Bowel nosodes: A group of neglected remedies
Although the bowel nosode were brought into being during the early 1930’s there was not much attention being paid to this group of nosode after the initial experiments by E. Bach and J. Paterson. Not only there was no further investigation of their properties in health and disease since Paterson, they were not well utilized by the homoeopathic profession in our daily practice. The latter issue is much to our own disadvantage as today’s medical scientific inquiries have shown that the bowel flora play an important role in the balance between health and diseased conditions.
As we are well aware, diseases are fundamentally the result of a deep disturbance in the individual rather than the fault of the micro-organisms. This assertion is also confirmed by Paterson’s experiment on the bowel nosode. Considering this, our modern life style, dietary habit, and both psychological and physical stresses, together with the practice of vaccination and the over use of antibiotics have contributed to the weakening of the vitality of the host and compromising the digestive, absorptive and immune functions of the body. These have led to the alterations in the bacteria metabolism and the over growth of potentially pathogenic micro-organisms in our intestinal system. As the gastrointestinal tract is considered to be one of the largest immune organs of the body, any disturbance in the bowel flora can mean a difference between health and disease in an individual. The consequence from this altered bowel flora activity is one of the contributing factors to the development of many chronic and degenerative diseases. The most common disease conditions include GIT (Gastrointestinal Tract) disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease as well as other conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, chronic hepatitis, food allergies, etc. Therefore, a healthy balance of the bacteria micro-flora is necessary to ensure a robust intestinal system.
For these reasons, I would like to bring our attention to the possibilities of bowel nosode in homoeopathic practice and their role in healing chronic diseases.
Although my experience in the use and understanding of the efficacies of the bowel nosode is limited, the purpose of this essay is to inspire more interest in this neglected group of remedies. Moreover, those homoeopaths who are research oriented, may make further investigation of the possibilities and properties of this group of remedies in terms of provings and their relationships to disease and the related remedies.
The relationship between homoeopathic remedies and the bowel nosode made by Paterson in his research work up till 1949 is in need of bringing up to date. This is particularly relevant when we take into consideration the vast number of new remedies introduced since. This is especially relevant when we take into consideration Scholten’s contribution through his Element Theory and the remedies obtained from the plant families by both Scholten and Sankaran. In order to do credit to this group of remedies I will first give a brief history of their evolution. Second, how the bowel nosode may be applied in practice and indications for their use and cautions to be considered. Lastly, I will relate my own clinical experience in applying the bowel nosode.
A HISTORICAL CONTEXT:
Essentially, bowel nosode are prepared from cultures of non-lactose fermenting flora of the intestinal tract. The various groups of the nosode are differentiated from each other based on their ability to ferment certain sugars. The investigation and experiments on the bowel bacteria and chronic diseases were first undertaken by Dr. Edward Bach (1886 – 1936) in 1926. He was a bacteriologist at London University College Hospital.
Bach’s investigation led him to conclude that certain intestinal germs belonging to the non-lactose fermenting, gram-negative, and coli-typhoid group, had a close connection with chronic diseases and their cure. These germs were present in the intestines of both healthy people and people suspected of suffering from chronic diseases. However, the difference between the two is that in the latter instance these germs were large in number and pathogenic, whereas their presence was smaller in proportion in the healthy people.
In Bach’s attempt to cure his patients from chronic diseases he isolated the bacilli and then gave it back to the patient in the form of a vaccine (an autogenous vaccine) which was prepared from the cultures of the killed organisms. Bach claimed to cure the disease with this form of vaccine. 95% of the individuals showed favourable response and 80% of the cases revealed excellent results. Later he administered the potentized vaccine, prepared according to the homoeopathic principle, and cured many of his patients. By 1930, Bach briefly summarized clinically derived indications for most of the bowel nosode and moved away from their further investigation. It was Dishington, in 1929, that did the first full preparation of a clinical proving on Dysentery Co.
In summary, the bowel nosode are classified into the following ten major categories that are in use today (B stands for Bacillus; Co. for compound – made up from number of specific germ in each case):
1. B. Morgan Co. (Bach): two subtypes of Morgan Pure (Paterson) and Morgan Gaertner (Paterson).
2. B. Proteus (Bach)
3. Mutable (Bach)
4. Bacillus No. 7 (Paterson)
5. Gaertner (Bach)
6. Dysentery Co. (Bach)
7. Sycotic Co. (Paterson)
9. Bacillus No. 10 (Paterson)
10. Cocal Co. (Paterson)
John Paterson (1890 – 1955), who worked on the nosode with Bach, continued the research for the next two decades after Bach turned his attention to the flower remedies. Paterson and his wife Elisabeth refined the indications for the use of bowel nosode in terms of the characteristics of the bowel flora, especially their behavior in health, diseases and in drug provings. The results produced by Paterson came after examining more than 20,000 stool specimens for over twenty years, which led to the following conclusions:
1. Where there is balance there is no disease. The germ, in this case the B. Coli in the intestinal tract performs a useful function. It is non- pathogenic.
2. The balance of bowel flora is disturbed in disease. This non-lactose fermenting non-pathogenic bowel flora, B. Coli, undergoes definite change in disease conditions. Any change in the host which affects the intestinal mucosa will upset the balance. Therefore, what follows is a change in the B. Coli’s habit and biochemistry, which may then become pathogenic. The disease condition is originated in the host that compels the Bacillus to modify itself in order to survive.
3. Similar changes are also observed in drug provings.
Previously in 1936, Paterson presented a paper to the British Homoeopathic Society. This paper was published in the British Homoeopathic Journal (April, 1936) titled “The Potentised Drug and Its Action on the Bowel Flora.” It dealt with the clinical and bacteriological observations on 12,000 cases. A brief summary of the findings is as follows:
1. Non-lactose fermenting bacilli were isolated in 25% of the stool specimens examined. These are present in all the intestines of warm blooded animals.
2. The appearance of non-lactose fermenting bacilli often followed and seemed to bear relationship of the previously administered homoeopathic remedy, the choice of the remedy being made according to “the law of simil” and prepared by “potentization.”
Paterson’s conclusion states that B. Coli is a harmless saprophyte and to be non-pathogenic when the intestinal mucosa is healthy. Its function is to break up the complex molecules of the organic combinations into the more simple substances, i.e. absorptions. At the same time, Paterson observed an unexpected phenomenon following the administering of the remedy. In the patient who had previously only yielded B. Coli there suddenly appeared a large percentage of non-lactose fermenting bacilli in the patient’s stool, a type which one associated with the pathogenic group of typhoid and paratyphoid. It would seem that the homoeopathic potentized remedy had changed the bowel flora and had caused the disease. Yet clinical investigations revealed that the patient did not feel ill, but experienced a sense of wellbeing attributed to the last remedy he had received. The pathogenic germ in this case was the result of a vital force set up in the patient by the potentized remedy. As such, it begs the question “Is the specific germ the cause of disease, or is it the result of the action of the vital force (Dynamis) which characterizes all living cells in their resistance to disease?” The germ was not the cause of disease (Paterson, 1998:5-6).
Certain conclusions were made from Paterson’s clinical and laboratory observations:
1. The specific organism is related to the disease.
2. The specific organism is related to the homoeopathic remedy.
3. The homoeopathic remedy is related to the disease.
From his work, Paterson was able to compile a list of bowel nosode with their related homoeopathic remedies (September 1949) and his wife Elisabeth Paterson later added her own findings in 1959:
Bowel Nosode; Associated Remedies (J. Paterson)
September 1949; Indicated Remedies Used (E. Paterson)
Morgan-pure (Paterson): Alumina; Baryta-c; Calc-c; Calc-sulph; Carbo-veg; Carbo-sulph; Digitalis; Ferr-c; Graphites; Kali-c; Mag-c; Medorrhinum; Nat-c; Petroleum; Psorinum; Sepia; SULPHUR; Tub-bov Calc-c; Calc-fl; Calc-sil; Calc-sulph; Causticum; Graphites; Hep-sulph; Kali-bich; Kali-c; Kali-sulph; Lycopodium; Medorrhinum; Nat-sulph; Nux-v; Petroleum; Psorinum; Pulsatilla; Rhus-t; Sepia; Silicea; S.S.C.; Thuja; Tub.
Morgan gaertner (Paterson): Chelidonium; Chenopodium; Hellebor-n; Hepar sulph; Lachesis; LYCOPODIUM; Merc-sulph; sanguinaria; Taraxacum; Calc-c; Graphites; Kali-bich; Lycopodium; Nat-m; Nux-v; Pulsatilla; Sepia; Silicea; Sulph.
Proteus (Bach): Acid-m; Ammon-m; Aurum-m; Apis; Baryta-m; Borax; Conium; Cuprum-met; Calc-m; Ferr-m; Ignatia; Kali-m; Mag-m; NATRUM-M; Secale,Aurum-m; Baryta-m; Calc-m; Cholesterin; Cuprum; Ferr-m; Kali-m; Mag-m; Nat-m; Secale cor; Sepia.
Gaertner (Bach): Calc-fl; Calc-hypo; Calc-phos; Cal-sil; Kali-phos; MERC-VIV; Nat-phos; Nat-sil-fl; PHOSPHORUS; Phytollacca; Pulsatilla; SILICEA; Syphilinum; Zinc-phos; Bacilinum; Calc-phos; Clac-sil; Ferr-phos; Kali-phos; Nat-phos; Phosphorus; Silicea; Tub.
Dysentery Co. (Bach): Anacardium; Arg-nit; ARSENIC ALB; Cadmium met; Kalmia; Veratrum-alb; Veratrum-viv; Arg-nit; Ars-alb; China-ars; China-off; Pulsatilla; Tub.
Dysentery Co. (Dishington): Ammon-c; Arg-nit; Arnica; Ars; Cactus; Carbo-veg; Coffea; Digitalis; Gels; Graph; Kali-c; Kalmia; Lachesis; Ledum; Lycopodium; Mag-m; Nat-c; Phos; Platina; Sanguinaria; Sepia; Tub.
Sycotic Co.: Acid-nit; Anti-t; Bacillinum; Calc-met; Ferr-met; Nat-sulph; Rhus-t; Thuja; Bacillinum; Clac-c; Kali-bich; Lycopodium; Nat-m; Pulsatilla; Sepia; Silicea; Sulph; Tub.
Bacillus No. 7: Ars-iod; Bromium; Calc-iod; Ferrum-iod; IODIUM; Kali-bich; Kali-brom; KALI-CARB; Kali-iod; Kali-nit; Merc-iod; Nat-iod; Calc-c; Cal-fl; Causticum; Kali-c; Rhus-t.
Mutabile: Ferr-phos; Kali-sulph; PULSATILLA.
Source: Agrawal (1995:63)
Paterson also grouped the six most common non-lactose fermenting organisms in their relationship to disease symptoms and bodily systems.
Bowel Nosode Group:-- Bodily Systems:-- Conditions:
Morgan Group: Portal System Sluggish-- Congestive
Sycotic Group: Mucous: -- Serous Proliferative Catarrhs
Gaertner Group: Intestinal -- Nutrition
Proteus Group: Vascular -- Nervous Strain, Spasm/Oedema
No. 7 Group: Skeletal Musculo -- Weakness, Aging
Dys. Co. Group: Autonomic -- Apprehensive Tension
Source: Agrawal (1995:17)
INDICATIONS FOR THE USE OF BOWEL NOSODES:
1. Bowel nosode are deep acting remedies and so case taking must cover the totality of symptoms from the mental to the physical. The nosode should be given and selected in the same manner as any other homoeopathic remedies in accordance with the homoeopathic principles.
2. The nosode should only be given when the patient’s symptoms correspond to it.
3. If the given homoeopathic remedy is working well and eliciting the desired result there is no need for a nosode. However, if the case should lag in any way an appropriate bowel nosode may give the necessary impetus for the patient to continue to progress.
4. In a new case where the patient has not had homoeopathic treatment before if there is a definite symptom picture pointing to a remedy [constitutional prescribing], then the patient should be given the indicated remedy and not the nosode. Second, in cases where it is difficult to make the choice among many probable remedies, then a nosode may be given.
5. An old case where a patient may be under homoeopathic treatment, but is not responding to it, an appropriately selected bowel nosode can be given.
6. Potency is selected in accordance with the general homoeopathic laws. Paterson often used the nosode in high potency and the related remedy in low (e.g. Sycotic Co. 1M, one dose, and Natrum Sulph 6C, twice a day).
Keywords: vaccination,antibiotics,chronic diseases, weakening of the vitality, bacteria metabolism, gastrointestinal, tract, GIT, bowel, bowel disease, bowel nosode, non-lactose fermenting flora of the intestinal tract, Bacillus, B. Coli, J.Paterson, E.Bach, vital force, non-lactose fermenting organisms