The ideals of homeopathy were rather blurred while I was a medical student. In my foolish superiority of the newly acquired knowledge I despised the tiny little globules, which I thought might be good enough for children and their simple ailments. The high dilution could have no effect.

FROM my childhood days I have been a homoeopath; in fact I should not be here at all if it had not been for homoeopathy. For my mother cured herself with homoeopathic pilules when the orthodox medical practitioner had given her up from a sharp attack of confluent smallpox and I was born within a week or two of her recovery. As a member of a homoeopathic family, luckily for me, I escaped all the horrors of nursery medicines, such as castor oil or Gregorys powders.

The ideals of homoeopathy were rather blurred while I was a medical student. In my foolish superiority of the newly acquired knowledge I despised the tiny little globules, which I thought might be good enough for children and their simple ailments. One day I got rather an eye-opener. A bee disliked me and I got a nasty sting as a reminder on my hand. It swelled and the inflammation spread up my arm.

My mother humbly suggested Apis to me. The pain was so great that I took it in desperation and lo and behold! in a few minutes verily all pain and swelling had disappeared. Then I remembered how the previous Summer I had been stung on my lip, and how had been plagued and humiliated and frightened by half my face swelling enormously, and the local doctors remedies had not made the slightest difference for three days. That was orthodox medicine for you ! “If only I knew where to learn more about homoeopathy !”.

I qualified and for several years worked strenuously as House Surgeon in various general hospitals, and one day I heard about a School of Homoeopathy in Chicago. I thereupon took a busmans holiday and went off to the States in the late Autumn. What a voyage that was ! Stormy and cold and rainy! I was cooped up in a small cabin with a young mother, and her baby was screaming day and night from teething pains, and my olfactory organs were constantly offended by the effluvia from the babys laundry which decorated the cabin.

I arrived tired and worn in New York and immediately fell a victim to a feverish chill, due to the effects of a cold northerly wind on a tired-out system. There was I all alone in a foreign country, laid up in a big hotel with a high temperature. What was to be done” dim recollections from my childhood days came to me, “What were the medicines used” Oh, yes, I have it.”

Aconite and Bryonia 3x alternately were taken and in a few hours they reduced my temperature. But I was left with a nasty sequel, a violent frontal sinusitis, an inflammation of the cavities in the bony skull, which caused agonizing pains in my forehead and the bridge of my nose, absolutely blinding in character.

My one idea was to get to Chicago as quickly as possible and get treatment. I have very little recollection of the journey between New York and Chicago, even though I stopped a night at Niagara to see the world-famous Falls. I tried mental treatment of all sorts to ease my head, nut nothing was any use. If anything, it got worse and worse. The moment I arrived in Chicago.

I rushed off to see Dr. Kent, the great homoeopathic physician. He was rather brusque and short with me, especially when I told him that in my opinion high potencies could not possibly do any good. 2x or 3x potencies I would grant him, out anything higher mere moonshine.

He gave me Nux vomica on my symptoms, which were, shortly, chill caused by dry cold wind, feeling of icy coldness all through body, could not get warm, even sitting in front of a radiator, shivering as soon as movement started, violent throbbing pain in forehead and nose, worse stooping, worse bending forward, worse warm room, headache worse slightest pressure, generally worse mornings, and along with it all there was extreme irritability, snappiness and bad temper.

I was told; “Take the Nux vomica at night, but, mind you, it might make you feel worse, a great deal worse, at first. I shall give you one dose of the 100,000th potency.” I smiled unbelievingly; “I was no fool, I thought. The high dilution could have no effect. I might just as well take plain sugar.

Well, I was desperate, I didnt want an operation, which was the only other alternative for the pus in my frontal sinuses. So in the evening I swallowed my CM. powder. A very short time afterwards my head felt as if there was a forge inside, such a violent hammering and throbbing and heat it was like hell let loose. I thought every minute I was going to die with the agony of the pain and prayed for deliverance, when suddenly after half an hour or maybe an hour, there was blessed relief.

The pain left me as suddenly as it had started. I slept all night long. In the morning I got up and tried to stoop and bend forward, which I had been unable to do for several days, and I was free from all discomfort. I sang “Hallelujah, Hallelujah.” Twenty-four hours later I took another dose of Nux CM., as there was a slight return of the headache and also some difficulty in stooping. I hesitated for fear of starting another aggravation; but this time there was relief at once and no increase of pain at all.

I had learnt two things at one go. First that high potencies work rapidly and efficaciously, and secondly that they can cause acute pain and aggravation and should be used with great care. Two valuable lessons indeed. From that day to this I have had no return of frontal sinusitis, and, indeed, Nux vomica has been a standby and valuable help in other cases of acute sinus trouble after colds and nasal catarrhs, both in low potencies (Ix) and high potencies, whenever indicated.

To continue the story of my conversion to the use of high potencies. I was cured of my acute frontal sinus, but I found I still had a dull heavy feeling all over my head and I could not apply myself at all to any useful work. I could not read for any length of time, I could not remember what I read even; and this heavy stupid feeling was always worse between 10 in the morning and 3 in the afternoon.

What particularly worried me was my bad memory, due to not having had a holiday for several years and much over-study. One of my fellow students in Chicago offered to cure me of my cerebral anaemia, and I was only too glad. In a day or two she came back triumphantly and advised me to take Tuberculinum, 1,000th potency, to be repeated in weekly doses. I think, I took the 2,000th potency, three doses. Anyway the result again was not far from miraculous.

I could read without effort, without being plagued by headaches and, what was better, I could remember what I had read. In fact afterwards, having read a page once or twice over, I could repeat it word by word by heart, an achievement I had not been able to accomplish for several years. Again, a high potency had worked wonders. Are you surprised I tried high potencies on other people ? I find that high potencies go deeper, and act longer, that is they act for longer periods and they powerfully stir up the constitution and make a vital difference in the character, temperament and mental make-up of the respective patients.

Dorothy Shepherd
Dorothy Shepherd 1885 – 1952 - British orthodox physician who converted to homeopathy. Graduated from Hering College in Chicago. She was a pupil of J.T.Kent. Author of Magic of the Minimum Dose, More Magic of the Minimum Dose, A Physician's Posy, Homeopathy in Epidemic Diseases.