by Reb Akiva @ Mystical Paths
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.