September 18, 2013 | Posted in Concepts in Anthroposophic Medicine

The therapeutic treatment method of homeopathy was founded by a German physician Samuael Hahnemann (1755-1843). The name derives from Greek words meaning ‘like’ and ‘disease’ because the substance treating the disease bears similarity to what can cause the disease.


Hahnemann found that cinchona bark, which could cause chills in himself, could treat malaria.   He concluded “that which can produce a set of symptoms in a healthy individual, can treat a sick individual who is manifesting a similar set of symptoms.”  Or, “Like cures like.”

“Allopathy” is the name for conventional western medicine. Its Greek roots mean ‘strange’ or ‘unlike’ and ‘disease.’ Allopathic treatments are generally opposite to the symptoms they are treating. This is clear from the names of allopathic medications: antibiotics are against the living (germ by implication), antidepressants are against the depression, antipyretics are against the fever, anti-inflammatories are against inflammation, and so forth.  The allopathic treatments are unlike the disease symptoms they are meant to treat.

Homeopathy uses diluted forms as treatments, and the more dilute the substance, generally the more powerful is the treatment. These are called potencies.

Allopathic treatments use physical measurable amounts of substances, and the treatment is stronger if the physical amount is larger.

So we see that treatments in use today can come from opposite directions: less and less of substances which can cause symptoms like the disease, or more and more of substances which work against the disease.

No one knows fully how homeopathic remedies work. Similary, many useful over-the-counter allopathic drugs and pharmaceuticals have actions that cannot be fully explained chemically.

The generally held explanation for homeopathy’s effectiveness is that the dilution process of preparing homeopathic remedies releases an energy pattern of the original substance. The remedy contains both a little bit of physical matter (in lower potencies) and contains an energetic pattern also. At higher potencies, the physical matter is no longer detectable chemically, but an MRI machine detects an energetic difference between the water of a homeopathic remedy and the plain water itself.

Treatment methods that can address subtle aspects of human make-up are important if the picture of the human being is more than simply a physical body. See Picture of the human being.

Anthroposophic remedies are usually low potencies of mineral, plant, and animal substances.

Each remedy is chosen for its similarity to the symptoms (as in classical homeopathic thinking, ‘like treats like’), or because the homeopathic preparation can bring a needed process to the sick person whose system lacks that process.

For example, see Allergies Hayfever, and the discussion of lemon and quince bringing restraint to the allergic patient who overabundantly produces histamine.

Occasionally anthroposophic remedies are higher potency dilutions. There are also herbal substances in anthroposophic remedies.

Many oils and tinctures are used for compresses and baths in anthroposophic medicine.

The Roman numerals X (=10) and C (+100) are commonly seen on homeopathic remedies. They signify the original dilution of the substance. The arabic numeral before the X or C is the number of times this dilution was made.

For example, Pulsatilla 6X began with one part of pulsatilla in 9 parts of the diluting substance (water or milk sugar, for example). Pulsatilla 6C began with one part of pulsatilla in 99 parts of the diluting substance. The process of diluting is carried forward for a total of six (6) times to make a 6X or 6C remedy. The original dilution is differentiated by the notation X or C.

Anthroposophic remedies are primarily X dilutions, usually 1X to 30X.

  • The lower potencies (approximately 1x to 10X) address the metabolic system.
  • The middle potencies address the rhythmic system (approximately 10X – 20X) and
  • the higher potencies address the nerve-sense system (approximately 20X-30X).

X dilutions are used because the human being has the number ten (10) built into the human body. From near birth onward, a baby sees ten fingers and ten toes.

The low potencies which are part matter and part energy are like the human being. We are not all physical substance, nor are we angels.

Finding commonality is a way to establish a therapeutic conversation.

Both ‘ten’ and ‘a mixture of matter and energy’ are close to human structure. This language can meet the human physiology where it lives. The low potency X-based homeopathic remedy can talk the language of the human being, and invite it to walk a new direction toward healing.

This therapeutic conversation is contrasted to either the high potency homeopathic remedies (all energy) and the allopathic remedies (all matter). At either extreme, the remedies take over the physiology of the person using them. The remedies in the middle establish conversation.

The therapeutic conversation is important for both human freedom, and holding a cure. On the level of physiology, anthroposophic medicine is the medicine of human freedom because its remedies speak the language of the human make-up, and are not authoritarian.

There are emergency and urgent situations in which allopathic medications and high potency homeopathic remedies may be the very best medicine. One does not ‘invite’ a child to come out of the road when a truck is roaring close. We snatch the child, authoritatively and properly.

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The ‘aggravation’ is a worsening of symptoms before improvement occurs. This is known to happen with high potency homeopathic remedies.

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