I have received a comment from a reader: “Homeopathy is not something I have tried or known whether to trust, but the one thing I am certain of is that it can do no harm, unlike allopathic meds . . .” Actually, homeopathic remedies have hurt me, but nothing like allopathic meds. (Or, as the Good Doctor said last week, “Antidepressants only work 10% of the time; side effects? 100% of the time.”)

So here are the blogs I’ve written about my journey into homeopathic medicine if you want to follow the lessons learned:


My trip began when my primary care physician sent a colleague to see me in the hospital because I couldn’t tolerate pharmaceuticals and his colleague, also an M.D., was into alternatives. The colleague, as a young man, had created a yoga center and then went to medical school in his thirty’s because he wanted to know more about the mind/body interaction. The colleague told me about research published in respected medical journals that concluded, unequivocally, that homeopathic remedies are effective in treating illness.

My next stop was a homeopath who was a friend of a friend and didn’t charge me. She prescribed a remedy without ever meeting me and it worked so well and so fast that I went from hospital to nursing home to my home within five days of taking it. And then I had a total relapse. And then I met the homeopath for the first time and she finally listened to me and then she said she would think about what to do and get back to me. I never heard from her again.

Moral of the story: never ingest anything prescribed by anyone with whom you haven’t gone eyeball-to-eyeball.

But homeopathy had come well recommended by a physician, and I had had a powerfully positive reaction to it, so I tried again, this time with another friend of a friend who also was not charging me. He prescribed various remedies that made me both better and worse—the worst being mostly that his remedies made me suicidal. That’s, like, um, lethal. When I stopped taking the remedy, the suicidal feelings went away. The homeopath was in his eighty’s and was making a lot of mistakes, like coming to my home and telling me to do one thing, then going to his home and telling me to do something different. He was a lovely man but he had stayed too long at the fair and his recommendations were unreliable—not to mention that he asked me to keep in touch with him every three days but he utterly stopped responding.

Moral of the story: you get what you pay for. If you pay nothing, you get nothing.

It was clear to me that homeopathy was working but it just wasn’t being prescribed right so I moved on to a couple of homeopaths who, unlike the previous two, relied on income from their homeopathic business to pay their bills. It’s wonderful how something like that grounds people and gets them to work responsibly.

So the homeopaths sat in my living room for an hour, making excellent eye contact and paying attention all over the place, then they went home, sent me two forms of remedy at $20 each and billed me something like $275 for the visit. Monthly follow-up visits cost $95. In short, one-quarter of my income is paying for homeopathy because Congress, under the aggressive influence of the pharmaceutical lobbyists, does not authorize payment for alternative treatments.

Please be advised that in Great Britain, Queen Elizabeth, Prince Philip, the kids and grandkids, use homeopathic remedies.

“Homeopathy is not available on the NHS [National Health Service] in all areas of the country, but there are several NHS homeopathic hospitals and some GP practices also offer homeopathic treatment.

“Homeopathy is usually practised privately and homeopathic remedies are available from pharmacies. The price for an initial consultation with a homeopath can vary from around £20 to £80 [50 pounds = $85]. Homeopathic tablets or other products usually cost around £4 to £10 [7 pounds = $12].” From “NHS Choices” (http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/homeopathy/Pages/Introduction.aspx#available )

So what am I getting for my money? The homeopath with the gray beard said that it takes six months to a year to get a full recovery. I have had ME/CFIDS (myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue immune dysfunction syndrome) for about half a century. I was dosed with antidepressants, which are contraindicated in ME/CFIDS, for a quarter of a century. Therefore, I figure that in the long run I’ve got to give homeopathy two years before I pass judgment on whether or not it works.

In the short run? After two and a half months on the homeopathic remedy—
• Before, I only could stand up about five minutes; I now can stand up about 20 minutes. When I would stand up, my blood pressure would drop; it no longer does. I used to have frequent episodes of dizziness; now I rarely do.
• I may still have pulmonary fibrosis but I no longer have any shortness of breath.
• I no longer have any depression or emotional lability. The most splendid effect of the homeopathic remedy is that it has soothed my nervous system; I am quiet and calm and stable. It is a beautiful thing.
• Cognitive thinking is clearer and memory is better.
• I am sleeping much better and no longer take Tylenol at bedtime.
• The chest pains have stopped and I no longer take baby aspirin.
I still have extreme exhaustion and terribly high glucose levels but we’re working on them.

About annecwoodlen

I am a tenth generation American, descended from a family that has been working a farm that was deeded to us by William Penn. The country has changed around us but we have held true. I stand in my grandmother’s kitchen, look down the valley to her brother’s farm and see my great-great-great-great-great-grandmother Hannah standing on the porch. She is holding the baby, surrounded by four other children, and saying goodbye to her husband and oldest son who are going off to fight in the Revolutionary War. The war is twenty miles away and her husband will die fighting. We are not the Daughters of the American Revolution; we were its mothers. My father, Milton C. Woodlen, got his doctorate from Temple University in the 1940’s when—in his words—“a doctorate still meant something.” He became an education professor at West Chester State Teachers College, where my mother, Elizabeth Hope Copeland, had graduated. My mother raised four girls and one boy, of which I am the middle child. My parents are deceased and my siblings are estranged. My fiancé, Robert H. Dobrow, was a fighter pilot in the Marine Corps. In 1974, his plane crashed, his parachute did not open, and we buried him in a cemetery on Long Island. I could say a great deal about him, or nothing; there is no middle ground. I have loved other men; Bob was my soul mate. The single greatest determinate of who I am and what my life has been is that I inherited my father’s gene for bipolar disorder, type II. Associated with all bipolar disorders is executive dysfunction, a learning disability that interferes with the ability to sort and organize. Despite an I.Q. of 139, I failed twelve subjects and got expelled from high school and prep school. I attended Syracuse University and Onondaga Community College and got an associate’s degree after twenty-five years. I am nothing if not tenacious. Gifted with intelligence, constrained by disability, and compromised by depression, my employment was limited to entry level jobs. Being female in the 1960’s meant that I did office work—billing at the university library, calling out telegrams at Western Union, and filing papers at a law firm. During one decade, I worked at about a hundred different places as a temporary secretary. I worked for hospitals, banks, manufacturers and others, including the county government. I quit the District Attorney’s Office to manage a gas station; it was more honest work. After Bob’s death, I started taking antidepressants. Following doctor’s orders, I took them every day for twenty-six years. During that time, I attempted%2
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