A homeopath by the name of Emil Grubbe, M.D. (1875-1960) was the first person to use radiation to treat a person with cancer (Dearborn, 2005).
In January 1896, Grubbe was a student at the Hahnemann Medical College (of Chicago, a famous homeopathic medical school). He gave radiation treatment to Mrs. Rose Lee, a woman with breast cancer.
Grubbe got the idea of using radiation as a treatment for Lee's breast cancer from Reuben Ludlam, M.D., a professor at the homeopathic medical school. Ludlam knew that Grubbe had previously experimented with X-ray as a diagnostic procedure so much that he developed blisters and tumors on his hand and neck as a result of overexposure to this new technology.
Because one of the basic premises of homeopathic medicine is that small doses of a treatment can help to heal those symptoms that large doses are known to cause, Ludlam suggested to Grubbe that radiation may be a treatment for conditions such as tumors because it also causes them.
This incident is but one more example from history in which an insight from a homeopathic perspective has provided an important breakthrough in medical treatment.
Even though Grubbe had to have one hand amputated early in life due to the high exposures received from his early experiences with radiation, he ultimately lived a long and full life of 85 years, in part due to the homeopathic treatment he received throughout his life. Grubbe also had a long and distinguished career as a professor of electro-therapeutics and radiography at Hahnemann Medical College, and he is thought to have become the first professor of Roentgenology in the world (Hodges, 1964).
True to his interests in conveying his discoveries to all doctors, Dr. Grubbe served as professor at four different Chicago medical schools, including homeopathic, eclectic, and allopathic medical schools.
Grubbe's contribution to medicine and science was further enhanced by the fact that he was the first to use lead as a protection against radiation exposure.
The point of this introduction is to confirm that homeopaths have a long history of using homeopathic medicines in the treatment of people who have been exposed to radiation ... including many people, such as Emil Grubbe who were exposed to significant amounts of radiation and lived long and fruitful lives.
In these opening remarks, I also want to urge us all to avoid spreading fear within ourselves and to others. Although it is good to be prepared for potential disasters, it is important to avoid exacerbating these emotions by overfeeding them.
With the media-promoted concerns about radiation drift from Japan and the real and exaggerated fears that many people are experiencing now, the first homeopathic medicine that people today may consider taking is Arsenicum album 30C. Arsenicum album is a leading homeopathic medicine for anxiety and fear, especially around health issues and about being poisoned. Taking a single dose whenever one notices these strong emotional states is reasonable, but consider repeated use if recommended to do so by a professional homeopath.
Conventional Thinking as a Reasonable First Step
The official line about the type and intensity of radiation exposure we face seems to change every day everywhere. People can and should consider this issue when evaluating and determining what they will do.
The American Center for Disease Control (CDC) ( recommends potassium iodide for helping prevent the absorption of radiation into the thyroid gland and provides good, practical information. Essentially, they recommend that people over 12 years of age take 130 mg of iodine in order to flood the thyroid, thereby disabling it from absorbing radioactive iodine. Such actions are certainly prudent if and when there is evidence of radioactive iodide, though to date, exposure to it has not been a public health concern. My discussion of what my family and I will be doing to protect and/or treat exposure to radioactivity is in addition to the CDC recommendations.
Please note, however, that potassium iodide seems to only protect against iodine-related radiation, not other types of radiation from cesium, strontium, nitrogen, and tritium. Further, the Japanese are working to reduce radiation emission by dousing the container with graphite and borax, both of which may change the nature of the emissions.
Scientific Evidence for the Homeopathic Treatment of Environmental Poisons
Before discussing the history of use of homeopathic medicines for exposure to radioactivity, it is first important to know that there is a significant body of research to show the benefits of homeopathic medicines in treating environmental exposures of toxic substances.
Back in 1994, a highly respected group of researchers reviewed 105 animal studies that evaluated the ability of homeopathic medicines to discharge heavy metals from the bodies of mice (Linde, Jonas, Melchart, et al, 1994). This review found that the best results were in the studies that were deemed to be scientifically rigorous. When evaluating only these higher quality studies, the researchers found a significant reduced death rate from exposure to toxic minerals (arsenic, mercury, cadmium, bismuth) when homeopathic doses of these substances were given to the animals (as compared with those given a placebo).
Since 1994, more than a dozen new studies have confirmed these results. A group of university researchers in India have conducted a body of laboratory trials testing the effects of heavy metals on mice which were given homeopathic doses of these toxic substances after exposure (Datta, Mallick, Khuda-Bukhsh, 2001; Mallick, Chakrabart, Khuda-Bukhsh, 2003; Banerjee P, Mallick, Chakrabarti, Guha, et al, 2003; Bhattacharya, 2003; Bhattacharyya SS, Pathak S, 2008; Human and Experimental Toxicology, 2010). * (*It is not appropriate to list all of the studies here, but people with an interest in this subject can review the references in these articles.)
At present, arsenic in groundwater has affected millions of people globally distributed over 20 countries. In parts of West Bengal (India) and Bangladesh alone, over 100 million people are at risk, and supply of arsenic-free water is grossly inadequate.
Attempts to remove groundwater arsenic by using orthodox medicines have mostly been unsuccessful. A potentized homeopathic remedy made from arsenic (Arsenicum album 30C) was administered in a double-blind, placebo-control study to a group of groundwater arsenic affected people, and the arsenic contents in urine and blood were periodically evaluated (Khuda-Bukhsh, AR, Pathak, S, Guha, 2005; Belon, Banerjee, Karmakar, et al, 2007). The activities of various toxicity marker enzymes and compounds in the blood, namely aspartate amino transferase, alanine amino transferase, acid phosphatase, alkaline phosphatase, lipid peroxidation and reduced glutathione, were also periodically monitored up to three months. The results are highly encouraging and suggest that the drug can alleviate arsenic poisoning in humans.
Based on this research, it is reasonable to ask if homeopathic doses of radioactive elements and other substances with apparently similar effects are useful.
Experimental Evidence from Homeopathic Treatment of Radiation Exposure
There is not a significant body of studies evaluating the use of homeopathic medicines in the treatment of radiation exposure, but there are a couple of experiments about which people may benefit knowing. Hopefully, knowledge about these previous studies will encourage researchers to replicate them.
Homeopathic research has evaluated the effects of homeopathic medicines to protect against radiation (Khuda-Bukhsh, and Banik, 1991a, 1991b). Albino mice were exposed to 100 to 200 rad of X-rays (sublethal doses) and then evaluated after 24, 48, and 72 hours. Ginseng 6X, 30X, and 200X and Ruta graveolens 30X and 200X were administered before and after exposure. When compared with mice given a placebo as treatment, mice given any of the above homeopathic medicines experienced significantly less chromosomal or cellular damage. Ginseng 30X and 200X, in particular, had significant and sometimes substantial benefits.
In addition to the evidence for the benefits from homeopathic doses of ginseng is other research testing crude doses of it which find that it repairs DNA after radiation exposure (Kim, Lee, Cho, et al., 1996).
In another study, albino guinea pigs were exposed to small doses of X-ray that caused reddening of the skin. Studies showed that homeopathic honeybee (Apis mellifica 7C or 9C) had a protective effect and a roughly 50 percent curative effect on X-ray-induced redness of the skin (Bildet, Guyot, Bonini, et al., 1990). Apis mellifica is a homeopathic medicine for redness, swelling, and itching, all of which are common symptoms that crude doses of bee venom cause ... and thus, homeopathic doses will be found to be effective in treating these symptoms.
Derived from the homeopathic literature and clinical experience over the past many decades, some other potential homeopathic remedies for radiation exposure are listed below, though it is highly recommended to seek out professional homeopathic care to determine the best dose and potency schedule:
- Radium bromatum
- Uranium nitricum
- Strontium carbonicum
- Calendula ointment
- Cadmium sulphuratum
- Cadmium iodatum
- Ceanothus americanus
Several of the above medicines are derived from radioactive substances, while others have become known after many decades of clinical experience.
Cadmium sulphuratum, for instance, is a well-known homeopathic medicine used to treat people with cancer who experience side effects from radiation treatment.
Cadmium iodatum might be considered for those people exposed to radiation who did not protect the thyroid with crude doses of potassium iodide. Ceanothus is a leading remedy for spleen problems, and because the effects of radiation are known to affect the spleen, this remedy may be an important one for radioprotection. Calendula (marigold) is a well-known herbal and homeopathic medicine. Highly respected research has found excellent results in using Calendula ointment on people who experienced radiotherapy-induced dermatitis (skin rashes) (Kassab S, Cummings M, Berkovitz, 2009).
It should be noted that homeopaths tend to think of themselves as a part of a health care team. As such, they work with other health and medical professionals as well as public health officials to provide options for people and communities so that safe and effective health care can be available.
Important Reference: People who want reference to and description of hundreds of clinical studies published in peer-review medical and scientific journals, could consider getting an ebook that I wrote titled "Homeopathic Family Medicine: Evidence Based Nano-pharmacology" .
My thanks to J. Satti, P.hD, a radiation physicist, and Francis Treuherz, FSHom. for their comments and editorial input to this article.
Banerjee P, Bhattacharyya SS, Pathak S, Naoual B, Belon P, Khuda-Bukhsh AR. Comparative Efficacy of Two Microdoses of a Potentized Homeopathic Drug, Arsenicum Album, to Ameliorate Toxicity Induced by Repeated Sublethal Injections of Arsenic Trioxide in Mice. Pathobiology 2008;75:156-170. DOI: 10.1159/000124976.
Banerjee, P.; Biswas, S. J.; Belon, P.; Khuda-Bukhsh, A. R. A Potentized Homeopathic Drug, Arsenicum Album 200, Can Ameliorate Genotoxicity Induced by Repeated Injections of Arsenic Trioxide in Mice. Journal of Veterinary Medicine, Series A, Volume 54, Number 7, September 2007 , pp. 370-376(7). DOI: 10.1111/j.1439-0442.2007.00945.x
Belon P, Banerjee A, Karmakar SR, Biswas SJ, Choudhury SC, Banerjee P, Das JK, Pathak S, Guha B, Paul S, Bhattacharjee N, Khuda-Bukhsh AR. Homeopathic remedy for arsenic toxicity?: Evidence-based findings from a randomized placebo-controlled double blind human trial. Sci Total Environ. 2007 Jul 10.
Bhattacharya S. Homeopathy reduces arsenic poisoning in mice. New Scientist. October 22, 2003.
Bildet, J.,Guyot, M., Bonini, F., et al. (1990) "Demonstrating the Effects of Apis mellifica and Apium virus Dilutions on Erythema Induced by U.V. Radiation on Guinea Pigs," Berlin Journal of Research in Homeopathy, 1:28.
Datta, SS, Mallick, PP, Khuda-Bukhsh, AR, Comparative Efficacy of Two Microdoses of a Potentized Homoeopathic Drug, Cadmium Sulphoricum, in Reducing Genotoxic Effects Produced by Cadmium Chloride in Mice: A Time Course Study, BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2001;1:9.
Dearborn, F. Encyclopedia of 20th-Century Technology (2 vols.). New York: Routledge, 2005.
Hodges, P. C. The Life and Times of Emil H. Grubbe. Chicago: University of Chicago, 1964.
Human and Experimental Toxicology, July 2010 (this entire issue to devoted to "Hormesis and Homeopathy" -- hormesis is the study of low-dose effects: http://het.sagepub.com/content/vol29/issue7/
To access free copies of these articles, see: http://www.siomi.it/siomifile/siomi_pdf/BELLE_newsletter.pdf
Kassab S, Cummings M, Berkovitz S, van Haselen R, Fisher P. Homeopathic medicines for adverse effects of cancer treatments. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2009, Issue 2. Art. No.: CD004845. DOI:10.1002/14651858.CD004845.pub2.
Khuda-Bukhsh, A.R., Banik, S. (1991a) "Assessment of Cytogenetic Damage in X-irradiated Mice and its Alteration by Oral Adminis¬tration of Potentized Homeopathic Drug, Ginseng D200," Berlin Journal of Research in Homeopathy, 1,4/5:254.
Khuda-Bukhsh, A.R. Maity, S. (1991b) "Alteration of Cytogenetic Effects by Oral Administration of Potentized Homeopathic Drug, Ruta graveolens in Mice Exposed to Sub-lethal X-radiation," Berlin Journal of Research in Homeopathy, 1, 4/5:264.
Kim TH, Lee YS, Cho CK, et al. Protective effect of ginseng on radiation-induced DNA double strand breaks and repair in murine lymphocytes. Cancer Biother Radiopharm. 1996 Aug;11(4):267-72.
Linde, K., Jonas, W.B., Melchart, D., et al. (1994) "Critical Review and Meta-Analysis of Serial Agitated Dilutions in Experimental Toxicology," Human and Experimental Toxicology, 13:481-92.
Mallick, P, Chakrabarti (Mallick), J, Bibhas, G, Khuda-Bukhsh, AR. Ameliorating Effect of Microdoses of a Potentized Homeopathic Durg, Arsencium Album, on Arsenic-Induced Toxicity in Mice. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2003,3:7.
UPDATE (April 12, 2011): The original article posted here had 3 short paragraphs about Paul Curie, MD, a leading French homeopath, whose grandson, Pierre Curie, and Pierre's wife, Marie Curie, conducted fundamental research on radium and X-rays, leading Pierre and Marie to win the Nobel Prize. I had referenced a source that asserted that Paul Curie had experimented with small doses of radium, but I have seen discovered that this reference had mistaken Pierre's brother (Paul) with their grandfather. I have deleted the above erroneous 3 paragraphs.
Dana Ullman, MPH, is America's leading spokesperson for homeopathy and is the founder of www.homeopathic.com . He is the author of 10 books, including his bestseller, Everybody's Guide to Homeopathic Medicines. His most recent book is, The Homeopathic Revolution: Why Famous People and Cultural Heroes Choose Homeopathy (the Foreword to this book was written by Dr. Peter Fisher, the Physician to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II). Dana lives, practices, and writes from Berkeley, California.