Thursday, March 4, 2010


by Richard Crews
I got my MD from Harvard so I knew:

(1) that I knew just about all there was to know about health and healing, and

(2) that homeopathy is ridiculous: it violates known principles of chemistry and physics and physiology; only someone who is simple minded and naive could "believe" in it.

Then in 1977 I stumbled into the job of executive and clinical director of the Wholistic Health and Nutrition Institute of Mill Valley mainly because:

(1) they were going broke (I lost $30,000 before I got back out),

(2) they were running a nutrition course for nursing students from New College of California where a man I knew was president,

(3) it was near my home (2 miles), and

(4) I was trying to figure out something interesting to do with my life--I had tried practicing psychiatry a dozen different ways and was bored with it

At WHNI we had weekly clinical conferences. There were three people practicing homeopathy, and I started to notice what ridiculous cases they presented--clearly impossible cures, misunderstood clinical syndromes, etc. So I dutifully approached them about the situation--after all, I was trying to clean the place up. I discovered that they were sincere, rational, intelligent people. Looking into things a little further, I discovered that they (and other homeopaths in the Bay Area) didn't present their best cases/cures in "public"--they were too ridiculously spectacular.

So, puzzled and determined to be open minded (HAH! what a pathetic delusion we all share!), I got myself a small kit of a couple of dozen common remedies in low potency and a beginner's book on how to prescribe them.

The next weekend my wife and the two kids were off visiting their grandma but I had a bad cold, so I was home alone.. I settled myself at the dining room table with the book to see if I could figure out what the homeopathic remedy for my cold might be. After 45 minutes or so (it would take me maybe 15 seconds now), I decided the remedy must be pulsitilla. So I walked to the bedroom where the box of remedies was--unsteady, nauseated, casting a sidelong glance into the bathroom as I passed it to see if I needed to stop by to have diarrhea or throw up. I put a few pellets of Pulsitilla nigricans (in 30x potency) on my tongue, swallowed them, and headed back out to the dining room.

When I sat down (which was maybe 30 seconds after I took the tabs), I realized that my headache was gone, I didn't feel stuffed up, I wasn't sick to my stomach--in short, I didn't have any symptoms.


I was flabbergasted.

I sat dumbstruck at the dining room table. I began to cry. It simply couldn't be so--but it was.

Over the next few years I studied homeopathy long and hard, practiced it, taught a beginners' course (free to anyone around Mill Valley who wanted to come over to my office for 3 hours each Monday evening--there were 25 or 30 students), and even wrote a book, "Introductory Workbook in Homeopathy," because there wasn't a good one telling people how to get started. The book I wrote can be read on the Web at

I know homeopathy can't work. I have discussed the process of potentization with University of California faculty-type chemists and physicists. After a few false starts, when I finally convince them what I am really trying to ask them, they smile knowingly and patronizingly and walk away.

The remedies simply cannot get MORE potent the MORE you dilute them--but they DO.

And they simply cannot be active far (FAR) beyond Avogadros' number*--but they are.

I guess there are truly more things in heaven and earth than are dreamed of in our philosophy, Horatio.

* You want to know what "far" means? Avogadro's number (the number of molecules in a certain, set amount of any material) is about 6 x 10^23--that's 6 followed by 23 zeros. The remedies are regularly potentized through serial dilutions to 10^30, even 10^50. In the highest dilutions there is less than one chance in, say, 10^25 that there is a single atom or molecule of the original material in there. But the remedies are dramatically effective. In fact, even though there is nothing there but a trace of pure water dropped (for convenience in handling) on to a tiny pellet of pure lactose, there are more than 200-- THAT'S MORE THAN 200 --different, clearly distinguishable, very potent remedies that have been raised to this potency.

Go figure. I can't.

When I say "clearly distinguishable," I mean that if you take the wrong remedy--not correctly repertorized or figured out according to homeopathic principles--nothing happens. But if you take the right remedy, LOOK OUT !