– St. martin’s press, new york, 1997, 334 pages, $24.95 (us). reviewed by julian winston

This is the latest of a number of recently published books about homeopathy. The author was identified in the “advance uncorrected proofs” as “America’s foremost teacher of homeopathy” and “president of the Connecticut Homeopathic Association.”
 The book is divided into three main sections: “Unlearning,” “Learning,” and “Experiencing.” By doing this, the author has created a book that really addresses the issues which are at the core of doing homeopathy-mainly the need to understand that the model of homeopathy is very different from the conventional medical model. If you look at homeopathy as simply “natural pills” you will find little success with it. And it is the “unlearning” of these concepts that McCabe discusses in the first section. Along the way, McCabe treats us to some very nice insights. For example, while commenting on how we are bombarded with ads which continually say that the new product is, “stronger than ever,” McCabe says, “…if the product worked in the first place its strength would not need enhancement.”
 The second section, “Learning,” begins with a history of homeopathy. While scanning through the book I was impressed with the subheadings -an interesting and perceptive way of looking at the people involved and their contributions. We have “Hippocrates: Healer as a demi-god;” “Celcus: Healer as a rebel;” Discorades: Healer as a naturalist;” “Galen: Healer as a warrior;” Paracelsus: Healer as a madman;” Hahnemann: Healer as a revolutionary;” Hering: Healer as a disciple;” Hughes: Healer as a demagogue;” Kent: Healer as a Mystic;” Bach: Healer as an evolutionary.” But it is during this section that, for me, the book began to unravel.
 McCabe begins the chapter by saying, “History is a hard thing to get right. We have only paper trails of journals, letters, and notebooks to follow.” In the Acknowledgments at the front of the book, the author says, “In writing any book, especially a first book, the author has to be able to lean back and trust there will be someone to catch him.” Obviously, in selecting those to catch him he did not include an historian.
 If someone spends 31 pages-almost 10% of the book-on history, then there is the underlying assumption that this has some kind of importance to the subject. And, indeed, the author suggests that the message should be looked at in the context of the messengers. It is unfortunate that this section of the book contains much mis-information, even more so because the correct information is readily available in other books and journals. As a first example, the author perpetuates two grand “homeopathic myths”-first, that Hahnemann had the idea for potentization by observing that the remedies he carried in his saddlebags were stronger than the ones he kept at home and second, that Hering’s wife sat at his bedside through his Lachesis delirium and took copious notes.
 Both of these topics were discussed in an article I wrote in Homeopathy Today, June 1992. Both ideas are myths and not supported by fact. Hahnemann introduced dilution and succussion simply as a method of getting a good mix. It was not until much later in his career that he began to think of succussion as a way of making the medicines more powerful. He DOES comment upon people carrying liquids in saddlebags in a footnote to Paragraph 270 in the 4th and 5th editions of the Organon. There is no evidence, however, that the carrying of liquid remedies was what sparked Hahnemann. The myth-story probably grew from a comment in an early edition of Stapf ‘s Archive concerning the carrying of liquid potencies by horseback. As far as Hering’s Lachesis proving, the story, in his own words, is very clear-no wife, no delirium. If these were the only two historical transgressions, I might have been kinder in my criticism. But there are more.
 In the chapter on Hahnemann, the are glaring errors of fact, which border on fabrication. McCabe says:
 “In 1792 the ailing Duke Leopold II of Austria sent for Hahnemann for treatment. After working with Hahnemann and his new diluted medicines, Leopold improved so greatly that Hahnemann returned home. However, after Hahnemann left his side, Leopold, following the advice of his other physicians, began to mix the homeopathics with allopathic medicines. He soon died.”
 McCabe goes on to describe how Hahnemann returned for the funeral and followed the casket through the streets shouting curses at those who had killed the duke. This entire scenario would make a great movie, but it is a complete fabrication. Leopold II was a muchloved ruler, and his country had high hopes for his reign. He died after an illness and his physicians, seeking to explain his death to the public, published an account of their treatment which included the fact that Leopold was bled on four occasions. Upon reading the account Hahnemann wrote an outraged letter to the newspaper about the barbarism of conventional medicine. It was this incident which crystallized in Hahnemann his hatred of conventional medicine. Hahnemann NEVER met or treated Leopold. It should be remembered that Hahnemann’s first paper about the “principle” of homeopathy was not published until 1796. In 1792 Hahnemann hadn’t even formulated the idea of homeopathy, let alone the use of diluted remedies.
 McCabe then describes Hahnemann’s treatment of Herr Klockenbring-who was the only patient in a home for the insane to which Hahnemann was given charge in 1792. Says McCabe:
 “At last Hahnemann reached his decision as to which of his remedies would help Klockenbring. He gave a single dose of Antimonium tartaricum, made from the metal antimony. Within six months, Klockenbring had recovered sufficiently to enter the world.” How does this account fit with the “real” account-as described by Richard Haehl-who wrote the ultimate, two volume biography of Hahnemann? Again, Hahnemann didn’t have any “remedies” at the time-he didn’t begin doing provings and recording symptoms until several years hence. Hahnemann was treating his patient with no medicine, a good dose of compassion, and changes in hygiene and diet. At one point, the patient began to eat to the point of gluttony and Hahnemann prescribed *25 grains* of Tartar Emetic (Ant. t.) to help the patient vomit. That was his only drug prescription. What can we make of these magnificent stories that have no truth? But wait. It continues…
 * McCabe claims that Hahnemann began to experiment with dilution and succussion using TWO scales-the X (1:10) and the C (1:100). There is NO evidence that Hahnemann ever used decimal potencies. The decimal potencies were first suggested by Hering, and produced concurrently in Europe and the USA beginning in the 1840’s.
 * McCabe, later in the book, tells us the story of a suffering artist friend of Hahnemann’s who was drawing with Sepia ink and kept wetting the brush on his lips to point it. Hahnemann, observing this, suggested that his symptoms might be caused by this very act. McCabe says that Hahnemann observed this, made a remedy from the Sepia, and *gave it* to the artist and cured him. The truth is that Hahnemann suggested that the artist stop “dosing himself ” with Sepia (a maintaining cause), and the symptoms subsided. NO remedy was given. It was THIS experience that began Hahnemann’s first investigation of Sepia. (The story, from Farrington, is found in Tyler’s Drug Pictures.)
 * McCabe says that Melanie came to see Hahnemann because of a “chronic respiratory condition, tuberculosis.” Both Hahnemann and Melanie have written of their meeting. The story is well told in Rima Handley’s book, A Homeopathic Love Story. Melanie was cured, writes Hahnemann, of a “kind of tic douloreaux in her right hypogastrium,” not of tuberculosis.
 Finally, McCabe writes:
 “…Hahnemann was buried like a pauper. His body was laid to rest at the Montmartre Cemetery in Paris at Public Grave 8, where the coffin was placed in an ancient tri-level vault, resting above two strangers.” Again, the facts are distorted. It was not a public grave but a plot belonging to Melanie. Certainly Hahnemann had never met the “two strangers” in the vault, but they were buried there by Melanie-Guillaume Lethiere, her painting teacher and foster-father, and Louis Jerome Gohier, a political figure who, upon his death, left Melanie his estate and his name. As Rima Handley pointed out in her book, the grave at Montmartre contained the bodies of “…the other two men she had profoundly loved and revered.”
 Enough of Hahnemann and Hering. What about Edward Bach, who McCabe refers to as a homeopath? Bach learned of homeopathy at the Homeopathic Hospital in London when he accepted a position there as a pathologist and bacteriologist. Bach never practiced as a homeopath. McCabe says: “In developing his system…Bach returned to his homeopathic training in order to create remedies based in Hahnemann’s system of healing. Bach’s plants, once selected, were made into mother tinctures or zero-potency homeopathic remedies. They are, strictly speaking, homeopathic, although they are neither diluted nor succussed, as traditional remedies are.” Excuse me? First, Bach never had “homeopathic training.” Second, the Bach remedies were originally made from dew collected from the flowers in the morning. They are now made by floating petals of flowers on pure water in the sunlight. The petals are removed when they wilt and the water is then mixed with brandy to prevent spoiling. These are not homeopathic tinctures. Furthermore, they have never had Hahnemannian provings done, a listing of symptoms have not been compiled, and they are not prescribed based on their similarity. Therefore, they are not homeopathic. Plain and simple. How a book that is talking about the purity of homeopathic thought and the exactness of the process can turn around and claim these remedies as homeopathic is beyond my understanding.
 After this, “Learning” section, the book moves into “Experiencing” and McCabe outlines 12 remedies that he sees as “acute” followed by 12 more “constitutional” remedies. The descriptions of the acute remedies are a condensed materia medica, although the part about “remedy source” is somewhat misinformed-specifically in reference to Apis where he says: “Live honeybees are put in a bottle, and the bees irritated by shaking the bottle. For eight days, the bottle is opened just long enough to pour in diluted alcohol. The bottle is shaken some more to anger the bees and get them to emit venom. When the bees die, the alcohol is poured out…” According to the Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia, the live bees are put in the bottle, the bottle shaken to irritate them, and the alcohol is poured over them-drowning them. The bottle is shaken twice a day for ten days (to stir it), and then the alcohol is filtered off.
 McCabe then discusses 12 “constitutional” remedies. They have interesting sub-heads: Sulphur, the egoist; Arsenicum, the controller; Calcarea, the laborer; Lycopodium, the counterfeit; Natrum, the caretaker; Nux, the aggressor; Phosphorus, the charmer; Pulsatilla, the Marshmallow; Rhus, the codependent; Sepia, the bitch; Silica, the coward; Thuja, the stranger. Each of the chapters contains a remedy overview, plus the headings: Remedy theme, Remedy motivation, Emotional portrait, Physical portrait, and Poster child-the last a “picture” of someone who “is” the remedy; for Sulphur, Einstein, Homer Simpson, and Santa Claus are suggested models.
 When others (Coulter, Bailey, Zaren, Vithoulkas) have produced remedy “pictures,” the information has usually been distilled from their years of practice. And the way one person “sees” a remedy might be quite different to the way another might “see” it. The information that McCabe presents in his materia medica has me wondering from where is it derived, as the material is comprised of statements without quotes. I asked two professional homeopaths, each with over 15 years experience, to read through a few of the materia medica chapters. One commented, “It’s almost there but, from my experience, just slightly skewed. If one of my students gave me that chapter as an essay on the remedy, I’d say, ‘well, you almost have it but you missed the central core.'” The other homeopath expressed a similar feeling and said while some of the material coincides directly with her clinical experience, she has never seen any of the remedies present in quite the way they are described, and wondered, as I did, from where the information was gleaned.
 Furthermore, a good exercise is to take a repertory and try to find the symptoms that are listed in the materia medica. While McCabe stresses the “lying” nature of Thuja, I can find Thuja in the rubric “Deceitful, sly,” but absent from the rubric “Liar.” Most materia medica presented through painting “psycho-physical” portraits of people and their behaviors, comes across as definitive-this IS the way it is. The materia medica here is no exception and should be taken as an interesting idea, not as gospel truth. Seeing Bill Clinton as the “poster child” for Phosphorus, or Jeffrey Dahmer as a model for Thuja does not strike very responsive chords with me.
 The remedy chapter is followed by a chapter on “transformation” that discusses, fairly well, the concept of the nosodes and the miasms.
 The book concludes with basic advice (“study the Organon, get a materia medica, get a repertory”) as well as the suggestion to “experience homeopathic healing in your own life…Finding a homeopathic practitioner who can work with you as a partner in the healing process.” The last chapter, “A Redefinition of terms” is a glossary and, once again, I find inexplicable information contained within. The “Kentian Octave” is described as the progression of potencies that Kent used in treating chronic disease. McCabe lists them as: 9C, 12C, 30C, 200C, 1M, 10M, LM, CM. Earlier in the book McCabe says that in chronic cases, “Kent…tended to begin with very a low potency, say a 9C or 12C.” Really?
 In 1912, Kent published an article called “Series and Degrees” in the Homeopathician. It has been re-printed in Kent’s “Lesser Writings.” In the article Kent suggested the following series: “30, 200, 1m, 10m, 50m, cm, dm, mm.” I have never seen any reference for Kent using a 9C or a 12C (which were never common potencies in the U.S. , although they were more often seen in Europe). If anyone can tell me where Kent wrote about using a 9C and 12C, I would be happy to be corrected.
 McCabe also contributes another piece of misinformation when he says early in the book (and repeats in the glossary) that there is another scale of remedy manufacture called the “millennial” scale which begins a step above the 999C. In this scale, he asserts, the dilution is done by the thousands, and the remedies are labeled with an “M.” This is not the first time I have heard this idea, and I have no idea where it came from. But, it is being propagated once again.
 Homeopathic remedies have always been made on the centesimal scale where the serial dilution is one part in 100. A 1M potency is the same as 1,000C; a 10M the same as a 10,000C. The Roman numeral “M” was used to signify “thousands” and NOT a dilution factor of 1:1000. The “X”, or decimal potencies, are made 1:10 and are called “D” potencies in Europe.
 The THIRD scale, which McCabe does not discuss at all, is the fifty-millesimal or Quinquagenimillesimal potencies (called Q or, inaccurately, LM’s) that Hahnemann discussed in the 6th edition of the Organon. The “millennial” scale does not exist in any of the homeopathy I’m familiar with. In summary, “Let Like Cure Like” is a book which, on the surface, provides some very good information about the homeopathic process. It is well written, and the theoretical parts are exceptionally clear. When I began to read it, I was captured by it. The first 40 or so pages had me thinking that what I was reading was never quite said in that way, and certainly was some of the most concise summations I’d come across. There was a small shudder when I saw Edward Bach referred to as a “British homeopath” and another shudder a page later when, in reference to homeopathic remedies, I read, “Hahnemann tells us that we can also think of them as vaccinations.” But then the book settled out, only to fall apart in the history section, after which it never quite came together again.
 A teacher friend always tells her students that when they give their papers to someone to check, they should make sure that the person is competent to check it. In the present case, the author “trusted someone to catch him” but obviously asked the wrong people, and the book suffers. But it is not just a manuscript-it is in print-and it will perpetuate these falsities and half-truths to another generation. THAT is a tragedy that could have easily been avoided. 

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