by Joette Calabrese
How Dad Outlives Them All With Homeopathy
I put responsibility for my health care completely in my own hands. And the only way I or anyone can take this stance with such fervor is to know, down to our very cells, what we actually believe.
I put my faith in a nutrient-dense diet and in homeopathy. This doesn’t mean I will never place a toe in the conventional medical arena. But that toe will be positioned there for mere moments for the sake of a diagnosis or to set a broken bone. That’s enough for me! I’ll slip from the sterilized mitts to return to my trusted homeopathy. Indeed, do I have confidence in my craft or not? Not blind faith, but robust, wholehearted trust in the data and clinical observations my colleagues and I have made in our professional and personal lives.
Take my father, for example. He hails from an Italian-American family and was the second youngest of seventeen children. All except two of his siblings, as well as his parents, died before the age of 76.
Over the last years, my father and I have cooperatively gotten him off all heart medications and kept him out of doctors’ offices. In a few months he will be 87. So far, so good.
Here are the details of his story. At the age of 62 my father had the first of two myocardial infarctions. He had also been suffering tachycardia (rapid heart beat) for months before the incident. At the time of this episode his total cholesterol was a skimpy 112. For years, he had followed the Fit for Life diet: lowfat and vegan.
Leading up to and including the 1980s my father was fully cemented in the conventional medical cardiac treatment protocol. He was dutifully compliant with his doctors in every way: he continued the lowfat diet, daily baby aspirin, Lipitor, nitroglycerin, calcium channel and beta blockers, and two more blood pressure meds. Nary a missed drug nor appointment.
But his doctors didn’t always show up for their scheduled appointments. Something began to happen to his cardiologists. One by one, each died over a period of fifteen years. The grand total was six cardiologist deaths with only one of them to survive beyond his seventieth birthday! If these fallen medical men had been living according to their own counsel, swallowing their prescribed nostrums, and eating per their recommended regimes, then their advice would be at best specious, and more likely deadly.
Two years after his first infarction my father suffered another attack and more drugs were added to his treatment protocol. But just before the last cardiologist died, he warned our family that if my father did not undergo bypass heart surgery, he’d not make it to his next birthday.
That cardiologist’s surgical plan sounded more like highway construction than something done to a human body. He artfully planned to connect Route 33, which was partially blocked, to the New York State Thruway through my father’s leg, splice and redirect several more vascular roadways, and of course require the mandatory stop at the toll booth to pay. When I finally shook off my flabbergastion my first coherent thought was to consider the unconsidered. I said, “Dad, let’s get out of here.” My father gave it about an hour’s deliberation and then decided he’d take the detour and forgo surgery, thank you very much.
Before my father reached his seventy-first year, that cardiologist died, too!
TIME FOR A REAL DETOUR
After years of conforming to the conventional medical canon along with mounting side effects from the drugs he took, my father allowed me to convince him to consider another way: homeopathy.
It took time to persuade him to rely completely upon the homeopathic methods as well as a modified WAPF-styled diet, which turned out to be both a safe choice and a triumphant one.
If you knew my father you’d understand that he doesn’t move quickly to alter dietary habits, so this remains a work in progress. We began with butter first, then coconut oil. Today he makes dinner for himself and my mother with these two saturated fats in every meal and he makes his own raw milk yogurt on a weekly basis. I must confide that getting him off commercial bread was a trial only a devoted daughter could endure.
As for the drugs, the aspirin was the first to go. No persuasion was needed, since it had caused him gastrointestinal burning that he had simply put up with.
In practicing homeopathy we don’t recommend that people heedlessly eliminate their drugs. Instead, we allow them to live with the newfound benefits of the homeopathic remedies for some time. This method allows the remedy to take up the slack so that the body no longer requires drugs in order to function.
Once we observe this shift, the client is encouraged to see his doctor for help in getting off medication. However, doctors are not trained to get patients off drugs, only on how to get them on. In my father’s case, we skipped this step. Another detour!
Early on, during the period of physiciandirected choices, and unaware that his doctor knew nothing of homeopathy, my father asked his MD’s opinion on using Arnica montana in place of aspirin. The doctor sniffed, “You can’t use those methods without taking risks. What are you hoping to accomplish? I take aspirin daily myself.” That doctor died five years later.
It’s a little hard not to be smug. And so, it wasn’t long before we made a conscious decision to leave the conventional doctors out of our loop. It only caused undue stress on my father to argue with someone who had no understanding of drug-free methods, nor of proper nutrient-dense diets. Instead, my father simply began taking Arnica montana 6x twice daily and within several months he was done with aspirin.
Since making this decision we have observed that when my father inadvertently cuts himself he doesn’t bleed heavily as he once did. This is reassuring, since a more sobering injury or surgery could have potentially resulted in hemorrhage. On a daily note, he no longer complains of chronic burning stomach, indigestion and constipation. The telltale ecchymosis, euphemistically called black and blue spots, disappeared.
Another daunting symptom my father experienced through the years was angina, which accompanied even the smallest of activities. Walking to the mailbox left him in an anguished state because of pain and breathlessness. Arnica montana brought this complaint down to a mild purr, but Magnesium phosphoricum (Mag phos) 6x settled it completely. Instead of keeping nitro-glycerin in his shirt pocket, he tucked in a small bottle of Mag phos 6x and popped a few pills into his mouth as needed. After a few months, the need for this remedy was eradicated and Dad stopped carrying it with him. Mag phos 6x cured his angina.
However, there still remained his cardiac dysrhythmia (irregular heart beat). His cardiologist, the one who died first, told him that dysrhythmia often ushers in cardiac arrest and is incurable. Naturally this symptom therefore carried the greatest fear factor for my father. Digitalis 30c became our remedy of choice, and this too can be used daily for many months, or years if need be. However, the dysrhythmia is likely to resolve in a much shorter amount of time if this powerhouse of a remedy is employed.
Dr. A.L. Blackwood in Diseases of the Heart says of homeopathic Digitalis: “It not only relieves the palpitation but also diminishes and arrests the nightly emissions that so frequently accompany it.” Digitalis has a place even in conventional medical settings, but in that arena it is used in gross form. Unfortunately, as with aspirin, when a substance is used in material structure (as opposed to homeopathic dilution) it frequently causes side effects. In fact, the more “effective” a drug is in suppressing symptoms, the more likely it is to cause damaging side effects. In the original, gross form before it is made into a homeopathic remedy, Digitalis is a poisonous plant, the foxglove. Poisonous substances ultimately make the best homeopathic remedies, because when highly diluted and potentized, they become powerful medicines. The drug industry uses the original plant to formulate a synthetic version in the manufacture of the prescription drug called Digoxin. The difference between this synthetic version and the homeopathic is like the difference between aspartame and raw honey.
For arterial sclerosis, we count on Arnica montana, but another remedy is required to be certain that blockage is not imminent: Secale cornutum (ergot). In his Desktop Guide to Homeopathy, Dr. Roger Morrison points out the following: “Secale cornutum acts mainly on the circulation. Allopathically, ergotamines are used for their (primary) vasoconstrictive properties; homeopathically, Secale is used for circulatory imbalances.”
In my father’s case, we also occasionally counted on Aurum metallicum 200, which is especially valuable when heart disease is accompanied by depression. This remedy has a reputation for resolving the cardiac event as well as depression.
Aurum arsenicum 200 is the remedy of choice at the critical time of cardiac arrest and in general for arterial sclerosis. Dr. Ramakrishnan reports that he has used this on thousands of patients. My father has counted on it when he has gone into tachycardia, with severe pressure and pain radiating down his right arm. After two doses of this miraculous remedy, the pain and heart flipping halts. So does the accompanying anxiety. He has used this powerhouse medicine for such acute situations as well as chronic conditions. After such events, my father counted on Aurum arsenicum 200 to keep this event from recurring. That was over four years ago and he has not had a recurrence.
I also include the tincture, Crataegus oxyacantha (hawthorn), as part of his daily routine. It has a history of addressing hypertension and most important, as per Concordant Materia Medica, “[has] a solvent power upon crustaceous and calcareous deposits in arteries. Tincture, one to fifteen drops; must be used for some time in order to obtain good results.”
CONSIDER THE UNCONSIDERED
How many times did my father hear that the only way to treat heart disease was to submit to surgery, take drugs for life, and abstain from saturated fats? These doctors overtly stated that there was no way to save his health other than to acquiesce and accept lowered expectations for his quality of life.
But for you and me, lowered expectations are the least rational response! It only makes sense if we wish to cede control of our lives to the opinions of others. When it comes to chronic illness such as heart disease the model of modern medicine offers unreliable solutions that can usually be circumvented with intelligent alternatives.
If my father and I flatly refuse procedures and drugs of commerce, are we thrusting our heads in the sand? Certainly not! For I have as much sure confidence in my medicines as does a conventional doctor who depends on his drugs.
One doctor I didn’t count in my previous tally was a close friend of my father’s and a world famous professor of cardiology. He once said to our family, “The way to have good health is to get yourself a scary disease, then learn how to bring yourself back to health.” That is how my father and I approached his illness.
If we believe that we should be personally responsible for our health, and when we depend on ourselves we discover that we are stronger, more successful, and take greater pride in ourselves and our work, then we make positive contributions to society. When you cure a family member, there is profound gratification not only in the joy of watching his or her suffering melt away, but in the blush of accomplishment.
I want the heady experience of serving someone most dear to me. If that means I’m a rebel then I’ll accept that label. Just don’t stand in the way of my helping my father.
Schedule of Remedies
It would be irresponsible of me to suggest that the protocol I devised for my father is indicated for everyone suffering from heart conditions, so this is where I must state that each cardiac case presents different settings, hence somewhat diverse remedies. Cardiac homeopathic choices are numerous, and I didn’t come to the following schedule without trials of other remedy considerations over time. Since I know I’ll be receiving emails and calls on precisely what we used, below is the schedule on which I’ve settled for the last many years.
While items one through four below have been included in my dad’s schedule for years, items five through seven have been adjusted according to symptoms as they presented. I might add that the longer my father has been on this plan, the more infrequently certain remedies are needed. In spite of his age, he grows towards more vigorous health. This is not something you hear in conventional medical arenas, which routinely blame the patient’s age for the lack of response.
1. Arnica montana 3 or 6x, twice daily
2. Magnesium phosphoricum 6x, twice daily
3. Crataegus Q, 5 drops, twice daily
4. Secale cornutum 30, twice daily
5. Digitalis 30, twice daily
6. Aurum arsenicum 200, every 30 minutes in an emergency, followed by twice daily for months until the emergent setting clears
7. Arnica montana 200, every 30 minutes alternating with Aurum arsenicum 200 in cardiac emergency.
Cardiac Benefits of Arnica Montana Versus Aspirin
Arnica montana is one of our leading homeopathic remedies for the heart, particularly in relation to blood and arteries. As Frans Vermeulen states in his Concordant of Materia Medica, Arnica has the ability to resolve the following symptoms: “Angina pectoris, stitches in the heart, pulse feeble and irregular, cardiac dropsy, palpitations after any exertion, pressure under the sternum, anguish, collapse, beats shake the whole body.” Also, “Feeble debilitated patients with impoverished blood. Cardiac dropsy and dyspnoea. Marked effect on the blood, affects the venous system.” The very symptoms my father suffered at the time of his cardiac event are fully covered by Arnica montana.
This medical book is a compendium of excerpts from the writings and clinical experience of Drs. Boericke, Phatak, Boger, Lippe, Allen, Pulford, Cowperthwaite, Kent, Clark, and Vermeulen. Also, Dr. S.R. Phatak in Materia Medica of Homeopathic Medicines relays the pathologies that Arnica montana can address: “Ecchymoses and haemorrhages. Relaxed blood vessels with tendency to haemorrhage, epistaxis.”
For five years, I studied under the homeopathic physician Dr. A.U. Ramakrishnan, who is the medical physician to the president of India. In his hospital in India, he and his colleagues eschew daily aspirin for cardiac patients and instead prescribe Arnica montana 6x. Over the years, my client-students who have elected to use Arnica montana 6x report that this simple change has made a remarkable shift in their well being.
If you are unfamiliar with the harms associated with aspirin use, consider the Mayo Clinic’s website, www.mayoclinic.com/health/daily-aspirin-therapy/HB00073/NSECTION GROUP=2, which reports: “Stroke may be caused by a burst blood vessel. While daily aspirin can help prevent a clot-related stroke, it may increase your risk of a bleeding stroke (hemorrhagic stroke).”
In the New York Times article, “A Hidden Danger of an Aspirin a Day” (consults.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/02/01/ahidden-danger-of-an-aspirin-a-day/?_r=0 ), Dr. Neena S. Abraham, a gastroenterologist at the Michael E. DeBakey V.A. Medical Center says: “If your physician has suggested you take aspirin to reduce your risk of heart disease, it is important to remember that even small doses of daily aspirin—including ‘baby aspirin,’ at a dose of 81 milligrams daily—can increase your risk of ulcers and bleeding. It is important to remember that all aspirin has the potential to damage the tissue of the gastrointestinal tract. Damage can occur anywhere, from mouth to anus.”
Thus, not only will Arnica montana address the integrity of the blood, but it shores up the vessels. In that light, aspirin appears to be the wrong drug choice altogether, particularly when the vessels break more easily with its use.
This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly journal of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Winter 2013.
You can visit the web site of Joette Calabrese here.