In the media and in our communities we now see heightened fear of infectious disease. In a way this is perfectly understandable. Nobody likes the thought that their child could be carried off, or permanently damaged, by diseases such as diphtheria or polio.
But we may fail to remember that we are so truly a part of the natural world, that we owe our physical existence to the vast intelligence of nature, and the intricately balanced ecosystems in which humanity evolved. We have co-evolved with many of the organisms that medicine is trying to eradicate. From a holistic perspective, we have relationships with these organisms that we don’t yet fully understand. For example, Streptococcus, the microbe that may be the target of the highest number of prescriptions of antibiotics for children, is a part of our normal healthy microbiome. It simply needs to be in balance within a healthy body.
Let us consider the possibility that our health as a species depends on the intelligence of nature. That nature formed us, and nature knows what we need. That the disease microbes that we have evolved with, far from being senseless killers, may in fact have a symbiotic relationship with us. In fact, there is now growing evidence that the disease organisms which we are trying to eradicate, or in many cases which we have virtually eradicated, are essential in the development of our healthy human immune system.
Homeopaths in times past commonly treated children as they went through what used to be the normal spate of childhood diseases, such as measles, mumps and chicken pox. They observed that following the recovery from these illnesses, children would often undergo a developmental spurt. This could be seen in physical growth, but also in learning. In a general way, they emerged from the illness more robust than before. The homeopathic explanation for this phenomenon is that the disease provided a way for the child to expel (heal) their “miasmatic inheritence” – the dross of epigenetically encoded patterns of disease passed down from previous generations.
In more recent times, we have a fascinating, growing body of research into the effects of homeoprophylaxis (HP), including its general effect on overall health. Large studies have been done by Kate Birch in the United States and by Dr. Isaac Golden in Australia. In both studies it has been found that the children who underwent HP had broad health effects beyond resistance to the specific diseases addressed in the HP program. They had lower rates of allergies and other chronic illness, and lower susceptibility to common ‘bugs’ such as cold and flu.
Now consider these results alongside some groundbreaking research in Africa into the health outcomes of vaccinating children. For the first time, researchers have been studying the overall effects (“non-specific effects”) of each vaccine, as it relates to the rate of childhood mortality and to general robustness of the immune system. The results of this research are summarized by key researcher Dr. Christine Stabell Benn, in an Jan. 11th, 2019 article, “Vaccines have health effects beyond protecting against target diseases“, which includes a link to her surprising TED talk, entitled “How vaccines train the immune system in ways no one expected“. Dr. Stabell Benn’s talk highlights the striking results of the live polio vaccine given in the first week of life. This was found to significantly reduce childhood mortality and resulted in babies and children being better able to fight off other viruses, not just polio.
Further research by these teams showed similar general health benefits from all three of the live vaccines studied (the others being BCG for tuberculosis, and measles). These beneficial effects happened when the baby encountered these live microbes at specific times during their development, not just at any time.
Stabell Benn goes on to say that, conversely, their research has found significantly lowered health, and much higher infant mortality, resulting from all of the inactivated (non-live) vaccines. In the United States, now only inactivated vaccines are given, because the live forms have been thought to be more dangerous, since they carry a small risk of infection with the targeted disease. This research shows that no general immune system development (what in HP we refer to as ‘immune system education’) is resulting from the vaccinations we are using; instead these vaccines are creating poorer general health outcomes for children.
In the case of the live vaccines, what exactly is happening? We don’t know yet. But Kate Birch, founder of Free and Healthy Children International, as a result of her many-years investigation into infectious disease and homeoprophylaxis, and her deep exploration into the world of the intestinal lining and its relationship to the immune system, has some interesting ideas.
Let us consider polio. Kate points out that prior to the modern era of widespread sanitation, polio was always present in the environment, and infants would encounter it almost as soon as they came into the world. Polio seems to have appeared in ancient Egypt, at around the same time that humans settled into agrarian society and began raising and eating wheat. Gluten, the protein in wheat, is very poorly digestible. If it passes into the blood stream through the wall of the intestine, it leads to inflammatory and allergic responses in the body. Kate believes that exposure to the polio virus and other RNA viruses have the effect of lowering the hormone zonulin. Zonulin is produced in the intestine, and opens up the junctions in the intestinal wall that allow nutrients to pass into the blood stream. By having lower zonulin levels, these junctions are tighter, so that large, undigested molecules such as gluten cannot pass through. This is protective not only against gluten but many other pathogens and toxins. Conversely, inappropriately timed vaccines, inactivated vaccines, and toxins in our environment such as glyphosate (Round-Up), raise zonulin levels and cause the junctions in the gut lining to be too open, with disastrous effects on overall health, including for our brains and nervous systems.
When our gut lining is ‘wide open’, our vagus nerve is affected, leading to intense symptoms of anxiety and fear. Interestingly, one of the main symptoms of homeopathic patients who need polio as a homeopathic remedy is intense anxiety and fear.
Perhaps there has been a circular effect: once we cut ourselves off from our evolutionary relationship with polio (probably through sanitation), we opened our society not only to much more chronic inflammatory disease, but also to high levels of anxiety and fear. Disease is near the top of our list of things we most intensely fear. And in general, we fear many other things relating to what is ‘not me’ in the world, with broad political and sociological ramifications.
The function of the immune system is, in a general way, to discern, what is me, and what is not me? What do I accept into myself? When something is present that is not me, how can I come into balance and co-exist with it?
This lesson of discernment and integration which we can see at the body’s cellular level may in fact relate to the same general lesson for us as human beings functioning in the world, the outer reflecting the inner. This seems especially likely if we consider the mysterious connection between body and mind, in which our body conditions can be seen to reflect what is going on in our psyche. If our body comes to reflect our psyche, it may be that our psyche equally reflects the condition of our body. This would apply not only to negative mental emotional effects from dis-ease created by unhealed trauma or unresolved illness, but to larger, life benefits of lessons learned and strengths acquired by the body. In this way, the education of the immune system, and our vital force itself – the core intelligence of our physical health – may have big implications for who we become as people.
Nature always seems to provide us with a way to come back into balance, once we realize where we’ve gone astray. We are discovering that homeoprophylaxis can re-pattern our relationship with disease microbes. It does this safely, not through live vaccines but through working with the homeopathic remedies made from these diseases. These remedies, called ‘nosodes’, provide our body with the same energetic patterns, the same set of information, as the microbes themselves. This means that our bodies receive the same ‘education’ benefits as they would from the microbe, without having to contract the disease. This includes developing a healthy gut lining. It means lowering our rates of chronic disease, autoimmunity, inflammation. It means re-balancing our healthy microbiome. We are finding that these benefits are available whether we are young or old, previously vaccinated or not.
Through our work with HP we feel we can ultimately play a role in healing our society, as the population is increasingly able to integrate the health and life ‘lessons’ provided by the microbes that challenge us. Maybe of top importance to our world today, through work with polio and other viruses, we can lower our levels of paralyzing anxiety and fear, as we rediscover our place in nature.