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Homeopathy, Hormesis and the Month of Fasting – Itrat Batool Talpur

The benefits of fasting during the Holy month of Ramadan have been passed down through generations, through the blessed hadith of the Blessed Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him and his family) for centuries and as a Muslim, the arrival of Ramadan is one of great anticipation and joy. The blessed Prophet is reported to have exclaimed,

O People! The month of Allah (Ramadan) has come with its mercies, blessings and forgiveness. My Lord has decreed this month as the best of all months.

This past century, as human activity has risen exponentially all over the globe, so has the access to plenty increased phenomenally for some, subsequently the impoverishment of others has come at the cost of that inflation leaving a deep rift amongst societies.

Although, this societal imbalance isn’t the topic under discussion right now, what one would want to turn their attention towards is the results that ensue when those with this easy access to everything, end up over consuming and then subjecting themselves to all kinds of stressors that affect us physically and mentally. This kind of maltreatment if not followed up by some form of retraction can easily spiral into a never-ending whirlpool of physical ailments.

And such is the month of Ramadan for all who seek to reset and regain health and wellness on all levels after a whole year of all kinds of excesses, to let your body take a break to revive. With the recent advent of research into the benefits of fasting, all that, which was a matter of faith at one point for a religious community only, has now emerged markedly as one of the most rewarding exercises for all hailing from different walks of life in order to achieve optimal health.

The medicinal effects of fasting can be traced all the way back to Hippocrates when it was a recommended practice for those with ailing conditions, yet this custom has now only been reduced to a mere practice of faith. In the land of plentitude people have essentially forgotten what it is to let your body starve for a certain number of days, when in the past it could have been a very routine occurrence that there wasn’t a lot to eat due to strained provisions or food was scarce all over the community, consequently people just had to go without food for days at hand. As much as the recent era has provided the masses with abundance of all luxuries including food, also has it arrived with its own set of problems in the shape of all kinds of diseases and chronic ailments, and taking everything into account when talking about health and healing, fasting stands out as an immensely overlooked path towards cure.

Fasting, during the month of Ramadan, for 30 consecutive days, has been the subject of numerous scientific studies in the recent years, to understand it’s benefits, after research emerged that has concluded  the positive effects of intermittent fasting (IF). Researchers all over the world are swiftly trying to catch up on the numerous health benefits of starving your body to enable such adaptive responses at the cellular level like AUTOPHAGY, that are key to retaining wellness.

At the base of such responses is the phenomenon known in the scientific community as the state of HORMESIS. This little known state can be defined as the biphasic dose response of the body, characterized by a low dose stimulation and a high dose inhibition. Here the body when exposed to bursts of hormetic stressors like short term intermittent fasting, stresses the body in low doses which in return helps the body to react and regenerate at the cellular level as a reactionary response to those stressors. In fact, this kind of induced stress has been a crucial factor for millions of years providing the diversity one sees in life and its different forms.

Now how does that all connect with homeopathy?

Hahnemann states as follows in his organon

Every agent that acts upon the vitality, every medicine, deranges more or less the vital force, and causes certain alteration in the health of the individual for a longer or shorter period. This is termed primary action. Although a product of the medicinal and vital powers conjointly, it is principally due to the former power. To it’s action our vital force endeavors to oppose its own energy. This resistant action is a property, is indeed an automatic action of our life preserving power, which goes by the name of secondary action or counteraction.

What the father of the homeopathic doctrine of therapeutics is trying to elaborate here, is exactly what the hormetic phenomenon of low dosage also proposes. The importance of low doses, which has been the bone of contention amongst the two schools of thought, i.e., homeopathy and allopathy, where the former is based on the principles of cure through similar and minute dosing of substances whereas the latter continues to base its therapy upon large and antipathic treatment of symptoms with crude doses.

Hormesis, a natural phenomenon, which the body harnesses naturally to heal and repair itself after it has undergone physical short-term stressors, that one also undergoes during fasting, like fatigue, headaches, irritability etc, which are the primary responses, followed by the secondary responses of increased energy, regeneration at the cellular level, release of oxidative stress, mood enhancement, is basically the same concept homeopathic treatment is based upon. The short-term fasting if done for a prolonged period will be regressive and ultimately fatal, yet if done for a certain period of the day it becomes a source of healing on a deeper level. In a very similar way, so does the homeopathic remedy act in one’s body, when in its minute dose the substance when homeopathically prescribed, similar to the symptoms the dis-eased body is naturally producing, the body will first show a short aggravation which is the primary effect followed by a lasting curative effect which is the counteraction or the secondary response of the vital force’s reaction to that dose.

In that way homeopathy may be likened to the hormetic stress induction through various means like fasting, for they are both acting upon the body on the nanoscale to produce an effect that cures yet doesn’t retain its harmful effects. For those new to homeopathy, it is very important to understand how the ultra-diluted doses of the homeopathic medicine serve as a pivotal point in the field of therapeutics and the traditional medicine has yet to catch up with the broad scope of achieving health and harmony within through this sound practice.

For more detailed information on Hormesis, Homeopathy and the Effects of Fasting kindly refer to the following comprehensive articles:

Exploring Possible Mechanisms of Hormesis and Homeopathy in the Light of Nanopharmacology and Ultra-High Dilutions

Dana Ullman

HORMESIS: a fundamental concept in biology


The Effect of Fasting on Human Metabolism and Psychological Health


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