Monday, March 6, 2023


It's been about nine months since I last wrote here, while I have been working on a book. That project is going well, with the first draft about half done. It is a lot harder to work on side projects during the school year, but I'm happy with how it is going. During Spring Break (ahh!), I thought I would take a few moments to comment on some developments since we were last here on this blog together.


This really does feel like it's in the rear-view mirror for a lot of folks! And yet...

It was three years ago, also during the University's spring break, that we first encountered COVID-19, and it ripped across the world. In the first 9-12 months of the pandemic, I found the disease highly responsive to homeopathic remedies, and usually a handful of specific remedies like Gelsemium, Eupatorium perfoliatum, Bryonia, and a few others. Case presentations were usually striking, intense, and similar to the features of remedies like these. People usually responded promptly and the course of the disease was usually shorter and with a decrease in symptom intensity.

Some time around the winter of 2020-2021, I started to see more cases with less intense symptoms that were more general, and as a result, the array of potential remedies expanded. By the summer of 2021, I was seeing a lot of cases that would only respond to their "constitutional" remedy, or the remedy that addresses the patient's whole system, a much wider array of remedies that requires longer case-taking. By the summer of 2022 I had already seen a number of cases of what would become known as "long-COVID," which I have found harder to treat. I also started seeing cases of people who--whether they had COVID or not previously--began to develop syndromes following immunization with any of the COVID-19 vaccines.

Now I'm not against vaccines. In one sense they are actually "homeopathic" in that they are "like" the disease they are intended to prevent! Nevertheless, as I frequently note: If it's strong enough to cure you, it's strong enough to kill you. Some folks absolutely eschewed immunization, fearing such consequences; a fear, I believe a little out of proportion to the actual danger. On the other hand, I think industry and the public health establishment have been a bit reticent about persistent symptoms that actually could reasonably be related to a covid shot. I suppose this was in an effort to reduce vaccine hesitancy during a time when we were still worrying about hospital overload and deaths. It may have also been simply a refusal to see what has been happening on the ground. In any case, I filed several reports with the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System. 

There's no agreement on the diagnostic criteria for long-COVID. I have been finding homeopathy helpful, but I have also found it can be tricky to treat.

Here are some other things I have found interesting: There's a recent shift on public immunization for COVID-19: the vaccines are about go commercial, which means they won't be "free" anymore. There's concern about that; maybe the virus will surge again? I doubt it: Another interesting thing I have found is that some people are re-catching covid whether they were immunized, or had it, or both, sometimes catching it several times! Related to that is that several folks (myself included) can't seem to catch covid again, no matter how exposed to it they are, even if they had their first exposure (illness or vaccine) over 18 months ago. It seems there are things about immunity we're not paying enough attention to. Just exactly who should get re-vaccinated and how often? Instead, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and the Centers for Disease Control are working toward a recommendation of annual, bivalent (two-strain) immunization, much like influenza. Why? Because "annually" is an easy public health message, I suppose. 

I could support this except for the fact that some cases of symptoms after the shot have been when the person had a prior immunization within mere months (as successive evolutions of products were launched) or when the person had covid within a year or more prior. It makes me suspect we're messing with people's immune systems without sufficient knowledge of what else we're doing.

Drug Prices

This past week, the pharmaceutical firm Eli Lilly, one of only three manufacturers of insulin in the U.S., announced that they are going to cap prices at $35 a vial (about a month's worth for most people with diabetes), consistent with the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022. I would imagine that they see the writing on the wall. Insulin prices in America are way higher than they are in the rest of the world. It takes about $10 to make a vial of insulin, and companies are charging up to $400 per vial. Now a lot of folks maybe didn't really notice this: insurance companies aggressively negotiated for lower costs, but even so, the final cost was higher than it needed to be. People should be clear that this still has effects on their pocketbooks. One effect is that even the insured are paying higher premiums because of this price-gouging (what else could I possibly call it?), and people without insurance are literally going without a life-saving drug because of this excess.

Lilly, Sanofi, and Novo-Nordisk, like all drug companies, have "patient assistance" programs for the uninsured/under-insured, but they are often difficult to apply for, and in any case, is this really how we want health care to work? "Oh, you can get the drug you need to keep you alive for less money, but you have to fill out this complicated online form, and we can change the terms of the program at any time." Anger over this system of greed and graft has been growing, and one commentator recently suggested that Lilly is just trying to stay ahead of the pitchforks, as it were, calling to mind the torches and pitchforks of ordinary folk who have just had enough. Shortly after Lilly announced their--what else can I call it, capitulation?--Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) sent letters to Novo-Nordisk and Sanofi, strongly suggesting to them they follow suit. I suppose that is fair warning, as more members of Congress hear from angry constituents about drugs that have been around forever, drugs that are easy to make, being priced into the stratosphere for no reason other than the companies can get away with it.

Climate Change, La Nina, and Vasomotor Rhinitis

I have been hearing from a lot of people lately about "allergies" acting up. It is true that some people get wintertime allergies, usually due to mold, or dust, as we're stuck in our warm homes against the weather. But locally, we have been seeing one of the warmest winters--not quite a record warm winter yet, but getting there. La Nina, in the Pacific, has been creating wild swings in our weather, due mostly to changes in the jet stream that guide weather systems as they cross west to east. I've been hearing that allergists are seeing an increase in people asking to be tested for allergies, and yet the allergy testing isn't coming up with any conclusive allergens.

It's well-known in medicine that wild swings in barometric pressure and weather can cause symptoms that seem like they are related to allergy, mainly nasal stuffiness, sneezing, and cough from post-nasal drip. Yet they don't actually have a viral infection, and they aren't actually allergic to anything new. We know this from simple history-taking and physical examination, as well as allergy testing, as I noted above. One of the nice things I like about having homeopathic and herbal medicines in my toolbox, is that I have additional options to aid people suffering from vasomotor rhinitis, or inflammation of the nasal and upper respiratory passages, due this year in this part of the country, from these wild swings in our weather. If you find you are having respiratory symptoms from what you believe are allergies, maybe from this early spring, and yet antihistamines like Zyrtec or Claritin don't seem to work, consider that it might just be the weather. It might be time to ditch the Allegra and try something else--whether allopathic, homeopathic, or another healing system that can address the strange and surprising ways our bodies can respond to something as ordinary as weather!

Be well!

Springtime at the orchard. Coming soon!