The Myth of No Mint Or Coffee With Homeopathics

There are many unfortunate myths which have been perpetrated by ‘Classical’ homeopathy, which are often carried over by new patients. One of the big ones is the supposed “no mint” and “no coffee” rule while taking homeopathic remedies. When I was first a patient, I took these “rules” seriously, and systematically eliminated every possible exposure to mint from my life. I’ve never been a coffee drinker, so that was a non-issue for me.

The issue with mint and coffee, is that they supposedly antidote any homeopathic remedy, and therefore undo any of the positive effects of taking them. This is not at all true when remedies are prescribed according to the Heilkunst framework, as the action of the remedy is aimed at a much deeper level, and cannot easily be knocked off course.

What all the fuss and bother about mint and coffee indicates to me is that the method of “symptom picture” prescribing in classical homeopathy is only taking aim at a very superficial level of the problem, and therefore the remedy can easily be knocked off course by a “strong” substance such as mint or coffee.

If you’ve put off homeopathic treatment because you’re afraid that you can’t give up coffee — don’t worry, the remedies still work exactly as they’re supposed to.

The Periodic Table : Another Look At The Homeopathic Constitutions

The six genotypes (basic homeopathic personality types) are made up of four mineral remedies, and two plant. The four mineral remedies each appear on the periodic table, and studying them from this perspective sheds further light on the essence of these types. By examining the location of each of the elements on the periodic table, its implicit core theme illuminates another dimension of each of these constitutional types.

The four mineral genotypes are : sulphur, calcarea carbonicum, phosphorous, and silicea. Here is there theme according to their place on the periodic table, and what it illuminates about the constitutional type:

  • Sulphur — appearing on the third row of the periodic table, it is a theme related to identity. The specific focus of sulphur is the dichotomy between pride and arrogance. Understanding the sulphur constitution in contrast to the silicea type, we can see that we are looking at the difference between our lower and higher ego functions respectively. There is no type which has a greater sense of their (lower ego) self than sulphur, and when healthy, they are incredibly grounded in the reality of here and now.
  • Calcarea Carbonicum — This element appears on the fourth row of the periodic table, which embodies issues of security. This remedy in particular is particularly structured around the issues of risk versus safety. At their best, they can be an incredible foundation to a family or community, and at their worst, they can leave much of their own potential untapped as the high price they pay to attain security, and to avoid any risks.
  • Phosphorous — Like sulphur, this is also an element on the third row of the periodic table, centred around issues of identity. The specific issue here is around the strength of their boundaries and sense of self. When healthy, this shows up as a very lively social activity, with much exchange of energy and communication with the people around them, but when unhealthy, you see someone who doesn’t know who they are beyond reflecting the identity of those around them. Attaining a true sense of independence is the struggle for phosphorous.
  • Silicea — Also from the third row (identity issues), the core theme here relates to a fundamental performance anxiety. At its worst, this can lead to some of the most intense forms of perfectionism, and an inability to reveal their true thoughts or work into a public space. This can become a form of high rigidity, and ultimately a very weak or brittle immune system. Sulphur’s greatest strength (grounded ego) is silicea’s greatest weakness — they can have a tremendous fear about being ‘seen’ by others, and therefore judged by standards which they feel impossible to meet.

The remaining two genotypes, lycopodium and pulsatilla are plant-based remedies, and are not on the periodic table, and would need to be examined within a context looking at the meaning of different plants.

The Periodic Table : Alumina (Aluminum)

Another common element in our environment, which we need to be aware of minimizing and detoxing from, is aluminum. It’s link with Alzheimer’s disease is one of the well-known adverse effects of this toxin. Many people have also figured out that many commercial brands of antiperspirants or deodorants are a source of aluminum, and are better replaced by alternatives.

Like Chlorine, Aluminium also exists on the third row of the periodic table, which means that its use as a homeopathic remedy relates to the general theme of identity. Where the issue in Chlorine is one of taking on a ‘negative’ identity, in the case of rebelling against a dominant role model, Alumina has a theme of a more generalized confusion regarding their identity. This comes as no surprise when its link to Alzheimer’s is recalled, but it is a theme which is much more pervasive than this one medical condition.

The mental and emotional characteristics of alumina are very slow – slow to think, slow to respond, and slow to take action. This slowness is actually a cover-up for a deeper layer of strange inexplicable impulses which are feared, and attempted to be controlled. It is as if the whole nervous system has been taken down a few notches, and is running at a much slower speed then usual. Many physical conditions involving a disturbance of the nervous system may be helped with alumina.

At the higher cognitive level, the situation of alumina can have resulted from a parenting style which was excessively controlling, where the child had little opportunity to discover their own identity. The bizarre impulses are a perverted form of this core identity attempting to assert itself, but not really knowing how. Some of the compulsive behaviours of a mid-life crisis may sometimes be attributed to this underlying state of being insufficiently grounded in the true self.

The Periodic Table : Chlorum (Chlorine)

Chlorine is a ubiquitous element in our modern life. Whether our household water comes from a municipality which treats the common drinking water, or we regularly swim in a public pool which is treated with pool chemicals that include chlorine, it is an important element to understand in terms of its toxicity and negative health effects. When it comes to the chlorine in our drinking water, or showers, it can be eliminated with a suitable filtration system. While its use as a disinfectant may be necessary in large-scale water distribution systems, its adverse effects are not minor, and is strongly implicated as a cancer-causing agent. This is one of the common toxins which I need to consider aiding my patients with in their regular detox protocols.

To consider Chlorine from another perspective, I would like to illustrate when it may be used as a homeopathic remedy (Chlorum) for reasons other than physical detox. Understanding its properities as a physical element (disinfecton; killing pathogens) gives us the best clue as to its use at this level. All mineral elements, as catalogued according to the periodic table, represent, in their dynamised (homeopathic) form, a particular aspect of our ontic organization (sense of self) which may have gotten caught up in a particular conflict.

The conflict of chlorum relates to the general issue of identity, and more specifically to the pattern of taking on a negative identity – by this, I mean that a conscious decision has been made at some point to never be like a certain negative role model which one has suffered earlier in their life. The typical youthful rebellion against mom and/or dad often takes this form, where the conscious decision is to NOT become like them, and instead to foster qualities which are lacking in the negative role model.

The thing is, though, that this is hardly a way to create a unique identity, as it functions entirely in terms of the characteristics to be avoided — whether you take on characteristics of your mom, or their opposite, your identity is still defined in terms of her. A truer process of maturation is one which is not defined at all in terms of a positive or negative role model, but instead from characteristics which are unique to the individual and their particular desire function and resonance pattern. In this light, it is fascinating that the physical toxicity of chlorum contributes to cancer, as this particular state of mind around identity formation is also strongly related to the formation of the cancer state of mind.

Detox Specific To Your Work Environment

Both prevention, and maintenance are two critical ongoing aspects of healthcare. The dramatic events of the cure or reversal of a disease certainly fill up buckets of emotions within my office space every day. In between these momentous events  lay the endless need for day-to-day maintenance and prevention. One aspect of this relates to the topics of detoxification and drainage. The former relating to the removal of specific environmental toxins from your system, and the latter relating to promoting optimal function of your detox organs themselves — so that the skin, liver, kidneys, lungs, etc., are able to do their job of expelling the toxins out to the surface.

Given each patient’s specific work or home environments, I’ll formulate a specific drainage/detox combo remedy bottle which targets the toxins which they are regularly exposed to.

Some examples include:

  • Hair salon chemicals – for the hairdresser who is exposed to many chemically-laden hair products every day, this dropper bottle is formulated specifically to keep these toxins purged from their system.
  • Quitting an addiction – someone who is in the process of reducing and then eliminating a given addiction, such as coffee or cigarettes, can be given a drainage/detox formula which has all of the specific chemical elements while this process is underway.
  • Dentist or assistant – particularly in a dental office which is not focussed on holistic health, there is very regular exposure to highly toxic substances, including mercury in amalgams, as well as fluoride. Some dentists, in fact, convert their whole office over to being both mercury-free and fluoride-free when they start to learn of the incredible toxicity to themselves and their patients.

There a numerous work-specific examples of toxic exposures, which I address on a case-by-case basis with each patient. The more that you can specifically name the chemicals involved in your work, the more specific I can get in formulating a drainage/detox dropper for your needs.

Eat Your Books, Too!

One of the shifts which my patients make on their way to greater health is in their attitude towards food and other basics of lifestyle. The person who rebels against “being told what to do”, and who stubbornly sticks to eating “whatever they feel like” (which everyone is ultimately free to do, if they wish), limits how far their state of health can be expanded over the long run. These sorts of pleasures typically exist only at the surface layer, and are actually suppressive of the individual discovering and unfolding their true self. Not that I advise against pleasure — quite the contrary! — it is rather a distinction between superficial ‘attractions’, and much deeper ‘resonances’ with what one engages in.

Food is not the only thing which we take in, and which we can do with varying degrees of consciousness and resonance. Our “nutrition” is also inclusive of ideas, various art forms, relationships, and any number of creative activities. Out of choice, we can select a film or novel to ingest based on its resonance for us as a remedial object — we all know too well how many “mind numbing” forms of entertainment there are, as compared to the select few pieces which connect to something deeper within us, and draw some truth out of our core.

Such choices of resonance are not necessarily easy to discern, and we may often have the tendency of avoiding them even when we know what we need. The resonant and remedial things available to us are often unconsciously avoided, as a kind of defence mechanism to keep from stirring anything up within ourselves from our depths.

We all have habitual musical genres we listen to, as well as certain types of film we routinely watch — but much of the time, there is a key growth opportunity we have in choosing to explore a genre we would typically avoid. Always keeping to our habits keeps us more in our subjective feelings, which exist at the surface, rather than connecting us to a deeper layer of our objective feeling about our self and life. As the science of Heilkunst expands, “remedies” will more and more include specific recommendations for books, movies, or other cultural activities which will provoke a healing process in the patient.

Take a few minutes to write down some of the specific genres which you dislike, and try to identify their objective feeling, which you could also find mirrored somewhere in yourself as a darker, unexplored aspect.

The Ideogenic Realm : Germanium

Germanium is an element which appears in the fourth row of the periodic table, and the fourteenth column. When studying the medicinal (homeopathic) use of substances from the periodic table, each row has a particular meaning related to a certain stage of human development. The substances from the fourth row of the periodic table relate to basic security issues.

The Germanium response to security issues is a certain type of perfectionism. It’s a type of perfectionism which drives the germanium state of mind to attempt to overcome a deep inner sense of failure, and for which all of their thought, feelings, and actions are poised to compensate for. It can become an all-consuming feeling, which gives an impression of great heaviness to the observer.

There is a tremendous tendency towards being made anxious by any possible trigger, as well as outbursts of anger which quickly pass. There are many symptoms at the mental and emotional levels, including a difficulty in comprehending things, or in concentrating on anything. There is a feeling of embarrassment in this remedy, as well as a condition of being spacey. There is a very high degree of self-control applied, as a result for the perfectionistic drive, and the desire to compensate for themselves. There may also be much fatigue at the physical or mental levels.

This state may originate in a combination of factors which have contributed to a patients total pattern of armoring (biological and pscyhological), along with a pre-existing tendency for a belief state of failure or inadequacy. It will be a state which may emerge during the treatment of the cancer miasm, as well.

“Physical” Homeopathy

When someone says that they’re going to the health food store to “buy a homeopathic remedy”, they’re often mistaken. You’ll hear people misuse the term all of the time, and once you understand why, you’ll have a much better understanding of how and when to apply homeopathy in the treatment or prevention of disease.

The mistake that has almost become standard in every expression of the term, is to associate and even define what is “homeopathic” as that which has been potentized, ie diluted and succussed. While this is the most common method for delivering a remedy homeopathically, it does NOT define the essence of what a homeopathic remedy is. The key to understanding it is in terms of a relationshipthat is, a given remedy is homeopathic to a given disease when there is a high degree of similarity between the two.

To make this as clear as possible, let me illustrate with some examples:

  • Someone with an upset stomach may successfully find relief by drinking some camomile tea — the relationship between the essential properties of chamomile as an artificial disease, and the disease causing a stomach ache are often highly homeopathic (ie similar). The tea has NOT been potentized, yet is still acting completely on the basis of homeopathic principles.
  • Some Native Americans would traditionally drink from a tea made from poison ivy plants in the spring in order to create an immunity from it for the season.
  • In first aid treatment of burns, the approach which promotes the quickest healing, and the least degree of pain and scarring is to apply a similar (but slightly reduced) degree of heat as the original burn. For example, the next time you burn you hand on the stove element, the best treatment is to hold your hand at the point of proximity to the element where the burning sensation in the hand ceases. But be careful not to get too close, and deepen the original burn! After a few seconds, when the pain starts to flare up again, repeat again, and as many times as necessary until the pain naturally melts away. The conventional approach to burns is to submerge the hand in cold water, but this causes tissue damage, and prolongs the healing process unnecessarily.
  • This example isn’t strictly homeopathic, but still illustrates the general point of this article : Drinking hot tea, or soup on a hot summer day actually promotes the body’s cooling mechanisms. The reason that I say it isn’t strictly homeopathic, is that there is no true disease in this example, but just a simple imbalance. The reason that the mechanism is similar here, is that there is a duality of action — the body takes in the hot liquid which temporarily raises your temperature, against which it responds with a cooling response.

Doing Preventative Medicine Right

In any system of medicine, being able to prevent disease is the highest ideal — it is a road paved in gold. This Ted Talk illustrates some of the issues where conventional medicine has failed to hit the mark of this ideal, and in fact created a reality where more and more iatrogenic (ie “doctor-caused”) diseases are becoming the primary source of people’s suffering, and has even become the number one cause of death.

In theory, it would be great if all of the “Pre” diagnoses illustrated in this video could be accurate much of the time, but unfortunately their existence is a lot more a function of the pharmaceutical companies attempting to expand their profit margins rather than a true system of healthcare.

In Heilkunst medicine, there is very much focus on true prevention of disease, and just as in our system of disease diagnosis and treatment, the same accuracy both in concept and in practice holds true with our preventive approaches. One of the key issues which we can highlight in the wake of this video, is the critical difference between diagnosing based on a “false condition” label, versus being able to identify an actual disease state, which is concrete, and directly treatable.

Treating a Fever With Belladonna

When I wrote my blog on Belladonna, as used as a deeper chthonic remedy, I first contextualized it in terms of its common usage as a remedy for very hot fevers in children. A reader of this blog picked up on this point, and asked a very excellent question:

“I was just wondering. If belladonna is given to a child with fever, will the organic response to the remedy be an increase in temperature?”

There is probably no topic more anxiety-provoking to a parent of young children, than the issue of how to safely and effectively treat a fever. The greater the parent’s education, the more they understand the negative consequences of suppressing a fever, however the fear remains about the potentially damaging effects a fever could have on their child.

The action of a homeopathic remedy is two-fold : First there is the initial action, and that is followed by the healing reaction. As in the principle in physics of every action having an opposite but equal reaction, the two actions of the homeopathic remedy have this same sort of pattern. In acute diseases, such as intense fevers, it is the initial action which is much more prominant and visible in the action of the remedy, in contrast to long-term, slow moving chronic illness, it is much more the healing reaction which is experienced by the patient.

The initial action occurs almost immediately upon taking the remedy, and it is the moment in time where the energy of the disease is augmented by the energy of the remedy. Remember that the homeopathic remedy is given on the basis of the law of similars, meaning that the disease and the remedy are very much alike. As in the forestry practice of ‘fighting fire with fire’, the initial action is that moment where the planned fire comes into contact with the wild fire, and there is a temporary flare-up of the flames.

This leads us to the answer to our question, which is that for a temporary span of time (usually seconds or minutes, and in rare cases hours), the original disease symptoms will increase. In the case of a Belladonna-like disease, this may include the redness and heat of the skin, the delirium, and the vivid and palpable sensation of heat upon touching the patient’s skin. The actual thermometer temperature may or may not change at this point.

The question behind this question is getting at the concern for causing any undue harm to the child by increasing the fever. As I just pointed out, the actual thermometer temperature may or may not temporarily increase in a given case. More importantly, however, is not the issue of the temperature, in terms of a quantitative measure, but what is happening at a qualitative level in such a scenario.

To go back to the principle of similars, we need to remember that this is nature’s law of cure, and that there is an important distinction to be made between a disease state itself, and its symptoms. Giving Belladonna is addressing the disease state itself, which is the real thing to be concerned about. The fever and other symptoms are not the disease, but rather the body’s visible struggle with the disease. While a fever does need to be respected, and carefully observed, it is ultimately only a secondary aspect of this whole phenomenon. The fact that the body has the capacity to mount such a strong defence, and that it may be temporarily augmented by the initial action of the remedy is a sign of a very healthy immune system. This is a critically important point for helping parents switching their thinking from a quantitative way of looking at this phenomenon, to a more qualitative way.