Homeopathy is one of the therapeutic, but the only curative system of medicine. The homeopathic system has a clearly defined scope and limitations of its own. Hahnemann has clearly remarked that homeopathy is the only possible method of treatment of dynamic diseases.
“Accuracy and efficacy in homeopathic therapeutics is possible to those who have clearly defined idea of the field in which the principle of similia is operative,” says Stuart close in his “Genius of homeopathy”.
At present, we find two different schools of homeopathy; one group believes too much in the homeopathic law and tries to ally the same in curing even the incurable. Probably this school of thought made homeopathy a miracle medicine. Another group believes too little in the efficacy of homeopathy. Their ignorance in the application of this system even leaves the curable cases, incurable.
Only the proper knowledge of the scope and limitations of homeopathy helps one to decide in which cases it can be applied and in which it cannot be. The most confident prescription is possible only by this knowledge. The physician can easily understand that before the development of any pathological condition, there always does exists a functional disturbance. This functional disturbance progressed into functional defects and lead to tissue damage or pathological change. So in enquiring the totality of symptoms, the homeopath enquires the cause of the disease which has lead to this functional defect and hence leads to the pathological change. The homeopathic prescription is aimed at the cause and not at the pathology which is the result of the disease.
Scope of Homeopathy
1. In dynamic diseases, homeopathy has a large scope: It has a very great scope in the field of vital phenomena and functional changes in the individual patient, irrespective of the name of the disease or its cause. Homeopathy is confined and operative in the field of vital dynamics.
2. Stuart Close says that the living being can be affected primarily by three ways:
- i. mechanical
- ii. chemical
- iii. dynamic
i. Mechanical causes can only be treated by surgical means, physical therapeutics, and hygiene. Examples of mechanical uses are cases of trauma, accidents, injuries, fractures of the bones etc.
ii. Chemical causes can only be treated by physiological or chemical antidotes, and then followed by appropriate homeopathic treatment for the functional derangement that follows. The examples of chemical causes are poisonings of any kind.
iii. In the dynamic causes of diseases, homeopathy has full scope. The dynamic diseases are those which are caused by the miasms.
3. The effects of dynamic causes like intangible medicinal and toxic agents that constantly disturb the mind and body of the patient, come under the scope of similia. Example: mental or psychical, atmospheric or telluric, thermal, climacteric, dietic, hygienic, contagious, infectious, etc can be cured effectively by homeopathy.
4.The disorders arising from prolonged abuse of drugs, fall under the scope of homeopathy. i.e. Iatrogenic diseases.
5. The disorders arising from the bacterial causes, or pathogenic microorganisms, producing their effects through their toxins, or alkaloids, homeopathy has much more to offer. For example: the triumphant success of pioneers in treating the cases like cholera, yellow fever, typhus, and typhoid fever, malarial fever, diphtheria, tuberculosis and pneumonia etc are the proof for the above statement. Effective control of epidemic Encephalitis that broke out in the state of Andhra Pradesh with the use of Belladonna, Calcarea carb, and Tuberculinum (B.C.T) by the south Indian homeopaths is one of the best examples.
Limitations of Homeopathy
Stuart Close explains Dake’s postulates in his “Genius of homeopathy”, which gives a clear-cut picture of the limitations of homeopathy. The postulates and their following explanation will make the concept clear.
- Homeopathy relates primarily to no affections of health, where the exciting and maintaining cause of disease is constantly present and operative.
- Homeopathy relates primarily to no affections of health which will of themselves cease after the removal of exciting cause or hygienic measures.
- Homeopathy relates primarily to no affections of health occasioned by the injury or destruction of tissues that are incapable of restoration.
- Homeopathy relates primarily to no affections of health where the vital reactive power of the organisms to medicines is exhausted or prevented: a homeopathic medicine produces a similar type of primary action after its administration. As a response to this primary action, the vital force produces a secondary curative response to this primary action, hence cure takes place. So in conditions where the vital force does not possess the power of reactivity, homeopathic medicines cannot produce the desired curative response.
- In the pure surgical and obstetrical techniques homeopathy has no role to play. But the skilled homeopath can utilize their techniques to treat the patient. In § 13 Hahnemann says, “Therefore the diseases that does not come within the province of surgery, homeopathy has a scope.” In short, the pure surgical cases have to be left to the surgeon.
- Idiosyncratic patients: Idiosyncratic patients are quite difficult to cure. Because of their peculiar corporeal constitutions, they prove every remedy they get, especially in higher potencies. Hence, Dr. Kent advises using lower potencies in such cases and to ascend gradually to higher till you get the desired response.
- The theory of vital force and the dynamization of medicine are very difficult to explain by the existing material sciences. Hence homeopathy has been targeted and termed by illiterates as well as the material scientists, as the unscientific medical system. A lot of research has to be done in this field by homeopaths.
- The homeopathic system depends solely on the natural process and the natural laws; it has a limitation in the practice of applying medicines to control the natural occurrences. Hence it is no role in the field of contraception, anesthesia, drug-induced abortions etc.
- Highly dependable preoperative, post-operative, well-proven, and preventive medications are not available in homeopathy. Many pioneers have contributed various preventive medications in their literary works. But the efficacy of such medicines in today’s context has to be evaluated by thorough research work. Role of the homeopathic medicines in this field has to develop yet.
- Bias selection of the remedy and individualization: different methods of analysis and evaluation process advocated by various physicians contributed to the development of controversial views in the process of individualization of the patient. Bias of prescriptions has led to confusion and trial and error methods as the only way.
The scope and limitations of homeopathy is an important topic for the practitioner and the student as it helps us in screening and handling the cases properly and relevantly. This also helps in applying the law of similia only in the
area where it is applicable.
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