Medical Conditions

I get calls about how well homeopathic medicine works with various medical problems. I’m happy to answer those in person, but on this page I share my experience with various issues. Problems listed may be broad or narrow in scope, but in all cases, please contact me if you have more in-depth questions. This page is not a substitute for evaluation by a medical professional. It is meant to be an educational guide. Except “Health Visits”, entries are alphabetical.

Health Visits

Homeopathic medicine is a subtle, gentle medicine that restores the body’s normal regulatory pathways. In ancient times, physicians, like Hippocrates of Kos or Chang Chung-ching of the Chinese Han Dynasty, observed that disease begins as little imbalances. These can magnify over time to become disease as we today would recognize it. Hahnemann argued that suppression of little complaints with medicine can, over time, drive disease deeper. People often seem surprised when they are diagnosed with a significant problems such as arthritis or heart disease. In natural medicine we have found that large problems start as small imbalances. By correcting those imbalances early, we can often prevent those conditions to which a person is most susceptible.

I welcome health visits. Establishing a baseline case—even if you are “healthy”—may identify small imbalances that we can correct. At such a visit a remedy might not be given, as it might not be needed. However, having established care, it enables me to handle acute illnesses or injuries more efficiently.

Acute Problems (sore throats, bee stings, etc.)

Acute illnesses and injuries respond well to homeopathic medicine. In fact, some of my patients and families practice “first aid” type of homeopathic medicine on their own. There are a number of excellent books, CDs/DVDs, and websites for self-prescribing. One can learn to use low-potency remedies for one’s family and friends for minor, self-limiting problems. My typical new patient doesn’t come in with an acute problem like an injury or pneumonia or something like that. Usually people come in to establish care (health visit) or more commonly to have me help them with a chronic issue. Then, if acute problems like poison ivy or burns or bronchitis come up, we can handily resolve it with a quick office visit or a phone consultation. Even very serious problems such as a bad asthma attack, appendicitis, or kidney infection can be cured with homeopathic medicine. But if homeopathic medicine doesn’t work promptly, I will either use regular medicine myself, or refer the patient to a hospital emergency center for regular medical treatment.

Abnormal Heart Rhythm

There are a lot of different abnormal heart rhythms—or what we call “arrhythmias”. Some occur because of genetic conditions, alternations in the electrical pathways of the heart occurred at birth. For those I generally recommend the usual medical treatment, as the consequences of not doing so usually outweighs any advantage homeopathy can provide by itself. Homeopathy can improve the overall health of the person with this type of arrhythmia.

More common are people with heart disease who have atrial fibrillation. In general, I have not seen homeopathy improve this condition in any but those who present shortly after witnessing a change to this rhythm. If it lasts longer than six months, it must usually be treated with “blood thinners”, heart drugs, and/or heart catheterization. Since many arrhythmias are “silent” conditions with few symptoms, people often don’t know they have this for a while.

Palpitations, and heart rates that are abnormally slow (<60) or fast (>100) often respond very well to homeopathy (Note: in athletes, a heart rate less than 60 can be quite normal!)

Age is a factor; older patients usually don’t have a change in rhythm back to normal on homeopathy alone, and are usually already on regular medicines when I see them. Occasionally younger people with mildly abnormal rhythms covert to normal, but this is usually an incidental finding at visits for other problems.

Alzheimer’s Disease/Dementia

There is little known about the effectiveness of homeopathy in dementia. It has been treated, and some say successfully. I have had a number of cases of clear dementia, however none of them had been formally diagnosed as Alzheimer’s Disease. I have observed many of these cases to move toward more mental stability, greater clarity, and improvements in memory.

Severe cases of dementia are usually not accessible to homeopaths, but such cases can respond to remedies. As with all such things, the more advanced the disease, and the longer the duration of that severity, the less improvement will occur, as organs and tissues change in response to the disease process. Moreover, in severe mental diseases, close monitoring is a good idea. Unfortunately, homeopathic hospitals do not exist in the United States, and I am unable to provide this level of close observation at this time. Individual consultation can decide whether or not it is worth it to pursue homeopathy for this condition.

Anxiety

Anxiety of all sorts generally responds well to homeopathic treatment. Often people have been prescribed antianxiety medication, such as lorazepam, which can be habit forming. When homeopathic treatment is successful, most people find it easier to avoid such medication, or to only use it when faced with difficulty sleeping or strongly anxiety-provoking situations. I find that people are sometimes under the impression that anxiety is “in the mind” and they view their symptoms as a weakness of will. Research shows that anxiety often involves problems with brain chemistry. Homeopathy may help the body reregulate that altered chemistry to relieve anxiety symptoms.

Arthritis

There are many forms of arthritis: osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and rarer forms such as psoriatic arthritis and other chronic diseases involving joint pain, such as gout. In general, homeopathic medicine helps those who suffer from arthritis pains. I have had many patients with early-diagnosed diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis go on to be essentially disease free. This is a condition in which visual evidence of joint damage determines how much success we’ll have in treatment. When the x-rays show a lot of joint erosion and damage, homeopathy will not restore that worn-away cartilage or reform the joint. When people present with a lot of joint deformity, treatment with homeopathy will not take that deformity away. At best, pain will decrease, and patients get improved range of motion and function.

The most successful cases present for treatment before joint damage becomes severe, before deformity sets in. I have seen all types of arthritis respond, including rheumatic, osteoarthritis, psoriatic, and Lyme, as well as many others. When there are general symptoms such as fever or fatigue, those symptoms improve as well.

Asthma

Asthma is a condition in which the air passages in the lungs become inflamed, often swollen, and thus become narrow, making it hard to breathe. In my experience asthma responds very well to homeopathy, both in acute attacks and as a chronic condition. Most patients I see with asthma are already on asthma medication. This can complicate treatment, but doesn’t prevent successful treatment. Even very severe cases have improved, sometimes dramatically. It is not necessary to go off of asthma medications, such as “rescue inhalers” while on homeopathic treatment, and most patients eventually don’t require inhalers or pills for their asthma at all.

Attention Deficit Disorder/ADHD

Attention deficit and hyperactivity are very common problems and very commonly seen in homeopathic practice. My experience with these problems has been very good, and most patients respond well. Many adults and some children present to the clinic already on medication. When this is the case, the children tend to respond better than adults, and are also more likely to come off medication for ADD/ADHD. Many parents are pressured to medicate their children for this condition, and homeopathic medicine provides an avenue of relief that avoids the usual drugs. Behavioral therapies are helpful, but many of the children in my practice are already using such therapies, and they are not proving to be helpful enough. However, I don’t have parents discontinue behavioral therapies, as they are more powerful when homeopathic remedies are used.

Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)

This is a range of disorders of communication, connection with others, and empathy. According to the Autism Society, it includes a complex of other neurological problems such as learning disabilities, reasoning and planning, and blunting or enhancement of various sensations such as vision, hearing, and touch. Autism is a perfect example of the basic principle of homeopathy: every individual case is unique and each case requires an individualized, detailed understanding of the person, with an equally individualized homeopathic prescription.

I have treated cases spanning the entire spectrum, from very mild to very severe, and this is what I have found: In general, milder to moderate cases respond fairly well. In fact, I have kids whose teachers and therapists admit that the ASD isn’t an issue anymore—what one might call a cure. Children respond better than adults. It seems that like many things, the longer one has the problem, the harder it can be to treat, especially when there is significant tissue change. Research suggests that in many neuropsychiatric conditions, the brain’s wiring actually changes. So it makes sense that children, with their younger nervous systems and brains, would have better results.

I have also treated severe cases of autism. This is often very troublesome for several reasons. 1) In every case such patients are on drugs, usually several, and this tends to mask the true nature of the case. However taking the person off of the drugs can lead to terrible suffering (of both the patient and family!) and isn’t practical. 2) In every case I have seen, the family is using a great many other alternative interventions, such as herbs and nutritionals, and even off-label use of medications such as naltrexone, in addition to several therapies such as applied behavioral analysis, weighted vests, music therapy and so on. It can be nearly impossible to determine what is doing what in such cases, especially whenever the family is prone to changing, adding, or discontinuing these various things often. 3) Such cases are often plagued by behavioral problems such as violence that risk catastrophe if not aggressively managed. I am willing to take on such cases, but families need to understand that results may not live up their hopes for a cure.

Bedwetting/Enuresis

Bedwetting can arise from a host of causes, including hormonal imbalances, sleep disturbances, and psychological issues. Homeopathy can usually improve or resolve this problem. Hormonal treatments, such as desmopressin (DDAVP) are effective and fairly safe, but in my view don’t get to the root of the imbalance, and like any drug therapy, serious side effects are possible. Behavioral approaches such as “bladder training” exercises are not recommended. Alarm therapy can help, although I’ve seen many cases in which it did not. In general, mainstream treatments are about as effective as homeopathic medicine—and such treatments do not address other, parallel issues such as allergies, sleep problems, etc.

Cancer

There are two schools of thought regarding the treatment of cancer with homeopathic medicine. The first views existing therapies as the problem. In other words, it is drugging, toxins, and disease-energy suppression that actually leads to cancer. Therefore it doesn’t make any sense to treat it with chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation, as one would just be contributing to the body’s overall toxic burden, and driving the disease deeper. This is consistent with classical homeopathic theory. Unfortunately, the older homeopathic medical literature is not consistent about reporting such cases, since back in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the details of cancer were not as well understood as they are now. Drs. Prasanta and Pratip Banerji of Kolkata, India report on success using homeopathy alone to treat cancers, including brain tumors. Interestingly, the “Banerji Protocols” have been presented at major research conferences, and some of their data do suggest that homeopathy may be used in this way. The protocols are not “classical” homeopathy, however.

The second school of thought is what I was taught by Dr. Paul Herscu of the New England School. This is that cancer “takes on a life of its own” and is therefore almost like a new “person within the person” with its own peculiarities, symptoms, and energy, making classical homeopathic treatment of the cancer itself extremely challenging. I have seen a couple of small skin cancers spontaneously disappear during homeopathic treatment for other problems. However I tend to approach the issue of cancer conservatively. In general, if a good treatment for the cancer exists, and the prognosis is favorable, I recommend that the person go with the regular medical treatment. Homeopathy can help. It will help relieve side effects, and more importantly can improve overall health, potentially reducing the risk of other cancers or cancer recurrence.

Each case is unique, and prospective patients may want to inquire first.

Chicken Pox/Shingles

Chicken pox is a childhood disease that is very common—or was until the advent of the chicken pox vaccine. Homeopathic medicine effectively reduces the symptoms of chicken pox and shortens the duration of the disease. Having the disease confers lifelong immunity to further infections, in most people. Shingles is a reactivation of chicken pox, usually confined to a smaller area. This occurs because of stress and reductions in immunity which may be temporary. Homeopathic medicine is also effective at treating shingles and reducing post-shingles pain. The use of the chicken pox vaccine to prevent chicken pox (Varivax) is about 81-86% effective at preventing all chicken pox cases. The version for shingles (Zostavax) is about 51-64% effective in reducing the risk of shingles. No clinical trial has evaluated the effectiveness of homeopathic medicine for preventing shingles; however, in my practice it has been very effective, and I urge patients to consider the risks and benefits of vaccination versus classical homeopathic prevention. In general, those who are in homeopathic treatment seem to display more robust immunity than the general population.

Cholesterol

Cholesterol is a complex issue. The common notion is that high cholesterol will lead to a heart attack. The truth is not that simple. Today, cholesterol analysis is more complex, with “good” cholesterol (HDL) shown to be somewhat protective, and “bad” cholesterol (LDL) shown to put people at higher risk for heart disease, but the levels of cholesterol that matter also depend on other risk factors such as smoking or high blood pressure, as well as family history. I still meet patients whose doctors put them on cholesterol medicine for a total cholesterol over 200 alone. I believe it is important to carefully assess a patient’s history and risk factors before deciding that lowering cholesterol with a drug is indicated.

At this time “statins”—drugs like Lipitor—are undergoing intensive study, as many researchers believe that they might be a sort of “fountain of youth”, so many benefits have been attributed to their use! It remains to be seen whether or not these drugs will prove to be so beneficial. Furthermore, liver and muscle irritation are not uncommon side effects, and can be serious (although that is rare). Fortunately, cholesterol-lowering drugs don’t seem to interfere with homeopathic remedies, and for people with heart disease risks, I recommend them. There are herbal alternatives to such drugs, although they have not been as well studied.

Can classical homeopathic medicine help? In those people without severe dietary problems or highly genetically-related elevations in cholesterol, it seems to improve overall health more than it lowers cholesterol itself. In my practice, patients with this issue benefit from dietary review, a homeopathic remedy prescribed on the entirety of their case, and if necessary the use of herbs, nutritionals, and perhaps even a drug. Very high cholesterol readings generally do require the use of drugs.

Cold Sores/Canker Sores, and Herpes

Cold sores and canker sores are related to herpes-type viruses. “Herpes” includes more than just the sexually transmitted disease, and is widely distributed among people worldwide. In some studies, 70% of the population have had exposure to one or more herpes viruses. Homeopathic medicine seems to address the immune regulation that allows outbreaks of these viruses to occur. Acute attacks of sores can be treated, as well as the imbalances that allow repeated outbreaks to occur. There are drugs, such as valcyclovir (Valtrex), that can be used as well, but they require daily use to prevent outbreaks. Homeopathic medicine can be dosed very infrequently to prevent outbreaks for long periods of time, and even permanently.

Concussions and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

TBI can occur from any head injury, or even from a severe health event affecting the brain, such as a stroke or meningitis. Concussion is a very common cause, and post-concussion syndrome is a form of TBI. The array of symptoms patients experience can be extremely varied, including headaches, sleep problems, hallucinations, behavior problems including violence, depression, anxiety and panic, delusions, dyslexia, problems with writing and speech, seizures, and so on.

In general, response of TBI to homeopathic medicine is very good. Even in cases of post-surgical “brain symptoms”, especially after surgery for brain tumors or head injuries, significant improvements can be brought about by homeopathic medicine. The use of medications like migraine drugs or antidepressants can complicate a case, but will not necessarily prevent improvements from occurring. Often in mild to moderate TBI, recovery can be complete.

Depression

Depression responds very well to homeopathic treatment. Many patients come in already on antidepressant medication, and a small percentage of those people will need to continue them long term. However many patients can come off their medications in time. Even those with fairly severe depression will likely benefit, and a few may be able to discontinue medications entirely. Mild to moderate depression has a higher rate of success, with medication discontinuation a real possibility. In some cases I use herbal and/or nutritional supplements to aid in the transition.

Diabetes

In general, homeopathic medicine cannot “cure” diabetes, although it can make management of it more predictable and easier to control, as we rebalance the body’s regulatory systems. Juvenile onset (type 1) and gene-related diabetes display the least sensitivity to homeopathic management, although it may improve the general health of diabetics. In adult-onset diabetes (type 2), homeopathic medicine does improve blood sugar control. In those people with “borderline” diabetes, it may even forestall the need for medications, if treated early enough. In typical cases of several years duration, expect better health overall, but the need for medication is likely to continue. In cases where diabetes has already caused ravages such as amputation, partial blindness, or erectile dysfunction, homeopathy may moderate further damage but cannot undo significant changes in the tissues due to prolonged high blood sugars. There may be some other things that can be done to improve existing complications of diabetes.

Dizziness

Dizziness covers a range of complaints. For some people “dizziness” is really faintness or lightheadedness (see both “Abnormal heart rhythm” and “Heart disease” in this section). For others it is a sense of disequilibrium that causes them to have difficulty keeping balance while walking. Finally, true dizziness—or vertigo—causes a sense that one’s surroundings are spinning or moving. Causes of dizziness can be as serious as tumors or strokes or as dynamic as benign positional/postural vertigo or “BPPV”, as well as inner ear infections or inflammations, allergies, and other conditions.

In general, dizziness responds very well to homeopathic treatment. In more serious cases in which brain or nerve pathology are involved, it can be helpful in conjunction with regular medical treatment to relieve discomfort. Evaluation of dizziness requires a careful neurological examination and in some cases imaging studies, such as MRI.

Eczema & Other Skin Rashes

Eczema is a kind of allergic reaction of the skin and may be acute or chronic. Often it occurs in families, and also there is often a personal or family history of allergies and asthma. Other types of skin rashes include drug reactions/drug rashes, acne, psoriasis, blistering, fungal infections, and a host of others, including those associated with systemic diseases such as lupus or celiac disease.

Skin rashes are a common problem in my practice, and often the main complaint. In homeopathic medicine skin rashes are an outer manifestation of an inner imbalance. Sometimes they are a manifestation of a genetic condition, like celiac disease or neurofibromatosis. In such cases homeopathic medicine is not the best treatment. For example in celiac disease, it’s best to just avoid gluten and the rashes will resolve. In skin cancers, prompt removal and regular examination for new ones is the best approach, although the tendency to get such cancers should also be treated with homeopathic medicine at the same time.

Dynamic rashes such as eczema, psoriasis, acne and a host of other common problems respond well to homeopathic medicine. The downside is that because homeopathy heals “from the inside out” sometimes the rash may resolve after other matters improve. For example a person’s asthma may get better while the eczema actually gets worse. Over time, the eczema will also improve. Often, I treat rashes with lower potencies of remedies because it lessens the chance the person will experience a bad aggravation of their rash.

Acne is a normal effect of puberty, and so young people should expect that homeopathic medicine won’t cure all their acne 100% of the time. However it can reduce acne to the occasional pimple in the “T-zone” of the face—the forehead, nose and chin. Serious cases of painful, cystic acne tend to respond very well overall.

Endometriosis/Menstrual pain

All sorts of menstrual problems are highly responsive to homeopathic treatment. Endometriosis is a specific type of menstrual problem in which the tissue lining the uterus begins to grow freely in the abdominal tissues. It is also significantly improved with homeopathic remedies. Treatment of menstrual problems may be complicated by medications, birth control pills or injections, or surgery such as ablation. However even these cases, while more complex to treat, still improve. Menstrual problems require follow up visitation that allows enough cycles to run their course in order to see improvement, so the follow up visit schedule may be adjusted to account for this, since symptoms only occur once a cycle usually. While some mild, fleeting cramping is normal, other symptoms such as heavy bleeding, abnormal timing between periods, significant pain, headaches and other problems are abnormal and reflect an imbalance that can be re-regulated with classical homeopathic remedies.

Gluten Intolerance and Celiac Disease

Gluten intolerance (GI) and celiac disease are two different things. The former is more of an allergic type of problem, and the latter reflects an autoimmune process in which the body attacks its own digestive tract because of a genetic sensitivity to gluten, a protein found in wheat and similar grains. In general people with GI have other digestive problems, like irritable bowel syndrome, or other allergies. I have found that treating people with GI with homeopathy helps some. They do develop some ability to tolerate gluten. Those with celiac disease usually don’t, even when their other symptoms or problems improve on homeopathic medicine.

Headaches/Migraines

Headaches have many different causes and come in many different types, with migraine headaches being only one category of headache type.

Tension headaches, sinus headaches, and similar non-migraine headaches are highly treatable, and usually resolve with homeopathic medicine. Migraine is a condition in which the blood vessels behave in such a way as to cause a variety of symptoms. Headache is only the most common form of migraine. Migraines can occur elsewhere, causing abdominal pains or even generalized discomfort throughout the body. Migraines can occur associated with menstrual cycles. Migraine headaches may occur with or without visual, nasal, or sound auras. Regardless of these individual types, migraines generally respond quite well to homeopathic treatment. I find that many people will continue to need at least occasional migraine medication, but many others can discontinue such medication entirely. Almost all headache patients find the severity of their headaches decreases, and they occur less frequently.

Heart Disease

There are many different types of heart disease, although the most common problem we tend to associate this term with is coronary artery disease (CAD), or “heart attack.” Although heart attacks were once treated with homeopathy alone, that was a long time ago, before modern medical approaches were developed. Today we use homeopathy, as well as herbal medicine, nutrition, and exercise, together with regular medicine to improve overall health in CAD. Other types of heart disease include heart failure, cardiomyopathy, and valve disease. Here again homeopathic medicine serves a complementary role with regular medicine. There are a number of dietary and herbal approaches that also support recovery in heart disease, and may reduce the chance of heart disease recurring.

High blood pressure

Since homeopathic medicine was developed in the 19th century, there is little written about treating it–after all, doctors then didn’t really see it as a “disease” as such. I have found that the most effective treatments for high blood pressure are a healthy diet and regular exercise. Many of the herbals and nutritional treatments touted on the internet don’t work very well. I have found that homeopathic remedies can work if the patient has never been medicated for the problem. Those people who have been medicated for more than a few months never respond to homeopathy alone, although I have found their blood pressures to be easier to control.

I have found a few people who treated themselves with herbs for high blood pressure, and the results–at least in my office–run from ineffective to toxic. Interestingly, many people end up taking dozens of supplement pills when a single blood pressure medication would do. Although I’m not an advocate of pharmaceutical treatments, there are cases in which it makes more sense to use a mild drug. Selection of blood pressure medicine is more important than once thought. I often advise additional, inexpensive testing to refine our selection of our initial treatment. I find it remarkable that in many practices this easy step is usually not done.

Hormonal Imbalances, Female

Homeopathy is essentially a medicine of regulation. That means that the role of homeopathy is to help the system reregulate itself so that things work properly. In terms of hormones there are two ways to go: for the doctor to try to compensate for unregulated hormone activity, or to try to coax the system into regulating itself correctly. Compensation involves two general approaches. The first approach is to use hormones and hormone blockers. These are prescription drugs and may involve off the shelf agents, or custom-formulated ones, such as “bio-identical hormones”. The second general approach is to try using plant-based agents which are similar to drug hormones, and perhaps also some nutritional treatments. Both approaches may be used at the same time.

In homeopathic medicine, the idea is to simply give the remedy and let the system decide what small hormonal adjustments are needed to restore health. In my practice it is common for women to already be taking some sort of hormones. Trying to fix hormone imbalances with regular medicines and hormones is sort of trying to adjust a very fine machine with very crude tools. Homeopathic medicine doesn’t attempt to “fix” the problem as much as it triggers the system to reregulate itself. In some cases we need to continue some hormone therapy.

The use of hormones for birth control is another matter which I discuss individually with each woman. At this time, I do not prescribe “custom-compounded” formulations of bio-identical hormones, or order salivary hormone tests. Other doctors in the area provide such services.

Hormonal Imbalances, Male

Hormone imbalances can occur in men, and may include deficiencies of testosterone, or imbalances in others. The use of testosterone in older men is controversial and at this time I judge the evidence for the routine use of testosterone in older men is weak. I have found that the use of homeopathy to stimulate reregulation of male hormones is adequate to restore normal function. Occasionally the use of certain herbal “adaptogens” like ginseng is warranted, as well as the use of supplements to improve gland function.

Erectile dysfunction is rarely a hormone problem. More often it is caused by nerve or blood vessel disease, mostly commonly caused by diabetes or heart disease. While natural medicine can help, I usually find that drugs like sildenafil (“Viagra”) are most useful, as the damage has already been done.

Incontinence

This condition has such a variety of causes that it isn’t possible to detail every type here. Homeopathy can be effective in some types of urinary leakage, especially when there isn’t too much surgical damage or repeated attempts at surgical repair.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

IBS is a term that actually describes a variety of digestive disturbances that lead to abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, or both. We don’t really have a solid understanding of what IBS is, but in homeopathic medicine we don’t necessarily need one. That’s because in homeopathy, we are trying to trigger the system into regulating itself properly. In my experience, IBS does very well with homeopathic treatment. Often there are co-existing problems like depression or anxiety which should also respond as treatment proceeds. There are also good herbal treatments that can relieve some symptoms while the homeopathic remedy is doing its job of restoring normal digestion.

Irritable Bowel Disease/Crohn’s Disease

Inflammatory bowel diseases can be treated homeopathically. As with other types of conditions, the more advanced the disease is, the harder it is to treat, and it takes longer to get the system to respond to homeopathy. Many people will get better, a few may be entirely symptom free and not require ongoing treatment. A frequent complicating factor in treating these conditions is that most people, by the time they are diagnosed, require strong prescription drugs, many of which come with their own side effects. The effects of medication can complicate the homeopathic case. Each case is unique and prospective patients may want to inquire about their own situation.

There are a number of herbal, nutritional, and mind-body approaches that are also very useful in IBD in particular. IBD is a fairly advanced inflammatory disease, and therefore it helps to use multiple approaches to get it under control.

Lupus

This is extremely variable condition in which the immune system attacks the body’s own DNA. Sometimes it is very mild and can even be silent for months or years, or may just cause fatigue and joint pains treatable with anti-inflammatory drugs like Aleve. It can be quite serious and advance rapidly, and require very strong drugs like methotrexate.

As with other types of serious conditions, the more advanced the disease the less robust the response to homeopathic medical approaches. In other words, most people will get better, a few may be entirely symptom free and not require ongoing treatment. A frequent complicating factor in treating these conditions is that most people, by the time they are diagnosed, require strong prescription drugs, many of which come with their own side effects. Thus it can be tricky to treat, and to evaluate the effectiveness of the various treatments together. Each case is unique and prospective patients may want to inquire about their own situation.

Lyme Disease/Post-Lyme Treatment Syndrome

The subject of Lyme disease is well-discussed on the internet and in the regular media. The use of antibiotics to treat LD is well known. One controversy I often hear about is that between mainstream doctors–who follow the Infectious Disease Society of America’s antibiotic treatment recommendations–and so-called “Lyme doctors” and their view that those recommendations are not adequate. For my “regulars”, people who see me for routine care, I just treat with a homeopathic remedy and the usual antibiotic, according to the IDSA recommendations. The other type of patient I see is the person with longstanding LD, who has usually had many courses of antibiotics.

These people are still ill. The question is, why?

These people are dismissed by regular doctors as anxious or depressed or seeking attention. They are subjected by Lyme doctors to increasingly lengthy, toxic, and expensive courses of antibiotics. Although I have no doubt some people feel better afterward, I have observed that a lot of them don’t. The scientific research shows clearly that late-stage LD doesn’t do especially well on such rigorous antibiotic treatment. Patients and doctors try to explain away their failure to improve by talking about coinfections like babesiosis and other parasites. However there is research that suggests that the late effects of LD (and some other infections) are due to the body’s own immune system overreacting. In my practice, the approach is to take the case, and give the remedy that matches most closely the symptom profile unique to each person with late-stage LD. I view it as a problem of immune regulation, and the way to treat it is to help the body regulate the immune system properly again.

Methicillin-Resistant Staph Infection (MRSA)

Mersa” is how people often pronounce this condition, which is thought to be the result of the overuse of antibiotics in the 20th century. It is one of the antibiotic-resistant “super-bugs”, but it comes in many varieties, depending on which antibiotics it’s resistant to. Interestingly, many people harbor MRSA of one strain or another, and it never causes a problem. Research shows that as many as 70% of people have MRSA living harmlessly in their nasal passages.

In the last decade, MRSA has gone from a mostly hospital-acquired condition affecting ill hospitalized patients, to a community-acquired infection that affects some people outside the hospital. Mostly, it is a skin infection. Typically I see patients who have had several—unsuccessful—courses of antibiotics. The infections keep coming back. Reregulation of the immune system using a well-selected homeopathic remedy usually ends the cycle.

Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)

Like ADD/ADHD and other functional behavior disorders, ODD behaviors respond very well to homeopathy. A condition of children, ODD is not just stubbornness or an eccentricity. Rather it is a kind of rage that actually harms the child who suffers from it. Often the behaviors are accompanied by violence, sometimes very bad violence. Usually, in my practice, I do not diagnose this; it is usually diagnosed by a pediatrician or child therapist, and the parents bring the child to me as an alternative to medication, or as an additional approach to behavior modification programs. Sometimes “behavior-mod” is successful. The children I see have usually failed this approach or have not responded to it adequately. They usually improve on homeopathy.

Osteoporosis

Some evidence exists for the effectiveness of homeopathic treatment for osteoporosis. Although there is some genetic influence on bone health, it may be that genetic tendencies can be modified. In general bone loss can be stopped or reduced, and in some cases bone density may increase. In my practice I tend to consider osteoporosis in the context of the entire, unique case. There are also several nutritional approaches I recommend, if they are not already in use.

Multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease, Ataxias and Tremor

Neurological conditions that cause tremors and other movement disorders require remedies as varied as there are individuals. Responses are as varied as well. In general, disease of longer duration, with a lot of progression will respond less well overall. The earlier in the disease process it is, the better the overall prognosis. Admittedly, conditions like MS can improve for a time on their own, so follow up may be lengthy. However it’s also true that with improvements in symptoms in a good treatment, the remissions can be longer, and the relapses milder. In some cases full remission occurs. Parkinson’s is perhaps hardest of these to treat because by the time symptoms occur much of the damage has been done. Nevertheless, in my experience, most neurological diseases at least respond to homeopathic aid, even if only partly palliative.

Pervasive Developmental Disorders

There is a lot of controversy about PDD. Most homeopathic authorities agree: carefully individualized, classical treatment appears to be most effective. Very severe cases can improve. Plus, such children usually have extensive learning support, psychiatric care, and various therapies. The vast majority of cases are not so severe, and tend to resolve favorably. In my practice about 75% of kids with PDD improve. Adult cases of PDD tend to be a bit more complex, but also respond. In cases where the PDD is really caused by a genetic problem from birth, there can be improvements, although they are usually temporary.

Pregnancy & Problems in Pregnancy

I love treating pregnant patients…because in most problems of pregnancy, most doctors decline to use medication because of fear of birth defects and so forth. This leaves women to suffer through until the pregnancy is over. The most common problems I see in pregnant women are nausea and vomiting, and headaches. There is no contraindication to the use of homeopathic remedies in pregnancy because homeopathic remedies do not act like drugs. They can’t cause birth defects. If a woman is having symptoms in pregnancy and wants to try to get some relief beyond taking Tylenol, homeopathy is worth considering.

In rare cases, a threatened miscarriage is the complaint. Sometimes there have been several previous miscarriages. In either case it must be understood that some miscarriages are due to genetic problems with the developing baby. Miscarriage is nature’s way of starting over when a pregnancy is likely to lead to a very ill, or non-viable birth. In cases like this, a remedy may actually allow the miscarriage to happen as it normally would. In many cases, miscarriage is due to problems with placental blood supply, abnormal hormones, or immune system problems. In these cases, a remedy may actually stop a miscarriage from happening. I prefer to discuss miscarriage as a historical problem to fix before the next one threatens, rather than as an emergency problem. Because of my limited availability and office hours, I am limited in what I can do for pregnancy emergencies.

Seizures/Epilepsy

Seizures tend to respond very well to homeopathic remedies. Mild to moderate seizures and repeated fever-related seizures in children respond well. A single fever seizure in a child is usually a one-time event, and not likely to need further treatment. Repeated high fevers leading to seizures in a child would be a good thing to treat. Sometimes young people or adults have single seizure episodes. In cases like these, treating homeopathically is a good idea, if simply to reduce the chance of it happening again. In those people who have diagnosed epilepsy, homeopathy can reduce the need for medication or eliminate it altogether. This usually depends on how long the person has been medicated, and how heavily. Seizures caused by tumors or other brain problems can be treated by a combination of homeopathic and regular medicine and surgery. Seizures caused by specific genetic disorders known to cause severe, frequent seizures will respond to homeopathy, but only partially. Examples include Dravet’s Syndrome or Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome and others. My aim is to reduce the frequency and intensity of seizures, and reduce the associated behavioral and intellectual disabilities. At this time, these diseases cannot be cured by regular medicine or any other type of medicine.

Schizophrenia and Severe Mental Health Disorders

Schizophrenia is a disorder or sensation and mood, marked by distorted thinking, abnormal sensory processing (such as hallucinations or hearing voices) that results in impaired behavior. It runs in families but is not dependent on a family history or specific gene. It is not “split personality” as is often thought in popular fiction. Schizophrenic disorders are varied, and may be mild or severe. It is treatable with homeopathic medicine, but in moderate to severe cases requires very intensive management in a homeopathic hospital. Since no homeopathic hospitals exist in the U.S., treating this disease with homeopathy alone is extremely difficult to impossible. I have treated severe schizophrenia, and because of the lack of hospital support, I have found that we inevitably return to regular medication. Homeopathy can help, but stopping medication is not really a safe option at this time.

Stroke

Stokes are caused by blood clots in the brain (most common) or bleeding into the brain from some damaged blood vessel or other vessel abnormality like an aneurysm (less common). Homeopathic medicines can be used to treat strokes in an emergency, but today this is not done, since the regular medical treatments for stroke are well-defined and very effective. In practice, if someone were having a stroke, one could take a remedy specific for stroke, but should still seek regular medical attention (see Heart Disease entry on this page). Today, we are better off using homeopathy as a treatment to help limit stroke extent, improve rehabilitation, and lessen the chance of another stroke happening in the future. Another area in which homeopathy can be helpful is in improving behavioral problems that may develop after certain kinds of strokes. Remedies may also help other types of problems resulting from strokes, like pain or a variety of other disturbances.

Substance Abuse

I have found that treating substance abuse with homeopathic medicine may lead to lessened cravings, and a general improvement in mood and mood stability. However, many times patients with substance abuse don’t come back after the first visit. Losing track of a patient can occur for several reasons, including financial, job demands and so on. It can also result from relapse. Substance use for intermittent recreational or spiritual purposes is usually minimally harmful. Standard warnings, such as limiting daily alcohol use, are commonsense and well supported by the scientific literature. Smoking is just bad for you. In homeopathic theory, light substance use can interfere with health, but may not do so in a very significant way. Heavier substance use may affect the health a lot over time (and smoking is an example of this). It may be very toxic in the near term (like binge-drinking).

I take a “harm reduction” approach in managing substance abuse. None is best, but less is better than a lot. In the United States, abstinence is considered the only legitimate treatment for substance abuse. In Europe and elsewhere, the medical view is more nuanced. Some people may benefit most from modified behavior to minimize substance use at safe levels. Whether abstinence or harm-reduced use is more appropriate depends on the patient as an individual. Homeopathic treatment is most effective when the patient is fully in engaged in treatments that support sobriety or safer-use. Those folks who aren’t ready to quit abusing substances aren’t going to be successful because of a homeopathic remedy. It takes two things, the person wants to get well and stop using substances and a combination of homeopathic medicine, maybe some regular medicine, and social and psychological support, to help people with substance abuse issues get w

Thyroid Problems

Homeopathy is generally fairly effective in stopping hyperthyroid disease or “overactive” thyroid. It is important to make sure that the overactivity isn’t caused by an undiagnosed cancer, although this is uncommon. Timely treatment matters, because a very overactive thyroid can cause serious harm, although again, that is uncommon. In any case, earlier is better, before symptoms have been suppressed with methimazole (Tapazole) or propylthiouracil (“PTU”).

Underactive thyroid generally does not respond to homeopathy, unless the underactivity is very mild (less than 50 micrograms of thyroid replacement medication needed daily), and unless it is treated very early. Unfortunately, it is usually diagnosed later, and by the time a person is on a more common dose (like 88 mcg), the gland is usually too depleted to respond to homeopathy alone. I give a remedy with the intention of preventing further causes of glandular collapse, but keep people on their medication. In some cases, treatment with glandular formulations may restore additional function, but this has yet to be tested further.

Tics/Tourette’s Syndrome

The involuntary tics and speech problems that occur with Tourette’s Syndrome and similar disorders do respond to homeopathy. Selecting the correct remedy can be difficult, but usually a treatment can be found. As with regular medicine, patience is often required. It can be difficult to exercise patience when the condition has been going on for a long time. Although there are no specific drugs for tics/Tourette’s, sometimes patients are on medications, and this can complicate remedy selection and treatment evaluation.

Tinnitus & Hearing Loss

Hearing loss can occur for a variety of reasons. Tinnitus is specific for a set of noises such as ringing, rushing or pulsating sounds in the ears. It is important to eliminate easily-treated causes of hearing problems, such as excessive wax. Once such causes are eliminated, homeopathy might help. Persistent ringing in the ears, that has been a problem for a long time, especially whenever the person’s tinnitus is due to exposure to loud noise for long periods, is usually unresponsive to homeopathy. If the tinnitus is more related to chronic inflammation it is more responsive to homeopathic medicine.

Urinary Tract Infections/Chronic or Recurrent Cystitis

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are common, especially in women, and can usually be as easily treated with antibiotics as with homeopathic remedies. In my experience, two types of conditions are more ideally treated with homeopathy. The first is repeated UTIs, especially when there is no surgical problem, such as a twisted urinary pathway, and no hygiene problem (this is usually addressed as part of the teaching whenever we treat anyone with a UTI). Whenever repeated UTIs occur for no apparent reason, homeopathy can usually restore an improved resistance to further infections.

The second case is when the “UTI” isn’t an infection at all. This is usually discovered after repeated “infection” symptoms yield negative laboratory proof of infection, or when multiple courses of antibiotics don’t help. Other problems can seem like a UTI, and these include overactive bladder, problems of weakness in the bladder structure or muscles (often hormonal), or inflammation of the bladder or urinary pathways without any infection, so-called “interstitial cystitis”.

These problems almost always improve with a well-selected remedy. Sometimes herbal medicines can be used as well to provide support and rebalance the system. Occasionally, a patient will have had some surgery to correct a “prolapse” or fallen organs like the uterus or bladder. Sometimes homeopathy will improve these patients as well. For acute UTIs, I will treat with antibiotics, if desired. In severe urinary tract infections and kidney infections, I strongly recommend both homeopathy and antibiotics.

Vaccination

Some homeopaths practice a form of “homeopathic vaccination”. At this time, I do not do this, as the evidence for its effectiveness is fairly weak. In general, I have found that people who are doing well and getting healthier on a homeopathic treatment are also more resistant to infectious diseases.

Some homeopaths (and other practitioners of “natural” medicine) teach that vaccination is bad. Elsewhere on my website is an article in which I detail my thoughts on vaccination. I should point out that the problems with vaccination are somewhat theoretical at this time, and the evidence tends to suggest that most people will not have catastrophic side effects from vaccines. This doesn’t mean that I think vaccines never cause severe problems. In addition I have observed that sometime vaccines can interfere with homeopathic treatment. I tend to recommend that vaccination be delayed during the main part of homeopathic treatment (first 6 months), or in complicated cases of behavioral or immune disorders in children.

The U.S. vaccinates very heavily, often for diseases that tend to have low fatality rates, or small chances of long-term disability. My view is that it is not necessary to vaccinate for those diseases. Some vaccinations can wait. For example hepatitis B is a sexually- and needle-transmitted disease that is unlikely to affect an infant, and yet we vaccinate them in the delivery room! If parents are planning well, such vaccines can be given later, after the child has built up more immune competence. On the other hand, some diseases can be quite severe. Polio is one such disease, and perhaps worth vaccinating against. Finally, some diseases can be survived, but may be very uncomfortable, like chicken pox or whooping cough. Parents must use their judgment about whether or not to vaccinate.

At this time I neither advocate for nor advise against vaccination. It is the responsibility of public health authorities to advise the general public. It is my responsibility to advise individual patients. I provide advice on vaccination choices based on each individual’s health profile.

Warts

These respond to homeopathy very well. A related condition, molluscum, also clears up on homeopathic remedies. Both conditions can clear up on their own. Warts will respond to medicines like Aldara or to freezing removal or to surgical removal—but they often come back. With homeopathy they seem to return less often, or not at all. There aren’t many really good treatments for molluscum, but it usually goes away on its own, however it responds to homeopathy fairly well, and especially with children, they appreciate the cosmetic improvement without the scarring that can occur with freezing or burning them off with a laser. Warts are often a symptom of some deeper imbalance, so treating imbalances the way homeopathy does has it benefits.