Homeopathy in Colombia


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I want to highlight in this article, in relation to the rich history of homeopathy in Colombia, the following arguments: i) The problem of recognition of homeopathy has to do with a conflict of institutions, which has to be understood from a sociological perspective ii) The conflict about recognition of practitioners, what I call pure homeopaths, by society and the State, has anthropological roots that relate to healing potentials of individuals and societies.
The extinction of homeopathic practitioners, desired by many, has not occurred yet, because of their tenacity and creative efforts to spread their knowledge, and also because homeopathy is an open code science accessible to scholars, wise men and women, who work to deepen the knowledge of homeopathy. This essay will combine historical facts from the beginning and relate those facts to contemporary issues in homeopathy in Colombia. An indispensable text about the history of homeopathy in Colombia is the research done by María del Pilar Guzmán Urrea and called: “”La alopatía y la homeopatía en el siglo XIX: conflicto entre dos prácticas médicas” (Allopathy and Homeopathy in the XIX century: conflict between two medical practices).

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Homeopathy in Colombia

  1. 1. HPATHY.COM.weblocThe author, Felipe Cardenas Tamara1, writes about the history and currentstatus of homeopathy in Colombia and the difficulties homeopaths there had andhave to face.Homoeopathy in Colombia, South AmericaJune 14, 2010 by Felipe Cardenas TamaraHomeopathy Around the World Print This Page | 16 CommentsHomoeopathy in Colombia, South AmericaIIntroductionI want to highlight in this article, in relation to the rich history of homeopathy inColombia, the following arguments: i) The problem of recognition of homeopathyhas to do with a conflict of institutions, which has to be understood from asociological perspective ii) The conflict about recognition of practitioners, what Icall pure homeopaths, by society and the State, has anthropological roots thatrelate to healing potentials of individuals and societies.The extinction of homeopathic practitioners, desired by many, has not occurredyet, because of their tenacity and creative efforts to spread their knowledge, andalso because homeopathy is an open code science accessible to scholars, wisemen and women, who work to deepen the knowledge of homeopathy. This essaywill combine historical facts from the beginning and relate those facts tocontemporary issues in homeopathy in Colombia. An indispensable text aboutthe history of homeopathy in Colombia is the research done by María del PilarGuzmán Urrea and called: “”La alopatía y la homeopatía en el siglo XIX: conflictoentre dos prácticas médicas” (Allopathy and Homeopathy in the XIX century:conflict between two medical practices).2
  2. 2. Geographical contextColombia is located in Northern South America,bordering the Caribbean Sea, between Panama and Venezuela, and borderingthe North Pacific Ocean, between Ecuador and Panama, in the timezone GMT -5.The country has boundaries of 6,004 – Brazil 1,643, Ecuador 590, Panama 225,Peru 1,496 (est.), Venezuela 2,050 (km), and a coastline of 3,208 (North Pacific1,448 km, Caribbean Sea 1,760 km) (km). The presence of Colombia in theCaribbean Sea, through its ownership of San Andrés Island and ProvidenceIsland, amplifies its boundaries with Nicaragua, Costa Rica, RepúblicaDominicana, Haití, Honduras and Jamaica. The major urban areas are: Bogota(capital city of the country), Barranquilla, Cali, and Medellin. Colombia is thesecond richest country in the world in biodiversity. From a homeopathicperspective there has been almost no research done in terms of exploring themedicinal potential of the territory and its relation to the rich vernacularknowledge systems found among peasant societies and the more than 85aboriginal groups that exist in the country. The country is considered to havearound 10% of all worlds biodiversity. This biodiversity results from Colombia’svaried ecosystems—from the rich tropical rainforest, the Andean region, to thecoastal cloud forests, to the open savannas in the Orinoco and to ecosystemsfound in the Amazon basin. More than 1,821 species of birds, 623 species ofamphibians, 467 species of mammals, 518 species of reptiles, and 3,200 speciesof fish reside in Colombia. About 18 percent of these are endemic to the country.Colombia has a mind-boggling 51,220 species of plants, of which nearly 30
  3. 3. percent are endemic. While on paper nearly 10 percent of Colombia is undersome form of protection, its rich biodiversity is increasingly threatened bydeforestation, livestock production and urbanization. Today, most of thepopulation (70%) is living in the major cities and in the Andean region. Around65 % of the country is located in the Amazon and Orinoco basin with a very lowpopulation density in those regions.Homoeopathy in ColombiaIn Colombia there is a long tradition of practitioners and Medical Doctors whohave practiced homeopathy, but as it happens in most of the world, homeopathyhas always been in a subordinate condition in comparison to the dominantbiomedical model. According to Fabian González Arias, Homeopathy arrived atour country around 1825 and 1830 (1998). Some few doctors started to practicein those early years, but most of the medical community was hostile to the newmedical doctrine. As in many countries, homeopathy in Colombia has livedthrough hard times and many struggles. It was introduced by the doctors JuanPardo and José Arrubla whom began to bring the first books and materials to thecountry. In those early days few libraries existed. Probably the coastal cities ofBarranquilla, Cartagena and Santa Marta, in the Caribbean Sea, were visited byhomeopaths of other countries, but there has not been any research to confirmthat assertion. Consequently the history of homeopathy in Colombia is basicallyexpressed in the records found at the capital city of Bogotá in the Andean regionof the country.Doctor Arrubla gave some homeopathic books as a gift to Doctor José FelixMerizalde, who in turn gave them to Doctor Vicente Sanmiguel, who had lost hischild in an epidemic. Doctor Sanmiguel started reading the Hahnemann’sOrganon of Medicine. He was exceptionally impressed by the ideas ofHahnemann and decided to close his allopathic pharmacy and abandon thepractice of allopathy. It seems that he was the first Colombian practioner ofhomeopathy. Doctor’s Sanmiguel son, an apothecary, who was called JoséPeregrino Sanmiguel, was introduced by his father to the principles ofhomeopathy. In the beginning he was especially skeptical. His father challengedhim to make a proving of a substance known only by him. His son carried outthe proving and felt the effects on his mind and body. The substance came to beColocynthis. Both father and son became ardent homeopaths and together withHipolito Villamil started to motivate other doctors of the period in the principlesand practice of homeopathy.By around 1837, with the help of 30 practitioners, they decided to organize thefirst teaching center called Homeopathic Institute Of The United States OfColombia, April 10, 1837. The first acting president was Doctor Luis HernandoAlvarez. By 1840, the first journal, called La Homeopatía, began to be published.The European doctors Roberto Bunch and David Castillo gave support bybringing to Colombia books and other documents. A Cuban doctor, SalvadorRiera helped disseminate homeopathy in small towns near the capital city,Bogotá, and in some northern provinces. A homeopathic hospital wasfounded at the town of Socorro, Santander around 1860`s. There wasalso a homeopathic hospital at Chiquinquira, Boyacá. Many priests by the end ofthe XIX century practiced homeopathy and were members of the InstitutoHomeopático de Colombia. This Institute was the first scientific society andwas the entity in charge of the publication and the training of homeopaths andmedical doctors up to 1980. Unfortunately, unsteady management by its lastdirector in 1980’s ended with the unclear image of a serious institution. All the
  4. 4. journals, documentation, certificates that belong to the origins of homeopathy inColombia were lost or stolen. It is very difficult to find the complete numbers ofthe journal La Homeopatía. Not even the National Library of Colombia has acomplete series of the almost 143 published volumes. For almost all of the XIXand XX century, the Instituto Homeopático de Colombia was the main entity forthe training of homeopaths, both medical doctors and practitioners3.The presence of practitioners has been important in the history of homeopathyup to the present.4 In many isolated regions and even in the most importantcities, many practitioners were recognized by the State and gained their trainingat the Instituto Homeopático de Colombia. For many of them, living on remoteplaces, their education was carried out through correspondence. Because of thedifficult sanitary conditions in a tropical country like Colombia, many doctorsunderstood the importance of practitioners. Others were hostile and ridiculedthem by calling them teguas, which was a word used to refer to the personacting as a homeopath. When people in the city of Bogotá, went to a homeopathand their friends or relatives knew who was treating them, people would say :“You are being treated by a tegua, “el que aguitas te da”?(the one that givesyou water). Tegua, was the diminutive expression and linguistic turn of water(agua). Over the years it came to express a deceiver. Some MD’s refer tohomeopaths as Teguas, forgetting that everyone who is a homeopath is aTegua, because from a classic chemistry knowledge, which we all know isinsufficient to explain homeopathic remedies, really we all are working withwater (teguas). In any case, the presence of practitioners has been active andsignificant throughout the history of homeopathy in Colombia.By the year 1865,the Institute of Homeopathy of Colombia had five persons performing asteachers: José Peregrino Sanmiguel, Salvador María Alvarez, Saturnino delCastillo, Marcelino Lievano and Ignacio Pereira. Other doctors participated ashonorary members of the Institute of Homeopathy.During the nineteenthcentury, homeopathy was considered a very precious art and science by some ofthe most recognized members of the Colombian society. General José HilarioLópez (Popayán, february 18 of 1798 – Campoalegre, Huila, November 27 of1869), serviceman, Colombian politician and president of the country(1849-1853) was one of the presidents of the Colombian Institute ofHomeopathy (1866). This president was the one that promulgated Law 15 ofMay 1850, which declared, under a liberal radical philosophy, freedom ofeducation and removed the requisite of a professional title. As a result, thefreedom of education opened a great space for the practice of homeopathy,gaining social recognition. A couple of decades later, Rafael Pombo, a prestigiouspoet from the aristocracy wrote a couple of poems honoring homeopathy.Another prominent person in the history of Colombia and president of thecountry, Rafael Nuñez, was a member of the Institute of Homeopathy and agreat promoter of homeopathy. After 1860-1870 the golden age of homeopathy,or at least its opportunity to gain institutionalization was over. From then on, theevolution of the allopathic Faculties of Medicine would work to label homeopathyas a fraud. In that difficult situation, some homeopaths had relevant positionsattending leprosy. That was the case of the practitioner and patient of leprosynamed Luis Carlos Pradilla, who practiced homeopathy as a patient of leprosyin the lazaretto, located at the town of Agua de Dios (Water of God) in the stateof Cundinamarca around 18005. This homeopath, who was a nephew of themedical doctor Ricardo de la Parra, published with other patients, between 1879and 1880, a newspaper initially called Hope, but later the name was changed toThe Voice of the Banned. The newspaper published local news, poetry and
  5. 5. articles written by the people from the lazaretto, along with issues thatcontained religious, moral and philosophical topics6. The authors recommendedthe catholic virtues of humility and resignation; and suggested reading andcultivating the spirit in order to overcome adversity. There is no informationabout the remedies used by this practitioner to treat leprosy. (For the testimonyof a contemporary homeopathic patient being treated for flu see:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=10DO8BQXdkA)The Institute of Homeopathy of Colombia was very close in ties and relationswith European scientific societies and institutions. The directors of the Institutetraveled and participated in world and international congresses. The firsthomeopathy courses taught in Colombia were copied from the HahnemanianSchool of Chicago. The subjects were: General Anatomy, Physiology, Botany,Pharmacology, Practical and pathological anatomy, materia medica,therapeutics, theoretical surgery, legal medicine, clinics, psychology, obstetrics,chemistry and toxicology (1866).Until 1864 the Institute had few members. Many of the new homeopathsmigrated to other countries. That was the case of Doctor José PeregrinoSanmiguel who was the first to take the seeds of homeopathy to the country ofEcuador. On June 8 of 1865, the Institute was reorganized as HomeopathicInstitute Of Colombia. The statutes were decided at a work session on theseventh of October, 1865. On that same day the journal “Homeopathy” wasborn. For almost 132 years this journal was published (143 issues). The lastissue was published in January 1998 with a complete compilation of the lawswritten for homeopathy by the legislative branch of Colombia during thetwentieth century.In 1867, the National University of Colombia wasestablished and a professorship of homeopathy was created. During its history,without a continuous line, homeopathy has occupied some space at thatcampus. It has been, on some occasions, the institution that has regulated theexercise of practitioners, giving them the opportunity to legalize their informalstatus. Today, the main goal of the allopathic doctors who oversee homeopathyat that university campus, is to exclude any practitioner from the exercise ofhomeopathy on a legal basis; they do not care or take into account experienceor knowledge, but are aware that homeopaths like Doctor Gonzalo Moncadaknows more about homeopathy than all teachers of homeopathy at thatuniversity campus. I have personally known practitioners that a couple ofdecades ago were legalized in their status by assisting training programs at theNational University of Colombia. Today the environment at the Faculty ofMedicine is hostile to practitioners. Their purpose is to monopolize all alternativemedicine in their hands, going against the spirit of the Constitution of Colombia.On the contrary, private universities like Universidad del Rosario have beenimplementing non-formal training programs called ‘Diplomados’, this type ofprogram does not require permission from the National State. The program fromUniversidad del Rosario is called Diplomat in Alternative Medicines:Magnetotherapy, Homeopathy, Flower essences, Neural therapy andacupuncture. This program is a step forward if we consider testimonies bypracticing homeopaths, that during the 1960’s, some deans of the medicalschool at the Universidad del Rosario promoted lynching practitioners ofhomeopathy who lived near Candelaria, just beside the University campus at thecapital city of Bogotá. Some homeopaths back then worked as tailors and in theback of their tailor shops they worked as pure homeopaths.In the year 1869, the sovereign state of Cundinamarca through a law, assignedto the Homeopathic Institute Of Colombia, space for establishing a homeopathic
  6. 6. hospital. The idea was to treat the patients who were declared incurable byallopaths. The hospital was never established because of economic problems.The anterior law was derogated by a law of November 3 of 1870. Homeopathywas practised by many priests. The founder of the first Colombian ReligiousCongregation called Dominicas de Santa Catalina de Siena, was a Dominicanpriest, Saturnino Gutiérrez (1835-1911) who gained his homeopathic trainingfrom the Colombian Institute of Homeopathy.Father Saturnino Gutiérrez O.PThe medical philosophy of both friar Buenaventura García O.P and friarSaturnino O.P was based on homeopathy. They were introduced to homeopathyby Doctor José Félix de Merizalde, who was in charge of medicine at theUniversity of Saint Thomas. It seems that Doctor Merizalde, introduced as partof his classes, the Organon of Medicine. Between 1870 and 1880, thecomprehension of the realm of homeopathic philosophy by friar Buenaventura,allowed him to receive the title of Doctor by the Instituto Homeopático deColombia. The homeopathic ‘principles’ served as well in the mission of friarSaturnino. Homeopathy help to explain his key concepts about the importance ofthe intersubjetive experience. The Dominican Order was probably the mostimportant religious order in Colombia since colonial times. Their clergy were veryactive in the Departments of Cundinamarca and Boyacá, land of the prehispanicMuiscas, the most advanced indigenous community at the arrival of Spaniards tothe Andean region in Colombia.In 1869 there were 32 homeopaths, three journals (La Homeopatía, La SociedadHahnemaniana in Bogotá, El Correo in the Department of Bolivar) and fivepharmacies in the capital city, which required a seal from the InstitutoHomeopático de Colombia on the bottles of the remedies they sold. In 1870, thenumber of registered Medical Doctors for Colombia was of 675 for a populationof 2.9 million inhabitants; which means two doctors for every 10.000inhabitants. As a matter of fact, most of the population was being attended bythe vernacular medical systems and by many practitioners of medicine andhomeopathy.By 1892, the Homeopathic Institute of Colombia had 497 medicalgraduates in homeopathy; many of them living in different regions of Colombia.In the twentieth century, another important homeopathic institute was foundedby a practitioner who was trained at the Homeopathic Institute Of Homeopathy:
  7. 7. This new Institution was called Fundación Instituto Homeopático deColombia Luis G. Paez. The founder was a philanthropist who donated hisentire fortune to the Institute. One of the donated lands was stolen by theexecutor of the Foundation around 1920, after the death of Doctor Paez. Theselands are known today as the neighborhood of Meissen, birthplace of the masterHahnemann in Germany. The neighborhood of Meissen, symbolizes the efforts ofhomeopathy to gain recognition in Colombia; today none of the neighbors knowthe origin and relation of the name of their district with homeopathy. Theneighborhood is a popular urbanized area located at the southern part of the cityof Bogotá. This foundation is a very serious institution and has been doingrigorous provings in the last decade (C.XX). It is controlled only by MD’s and hasno recognition from the Colombian State. As a result everyone in Colombia,practitioners and MD´s in a way are practicing homeopathy illegally. Thisinstitute goes to a postgraduate level only for MDs and veterinary doctors. Thereis no undergraduate program in Colombia in the present.It is important to note that a recent law written under the government ofPresident Álvaro Uribe Vélez, (law 1164 of 2007) recognizes the legal basis ofthe following alternative medicines: a)Traditional Chinese Medicine; b) AyurvedicMedicine; c) Naturopathic Medicine, and d) Homeopathic Medicine. Theoreticallyall of these schools of medicine can be developed at a undergraduate level. Untilnow there has been no proposal by any university to open academic programs toan undergraduate level. As I have already mentioned, the tendency is to mix thedifferent approaches of alternative medicine in short courses, with no depth andreal understanding of similarities and differences among the so-called alternativemedicines. As it happens in the world, alternatives medicines are viewed, usedand marketed to patients and medical staff as quick healing practices.Up to 1960, many eminent botanists and homeopaths travelled to our country tovisit the Institute of Homeopathy and meet its members. Some Colombianhomeopaths were active researchers and writers. For example, Doctor IgnacioPereira, since 1855 understood the presence of leprosy, tuberculosis and syphilisas diseases related to parasites or microbes. He published his results fifteenyears before Louis Pasteur. Living in third world country meant that his worknever had the recognition that medicine bestowed on Pasteur, who lived in afirst world country.7Over the years, some pure experimentation or provings had been carried out bydifferent persons without a rigorous scientific design, or even correct botanicaltaxonomy. Unlike Mexico, we have never published a Colombian Materia Medica.Below is the list of some of the provings done by homeopaths. The common andscientific name is given. In most of the cases, I have registered the scientificname according to the new standards in taxonomy: Croton lechleri M classifiederroneously by Leal Eulogio as Rhizophora mangle (1905); Sophia Regia,popular name, amargoso, probably the same serval Silvestre sorbus aucuparia(1905); Canchalagua, without a botanical classification when experimented byLuís G Paez, 1897, today known as Erythrae chilensis Pers m, Gentianacanchalagua,R, Gentianella magellanica, Scoparia montevidensis(Scrophulariaceae), Schkuhria pinnata (Asteraceae); Curare, Strychnos toxiferaR.H. Schomb. ex Lindl; Mangle Colorado, Rhizophora mangle L, informationgiven by doctor Mauro Hernández Mesa, on July of 1976 being President of the
  8. 8. Institute of Homeopathy of Colombia; Guaco, Mikania laevigata Sch.Bip.exBake; Coca, Erythoroxylum coca; Pacurú Niara according to Doctor MauroHernández Mesa the specie is Ternstroemiflora de Mildbr.The Pacurú Niara was shown at Paris in the Exposition Universelle (1889) by theColombian botanist José Jerónimo Triana who gave sufficient quantity to DoctorRoulin for its chemical analysis; unfortunately this scientist mistook the samplefor curare; Guambi, Anthelmia of Linneo; Algarrobo, Courbaril of Linneo(HYMENAEA COURBARIL);Yoco, PAULLINIA CLAVIGERA VAR BULLATA,Caparrapi, Magnolia hernandezii (Lozano) Govaerts; a small poison frog(Phyllobates) called by natives of Choco Chequeneaara, Basuniara, Fiu fiu andKokot. More plants: a poison plant called Mata negro (Glabra), a plant used byIndians in Colombia and Guatemala. The Chicha, a traditional fermentedbeverage, containing a mixture of flour and maize. Some pathosgenias havebeen carried out with borracheros (datura arborea, solanaceas). Manypractitioners have carried their own pathogenesis, unfortunately there is nostandardized book or publication with any of the experiments conducted byhomeopaths in Colombia.Currently the Foundation Institute of Homeopathy of Colombia Luís G. Paez hasbeing doing some research and pure experimentation. In Bogotá, nowadays,there are some 90 Medical Doctors with specialization on homeopathy listed inthe yellow pages. Although regulations say that only MDs can treat patients withhomeopathy, many non-MDs are practicing homeopathy and they are tolerated.There is an organization for homeopaths in Santa Fe de Bogotá, the AsociacionMedica Homeopática de Colombia (ASMHOC) and also one consisting mainly ofpractitioners, Asociación Colombiana de Homeópatas (Asocoldo). Universidad delBosque, a private University, has designed a non-formal diplomat with 240hours of teaching, only for MDs. The National University of Colombia, the majoruniversity of the country, recently opened a post-graduate program ofAlternative Medicines with emphasis in Homeopathy, Chinese medicine andacupuncture, homotoxicology, Chiropractic, and Osteopathy. This programpretends to teach the basics of the above arts of healing in only two years.My personal training started with the long distances courses of Homeopathy(1998-2001) offered by the British Institute of Homeopathy; my tutor was JoanO’ Connor, who was living in Canada. Later I took probably the last Course ofHomeopathy imparted by the Instituto Homeopático de Colombia before itsactual President, Doctor Fabían González, went to live in Canada; he is workingin Montreal, Canada as a homeopath8.Recently, there are two “official” schools, which only accept MDs: Escuela deMedicina Juan N. Corpas and Instituto Homeopático Luis G. Paez. There areother schools that teach homeopathy as a career (with no governmentrecognition) or as a postgraduate medical course: Fundación Homeopática deColombia, Fundación Colegio Nacional de Medicina Homeopática y Naturismo.Fundación Hahnemann is directed by Doctor Carlos Santos. The last time I heardhim speak, he told us that his school was closed until the total regulation of law1164 by a governmental decree. Some training of MDs is being carried out bypure homeopaths in Cali, one of the major cities of the country. There are some30 homeopathic pharmacies in Bogotá, 10 in Medellin. The training schools forhomeopaths were active for an important life span during the twentieth century.I recall the Fundación Homeopática de Colombia directed by Doctor VicenteAlvarez, with a six years curriculum; another school was Escuela de MedicinaHomeopática Leon Vannier. It seems they had only one program (1978) andtheir courses in homeopathy lasted two years. Nowadays, some homeopaths,
  9. 9. like Doctor Jaime Pinilla are doing provings, in his case with the insect known asPITO (Triatoma infestans), which is the transmitter of tripanosoma cruzi(Chagas-Mazza disease). Personally, I have been promoting research withsolanaceas.9 Many of the provings carried out over a period a 173 years havebeen lost. They were never published or some homeopaths died withouttransmitting the findings of their provings. In the last three years, under theguidance of the National Service of Learning (SENA), a state institution,practitioners in homeopathy have been the main protagonists in the definition ofprofessional competence that theoretically will regulate the practice ofhomeopathy in Colombia.Paradoxically, it is the experience and knowledge of pure homeopaths, which willdefine the practice of homeopathy in Colombia both for Medical Doctors and purehomeopaths. This process has occurred with the participation of some MedicalDoctors. But when it comes to talking about homeopathy, during the differentsessions, the Medical Doctors must be silent and hear what the purehomeopaths have to say.In the year 2008, a homeopathic dispensary was established in the city ofBogotá under the support of the Red Cross and the guidance of Felipe Cárdenas,who acted as scientific director of the project. The project consisted in treatingstreet inhabitants. Every weekend, over a period of two months, from 8:00 a.m.to 12:30 p.m, the indigent population of Bogotá had access to homeopathictreatment. Using only some of the 80 major homeopathic remedies, thedispensary became a clinic with excellent results. The treatment was completelyfree of any cost. The doctors that participated in that project were the purehomeopath Jaime Pinilla and the medical doctor Sandra Fandiño, under thescientific guidance of Felipe Cárdenas D.I.Hom. With this dispensary, it wasproven that team work is possible between pure homeopaths and medicaldoctors. Sandra Fandiño was studying homeopathy at Fundación InstitutoHomeopático de Colombia Luis G. Paez; she is a witness to the deep knowledgethat pure homeopaths may gain.
  10. 10. The Homeopathic Dispensary in Bogotá, and homeopathic practice by purehomeopaths (2007).Since around ten years ago, some private companies providing health careColombia, are offering the possibility for their clients to choose Medical Doctorswith alternative medicines; as one of the main choices, many patients arelooking into homeopathy as the principal alternative medicine. The problem isthat these medical doctors have to operate under the same temporal scales ofthe allopathic model that constrains the consultation period to a maximum of 30minutes per patient. One of these health care providers once started to offer inits drugstore homeopathic remedies. The dilemma was that after a couple ofmonths nobody was demanding biochemical drugs; as a result of the poor sales,the distributing companies intervened, forcing the health provider to stop sellinghomeopathic remedies.For practitioners subsistence is not easy. Most laws in the last 40 years are notvery favorable for what I call pure homeopaths. In the last years, the practice ofhomeopathy has become very eclectic among doctors. One out of ten MDs, is apure homeopath. Many Medical Doctors are migrating to informational medicine,synergetic medicine… Many MDs combine everything with homeopathy. There isa small community of medical doctors who practice homeopathy according toorthodox rules. I think that in recent years, most doctors are going to theterrains of biomedicine, which has attractive technological paraphernalia thatgives them the idea of control and wisdom. Practitioners work illegally and arenot recognized by the State. Some estimates say that we have about 5,000 to10,000 practitioners10. Nobody really knows the exact number. It’s dangerous forpractitioners to say that they practice homeopathy. Recently (2005), one ofthem was expelled from a Jesuit University (Universidad Javeriana), because hisenvironmentalists “friends” considered him a dangerous person, for arguing froma vitalistic perspective against the deterministic and materialistic models thatdominate some of the discussions and debates in the field of environmentalstudies. Father Gerardo Remolina S.J, the Rector, preferred to condemn the
  11. 11. homeopath rather than accept the truths of homeopathy, which never wereargued on an academic basis. In his dismissal letter they wrote: “You were toldnot to publish or write about homeopathy”. The letter was signed by a Jesuitpriest with a doctorate in theology and philosophy on June of 200511.I know a couple of practitioners who earn their living and subsistence mainlyworking with homeopathy. It is not easy for them. The State is looking, under arecent law, to identify and regulate the practice of all alternative medicines. Butthe spirit of the LAW is to give the monopoly of alternative medicines to theallopathic community. Four years ago I was the Vice presidential candidate ofthe Greens of Colombia (2006). We where censured by the press, but I used thefew spaces given by the media, to promote and defend homeopathy. I think,hoping I am wrong, that the future of homeopathy will be stormy. This isespecially due to two main issues: i) eclecticism in the medical practices ofhomeopathy and ii) a worldwide tendency by the allopathic community tomonopolize all alternative medicines, which in turn is directing their attention toinformational medicine. Therefore, for many of these alternative MDs,homeopathy is a just a precious prehistoric legend in the field of alternativemedicine; they called themselves homeopaths, only because they usehomeopathic remedies, without applying their efforts in the search of thesimillimum of the patient. It is easier today, to connect patients to one of those“wonderful” machines in the fields of radionics, biofeedback, or informationalmedicine, which proclaim that in seconds they reach heaven and are able toapply the remedies of all the known stars, hell and constellations in the search ofhealing. The search for the simillimum in homeopathy has no short cuts; work ishard, especially on chronic cases, but homeopaths know, and their patients too,that real cures and healings are part of an endless story of divine landscapes,where the earthly binds with dynamic energy, transforming maladies intosymphonies.
  12. 12. Pure Homeopaths from the Colombian Association of HomeopathsFinal remarksI have been emphasizing the importance of practitioners inhomeopathy. The problem and virtue of homeopathy is that its epistemology isan open code system, which means that anyone who is willing to work hard andstudy a lot can become a great homeopath. And this existential process canoccur within a medical faculty, outside of any school, through the teachings of afriend, or from your own autodidact study. Anyway, the fact is that the presenceof pure homeopaths is denied by the majority of the medical community; mostof their historical documents tend to ignore that crucial fact in the history ofmodern medicine. On most documents, they forget that many MD´s gained theirknowledge of homeopathy and were introduced into its principles bypractitioners. Medical doctors distort the history of homeopathy in Colombia,ignoring the presence of practitioners from the very beginning of homeopathy inColombia.Homeopathy has been part of the history of the world, together with medicaldoctors. Thousands of homeopathic practitioners, with a degree or not, havepracticed the homeopathic profession, performing an invaluable service tosociety. Finally, I want to share a political and symbolic act that we have beencarrying out as pure homeopaths in Colombia. It refers to a universal declarationwhich states and declares that homeopathy is a legacy of humanity. Thedeclaration states:“The homeopaths of the world desire to have the support of society and thegeneral public, seeking partnerships that will enable us to make visiblehomeopathy as a heritage and legacy of all mankind. The history of homeopathyhas known numerous cases of individuals who were homeopaths, havingembraced first training in other fields of knowledge: agriculture, the military,anthropology, law, priesthood, biology, bishops, and nuns. Homeopathicremedies are effective and inexpensive in the treatment of acute and chronicillnesses. The state of the art of the health-illness studies have clearlydemonstrated that the opposition of the pharmaceutical industry and certainsectors of the medical profession can be understand more from their interest inmoney than a real interest in the health of mankind. This has led many times,with the complicity of states and governments, to the persecution or death ofmany homeopaths. It reveals a time of deception and potential excesses of thepharmaceutical biochemical model which is dominant and is aimed almostexclusively at personal gain.”“The imposition of a single medical model and the intention to appropriateapproaches such as Homeopathy, Ayurvedic medicine, Chinese medicine andHerbology, can be understood only as part of a fundamentalist culture that issaid to be predominantly scientific, allegedly neutral and “universal”. Supportedby the pharmaceutical multinationals, the pronouncements of certain sectors ofsociety (Council of State, Secretary of Health, Government) do not reflect aninterest in promoting or protecting the health of peoples or nations, but ratherthe interests of a mono-cultural scheme of thought.Petition:“Therefore, we request that homeopathy should be recognized as a heritage andlegacy of humankind, and the best exercise of this science is represented byhomeopaths, who fortunately are abundant in the world. We invite you to jointhis petition, which requests that homeopathy should be declared a heritage andlegacy of humanity and of all peoples and nations of the world. It appeals to thejudges of the nations following the rule of law: Cuilibet in arte sua perito estcredendum [Credence should be given to one skilled in his particular art]. It is
  13. 13. sought to be heard as a homeopath and hoping to be understood, based on alogical reasoning, that justifies the exercise of homeopathy in the world byanyone who is willing to study its doctrine, materia medica, techniques, methodsand principles of this particular science”.We invite everyone to support and sign this petition.You can access the petition at:http://www.gopetition.com/online/28003.htmlFootnotes:1 He is a practitioner from the British Institute of Homeopathy andInstituto Homeopático de Colombia. Advisor of the Social Medicine andHomeopathy Department of Centir foundation, a major homeopathic center inColombia. He is the actual director of the Political Science and Human RightsDepartment at Universidad de la Sabana. fundacioncentir@telmex.net.co2 http://www.lablaa.org/blaavirtual/revistas/revanuario/ancolh22/articul/art3/art33a.pdf3 Based on: Instituto Homeopático de Colombia, “Reglamentación de la MedicinaHomeopática en Colombia”, La Homeopatía, no. 143, Year 132, January of 1998.4 María del Pilar Guzmán Urrea. “La alopatía y la homeopatía en el siglo XIX:conflicto entre dos prácticas médicas”. Anuario Colombiano de Historia Social yde la Cultura. 1995. (22): 59-73.5 Gutiérrez, Apuntamientos para la historia de Agua de Dios. pp.14-24, 126.citado por Diana Obregón Torres, Batallas contra la lepra : estado, medicina yciencia en Colombia, Medellín: Banco de la República, Fondo EditorialUniversitario EAFIT, 2002.6 Obregón,Ibid.http://www.lablaa.org/blaavirtual/sociologia/bat/bat3c.htm h7 Ignacio Pereira, Elefantiasis de los griegos: Carta dirigida al señor Ricardo de laParra (Bogotá: Imprenta de Foción Mantilla, 1866), ver especialmente pp.1-5.8 http://horea.info/gonzales/formation.php9 Felipe Cárdenas. The Homeopathic hmateria medica: the family of the solanaceas.http://www.homeoint.org/articles/ccardenas/solanaceas.htm10 Videos about Pure homeopaths in Colombia:Doctor Gonzalo Moncada:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nDfw9d8ZqyIDoctor Vicente Alvares: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HWVO65EAHCsDoctor Felipe Cárdenas:hhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=10DO8BQXdkA11 For the complete process against this homeopath the archives are found at:http://centir.itgo.com/box_widget.htmlFolder: homeopatíaSubfolder: historia deun linchamiento ( history of a lynching)