Never being one to blindly believe in something, I researched what I could find about homeopathy years ago, and none of its claims seemed to hold up under scrutiny. But these days you have to ask, “Who’s doing the scrutinizing?” and, “Who’s paying for that research?”.
For those of you not familiar with the term, homeopathy is a healing discipline well rooted in Europe that has made slow progress here in the States. Its basic tenet is that something that gives you certain symptoms, when consumed in astronomically infinitesimal doses, can also cure those symptoms. Using the “highest potency” homeopathic pills available (200C), the dilution of the active ingredients with water, in this case 1-to-100, done 200 times, dilutes the ingredient to a point beyond the density of atoms in the known universe (actually, about 2.5 known universes!). So if some active principal remains in those tiny sugar pills it’s certainly no longer based on particle physics.
So it was with some great deal of skepticism that I embarked on two admittedly rather unscientific tests of its efficacy. The first was on myself.
I had developed a chronic form of tendinitis in my right shoulder and arm which a physical therapist referred to as “tendinosis”. It eventually prevented raising my arm beyond about 30 degrees to the side, and scratching my back, even by my waist, proved impossible. I started physical therapy at a nearby clinic but was making very slow progress. Arnica Montana is supposed to be great for pain and inflammation, so I figured, what could it hurt, right? I took three doses per day of 200C Arnica Montana for two days. The next day, when I woke up and tried stretching, I got a huge surprise! The arm was totally cured, and I could move it freely in any direction. That was the day for my next therapy session, so I just strolled in and said, “Look what I can do!” Needless to say, jaws dropped. “You took what?” I may not be terribly impressed with Arnica’s ability to reduce pain, but as a highly safe, side-effect free, non-narcotic anti-inflammatory it seems unsurpassed.
In a similar test, but without the belief (or disbelief) systems of a human in tow, I decided to try homeopathy on one of our pet sheep.
11 year old Hazel had a variety of symptoms two months or so ago that indicated she had possibly contracted either Lyme disease or one of its co-infectious cousins from the bite of a tick. Her pasture partner Lena had the same symptoms about 10 years earlier and we successfully treated her, under veterinary advise, with a single injection of Tetracycline. So we tried the same with Hazel, and initially all went as planned. Her odd posturing, stumbling, inability to get up, and swollen “knee” joints all went away for about a month. We had been having to move her periodically (dragging her up by the wool at her sides to forcibly march her forward), bring her forage, make sure she wasn’t stuck on her side, etc. But the symptoms swiftly returned, and I began twice-weekly injections of Tetracycline, treating her case as one of chronic Lyme disease. This was continued for 5 weeks, along with twice-daily feeding of plain, high-dose aspirin to relieve joint pain (also vet-recommended). But after 6 weeks, still no improvement. She was completely “beached” most of the time, unable to graze, pee or poop while standing, or even right herself if she fell on her side.
Since she had no preconceived beliefs on this matter, what better test than to try 200C Rhus Toxicodendron (poison ivy) for symptoms of arthritis? I didn’t even tell Larisa what I was attempting so as not to influence her observations. On the third day of treatment Hazel walked again, all on her own, for the first time in over a month! She wasn’t fast, but she could get up on her own and shakily stroll to the next spot she liked, then lie down without simply crashing. If we want her to go somewhere we now simply nudge her side, she gets up, and we either encourage her forward with a food reward or pull lightly on the wool at her rear sides, which causes a sheep to pull forward away from you in whatever direction they are facing.
She is currently on her fourth day of treatment and it’s such a joy to see her periodically act like a sheep again! She loves the taste of the tiny “sugar pills” I offer 3 times per day. I have no idea how long to continue treatment or what to do as far as dosage changes, and I don’t know what will happen if I discontinue treatment, as I did for my shoulder injury. But for now, you can be assured that I have a newfound respect for homeopathy on our homestead.
After 8 days on the homeopathic arthritis treatment, Hazel the sheep can now get up and walk a couple of hundred feet on her own. I’ve got to remember to keep some gates closed now that she can wander out of areas she hadn’t tried in 2 months!
After 3 days off of the homeopathic treatment Hazel is now walking all the way out to pasture again, across sloping, uneven ground. And although she still doesn’t do stand-up grazing, her progress is notable. After seeing her “beached” on her side a couple of times per day, though, mainly because one front leg still works better than the other, we decided to resume the homepathics.