Living History: An Interview with Andrew Lange

By Linda Nurra PhD
September 19, 2020

Dr. Andrew Lange shares a fascinating account of the great teachers and friends who influenced his career, his experiences with homeopathic education, and reflections on the relationship between homeopathy and naturopathy. Join him on a rich journey weaving together stories of Alan Sutherland, Marion Belle Rood, Edward Whitmont, George Vithoulkas, Ananda Zaren, Misha Norland, a visit to Carl Jung’s family home in Switzerland, and other snapshots of homeopathic history.

LN: Let’s start at the beginning. Could you share with us your story of how you came to homeopathy?
AL: I first heard of homeopathy when I was taking a course on herbal medicine in my senior year of high school. The instructor mentioned that the local hospital, Shadyside Hospital in Pittsburgh, had been a homeopathic hospital. He also mentioned the Flower Hospital in New York City had been a homeopathic hospital. I didn’t realize the Flower Hospital was named after a family. I assumed they used flowers to treat pretty seriously sick people, which in fact was the case. In any event, it stirred my imagination to find out about a system of natural medicine that was used in hospitals.
LN: You certainly did find out, and from the best of sources. You studied homeopathy with some extraordinary homeopaths in the 1970’s and 80’s: Alan Sutherland, Marion Belle Rood, and others of their generation. They represent an important, though perhaps less known, chapter in the history of homeopathy. What was that like for you?
AL: For me my teachers were like the grandparents I never met. I will always love them. I don’t think you can overestimate the value of being told when you are wrong and being shown the correct way. I am a firm believer in the necessity for clinical training. I don’t see how you can practice without it.
Dr. Alan Sutherland and Dr. Marion Belle Rood represented two of the few remaining lineages going back to the origins of homeopathy. Dr. Sutherland attended Hahnemann Medical School in the 1920’s. However, the lack of a sufficient homeopathic training in the school at that time led him to travel to Connecticut regularly where he studied with Herbert Roberts. Roberts was a student of Bernard Fincke and P. P. Wells, who were founding members of the International Homeopathic Association, which defined American classical homeopathy.
Under Roberts’ tutelage, Dr. Sutherland used Boenninghausen’s repertory, but he also referred to Kent’s repertory that had been given to him by Elizabeth Wright Hubbard.
Dr. Sutherland was the dean of the only post-graduate course in Millersville, Pennsylvania, for over 25 years, where he met Hubbard, as well as Ruth Rogers, Henry Williams, Maisy Panos, the historian Harris Coulter, and the pharmacist John Bournemann. When I attended with Dr. Sutherland (remember I was 21 years old then), Bill Gray had just come back from Greece where he had studied with George Vithoulkas. I remember a panel where Dr. Sutherland and Bill were talking and Bill, in the Vithoulkian tradition, insisted coffee antidoted remedies. Well, Hahnemann spoke of coffee as generally detrimental to health, but not as an antidote. Hahnemann of course had a long list of what could counteract the action of a remedy and I don’t believe coffee was among them. Dr. Sutherland responded to this statement by recalling a case of a patient who needed Nux vomica, but who refused medicines. So Dr. Sutherland said he just put a dose of Nux in the man’s coffee and it worked just fine. So much for that.
I think the ideas of coffee being an antidote may have come from Elizabeth Wright Hubbard. Both she and Hal Williams were anthroposophists who practiced homeopathy, rather than anthroposophical medicine. Rudolf Steiner spoke of coffee in very interesting dimensions in his lectures. I think anthroposophical thinking has often crossed the membrane to influence homeopathy. I think my friends who have embraced the Sensation method may exemplify an example of this. But there’s no way to critically think about it; it’s phenomenological in nature. I think it then becomes a matter of belief.
Many of our ideas have been sustained without being critiqued. Medicines are crammed into rubrics without differentiation. Knerr’s repertory organized Hering’s Guiding Symptoms into descriptive rubrics. Our computer programs give us more agility in finding sources. But much of what we have was written down without recourse to discussion. That’s why the old journals are such a rich vein to explore, with the many masters’ commentary following each lecture presented.
Dr. Sutherland also practiced obstetrics, traveling in one of the early Model T Fords down icy country roads in the 1930’s to deliver babies. I still have his annotated Yingling’s Accoucheur’s Manual that he gave me. He also gave me his copy of Von Boenninghausen’s Repertory with both his and Herbert Roberts’ additions. I was given his entire homeopathic library by his sons when he passed.
Dr. Sutherland had mentioned Dr. Rood to me and suggested I go to visit her if I had the chance. I did so after he passed. Dr. Whitmont also mentioned he had gone to Michigan to study with her. Dr. Rood lived on Rood’s Lake Road in Lapeer, Michigan. It was a dirt road and she hadn’t had a telephone for years. Patients would just line up in their cars until she opened the front door at 10 am and would be seen till there were no more. This often meant until 11 pm or later. I would often have to argue with patients waiting in line just to have the chance to prepare a meal for her.
Dr. Rood was legendary. Working with her was something out of a magical story, a mix of Hypatia, the pagan mathematician from Alexandria, and Madame Curie. She was the only woman in her physics graduate program at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, then the sole woman in her medical class at New York Homeopathic Medical College. She tutored the Rockefeller children while attending medical school to pay for her tuition.
Dr. Rood studied with her family physician Harriet Knott, who in her later years, while blind, lived with her and supervised her practice. Arthur Grimmer, who had taken over J.T. Kent’s practice in Chicago had invited her to join that practice, but she declined. She just didn’t want to live in the big city.
From Grimmer she was introduced to the auscultation techniques of Albert Abrams, who was a forerunner of the development of radionics. There were a few members of the IHA who reported on these experimental techniques in the 1920’s, such as Guy Beckley Stearns. Dr. Rood experimented with these methods for many years, having set up a Faraday cage in her farmhouse, but she gave up those pursuits claiming, “I learned what I could from that.” I found the equipment she had used in her attic stored away. She saw patients in an apron; her broken glasses were taped together. I knew not to ask why.
Dr. Rood used to have me go to Erhart and Karl pharmacy in Chicago to pick up medicines and deliver comfrey and other plants that grew on her farm for their uses. She kept abreast of both the sciences and medicine through journals that piled up in her living room, which served during most of the day as her consultation office.
Dr. Rood insisted you couldn’t practice homeopathy without having studied physics. She had me read books and articles on cellular biology, immunology, notably Russian interferon research, and physics. She introduced me to J.H. Allen’s Chronic Miasms and Knerr’s Repertory of the Guiding Symptoms. Then it started to make sense.
Her knowledge of materia medica was encyclopedic. I remember a case we saw where, without repertorizing, she pulled a volume from Hering’s Guiding Symptoms and there described were the symptoms that fit the case exactly. It was a chronic Gelsemium case. And it was not until a couple of years later when George Vithoulkas presented a chronic case that required Gelsemium that I was able to recognize it. I think he was a bit surprised since I was the youngest person in the class by quite a few years and had yet to complete my medical studies.
Dr. Rood helped me to see homeopathy in a larger context. One in which modern sciences provided a language for some of our more anachronistic ideas in a way that contextualized them in current medicine. Not all doctors would hear that even in the language of their own sciences. But we are trained to hear in a limited range. And ultimately, we need to find a common ground that transcends our filters.
You have to realize I studied with Dr. Sutherland for two years and Dr. Rood for much of four summers. For this time all of the cases I saw were supervised. With Dr. Sutherland, I reviewed his cases each evening, repertorized them on those tedious graph sheets of paper we used to use, and submitted my selections and conclusions to him the next day.
When I was at school, I would call him to discuss cases. With Dr. Rood, when she was tired, she would have me take over while she sat in the corner observing or offering her conclusions. There was no doubt when I was wrong. The greatest lesson I learned was to know when I was wrong. These two great mentors I will never forget. Their kindness and wisdom are two of the greatest gifts of my life.
LN: You have this ability to bring your teachers to life in a way that most histories fail to do. You did the same with your story of Marion Belle Rood that you shared with Hpathy readers in 2015 – it made me wish I had met her! Who else can you bring to life for us that has been influential or important for you?
AL: Probably the most influential mentor for me was Edward Whitmont. He was so kind to me and allowed me to spend hours visiting with him at his homes in New York and Vermont. I had been deeply influenced by the articles he wrote, which became the book Psyche and Substance. He was one of the founding members of the C.G. Jung Institute in New York City, a classicist in both traditions, trained as a psychiatrist.
He told me the great story of his first visit to Jung in Kusnacht, Switzerland, at his home on Lake Zurich. He went to knock on the door and no one answered so he ventured to the back of the house where he saw a man working in a ditch. When the man came out from the ditch he extended his soiled hand and he realized it was Dr. Jung himself.
Dr. Whitmont never recommended I become a Jungian analyst. For one thing, Jung himself suggested one could not become an analyst until at least after 35, since life experience and a bit of luck in individuation were necessary. Dr. Whitmont just said I had enough on my plate to focus on.
When I was planning my first visit to Europe, I asked Dr. Whitmont if he would write me a letter of recommendation to conduct some research in Jung’s personal library. It never occurred to me that this was an impossible request. He scribbled in his tiny script writing a note on a prescription pad, which I carried with me.
I arrived at the Jung Institute library and spoke with the librarian. She told me she had never seen Jung’s personal library and that it was in the family home. Fortunately for me, Lorenz Jung, Jung’s grandson was in the building, and she offered to introduce me. Lorenz suggested he talk to his father, Franz Jung and see if something could be arranged. A couple days later I called him and he said to come to the family home the next day.
When I entered the home, I was led up the narrow stairs to the second floor. As I entered the library a saw a room filled with books to the right. In the center was a large handmade red leather book lit from above. I knew this was the legendary Red Book, which Jung had hand painted and written in script his visions. I also knew not to ask about it somehow. And it was only a couple years later that it was hid away in a vault, a decision by the family, until its publication. I was there on a different task.
Lorenz helped translate for me some of the medieval Swiss and German texts I was interested in as we sat surrounded by some of the books I would seek out through my work – old materia medicas, books on alchemy and mythology, Eranos yearbooks, which documented the round tables conducted by Jung every year.
At the end of my study there, the family allowed me to visit Bollingen, the small castle Jung built by hand at the end of the lake. It was unmarked down small roads and paths. And it was there that I saw the engraved stone sculptures filled with texts and images that seem to represent symbolically the magnum opus of Jung’s work.
That was an amazing summer in which I met the Dalai Lama in Rikon, Switzerland, and studied with Dr. Lobsang Dolma Khangkar, one of his senior doctors who had recently escaped from Tibet.
One of the first homeopaths I corresponded with was George Vithoulkas. I wrote to him asking how to be educated in homeopathy. This was before I had met anyone. I actually applied to a homeopathic medical school in India, to which I was accepted. But on discussing it with my father, I realized, “What am I, crazy?” I had no business going to India till much later.
I was fortunate to attend Vithoulkas’ seminars in both the United States and Greece. George taught that you couldn’t perceive your own remedy, but I had four homeopaths prescribe for me with no results. I was sick of telling my personal story, so I just prescribed what I thought was the obvious remedy and took it. A couple of friends thought I had fallen in love and I had no idea what they were talking about until I realized it must have been the action of the remedy. I couldn’t even see it, as you see sometimes in patients when they change on some fundamental level.
On his return to Seattle, George and I were driving downtown by the space needle and he said, “You’ve changed. Did someone prescribe something for you?” I told him and mentioned that it was self-prescribed. He looked at me curiously and replied, “Very good, very good. Now don’t change the prescription; let it do its work.”
There was a conference that was held for a small group of homeopathic teachers by invitation on Alonnisos, the island where George held many seminars. It was a formidable group and I felt more than a little short-changed in the ego department in comparison to most of the attendants. I got to be good friends with Ananda Zaren, who sat next to me for the week. Ananda practiced in Santa Barbara and Los Angeles. She bragged about the famous people she treated. I told her I wasn’t that much concerned with famous people, but just in jest I said, “If you treated Bob Dylan I’d be impressed.” Sure enough she had and told me what remedy she gave him.
Ananda was more a repertory master. She would be poring through her three-volume copy of Barthel’s Synthetic Repertory and I would be reflecting on my material medicas. But just to show you homeopaths can agree, we came to the same conclusion in almost every case. Or least had a good discussion on what might be indicated.
I presented Anantherum muriaticum in several cases of HIV/AIDS I had treating at that gathering. George came up to me after my presentation and told he wanted to show me something. He came back with an envelope that contained a paper he had been writing on Anantherum. He made me promise not to disclose it to anyone else.
The real story is about all the great, known and unknown homeopaths I have had the pleasure to know, many of whom came to stay with me or I with them. I wanted to learn from anyone I could. I used to just write or call old homeopaths, if just to visit with them. James Stephenson or William Gutman come to mind in New York City.
And one of my great friends through all these years has been Misha Norland. When I first taught in London I was told to go meet Misha. That’s a guy who, the more I have gotten to know him, the more I appreciate him. I used to visit him at Yondercott and we planned road trips together when he came to the States.
We were hiking once in Colorado and we saw a brown bear on the next hill not too far away. Misha of course wanted to get close. They don’t have bears in England. They were all killed in the Medieval period about 1500 years ago. So I said to Misha, “This isn’t a Disney movie and this no Gentle Ben.” And sure enough that bear started to run and run fast. Misha saw what I meant. Misha is the real deal and anyone could and should learn a lot, more than just homeopathy, from him.
I met a lot of hard-working homeopaths at LIGA meetings. In Florence I got to be good friends with Lino Antonacci. I taught him how to treat the fungus on olive trees and he passed it on to some of the farmers in the area. I’ve always been interested in the law of similars and its applications to agriculture. And I was able to speak enough Italian to explain to his father, who was a retired policeman, what an incredible son he had. Lino was amazed at the change that produced. Just one conversation. Sometimes words are the remedy. I mean what father could understand his son becoming a homeopath? It takes a lot of love.
I used to stay with Gianni Marotta in Rome. And I have to say that the book he wrote with Massimo Mangialavori comes as close to explaining how I think when I am practicing as I could have said myself, if I had an adequate way to express it. Sometimes it takes someone observing from the outside to describe a method, to articulate the structure of one’s mind.  Like when the neurolinguistic programming guys wrote about the modern hypnotherapist Milton Erickson.
Gianni sings opera songs and lives in a handcrafted cherry wood apartment that was designed by a Japanese architect. A brilliant doctor. He had an original copy of Matthioli’s herbal in his office in Italian. Matthioli was the translator of Dioscorides from the Greek who contributed his own additions.
There’s a wealth of gems in these old herbals. Hahnemann mentions some of them. We tend to dismiss writers such as Cullen, because he defined the action of Cinchona differently than Hahnemann, but that is like dismissing Newton based on the story of the apple falling from the tree, which by the way never happened.
Constantine Hering had a significant collection of Paracelsian literature.  I’ve read from Paracelsus, but also John Parkinson, William Coles, Nicholas Culpepper, Johannes Rudolph Glauber (who developed Natrum sulphuricum), John Turner, Avicenna or Ibn Sina and Al-Buruni. I studied Chinese herbal medicine at Chan Ning Tong, which was the oldest pharmacy in San Francisco. The Journal of Ethnopharmacology was always an inspiration for me, as well as the rich resources of other world medicines. You need to learn the language, the perspective in which they saw the potentials of medicines. Even the humoral system is an expression of the movement of energies as much as potentization or biochemistry is.
LN: It is precisely this breadth of scope that I find extraordinary about your work. It makes for the kind of deep and broad synthesis that we see in your book, Getting at the Root (2002), where you weave together homeopathy with medical and cultural history, herbalism, anthropology, psychology, and so much more. You also refer to your practice as “integrative.” What does that mean for you and how do you view homeopathy within that context?
AL: Well, part of that has to do with how the public perceives our work and how we language that. After about forty years of studying and practicing I am still amazed that homeopathy is still generally thought of as Eastern medicine and naturopathic medicine is still pretty much unknown. We still do not have prominent leaders in the field who are represented in the media. I think of “integrative” as representing the relationship between the body and mind, inclusive of however you understand mind. That is that they are not separate any more than our symbiotic relationship with the world around us is separate.
I think of homeopathy as being the sharpshooters in naturopathy. We talk about the vital force being acted upon, but I view homeopathy’s strength in being its individualization and specific induction at some often-unknown level of the organism’s capacity to respond and regenerate.
Naturopathic medicine is a larger field, primarily a method that enhances the body’s capacity to heal itself. This could come from traditional naturopathic methods: herbs, hydrotherapy, nutrition, lifestyle, etc. Hahnemann, early in the Organon, said to first remove the obstacles to cure. That’s the primary goal of naturopathic medicine as well.
Christoph Hufeland, who published Hahnemann’s first writing on the Law of Similars and was Goethe’s doctor, introduced the term macrobiotics. Both he and Hahnemann had very strict guidelines for diet and public health. There’s a very good book by Alice Kuzniar called The Birth of Homeopathy: Out of the Spirit of Romanticism, which is probably the best historical perspective since Harry Coulter’s Divided Legacy. It covers a lot of these historical interactions between eighteenth and nineteenth century natural philosophies of medicine.
Naturopathic medicine has often been interpreted in a modern sense by a more biochemical model, in which the function of individual systems and biochemical pathways supersede a vitalist perspective. We might disregard this as allopathic, but I think its usefulness is in discovering underlying conditions which contribute to disease, such as environmental influences and inherited genetic weaknesses.
This was the argument during Hahnemann’s time. As progress was being made in physiology and diagnosis, vitalism and elemental theories which had endured since Galen’s time were being rejected. In a similar way, Hahnemann rejected the Paracelsian doctrine of signatures. He was actually against many mystical concepts, criticizing van Helmont and Stahl, fellow vitalists, for their Romantic notions.
Medicine was no longer seen as having divine or astrological influences, but was seen as generated from biological interactions that included the mental and emotional influences. Modern psychology was generated from influences of hypnotherapy and mesmerism, which both Hahnemann and later Freud, were inclusive of.  Whatever the theory that influenced medical decisions, it was ultimately its efficacy or outcome that determined its usefulness. This certainly would have been the case in epidemic diseases from which homeopathy derived its greatest confirmation.
The Eclectic medical schools of the nineteenth century reflected an early representation of what we might find in naturopathic medicine today. These were highly regarded for their introduction of new world plants into medical use, especially those utilized by the Native Americans such as Hydrastis canadensis or goldenseal, Phytolacca decandra or Pokeweed, Ginseng, and so many others. I taught a whole course on Native American contributions to homeopathy.
There were however a great deal of exchanges between the Eclectic school of medicine and homeopathy. In fact, James Tyler Kent was trained as an Eclectic physician, who later converted to homeopathy and his lectures are filled with gems from the eclectic tradition. And many later homeopaths included naturopathic methods in their treatments without considering them to be interfering with homeopathic treatment.
Since naturopathic medicine requires standards of care that reflect the medical education common to all doctors who are licensed, the implementation of physical and laboratory diagnosis would be required to understanding the nature of disease and treatment. What the nature of disease is can be argued, but its measurement is pretty solid science.
So naturopathic medicine and homeopathy have always been interrelated, although more mechanistic practitioners have always been adverse to the implementation of homeopathy. Historically many of these schools had violent opposition to the others ideas, but there were always those whose value of knowledge over dogma superseded their ability to derive benefit from learning across the usual barriers of ignorance.
Homeopathy, however, is singularly focused on the simillimum, the unique prescription that will alter the disease. And because its armamentum contains the breadth of the homeopathic materia medica, many valuable resources become available which might be ignored in general naturopathic practice, especially the metals and mineral salts, the nosodes, and the more toxic substances.
But the definition of homeopathy is not an impermeable membrane, whether through the writings of Hahnemann or the branding of classical homeopathy. Modern medicine is not singularly allopathic in nature either. Homeopathy has always suffered the consequences of its own dogma and various insurrections. It has relentlessly defied modernity or any re-languaging.
I see homeopathy in a larger context. It has remained a specialty in therapeutics. Its pharmacology suspended in animation and targeted. I think the recent development of the concept of hormesis in toxicology may provide a route or bridge to merge our approaches.
I have always been interested in how we could use our methods, not only in the treatment of pathology, but preventatively, to enhance or optimize function and consciousness.
LN: This brings me to your research. In 2006 you founded the Lange Research Group. Can you tell us about this and what inspired you to pursue it?
AL: Well, at first I was asked to be the medical director for a clinical trial to test the efficacy of a treatment that was supposed to increase levels of glutathione. Glutathione is one of the most important regulators of antioxidants and detoxification the body. If you figure how to implement it, it’s kind of a key to unlocking the body’s potential.
Glutathione is difficult to measure. A liver biopsy is probably the best method, but for obvious reasons that wouldn’t be practical in humans. Exogenous glutathione is difficult to absorb, despite all the products on the market these days. If you measure blood levels, it just tells you how much you have put into the body, not whether it is being converted to actual utilization by the cells, where all the activity occurs. We were measuring transaminases, enzymes that catalyzed glutathione’s activity. In this case the outcome was not significant.
But that study opened up a lot of doors for future work. I did clinical trials with many groups, including the Amen Clinics on brain injuries and cognitive functioning. Currently we are working on a potential immunotherapy for cancer metastases. It’s a long process. Some of these studies are funded externally and some are more internal and personal. I bring together the people I need for each project.
LN: In addition to this research, publishing, and clinical practice, you have also done a considerable amount of teaching. How do you think homeopathic education has changed since the generation of your own teachers?
AL: I don’t know. There were always considerable challenges to each generation. Different contributions from physicians as well as self-initiated scholars who attempted to wrench knowledge from the masses of information.
My teachers were educated in the day of homeopathic medical schools. They were educated in the transition from a soil of natural history and vitalism to the pharmacological constraints instituted after the Flexnor Report.
Homeopathic education since then has been mostly private, through post-graduate courses, schools that were often based on the strength of an individual personality, or a mash-up of workshops and lectures. I am probably prejudiced in that I believe the strongest of these have been naturopathic medical schools, because they gave homeopathy the ability to flourish in the context of accredited educational institutions with clinical training and subsequent licensing. That’s about as close as we have gotten to the old institutions.
When I taught at Bastyr University (it was still a college then), I insisted that the courses in homeopathy be doubled from three to six. There was only one introductory course required. I expanded the required courses to two. I implemented the structure of a homeopathy department from what had previously been designated a program.
I was the first chair of that department. I joked with the administration that I could never be the chair of anything, because I only had two legs. With the aid of John Weeks we raised more funding for the homeopathy department than all the other departments combined. We were able to buy computers for the library and clinic with contributions of software from David Warkinton and Frederick Schroyens. We funded visiting lecturers and paid our teachers in both the academic and clinical teaching positions better. I grabbed anyone I knew to come and lecture. Jeremy Sherr, Lou Klein and Frederick Schroyens were some of our lecturers before they were known in the U.S.
The homeopathy specialty clinic was also a laboratory to test the academic program in vivo. At the time, cases of pneumonia were referred out for antibiotics from the general naturopathic clinic. I protested, insisting we could not train confident clinicians unless they could see the applications of our methods successfully. So all the pneumonia cases were henceforth referred into the homeopathy clinic. And with few exceptions the patients all recovered without referral. Most of the pneumonia cases are primarily viral and, to this day, orthodox medicine has not much offer other than treating secondary infections.
There was once a case of a woman who had chronic fatigue and anemia. I asked my favorite leading question, which was, “Do you know anyone else who has this problem?” She said “yes,” her husband’s former wife had the same ailment and she wondered if it may have been sexually transmitted, but the tests came back normal. From a miasmatic perspective, that may not have relevance. Even in laboratory diagnosis, many strains of viruses or bacteria are missed and become latent infections after treatment. Resistant strains still maintain their grip and are passed on in altered DNA expressions. This wasn’t the case here.
So we went back into the office to discuss the case with the students. I asked them what they were going to do. Of course, they suggested various remedies and other things. I stopped them and said, “First we’re going to call the sheriff’s office and we’re going to test her for arsenic poisoning.” She did come back positive on the arsenic test and the poison was subsequently found in the basement of her and her husband’s home, as I suspected. Sometimes the toxicology is the evidence for the remedy, or at least the basis for a good detective story.
Many of our homeopathic schools haven’t survived. There were too many of them. They failed to offer a level of education that translated into a career. The odds were against us from the outset. We were seen as an anachronism and acted to enforce those beliefs. It takes a certain kind of person to even think of studying homeopathy. It takes a hold of you in a missionary sense, a sense that something might be lost if it is left to fallow. Like a species that is too beautiful to have to face extinction in the onslaught of progress. Something to be protected and nourished.
I believe in the apprenticeship method, but I also know that all of medical knowledge contributes essential elements to successful practice. It’s like Carl Jung said: intuition comes from experience. Otherwise it’s a coin toss. You have to have something solid underfoot to make a leap of any distance. I think we need to teach the role of transference in homeopathy. Just as in psychology, we inflate our concepts of materia medica into facts and project them upon the patients. We need to allow more critical thinking to cure the process before it’s used clinically.
LN: What has your attention at the moment?
AL: Well, for me attention is the only real currency we have. I am still cultivating the same strains of thought I initiated as a student. My mind works differently, my capacity to focus has actually improved with age.  If I get the opportunity I will finish some work on antivirals. I firmly believe we have the potential to alter most of what we know in psychiatry and psychology. Finding new expressions certainly. Ultimately it is a question of our capacity for regeneration and healing. That’s the miracle I’m excited by. And that is still the stream I’m navigating.

About the author

Linda Nurra
Linda V. Nurra, PhD, PDHom Adv, is a classical homeopath with a virtual practice based in Santa Barbara, California. She has a background in humanities with a focus on linguistics and semiotics. Her life before homeopathy included university teaching, training, management, and higher education administration. She has translated, edited, authored and co-authored publications in semiotics and homeopathy. She currently serves on the board of the California Homeopathic Medical Society.

Influenzas, Synthetic Biology and Man Created Viruses

I’ve been reading Laurie Garrett’s work for years. She’s solid and you can trust her. There are many uninformed views out there. Views that are based on reiterating misinformation or misrepresenting the good work of others. However there are real concerns with unbridled progress and greed.  Here’s some insight:

Two revolutions are unfolding in biology, giving scientists the ability to turn existing germs into more dangerous ones with gained functional characteristics, and to synthesize new life forms entirely.

The gain-of-function (GOF) revolution has been brought starkly to light by recent influenza experiments. The U.S. and Dutch GOF flu experiments spawned debate between virologists and experts in public health and biosecurity, resulting in a set of U.S. National Institutes of Health guidelines for dual-use research of concern (DURC) on avian influenza. Since 9/11 there has been an exponential proliferation of biosafety level-3 (BSL-3) and -4 (BSL-4) laboratories worldwide—by definition, DURC-potential facilities—in which special pathogens, such as killer influenzas, Ebola, and smallpox, are stored and studied. Since 2003, more than one hundred human-exposure accidents involving deadly microbes have occurred in such U.S. labs. No uniform international or regional standards or definitions exist of laboratory security, safety, or protocols for DURC.


from Global Health Program

Making the New Revolutions in Biology Safe

October 23, 2013

The foreign policy community has largely ignored the unfolding revolution in biology, leaving its supervision to traditional scientific bodies, and, in rare cases, law enforcement agencies. This is a tremendous mistake. New technologies and genetic tools now allow biologists to manufacture living organisms, give viruses and bacteria capacities not found in nature, and push the boundaries of evolution in ways unimaginable less than a decade ago. Moreover, the costs of genetically decoding and modifying pathogens have plummeted since 2000, from billions of dollars to only a few thousand. Policymakers urgently need to work with diplomatic, law enforcement, disease surveillance, and global trade leadership worldwide to simultaneously regulate and deter malevolent or careless abuse of the new biology, while promoting its beneficial applications to medicine, science, and technology innovation.

The gain-of-function (GOF) revolution has been brought starkly to light by recent influenza experiments.

The New Revolutions in Biology

Two revolutions are unfolding in biology, giving scientists the ability to turn existing germs into more dangerous ones with gained functional characteristics, and to synthesize new life forms entirely. The gain-of-function (GOF) revolution has been brought starkly to light by recent influenza experiments. Fearing various forms of bird flu viruses might naturally evolve into pandemic strains that could kill millions of people, the Animal Influenza Lab of China’s Harbin Veterinary Research Institute used new biology techniques in 2013 to manufacture 127 previously nonexistent types of influenza viruses, five of which spread through the air between guinea pigs, indicating they might transmit casually from person to person. The Chinese virus-makers were not the first to manufacture killer microbes for the ostensible purpose of imagining what could emerge from natural evolution. In 2012, scientists in Wisconsin and the Netherlands manipulated the genes of H5N1 bird flu viruses, turning what in nature are bird-to-bird influenzas into forms of the virus that could spread through the air between ferrets—lab stand-ins for human beings.

Unilateral U.S. guidelines offer no protection against overseas synthesis of dangerous new life forms.

A second revolution—synthetic biology—exploits gene-sequencing technology that makes it cheap, fast, and easy to decipher DNA codes. Companies offer “bricks,” or sections of genetic sequences, which can be purchased to build novel genomes, like stacking Legos. With GOF and synthetic biology, scientists are no longer mere observers of life but its creators, engaged in a cheap, fast-paced, multinational collaboration that is decoding all life forms, identifying their interesting “bricks,” and exchanging them in real time, via the Internet.

The Unfolding Problems

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Health Policy and Initiatives


Public Health Threats and Pandemics

While the new biology is racing pell-mell into a twenty-first century of biocreation, national and international surveillance and regulatory systems are bogged down in an outdated disease and counter-bioterrorism approach, focused on old-fashioned “select agent” lists of germs and toxins. Since the anthrax mailings of 2001, the U.S. Congress has appropriated hundreds of billions of dollars to develop technologies aimed at such antiquated lists. Meanwhile, the private sector worldwide is largely unregulated and unobserved. The U.S. and Dutch GOF flu experiments spawned debate between virologists and experts in public health and biosecurity, resulting in a set of U.S. National Institutes of Health guidelines for dual-use research of concern (DURC) on avian influenza. But as the Chinese creation of flu viruses demonstrates, unilateral U.S. guidelines offer no protection against overseas synthesis of dangerous new life forms. Moreover, U.S. biologists argue that domestic “overregulation” of GOF and synthetic biology work puts the country at an economic and scientific disadvantage compared to competition in Europe, Asia, and Latin America.

If left to self-supervise, scientists typically opt for a deregulated working environment.

DURC poses some immeasurable, but potentially high-impact, threats for state or nonstate terrorism. The more immediate risk is the unintended release of pathogens, with potential to harm humans, livestock, agriculture, or the environs. There is negligible oversight in any country over potential DURC executed in low-security labs, such as those found in high schools, colleges, and most private sector facilities. Since 9/11 there has been an exponential proliferation of biosafety level-3 (BSL-3) and -4 (BSL-4) laboratories worldwide—by definition, DURC-potential facilities—in which special pathogens, such as killer influenzas, Ebola, and smallpox, are stored and studied. Since 2003, more than one hundred human-exposure accidents involving deadly microbes have occurred in such U.S. labs. No uniform international or regional standards or definitions exist of laboratory security, safety, or protocols for DURC.

What Needs to Be Done

There is no consensus among science and security experts regarding which dual-use research weighs on the side of social benefit, versus that which poses significant danger to mankind. If left to self-supervise, scientists typically opt for a deregulated working environment. But policymakers need to reframe the issue and not leave risk assessment and response solely in the hands of the scientific community. Policy recommendations include the following:

Overregulation risks stifling science.

  • The U.S. Department of State (DOS) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) should collaborate with international partners to harmonize global laboratory and biosecurity standards. DOS and HHS should work closely with the European Union, Organization of American States, African Union, and Association of Southeast Asian Nations to promulgate clear definitions of BSL-3 and BSL-4 labs, standards for biosecurity, pathogen storage, limits on GOF research, and screening of shared novel genetic sequences. Setting equivalent regulatory standards worldwide will minimize the risk that one well-regulated country’s scientific pursuit is stifled while another’s surges forward in the absence of government caution. A model for emulation might be the Codex Alimentarius, established by the Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1963 to standardize all food-safety guidelines worldwide.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the FBI should shift away from a “special pathogens” approach to one of monitoring and enforcement. A select-list approach offers false security, and by definition misses all novel threats. The CDC and FBI should work closely with the WHO, Interpol, the European Center for Disease Control, and analogous agencies worldwide to identify who is working on newly created or genetically augmented organisms, and to assess their threats. The Biological Weapons Convention process can serve as a multilateral basis for this conversation, but discreet, bilateral, and regional discussion is likely to prove more fruitful.
  • The Department of Commerce, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative should create a regulatory framework appropriate to the DURC conundrum. In an era when emailed gene sequences render test-tube transport obsolete, the proper boundaries of export are difficult to define. Overregulation risks stifling science. A model for regulation might draw from the experiences of the International Plant Protection Convention and APHIS’ engagement via the agency’s International Services. Many nucleotide distribution centers already monitor “sequences of concern” for Internet traffic in genomes, demanding special information on individuals seeking pathogen-related genetic details—an approach that should be embraced for government application.
  • Private biotech companies and “biobrick” distributors should assign biosecurity tags to all man-made products. Trade in genomic sequences should be transparent and traceable, featuring insertion of nucleotide tags that can be monitored. Tagging is already mandated for genetically modified crops, and it can be implemented for man-made or commercially traded significant biobricks. The industry should self-finance necessary monitoring and enforcement of standards of practice, and permit unrestricted government inspection in the event of breakdowns in biosafety or lab security.
  • Congress should restore disease-surveillance and response funds to the CDC and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Such funds to the CDC have been cut by 25 percent—about $1 billion—since 2010 and further diminished by 5.1 percent under sequestration, including the loss of fifty thousand state, territorial, city, and county public health officers. CDC and USDA have been cut so severely that they have no reprogrammable funds. Both organizations should have sufficient funding and scientific capacity to ensure that if a pathogen is deliberately or accidentally released, systems of identification, containment, and response are in place that can eliminate or minimize the risks to humans, livestock, crops, and the environment. Any cost-benefit analysis strongly supports these modest expenditures, as release of foot-and-mouth disease would cost the U.S. livestock industry $14 billion a year; GOF research is calculated to increase the risk of human infection two-hundred-fold; and the World Bank estimates a virulent influenza pandemic would cost the world economy $3 trillion.
  • The United States should fund the WHO’s response capacity, leading a donor $100 million annual special support for the next five years. Facing tough budgetary constraints, the WHO has cut its 2014–2016 crisis-response budget by more than half and shifted outbreak responsibilities to the country level. But only thirty-five countries meet surveillance-capacity standards set by the International Health Regulations. The WHO’s World Health Assembly of 194 nations aspires to country self-reliance in IHR compliance, but a bridge in support is needed to get poorer nations to that goal, and keep the WHO disease response program alive. The United States should take the lead; pick up most of that $100 million tab for FY14, rally other wealthy public donors and commit to provision of a portion of the bridge funds thereafter, diminishing annually as self-reliance grows, and zeroing out by the end of 2019. At no additional cost beyond restoration of now-sequestered monies, Congress should sustain the U.S. Agency for International Development PREDICT Project, which has trained fifteen hundred people worldwide to date and discovered two hundred previously unknown viruses.

In general the academic, institutional, and commercial science sectors bridle at all forms of external regulation and argue that outsiders cannot comprehend their needs, innovations, and safety measures. As with genetic engineering in the 1970s and nuclear physics in the mid–twentieth century, scientists are wrong to insist that general society has no right to be wary of their efforts, or to insist on oversight. Concerns in poorer countries that the United States and Europe will use DURC regulation to hold them back are not entirely groundless. It is imperative that wealthy nations assist them in developing their research, biosecurity, and surveillance capacities, and not use the dual-use issue as an inappropriately applied obstacle to scientists’ work visas and immigration. Although the combined impact of these recommendations will not entirely eliminate DURC-related biological threats, the resulting raised levels of governments’ awareness, readiness, and response capacities would both vastly improve the prevention of disease and outbreaks, and minimize the health, economic, political, and environmental damage caused by a deliberate or accidental release of synthesized or GOF-altered organisms.

Read Laurie Garrett’s related article in the November/December 2013 issue of Foreign Affairs, “Biology’s Brave New World.”

A Winter meditation on the healing plant Holly (Ilex Aquifolium)

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Each winter I try to write on a plant relevant to the season. I find in each attempt that I am not only writing about the capacity for the plant to transform health, but also it’s relevance to cultural history and our current condition. Just as important it seems to reflect a stage which I am attempting to heal in myself.

These things come out when the darkness dominates the light.

Holly was introduced into common knowledge by Edward Bach who was a physician in England in the early half of the 20th century.

Most are familiar with Dr. Bach from his flower remedies. He was known for most of his professional life as a bacteriologist at London University College Hospital. Bach’s investigation in 1926 led him to conclude that certain intestinal germs belonging to the non-lactose fermenting, gram-negative, and coli-typhoid group, had a close connection with chronic diseases and their cure. He developed early vaccines which he called “bowel nosodes” from these bacteria.

He moved from London in his later life where he developed his methods for a healing system he felt could be self prescribed. Holly was one of his first twelve remedies. His indications were psychological, “For those who are sometimes attacked by thoughts of such kind as jealousy, envy, revenge, suspicion. For the different forms of vexation. Within themselves they may suffer much, often when there is no real cause for their unhappiness.” Bach: Twelve Healers and Other Remedies 1936.

When we are jealous of what others are or have, when we mimic or imitate others in order to gain a false sense of identity, we invoke violence. This is the ground for consumerism, for divisions and ultimately for war. We are always willing to sacrifice others, scapegoat others, because of our own sense of inadequacy. Whether it is the sacrifice of Issac or Jesus, the sacrifice of young men on battlefields or the domination of the other, we tear at fabric of our humanity when we ignore the unacceptable sense of ourselves. Everyone is looking for someone to blame rather than accept who they are.

Rene Girard says, “Everywhere and always, when human beings either cannot or dare not take their anger out on the thing that has caused it, they unconsciously search for substitutes, and more often than not they find them.”

My old friend Misha Norland has written recently about the holly. He says:
The Holly speaks to the fierce capacity of the human soul to take the descent into the underworld, bringing inner light into darkness. Thus we can understand the signature of the tree, with its ability to germinate without sunlight, favoring dark, moist conditions that are more strongly related to the downward earth pole. Its stiff, pointed leaves are not unlike thorns or “spears.” The Holly yields a hard, white close-grained wood that imparts a quality of solidity and impermeability, as it stands in the depths of winter, impervious to cold and darkness with its somber evergreen color.

Holly holds a central position among the Bach Flower Remedies, because it embodies love – the highest energy quality through which we all live, and which is our greatest healing power.

The desire for love is programmed into every cell of our being, and when we are going with the stream of love we live in a state of grace. However, when the need to give and receive love is denied, the negative Holly state emerges.The personality will experience such extreme disappointment that love is expressed as its opposite – in jealousy, hatred, envy, resentment, malice, and a desire for revenge. While everyone experiences these emotions at some time, in the negative Holly state they are prevalent, and can form the emotional basis for serious physical illness. While even the negative Holly personality longs for love, it is unable to let it flow forth, and thus often repels that which it seeks through jealously. Even when finding someone with whom to share that love, uncertainty and fears predominate and it lives in fear of losing that love.

When jealousy becomes “morbid” then love can be extinguished. In an extreme negative Holly state, an individual becomes suspicious, is super sensitive to real or imagined slights, feels rage and anger, experiences violent bouts of ill-humour, and, understandably, feels unloved and unworthy of love.
When describing this Bach Flower Essence, Edward Bach said: “Holly protects us from everything that is not Universal Love. Holly opens the heart and unites us with Divine Love.”

The soul quality of Holly is that which we all desire – the ideal human state. In its positive state, individuals are able to live in inner harmony, taking pleasure in the achievements and successes of others, freely accepting and feeling love that flows toward them, and having knowledge of the higher purpose of existence.