The very mention of homeopathy may elicit cracks about “Kentucky Fried Medicine” (27 secret herbs and spices).

And the homeopathic principle, “like cures like,” may sound distressingly akin to alchemy. Still, when homeopaths criticize mainstream physicians today for being blinkered and narrow in their approach to health and disease, there may be something in the charge.

“The whole of modern medicine is built upon Pasteur’s germ theory,” says Calgary homeopath Cathy Marrick. “But Pasteur’s germ theory,” says Calgary homeopath Cathy Marrick. “But Pasteur himself recanted the theory on his deathbed; so it’s really built on a lie.” In the homeopathic view, the multiplication of germs in the body happens only when the body is already weakened. So it is more a symptom than a cause of illness. Rather than “fighting the symptom,” homeopathy tries to strengthen the body, so it can fight its own battles. And it considers childhood illnesses to be one way that nature itself strengthens the young immune system.

“Red measles is one of the more beneficial diseases,” says the mother of four. “It almost entirely heals the predisposition to asthma and other upper respiratory-tract problems.”

Homeopathy was first developed in the late-1700s by German physician Samuel Hahnemann. It uses extremely diluted solutions of herbs, minerals and animal extracts, on the theory that the diluting water itself mimics the qualities of the “tincture,” and then transmits those qualities to the body. And since its potions are over 99.99% water, it’s likely that they do no harm, even if they do no good.

“What’s wrong with immunization?” Ms. Marrick muses. “Well, you’re injecting a toxic substance directly into the bloodstream of an immature baby. Thirty years ago, they used to inject smallpox, diphtheria and tetanus at two years. Now, they give 12 jabs with 24 different vaccines, at six-to-eight weeks. Is it any surprise that our children’s immune systems don’t develop normally?”   

She claims that in the United States alone, the pertussis (whopping cough) vaccine causes some 1000 deaths per year, most of which are diagnosed as SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). (As reported in the Globe and Mail, children vaccinated for pertussis will later experience a sustained drop in heart-rate.) What’s more, she says, a further 12,000 children suffer severe reactions, like cerebral palsy.

“Immunization has taken credit for cures it didn’t cause,” the homeopath says. “We’ve managed to reduce most of the traditional childhood diseases, but that’s happened through improved hygiene and diet. Meanwhile, the public health officials use fear-based propaganda—‘if you don’t immunize, you’re putting your child at risk’—because their goal has to be the total elimination of the disease, and that means a 100% immunization rate.” For that very reason, public health nurses almost always ignore the manufacturers’ warnings on the vaccines, not to continue with further booster shots, if the child ever experiences any sort of bad reaction.

In fact, she says, the public health establishment’s ambition of disease-eradication is self-defeating. Even if a vaccine was 100% effective, they’d have to immunize 100% of the children. But as the disease becomes progressively rarer, more and more parents skip the vaccinations, while the disease still simmers. More to the point, the vaccines are nowhere near 100% effective, nor even 75% effective, precisely because mass immunization actually destroys resistance.

“It takes courage not to immunize your child,” she admits, “because you have to take complete responsibility for his health”—largely through greater attention to diet. If your child then contracts a normal childhood disease, but develops an unusually severe case, you then have to find out why the child’s system was already weak. But you can then avoid the increasingly frequent epidemics. “My daughter was the only child in her class not immunized,” says Ms. Marrick. “But she was the only kid that didn’t come down with measles.”

(This article is not endorsing homeopathic medicine. It is simply attempting to show a different point of view)