical processes in the living organism, resulting in desired therapeutic effects. It can be proven by simple experiments that the rate of evaporation, solubility, surface tension, spectrosopic analysis etc, of alcohol-water mixture before and after potentization are different. It indicates that, though the chemical structure of water-alcohol mixture remains the same, some changes have occurred in the supra-molecular level as a result of potentization. Key to the mystery of homeopathy may be available by pursuing these primary observations in scientific directions.
What is the exact character and dynamics of this physical transformations occurring in the alcohol-water mixture during potentization? How is the information regarding the medicinal properties of drug molecules encoded into these physical formations, and preserved even without the presence of a single original drug molecule? What is the exact molecular dynamics of therapeutic action of these highly diluted preparations? How they interfere in the bio-chemic interactions of an organism, thereby removing the specific pathologic molecular inhibitions? The future of homeopathy and medical sciences at large, depends on the answers we provide for these fundamental questions. With apology, the author dares to delve into the depth of these vital issues, equipped with his very limited resources.
This search into the mysteries of homeopathic potentization inevitably leads us to the study of the wonderful physical and chemical properties of water and alcohol, which constitute the medium used to prepare the ultra dilute preparations. Water is the the most common and abundant mineral on earth. We may begin our discussion by looking into the wealth of information already collected by modern material sciences on this subject.
Water- its Role in Potentization
Until recently, we knew precious little about various miraculous properties of water, though we find it in plenty around us, and utilize freely in our everyday life. Even the highly equipped scientific community has begun to turn its serious attention to the minute level study of water only in recent times. The secrets being revealed in these studies are really amazing, and may help us in solving the mysteries haunting homeopathic potentization.
Around seventy percent of the surface of earth is covered with water. 45-70% of human body mass consist of water. This ratio slightly changes with age, and it may be said that human body becomes more and more dry with aging. 30-40 % of water contained in our body is seen in the intra-cellular fluid,12-16% as extra-cellular , and 5 % in blood plasma. 2% of water is in lymph, and 1-3% in different body cavities. This wide spread presence of water in the living body indicates the paramount importance of its role in various biological processes. About 2 litters of water enters our body from outside, along with food every day. A small quantity of water is produced in the body itself as a by-product of metabolism.
As far as we know, life cannot exist without water. It is considered that the phenomenon of life originated on this earth only because of the presence of water. All the biochemical processes in the organism take place with the involvement of water. In the absence of water, essential biological molecules such as proteins and DNA undergo structural changes, and become inactivated. Water is the essential condition of existence of life. Liquid water has importance as a solvent, a solute, a reactant and a biomolecule, structuring proteins, nucleic acids and cells and controlling our consciousness. The complex three dimensional formations of protein molecules, which are much important in their biological functioning, is due to the hydration properties of water.
Why this simple hydrogen oxide(H2O), which is formed by the union of two hydrogen atoms and a single oxygen atom happen to play such a crucial role in the origin and existence of life? What are the factors that make water distinct from other similar chemical compounds such as hydrogen sulphide?
The answers to this question lies in the wonderful physico–chemical properties of water, arising from its peculiar super-molecular structure. Water is a solvent with higher polarity than similar liquids. H–O–H have bond angle of 105 degrees. That means, water molecule is a dipole. Because of this peculiarity, water molecules can exist like a super-molecular network by forming hydrogen bonds between themselves. A minimum number of five water molecules will be contained in this network. Such five-molecule formations are called ‘pentamers’. Most of the wonderful properties of water arise from this capacity of peculiar hydrogen bonding and supra-molecular formations.
Water molecules are normally considered to be in a state of random movement in their liquid form. But recent studies have shown that water molecules move not as individual molecules, but as supramolecular clusters. We all know that water exists as ice crystals in its solid form. But it has been recently observed that in its short range structure, water exist as nanocrystals even in its liquid form. We know, water formed by melting of ice behaves exactly as if in a state of liquid crystals. The lattice structure which is formed through hydration bonds is responsible for this phenomenon.
A lot of research work is recently undertaken all over the world regarding the phenomenon of peculiar supra-molecular formations of water. The uncommon physico– chemical properties of water are the result of this poly-molecular structure at supra-molecular level. Water becomes an essential material for the existence of life on earth, by its strange properties such as high polarity, anomalous expansion, anomalous boiling and melting points, high viscosity, surface tension, thermal storage capacity, high specific heat, hydration properties etc.
Water molecules(H2O) are symmetric (point group C2ν), with two mirror planes of symmetry and a 2-fold rotation axis. The hydrogen atoms in this molecule may possess parallel or anti-parallel nuclear spin. The water molecule consists of two light hydrogen atoms(H) and a relatively heavy oxygen atom(O). The approximately 16-fold difference in mass between hydrogen and oxygen gives ease of rotation, and the significant relative movements of the hydrogen nuclei, which are in constant and significant relative movement.
Although not often perceived as such, water is a very reactive molecule at a high concentration. This reactivity of water molecules, however, is greatly moderated at ambient temperatures due to the extensive hydrogen bonding between them. Water molecule possess a strongly nucleophilic oxygen atom that enables it for many of its biological functions, as well as ionizing to produce reactive hydrogen and hydroxide ions. Reduction of the hydrogen bonding at high temperatures, or due to electromagnetic fields, results in greater reactivity of the water molecules. ‘Magnetized’ water will be more reactive, with strange properties. Much experienced phenomenon of loss of medicinal properties of homeopathic potencies, when subjected to influence of magnetic fields and electrical fields could be well explained now. This also gives an indication to the role of hydrogen bonding in potentization.
As liquid water is so common-place in our everyday lives, it is often regarded as a ‘normal’ liquid. In reality, water is most ‘abnormal’ as a liquid, behaving as a quite different material at low temperatures compared to that when it is hot. It has often been stated that life depends on these anomalous properties of water. In particular, the high cohesion between molecules gives it a high freezing and melting point, such that we and our planet exist bathed in liquid water even at high ambient temperatures. In the absence of hydrogen bonding, all water on earth would have vaporized even at very low temperatures. The large heat capacity, high thermal conductivity and high water content in organisms contribute to thermal regulation and prevent local temperature fluctuations, thus allowing us to more easily control our body temperature. The high latent heat of evaporation gives resistance to dehydration and considerable evaporative cooling. Water is an excellent solvent due to its polarity, high dielectric constant and small size, particularly for polar and ionic compounds and salts. It has unique hydration properties towards biological macromolecules (particularly proteins and nucleic acids) that determine their three-dimensional structures, and hence their functions, in solution. This hydration forms gels that can reversibly undergo the gel-sol phase transitions that underlie many cellular mechanisms. Water ionize and allows easy proton exchange between molecules, so contributing to the richness of the ionic interactions in biology.
Essentially, ‘hydrogen bonding’ is a special type of dipole force. It is a force of attraction formed between partially charged atoms being part of different molecules. The reason for this bonding is the partial positive charge attained by hydrogen. Hydrogen is capable of establishing similar bonds with the atoms of nitrogen, fluorine and oxygen. That is to say that the basis of hydrogen bonding is the attraction between one hydrogen atom which is part of a molecule which is attached to oxygen or nitrogen and oxygen or nitrogen which remains part of another molecule. This force is less powerful than the covalent bonds which keeps the atoms inside molecule bound together. But it may be strange that these less powerful bonds are responsible for the wonderful physico–chemical properties and biological relevance of water.
In the ordinary liquid state, in spite of 80% of the electrons being engaged in bonding, the three atoms in water do not stay together, as the hydrogen atoms are constantly exchanged between water molecules due to protonation/deprotonation processes. Both acids and bases catalyze this exchange and even when at its slowest(at pH 7), the average time for the atoms in an H2O molecule to stay together is only about a millisecond. As this brief period is, however, much longer than the timescales encountered during investigations into water’s hydrogen bonding or hydration properties, water is usually treated as a permanent structure. But when water exist in its crystalline form, hydrogen atoms become more stable.
The presence of ethyl alcohol in water is considered as a factor reducing the rate of protonation/deprotonation processes, thereby enhancing the stability of hydration shells. Importance of using water-ethanol mixture for homeopathic potentization is self-explained here.
It has been already stated that hydrogen bond strength can also be affected by electromagnetic and magnetic effects.
Any factors, such as polarization, that reduces the hydrogen bond length, is expected to increase its covalency. There is still some dispute over the size of this co-valency, however any co-valency will increase the network stability relative to purely electrostatic effects. As hydrogen bond strength depends almost linearly on its length (shorter length giving stronger hydrogen bonding), it also depends almost linearly (outside extreme values) on the temperature and pressure .
It has to be verified whether the violent succussion and rotatory motion done during potentization procedure any how plays a role in polarization of molecules, thereby reducing the hydrogen bond lengths, and increasing the stability of hydration shells formed.
Hydrogen bonded chains (that is, O-H····O-H····O) are cooperative; the breakage of the first bond is the hardest, then the next one is weakened, and so on (see the cyclic water pentamer). Thus unzipping may occur with complex macromolecules held together by hydrogen bonding, for example, nucleic acids. Such co-operativity is a fundamental property of liquid water where hydrogen bonds are up to 250% stronger than the single hydrogen bond in the dimer . A strong base at the end of a chain may strengthen the bonding further.
Role of Ethyl Alcohol in Potentization
At this stage we have to understand a few facts about Ethyl Alcohol(CH3- CH2 - OH ). The molecules of alcohol also have the dipole structure as water molecules. It is possible for them to establish mutual connection through hydrogen bonding. The molecular weight of alcohol molecule is 46. The molecular weight of water(H2O) is 18. That means that the number of water molecules contained in 18 gram of water and the number of alcohol molecules contained in 46 gram of ethyl alcohol are equal. When alcohol and water are thoroughly mixed alcohol molecules forms a network with water molecules through hydrogen bonds, The mobility of water molecules is restricted by the bonds established with alcohol molecules. Hence, hydration shells formed in alcohol–water mixture are comparatively more stable. The count of alcohol molecules and the count of water molecules contained in their mixture in 73:27 ratio will be equal. (73% w/w. alcohol and 27% w/w water) This mixture is known as (40 power spirit).
Medium used for homoeopathic potentization is a mixture containing 87% w/w of alcohol and 13% w/w of water. In this ratio, the number of alcohol molecules will be about more than that of of water molecules. Rectified spirit is an azeotrope containing 95% alcohol and 5%water. Such a ratio will be very suitable for the production of stable hydration shells. More over, the presence of ethyl alcohol in water is considered as a factor reducing the rate of protonation/deprotonation processes, thereby enhancing the stability of hydration shells. This may further explain the importance of water-ethyl alcohol mixture being used as the medium of homoeopathic potentization.
Role of Silica (Silicon Dioxide) in Potentization?
It should be specially noted that the vessels and utensils used for potentization are made of high quality glass or porcelain, which contains large quantities of Silica (Silicon Dioxide). Chances of silica particles liberated into the medium during the process of trituration, succussion and potentization of drugs have to be seriously considered. Studies have proved that potentized homeopathic preparations contain trace quantities of silica. Silica is hence considered to be an unavoidable contaminant we have to cope with.
Certain recent studies regarding the properties of silica indicates that this factor has to be considered from another angle. Chances of silica particles playing a role in the molecular imprinting process during potentization cannot be ruled out at present. The peculiar molecular structure and physico chemical properties of silica proposes such a role. It has been noted that homeopathic potencies prepared using utensils made of material other than silica glass are of low quality. Anyhow, more research is required on these lines.
Molecular Memory Of Water
‘Molecular memory of water’ is a rarely understood phenomenon, and is a subject of much controversies and speculations in the world of science. Even now, scientists differ much in their opinion regarding this phenomenon. Final outcome of these controversies will have great concern and significance in the realm of homoeopathy. Let us examine some details of the nature and essence of this controversial phenomenon.
Jacques Benveniste(1935–2004), who was a famous French immunologist, published a research paper in Nature magazine in the year 1988. This paper and the subsequent controversies which shook the world of science, were incidents which roused great interest as far as homeopathy was concerned. It was through this article that the idea of ‘molecular memory of water’ became a subject of discussion in the world of science. But an infuential section of scientists took a stand that ideas put forward by Benveniste were nothing but nonsense. Heated controversies followed, which have not subsided yet, even after 22 years. The accusation raised by his enemies was that Benveniste could not prove his arguments in the controlled experiments overseen by experts appointed by Nature. Benvenistse had later put on record that he was a made a scapegoat, and subjected to inhuman revenge and character assassination from the part of representatives of official science.
In his original paper, Beneveniste claimed that he could observe in his experiments that human basophil degranulation can be triggered by very dilute aqueous solutions of anti- IgE antiserum. Using the molecular weight of immunoglobulins and Avogadro’s number, he calculated that less than one molecule of antibody is present in the assay when anti-IgE antiserum is diluted to 1 x 1014 (corresponding to 2.2 x 10-20 M). But in the experiments he reported, he could detect significant basophil degranulation down to the 1x l0120 dilution. Specific effects have also been triggered by highly diluted agents in other in vitro and in vivo biological systems, but he conceded that it still remained unexplained. He pointed to the possibility of biological effects in the physical absence of molecules. He argued that the entities supporting this ‘metamolecular’ biology can only be explored by physical investigation of agitation causing interaction between the original molecules and water, thus yielding activity capable of specifically imitating the native molecules, though any such hypothesis is unsubstantiated at present.
He suspected that the molecular memory of the antibodies which was imprinted in water during dilution is responsible for this peculiar phenomenon. But the sad part of this story is that he failed to prove his arguments in the repeated experiments which were conducted in an atmosphere of absolute hostility, under the supervision of experts who were inimical to him, whose sole aim was to disprove him.
If we carefully examine the history of Benevenite’s failure, we would understand that it was not his basic propositions that failed, but the experiments he was subjected to in order to to prove his arguments. Firstly, his argument that the drugs so diluted to the extend of making it impossible to contain a single molecule, can interfere in biological processes exactly mimicking the basic drug substance was a little inaccurate interpretation of results of his original experiments. This inaccurate interpretation of the phenomenon he observed, led him to agree to subject himself to inappropriate and hostile experiments, that were obviously designed to defeat him. He failed to realize that the molecular memory of the drug substances is imprinted into water not as exact ‘mimics’, but in a ‘reverse’ direction, in a complementary configuration. Put in another way, drug molecules will be imprinted in water not as exact configurational duplicates, but as negative complements, and hence, they cannot ‘mimic’ the original drug molecules in biological processes. Failure to understand this phenomenon correctly was a grave mistake, that cost heavy to him. His conclusion that the molecular imprinted water interferes in biochemical processes exactly like the original drug molecules proved to be immature, and obviously he failed. He failed to comprehend the exact mechanism of molecular imprinting in water, and plan the experiments accordingly. Had he understood the real mechanism of molecular imprinting in its correct perspective, he would have been aware of the unsteady behavior of hydration shells in water, and taken necessary precautions, before subjecting himself to a controlled experiment. He could have devised some techniques to ensure the stability of hydration shells, such as using alcohol-water mixture instead of pure water, as done in homeopathic potentization.
We know that water is a good solvent. Let us see what happens when foreign molecules are made to dissolve in water. If a foreign molecule, ion, or colloidal particle happens to enter the matrix of 3-dimensional dynamic network of water molecules, they are entrapped inside this network. Water molecules arrange themselves around the intruder or ‘guest’ in a peculiar way by the formation hydrogen bonds. These formations of water molecules around the ‘guest’ molecules are known as hydration shells. These hydration shells exist in a dynamic state, and are more or less unstable. The foreign molecules dissolved in water exist in a state of being entrapped inside these hydration shells as ‘guests’. This phenomenon can be seen both in ionic solutions and colloidal solutions. Obviously, hydration shells assume an internal spacial arrangement exactly fitting to the 3-dimensional spacial configuration of the foreign molecule entrapped in them. If we could devise some technique to remove the entrapped ‘guest’ molecules from these hydration shells, without disturbing the hydrogen bonds between the constituent water molecules, these hydration shells can still retain the molecular memory of the molecular configurations of the removed ‘guest’ molecules. This rarely studied phenomenon is known as ‘molecular memory of water’. Actual mechanism and forces underlying this phenomenon has to be investigated minutely by physical scientists. Minute changes occurring in the electron clouds of atoms of water molecules during the formation of hydration shells may be one factor responsible for this phenomenon. It has been well proven that these hydration shells later show a peculiar capability to differentially recognize the original ‘guest’ molecules which were responsible for their formation. This may be due to the existence of some imprinted memory of those ‘guest’ molecules retained in the hydration shells. This imprinting of memory may be compared to formation of finger prints. As in the case of finger prints, configuration of these molecular imprints also will be a complementary negative of ‘guest’ molecules. These empty hydration shells, or supra-molecular formations of water subjected to molecular imprinting, may be called ‘hydrosomes’, which means, minute ‘nano-cavities of water’. Homeopathic process of potentization is essentially a crude method of preparing hydrosomes, prepared by using various drug molecules as ‘guests’. It should be specifically noted that the medium used for homeopathic potentisation is not pure water, but it is mixed with ethyl alcohol in a particular ratio. It may be inferred that the presence of comparatively heavy ethyl alcohol molecules in this mixture may be contributing to stabilization of ‘hydrosomes’, preventing their easy dissociation. The convergent forces of rotational movements to which the mixture is subjected as part of potentization, may also be a contributing factor in stabilizing the empty hydration shells by polarization and subsequent reduction of hydrogen bond lengths..
This peculiar configuration of hydrosomes are destroyed only when their energy level of water molecules are disturbed by the effect of heat, electricity, magnetism and other electro magnetic radiations. As stated earlier the hydration shells formed in pure water are comparatively unstable. Here lies the importance of the fact that homeopathic potencies are made using alcohol- water mixture.
Information we recently receive from various research institutions, regarding the wonderful supra-molecular structures of materials and their hitherto unknown peculiar properties, may greatly contribute in our efforts to unravel the secrets of homeopathic potentization. Studies on ‘water clusters’, ‘crystalline structure of water’, ‘shape memory property’, ‘molecular imprinting’, ‘nano-technology’, ‘clathrate formations’ and other diverse phenomena are offering promising indications in this direction. We have to utilize all these new revelations in our scientific study of homeopathy. Generally speaking, we have to deal with homeopathic potentization as a branch of modern nano-technology.
Crystal Structure of Water.
We all know that water exists as ice crystals in its solid form. But it has been recently observed that water can exist even in its liquid form in crystals. In reality, water formed by melting of ice is in a state of liquid crystals. The lattice structure which is formed through hydration bonds is responsible for this phenomenon. Homeopathy is much interested in this area of researches pertaining to this peculiar crystalline nature of water. It is believed that in the process of molecular imprinting of water using drug molecules, this crystalline structure of water plays a crucial role. It is likely that more advanced studies about dynamics of crystallization of water may help us help us to correctly explain the phenomenon of duplication of molecular imprints during homeopathic potentization.
The studies about Clathrate Compounds or ‘host-guest’ compounds in supra-molecular chemistry is an area in which homeopathy has sincere interest. Clathrates are the molecular networks which are formed when gases dissolve in water under high pressure. They exist in a peculiar ‘host–guest’ relationships. Studies about this phenomenon are still in their infancy. Clathrates have a crystalline nature, existing as molecular networks, formed by a process of water molecules arranging around the ‘guest’ molecules. Understanding the dynamics of clathrate formation are also likely to help in explaining the phenomenon of homeopathic potentization. Even if the ‘host’ molecules are removed from clathrates, the network of water molecules have been found to remain intact. More over, the existing clathrates can induce the formation of similar clathrates. It will be very useful to consider these above discoveries connecting them with the phenomenon of homeopathic potentization.
Shape Memory Property Materials
A lot of studies has been published regarding ‘shape memory materials’. Several alloys having crystalline structure have been observed to possess shape memory property. Such materials are known as SMART materials. This phenomenon also has to be understood well while trying to explain homeopathic potentization in a scientific language. Perhaps, water may also would have to be a considered as a ‘smart’ material.
‘Molecular imprinting in polymers’ is a fast growing research area that may be interesting to people engaged in developing “drug designing” techniques. A lot of research is currently going on over this subject the world over. This technology involves the imprinting of synthetic polymer substances using enzymes or such macromolecules as ‘guest’molecules. As a result of imprinting, nano cavities with 3-d spacial configurations complementary to the ‘guest’ molecules will be created in the interaction surfaces of the polymers. These imprinted polymers, by virtue of the nanocavities they contain can be used to bind molecules with configurational similarity to ‘guest’ molecules. They are at present widely used in various laboratory assays as powerful adsorption surfaces and molecular sensors. MIPs are also found to be of much practical use in various areas of science and technology.
Molecular imprinted polymers of today cannot be used as therapeutic agents, since they are totally foreign substances to the organism. More over, native enzymes can not degrade the polymers even if they can play a therapeutic role in the organism.
The revolutionary concept of molecular imprinting in proteins is only in its emerging stage, which may have implications in drug designing techniques. It has already been acknowledged that the biological molecules presently classified as antibodies are nothing but native globulin proteins subjected to natural molecular imprinting process with foreign pathologic proteins acting as ‘guest’ molecules. Scientists have already realized the fact that the much discussed pathologic molecules known as ‘prions’ are nothing but disfigured protein molecules subjected to molecular imprinting. Proteins, being polymers with complex and flexible tertiary structures, are expected to be a very good medium for molecular imprinting. Different types of protein based substances, subjected to artificial molecular imprinting, may evolve in the future as effective therapeutic agents and laboratory reagents.
Apart from protein molecules, different types of biopolymers such as polysaccharides and nucleic acids also may be experimented as medium for molecular imprinting.
Native proteins extracted from the patients could be subjected to molecular imprinting with appropriate ligands or other pathologic molecules acting as ‘guest’ molecules and used as target oriented therapeutic agents. But the problem remains that such imprinted proteins can be used only in the individual whose proteins are used for imprinting. Otherwise it may result in grave anaphylactic reactions. Moreover these imprinted proteins may remain in the organism for very long periods, without undergoing degradation, and cause ever new pathological molecular blocks. Such issues have to be addressed properly.
Miasms, considered by homeopaths to be the cause of chronic diseases, are in reality deformed native proteins, subjected to natural molecular imprinting and subsequent structural deviation. This subject will be dealt in detail elsewhere in this article while discussing ‘miasms’.
It is in the phenomenon of ‘molecular memory of water’ itself that we naturally land on when we attempt to scientifically explain the homeopathic potentisation of drugs. We have already seen that the alcohol–water molecules contained in the medium used for potentization, arrange themselves around the drug molecules, and form hydration shells. The drug molecules entrapped in the hydration shells are systematically removed as a result of serial dilutions and shaking, done as part of potentization. Empty hydration shells or ‘hydrosomes’ remain. These ‘hydrosomes’ are nano-cavities, imprinted with the three-dimensional ‘finger print’ of drug molecules used as ‘guest’ molecules. This phenomenon may be called as ‘molecular imprinting in water’. These ‘hydrosomes’ are the real active principles of homeopathic medicines, potentized above 30C.
The genius of Hahnemann accidentally invented the process of homeopathic potentization more than two hundred years ago. During his period, modern material sciences were in their infantile stage, and obviously, he was not in a position to explain the dynamics of this process in scientific terms. He tried to explain his new invention in the light of knowledge available to him, which was not acceptable to the leading men of science of those days. There is no point in blaming them, for failing to understand and acknowledge the importance of his findings. Let us hope that scientific community will do justice to Hahnemann at least in this new era of enlightenment and rational awareness.
Potentization- Mysteries Solved?
For more than last two hundred years, “Potentization” remained a mystery, which could not be subjected to a scientific experimentation or rational explanation. Now for the first time, we are in a position to solve this elusive phenomenon, in the light of modern scientific knowledge.
Evidently, potentization has two distinct phases, providing totally different outputs.
Phase 1: First stage of potentization involves division of complex drug molecules into simpler constituents. When a medicinal substance is subjected to homeopathic potentization, if it is not soluble in water or alcohol, it is first mixed with sugar of milk and subjected to repeated trituration. Then the substance is potentized using alcohol–water mixture as medium. If the medicinal substance is by itself soluble in water or alcohol, potentisation is done directly in that medium. During the initial stages of this process individual molecules contained in the medicinal substance are liberated from their inter-molecular bonds, or ionized. Crude drug substance undergoes this division into individual molecules and ions, due to the mechanism of violent trituration and shaking. Inter-molecular bonds are broken, and the constituent molecules and ions are liberated. As a result, these ions and molecules become more virulent, capable of exhibiting their interaction potentials to their full extent, and become ready to undergo hydration in water-alcohol medium. Since the individual properties of drug molecules come out in their totality, it is observed that even seemingly inert substances become powerful drugs due to the division during first phase of potentization. Insoluble substances thus become soluble in water. The difference between crude Lyco and Lyco 6x, crude Silica and silicea 6x, crude table salt and Natrum Mur 6x etc are examples for this phenomenon. This first phase may be called ‘liberation phase’.
Phase II: Second stage of potentization involves actual hydration and molecular imprinting of individual drug molecules and ions. This phase may be called ‘imprinting phase’.
Molecules, ions and colloidal particles, liberated through the first phase undergoes process of hydration and molecular imprinting in water- ethyl alcohol mixture during second phase. Each individual molecule or ion is naturally subjected to hydration and molecular imprinting, independently of others. Individual drug molecules act as ‘guest’ molecules in this imprinting process. Obviously, potentized homeopathic medicines consist of a mixture of independent molecular imprints of constituent molecules contained in the drug substance. This is an important point to be specifically noted. When Nux Vomica is potentized, it is not Nux Vomica as such getting imprinted, but its individual constituent molecules, independently of one another. During the peculiar process of serial dilution and shaking done as part of potentization, concentration of drug molecules gradually decrease in the medium, while concentration of empty hydration shells or ‘molecular imprints’ increase. The memory of the three dimensional structure of each individual drug molecule will remain imprinted into these empty hydration shells, in a complementary negative configuration. These complementary factors are called ‘hydrosomes’, which means ‘nano-cavities of water’. Hydrosomes are capable of acting as ‘counteractive complementary factors’ (CCF) towards pathological molecules during therapeutic process, if the pathologic molecules are similar in configuration to the drug molecules used as ‘guest’ molecules. We can conceive these hydrosomes as the 3-D finger-prints of drug molecules used as ‘guest’ molecules, and hence capable of fitting exactly to the three dimensional configuration of any similar molecules. We should remember that these hydration shells or molecular imprints of each constituent drug molecules act as therapeutic agents, independently of one another. Here we also understand that what we consider as a ‘single medicine’ in homeopathy is in reality only a mixture of hydrosomes which bear molecular imprints of different types of constituent molecules which are independent.
Potentization can now be explained as a process in which molecular imprints of drug molecules are formed and stabilized. At a particular stage of potentization all the drug molecules are completely removed from the potentizing medium. This stage depends up on the exact size of individual drug molecules subjected to imprinting. Large molecules disappear much earlier, and smaller ones at higher stage. Anyhow, when the potentization crosses 23C, even the smallest drug molecules will be completely removed. We can understand this stage by calculating on the basis of Avagado’s number and molecular weight. At potentazation some where above 12C, we may reach a state in which all the original drug molecules become totally absent. If the potentization is carried still higher, there will be no drug molecules for imprinting. Advisability of potentization after this stage have to be considered on the basis of studies regarding the possibility of duplication of existing molecular imprints, as in the case of duplicating of crystals and clathrates. More research studies are required in this matter.
As of now, there are no ample scientific data available, helpful to explain the admissibility of homeopathic medicines being potentized above 30C. May be that, even after the removal of all drug molecules from the medium, copies of existing molecular imprints are serially generated in higher and higher potencies, thereby saturating the medium with more and more molecular imprints. Until that could be proved, I would suggest 23-30c as the most appropriate homeopathic potency for therapeutic purpose.
Potentized homeo medicines are presently available in different series like decimal, centesimal, 50-millecimal etc. There never exist any consensus among masters or practitioners regarding the use of potencies, as it is the case with many other concepts of homeopathy. When some use potencies like 30c and 200c in plenty, others use Q, 3x, 1x, 6x and 12x. Yet another set of people prefer 1m, cm, dm, 0/5, 0/6 etc. While some prescribe medicine every hour, others give medicines at intervals of days or even months. When some practitioners strictly stick to ‘single drug’ theory, some others give more than one medicine simultaneously, alternately or even by mixing them together.
Different masters have given differing guidelines with regard to the use of homeopathic potencies and dosages. But in reality, each practitioner evolves his own method and way of dispensing through experience. Unless we reach a consensus up regarding the actual mechanism of disease, cure and potentization, confusions and differences of opinion with regarding homeopathic application are bound to exist.
If it is finally accepted that molecular imprinting is the real mechanism of potentization, we may reach a consensus that there is no likelihood of any special benefit by higher and higher potentisations above 12C. Logically, potentization need be continued only just beyond the limit of Avagadro number. By that stage the molecular imprinted water–alcohol mixture will have attained sufficient medicinal properties, to be used on the basis of ‘similia similibus curentur’. The three-dimensional structure of drug molecules used as ‘guests’ will have already got sufficiently imprinted into the hydration shells or hydrosomes by that time. I find no point in continuing potentization even after that stage.
As per my observation, the medicinal property of any homeopathic drug beyond 12c will be the same. It is only a very rare possibility that there could be any significant difference between various higher potencies used by us, with regard to their content or medicinal qualities. Many master prescribers have already put on record that if the selection of similimum is correct, any potency would render the expected therapeutic result.
Though still remaining a subject of great controversy, on the basis of above explanations, homeopathic potencies can broadly be divided into two major groups:
1. The low potencies which contain original drug molecules(below 12c)
2. High potencies which do not contain drug molecules(above 12c)
Low potencies contain original drug molecules acting as Competitive Molecular Factors(CMF) towards pathologic molecules, and can be labeled as CMF.
High potencies contain molecular imprints acting as Counteractive Complementary Factors(CCF) towards pathologic molecules , and hence can be labeled as CCF.
Eg: Nux vom. CMF and Nux Vom. CCF. The numbers ordinarily used to indicate potencies can be here avoided.
In certain situations, where there is real scarcity of certain molecules necessary for metabolism, crude substances and low potencies or mother tinctures will have to be used by their supplementary or nutritional value. This belongs to Nutritional Therapy, and should not be confused with homeopathy. Various minerals, vitamins, co-factors, micro-nutrients and amino-acid supplements belong to this category
I am well aware that these revolutionary concepts may not be so easily welcomed by the mainstream homeopathic profession, conditioned by education and experience of long years into dogmatic concepts and fixed mindsets on these issues. I may be running into a major controversy due to my theoretical interventions and revisionist concepts. But somebody has to come forward and ‘bell the cat’, and open up a discussion on scientific re-building of homeopathy, at any point of time. Once my assumption that the secret of potentization lies in the phenomenon of ‘molecular imprinting’ is experimentally proved to be correct, my suggestions may become more relevant and acceptable. More over, instead of the existing primitive method of potentization in homeopathy, modern science and nano-technology may definitely develop a more perfect and scientific way of molecular imprinted drug designing in water. Homeopaths should whole heartedly welcome such a positive development when it happens. Until such a perfect scientific technology of molecular imprinting in water evolves, the existing system of homeopathic potentization is bound to prevail with all its limitations.
During the period of Samuel Hahnemann, even the very idea of molecular imprinting was impossible to develop, due to historical limitations of the then existing material sciences. When Hahnemann started diluting of drug substances, his only aim was to find a way prevent unwanted side effects and medicinal aggravations. When he found that there is no loss of medicinal quality due to diluting, he started to higher and higher levels. He observed that medicinal properties of drugs progressionally increased by the process of trituration and serial dilution. He also found that inert substances become potent therapeutic agents through this process. Encouraged by these results, he proceeded ahead with higher and higher dilutions. Obviously, it was quite accidentally that Hahnemann discovered the technique of potentization. When the medicinal properties were found to increase by this procedure of serial dilution and succussion, he was compelled to provide an explanation to this wonderful phenomenon. Since there was no chance of drug molecules remaining in those highly diluted states, he developed the concept of ‘dynamic force’. The scientific tools necessary to understand ‘molecular imprinting’ as the real mechanism underlying potentization were not available in those days. Historical limitations compelled Hahnemann to explain the wonderful therapeutic properties unraveled before him with the mysterious concepts such as ‘dynamic power’ and ‘vital force’.
Molecular Dynamics of Cure
We are now in a comparatively favorable position to provide a rational and scientific explanation to the molecular kinetics of homeopathic cure. We should remember that low potency and high potency medicines contain different class of active principles, and hence, their mode of actions are also entirely different.
A drug means, a sample of substance containing chemical molecules, that can interact with biological molecules, effecting deviations in biological processes. Normally, when a drug substance is introduced into an organism, the constituent drug molecules exhibit their action in any of the following ways:
1. Acting on various structural membranes, deranging their permeability.
2. Engaging in chemical reactions with various molecular substrates and metabolites inside the body.
3. Interacting with enzyme proteins, and other complex bio-molecules, thereby inactivating or incapacitating them for biochemical processes.
4. Interaction with various structural proteins.
5. Interacting with carrier proteins.
6. Interaction with ion channels.
7. Binding to Hormone receptors, and Neuro-transmitter receptors.
But the therapeutic properties of highly potentized homeopathic preparations that do not contain drug molecules cannot be explained by any of these models. We will have to seek some other models of drug action entirely different from those described above.
Attempts to explain the properties of higher homeopathic potencies basing on the phenomenon of ‘hormesis’ had been done by some people earlier. This phenomenon was proposed by Southam and Ehrlich and Stebbing. They proposed that a substance which acts as a toxin in high concentrations, acts as a stimulant in low concentrations. This phenomenon is known as ‘hormesis’. There is a theory known as Arndt-Schulz rule or Schulz’ law to explain this phenomenon. The essence of this theory is “For every substance, small doses stimulate, moderate doses inhibit, and large doses kill”. Hugo Paul Friedrich Schulz and Rudolf Arndt are the exponents of this theory. Toxins in their highly diluted form stimulates biological processes. In their concentrated forms the toxins inhibit or kills the biological processes. But even today it has not been possible to explain this phenomenon scientifically.
The scientific experiments conducted at Utrecht University, undertaken by a team under the leadership of Roeland van Wijk and Fred A.C. Wiegant tried to explain homeopathy on the basis of theory of ‘hormesis’. Even though these experiments succeeded in proving the therapeutic properties of potentized drugs to a certain extent, they failed to correlate it with the phenomenon of ‘hormesis’, and to uncover the molecular kinetics of ‘hormesis’. In my opinion, the phenomenon of ‘hormesis’ could have been better explained on the basis of ‘hydrosomes’ or ‘molecular imprints’ of drug molecules, which are likely to be formed in the highly diluted solution of a toxic substance.
Obviously, molecular tracking employed in modern medical research protocols are not at all applicable in the study of transportation and targeting of potentized drugs inside the organism, since there is no single drug molecule present in our medicinal preparations. As for now, there is no scientific technology available to help us track the ‘molecular imprints’ inside the organism. Until such a sophisticated technology is evolved, rational analysis and logical deductions based on available scientific information alone are possible in this respect.
Some homeopathic theoreticians argue that potentezed medicines act through nervous system, being transported through nervous system as nerve impulses, and the mind and “vital force” in turn induces the curative process. The fact that we can demonstrate the medicinal properties of potentized drugs through ‘in vitro’ experiments, such as clotting of blood, or antibody-antigen interactions, where nervous system or ‘vital force’ is not present, clearly negates this theory of drug action.
A more logical and scientifically viable model is required, to explain the therapeutic effects of high potency homeopathic preparations. Potentized homeopathic medicine, when introduced into the organism by any route, is carried by the body fluids, and transported to different parts of body by internal transport system. When the nanocavities of ‘molecular imprints’ contained these preparations come in the vicinity of active groups of pathological foreign molecules, having similarity to the original ‘guest’ molecules used for imprinting, these ‘molecular imprints’ selectively bind to the pathological molecules due to configurational affinity. By this process, pathological foreign molecules are prevented from binding to biological molecules, thereby relieving the biological molecules from pathological molecular blocks. This can be concieved as some sort of ‘molecular scavenging’ or ‘entrapping’ of pathological molecules, by ‘hydrosomes’ or molecular imprints contained in the potentized medicines.
The concept of ‘similimum’ can now be investigated here with a new scientific perspective. We have seen during our earlier discussions, how the individual constituent molecules of a drug substance introduced into the organism during drug proving creates molecular blocks, leading to inhibitions of certain bio-chemic pathways, expressed by a specific train of subjective and objective symptoms. These symptoms are called ‘drug symptoms’, and compiled in the materia medica of that particular drug substance. When similar train of symptoms appears in an organism during a disease condition, it means that, the pathological foreign molecules responsible for the disease has been attacking same biological molecules, causing similar molecular blocks and bio-chemic inhibitions, expressing similar subjective and objective symptoms. The fact that both drug molecules and pathologic molecules could attack same biological molecules in an identical way, shows that the drug molecules and pathologic molecules were having some factors(chemical groups) with similar spacial configurations. Due to such a configurational similarity to the pathological molecules, the ‘molecular imprints’ of drug molecules contained in the potentized preparations will be having a counteractive configurational affinity towards the pathologic molecules. Due to the configurational affinity, these molecular imprints or ‘hydrosomes’ can selectively bind to the active groups of pathologic molecules, when coming in their vicinity. This is the exact molecular kinetics of homeopathic therapeutics, underlying the fundamental principle of ‘similia similibus curentur’.
When we apply a highly potentized homeopathic drug as a therapeutic agent on the basis of similarity of symptoms, we are actually using the ‘molecular imprints’ or ‘hydrosomes’ of individual constituent drug molecules, having complementary configurational affinity towards the pathologic molecules, so that they can bind and inactivate the pathological molecules by capping their active groups.
Re-defining “Similia Similibus Curentur”
Homeopathy, as a specialized branch of modern molecular medicine, may be defined as the therapeutic technique of removing the the molecular blocks and relieving the biological molecules from pathologic inhibitions (curentur), by selectively capping and de-activating the interactive groups of pathogenic molecules, utilizinging the three-dimensional complementary configurational affinity of the molecular imprints (potencies) of same or similar molecules (similimum).
Now we are in a position to re-define ‘similia similibus curentur’ more accurately, clearly distinguishing between low potencies and high potencies.
Original drug molecules, contained in crude drugs and low potencies, if having configurational similarity to the active groups of pathological molecules, can compete with the pathological molecules in binding to the target bio-molecules, and in that process, relieve the bio-molecules from pathological inhibitions. In this case, drug molecules act as ‘competitive molecular factors’ (CMF) towards pathologic molecules. It should be understood that crude drugs and low potencies act as therapeutic agents by this ‘competitive’ mechanism, even though selected according to the principle of ‘similia similibus curentur’.
Drugs potentized above Avogadro limit act by an entirely different molecular mechanism. ‘Hydrosomes’ or ‘molecular imprints’ formed during potentization are configurational complementaries of original drug molecules used as ‘guest’ for potentization. These ‘molecular imprints’ act as ‘counteractive complementary factors’ (CCF) and bind to the active groups of pathologic molecules having configurational similarity to the drug molecules used for potentization. Thus the pathologic molecules are prevented from interacting with the bio-molecules, thereby relieving the molecular bocks and pathological inhibitions. The danger of drug molecules acting upon on off-target sites, with unfavorable consequences should be expected while using crude drugs and low potencies. If we want to practice real homeopathy, we should deliberately abstain from using medicinal preparations containing drug molecules.
We should also be aware of the difference between crude drugs and low potencies or triturations. Even though both preparations contain same drug molecules, their therapeutic properties are found to be different. In crude form, drug molecules are packed tightly, with their chemical bonds remaining saturated by interacting with various other molecules or ions. Hence, they are not at all free to exhibit all their individual interactive potentials. Whereas in triturations and low potencies, the drug molecules are free or ionized, they can exhibit all their properties. Hence, pathologic and therapeutic capability of triturations and low potencies are much higher to crude forms of same drug. We already know that various drugs which appear comparatively inert in their crude forms become very potent medicinal agents in triturated forms. Differences between crude Siliciea and Silice 3x, crude Lyco and Lyco 3x etc. are examples for this phenomenon.
To get an answer to the question how ‘hormesis’ works or ‘small doses’ work, we have to understand the process of ‘dilution’ in terms of ‘size’ of drug molecules. Any drug substance of animal or vegetable origin contain diverse types of drug molecules. Some complex molecules will be very ‘big’ in size, and their number in a given quantity of solution will be comparatively very small as per avogadro theory. Smaller molecules will be present in larger quantities. When we start diluting serially, larger molecules will be ‘imprinted’ into the medium, and molecules get removed from the solution in very early stages of dilution process. Smaller molecules undergo imprinting and removal at later stages only. By reaching 12 c, even the smallest molecules get imprinted and removed. That is why I say potencies above 12c contain molecular imprints only.
Obviously, lower potencies below 12c will be a mixture of small molecules as well as molecular imprints of larger molecules. We can explain hormesis, hippocrates phenomenon and low potency therapeutics from this point of view.
Modern Technology of “Drug Designing”
‘Drug designing’ is an advanced branch of modern pharmaceutical chemistry, which is involved with the process of developing new medicinal substances appropriate to the specific biological targets in the organism. Such a ‘designer drug’ is most commonly a small organic molecule which can inhibit or activate the functioning of a target bio-molecule such as a protein, thereby resulting in a therapeutic process in the organism. Essentially, ‘drug designing’ involves the development of small molecules that are complementary in ‘shape’ and ‘charge’ to the bio-molecular target to which they interact and therefore will bind to it. Modern drug designing protocols utilize computer modeling techniques also.This type of modeling is known as ‘computer-aided drug design’. Actually, ‘drug design’ is involved with ‘ligand’ design. Prediction of binding affinity of molecules to be designed is the first step in a successful modeling technique. Many other properties such as bioavailability, metabolic half life, lack of side effects, also should be optimized before a designed ‘ligand’ can become a safe and efficacious drug. Most of these ‘other’ characteristics are often very difficult to optimize using presently available drug design techniques.
Selection of drug target is most important in “drug designing”. A drug target is typically a key molecule involved in a particular metabolic or signaling pathway that is specific to a disease condition or pathology, or to the infectivity or survival of a microbial pathogen. Most of the therapeutic interventions aim to inhibit the functioning of the ‘pathologic’ pathway in the diseased state by causing a key molecule to stop functioning. Drug molecules may be designed that bind to the active region and inhibit this key molecule. Some other therapeutic interventions actually enhance the ‘normal’ biochemical pathway by promoting specific molecules in the ‘normal’ pathways that may have been affected in the diseased state. Main challenge in all ‘drug therapies’ including ‘designer drugs’ is that these drug molecules should not affect any other important “off-target” molecules or ‘anti-targets’ that may be similar in appearance to the target molecule, since drug interactions with off-target molecules may lead to undesirable side effects.
Designer drugs are small organic molecules produced through chemical synthesis, but biopolymer-based drugs (also known as biologics) produced through biological processes are becoming increasingly more common in modern drug designing.
‘Ligand-based drug design’ and ‘structure-based drug design’ are two major technologies now utilized in drug designing technologies.
Ligand-based drug design is based on the knowledge of other molecules that can bind to the biological target of interest. These other molecules may be used to derive a ‘pharmacophore’ which defines the minimum necessary structural characteristics a molecule must possess in order to bind to the target. In other words, a model of the biological target may be built based on the knowledge of what binds to it and this model in turn may be used to design new molecular entities that interact with the target.
Structure-based drug design is based on the knowledge of the three dimensional structure of the biological target obtained through methods such as x-ray crystallography or NMR spectroscopy. Using the structure of the biological target, candidate drugs that are predicted to bind with high affinity and selectivity to the target may be designed using interactive graphics.
Main draw back of ‘designer drugs’ is that there is a chance for these drug molecules affecting “off-target” molecules or ‘anti-targets’ having similarity to the target molecules. Such interactions with off-target molecules may lead to grave consequences. Optimizing of various factors such as bioavailability, metabolic half life, and lack of side effects are the real challenges facing “drug designing” technology.
The first important example of the application of structure-based drug design leading to an approved drug is the carbonic anhydrase inhibitor ‘dorzolamide’ which was approved in 1995. Cimetidine (the prototypical H2-receptor antagonist from which the later members of the class were developed), selective COX-2 inhibitor NSAIDs, Dorzolamide (a carbonic anhydrase inhibitor used to treat glaucoma), Enfuvirtide (a peptide HIV entry inhibitor), Nonbenzodiazepines, Probenecid, SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors belonging to a class of antidepressants), Zanamivir (an antiviral drug) and many of the atypical antipsychotic drugs belong to the class of designer drugs.
Modern drug designing protocols have been already developed for 5-HT3 antagonists, Angiotensin receptor blockers, Cannabinoid receptor antagonists, Cyclooxygenase 2 inhibitors, Acetylcholine receptor agonists, Dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitors, CCR5 receptor antagonists, HIV protease inhibitors, TRPV1 antagonists, NK1 receptor antagonists, Triptans etc.
It is high time that we should concieve and explain “Homeopathic Dug Potentization” as a specialized technology of “Drug Designing” by “Molecular Imprinting in Water”.
In this wonderful homeopathic technology, ‘water-ethyl alcohol’ mixtures or oligo-sacharides such as ‘lactose’ are subjected to ‘molecular imprinting’, using various drug molecules. We already saw that water, ethyl alcohol and lactose are capable of forming polymer-like supra-molecular structures through hydrogen bonding. Put in another way, potentized homeopathic medicines contain nanocavities, formed by hydrogen-bonded supra-molecular structures of water-ethyl alcohol molecules, into which the 3-dimensional spacial configurations of drug molecules are imprinted.
Obviously, potentized homeopathic preparations belong to a special class of ‘designer drugs’, and should be presented to scientific community as such.
More over, this understanding may help us to evolve more sophisticated techniques of “homeopathic drug designing”, than the presently available method of ‘potentization’ now employed.
The concept of ‘vital force’, on which the whole philosophical system of homeopathy is built up on, stands as a formidable stumbling block in its way of harmony with modern science and its methodology. The theoretical basis of Hahnemannian homeopathy is based on the some what spiritual concept that there is an abstract ‘vital force’ alien to the physical body, existing as a part of ‘universal force’ which enters the body and possesses to enliven it, and leaves it with the advent of death. Homeopaths percieve diseases as disordered states of this ‘vital force’, and believe that it is only on the level of this ‘vital force’ that the cure of diseases might take place.
It is not here intended to convert the ongoing scientific discourse of therapeutics into a dialogue between the divergent philosophical world outlooks of spiritualism and materialism, and hence, I do not here endeavor to question somebody’s right to believe in the existence of a ‘universal’ ‘vital force’ as such. But, at least when dealing with a science of therapeutics, we have to reach a consensus to replace the concept of ‘vital force’ with a more rational expression, ‘vital process’, if we could discuss homeopathy as a system of scientific medicine. ‘Vital force’, what ever it may be, expresses itself in a living organism only through ‘vital processes’, the complex chains of interconnected molecular interactions known as biochemical pathways. It has been already explained that a state of disease is created through some or other deviations in these normal biochemical processes. Hence, according to our scientific perspective, every pathology starts as an error at the molecular level. We cannot proceed further with our scientific discourse on homeopathy, without a consensus at least about this fundamental position of modern science. Scientists belonging to various disciplines, engaged in the study of various natural phenomena, adopt such a practical stand even if ideologically they happen to be absolute spiritualists. It is impossible even for a most ‘spiritualist’ nuclear physicist to engage himself in his particular research activities, viewing the atoms, sub-atomic particles or forces as mere ‘spiritual entities’. The homeopathic theoreticians also should at least follow this example. They should be able to deal with phenomena of life, disease, therapeutics, and medicinal substances primarily as material substances and processes. It would be better for homeopathy at large, if these ‘masters’ and ‘gurus’ of homeopathy could confine themselves to a scientific vocabulary, refraining from mixing it up with unnecessary spiritualistic and philosophical jugglery of words such as ‘vital force’ and ‘non-corporeal’ ‘dynamic power’, while talking about a scientific theory of therapeutics.
Even if we subscribe to the concept of ‘vital force’ at the ideological level, we have to answer the question: “How that vital force expresses in a living organism?” Only as molecular level ‘vital processes’. Using medicinal agents of material qualities, we can deal with these ‘vital processes’ only at the material level. It is an absurdity to think that as physicians, we are dealing with an ‘immaterial’, ‘spirit-like’ ‘vital force’, that too, using instruments and medicinal agents of purely material nature. If homeopathic physicians were dealing with ‘immaterial dynamic forces’, instead of using ‘material medicines’, they could have done it better through prayers, ‘pujas’ and other occult practices!
The argument that homeopathic drugs act not by their ‘material qualities’, but by an ‘immaterial’ medicinal force, called ‘dynamic force’ is nothing but absurdity. Would these theoreticians agree that this so-called ‘dynamic power’ of individual drugs’ are determined by the specific ‘material’ properties of their constituent molecules? It is undeniable fact that this so-called ‘dynamic power’ varies from drug to drug, depending up on their molecular level structure and composition. If we were dealing with an immaterial ‘vital force’ and ‘dynamic power’, why should we use all those different types of drugs existing in homeopathy? While talking about ‘immaterial’ ‘spirit-like’ ‘dynamic healing power’, ‘liberated’ through potenization, which can be carried in corked bottles and swallowed as sugar pellets, we should be aware, how much homeopathy would become a laughing stock in the eyes of scientific community. If we still continue to claim that there is a ‘spirit-like’ force in homeopathic medicines, independent of their material qualities, a ‘force’ that is soluble in water and alcohol, can be transferred from bottles to bottles, acts on the ‘vital force’ when applied on tongue, lost when subjected to physical forces such as heat or electricity, how can we engage in a scientific dialogue? What type of ‘liberated’ ‘non-corporeal ‘dynamic force’ is we talking about?
We have to be well aware that the theory of ‘vital force’ was adopted by Hahnemann from the vitalistic philosophy then existed in Europe. Since modern material science was only in its rudimentary stage, he was not able to explain the phenomena he observed, in scientific terms. Due to inescapable historical limitations, he was naturally compelled to accept some sort of vitalistic explanations for his new inventions.
Now, we live in a new era of enlightenment, totally different from that of Hahnemann. Modern science has unraveled the molecular processes of life and diseases to such a level that we can logically explain the fundamental principles of homeopathy on a new scientific basis. It is an unpardonable injustice done to the great genius of Hahnemann, if we still continue to stick on to his obsolete unscientific explanations. We should exhibit the intellectual courage to mercilessly discard the evidently irrational parts of Hahnemannian homeopathy. Same time, we should safeguard its inner kernel of the great natural therapeutic law of ‘similia similibus curentur’ and therapeutic application of ‘molecular imprints’, which our master called ‘potentized’ drugs. We should bravely replace the concept ‘vital force’ with scientific understanding of ‘vital process’.
As long as ‘classical’ homeopaths continue to cling to their unyielding stand that homoeopathy is a ‘complete-in-itself’ philosophical and therapeutic system, beyond any scope for change and development, I find no chance for a meaningful scientific dialogue to happen. Claiming homeopathy to be a ‘science beyond science’, or ‘post-modern science’ may help somebody to appear fashionable, but they should realize that all these exercises contribute a lot in enstranging this great therapeutic system from main stream science.
The main challenge we face when attempting to offer a scientific explanation for homeopathy is that these homeopathic theoreticians make the situation more and more complicated by mixing up the basic concepts regarding life, disease, drugs and therapeutics, with their idealistic philosophical speculations and unscientific spiritualistic world outlook.
From the very onset, we have to adopt following fundamental factors as the basis of our intellectual inquiry:-
1. ‘Vital force’ exists only through ‘vital processes’, which are complex chains of molecular level biochemical interactions purely material in nature.
2. A state of pathology is created by some or other deviations happening in these biochemical processes due to molecular errors of pure material nature.
3. Therapeutics is possible only through materialistic intervention in these biochemical processes.
4. Medicines are the material means for such an intervention.
5. It is due to the peculiar material properties of medicines that they are able to intervene in biochemical processes.
Therapeutics is a totally materialistic activity. If we do not agree upon at least this much of fundamental propositions, no meaningful discussion will be possible regarding scientific understanding homeopathy.
Since we are now competent to offer a scientific molecualar interpretation of ‘similia similibus curentur’, and ‘potentization’, the main fundamental principles of homeopathy, there is no need for relying upon the obsolete vitalistic explanations and speculations of Hahnemann, based on the concept of ‘vital force’ and ‘non-corporeal’ ‘spirit-like’ ‘dynamic medicinal force’. Instead of repeating the unscientific concept of ‘dynamic medicinal force’, we can now logically explain the homeopathic potencies on the basis of ‘molecular imprinting in water’.
Miasms and Chronic Diseases.
Concept of ‘miasm’ is the corner-stone of homeopathic theories about ‘Chronic Diseases’. Hahnemann has provided detailed descriptions regarding three types of ‘miasms’ such as ‘psora’, ‘syphills’ and ‘sycosis’. Theory of ‘miasms’ and chronic diseases were developed during his later part of his life. He was compelled to devolop these concepts, when he learned from his clinical experience that medicines selected on the basis of similarity of symptoms as he advocated earlier offered only temporary relief to the patients. According to his theory of ‘chronic diseases’, ‘psora’, the ‘miasm’ of suppressed ‘itch’, is the underlying primary cause of all chronic diseases other than those of venereal origin. ‘Psora’ is the greatest obstruction to cure. Other two miasms, ‘Syphilis’ and ‘sycosis’ are considered to be miasms of venereal diseases, ‘syphilis’ and ‘gonorrhoea’ respectively. Hahnemann considered ‘psora’ to be the most important and universal ‘miasm’. Unless this ‘miasm’ or ‘disease poison’ is eradicated with appropriate ‘anti-psoric’ drugs, permanent and lasting cure cannot be attained.
The primary forms of expression of ‘psora’ is considered to be the itching eruptions on skin, that of ‘syphilis’ un-healing malignant ulcers, and that of ‘sycosis’ warts and condylomata. Symptoms of primary ‘psora’ include the different types of itches and eruptions that appear on the skin. Hahnemann considered the ‘miasm of psora’ to be inherited through generations of human kind.
Here, we have to analyze the concept of miasms and chronic diseases in the light of previous deliberations on ‘similia similibus curentur’ and ‘potentization’.
Human organism is constantly exposed to the attacks of various types of exogenous and endogenous pathologic foreign molecules and ions, which may bind to the complex biological molecules, thereby deforming their configuration and making them incapable of participating in the normal bio-chemical interactions. We have already understood this phenomenon as the molecular basis of pathology.
If the pathological foreign molecules are of protein nature, a different type of molecular interaction takes place. Native biological defense proteins having certain configurational affinity to these foreign proteins attaches to them and removes them from the organism as part of body’ defense mechanism. During this defense process, some of the involved native proteins get configurationally deformed by the interaction with foreign molecules. These deformed native protein molecules will be carrying the spacial imprints of the interacted foreign molecules on their periphery. Three dimensional pockets, having a configuration complementary to that of foreign proteins stay imprinted into the native proteins. These imprinted native proteins become incapable of participating in any normal biological processes, and remains in the organism. Antibodies actually belong to this class of such deformed native proteins, subjected to ‘molecular imprinting’ by foreign proteins.
Certain endogenic molecules and ions such as hormones, neuro-chemicals, and other metabolic byproducts such as super-oxides, when circulated in excess, may also attach to various bio-molecules other than their normal targets sites, and induce configurational changes in them.
These deformed native proteins may circulate in the system, and accidentally attach to various macro-bio-molecules showing some sort of configurational affinity, thereby creating various molecular errors and pathological deviations.
Configurational changes happening in enzymes of protein nature associated with genetic expressions and DNA synthesis may ultimately lead to various types of proteinopathies, or may result in mutations happening in genetic substance itself, with subsequent hereditary diseases. If the enzymes associated with genetic expressions get deformed by molecular imprinting, it may affect the process of normal protein synthesis, and produce related pathological conditions. It may be noted that heavy metal ions and certain poisonous substances such as alkaloids and organophos chemicals also can inhibit the enzymes associated with DNA synthesis, and create genetic errors.
Obviously, modern scientific knowledge regarding subjects such as antibodies, proteinopathies, genetic expressions, molecular imprinted proteins, etc., were not available during the era of Hahnemann, when he undertook the study of chronic diseases. Had he understood the exact bio–molecular basis of these phenomena, he would have provided a theory of chronic diseases entirely different from that he had formulated. At that time, it was the wonderful insight of the great genius of Hahnemann that enabled him to observe the deep-seated factors playing behind the chronic diseases that he called ‘miasms’. During that period, even before the appearance of antibiotics modern microscope, most dreaded diseases such as eczema, leprosy, syphilis and gonorrhoea were rampant in europe. He observed that in spite of the various crude forms of treatments available then, these diseases continued their manifestations during the whole life span of patients. Naturally, his study of chronic diseases were more involved with the long term effects of these diseases. He used the term ‘miasm’ to describe these chronic disease factors. By the term ‘miasm’, he really meant ‘disease toxins’. The miasm of ‘itch’(and leprosy) was called as ‘psora’, the ‘miasm of syphilis as ‘syphilis’, and that of gonorrhoea as ‘sycosis’. Now, based on modern scientific knowledge, we can say that ‘miasms’ are the antibodies or ‘molecular imprinted proteins’ created in the organism due to the interaction of native proteins with various bacterial, viral or fungal toxins of protein nature. Various environmental allergens, and ceratain endogenous molecules and metabolic bye-products may also imprint up on native defense proteins and convert them into chronic ‘miasms’.
Antibodies produced in the organism against scabies(itch), leprosy, and tuberculosis belong to same class, and give positive reaction to ‘tuberculin’ antigen tests. This indicates that toxins released by these bacteria have certain similar molecular groups in them, and the molecular imprints or antibodies against those groups also have certain configurational similarities. Actually, these ‘molecular imprints’ belong to the ‘miasm’ of ‘psora’ described by Hahnemann. Homeopaths already know that potentized ‘tuberculinum’ , ‘bacillinum’, and ‘psorinum’ play a wonderful role in the treatment of scabies and other skin eruptions, and the chronic conditions related with them.
I was pointing to the pathogenic role of antibodies. We already know a lot about the havoc antibodies create by their off-target actions up on biological molecules. Most of the chronic effects of infectious diseases are understood to be caused by the antibodies generated. And also those hundreds of serious auto immune diseases, where antibodies are the real pathogenic agents. Hahnemann defined miasms as ‘chronic disease dispositions’ created by ‘infectious diseases. Only way by which acute infectious diseases can cause life-long chronic disease dispositions are through the existence of antibodies. That is why I say ‘miasms’ are ‘chronic disease dispositions’ caused by ‘antibodies’ formed against infectious diseases. The belief that antibodies have only a ‘protective’ role is not right. For example, the chronic crippling pains remaining life long after chikunguniya is caused by antibodies. Can we say antibodies have only protective role here? We know various chronic diseases dispositions caused by vaccinations, which we call vaccinosis, which are actually pathogenic actions of antibodies. I have also pointed earlier to streptococcus antibodies causing cardiac problems and kidney problems. There are already studies regarding the role of antibodies in causing diabetes. Still would anybody say antibodies have “only protective role”?
Now coming to the question “how antibodies can they produce diseases”. Exactly, antibodies are globulin proteins subjected to molecular imprinting by bacterial/viral toxins, which are called antigens. The antibody has a unique part known as “paratope” (a structure analogous to a lock) on it, that is specific for one particular “epitope” (similarly analogous to a key) on an antigen, allowing these two structures to bind together with precision. These “paratopes” of antibodies are the result of molecular imprinting. Using this binding mechanism, an antibody can tag a microbe or an infected cell for attack by other parts of the immune system, or can neutralize its target directly (for example, by blocking a part of a microbe that is essential for its invasion and survival). Apart from that, these antibodies can bind to native biological molecules having structural groups similar in configuration to the “epitope” of its antigens. This can be compared to the damaging of a lock by inserting a wrong key with some similarity to original key. Such bindings cause molecular errors, which cause various pathological conditions. This is the real molecular mechanism by which antibodies act as “disease causing agents”. You can learn this phenomenon better if you update your immunology and biochemistry. I am saying pure scientific facts, not my inventions.
It may be interesting to observe that toxins released by bacteria belonging to mycobacterium group, are molecules containing ‘sulphur’ in their active groups. The presence of sulphur-containing amino acid called cysteine is responsible for this factor. During infection, bacterial toxins bind to the biological molecules of organism using this sulphide group. Naturally, the ‘molecular imprints’ or antibodies of these bacterial toxins carry complementary negative configurations of this ‘sulphide’ group. These ‘molecular imprints’ may be capable of attacking various bio-molecules in diverse bio-chemic pathways, resulting in different types of constitutional diseases of ‘psoric’ nature. We already know that the antibodies produced against bacterial skin infections may attack heart, kidney, brain, and other vital organs causing different types of diseases. Streptococcal and staphylococcal antibodies formed against acute throat and teeth infections may attack synovial membranes of joints, endocardial linings, and valvular structures of heart. During drug proving, sulphur also binds to the same molecular targets as the sulphur-containing bacterial toxins. The similarity between certain symptom groups expressed by these bacterial infections and the homeopathic provings of sulphur may be specifically noted. Here we get the scientific explanation for the observation of Hahnemann that potentized sulphur is the most important ‘antipsoric’ medicine, or ‘The King of Antipsorics’. It is already known that the amino acid called ‘cysteine’, which contains ‘sulphide’ groups, play an important role in almost all molecular interactions in the organism, involving protein molecules. It may be the reason for the appearance of so many symptom groups, involving almost every organ of the body, in the homoeopathic proving of sulphur. Potentized sulphur can compete with the molecular imprints or antibodies, in their interactions with biological molecules, and act as a most powerful ‘anti psoric’ drug.
Equipped with the knowledge accumulated by modern science in recent years, we are now in a position to provide satisfactory answer to the centuries old riddle of ‘miasm’ and ‘chronic diseases’. There is no further scope or space for metaphysical speculations any more.
In recent years, we have heard a lot about researches on a certain class of disease causing agents, called ‘prions’. Prions are deformed complex protein molecules acting as pathogens. Prions were invented during the research on ‘scrapie’ or ‘mad cow disease’. The actual mechanism of normal protein molecules turning into ‘prions’ have not been well understood yet. Recent studies on the molecular basis of Alzhiemer’s disease, also indicates to the role of deformed proteins in its pathology. Molecular changes associated with normal aging process also have to be examined from this stand point. In my opinion, these issue can be solved from the viewpoint of ‘molecular imprinting in proteins’. More studies are required in this direction.
This is an era of vaccinations. Every human being is subjected to a series of vaccination protocols from the moment of birth, to protect from various diseases. We have to worry about the unknown long term after effects of these vaccinations. Live or attenuated viruses are introduced into the organism to produce antibodies against pathological infections. Actually, this process induces ‘molecular imprinting’ of native proteins, with the foreign proteins contained in the vaccines. Obviously, the molecular imprints or antibodies thus formed, shall act as ‘miasms’ in the organism. If this type of molecular deformity happens in proteins associated with DNA synthesis or genetic expression, it may result in serious genetic abnormalities. It is high time that we realized this dangerous possibilities associated with vaccinations. All these deformed proteins created by vaccinations, act as ‘miasms’, and throw humanity into a sea of complicated chronic diseases much beyond the level observed even by Hahnemann.
Presumably, sulphur potentized above 12C, shall contain molecular imprints of sulphur. Antibodies against sulphur-containing bacterial toxins being molecular imprinted proteins, may contain some groups on their molecular periphery, imprinted with similar spacial configuration as potentized sulphur. Hence, potentized sulphur can compete with these antibodies in binding with bio-molecular targets. At the same time, we should not forget that these antibodies or deformed proteins may contain various other active sites not similar to sulphur. Hence, potentized sulphur may not be capable to antidote all the pathological properties of antibodies.
At the same time, if we could prepare potencies of antibodies themselves, those molecular imprints shall be exact negative complements of those antibodies. They can completely antidote the appropriate antibodies, due to their exact configurational affinity. Homoeopathic Nosodes such as psorinum, tuberculinum, syphilinum, medorrhinum etc., belong to this class. Appropriate nosodes may antidote the ‘miasms’ perfectly.
‘Constitution’ is an important concept in homeopathic theory and practice. It may be concieved as the general essence of the personality of an individual. It represnents the qualities which make a particular individual different from another. Constitution may be defined as the sum total of physical and mental make up of a person. Constituion is determined by the comprehensive unity of genetic, miasmatic and acquired factors.
Constitution of an individual is determined by the totality of diverse biological processes occurring in the organism, outwardly expressed by subjective and objective symptoms called ‘constitutional symptoms’.
There are two main aspects fundamental to constitution. They are :
(1) Genetic and (2) Acquired.
Genetic factors may be inherited or mutational.
General characteristics common to all members of the species are purely genetic. Genetic mutations happened through generations also add up to this fundamental genetic constitution. An individual inherits these traits through genes obtained from his parents. Genetic abnormalities lead to faulty protein synthesis, and may result in deep rooted constitutional pathologies. Genetic mutations due environmental or metabolic causes also may affect the constitution of an individual. These belong to the class of mutational genetic errors.
Acquired factors that may contribute to the constitutional make up are many. The locality, climate, soil conditions, water resources etc., are very important in this category. Exposure to sunlight, exercise, environmental radiations, etc. are also very decisive.
The food we eat and the method of cooking will also play their role. We homoeopaths are aware of the phenomenon of ‘calcarea’ constitution developing in persons who regularly consume excess calcium. Same way, Natrum Mur constitution is implanted upon a person who regularly consume excessive sea salt. Those who take in plenty of vegetables acquire vegetable nature similar to Nux. Meat eating and fish eating also influence constitutions. Excessive vegetarian diet, especially raw vegetables contribute in developing Nux Vomica constitution. Most of individuals consuming alcholic beverages containing various phytochemicals regularly, end up with Nux constitutions. The staple food like rice, wheat, potato etc., also contribute in deciding constitutions. Childern consuming large quantity of milk or egg may end up in certain constitutional groups. Chemicals, alkaloids, glycosides , enzymes, phyto-chemicals and hormones contained in various food articles also contribute their share. The antibodies which formed as a result of vaccinations or infections, production of excess hormones in the body etc., are also important. Emotional states, occupations, and history of diseases etc., are also deciding factors.
Various endocrine secretions, neuromediators, and neurotransmitters are capable of influencing the constitutions of individuals. We know, chronic grief developing constitutions of Natrum mur, disappointments that of Aurum, indignation that of stafysagria, anxity situations that of Argentum nit, jealousy that of Lachesis, excessive sexual emotions that of Hyoscyamus, suppressed sexual instinct that of Conium, certain uterine complaints that of Sepia, female sex hormones that of pulsatilla, etc, etc. Excess of certain thyroid hormones may make an individual of ‘hot’ thermal constitution.
The term ‘constitution’ indicates the sum total of the deviations gradually happening in the complex molecular processes which are fundamental to the existence of the organism.
Molecular processes that determine the constitution are expressed as subjective and objective constitutional symptoms. ‘Totality of constitutional symptoms’ reveals the total personality of an individual. We cannot expect a perfect cure without considering the constitutional background of the individual.
Since diverse biochemical factors determine the ‘constitution’, it is irrational to expect a single drug to be a homeopathic similimum covering all the constitutional level molecular errors of an individual. The real constitutional nature of an individual is revealed to us through different ‘groups of symptoms’ representing diverse constitutional bio-chemic deviations belonging to genetic and acquired molecular errors. One drug may cover one aspect of the personality, where as another drug cover another aspect. Yet another drug may be required to cover a third aspect. We can observe different ‘train of symptoms’ representing each aspect of the constitution. For example, an individual may show separate ‘train of symptoms’ indicating lycopodium, calc carb and sulphur, and if so, all these drugs are required to cover the totality of his constitution.
As far as scientific homeopathic treatment is concerned, collecting all the constitutional symptoms, and grouping them into appropriate ‘symptom complexes’ is very important to determine the constitutional drugs to be included in the total treatment package.
Homeopathic Constitutions explained in terms of genotype-phenotype interactions studied by modern genetics:
‘Constitutions’, ‘constitutional symptoms’ and ‘consitutional drugs’ are concepts which play a very important role in homeopathic theory and practice. Concepts such as ‘genetic constitution’ and ‘miasmatic constitution’ are frequently heard in homeopathic discussions. There have been a lot of attempts to explain constitution in terms of ‘miasms’, genetics, embryology and many other concepts.
I am trying to evolve a scientifically viable understanding of our concept of ‘constitution’. I think it would be more logical and scientific if we understand ‘constitution’ in terms of ‘phenotypes’ of individuals. To understand and explain ‘constitutions’ in scientific terms, we have to understand the concepts of ‘genotypes’ and ‘phenotypes’ in modern genetics.
According to modern genetics, the ‘genotype’ is the ‘genetic substance or ‘DNA’ inherited by the organism from its previous generation. It is called the ‘genetic blue print’.
The ‘genotype’ contained the organism gives rise to individual ‘phenotypes through ‘gene expressions’. The ‘genetic code’ stored in DNA is interpreted by ‘gene expression’, and the properties of these expressions five rise to the ‘phenotype’ of the organism.
A ‘phenotype’ is the observable characteristics or traits of an organism, such as morphology, development, biological and physiological properties, behavior, and products of behavior. ‘Phenotype’ is the result of ‘gene expressions’, which is decided by the interaction between genetic blue print and environmental factors.
‘Genotype’ of an organism is the inherited instructions it carries within its genetic code. Organisms with same ‘genotype’ do not appear or act the same way, because its ‘phenotype’ is decided by the interaction with environmental and developmental conditions. Similarly, not all organisms that look alike necessarily have the same genotype.
This understanding of ‘genotype-phenotype distinction’, proposed by Wilhelm Johannsen in 1911 to make clear the difference between an organism’s heredity and what that heredity produces, is very important in providing a scientific explanation for the homeopathic concept of ‘constitutions’.
Despite its seemingly straightforward definition, the concept of the phenotype has some hidden subtleties. Some would argue that anything dependent on the genotype is a phenotype, including molecules such as RNA and proteins. Most of the molecules and structures coded by the genetic material are not visible in the appearance of an organism, yet they are observable and are thus part of the phenotype. Human blood groups are an example. Others would say that this goes beyond the original intentions of the concept with its focus on the (living) organism in itself, meaning that the lowest level of biological organization compatible with the phenotype concept is at the cellular level. Either way, the term phenotype includes traits or characteristics that can be made visible by some technical procedure. Another extension adds behavior to the phenotype since behaviors are also observable characteristics. Indeed there is research into the clinical relevance of behavioral phenotypes as they pertain to a range of syndromes.
Phenotypic variation (due to underlying heritable genetic variation) is a fundamental prerequisite for evolution by natural selection. It is the living organism as a whole that contributes (or not) to the next generation, so natural selection affects the genetic structure of a population indirectly via the contribution of phenotypes. Without phenotypic variation, there would be no evolution by natural selection.
The relationship between ‘genotype’ and ‘phenotype’ has often been conceptualized by the following relationship: “genotype (G) + environment (E) + genotype & environment interactions (GE) → phenotype (P)”
‘Genotypes’ often have much flexibility in the modification and expression of phenotypes; in many organisms these phenotypes are very different under varying environmental conditions. The concept of phenotype can be extended to variations below the level of the gene that affect an organism’s fitness. For example, silent mutations that do not change the corresponding amino acid sequence of a gene may change the frequency of guanine-cytosine base pairs (GC content). These base pairs have a higher thermal stability than adenine-thymine, a property that might convey, among organisms living in high-temperature environments, a selective advantage on variants enriched in GC content.
A phenotype is the ensemble of observable characteristics displayed by an organism. The idea of the phenotype expresses all the effects a gene has on the outside world that may influence its chances of being replicated. These can be effects on the organism in which the gene resides, the environment, or other organisms.
Gene expression is the process by which information from a gene is used in the synthesis of a functional gene product. These products are often proteins, but in non-protein coding genes such as ribosomal RNA (rRNA), transfer RNA (tRNA) or Small nuclear RNA (snRNA) genes, the product is a functional RNA. The process of gene expression is used by all known life to generate the macromolecular machinery for life.
Several steps in the gene expression process may be modulated, including the transcription, RNA splicing, translation, and post-translational modification of a protein. Gene regulation gives the cell control over structure and function, and is the basis for cellular differentiation, morphogenesis and the versatility and adaptability of any organism. Gene regulation may also serve as a substrate for evolutionary change, since control of the timing, location, and amount of gene expression can have a profound effect on the functions (actions) of the gene in a cell or in a multicellular organism.
Factors, such as such as miasmatic, environmental, nutritional, occupational, infectious, emotional, ontogenic, metabolic and xenobiotic influence the process of ‘gene regulation’ at various stages of ‘gene expression’, through which the particular ‘phenotype’ or ‘constitution’ of the individual organism is determined. As such, ‘constitution’ of an individual is the ‘phenotype’ determined by the ‘protein constitution’ developing through ‘genetic expression’’. Constitution’ is expressed in the form of totality of general physical symptoms, morphology, mental symptoms and behavioral peculiarities.
Constitution of a person is decided by the ‘genotype-phenotype’ interactions taking place. Genotype is the ‘genetic substance’ obtained from parents. Phenotype is produced by the ‘expression’ of these genotype. Many factors influence the ‘genetic expression’. They include nutritional factors, environmental factors, infectious fatcors, miasmatic factors or antibodies, metabolic factors, emotional factors, drug factors and many such things. What we call ‘constitution’ is actually the ‘phenotype’ produced by the expression of genotype, influenced by all these diverse factors. Symptoms representing this phenotype is what we call ‘constitutional symptoms’. Drugs selected as similimum on the basis of ‘constitutional symptoms’ can modify the ‘phenotype’ of the individual, but it cannot modify genotype. While talking about ‘consitutional similimum’, we should be aware of these scientific facts.
’Genetic expression’ is the chains of biochemical processes by which diverse types of protein molecules are manufactured utilizing the genetic blue print inherited from previous generation. As such, the ‘phenotype’ or ‘constitution’ of an individual is actually the ‘protein constitution’ evolving through genetic expression. What we call ‘constitutional symptoms’ are exactly those symptoms that represent this overall ‘protein chemistry’. Phenotype or protein constitution can be influenced by potentized drugs selected on the basis of ‘constitutional symptoms’, but ‘genotype’ cannot be changed by that. While considering the concept of ‘constitutional treatment’, we should be aware of these scientific facts.
Can Potentized Medicines Act As Pathological Agents?
Ligands bind to their authentic biological target molecules in capacity of their appropriate spacial configurations and charge affinities. But the molecular imprints contained in the potentized homeopathic preparations bind to ligands or biological molecules merely due to their similarity in cofigurations without any charge affinity. So, the bindings of molecular imprints with biological molecules or their ligands will be very temporary and cannot stay long. Such bindings can be replaced by natural ligands very easily. Molecular imprints can not compete with natural ligands in binding to the biological targets. Hence it is obvious that potentized homeopathic preparations cannot interfere the interactions between biological molecules or substrates with their authentic targets. As such, chances of potentized homeopathic medicines acting as pathological agents are very rare even if used indiscriminately. Molecular imprints can interfere only in off-target bindings of ligands with biological molecules, where only configurational similarity is involved, such as molecular blocks created by exogenic or endogenic foreign pathological molecules. We are well aware that when highly diluted preparations are used for proving in certain instances, the symptoms produced are very transient in nature, and do not produce serious pathological conditions in the prover.
Genetics and Homeopathy
Interactions of potentized homeopathic medicines with genetic substance in the organism is a subject of much concern, speculation and controversy among homeopaths. Such controversies arise from the lack of sufficient understanding regarding the active principles contained in potentized medicines, and their exact mechanism of action in the living system. With our new scientific understanding of potentization as a process of molecular imprinting, we are now in a better position to answer these questions satisfactorily. Since, molecular imprints contained in the potentized homeopathic preparations cannot successfully compete with natural ligands in binding with their target molecules, we need not be concerned about the possibility of potentized homeopatic medicines dangerously interacting with genetic material in any way. At the same time, these molecular imprints can effectively compete with the deformed proteins that may result from genetic errors, thereby preventing them from creating pathological molecular blocks at various targets. As such, homeopathic medicines can play a great role even in the treatment of certain diseases of genetic origin, at least as palliatives. More over, potentized homeopathic medicines can safeguard genetic material from dangerous mutations that may be caused the by action of endogenous or exogenous pathological agents such as toxic drugs, heavy metals, super-oxides etc., on enzymes related with nucleic acid synthesis and genetic expressions.
Mental Symptoms and Peculiar Sensations
Peculiar mental symptoms and special sensations are given primary importance in homeopathic therapeutic applications. It is particularly insisted by some masters that selection of medicine should be done only after specifically considering the peculiar mental symptoms and special sensations exhibited by the patient. This special importance to mental symptoms were given on the theoretical reasoning that disease primarily originates in the level of vital force, and mental symptoms are the real language of deranged vital force.
During our earlier discussions, we have already found that diseases originate in the vital molecular processes, as deviations caused by some or other molecular errors. Obviously, mental and physical symptoms, whether subjective or objective, are the expressions of these molecular errors. Mind, consciousness, feelings, emotions, understandings, thought, sensations, mental symptoms etc., are the functions of a complex material system, consisting of brain, and neuro-endocrine systems. There is no mental symptom without brain and nerve tissue. Brain is the material substratum of all the mental symptoms. When some molecular errors occur in any biochemical channels in the organism, the information will be passed to the central nervous system, through concerted actions of bio-molecules belonging to the class of neuro-transmitters and neuro-mediators. This initiates complex bio-chemical processes in different regions of the central nervous system, and expresses as mental symptoms and sensations. Each group of special sensations and abnormal mental symptoms indicates associated particular deviations in one or other molecular processes in the material organism.
Any pathologic deviation in the biochemical processes instantly create certain reverberations in the neuro-endocrine systems. These reverberations are the real basis of diverse mental symptoms and special sensations. These processes are mediated by complex molecules known as hormones, neuromediaters and neurotransmitters. Limbic system, being part of central nervous system plays a major role. Hypothalamus, pineal body, pituitary gland, thyroid gland, parathyroid gland, heart , skin, adipose tissues, stomach, liver, pancreas, kidneys, adrenal gland, tests, ovary, placenta , uterus- all thsese organs function as part of this complex neuro-endocrine, system, synthesizing different types of hormones. Aspartate, N-Acetylaspartylglutamate, Glutamate, Gamma-aminobutyric acid, Glycine, Acetylcholine, Dopamine, Norepinephrine, Epinephrine, Octopamine, Tyramine, Serotonin, Melatonin, Histamine, Gastrin, Cholecystokinin, Vasopressin, Oxytocin, Neuropeptide Y, Pancreatic polypeptide, Peptide YY, Corticotropin, Dynorphin, Endorphin, Enkephaline, Secretin, Motilin, Glucagon, Vasoactive intestinal peptide, Growth hormone-releasing factor, Somatostatin, Neurokinin A, Neurokinin B, Substance P, Bombesin, Gastrin releasing peptide, Nitric oxide, guanylyl cyclase, Carbon monoxide, Anandamide, Adenosine triphosphate etc., are the important neuromediators and neurotransmitters.
All the fantastic sensations and peculiar mental and physical symptoms are the result of inter-related chemical processes involving limbic system and central nervous system mediated by above said chemical substances.
Hence, homeopathy utilizes these peculiar sensations and mental symptoms to identify and locate the exact picture of total pathology and underlying molecular blocks. Thus, homeopathy enables us to select and apply an exact therapeutic agent to relieve these molecular blocks on the basis of the principle of ‘similia similibus curentur’. Certain molecular errors happening in certain bio-chemic pathways reflect themselves in the form of peculiar sensations and mental symptoms, much earlier than other observable objective symptoms are produced. Hence, we erroneously think that such diseases begin in the ‘mental plane’, and later move to ‘material plane’. All diseases begin in the plane of material vital processes as molecular errors, and the mental symptomsrepresents their extensions into the bio-chemical processes of central nervous system. Since the mental symptoms and special sensations appear much before the appearance of observable material changes in the organism, homoeopathy is able to intervene in the bio-chemical deviations much earlier than other medical systems by analyzing mental symptoms.
Obviously, disease and cure happens in the material molecular level, and hence science of therapeutics also should essentially be understood as a purely material science.
‘Totality of Symptoms’
Hahnemann says in Organon – Aphorism 7:- ”…the totality of these symptoms, of this outwardly reflected picture of the internal essence of the disease, that is, of the affection of the vital force, must be the principal, or the sole means, whereby the disease can make known what remedy it requires – the only thing that can determine the choice of the most ppropriate remedy – and thus, in a word, the totalityof the symptoms must be the principal, indeed the only thing the physician has to take note of in every case of disease and to remove by means of his art, in order that it shall be cured and transformed into health”.
Aphorism 18(Sixth Edition): – “From this indubitable truth, that besides the totality of the symptoms with consideration of the accompanying modalities nothing can by any means be discovered in disease wherewith they could express their need of aid, it follows undeniably that the sum of all the symptoms and conditions in each individual case of disease must be the sole indication, the sole guide to direct us in the choice of a remedy”.
“Totality of Symptoms” is one of the much controversial concepts in homeopathy. Although all of them use this phrase frequently, homeopaths differ from each other on the interpretation and application of the real meaning of concept. We may hesitate to admit the truth, but most homeopaths are very much confused when asked to answer the question: “what you mean by ‘totality of symptoms’, and how you would apply it in the art of selecting the similimum?”
Based on the scientific concepts of molecular fundamentals of life and disease discussed in previous chapters of this article, now we have to examine the concept of ‘totality of symptoms’ from a different rational perspective.
First, we have to be very clear regarding the difference between the “total symptom” and ‘totality of symptoms’. These phrases represent entirely different concepts according to ‘Dialectical Homeopathy”.
A ‘total symptom’ is an individual ‘symptom complex’, considered in its entire ‘totality’ of all the available ‘qualifications’ and ‘associations’. Any pathologic deviation in a particular bio-chemic pathway, representing a particular molecular error in the organism, is expressed as a particular ‘train of symptoms’ or ‘symptom complex’, consisting of various associated symptoms and qualifying symptoms such as causations, locations, sensations, aggravations, ameliorations, concomitants and extensions. Such a ‘symptom complex’ may be called a ‘total symptom’. A “total symptom’ may be explained as ‘a symptom considered in its totality’. A ‘total symptom’ may be repertorized in its own capacity, and appropriate similimum determined. It was Boenninghaussen who developed this concept of ‘total symptoms’, though not well understood by the profession. Unfortunately, his ‘total symptom’ was misunderstood to be equivalent to the ‘totality of symptoms’ concept of Kent and others, based on mentals, physical generals and particulars. Whereas Boenninghaussen was talking about totality of each ‘pathological deviations’, Kent was talking about the totality of the individual ‘personality’.
A particular pathologic deviation in a bio-chemical pathway, caused by a particular molecular error is expressed as a specific ‘symptom complex’. It is most probable that any individual patient may same time be presenting more than one separate ‘symptom complexes’ representing entirely different molecular errors in his organism. Each individual ‘symptom complex’, representing a particular pathological deviation, will consist of a prominent clinical presentation, with its associations and qualifications such as causation, location, sensation, aggravation, amelioration, concomitants, alternations, extensions etc. When all such available details are considered, this ‘symptom complex’ becomes a ‘total symptom’ by itself. Concomitants, alternations and extensions have special importance, as they are links to associated symptoms, and indicates the exact train of the underlying disordered bio-chemical pathway . When analyzing a case, we should group each subjective or objective symptom expressed by the patient in the appropriate ‘symptom complex’ it belongs.
According to my concept, ‘totality of symptoms’ of a patient consists of the sum total of all the individual ‘total symptoms’ or ‘symptom complexes’ representing all the different molecular errors and pathological deviations in the individual. ‘Totality of symptoms’ will represent the ‘totality’ of the pathological and constitutional constitutional picture of the whole individual. Whereas the drug selected as a similimum for a particular ‘symptom complex’ may relieve that particular group of complaints, a perfect and total cure of the individual would be possible only through the systematic application of all the ‘similimums’ obtained by repertorizing all the ‘symptom complexes’ separately.
‘Multi-Similimum’ or Integrated Similimum’
Dr. Samuel Hahnemann says in his Organon of Medicine:
Aphorism 2: “The highest ideal of cure is rapid, gentle and permanent restoration of the health, or removal and annihilation of the disease in its whole extent, in the shortest, most reliable, and most harmless way, on easily comprehensible principles”.
Aphorism 3: “If the physician clearly perceives what is to be cured in diseases, that is to say, in every individual case of disease (knowledge of disease, indication), if he clearly perceives what is curative in medicines, that is to say, in each individual medicine (knowledge of medical powers), and if he knows how to adapt, according to clearly defined principles, what is curative in medicines to what he has discovered to be undoubtedly morbid in the patient, so that the recovery must ensue- to adapt it, as well in respect to the suitability of the medicine most appropriate according to its mode of action to the case before him (choice of the remedy, the medicine indicated), as also in respect to the exact mode of preparation and quantity of it required (proper dose), and the proper period for repeating the dose; – if, finally, he knows the obstacles to recovery in each case and is aware how to remove them, so that the restoration may be permanent, then he understands how to treat judiciously and rationally, and he is a true practitioner of the healing art”
Aphorism 7: “Now, as in a disease, from which no manifest exciting or maintaining cause (causa occasionalis) has to be removed1, we can perceive nothing but the morbid symptoms, it must (regard being had to the possibility of a miasm, and attention paid to the accessory circumstances,) be the symptoms alone by which the disease demands and points to the remedy suited to relieve it – and, moreover, the totality of these its symptoms, of this outwardly reflected picture of the internal essence of the disease, that is, of the affection of the vital force, must be the principal, or the sole means, whereby the disease can make known what remedy it requires – the only thing that can determine the choice of the most appropriate remedy – and thus, in a word, the totality of the symptoms must be the principal, indeed the only thing the physician has to take note of in every case of disease and to remove by means of his art, in order that it shall be cured and transformed into health”.
According to Dr. Samuel Hahnemann, the highest ideal of a physician is to get a “rapid, gentle and permanent restoration of health”of his patient “on easily comprehensible principles”. To be “a true practitioner of the healing art”, the physician should “clearly perceive what is to be cured in diseases”, “what is curative in medicines”, and how to adapt, the “curative” to the “to be cured”. He should also know the “exact mode of preparation and quantity”, “proper period for repeating the dose” and how to remove “obstacles to recovery”. Except the possibility of any “exciting or maintaining cause”, “a miasm”, and “accessory circumstances”, nothing but the “morbid symptoms”, should be considered by the physician, and “totality of symptoms”, should be the sole means to “determine the choice of the most appropriate remedy”.
“Multi-Similimum” method of repertorization or “Integrated Similimum”, a well-principled improvisation in modern homeopathic practice, is the most effective and rational way of attaining “total cure” of the patient. It is an enirely new concept, evolving as a logical outcome of the scientific understanding of homeopathy, similia similibus curentur, potentization, life, disease and cure, as proposed in my article on DIALECTICAL HOMEOPATHY. It clearly perceives “what is to be cured in diseases”, “what is curative in medicines”, and how to adapt, the “curative” to the “to be cured”. In order to determine the choice of the “most appropriate remedy”, it solely relies up on “totality of symptoms”, with due considerations given to any “exciting or maintaining cause”, “a miasm”, and “accessory circumstances”.
“Multi-Similimum” method is not at all a shortcut to bye-pass systematic case taking, anamnesis and repertorization that require much intellectual input and hard work. The concept of “multi-similimum” is the integral part of a scientific understanding of “total personality” of an individual patient. In this method, symptoms collected through elaborate and systematic case taking are “compartmentalized” into various individual symptom groups, called “symptom complexes”, and separate similimum determined for each “symptom complex”. Drugs thus selected are combined to prepare a “integrated similimum” applicable for the particular patient. If perfectly worked out, this “integrated similimum” will act as a holistic “single drug”, containing all the diverse types of “molecular imprints” capable of removing each and every molecular blocks, and rectifying all the pathological bio-chemical deviations of the vital processes in the particular organism.
What is “to be cured” in diseases? Instead of vainly repeating the vitalistic explanations provided by our old masters, we should be ready to accept the scientific perception of diseases as specific molecular errors in the vital processes. In most instances of pathology, these molecular errors happen due to the binding of some endogenic or exogenic foreign molecules up on complex biological molecules, thereby resulting in deviations in biochemical pathways. Cure consists of removal of these molecular errors in the organism. Therapeutics is the art of removing these molecular errors by using appropriate medicinal substances.
What is “curative” in homeopathic potentized medicines? Potentized homeopathic medicines contain different types of 3-d nano-cavities or “molecular imprints” formed in water-alcohol matrix, by imprinting with the individual constituent molecules of drug substances used for potentization. These “molecular imprints” are capable of binding to the pathological molecules having a configurational similarity to the original drug molecules used for “imprinting”. Such a binding will result in the removal of molecular blocks, thereby relieving the biological molecules from pathological inhibitions.
How to adapt the “curative” to the “to be cured? The “curative” factors are selected and applied to the “to be cured” according to the homeopathic principle of “similia similibus curentur”.
How to determine the choice of “most appropriate” remedy? According to my interpretation, “most appropriate” remedy should contain all the diverse types of “molecular imprints” required to remove all the molecular errors in the particular organism. As per the proposed method, “molecular imprints” appropriate for each individual molecular error should be separately determined and “integrated” into making of a most appropriate “single remedy”.
How the concept of “totality of symptoms” is perceived? Each specific molecular error in the organism expresses as a particular train of subjective and objective symptoms called “symptom complexes”, with peculiar locations, sensations, modalities and concomitants of their own. Totality of all these separate “symptom complexes” constitute the “totality of symptoms” of an individual. Such a totality comprises of all the diverse “symptom complexes” representing all the genetic, constitutional, miasmatic and acquired molecular errors in that individual.
“Multi-Similimum” method and “Multiple-Drug Prescriptions
A word of caution. When I talk about “Multi-Similimum” method of repertorization or “Integrated Similimum” as a powerful clinical strategy that should be adapted in homeopathy, many homeopaths may at first glance think that I am arguing in favor of unprincipled random mixing of drugs for each and every particular disease entities, as done by the manufacturers of patent combinations now flooding the homeopathic market and blindly prescribed by many homeopaths. I am not at all for such generalized combinations of homeopathic drugs. I am proposing a systematic method of preparing a “Integrated Similimum” for the particular patient we are dealing with, and such a “drug” will never be appropriate for another individual. More over, “Multi-similimum method of repertorization” or “Integrated Similimum” should not also be confused with “multiple drug prescriptions”. “Multiple drug prescriptions” are commonly employed when the prescriber is not much confident regarding the selection of similimum in a given case. For most people engaged in this method, it almost develops in time into a habit of prescribing multiple drugs even in very simple cases. Perhaps he may not be able to take a final decision between two seemingly similar drugs. This may also be due to paucity of well marked reliable symptoms, non-co-operation of patient, inappropriate case taking, wrong repertorization, deficiency in materia medica knowledge, or aversion to work hard to find a similimum. Perhaps the case may be so acute and severe that it demands instant palliation. In such cases, the doctor may be compelled to use more than one drug, which seems to be equally indicated. Of course, if the real similimum is included in such a multiple drug prescription, it will definitely act and patient will get relief. If you are using potencies above 23c, since they contain only ‘molecular imprints’ of drug molecules, according to my perception, there will be no any chance for interaction between drugs. Hence, there is no any particular harm in using this method, other than the fact that the patient get only partial cure, and it may also be difficult to ascertain which drug actually worked, so that we will have to repeat same combination of drugs if follow up is required. This method of “multiple drug prescription” is used by many homeopaths at least in certain clinical contingencies.
My propositions regarding “Multi-Similimum” naturally evolve as the logical extension of my scientific concepts regarding “potentization” as a technology of “molecular imprinted drug designing”. I usually recommend only potencies around 30c, and consider it unhomeopathic to use drugs in low potencies(below 23C) that may contain drug molecules. I am talking only about the desirability of combining of drugs selected as similimum through correct case taking, strict individualization and scientific “compartmentalized” repertorization for each individual patient. More over, this idea is very much in conformity with the modern understanding of diseases as deviations of vital processes arising from some or other molecular errors in the organism. According to my perspective, an individual may be having different types of molecular errors in different biochemical pathways caused by entirely different molecular blocks, and represented in the form of different groups of subjective and objective symptoms. A particular ‘symptom group’ may be the expression of a particular molecular error in a particular bio-chemic pathway, where as another “symptom group” may be representing an entirely different molecular error. Expecting a ‘single’ drug to cover all these diverse and unrelated “symptom groups” representing entirely different types of molecular errors in an organism is obviously utopian wishful thinking. Since different molecular errors may be caused by the binding of different types of exogenic or endogenic foreign molecules upon different biological molecules and pathways, we have to find appropriate ‘similimum’ for each “symptom group” to effect a complete cure. Otherwise we get only partial cures.
“Multi-similimum” method is based on the scientific understanding that “symptoms”, whether subjective or objective, are the expression of certain pathological deviations in some biochemical pathways in the organism, caused by some or other molecular errors. Deviations in a particular biochemical pathway produces a given group of symptoms consisting of peculiar locations, sensations, modalities and concomitants(LSMC). Deviations in different biochemical pathways produce different groups of symptoms, which we call “symptom complexes”. Each “symptom complex” represents a particular biochemic deviation, caused by a particular molecular error. This is applicable also to symptoms that we call “constitutional” and “miasmatic”. Constitution and “miasms” of an individual is determined by different kinds of diverse genetic or acquired molecular errors.
Different pathological deviations in vital processes happening at molecular level are expressed in the form of different subjective and objective “symptom complexes”. No body with a rational mindset can deny the fact that we cannot find a “single drug’ that covers all those diverse “symptom complexes” in their “totality” expressed by an individual. It is obvious that a “single drug” of our materia medica cannot contain all the ‘molecular imprints’ required for correcting all these diverse molecular errors existing in the organnism. Hence, a single drug, how much “similimum” we think it to be, can never cure a patient completely. A drug selected as “similimum” through our existing methods may rectify only a few molecular errors expressed as some of the prominent “symptom complexes”. To effect a complete cure, we should administer a drug that contain all the different types of ‘molecular imprints’ that can rectify all the pathological molecular deviations in that person. Since it is obviously impossible to get such a single drug from nature, we have to prepare a “single drug” that contains all the required molecular imprints for our particular patient. This process is called “integrating similimum”. In this process, we select separate drugs for different “symptom complexes” and mix them together to prepare a single “similimum” that holistically covers all the “symptom complexes”, or “totality of symptoms”. This is the essence of “multi-similimum” concept.
How to apply “Multi-Similimum Method
I would suggest to attempt “multi-similimum” method only if the physician has enough time to spare on a case. To work out a case as per this method, a detailed and systematic case taking is mandatory. No symptom should be ignored or omitted. Each symptom should be explored in its every details such as locations, sensation, modalities and concomittants(LSMC). For instance, if our patient complains headache, record that with all associated details of LSMC. If same patient complains about some skin eruptions, that also should be recorded with its LSMC. Then there may be abdominal symptoms, mental symptoms, physical generals and the like. Record everything in detail with LSMC.
Once the case taking is completed, next important step is to arrange those symptoms into appropriate “symptom complexes” or “compartments”. This should be done with utmost diligence. Each major symptom, with its qualifying details of locations, sensations, modalities and concomitants may be grouped under a particular “symptom complex”. Theoretically, “a symptom complex” represents a whole train of symptoms representing a specific pathological deviation in a particular bio-chemical pathway in the organism. Hence, scientific knowledge of pathology and molecular biochemistry would help the physician a lot in undertaking this task effectively. You may need a second interview with the patient to get some more details during this “compartmentalization” process. When such systematic “compartmentalization” of symptoms is done perfectly, we can go for the actual repertorization.
Now we have to find appropriate repertorial rubrics for the symptoms. Repertorize each “symptom complex” separately and find its similimum. Ideal similimum will be the drug that covers all individual rubrics being part of the “symptom complex”. Most probably, for each “symptom complex”, we will get a separate similimum. If same drug happens to be similimum for more than one “symptom complex”, that should be welcomed as a positive indication. Prepare a “similimum list” of all the drugs selected through repertorization of different “symptom complexes”.
If there are any uncommon, peculiar, characteristic symptoms in the case, not part of any particular “symptom complex”, consider such symptoms as separate individual “symptom complex”, and add their similimum also to the “similimum list”.
Then consider indications for any nosodes, sarcodes and other “miasmatic” drugs. They may not come from repertorization, as our reprtories do not represent symptoms of such drugs sufficiently. Tuberculinum, medorrhinum, Thyroidinum, Adrenalin, Pitutrin, and such other drugs will never come top in repertorization. Hence if they come under any of symptom groups, even though not at the top level, they should be added to the similimum list. Perhaps we will have to consider such drugs merely on the basis logical thinking based on our knowledge of biochemistry and molecular pathology. “Causation” also will have to be considered in this way. Causative drugs never come top in repertorization. So they also should be given special consideration.
Now our final “similimum list” is ready. Do not bother much about the number of drugs. On the other hand, it is very important that any drug which may have a role to play should not be omitted. Procure the drugs from most trusted sources only. Mix them in equal quantities in 30c potency to prepare the “Integrated Similimum” for that particular patient. If we have done the work perfectly, such a preparation presumably will contain all the “molecular imprints” that may be required to remove all molecular blocks in that patient. By administering this “single drug” for appropriate period, we can ensure a “total” cure for the patient.
Dose, repetition and mode of administration are for the physician to decide. I give three times a day in acute conditions, and once daily in chronic cases, until complete cure is reported. Dose is decided on the basis of number drugs contained in our preparation. A ‘drop for a drug” is my law. If the “integrated-similimum” is prepared by adding five drugs, I use 5 drops for a dose. There is no harm if you increase or decrease the quantity. It will work curatively.
“Multiple Drugs” Vs “Single Drug”
I am well aware that homeopaths generally consider prescribing of more than one medicine at a time, simultaneously, alternating or mixing with each other is totally unscientific, un-principled and un-homeopathic practice. Of course, they may quote extensively from our great masters as supporting evidences for their opposition to multiple drugs. If one is any way constrained to prescribe multiple drugs in certain compulsory practical contingencies, it is done with a conscience of guilt as if he is committing a grave sin to the “sacred” system. They shy to admit it openly, and try to cover up what have been done. The theory of ‘one medicine, one dose’ is considered to be the golden homeopathic rule, and everybody strive to convince others that he is an ardent follower of this rule. People who claim to follow the ‘one medicine, one dose’ rule are held in high esteem by the profession, as true “classical homeopaths”.
We have to examine this “single drug versus multiple drug” issue with honesty and a rational scientific mindset. We should understand that there a lot of relatively darker areas in homeopathy, and obviously a lot of unanswered, incompletely answered and wrongly answered questions there. Once the fundamental principles are scientifically explained, it will be easier to sort out such lesser issues logically.
Is it acceptable in homeopathy to prescribe more than one medicine at a time? Is it against the fundamental logic of homeopathy to do so? Whatever our great masters have said earlier within the limitations of their space-time context, we will have to make a rational assessment of certain factors while trying to answer this important question on the basis of updated knowledge.
In homeopathic terminology, any form of drug substance used as a sample for “proving” is considered to be a single entity. It is called a ‘single drug’, even though it may be a complex mixture of several substances. For example, an alcoholic tincture extracted from the Nux Vomica plant is evidently a mixture of many types of enzymes, alkaloids, glycosides, phytochemicals, and other organic and inorganic molecules. Over and above the natural organic contents, various elements and chemical molecules absorbed from the environment will also be part of that tincture. It may also contain various accidental contaminants and pollutants also. In spite of all these possibilities, we consider Nux Vomica tincture is a “single” medicinal substance, and we often talk about a “Nux Vomica personality” as such!
When we introduce a sample of Nux Vomica tincture into the living organism for ‘proving’, its constituent molecules are instantly subjected to various processes such as disintegration, ionization, hydration and certain chemical transformations. Individual constituent molecules are carried and conveyed through blood and other internal transport systems into the cells in different parts of the body. They interact with various enzymes, receptors, metabolites and other biological molecules inside the organism. These interactions are decided and directed by the specific properties such as configuration and charge of active groups of individual drug molecules, and their specific affinity towards biological target molecules. It is very important to note that Nux Vomica interact with different biological molecules, not as a singular entity, but as individual constituent molecules and ions. These individual drug molecules and ions are capable of binding to some or other biological molecules, effecting configurational changes in them, and thereby inhibiting the essential bio-chemical processes which can take place only with their presence and mediation. Such molecular inhibitions in various bio-chemical pathways result in a condition of pathology, expressed as a train of subjective and objective symptoms, due to the involvement of various neuro-mediator and neuro-transmitter systems.
The symptoms we get from the proving of Nux Vomica are in reality the results of diverse deviations in different bio-chemical processes and pathways, created by the constituent drug molecules in their individual capacity and specific configurational affinity. Each type of molecules contained in Nux Vomica binds only to a specific group of biological molecules, and creates their own individual groups of symptoms. Suppose we could completely remove all molecules of a particular alkaloid from a sample of Nux Vomica before it is used for proving. Naturally, during the process of proving, we shall be missing the groups of symptoms that should have been created in the organism by the molecules of that particular alkaloid. This type of proving may be called ‘differential proving’. By conducting such differential provings, we can learn about the particular state of pathology that may be attributed to individual constituent molecules contained in each medicinal substance. More over, this type of scientific differential provings may be utilized to study the biological effects of various constituent molecules of drug materials that we erroneously consider as single drugs. Such differential provings may disprove our mis-conceptions regarding ‘single drug’, at large. This is a subject that warrants serious attention from the part of homeopathic researchers and research institutions.
There are a few more points to be considered in association with the issue of ‘single drug’. Chances of drug samples used in proving being contaminated with various environmental particles and foreign molecules should be seriously considered here. Especially in the olden days of most of the drug provings, our knowledge regarding environmental pollutions and contaminations was very limited. During drug proving, molecules of such contaminants also would have obviously undergone proving, along with original drug molecules. Especially for homeopaths, who are convinced about the power of micro doses, this factor cannot be overlooked. The water, alcohol, sugar of milk etc., used in the process of preparing drugs for proving may also have various contaminants. The vessels, utensils, equipment, tools, air, and provers themselvs also may add their own contaminations. These contaminants and impurities also would have been subjected to proving along with original drugs, and their symptoms also included in our materia medica unknowingly, although we don’t take these factors seriously into account. We should be aware of the fact that the biological deviations created in the prover by these un-recognized foreign molecules are also included by us in the accounts of medicinal substances used for proving. It means that at least some of the symptoms we learn in the Materia Medica of a drug may not be actually related to that drug at all, but to the contaminants. This issue will have to be considered in more details later, when discussing about ‘materia medica’.
It is not at all realistic to imagine that the same drug sample of Nux Vomica used for proving is always used for preparing its potencies also. It may have been procured and prepared from another location, climate, environment, time and circumstances. All of these factors may necessarily influence their chemical constitution also. Contaminants and pollutants also differ with time, place and persons who handled it. Yet, we are obliged to call all these different samples as Nux Vomica, and use it as same drug, believing that it is a ‘single drug’!
In reality, potentized Nux Vomica we get now from pharmacies are prepared from samples very much different from the samples used for proving it two hundred years back. It might not necessarily be the same contaminations and foreign molecules which happen to be mixed with the drug during procurement and potentization. Entirely new type of impurities and foreign molecules, different from proven samples, shall definitely get mixed with drugs while potentizing. Naturally, these contaminants and foreign molecules also get subjected to potentization along with original drug molecules. It is evident that the homeopathic potencies of Nux Vomica we get from pharmacies contain the potentized forms of these new contaminant molecules also. In other words, they are mixed with potentized forms of these unknown substances, entirely different from those were subjected to proving. We cannot ignore the fact that we are not using potencies of same drug, that have been proved earlier and recorded in the materia medica, eventhough we call it with same name. It is composed of an entirely different mixture, much more different in molecular structure from the one subjected to original proving. We use the potentized form of this new combination, on the basis of symptoms produced by another combination earlier, using the therapeutic principle ‘Similia Similibus Curentur’. Is not this realization somewhat emberassing? Unless we provide convincing solutions to the ethical, theoretical and practical problems raised by this situation, it would be unfair to continue claiming that we are using ‘single drugs’!
The following facts are evident from this deliberation. At least some or other groups of symptoms attributed in the Materia Medica as that of a particular drug substance used for proving might not be related to it at all, but to the contaminants happened to be subjected to proving. Same way, in the potentized form, we are administering to the patient potencies of some additional molecules also in the, entirely different from those subjected to earlier provings. In short, Nux vomica we read in materia medica is different from Nux Vomica we use for treatment, even though both bear the same label. It means that while there will be most of the expected qualities in the potencies we use, there will definitely be the absence of at least some or other qualities we expect. Because, certain contaminant molecules subjected to proving and represented in the materia medica, might not be present in the samples used for potentization. It shows how much uncertain and unpredictable is the outcome of homeopathic medication in present situation.
Now, we have to consider the factor of foreign molecules which are likely to contaminate unexpectedly into the samples used for the commercial preparation of potencies. These foreign molecules have never been proved. We are totally ignorant about the different ways in which they might have interacted with the molecules of the original drug. We have no idea regarding the molecular inhibitions or the groups of symptoms they are likely to produce in the living organism. In spite of all these deficiencies, we apply the potencies of such unknown foreign molecules also, along with the original medicinal substance in to the body of a patient. Same time, we claim we are using ‘single drug’ only!
During our clinical practice, we would have experienced instances of removal of totally unexpected symptoms and diseases from the patient. Those symptoms might not be included in any text book of Materia Medica of the given drug. I suspect it may be the potencies of those unknown molecules entering the sample during potentization that is playing this trick.
The above facts more than expose the hollowness of our belief and often-repeated claim that we give a ‘single medicine’ to our patient. It is undeniable that we are using medicines selected on the basis of similarity of symptoms, mixing it with potencies of some or other different types of molecules as well. This is an unpleasant situation which we cannot neglect. We should understand that we are giving the patient a mixture of potencies of different types of molecules, about some of which we have no idea at all. Same time, our medicines provide expected results when applied on the basis of ‘similia similibus curentur’. It shows that the presence of potencies of any unproved and unknown foreign molecules in the potentized drug in no way negatively affect the its effectiveness as a therapeutic agent.
During proving of drugs, the molecules and ions contained in them act individually up on different bio-molecular targets, on the basis of their configurational and charge affinity, and produce their own individual “groups of symptoms”. Like wise, when drugs are potentised, the constituent molecules and ions are individually subjected to a process of molecular imprinting in water-alcohol mixture, forming hydrosomes, that are exact counteractive configurational factors (CCF) of original molecules used as “guest” molecules in imprinting. That is why the presence of impurities which enter at the time of potentization never adversely affect the quality of the potencies of original drug. All the potencies, that we consider as single medicine are in realty a mixture or combination of “molecular imprints” of different types of independent molecules and ions, which never interact with each other in potentized form. This revealation prove that there is no harm to the “molecular imprints” of original drug molecules contained in the potencies, even if potencies of any foreign molecules happen to be mixed with them, deliberately or otherwise. More over, when introduced into the organism, these “molecular imprints” interact with biological molecules in their individual capacities, on the basis of configurational affinity. Since molecules and ions are subjected to molecular imprinting in their individual capacities, and they cannot interact with each other in that form, there is no chance of happening any harm, by mixing two or more samples of potencies of different drugs.
There is least possibility of any constituent molecules of drug substance remaining in their potentized forms above 12c. Only molecular imprints will remain. Hence, when higher potencies of two drugs are mixed together, there will be no chemical interaction taking place between them. In such a mixture, the molecular imprints of constituents of both samples will remain independent, without influencing each other, and with out losing their own individual qualities whatsoever.
What happens when such a mixture of two or more potentized drugs is introduced into the organism of a patient? Naturally, the molecular imprints of each constituent drug molecule interacts with biological molecules and pathological molecules individually, based on their specific configurational affinity. As counteractive configurational factors, they can bind only to the pathological molecules, which are similar to the original drug molecules that were used for imprinting. The biological molecules are thereby relieved from inhibitions caused by pathological molecules. This process ultimately removes the state of pathology, and relieves the subjective and objective symptoms of disease. A homeopathic cure is said to be effected. Due to their specific configuratioanal affinity, each type of molecular imprints can locate, identify and bind to exact molecular targets, whereas in the absence of exact molecular targets, these imprints stay neutral, since they are composed of mere water and alcohol molecules. The saying that ‘if a homeopathic potency is not similimum to a patient, it will not act’ is well explained here.
The question of acceptability of administering two or more homeopathic medicines in potentized form, by mixing, alternating, or simultaneously, should be discussed in the light of the above findings.
It is a very important fact that the drugs in the potentized form, which have no similarity with any group of symptoms shown by the patient, will not be able to create any sort of reaction in the living organism. Chemically, potentized drugs being only a mixture of alcohol and water, their chemical properties will remain confined to that molecular structure. Therefore, when we mix homoeopathic potencies of different drugs together, there is no chance for any chemical interactions to take place. More over the configurational properties of the diverse types molecular imprints contained in them are not in any way destroyed by this mixing.
Issue of “Drug-Relationships:
“Drug relationship” is a subject about which most homeo practitioners are very much worried and confused when talking about combining of potentized drugs. Some practitioners very much rely upon ‘drug relationships’ even in deciding their treatment protocols. Concepts such as ‘complementary’, ‘inimical’, ‘antidotal’ etc., are frequently utilized in everyday practice. Some doctors even deviate from the theory of similimum, due to their over indulgence with ‘drug relationship’ protocols. When prescribing a drug based on its so-called complementary relationship to the earlier prescriptions, we forget to consider whether it is a similimum by totality of symptoms. Yet, we call it ‘classical’ homeopathy. When searching through the literature and authorities regarding drug relationships, it will be seen that no reliable scientific studies have been done on this subject. Most of the drug relationships are proposed by empirical clinical observations of practitioners, and not corroborated by scientific studies or evidences. More over, practitioners who are not much bothered over this relationships between drugs swear that their experiences prove otherwise. Some homeopaths prescribe even so-called inimical drugs simultaneously or alternatingly, and get expected positive clinical results.
We have already seen during our previous deliberations that in homeopathic potencies above 12C, there is no chance of drug molecules to exist. These preparations contain only molecular imprints of constituent molecules of the drug substance subjected to potentization. Molecular imprints are only supramolecular formations or hydrosomes. Chemically, they contain only water and ethyl alcohol molecules. Any sample of potentized homeopathic drug contains hundreds of types of individual “imprints”, representing the diverse types of molecules contained in the original drug substance. It is clear that they co-exist without disturbing or influencing each other in anyway, same time preserving their individual properties as “molecular imprints” of specific drug molecules.
1. This clearly indicates that highly potentized homoeopathic preparations cannot interact with each other , since they contain no drug molecules. Obviously, they are not likely to engage in any mutual interaction within or outside the organism. They can never antidote or destroy each other.
2. Same time, the case of mother tinctures and preparations below 12c potencies may be totally different. They contain crude drug molecules, which can interact with each other due to their chemical properties. The concept of ‘drug relationships’ may be valid in the case of these low potencies. Low potencies may be more active than crude drugs, since they contain free molecules and ions.
3. Low potencies and mother tincture of a drug may antidote higher potencies of same drug, due to the interaction with the counteractive complementary factors(CCF) contained in the higher potencies.
4. Same way, low potencies and mother tinctures of a drug may antidote higher potencies of another drug that may contain similar constituent molecules, due to the interaction with the counteractive complementary factors(CCF) contained in the higher potencies. Obviously, drugs containing similar molecules may have more or less similar symptomatology during drug proving.
5. Higher potencies of a drug may antidote the physiological effects of low potencies and mother tinctures of same drug, due to the interaction with the counteractive complementary factors(CCF) contained in the higher potencies.
6. Same way, higher potencies of a drug may antidote low potencies and mother tincture of another drug, that may contain similar constituent molecules, due to the interaction with the counteractive complementary factors contained in the higher potencies.
If there is similarity only between certain types of constituent molecules of two drugs, partial anti-doting is possible. That means, molecules having configurational similarity only are subjected to anti-doting by this way. Such drugs will have partially similar symptomatologies also.
We should be aware of the possibility of dangerous chemical interactions that might result between the constituent drug molecules of different drugs, when we mix or administer two or more mother tinctures and low potency preparations together.
We know that many homeopathic practitioners prescribe plenty of mother tinctures and low potency preparations. They do very successful practice also. But, I am a bit suspicious regarding the desirability of inordinate use of mother tinctures, low potencies and crude drugs, especially in a routine way for long terms.
It may relieve some of the symptoms, of course. But danger of emerging ever new off-target molecular errors and resultant pathological conditions really exist in such a treatment protocol. We must not forget that the symptoms listed in our materia medica reprsent the result of pathologic conditions that can be generated in healthy persons by the use of these drugs in crude form. Indiscriminate long-term use of mother tinctures containing plant enzymes, poisonous alkaloids, glycosides and various other phyto-chemical ingredients is an unpardonable crime even if it is done in the name of homeopathy. The drug molecules and ions contained in these tinctures might perhaps give temporary relief by acting as nutritional supplementations, or by a competitive relationship to pathological molecules due to configurational similarity. But it is evident from their recorded symptomatologies that the constituent molecules and ions of those drugs were capable of creating various pathological molecular inhibitions in diverse bio-chemic pathways in the organism. We should never forget that the subjective and objective symptoms provided in our material medica were created by the molecular deviations happened in healthy individuals by the use of drugs during drug proving. Hence in my opinion, it is ideal to treat patients using potencies above 23c, which do not contain any trace of the drug molecules of the original drug. If our case taking, repertorization and selection of drug is correct, there is no chance of failure in such a protocol. Use of mother tinctures and low potencies will have to be considered as identical to Ayurveda, Allopathy or Herbal treatment, even though we use the label of homeopathy. Those who indulge in excessive use of mother tinctures, without bothering about the constituent drug molecules and their adverse long term impacts on the organism, are more hazardous to human health than our allopathic counterparts. I humbly request them to think over.
From our materia medica works, it may be understood that most of those people who had participated in proving of Hydrastis Canadensis developed symptoms of gastric ulcer and hyperacidity along with many other deep seated pathological conditions. Doctors who administer large doses of Hydrastis Tincture to relive gastric symptoms as part of homeopathic treatment should note this point . Of course, we may get temporary relief, by the way of competitive relationships with pathological molecules, due to configurational similarity of drug molecules and pathological molecules. The prolonged use of Hydrasts Tincture not only produce the symptoms mentioned in its materia medica, but may even induce very serious genetic errors to happen. If hydrastis is the similimum for the patient, it will be effective in high potencies. This is real homeopathy.
Please do not be provoked when I say that who give Passiflora for inducing sleep, Rauwolfia for lowering blood pressure and Syzijium for high blood sugar in their tincture form, are not practicing ideal homeopathy even if they may be well known homeopaths, producing results. No homeopath with some common sense, who had carefully read the materia medica of Alfalfa will dare to prescribe it as tonics to improve the appetite and general health of innocent children. It is evident from its symptomatology that Alfalfa is capable of producing diabetes, bulimia, and upsetting the normal functioning of kidneys.
We should remember that there was no exact knowledge regarding the long term evil effects of many drugs, when many of them were proved and their materia medica prepared. There was least knowledge about the probable hazardous genetic disorders they were likely to produce. It is found in Boecricke Materia medica that Arsenic Bromide mother tincture is indicated for diabetes. No physician with scientific awareness will even think of prescribing that drug today in low potencies. Who will now dare to prescribe Ars iod 3x, Iodum 3x, Sulphur Q, or various compounds of Mercury and Lead only because they are given in our text books of Materia Medica?
We know of homeopaths who make their patients consume for prolonged periods, the mother tinctures of several drugs, including various patented combinations flooding the market in the name of Homeopathy. How can Homeopaths prescribe them without any prick of conscience? Those who love homoeopathy should take urgent initiative to prevent such tendencies either through awareness programs and campaigns, or through stringent legislational procedures.
A homeopathic medicine, as any other drug substance, works internally, at molecular level, irrespective of the route through which it is introduced into the body. Even if a drug is applied externally, intended as a local medication, it will be absorbed into the body fluids through capillary systems, conveyed through blood, lymph or other internal transport systems, undergo bio-chemical changes, and act on various target molecules, according to the configuration of their constituent molecules. This is true whether it is applied on the tongue or on the skin. Hence the term ‘external application’ is a misnomer.
Even if we decide to use a homeopathic medicine externally, it would be ideal to use a smilimum, in potentized form, selected on the basis of symptomatology. In the case of mother tinctures and low potencies, their usage should be considered only if one intend to administer the mdicine in its crude form itself. In that case, even though we may get some palliations, it will not be much different from allopathy or ayurveda, and cannot be considered a legitimate homeopathic practice. We should bear in mind the fact that when we apply homeopathic drugs as external applications, they act on the basis of therapeutic principle of ‘Similia Similibus Curentur’.
It is an absolute blunder to consider that medicines used externally on the skin act only on the skin. The homeopathic ointments, hair tonics, creams and toilet soaps flooding the market are to be seen as the growing trend of unethical commercialization of homeopathy. Homeopaths should fight this trend with all their might.
Need for Concerted Research
The whole stream of ideas presented in this article contains a lot of hypothetical deductions developed using known facts and dialectical logical method, which need to be corroborated by a series of well organized scientific experiments. Author is himself well conscious of his own inescapable intellectual and material limitations in taking up a work of such a magnitude. Admittedly, this article is only a very inexpert and incomplete attempt to provide a scientific explanation to the theoretical and practical riddles involved in Homeopathy. Kindly take it merely as an initial step in that direction. But I would dare to declare aloud my great conviction that, primitive forms of nano-technology and modern molecular medicine lay hidden encapsulated in the two century old theory of ‘similia similibus curentur’, and the wonderful art of homeopathic ‘potentization’.
When we delve deeper and deeper in to scientific re-reading of homeopathy, we cannot help ourselves from bowing again and again with wonder and respect on the feet of the glowing memory of the great master, who invented such a great therapeutic system, which transcends the limitations of centuries. Let us hope that the modern scientific community which had failed to recognize and respect that great genius, would show their grandeur, by rectifying themselves at least here after.
I think the issues elaborated in this article certainly deserve further concerted research and serious scientific studies. We have to visualize a mega research project involving investment of huge financial and human resources, with participation of experts in homeopathy, along with scientists having expertise in different related fields. This project will have to incorporate various subjects such as nano-technology, molecular biology, biochemistry, genetics, pharmacodynamics, neuro-endocrinology, supra-molecular chemistry, water clusters, liquid crystals, clatharate compounds, molecular imprinting, shape memory property etc. This humble attempt of mine may be seen only as an expression of intense desire on my part to draw attention of the leading lights in the field of homeopathy to the imperative of taking up of such a serious research project. Author will be more than satisfied, even if this article could induce an inner spark of creative desire in the mind of at least one individual having authority and capability to take up this historic mission to fruition.
In order to prove this hypothesis we should be capable of finding answer to the following 14 questions:
- Whether chemical structure of water/ethyl alcohol mixture(control) and potentized medicine are same
- Whether potentized medicines do not contain original drug molecules.
- Whether potentized medicines act up on biological molecules in a different from control solutions.
- Whether potentized medicines react with biological molecules in exactly opposite way from that of original drug molecules.
- Whether by the influence of forces such as heat, electricity or other EMRs, potentized medicines lose their power to interact with biological molecules.
- Whether potentized medicines can prevent their original drug molecules from interacting with biological molecules.
- Whether potentized medicines can antidote the biochemical actions of their original drug molecules.
- Whether potentized medicines have any physical properties different from control solutions.
- Whether potentized medicines contain supra-molecular clusters of water/ethyl alcohol, and controls do not contain such clusters.
- Whether those clusters disappear once the potentized medicines are subjected to heat or electric current or strong EMRs.
- Whether potentized medicines can absorb more UV light than controls, during spectrometric studies
- Whether scattering of light in potentized medicines and controls are different.
- Whether defraction of light beam are different in potentized medicines and control solutions.
- Whether the hydrogen bonds in potentized medicines are more strong and stable than that of control solutions.
As revised on 20-01-2011, Kannur, Kerala
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