Have you heard about homeopathic vaccines called nosodes? There’s a lot of talk about this alternative to traditional vaccinations in the holistic community and beyond.
Many folks warn against using nosodes because they don't believe they will be effective, essentially putting the users at more risk by assuming they are out of harm's way. Yet others opt to use them because they simply don't trust the conventional vaccines and believe that homeopathy provides a more sound option in protecting against disease.
Let's take a look and see if homeopathic vaccines are something worth considering…
What is homeopathy?
Before we get any further into our talk about vaccines, I want to clear up some confusion around the terms ‘holistic' and ‘homeopathic' which are often mistakenly used for each other.
Like the sound of the name implies, a holistic approach is focused on the whole person. A holistic doctor won’t only want to know what symptoms a patient is experiencing but also what was the root cause of the problem and any other symptoms that may be contributing to that person's condition. The ultimate goal of holistic medicine is to treat the whole person and create a true state of balanced health.
That’s where homeopathic medicine – one of many numerous holistic approaches to health – may come into play. In homeopathy the phrase ‘like to cure like' is often used. The basic theory is that “any substance, which can produce symptoms in a healthy person, can cure similar symptoms in a person who is sick.” For example, “poison ivy causes redness, intense itching, burning, blistering and sometimes stiff muscles. Homeopathically it has been used for everything from herpes and burns to eczema and arthritis.” (source)
A homeopathic doctor administers a very small dose of a particular substance to the affected patient. In fact, the more dilute a remedy, the more potent its healing capacity when the correct remedy is chosen.
Though its minuscule dose makes it seem a bit like hocus-pocus, I have seen homeopathy work time and time again in both acute and constitutional treatments. The trick seems to be finding the correct remedy for a particular situation. If the remedy is wrong, it is completely ineffective.
What is a nosode?
There are two classes of homeopathic remedies, the first is made from substances obtained from healthy plants, animals, and mineral products. The second class, called nosodes (from Greek ‘noso' meaning disease), includes substances derived from diseased tissue, mucus, pus, or pure cultures of pathological microorganisms.
Nosodes may sound kind of gross and scary but the preparation process dilutes and inactivates any viable organisms so you can't get sick from taking any of these homeopathic remedies.
Measles is one illness that has a corresponding nosode. This nearly obsolete childhood illness is hot in the news right now with CNN reporting that U.S. cases in 2013 may be at the highest in 17 years. We can chat later over the ridiculous fear-based tactics of the media and pharmaceutical companies, but is this a good reason for you to load up your child with homeopathic morbillinum – the nosode for measles? Let's find out.
So how does a homeopathic vaccine work?
Unlike the standard pharmaceutical injections, homeopathic remedies are taken orally and enter the body through the mucous membranes of the mouth. The nosode then (similar to conventional vaccines) acts as a blocking device for the disease in question by stimulating the immune system to protect against the offending substance. Unlike conventional vaccines, however, nosodes are commonly used after a patient has contracted a disease to stop its progress.
Many classical homeopaths take issue with the use of nosodes for disease prevention because they believe it's better to support the body to work out its own issues rather than to preempt specific diseases from taking hold.
On the other side of the fence, fans of nosodes think they are are the coolest invention since the stethoscope. A big benefit is that “nosodes do not contain mercury, aluminum, formaldehyde, polysorbate 80, triton X 100 (spermicide) or any other of the noxious ingredients present in [standard] vaccines.” (source) Another reason is they seem to work.
Are homeopathic vaccines effective?
If you search ‘are nosodes effective' on Google, you will see a flurry of sites devoted to demonizing these homeopathic remedies claiming that they do not protect against infectious disease, put our communities at risk, and lack scientific backing. This puts up a red flag for me, but for the opposite reason that these sites intend.
Let me remind you that most scientific research is backed by filthy-rich pharmaceutical companies or others that have financial interests in mind. Conducting large-scale studies is an expensive endeavor, and as such there is a gaping lack of scientific evidence around homeopathy, acupuncture, inexpensive supplements, and anything that will not benefit the pocketbooks of big business.
That said, there are numerous accounts of nosodes protecting large groups of people from everything from leptospirosis, cholera, polio, Japanese encephalitis, and diptheria. (source) For those who rely heavily on scientific studies, these may not be sufficient to prove that nosodes work.
Just for fun, let's look at the efficacy of a couple of conventional vaccines…
I’ve written before about why I think getting a flu vaccine is a bad idea here. Depending on the year, you typically have a 1/100 chance (one percent) of being vaccinated for the proper viral strain. Not great odds. I'd rather take my chances with homeopathic oscillococcinum. You can get it here.
During the California whooping cough outbreak in 2010, 81% of pertussis cases under the age of 18 were fully vaccinated children. In a pertussis outbreak in Texas, the CDC statistics show that 81.5 percent of cases were fully vaccinated. (Read more here). With these odds, homeopathic Pertussin seems like a smart alternative.
Should you use homeopathic vaccines?
Neither conventional vaccines nor homeopathic nosodes are a guarantee against contracting an infectious disease – however – with homeopathic vaccines you do avoid the potential harm from all of the toxic ingredients found in conventional shots.
Personally, I think nosodes may play a helpful role in holistic medicine if taken in the appropriate context.
I don't give my children nosodes currently, but that isn't to say that I won't change my mind if the measles makes a mad run through my town. I do use oscillococcinum at the first signs of flu, and I certainly will call on these nosodes (in addition to Chinese herbs) to resolve the symptoms and reduce any discomfort through the recovery process if my child were to contract measles or any other illnesses that has a nosode.
More importantly, as a holistic practitioner and mom, I focus on supporting my kids' healthy immune systems so that when they do get sick (because let's face it, kids do get sick) their little bodies are able to fight off the bad guys and have wellness prevail. Diet, good sleep, healthy lifestyle, and some select supplements go a lot further in overall health than relying on any type of vaccination alone, regardless if it’s a standard or homeopathic vaccine.
Bottom line: It is (thankfully) still your choice whether or not your child will receive conventional vaccines, homeopathic nosodes, or none at all. Whatever you choose, I urge you to prioritize your child's health, not just cross your fingers and hope that any vaccine (conventional or homeopathic) will keep your kid from getting sick.
Have you had success with homeopathic vaccines? Let us know in the comments below!
Keep in mind that this post is not medical advice and should not be construed as such. I recommend that you work directly with a holistic-minded health practitioner, and if you are interested in using nosodes, consult with a trained homeopath to make sure you're on the right track.