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The human gut microbiome and Homeopathy

The human gut microbiome and Homeopathy

There is much recent research and interest about the human microbiome, the helpful bacteria that have colonised our bodies. But what you might not know is that Homeopaths in the early 1900s were not only investigating this, but used their findings therapeutically with their clients.

Early researchers of the gut-microbiome

The most famous of these researchers is Dr. Edward Bach (1886 – 1936), a physician, pathologist and bacteriologist, who later developed the Bach Flower Essences – used to this very day by natural therapists to help support emotional wellbeing.

Extending his work was John Patterson (1890- 1955), a colleague of Bach, who looked at the bowel bacteria he isolated, in relation health, disease and their behaviour in response to homeopathic drugs. Dedicated to this work, he personally examined more than 20,000 stool specimens over 20 years!

After John’s death in 1955, his wife Elizabeth Patterson continued the work for another 9 years.

What did they do?

Bach’s initial work was focused on immunology. Bacteria linked to specific pathologies were cultivated, and prescribed back to the patient in the form of an auto-vaccine for therapeutic effect.

Later on, these bacterial strains were prepared using the homeopathic method (called potentisation), and to this very day, homeopaths use these set of remedies – known collectively as the bowel nosodes.

Bach documented some of their clinical indications, but it was Patterson’s work which provided a more expanded picture for their use by associating the list of bowel organisms with their related homeopathic remedies. These associations were identified by observing changes to the bacteria in our gut in response to different homeopathic remedies, as revealed by stool cultures.

Through this and his clinical experience, Patterson was able to systemise their use.

What did they find out?

The main conclusion Patterson drew from this work is that disease always resulted in disturbance of the bowel flora.

He thought of the bowel nosodes as “deep acting remedies” that “cover the totality of symptoms from the highest level, the ‘mentals’, to the lowest level of gross pathology”, and relevant “from earliest childhood to adult life or old age”.

These are significant statements, and with more contemporary research showing the connection between the gut microbiome, with mind, emotions & immunity, it seems that these early pioneers had already recognised this important link.

Chicken or the egg?

Are the bacteria themselves pathogenic, the cause of the disease states Bach and Patterson correlated with their presence? Neither men saw the bacteria as being the cause of pathology, but rather a reflection of it. They appear concomitantly with changes in the health of the body.

What are they used for?

Today, the bowel nosodes are used for a variety of complaints, such as congestive states, skin eruptions, allergies, respiratory problems such as asthma, nervous complaints such as anxiety, and many more. But one feature is the involvement of the gut in some form.

With the impact of modern lifestyles on the health of our gut, excessive uses of antibiotics, and an increase in allergies – the bowel nosodes are an important and relevant tool for this age.


David Haubenschild

David is a homeopath from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. He is passionate about helping people change their lives for the better, achieving a level of freedom from disease, and promoting general happiness and wellbeing using natural approaches, that last.

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