Monday, May 16, 2011

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Do Homeopathy and Torah fit together?

by Reb Akiva @ Mystical Paths

homeopathy-pills-4A reader asked…

I wanted to ask you, if you know anything about Homeopathy and what our holy Torah has to say about it.

First a brief description for those who don’t know what homeopathy is. “Homeopathy is a form of alternative medicine in which practitioners treat patients using highly diluted preparations that are believed to cause healthy people to exhibit symptoms that are similar to those exhibited by the patient.  The basic principle of homeopathy, known as the "law of similars", is "let like be cured by like."  Homeopathic remedies are prepared by serial dilution with shaking by forceful striking on an elastic body, which homeopaths term succussion. Each dilution followed by succussion is assumed to increase the effectiveness. Homeopaths call this process potentization. Dilution often continues until none of the original substance remains.  Apart from the symptoms, homeopaths examine aspects of the patient's physical and psychological state, then homeopathic reference books known as repertories are consulted, and a remedy is selected based on the totality of symptoms.” (Source)

The Torah permits the treatment of illness via medicines, and defines any substance believed to have curative properties permitted to be consumed for illness – whether or not the substance is prepared from or considered kosher.

Homeopathic preparations qualify as a substance believed to have curative properties (believed at least by homeopathic practitioners) and therefore may be consumed as any other medicine for an illness. 

Generally our holy sources do not judge medical treatments, and in the few cases where they do they even permit the consumption of substances that are believed to have curative properties by the patient even if most people (or experts) no longer believe the substance to have curative properties (and the substance is not kosher – if it’s kosher it can always be consumed as a food).

Modern medical science, backed by some significant direct testing, considers homeopathic treatments to be medically ineffective.  Further, the theory behind homeopathy makes no sense in the light of current scientific and medical understanding.  However, there are alternative medical treatments that do work (or partially work) yet their theory or understanding makes no sense according to modern science (example, acupuncture). 

So if a person believes a homeopathic treatment may work for them, they are permitted to use it as any other medicine is permitted to be used.

About 25 years ago a famous Chabad mashpia (a spiritual advisor), Rabbi Manis Friedman, shlita, became enamored with homeopathy and recorded a shiur comparing similarities between homeopathy and kabbalah.  This audio shiur, titled “The Holistic and the Kabbalistic” compared homeopathy’s dilution towards complete nullification with our relationship with the Creator of the Universe and His continued energizing of the universe (and how our souls should be, but are not, nullified by the G-dly presence).  This 2 hour shiur (broken into segments) is available online here for free. (it requires Real Player to play.)

So if you’d like to try homeopathy, the Torah permits it.  But engaging our chochmah (our intellect), modern science has done a pretty complete job of demonstrating that this particular alternative medicine is rarely (if ever) actually effective.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

I can tell you that homeaphic remidies have done wonders in my life. It changed my health completely. Nothing that the medical communities accomplished what homepathic remedies have done for me.

Anonymous said...

Homeopathy is complete bunk, although the mind can do incredible things with "true believers" of this scam. Many alternative therapies have wonderful results: herbs, vitamins, massage therapy, acupuncture, even aromatherapy. Go to Dr. Gabe Merkin's website for the GERMAN source behind homeopathy.

Batya said...

Thinking about the principles of homeopathy, aren't vaccinations the same? Also, about injesting or being injected with poisons, what else is chemotherapy?

Anonymous said...

I agree with you Batya. You have made my point. There is copious evidence that vaccines are dangerous, as is chemo.

y said...

homeopathy "rarely if ever effective"? wrong! homeopathy has saved many lives. it is a great and healthier alternative to allopathic anti-depressants. it helps with all kinds of things from stomach upset, to sore muscles (hospitals use 'trameel' all the time, is that 'rarely effective"?). i demand that you remove that last sentence from this article. you are misleading people who might otherwise greatly benefit from this medicine. which, btw, preceded!!! allopathic medicine and which allopathic medicine worked to remove from the public!
homeopathy is a blessing from Hashem. you are doing a an avera by misleading people who's lives could be saved or significantly improved by forcing your uninformed and negative, incorrect and, sorry, stupid, assessment.

Akiva said...

Trameel lists 15 natural ingredients. That makes it a naturopathic (herbal), not a homeopathic medication. (At least the one at trameel.com)

y - if you have links or references to normalized double-blind studies showing effectiveness, please share them. Anecdotal evidence is just that, and many old treatments were said to work. But when tested on a deep basis, were found not to be more effective than placebos and random occurrences.

But that's my opinion formed from what I've read on the topic. If you've got _evidence_ otherwise, please share.

Anonymous said...

I think you should try homeopathic treatment yourself before condemning them. I benefited from homeopathic kosher HCG. I lost 50 pounds and it saved life. There are many people who have benefited from this treatment.


http://www.ritecare.com/homeopathic/guide_general.asp

http://myfatcure.com/cmd.php?af=1194516

vincent said...

The following seems to suggest it is okay.
I remain sceptical myself to all doctors although I know you need them sometimes. But it is G'd isn't it? doing the curing. All doctors should know that!

http://www.inner.org/torah_and_science/medicine/4-methods-medicine.php

Simcha said...

I strongly recommend you to read "The Golden Thread: A Kabbalistic Remedy" by Sarah Schneider with forward by Rabbi Ginsburg. You can find it at thegoldenthread.org.

There is a deeply spiritual and mystical link between homeopathy and HaShem which Sarah does a great job at laying out.

I would also like to add that you tried to denounce homeopathy by referencing "Modern medical science", "Modern science" also claims Hashem not to exist, the sea never to have parted, the earth never to have fully flooded, manna to have never fallen and on and on. I would rather go with deeper older sources personally. Homeopathy is regularly used successfully in our family, just as it has since Moshe Rabbineu used it at Har Sinai and many years before.

Ariella said...

No, homeopathy is effective. It helped me and my children as well. And I didn't believe in its powers when my family doctor, a nice charedi lady, advised me take homeopathy in pregnancy, when she was not able to prescribe me anything else. Homeopathy really cured that very bad case of sinusitis that I had in pregnancy.

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