The Clever Thing About Diabetes!

Trevor Gunn Homeopath on blood sugar

The following is an article written mainly for homeopaths and other holistic health professionals wanting a wider perspective on the implications of blood sugar issues … is there intelligence behind our responses in disease and would an understanding of that help our patients?

To skip the homeopathic practitioner bit, go straight to  Type 2 Diabetes … here

Homeopathy and Holistic Pathology

We spend a number of years at college doing our best to make the paradigm shift, to understand that many symptoms of disease are attempts to heal and protect the body when experiencing stress beyond normal limits. Therefore, as delineated by Hahnemann and others, symptoms are essentially intelligent and beneficial reactions designed to heal and keep you alive. So there is a need to see, not how we are going ‘wrong’ but, why we are responding in that manner.

Therefore, in assuming that there is not something fundamentally wrong with the sick person, we are not being obtuse but we are broadening our perspective to find out what the person is reacting to and why.

And with instances of chronic disease we are also trying to discover if there is a persistent cause (a maintaining cause) or, in other instances of chronic disease, why the patient has become stuck in this reaction, even though the cause is no longer there.

It’s always good to remind ourselves of the basic principles from Hahnemann so that we can, more importantly, be assured that we are generally on the same page as a profession in our desire to address causes. Homeopathy is not just about finding ‘the right remedy’.

  • 1. Highest & only calling to make sick people healthy – to heal…
  • 2. Rapidly, gently, permanently …surest, shortest & least harmful way by clearly comprehensible principles…
  • 3. Through knowledge of disease, knowledge of remedies, following principles that enable correct selection & dose AND … knowing the obstacles to cure and how to remove them
  • 4. Preserver of health if… knows the things that disturb health, what causes and sustains illness & how to remove them from healthy people…
  • 5. In addition needs to know probable exciting causes in acute disease and underlying causes in chronic disease…

In many ways a definitive call to address ‘causes’ – the exciting causes, maintaining causes and underlying causes in both the healthy and sick. Then as homeopaths, as with other holistic therapists, we use remedies or other techniques to help the reactions of the body, as opposed to suppress.

With regard to recognising the disease as an intelligent reaction to the stresses we experience in our lives, historically we are not alone in that opinion. Florence Nightingale:

“Is it not living in a continual mistake to look upon disease as we do now, as separate entities which must exist, like cats and dogs, instead of looking upon them as the reactions of kindly nature against the conditions against which we have placed ourselves?


For diseases, as all experience shows, are adjectives not noun substances.  The specific disease doctrine is the grand refuge of weak, uncultured, unstable minds, such as now rule in the medical profession.   There are no specific diseases, there are only specific disease conditions.”

And of course, that is what our homeopathy teaches us, that … “symptoms are intelligent and beneficial”. Which is also why we are concerned about the issue of suppression and for the most part pharmaceutical drug suppression, i.e. the consequences of stopping the body from doing what it perceives as vital, to heal and keep you alive.

However, the challenge we now face as practitioners, is in the real-life interpretation of today’s illnesses and their specific symptoms, in a manner that reflects the intelligence and benevolence of the body in disease. This would have been different in the past, back in Hahnemann’s day someone might have come in to your practice and say …

“You know I got this dose of syphilis, took a bunch of mercury and ended up with this …” You’d say yes I understand, you have had your symptoms suppressed and you are also suffering from mercury toxicity.

But as time has passed, we have developed many more subtle ways of suppressing our physical and emotional being; sugar, tea, coffee, cigarettes, alcohol, food additives, antiperspirants, ubiquitous forms of medication (that are more readily available), including pain-killers, anti-inflammatories, antipyretics, antihistamines, steroids, vaccines, hormones plus the near universal interventions in pregnancy and child-birth.

Added to that, there are also many more stressors and poisons in our environment; physical, emotional, chemical, genetic, electromagnetic and otherwise … all of which do pretty much similar things to our patient, as experienced in Hahnemann’s day, albeit more subtly, over a lifetime and most probably over generations.

So now when people get sick it’s not so easy to see causes and so in a ubiquitous and quite pervasive manner, illnesses have become distinct objects separated from the patient, identified and treated as entities in their own right.

Deep down we know this is an issue, we are treating diseases and not patients. However, there are of course similarities in people with similar illnesses and there are commonalities in remedies. So I believe the practice of prescribing ‘disease specifics’, is in itself, completely fine. We discover that there are useful remedies for certain conditions.

The issue I want to look at here is somewhat different and relates to what we understand about our modern day illnesses. The classification of disease and our understanding of pathology come from a conventional medical perspective. This frequently brings certain assumptions, firstly, that we often don’t know what the causes are, apart from perhaps that … “it’s genetic” or “it’s associated with this or that other illness” and secondly, we are given the biomedical detail within a context of what is wrong with the patient.

… acute and chronic inflammation affecting the lungs, bowel, stomach, kidney, heart, and brain, plus allergies such as hayfever, asthma, eczema, and food allergies – autoimmune disease e.g. lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes, Hashimoto’s, multiple sclerosis, hormonal dysfunction – growths, ulcers, cardiovascular disease and numerous forms of cancer.

All diagnosed on the basis of what is wrong with the patient, over-reacting, attacking itself or plain dysfunctional. We are given an inordinate amount of biomedical detail about the specific malfunction and very little understanding of how the body is, in fact, responding in a vastly intelligent manner to the ‘causes’.

These details, generally researched by biomedical scientists, are not given a holistic perspective. It is, in fact, the wider medical profession, hugely influenced by the pharmaceutical industry that takes these details and gives it ‘meaning’.

And so, what has happened to our causes? The exciting causes, underlying causes, maintaining causes and how do these illnesses arise in healthy people in the first place and therefore what is the intelligence behind these reactions? And so to the question …

By adopting the classifications and medical diagnosis that comes with a patient and their disease, are we taking on board more than an objective label of what is going on with the patient?

There are several examples that we can use to illustrate this issue and how it affects our patients and ourselves as holistic therapists. In the past I have spent some time looking at immune issues, infectious diseases, allergies and autoimmune disease, now I’m going to take a slight departure and look at type 2 diabetes.

This will touch on issues of miasm, childhood development, lifestyle and the process of disease from the perspective of intelligence and benevolence. A pathophysiological response to our world exquisitely designed to heal and keep you alive.

Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes, mature onset diabetes or non-insulin dependent diabetes, is characterised by the fact that the patient has become insulin resistant. So when absorbing sugar from the digestive tract into the blood, the insulin they produce is less able to stimulate the up-take of those sugars into the cells where they can be used. This results in persistently raised blood sugar levels and a lack of fuel specifically for the cells of the skeletal muscles, fat cells and heart. Many other cells of the body are able to absorb glucose without the presence of insulin.

This persistently raised blood sugar in the presence of insulin resistance, will cause a compensatory elimination of glucose out of the blood via the kidneys through the urine, taking with it significant amounts of water, which could lead to dehydration and all of its concomitant effects. There are also other long-term effects known to be associated with type 2 diabetes which we will discuss later.

We may see (if we have the appropriate laboratory reports) that the patient’s blood sugar is abnormally high after a meal and can go dangerously low when fasting or exercising. This low blood sugar also has its problems, symptomatically in reduced energy, headaches, moodiness and confusion, as it takes a while for the compensation mechanisms to bring the blood sugar back up to optimal levels.

The problem although linked to diet and lifestyle, is often said to be due to the insulin receptors not fully responding to insulin, which may in time lead to insulin dependence (type 1 diabetes) from the idea that the pancreas could ‘burn out’ and eventually stop producing insulin. The following is a fairly typical commentary on the medical thinking about the underlying problem in type 2 diabetes:

Insulin resistance in most cases is believed to be manifest at the cellular level via post-receptor defects in insulin signalling.

Insulin and Insulin Resistance, Clin Biochem Rev. 2005 May; 26(2): 19–39.

Essentially there is a defect in the patient, specifically in the way their cells respond to insulin signalling.

So from your conventional medical practitioner dietary advice is given to reduce the sugar highs, therefore foods that release sugar quickly, known as high glycaemic index (GI) foods (or high glucose load (GL) foods) are to be avoided. Instead, patients are advised to use more complex carbohydrate foods that release sugar slowly and to avoid waiting long periods without meals.

However, although many medical practitioners are aware of the ability to address type 2 diabetes by lifestyle interventions, given the complex nature of food choices (and for some people, food addiction), coupled with the negligible training given to doctors on nutrition, combined with a healthcare system that focuses on fire-fighting and prescription drugs, inevitably drugs are at the forefront of patient care.

These prescription drugs are designed to do one or other of the following to help the insulin resistant patient: –

  • Increase the amount of insulin produced
  • Increase the sensitivity to insulin
  • Reduce absorption of glucose from intestines
  • Reduce conversion of complex carbohydrates to sugar
  • Reduce ability of the liver to produce glucose

None of these measures necessarily address the causes as we shall see, but they either attempt to increase the insulin response or reduce the amount of blood sugar created or absorbed.

  1. Chemical agents which increase the amount of insulin secreted by the pancreas:

Sulfonylureas:First-generation agents;

Tolbutamide (Orinase) acetohexamide (Dymelor) tolazamide (Tolinase) chlorpropamide (Diabinese)

Second-generation agents; Glipizide (Glucotrol), glyburide (Diabeta, Micronase, Glynase), glimepiride (Amaryl), gliclazide (Diamicron).

Meglitinides: (also increase the release of insulin form the pancreas); repaglinide (Prandin), nateglinide (Starlix).

All may cause weight gain and hypoglycemia.

  1. Chemical agents the Increase sensitivity to Insulin, reduce ability of liver to produce glucose and reduce the absorption of glucose by the intestines –

Biguanides: Metformin, Phenformin, Buformin.

Don’t cause weight gain unless used with other drugs and insulin, but can create severe acidosis, possibly due to not enough glucose, increased ketones as a compensation and potential dehydration.

  1. Chemical agents which decrease the rate of digestion of complex carbohydrates in the gastrointestinal tract and therefore reduces the rate of glucose absorption.

Alpha-glucosidase inhibitors: Acarbose and miglitol

Complex carbohydrates include foods like bread, cereal, grain, pasta, rice, flour, beans, and vegetables like potatoes and corn. These medicines do not change the effect that eating simple sugars have on blood sugar. (If someone suffers a low blood sugar episode on these drugs need to take glucose, not table sugar which is a disaccharide glucose-fructose – and many drinks have disaccharides).

So given a patient with type 2 diabetes, as homeopaths, we carry out a complete and thorough case-taking, looking at miasm, constitution and lesion layers. But as an aid to our patient’s immediate issue, it’s important that we get the cells to start absorbing sugar in response to insulin, or risk, dehydration, acidosis and a diabetic coma, plus a host of other complications if the patient’s blood sugar remains continuously high.

We prescribe the indicated remedy(s) in the hope that our prescription achieves all of that and we may also be tempted to support the pancreas and give dietary advice to reduce the sugar highs and the corresponding lows.

But what is the body trying to do in diabetes when becoming insulin resistant? What are the initial causes and ongoing maintaining causes? Also what other adjuncts to homeopathy would help our patient?

The problem with HIGH blood sugar

The body doesn’t like sugar highs, this can lead to all kinds of issues; it can disrupt osmotic balance making it more difficult to feed the cells other nutrients & excrete toxins, compensatory excretion in the urine causes potential dehydration and acidosis.

High blood sugar also creates a susceptibility to fungal growths and the growth of other opportune microbes, plus a tendency to obesity, metabolic syndrome, polycystic ovary syndrome, high blood pressure and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).

Persistently high blood sugar also leads to advanced glycation end products, (where sugar molecules bind to proteins and/or fats in the body disrupting function, causing arterial hardening and inflammation). AGEs are thought to contribute to other diabetes-related chronic inflammatory diseases such as atherosclerosis, asthma, arthritis, myocardial infarction, nephropathy, retinopathy, periodontitis and neuropathy.

Chronically raised blood sugar also makes it harder to regulate our cancers (that we all produce) and therefore increases our susceptibility to cancer, plus undoubtedly many more issues.


Trevor Gunn Homeopath Fig 1 Blood Sugar High

So we have mechanisms of bringing the blood sugar back down to optimal levels and to also get the glucose from the blood into the cells for energy and other uses. One of which is the production of insulin.

However, if the blood sugar spikes very high (mainly due to ingesting highly refined sugary foods), the amount of insulin needed to normalise blood sugar levels will create a subsequent sugar-low. That transient sugar-low (before an eventual normalising) will create a whole new set of problems.


Trevor Gunn Homeopath Fig 2 Blood Sugar Low

The problem with LOW blood sugar

The main issue with the sugar-low is an immediate lack of fuel for all of the tissues, until there is a compensatory increase in blood sugar from the liver and a metabolic shift to the use of fats and ketones from the degradation of fats.

In the meantime, the patient feels, tired, foggy, confused, and faint. With the demand on the liver, having a marked emotional effect, the patient may also feel irritable, intolerant, tearful, fearful and overwhelmed.

To address this sugar-low our patient has a few options; wait for the liver to kick-in, eat an easily absorbed sugar source, raise your adrenalin levels via a caffeinated drink, smoke a cigarette and if all else fails, wait for the adrenals to fire up which, although raising blood sugar, may, unfortunately, exacerbate an existing feeling of panic.

So the drive will be to bring the sugar back up and an inclination to consume a quick sugar source, but of course, a high GI food source may start the whole cycle all over again. Until fairly soon we have developed some pretty ingrained strategies for avoiding these sugar lows.


Trevor Gunn Homeopath Fig 3 Blood Sugar Highs and Lows

The real problem often lies in the body’s difficulty in bringing the blood sugar back up quickly enough when in a blood sugar-low. This will be exacerbated in a person that has a negative association with feeling hungry, or someone that doesn’t feel capable of getting through negative feelings without an external fix.

These highs and lows are all, of course, taking their toll on the body because insulin is also the ‘storing hormone’ and in rapidly reducing the blood sugar we are effectively transporting sugar into the cells, muscles, liver and fat cells for storage i.e. converting into glycogen and fat.

Eventually, the body, faced with more sugar highs and the immediate and uncomfortable lows, added to the ever increasing sugar load on the system in terms of fat storage, at some point decides to reduce its sensitivity to insulin leaving some of the sugar high. This avoids the sugar crash and avoids storing what it doesn’t need; it is, of course, an intelligent strategy of the body in its pathophysiological response to the long-term ingestion of high GI foods.


Trevor Gunn Homeopath Fig 4 Blood Sugar - Insulin Resistance

Of course this may happen more quickly in some than others and of course, other stressors can influence that, including the emotions.

Now it’s also important to allow the emotional relationship to physiology some intelligence also. We can sometimes be tempted to feel that by including the emotions in our causes we are being more holistic, which on some level we are.

BUT we may be tempted to interpret disease as a malfunction of the body due to an emotional cause and therefore lose our perspective of symptoms being intelligent and benevolent. Of course, malfunctions do happen and there may be emotional causes, however, often we may be missing the intelligence of the mind-body connection.

To say that a patient’s diabetes occurred because, their grief, suppressed anger or fear caused a malfunction in the patient, is a subtle shift of cause but back into an allopathic interpretation of malfunction.

For example, when the body is in perceived starvation mode for long enough and frequently enough (and there may be other kinds of stresses that have a similar effect), there is a physiological adaptation whereby the hormones instruct the body to store fat, reduce metabolic rate and wait until the trauma is over. This may, therefore, direct food cravings and metabolism in an intelligent manner to protect the person from dying of starvation during a period of scarcity. There is no malfunction here, just intelligent physiology to our real or perceived environment.

The problem could, therefore, be in the perception, directing thoughts, hormones, emotions and actions. Whilst the patient has an ample food source (in particular a high GI food source) at some point the physiology has to resist more storing and insulin resistance would be an intelligent way for the physiology to do that.

So what do the drugs do?

We know pharmaceutical drugs have side-effects and they are potentially ‘suppressive’- but this is often a blanket term given to pharma medication even when we’re not sure if they really are suppressive or how.

With regard to diabetes medication, in the first instance giving more insulin or increasing sensitivity to insulin through drugs will cause more glucose ‘storage’ (i.e. increases fat storage, therefore weight gain and potentially contribute to obesity) which could lead to more insulin resistance and may even lead to a shut-down of insulin production and eventually type 1 diabetes (insulin dependent diabetes). The underlying issue isn’t being resolved we’re just forcing the body to do what it doesn’t want to do, which is to take the glucose out of the blood and store it in the form of fat whilst also risking a blood sugar-low.

Now, of course, we can see the usefulness of insulin, especially whilst the underlying issues are not resolved and the patient has a massive sugar high, dehydrated and lacking in energy to move or even to produce a heart-beat. But as a long-term strategy, it is doomed.

Similarly, medication that stops the body from absorbing certain types of sugar will not address why the patient experiences their sugar low and may, therefore, exacerbate the desire for the sugar fix in some other way.

Reducing blood-sugar by taking drugs that stop the liver from producing sugar (reducing gluconeogenesis in the liver) may actually exacerbate the problem long-term, as the patient has even less ability to raise blood sugar when low and therefore craves sugar even more.

So what is the underlying issue in type 2 diabetes and how does that understanding help us homeopaths to help our patients?

Often the problem in a patient with type 2 diabetes is the difficulty that the liver has in bringing the blood sugar back up once in a sugar-low:

The problem of the sugar-high is

the issue of the sugar-low.

Often there is not a problem with the pancreas or the receptors, insulin resistance is a strategy used by the metabolism to safeguard the body from recurrent low blood sugar and excess fat storage.

This can be seen in many of our type 2 diabetic patients where they have historically struggled with blood sugar lows; have great difficulty when not eating on time or when missing a meal and crave certain lifestyle choices, coffee, high GI food, cigarettes and even alcohol.

Poor liver function associated with diabetes is also illustrated in an interesting study showing that people with type 2 diabetes have persistent toxins present in their bodies that many other people, even though exposed to, are able to detoxify and eliminate.

Korean Scientist – Duk-Hee Lee studying people with toxic residues (Organic/chlorinated/cyclic/compounds – PCBs, DDT, DDE) found that the people with highest level of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) were 40 x more likely to have diabetes. And although diabetes is thought to be associated with obesity there was NO diabetes in obese if there were NO POPs.

Diabetes care 2006; 29: 1638-44


So, of course, the question is, do these POPs cause diabetes of themselves, do they cause liver damage or do they accumulate in people with poor liver function? It’s unlikely that they are solely causative as there are many people exposed to high levels of POPs that do not retain them and do not develop type 2 diabetes. Most likely, a current susceptibility in a patient allows certain toxins to accumulate which exacerbates an existing liver issue.

From our experience as homeopaths, looking at our patients and their family history, we see that this susceptibility to poor liver-function can be inherited, for example, as typically seen in the syphilitic and carcinosin miasm. Or can be acquired through the damaging effects of poisons and/or lifestyle on the liver.

Simple food choices may also play a part, nutritionally depleted foods may in fact place some people in nutritional starvation and nutritionally empty high GI foods make it easy to go into fat storage mode.

It’s also possible to see the emergence of these issues in many people that are pre-diabetic. Isolated issues are less significant but enough of them together with a sufficient degree of compulsion show many of the hall-marks of pre-diabetes; sweet, coffee, cigarette, alcohol cravings, ailments from fasting (inability to miss a meal), reduced confidence, anticipatory anxiety, compulsion to plan ahead, irritability, PMS cravings and mood changes.

Blood tests in these individuals reveal wide variations in blood-sugar levels but not sufficient to warrant a classification of diabetes. Conventional diagnosis gives an allowable range 3.9 – 5.6 m.mol/l (70 – 110 ng/dl) before confirmation of diabetes.

But interestingly Dr Bernstein who has been incredibly successful at helping many diabetics with diet, has seen many patients and informs us, in his book ‘Diabetes’, that if you are not pre-diabetic your blood sugar will hardly drop at all, but stays consistently at your level, usually around 4.6mmol/l  (83ng/dl).

The underlying issues

In treating a patient with type 2 diabetes we are trying to bring liver function to optimal so that they are able to efficiently bring their own blood sugar back up should it ever dip. It’s as though we are training the patient’s body to be able fast without experiencing symptoms. Not for days or even a day, but just so that the patient is able to feel no symptoms at all if missing a meal and therefore go 8 hours without eating, this may take some time to achieve but it is very achievable for most.

This may sound daunting for the patient and could be enough to send them out the door! So we have to be gentle, encouraging and informative when showing what is possible when the body functions in that manner in terms of the health, freedom and vitality that can be obtained. We also have to be aware that their current perspective may make that mean they are not going to be allowed all the things they enjoy, that it will be painful, austere and plain miserable, none of which has to be true, but in fact quite the opposite.

Childhood development

This brings us to the next issue; when we consider babies and young children they have a diet high in milk sugar (lactose) which is a combined galactose and glucose sugar, a disaccharide. Looking at the bigger picture of childhood development into adulthood, babies start off eating very frequently and very simple foods high in sugar. As they develop into older children and eventually adults they will learn to eat more complex food, less refined and less frequently.

So children need a little slack on the sugar front … they are in training and of course, there are healthier versions of sweet foods than others. But what we find of course is that culturally we may use sweet foods as treats, as distractions and as comfort, which I guess is ok if we are conscious of what we are doing and are working towards less dependence on these things, but these habits tend to persist beyond adolescence and into adulthood.

A lack of nurturing, as you would expect in a child of the carcinosin miasm, may also reflect a desire for external comfort and food fixes, chocolate, sweets, etc which may result in an inability to raise their own blood sugar efficiently, especially when you consider the underlying issue of lack of assertiveness and lack of independence. The development of which happens as a result of overcoming hurdles yourself, going through an issue and coming out the other side.

Coming out the other side of a blood sugar-low enables the liver to engage another type of metabolism; a fat burning and ketogenic metabolism. The resistance to that process can be linked to issues of inheritance, upbringing or simple life-style choices. So as homeopaths we can see how convoluted the blood sugar challenge becomes depending on where the issue is in our patient, but it does inform us of the journey that they need to go through.

Possible Healing Strategies

  1. Reduce the sugar highs by having more regular meals and eating food that releases the sugar slowly (low GI food). In the beginning the trick is to avoid feeling hungry.
  2. Find low GI sweet treats that do not spike insulin, of which there are more and more on the market … without this, patients will not usually be able to just drop sweet food and could set them up for failure (very occasionally a pre-diabetic or diabetic patient may be able to live without a sweet treat, but check this out very carefully first).
  3. Exercise is known to shift the metabolism to glycogen and fat burning mode, albeit marginally in the beginning and does increase insulin sensitivity. REMEMBER ALWAYS to advise patients to do something they enjoy, exercise as a chore releases cortisol and puts you fat storage mode!
  4. Support remedies for the liver, raise antioxidant levels in food and supplements, to help counter liver detox reactions.
  5. Check out the issue of good fats and bad fats, we need essential fatty acids for the body to feel safe burning fat. Also processed hydrogenated fat and repeatedly highly heated fat is the main issue whilst animal fat of itself is not.
  6. Eventually train the patient to live a little whilst feeling a bit hungry which is why intermittent fasting can be a useful strategy but of course we need to be gentle to allow adaptation, which does happen.
  7. Ask the patient to check if they need water or do they actually need to eat, dehydration is often misinterpreted as hunger.
  8. There is always the potential for raised blood sugar in the beginning and the upper safety limit of blood sugar is point at which it starts to appear in the urine…need to drink lots to compensate for the dehydration caused by the need to safely eliminate the sugar without over loading the tissues
  9. Yes to using diet to create more stable blood sugar, but if experience ‘sugar low feelings’ best to use fruit or in some cases fruit juice because fructose can enter without insulin Fructose in whole fruit is a good option when energy is low (whole fruit contains water, fibre, minerals, vitamins etc and a low enough fructose level for the body to metabolise easily) doesn’t provoke insulin so doesn’t lead to a sugar low. However high amounts of fructose in processed food still has to be taken out of circulation and therefore can lead to weight gain etc
  10. In a period of a blood sugar-low, diabetics and obese are often starving, physiologically this may be more significant than a lack of energy, because important cells are not being fed for example the brain, nerves and heart, so these people can’t afford a sugar crash.

Then, of course, we can do all of that within the context of miasm, history, lesion etc. So that our initial strategy is not to reduce the blood sugar through the use of a remedy or to increase insulin sensitivity through the use of the right remedy. But to enable the patient to raise blood sugar efficiently and feel confident enough to go from a potential blood sugar low to a ketogenic metabolism.

A Holistic Pathology

Now if as homeopaths we take on the benchmarks of allopathic medicine, in terms of whether blood sugar levels indicate that someone has or doesn’t have diabetes, firstly we might be missing useful signs from these blood tests that there are already pre-diabetic issues that we need to address.

Secondly, when we have confirmed blood sugar problems, it’s possible that we will be trying to help the patient by attempting to find the right remedy that enables them to normalise their blood sugar.

With many types of patients and with certain kinds of illnesses it may be possible to help them with the right remedy or combination of remedies, but with an increasing amount of cases, the problem we face is that we are unlikely to be able to help them with one or two tablets. Therefore we need to do it in stages and initial responses are unlikely to show sufficient movement in the direction of Hering’s law of cure and may not be so apparent to the patient or therapist as yet.

Therefore we need to know if we are going in the right direction because, for example, in type 2 diabetes it may not be possible to bring blood sugar down with a remedy or even advisable in the first instance (remember the side-effects of diabetes drugs and long term consequences of diabetes). Then we may be inclined to think our treatment isn’t working.

It would, in fact, be more useful to bring liver function back up before the insulin resistance shows signs of diminishing and that can happen with the patient still on their medication.

In addition, we want to know what the maintaining causes are so that we can help to remove those. We also need to know how their pathology relates to their current susceptibility, their life-style, their history and their miasm. So that we can take our patient on a healing journey, one that we understand how to navigate because we understand how to link their disease with what we know as homeopaths.

However, when we learn standard pathology we will also take on the allopathic perspective of pathology unless we have managed to re-frame that so that we understand the intelligence of the disease process, the causes, maintaining causes and obstacles to cure.

Learning a standard pathology could create a slightly schizophrenic approach to our healing, wherein our philosophy tells us one thing and the pathology seems to be telling us something else. And so practitioners and students often have an aversion to learning standard pathology and face the task of having to make sense of it in the context of their homeopathic training.

In addition, a standard pathology may create a subtle shift of focus; for example, to the pancreas in diabetes and so to misguided organ support, remedy affinities etc. And with no clue as to causes, we may spend an inordinate amount of time trying to find the right remedy, with the patient in a plethora of maintaining causes, and then berating ourselves because we feel unable to help the patient.

Additionally given the biomechanical detail of what is wrong with our patients through an understanding of standard pathology it would be very easy to find ourselves colluding with the consensus that theses illnesses are difficult to treat, almost incurable and in diabetes we may think about receptor function and pancreatic function and wonder if it’s possible to heal this condition or that condition.

Herring’s law of cure, evolutionary homeopathy, etc in terms of methods to guide treatment and assess progress, are only useful when there is a fairly significant change; curative or degenerative process, enabling you to chart the progress. But many of the pathologies that we see today need tracking for some time whilst patients still have their pathology and we often need to do other things to help them, not least remove the maintaining causes.

The details in terms of the biology, biochemistry, tissue pathology etc can actually help us, but they need to be re-framed. If we don’t have a way of understanding the intelligence behind the pathology then there is probably something missing in our understanding and potentially something missing in the identification of causes.


It may seem strange to think of ‘allopathic pathology’, surely there is allopathic medicine, and pathology is pathology. But pathology is most definitely not devoid of judgement.

Orthodox pathology is NOT an objective science it takes a lot of objective details and interprets them in a way that describes what is going wrong with the patient. It does not explain what the body is trying to do, what causes those reactions and what are the issues of susceptibility.

It is a collection of reductionist details with a fear-based interpretation of what will happen if those symptoms continue unabated and so it is often an allopathic based justification for specific forms of medication. Which of course have their uses, but it’s an approach that is limited in terms of understanding why and how we become ill and how to affect real resolution.

Whilst the biomedical scientists have ventured down the rabbit hole in terms of the details, homeopathy as a profession, have kept the overview and left the business of interpreting the detail up to the medical profession. By the detail, I don’t mean the detail of the individualised symptoms; that is essentially the detail of the overview. I mean the reductionist detail; the organs, tissues, cells, genes, biochemistry etc.

However, as a profession, we can engage in the interpretation of the biomedical sciences and see how very often disease mechanisms show intelligence, adaptability and point a finger at the real causes that patients often have control over.

A holistic pathology, recognising the intelligence of the body in disease, may also give us more practical ways to help our patients, address maintaining causes, remove obstacles to cure and to avoid disease in the first place. We could also help patients understand the rational of holistic therapy, in particular, the rational of homeopathy, the dangers of suppression and the need to embark on a journey of health as opposed to a quick fix.

As such practitioners and students may be more inclined to learn what I would term a holistic pathology.

Medical science has been interpreted in more holistic ways by many other professionals, for example in nutritional research, environmental medicine, functional medicine and numerous individuals working in their own specialist and independent ways across the globe.

A holistic pathology enables an integration of the detail (tissues, organs, cells, and molecules) with overview (causes, purposeful outcome and meaning). An integration of left brain and right brain, yin and yang, male and female, it is NOT the same as learning homeopathy and at the same time bolting on a standard pathology, a standard allopathic pathology.

In our current climate where homeopathy and other forms of holistic health-care are being opposed, it would be very easy to feel pressured to learn such ‘pathology’ (allopathic pathology) to legitimise our profession. But such pathology in isolation, without holistic context, may have negative consequences.

  • Practitioners may find themselves increasingly in a perceived danger zone, having to fix a malfunctional body, legitimised by an understanding of pathology that confirms the perils of disease down to the finest detail.
  • We may try to achieve what the pathology implies; reduce the blood pressure, the blood sugar, the bacteria, the virus, the cholesterol, the inflammation, the fever, the immune response; increase the antibodies, the serotonin, the iron, the vitamin etc.
  • We may attempt to use remedies as though they were like pharma drugs, targeted to specific outcomes that are not necessarily in line with the healing journey of the patient.
  • We may follow benchmarks that are not the benchmarks of healing but the goals of reaching a statistical norm, laid down by a standard pathology.
  • In short, in our attempt to use remedies to bring about changes as advocated by our understanding of pathology we may slowly but surely recognise that only serious pharmaceutical drugs can really ‘help’ many of today’s illnesses.
  • And in attempting to promote homeopathy whilst advocating an understanding of allopathic pathology, pharmaceutical medicine appears the rational medicine whilst we may appear to be rationalising homeopathy with a biological model that is incongruent with our therapy.
  • In that way, the danger to the homeopathic profession is to get accepted and moulded into a standardised medical system, the basis of which is an allopathic pathology, which slowly but surely creates a framework for ineffective homeopathy.

However, if we see through the delusion of pathology, i.e. the delusion of the perception of the body in disease, as a system in malfunction, we can see how biology and biochemistry actually reflect the holistic overview of intelligence and benevolence.

Then a true symbiosis is possible between the scientific detail and the principles of holistic healthcare, wherein the dangers of suppression are apparent to our patients and that diseases are seen to be intelligent and benevolent reactions designed to heal and keep you alive. As such holistic healthcare appears the more desirable option and homeopathy a rational way forward.

More details of this approach can be found in Trevor Gunn’s Book:

The Science of Health and Healing’available on Amazon.

For a one day experience, learning how to use this approach, suitable for both undergraduates and post-graduates, please contact Trevor at for updates on future events.

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