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My Turn: The case for belladonna

  • Belladonna has been used as a medicine for centuries. Wikimedia commons



For the Monitor
Wednesday, January 03, 2018

A recent news story claimed a popular homeopathic teething remedy is dangerous because it contains belladonna. On the surface, this could be alarming news. But with a little knowledge, the claim is clearly false, and the latest in a long-standing witch hunt against homeopathy by the medical establishment. Big Pharma’s fear of these harmless remedies points to the larger picture of how we treat illness in this country.

My family and I have used homeopathic medicines for more than 35 years. They are the first thing we turn to for cold or flu symptoms, an upset stomach, bruises, bee stings or seasonal allergies. Taking the right remedy normally clears the symptoms quickly. Learning which remedy to take for a specific symptom is easy. And if the remedy doesn’t work, knowing nothing adverse will happen is a major plus. It is the most perfect form of home medicine we know of: effective, safe and inexpensive.

Belladonna is one of my favorite personal remedies. At the first sign of a sore throat, a dose or two normally knocks it out. Homeopathy isn’t a cure-all for everything, so common sense must prevail. We use conventional doctors when we need them, but our visits are few and far between.

We use a homeopathic flu remedy that is so effective we’ve never had a flu shot. When we exhibit flu symptoms, a single dose normally knocks it out within 24 hours. While others are out of action for weeks at a time, we are rarely felled for more than a day or two by any cold or flu.

Our two homeopathic kits have saved us many thousands of dollars in doctor visits over the years, sparing us from taking drugs that do have side effects. My wife and I are in our 70s, and we take not a single pharmaceutical drug between us.

We fully embrace homeopathic medicine because it works, and because there is no chance of a side effect. That’s right, no side effects. Ever. The active ingredients are so highly diluted they exist primarily on the nano level. Yet, most of the time they work, consistently and quickly. And they do not interact with any other drugs a person may be taking.

Homeopathic medicines gently stimulate the immune system in specific ways, enhancing our body’s ability to heal itself. They help our body deal with the underlying cause of illness, rather than suppressing symptoms the way conventional allopathic drugs do. Some of the most promising work in cancer research involves harnessing the immune system to eliminate tumors, rather than drugs and radiation that further compromise it.

Belladonna isn’t the only potential poison in the homeopathic pharmacopeia. The single most popular medicine, arnica, is also a deadly poison when taken in gross form. Arnica is made from a wild mountain daisy. Goats munch on the flowers when they fall, knowing instinctively a little bit will help them heal quickly.

These two ingredients, along with arsenic and others, are among the 3,000 medicines in the homeopathic medicine chest. Each is so highly diluted there is simply no chance of a side effect.

The medicines have been used by millions of people for more than 200 years. If they were toxic, it would be evident by now. The Royal Family is a proponent of homeopathy. Forty percent of the physicians in France prescribe homeopathic medicines. The remedies are sold around the world, with nary a side effect reported. They truly follow the precept, “Above all, do no harm.”

The claim made recently that homeopathic medicines are unregulated is also not true. The FDA approves homeopathic medicines as OTC drugs and assigns them with an NDC (National Drug Code) number.

So, what’s behind the effort to disparage homeopathy despite its long history of safety and efficacy? The simple answer is greed. Homeopathic medicines are inexpensive ($8 for a tube of 75 pellets) and last indefinitely. Drug manufacturers cannot patent homeopathic medicines, so they have no interest in promoting them, effective as they may be.

Contrast this with pharmaceutical drugs. The cost of some has risen so outrageously it’s made headlines. The cozy connection between the pharmaceutical companies, doctors, hospitals and insurance companies is well known. And the list of side effects associated with many popular mainstream drugs can run for pages.

Homeopathy is one of a number of softer, “complementary” disciplines, including herbal medicine, naturopathy, acupuncture and chiropractic that offer non-invasive treatment of common ailments. In our experience they are well worth exploring.

For the price of a homeopathic home medicine kit and guidebook you can take control of most common health care needs yourself. The remedies are readily available at all food coops, natural food stores, many pharmacies and grocery stores, and online.

(Sol Solomon lives in Sutton.)