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The Oath of Hippocrates or Hypocrisy? America, Choose your Medicine

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When doctors graduate from medical school, they are required to swear an oath, which I have the pleasure of quoting here: “I swear by Apollo Physician and Asclepius and Hygieia and Panaceia and all the gods and goddesses, making them my witnesses, that I will fulfill according to my ability and judgment this oath and this covenant:

To hold him who has taught me this art as equal to my parents and to live my life in partnership with him, and if he is in need of money to give him a share of mine, and to regard his offspring as equal to my brothers in male lineage and to teach them this art—if they desire to learn it—without fee and covenant; to give a share of precepts and oral instruction and all the other learning to my sons and to the sons of him who has instructed me and to pupils who have signed the covenant and have taken an oath according to the medical law, but no one else.

I will apply dietetic measures for the benefit of the sick according to my ability and judgment; I will keep them from harm and injustice.

I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody who asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect. Similarly I will not give to a woman an abortive remedy. In purity and holiness I will guard my life and my art.

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I will not use the knife, not even on sufferers from stone, but will withdraw in favor of such men as are engaged in this work.

Whatever houses I may visit, I will come for the benefit of the sick, remaining free of all intentional injustice, of all mischief and in particular of sexual relations with both female and male persons, be they free or slaves.

What I may see or hear in the course of the treatment or even outside of the treatment in regard to the life of men, which on no account one must spread abroad, I will keep to myself, holding such things shameful to be spoken about.

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If I fulfill this oath and do not violate it, may it be granted to me to enjoy life and art, being honored with fame among all men for all time to come; if I transgress it and swear falsely, may the opposite of all this be my lot” (Edelstein, Ludwig. "The Hippocratic Oath, Classical Version, by Hippocrates).

 

Many Americans are unaware of the Homeopathic system of Medicine, having grown up for generations in an environment that provides only conventional western medicine, which includes strong drugs. They are familiar with the idea of swallowing a pill for a headache, which makes them feel better. In this essay, my desire is that the reader explores the differences between the two systems of medicine, so that they will be better informed when seeking wisdom in reference to two totally different systems of health care.

 

Within the system of homeopathy, which in England is spelled “homoeopathy”, we have a word that is broken down into two parts: homeo [like] and pathos [suffering] ((n.d.). Retrieved June 19, 2009, from www.dictionary.com). The counterpart to this system that we know as conventional or orthodox medicine is known in homeopathic circles as “allopathy” which are medicines that “produce effects different from those of the disease treated” ((n.d.). Retrieved June 19, 2009, from www.dictionary.com).

 

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Homeopathic remedies are “based upon minute doses of natural substances”(Basic Laws and Principles, Explaining How Homeopathy Works. (n.d.). Retrieved June 19, 2009). In 1790, Dr. Samuel Hahnemann discovered homeopathy by taking numerous doses of a particular substance (in this case, cinchona bark, used to treat malaria) and developing the symptoms of malaria. Today, as in the past, homeopathic remedies are tested, a method we know as proving. He further discovered that by diluting the amount of the mother tincture, or active ingredient, which is a remedy in pure form or strength, and shaking the remedy, known as succussing or potentization, that the remedy would be effective in treating an illness for someone who presented a symptom picture of a particular disease, as in the case of the above cinchona bark. Furthermore, he developed a system of medicine based upon individualization. This can be summarized into three main laws: The Law o fSimilar (proving ), The Law of the Minimum dose or potentization , and the Law of Individualization, or Holistic Healing (Basic Laws and Principles, Explaining How Homeopathy Works. (n.d.). Retrieved June 19, 2009).

 

Homeopathy remains popular in Europe and throughout the British Commonwealth, because King Henry VIII of England forbade doctors from persecuting herbalists (http://www.rmhiherbal.org/a/f.ahr4.regul.html.  (Roger Wicke, PhD. 19 June 2009). However, it became unpopular in America because Abraham Flexner, a friend of Albert Einstein was appointed by Carnegie, and subsequently produced the “Flexner report.” Indeed, Carnegie found more profit in pharmaceuticals and Rockefeller found more profit in pharmaceuticals and oil.

 Hence, the decline of herbal medicine in the mid 1800s and during the Industrial Revolution in America meant that Americans would have to accept the system known as Allopathy as the main choice for health and longevity. Wealthy oligarchs would not allow a system of homeopathy to flourish in America, as it was not in their interests and was said to be unscientific (Beck, A. H. (n.d.). The Flexner Report and the Standardization of American Medical Education. Retrieved from click here. Recent scientific discovery, however, has proven that “when a substance is diluted in water, the water can carry the memory of the substance, even after it has been so diluted that none of the molecules or the original substance remain (Aitken, S. (2007, November 26). Recent Discovery Shows Water has a Memory.).

 

Another problem is that a system of medicine in early America known as “Thompsonian Medicine,” which was named after Samuel Thompson, a herbalist living in Boston, MA, was publicized as being unfavorable.  Dr. Thompson was accused of poisoning a patient with Lobelia inflata, an emetic, which causes one to vomit. It is widely used today in cough preparations. Although Dr. Thompson had not harmed as many people as the so called “drug doctors” or “quacks” of his day, the court, nevertheless, ruled against him (Armstrong, D. (n.d.). Making Thompsonian Medicines).

 

In contrast, most people today use Orthodox medicine or allopathy. This system of medicine finds its roots in Eclectic medicine, which propounded that the use of concentrated doses of a drug would prove more effective than herbal preparations which do not maintain their shelf life (Armstrong, D. (n.d.). Making Thompsonian Medicines). It is a simplistic form of medicine which works on the principle of a drug being introduced to a “receptor site for enzyme action” (Brown, E. V. (n.d.). Homeopathy Validated?). “Allopathy is the treatment of disease by exciting a disease of another kind or in another part” ((n.d.). Retrieved June 19, 2009, from Http://www.une.edu.au/tlc/aso/students/factsheets/paragraph-comp.pdf). My understanding of this is that if one has a headache, the drug can indeed block the pain at a receptor site, but may also produce liver poisoning {exciting a disease of another kind or in another part}, due to the drug’s strength. In antibiotic warfare, a germ or bacteria is killed by powerful tablets, capsules and liquid preparations, though the bacteria in the patient’s body may build up a resistance to that type of medicine or further complicate the situation.

 

As herbal medicine, homeopathy and Traditional Chinese Medicine seem to be all categorized into one category by Western medical doctors, and as profit is likely to be considered above a patient’s health concerns, homeopathy in America is likely to remain at the background of modern medicine practice in the modern world. Orthodox medicine, on the other hand, will likely stay in the forefront of mainstream medicine. Perhaps we should rename the Hippocratic Oath, the Hypocrisy Oath.

 

 

References

 

Aitken, Sarah. "Recent Discovery Shows Water has a Memory." 26 Nov. 2007, http://www.naturalnews.com/022289.html.

 

Armstrong, David-Elizabeth. "Making Thompsonian Medicines." http://www.lhf.org/cgi-bin/gygactivity.pl?168

 

"Basic Laws and Principles, Explaining How Homeopathy Works." 19 June 2009, http://www.elixirs.com/principles.cfm

 

Beck, Andrew H. "The Flexner Report and the Standardization of American Medical Education." click here

 

Brown, Edward V. "Homeopathy Validated?" http://www.share-international.org/archives/health-healing/hh_ebhomeo.html

 

Edelstein, Ludwig. "The Hippocratic Oath, Classical Version, by Hippocrates." http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/doctors/oath_classical.html

click here style="line-height: 200%">. Roger Wicke, PhD. 19 June 2009.

(Paragraph types, comparison and/or contrast.) click here 19 June 2009.

www.dictionary.com. 19 June 2009,  http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/allopathy

www.dictionary.com. 19 June 2009, http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/homeopathy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

              

 

 

 

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Medieval Astrologer, 21 years + experience. Naturopathy, Homeopathy and Herbal Medicine including Bach Flower Remedies.

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