– An interview with jan sholten (M. J. Grimes)
AH: How did you get interested in homeopathy?
JS: When I was studying medicine and looking at the hospitals, I knew that I didn’t want to do what they were doing. I had the feeling that a lot of things they were doing were not ok. After I finished my studies I decided to become a general practitioner. I felt that I could do the most for people as a general practitioner, together with psychology and things like that. I had to wait a while before I could start that course and in between I started studying homeopathy and acupuncture. But when I really started studying homeopathy and I read stories about people feeling 20 years younger, and getting all their energy back, I starting thinking that you can really do healing with this! This is real healing. Those stories really got me. I said, “This is what I want to do!” At the time I was to start my studies to be a general practitioner I was already so into homeopathy that I didn’t do even start the other course.
AH: What books were you studying?
JS: All kinds of books. Not by a particular teacher at that time. Later I had many teachers. We had a school in Holland where there were many different teachers.
AH:Was there something about homeopathy that attracted you?
JS: If you can give people their energy back and make them feel 20 years younger, above helping them with their complaint, then you are doing something really special. That is what healing is really about.
AH: Many people know you for your work in minerals. Were you sitting someplace when these ideas came to you, like Newton’s apple? Were you hit by a falling Calcarea?
JS: The study of the minerals mostly was a gradual one-pieces coming together one by one. With the elements it was different. I got the idea of the rise and fall as an instant intuition. I was in an euphoric state for three days, knowing “this is it”! Of course it took me then another two years to work it all out.
AH: Is your background in chemistry?
JS: Yes, before I studied medicine, I studied chemistry for three years.
AH: What about the plants? How did you come to be interested in them?
JS: Well, I like them.
AH: That’ll do it.
JS: I can’t explain it. They feel more natural than minerals in the sense that they are as nature has made them. Many minerals are made artificially. You cannot find them in nature. They are not a natural composition.
AH: Do you find any difference between the mineral remedies we make and the ones found in nature? Are either more common in your practice?
JS: No. Not much.
AH:Would you say that your background in chemistry melded with homeopathy?
JS: I had an advantage because I already knew a great deal about chemistry. It made it easier for me as the elements were familiar to me. But I’ve always been interested in all kinds of sciences. One of the beauties of homeopathy is that it is a combination of psychology and medicine. In a way, it is strange that the two are split in our culture, whereas in homeopathy we don’t do that. Homeopathy combines chemistry and botany; it’s quite universal, when you think about it.
AH: It’s been quite a few years since your book Homoeopathy and Minerals influenced many people and has been read and taught extensively. A number of people have taken your work and cases have been published from around the world. How do you see the developments that have come from your work?
JS: Absolutely, I’m very enthusiastic about it. To me, the fact that so many can use it means that it really has value.
AH: Has it grown in any way? Since you started these ideas, have they progressed in any way? Are there new ideas that others have brought to it?
JS: Oh yes, there are many new ideas brought by others to it. Some of them are getting new ideas and going further with it and that is a very good thing.
AH: Is there a direction to any of these offshoots?
JS: Not especially. There are many directions going on. Many people think I am only busy with the psychology aspect of the remedies, which is not true. If you read my books there are a lot of physicals, too, that I connect to all those remedies. For instance, the eyes and vision I connect to the gold series. I use the system in that way. One direction of my work involves specific pathologies that certain remedies can help heal. And things are becoming more specialized, less amorphous.
AH: What do you mean by amorphous?
JS: When I began I was taught that you can give Sulphur for anything. Lou Klein calls this “amorphous homeopathy.” All diseases can be cured with Sulphur. That’s very amorphous. The remedy lacks a picture in the end. The remedy can do anything and nothing. My experience was different. Sulphur has a very peculiar picture. That is one direction we are going, finding the specific. Amorphous homeopathy is one of the consequences of polychrest homeopathy, because all those cases had to fit into 50 polychrests and when you try to do that, the pictures of those polychrests become quite amorphous. My experience was quite different. When I started to practice homeopathy, the polychrest didn’t do anything in most of my cases. Sometimes they’d palliate a little bit but didn’t give a real cure.
AH: Do you find that you or your colleagues are getting more success?
JS: The success is growing every year. I am much more confident in what I am doing. And it takes much more to do homeopathy the way I do it now. It was easier the other way.
AH: Have any of your early opinions about minerals changed or have your viewpoints been confirmed?
JS: Yes, for instance in Bismuth. It has a very strong connection with suicide. I had already written about this in my book, that a [suicide] theme of Bismuth was so strong. In a way, that was a surprise and that is what often surprises me, that the pictures are so specific because that is so contradictory to the amorphous homeopathy that we are used to.
AH: So you had seen cases of Bismuth at first that made you think harikari?
JS: It was a projection from the system.
AH: Really? And then you found that it has a profound effect on suicide?
JS: Yes, but it took me a while before I tried it.
AH: What brought you to study plants with so much in your mind about the minerals? Again, there was no apple that fell from a tree?
JS: No, this was a gradual process. But I was mostly guided by my patients. The thing is that I want to cure everyone. As long as I don’t succeed, I keep on searching for cure-real cure-so that they will feel well again and don’t have complaints. In the plants, it is not quite so simple.
AH: Can you extrapolate about plants in the same way as the system of the periodic table?
JS: Yes, if you have a picture of the whole family, you can predict that every member of the family will have the same themes. The advantage of the mineral kingdom is that you can say that a remedy is in a series and at a stage: horizontal and vertical. For instance, a mineral can be in the Gold series, and then at Stage six. The remedy will show the combination of both the series and the stage. In plants, there is no way to differentiate well. Sankaran is trying to do it by placing plants in miasms. Every family has all the miasmatic aspects in it, so each member of each family will reflect one of the miasms. I use the families of plants, but the question is how to make differentiations. In the gold series, there is responsibility on the mental level, but also physical problems with the eyes, ovaries, and things like that.
AH: The problem is the individuation of the remedy.
JS: That is the problem. You have to have precise pictures to make a good differentiation.
AH: Have you seen people who did well with mineral remedies who went further with plants?
JS: Oh yes, there are all kinds of combinations-or the other way around.
AH: Any comments about the new provings? Any new discoveries that you have found fascinating?
JS: All of them are fascinating.
AH: Are any of them becoming polychrests?
JS: Polychrests don’t exist.
AH: What are your ideas about potencies? I know this is always a wildly disputed topic.
JS: I don’t say much about it. I have a clear point of view on this. I mostly start with 1M. I find this works fine for me. Strangely, homeopaths have very definite ideas about potencies, but their ideas contradict.
AH: This issue of our journal has Boenninghausen on the cover. What is your experience with his work?
JS: He was a very good homeopath and in ways I see similarities between what I do and what he did, in that when you have a complex symptom, he put it in pieces. He cut it into pieces. If someone had a cutting headache, worse from motion, he made generalities-cutting and motion. If someone had a cutting pain in the knee, worse with motion, then it would be graded a two. He saw those modalities and sensations as modalities and that is what I do, too.
AH: Do you use his repertory at all?
JS: Yes, as it is incorporated in the Complete. The computer is a wonderful advantage of our time.
AH: There is so much to learn and remember in homeopathy.
JS: This is a reason that people use polychrests. It takes less memory. You need so much memory for all this information. This is one of the big difficulties in homeopathy -the huge amount of information. You cannot handle it the way it is. So people have found all kinds of solutions for this. One is to limit yourself to polychrest prescribing. If you limit yourself to a certain number of remedies, I think that it is a more elegant way. A better solution is what we are doing these days-thinking in groups or in families-because that is our natural way of thinking. We always think in classes or groups. In that way you can remember much more. With the mineral kingdom I can keep in mind a hundred times as many remedies in a much easier way than before, because it is grouped. The grouping is a better solution for humans. Another solution is data crunching force, as with computers.
AH: The animals are already in groups, but not in the same way as the minerals and plants. Will that be a new endeavor for you?
JS: No, I am not so “into” animals. It is not my favorite topic. My favorite is the plant. I prescribe animal remedies when I need to but I am not researching them. Other people are doing this very well, like Massimo.
AH: How do you find teaching in the USA?
JS : It’s great. But it is not essentially different than in other countries.
AH: Any hopes you have for the future of homeopathy?
JS : Our results must be much better. Suppose we could cure 40% of all cancers, metastasized or not, in two to three months-suppose. That would be a tremendous achievement and homeopathy would be mainstream medicine.
AH: You would get some people very upset with you.
JS : That is their problem.
AH: The implications of homeopathy being successful would cause feedback in the traditional community.
JS : There would be a lot of turmoil, in that case.
AH: That would be the kind of problem we would like to have.
JS : People say homeopaths just cure temporary diseases that would go away on their own. They say it is ok, but not for “real” pathology. It is ok if we treat those they cannot do much about.
AH: Like eczema?
JS : Yes, eczema. And they can’t do much about cancer either.
AH: Have you seen developments in the treatment of cancer with homeopathy?
JS : I’ve seen good results. In India they treat a lot of cancer and they get good results.
AH: Any kinds of cancer?
JS: The most that I’ve treated were breast cancers, as that is quite a common cancer in Holland. The problem is that many were operated on and had other kinds of treatment. So it is difficult to say what [effect the chemotherapy has had]. I feel that homeopathy helped them, too, and have some science for that too. I recently heard from a woman who had breast cancer and was treated with homeopathy. We took a video of her 35 years ago. Her only treatment was homeopathy and she was cured. She had lumps in her axilla. So it [treating cancer with homeopathy] is possible.
AH: That is the problem with this science-you can’t repeat it. You can’t turn back the clock and repeat the experiment.
JS: That’s why you need more cases and you then can see patterns. One case doesn’t say anything.
AH: Yes, time and overpopulation are on our side! More people mean more cases for homeopaths. What plant families are you working on now?
JS: I have been lecturing on the rose family. It is quite a large family. The rose family includes fruits (such as pears, plums, apples, prunes, peaches, apricots, cherries), and the flowers (the roses), and also strawberries, raspberries, etc.
AH: Is there a theme that runs all through those remedies?
JS: Yes, of course. It’s the love problem. They all have problems with love and relationships. That’s why the rose is chosen as the symbol of love. The whole culture often knows what the plants are really for.
AH: Chocolate-covered strawberries and red roses for Valentine’s Day are homeopathic?
JS: It may be an intoxication! Strawberry-nice remedy, Strawberry.
Jan Scholten studied chemistry and philosophy before starting his medical studies, after which he studied acupuncture and homeopathy and also orthomolecular medicine, herbalism, and Bach remedies. Since 1985, he has had a full-time classical homeopathic practice.
In 1988 he founded the Homoepathic Docters Centre Utrecht together with Maria Davits and Rienk Stuut where he currently practices along with 10 other homeopaths.
Jan wrote his first book, Homoeopathy and Minerals, in 1993. The original Dutch version is now translated into 10 languages. In 1996 he wrote Homoeopathy and the Elements about the use of the elements of the periodic table in homeopathy. This book has already been translated in 4 languages. Lately Jan has been investigating the plant kingdom, studying botanical families like the Compositae.
Jan Scholten has lectured all over the world: Australia, Austria, England, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Spain, Tsechia, USA.