Why would you want to prescribe a remedy to stimulate a secondary reaction?
Firstly, many reactions of the body in disease (symptoms of illness) are intelligent reactions designed to heal and keep you alive, they are reactions to problems that you are facing. By giving a remedy that stimulates those reactions we find that in many instances this helps the body to resolve an issue quicker than when using medication to stop those reactions.
This way of prescribing also helps to avoid the issue of ‘suppression’; stopping reactions to problems which could thereby leave the problem unresolved, which may affect deeper aspects of the body and potentially creating longer term issues. See our video here for more about this principle of healing.
This principle of treating with a remedy that helps your body to do what it is doing, is known as treating ’like with like’ this is what it means to prescribe a homeopathic remedy. A homeopathic remedy is NOT a statement of how dilute a remedy is; a remedy has to provoke a similar reaction to the symptoms that the patient is displaying at that time, in order for it to be called homeopathic.
Usually much less of the substance is needed compared to medication that is designed to stop your body doing something. This effect of low dose substances creating beneficial reactions in the human body when applied to poisons is called hormesis and is well known to research scientists that study poisons (toxicology).
Hormesis is a term used by toxicologists to refer to a biphasic dose response to an environmental agent characterized by a low dose stimulation or beneficial effect and a high dose inhibitory or toxic effect. In the fields of biology and medicine, hormesis is defined as an adaptive response of cells and organisms to a moderate (usually intermittent) stress.
Mark P. Mattson, Ageing Res Rev. 2008 Jan; 7(1): 1–7.
This is exactly the effect that is utilised in homeopathy; homeopaths, however, use a wider range of substances to to elicit reactions that treat a wider range of conditions.
It’s important to note here that there will be an optimum low dose that will have the greatest beneficial effect … higher doses will have less of a beneficial effect than the optimum low dose, AND even lower doses again may have less of an effect than the optimum low dose. So there is not an exact linear relationship of less is more, (which is an often misquoted principle of homeopathy), it's more accurate to think of an optimum dose having the greatest effect, just as with resonant effects between the vibrations of different substances.
The difficulty faced by some people is the fact that many homeopaths also use (but not exclusively use) ultra-dilute remedies where the material substance has been completely diluted out of the remedy. But the following example is a physical demonstration illustrating that this process of dilution still allows the solution to retain characteristics of the original material.
For example, any substance with a repeatable structure can be studied with ‘thermoluminescence’, a method of heating previously irradiated substances which then gives off a pattern of emitted light that is characteristic of that substance. It is often used to study crystals, and in an experiment involving ice with dissolved salts researchers in Switzerland found that the characteristic emissions of the salts lithium chloride and sodium chloride could be found even in ultra-high dilutions when there was in fact no lithium or sodium chloride left in solution.
As a working hypothesis, we believe that this phenomenon results from a marked structural change in the hydrogen bond network (of the solvent) initiated at the onset by the presence of the dissolved ions and maintained in the course of the dilution process, probably thanks to the successive vigorous mechanical stirrings.
Rey L. Thermoluminescence of ultra-high dilutions of lithium chloride and sodium chloride. Physica A 323 (2003) 67–74
It is important to note that the homeopathic remedy has been through a process starting with a super saturated solution; it’s not just ‘a dilution’, as any dilute substance that you might find in a large mass of water such as the sea, a river or swimming pool.For more information on the evidence of the homeopathic effect and its relationship to dose read more here …
So what is a homeopathic remedy? … One that stimulates a secondary beneficial re-action, in a suitably sensitive patient.