|Harris Coulter Interview:
History, Vaccinations, and "Mongrel Prescribing" - Author: Berno,
This interview took place on the "Homeopathy at Sea" cruise in October, 1995. Dr. Coulter had presented several lectures and we had the opportunity to ask some specific questions at a private meeting.
W. Berno: How did you initially become interested in Homeopathy?
H. Coulter: I was in the middle of graduate school. I was a specialist in Russian studies and was studying political science. Time came to write my dissertation and I got married to Catherine. She had terrible allergies. We went to Paris for a vacation and she became worse with the change of climate and the food exacerbated her allergies. Someone said, 'Go see a homeopath.' We had never been to a homeopath and the other doctors hadn't done her much good. So we went to a French homeopath.
It was a very funny experience. It was not like any medical office you'd ever seen. It was very dirty and small fellow about 60 years old looked over a large pile of books covered with dust. Every time he'd consult a book a puff of dust would go up in the air. Then he said, "I've consulted James Tyler Kent on your case." I thought, "Fine, that must be one of his colleague here in Paris." He gave my wife a remedy and it worked like magic. I remember she couldn't eat fish. She was very allergic to it. She hadn't eaten fish in 10 years and the fish is very good in Paris. After the first dose she was able to eat it. We were both astonished. Prior to that she would have wheals on her face from eating fish. Many of her allergies cleared in several days and the rest took at least 10 years.
W. Berno: What remedy did he give her?
H. Coulter: I don't know. After that I became very interested in homeopathy. I went back to Columbia University and I decided to write my doctoral dissertation on the history of homeopathy. That turned out to be Vol. 3 of Divided Legacy. I wrote Vol. 3 before 1, 2, and 4. The University wouldn't approve it because I was in a different department. I was a Russian specialist, and I was going to write about a political group in America, so I said, "Good bye, I don't care about the Ph.D.." I went off and wrote the book on my own. This was in 1961. In 1968 I had finished it and I was talking to one of my professors and he asked what had happened. I told him I wrote a book and the University wouldn't approve it. This is the time the students were rampaging around, beating up professors and setting fire to buildings and he said, "That's ridiculous, at least you're doing research, I don't think we should be so fussy that you don't have an approved topic." He was the dean of the University. He called up and got me a hearing and I was awarded my Ph.D..
W. Berno: With the renaissance of homeopathy, how do you see its future?
H. Coulter: From my understanding of medical history, it's a cyclical thing. When the rationalists (allopaths) get strong, the empiricists (homeopaths) gets weak. It's like the yin and yang in Chinese philosophy. It usually last about 60 or 70 years. In 1830 when homeopathy was introduced in the USA, it lasted till 1910. Of the 15,000 physicians about 15% called themselves homeopaths. From 1910 it declined until 1970 when it started to switch and rise again. The homeopaths should be strong until 2020, and then rationalists will then reassert themselves.
Homeopathy and the empirical tradition is very open to new medicines, such as isopathic medication. Allopaths are not interested in new medications. They would rather burn old ladies at the stake rather than find new medications to offer for people. The role of homeopathy is to make new therapeutic information available to the physician. So as homeopathy developed in the 19th century allopaths were stealing dozens and dozens of remedies from the homeopaths. I wrote a book on it called, The Influence of Homeopathic Medicine on Allopathy in the 19th Century. I found references for about 50 medicines that passed from homeopathy into allopathy and that's why the allopathic tradition doesn't disappear altogether. When the empirical tradition flourishes the allopaths steal medicines without acknowledging it. That's going to happen in the next several decades. The allopaths are having difficulty now. People are rejecting their medicines because they know it's not healthy to take all these antibiotics and corticosteroids in such large quantities. The allopaths are going to have to scratch around and look for other medicines and they will inevitably come over and steal things from the homeopaths. Allopathic surgeons are now starting to use Arnica and other things. This tends to balance the scales between Homeopathy and allopathy. Allopathy is really reinforced by homeopathy.
As homeopathy develops, the homeopaths starting fighting with each other. They have never been able to maintain any type of organizational unity. This is a natural phenomenon because you have two wings: one group that wants to become part of the allopathic profession such as the British Faculty and the other group that wants to stay as far away from the allopaths as possible. As homeopathy starts to develop and get more recruits they are not going to be very well trained. They will be allopathic physicians who are going to have to practice homeopathy to get and keep patients but they will be thinking allopathically. They will think that homeopathic medicines are just a bunch of new medicines to prescribe instead of the ones they are using. 'Don't use the red ones, use the yellow ones or if they don't work use the green ones.' That will exacerbate the inherent conflict within homeopathy. The new recruits will come and maybe form the majority. This happened in 1860's, 70's and 80's. Constantine Herring said he couldn't continue to go to the meetings of the American Institute of Homeopathy anymore because they didn't talk about homeopathy. He refused to go to them after the civil war. I think history will probably repeat itself along those lines. So it's a good thing to know history so it won't repeat itself too precisely and you can make it go in a different direction.
W. Berno: How can we prevent this from happening?
H. Coulter: The only way is to know your history. (Laughing) Everyone should buy Divided Legacy and memorize it and maybe that will help prevent those things from happening.
W. Berno: We study classical homeopathy. What do you feel about the work that is being done in Europe with the mixing of remedies?
H. Coulter: Actually in the US and Europe there are both types of homeopathy being practiced. In the US we are more under the influence of Kent since he was an American. We tend to be more classical here. In Europe they go back to a tradition that is somewhat degenerate - pre-Kentian where they mixed remedies. The anti-Kentian thinking is still strong in France. There will always be a conflict. The real reason behind it is because the poly-pharmiceutical homeopaths are sympathetic to allopathy. They would like to see homeopathy become of the allopathic profession. This is the case of the British Faculty of homeopathy which is quite hostile to Kent and wants to go back to Richard Hughes which is a ridiculous idea. No one has ever heard of Richard Hughes who doesn't live in the British Faculty. The British Faculty considers itself as part of the medical profession. They feel that Kent is standing in their way of a total rapprochement (togetherness) with the allopathic community. They claim Kent was a spiritualist and influenced too much by Swedenborg. All these arguments are beside the point. We follow Kent because through his system patients are healed. The allopaths will never accept Kentian philosophy. The allopathic thought applies also on the continent, especially in France, where they secretly want to be part of the allopathic profession.
W. Berno: Many people use disciplines such as acupuncture and chiropractic with homeopathy. How do you feel about that?
H. Coulter: Added to those disciplines could be naturopathy, nutritional treatment and classical osteopathy. They view the body as a reacting, vital entity and treatment should stimulate a reaction. There are different ways to stimulate this reaction. They are all compatible with one another. The underlying philosophy is the same. This is not true for allopathy. Allopathic medicine views the body as mechanistic. It must be interfered with by a contrary medicine. Homeopathy is not compatible with allopathy.
W. Berno: What is your goal in research?
H. Coulter: My major goal was to discover the ancient history of homeopathy. After my dissertation I came to realize that homeopathy is not something that Hahnemann invented out of whole cloth...which we all thought. It's not the brain child of Samuel Hahnemann. His greatest contribution was the proving of remedies - the source of knowledge about the curative action of remedies.
All the ideas, like the law of similars were there for 2000 years. The idea of the microdose had been suggested by Paracelsus. The knowledge that symptoms are positive phenomenon and should not be suppressed predated Hahnemann. All these ideas can be found in the Hippocratic corpus. I can say that I made the discovery that homeopathy forms the part of the empirical tradition of medicine and no one knew that before I found the reference in the homeopathic writings of 1830's and 40's. This is important for the homeopaths sense of self confidence and self esteem. It's better to know that homeopathy is part of an ancient tradition on an equal basis with the allopaths and that it is not the brainchild of one man. Everyone would rather be a follower of a long tradition than a follower of one man.
To make homeopathy flourish was my second goal. In 1961 homeopathy was practically extinct. There was only 15 or 20 homeopathic doctors in the US and they were very old. In 1970 it all turned around. Now there is a great resurgence.
W. Berno: What, if any, is a weakness in homeopathy?
H. Coulter: I really don't see any. I would say that the computerization of homeopathy is a enormous reinforcement. The computer takes all the dog work out of it and makes it much easier to find the right remedy. It's an important contribution to homeopathy. It's also a good teaching tool.
W. Berno: How do you keep up with homeopathy and all the changes going on?
H. Coulter: In fact I don't keep up with the homeopathic activities now. There are so many others who are more qualified and know the Materia Medica better than I. I don't feel a responsibility to carry this on myself. I'm working in cancer now. I've bought a license to a remedy for cancer from a doctor in Moscow which involves using an extract from human placentas. They inject the extract into the patient. It undermines the immune system of the tumor. As you know the tumor and the host each have their own immune system. They conflict with one another. The immune system of the tumor protects itself from the action of host. This doctor found a way to undermine the immune system of the tumor so it becomes vulnerable to the immune system of the host. After the injection the tumor so it becomes vulnerable to the immune system of the host. After the injection the tumor becomes quite soft and starts dissolving and going away.
W. Berno: Would you have words of encouragement to the young homeopathic students?
H. Coulter: I'd say a couple of things. One, there will inevitable be conflict in the homeopathic movement as it develops and grows. Many different people practicing many different kinds of homeopathy. I view it as a pyramid. Classical homeopathy at the apex and Mongrel prescribing at the base. But you must have a base to have an apex so you can't be too upset that some practice a poor variety of homeopathy. The best thing to do is to encourage them and above all be tolerant of them. That's my first piece of advise. My second would be that the present cycle will go on for 40 years of so they can expect a good career in homeopathy.
W. Berno: Besides your wife's case, have you seen other dramatic affects of homeopathy?
H. Coulter: Yes, one of my wife's first cases. Her patient was in her thirties. She had abdominal bloating. The allopaths couldn't figure out what was wrong. They did a hysterectomy and that didn't help. The bloating and pains returned. Catherine gave her three doses. She was suppose to take one dose and call back in three days. They were 1-M doses. But she took them one after another in half-hour intervals. She had an extraordinary reaction. She started intense, unbearable itching all over her body. Her skin started peeling off. She called in great distress and wanted to take some ointment for the itching. Catherine said, "No, get some cold water." She stuck it out for three days of considerable discomfort. After that the exasperation stopped and she never had a return of the bloating.
W. Berno: You spoke on vaccinations during the course. You've written several books on that. You could speak a little on that?
H. Coulter: In 1982 and 1983. Barbara Fisher and I wrote DPT: A Shot in the Dark, I didn't realize how dangerous the vaccine was. This book had an interesting affect on public policy. The Congress read it and they passed a law on compensation to families where there had been some child suffering from the vaccination and to this day, that program has paid up to 700 million dollars to families who have suffered from vaccine damage. Now there are about 3 to 4 billion dollars in claims in the pipe line. When we finished the book I realized there was a lot more material left over so I wrote a second book called, Vaccinations and Social Violence and Criminality, published in 1990.
That book deals with the long term effects of vaccinations on the emotional life and psychological stability. I came to the conclusion that this vaccination is having a very long-term serious effect on the American population in the sense of being directly responsible for the epidemic of violent behavior we are witnessing in our society today. It's not a difficult conclusion. Vaccination does cause encephalitis, the doctors admit that. Encephalitis does have as one of its many sequelae, violent behavior. All one has to do is read the literature and it is evident that vaccinations are causing this epidemic of violent behavior. I haven't had any luck in persuading the allopathic physicians of that but I hope to one day before its too late.
W. Berno: The question is always asked why we as homeopaths don't do controlled studies.
H. Coulter: I wrote that 100 page book a couple of years ago about controlled clinical trials because I got so tired of hearing the medical profession talking about the controlled clinical trial as the gold standard for proving drugs. The idea of the controlled clinical trial as being the standard is based on a completely false supposition - that you can assemble homogeneous groups of patients. We in homeopathy know that this is not possible. In allopathy they'll take a group of people and arbitrarily designate them as a homogeneous group. Then they'll give their medicines and placebos and see how many get well and how many don't get well, etc. The procedure is vicious at its very root. You can't get a homogeneous group of people no matter how hard you try and the rest is just window dressing. The ultimate effect is to favor the large pharmaceutical manufacturers at the expense of the small pharmaceutical manufacturers. The controlled trials are very expensive. They cost between the 10s and 100s of millions of dollars so that no small manufacturer can afford this, so only the big companies can put the new drugs on the market. What it really does is support the idea of monopoly in business.
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