Excerpt from The Vaccine Guide : Making an Informed Choice by Randall Neustaedter
Conventional vaccines prepared by modern vaccine manufacturers represent only one form of disease-specific prevention. Vaccines and preventive medicines are also available to parents in homeopathic form. There is a long history within homeopathic medicine of attempting to prevent specific diseases, especially during epidemics.
The medicines used in homeopathic form consist of two classes. One class includes those substances obtained from the natural world of plants, minerals, and animal products. The second class, called nosodes, includes substances derived from disease products, tissue samples, mucus, pus from discharges, or pure cultures of microorganisms. Nosodes correspond to the specific diseases associated with the individual bacteria or virus, or the infectious material sample taken from a patient. Both of these classes have been used to prevent disease. Examples of this include Lathyrus sativa (a plant) for polio and Pertussin (a preparation of the bacteria Bordetella pertussis) for whooping cough.
A medicine that has proven effective for a specific epidemic of a disease in the community can be used as the preventive for other cases of that disease, though homeopaths tend to use those medicines that have proven themselves in the past. As a general rule, homeopaths utilize the nosode of the infectious organism to prevent disease. Nosodes are named with the Latin terms for the infection or organism, Morbillinum for measles, Diphtherinum for diphtheria.
This method of homeopathic prophylaxis has been formulated into strategies and rules of two types – short-term prevention during epidemics and long-term prevention.
Experience with the use of nosodes during epidemics has led to a level of confidence and optimism about the protective effect of this method. Since the mid-nineteenth century, homeopaths have attempted to prevent or limit the spread of disease during epidemics, with some success. Most of the experience with this approach occurred during the era preceding the availability of vaccines. Homeopaths reported a decrease in the severity and frequency of disease in those patients who received the nosode preventively.
The method of homeopathic prophylaxis has never been rigorously tested. Nonetheless, there is some evidence suggesting that homeopathic medicines do act to prevent diseases during epidemics. One study observed the occurrence of meningitis in a group of children who received a homeopathic preventive (Meningococcinum 10c in a single dose) during a 1974 epidemic in Brazil. Of the 18,640 children given the homeopathic nosode, 4 developed meningitis (0.02 percent), compared to 32 cases in the 6,340 unvaccinated children (0.5 percent). This represents a significant difference in a controlled study, although the control group was not randomized (Castro and Nogueira, 1975). Eisfelder reported an uncontrolled study of 50,000 children who received Lathyrus, a homeopathic preparation used to treat paralysis, in varying potencies during the polio epidemic of the 1950s. Only one of these children developed (non-paralytic) polio. The general population had a significantly higher rate of polio than 1 in 50,000 (Eisfelder, 1961).
These studies do not prove the effectiveness of homeopathic prophylaxis in epidemics, but many homeopathic practitioners have been convinced by their own experience with this form of disease prevention. The practice of using homeopathic preparations to prevent disease during epidemic exposure may be effective. The medicines cause no adverse effects, and, in the absence of any other form of prevention, there was no reason not to use them. In an epidemic of a serious disease their use is still warranted, though there are valid reasons to allow children to undergo the milder childhood occurrence of measles, mumps and chickenpox to acquire lifelong immunity.
Alternative vaccines in homeopathic form are also available for long-term prevention. Several protocols exist for the administration of homeopathic nosodes or the corresponding remedies for the prevention of whooping cough, meningitis, diphtheria, tetanus, polio, and other diseases during childhood. There exists significant controversy within the homeopathic profession about the appropriateness of using these preparations for long-term prevention. This controversy involves the areas of effectiveness, safety, and ethics.
No long-term studies have been conducted to evaluate the efficacy of this form of prevention. There is no reason to assume that these vaccines continue to act preventively years after administration, unless immunity is shown through an objective test or clinical studies.
Homeopathic preparations have not been shown to raise antibody levels. Smits tested the titre of antibodies to diphtheria, polio and tetanus in ten children before and one month after giving homeopathic preparations of these three vaccines (DTPol 30K and 200K). He found no rise in antibody levels (Smits, 1995). He speculates that protection afforded by a homeopathic remedy acts on a “deeper” level than that of antibodies. Other homeopaths have stated similar opinions. Golden says, “unlike conventional vaccines, the Homoeopathic alternative does not rely on antibody formation.” He postulates that “Homoeopathic remedies reduce the patient’s sensitivity to the dynamic stimulus of the virus or bacteria, thus lessening the patient’s predisposition to being overcome by this stimulus” (Golden, 1994).
If homeopathic remedies do not produce an increase in antibody levels, then the only way to measure the effectiveness of homeopathic prophylaxis is through clinical results. This is a formidable undertaking. The cost of long-term studies using homeopathic prophylaxis would be prohibitive, given the present resources available. Ethical problems could also prevent such studies from occurring; it is doubtful that ethics committees would allow children to be deprived of the commonly administered and approved allopathic vaccines. Moskowitz has suggested that the sizable population of unvaccinated children whose parents have refused vaccines, could provide a control group to assess the long-term negative effects of vaccines (Moskowitz, 1985). Perhaps this population could also serve as a test group for homeopathic prophylaxis.
Parents need to understand that there is no evidence to support the use of these homeopathic preparations for long-term prevention. There is nothing in the literature that shows homeopathic prophylaxis provides lasting immunity from specific diseases
Handbook of Homeopathic Alternatives to Immunizations by Susan Curtis BA, MCH, RShom
This book was written as a practical guide to explain what homeopathy has to offer as alternatives to immunization