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So what is a Nosode?

Simply stated: a nosode is a homeopathic remedy prepared from a pathological specimen. (See "Homeopathy—Some Basics".) The only difference between a nosode and any other remedy, is the starting material. It could be blood, pus, any other body secretion or excretion, or even a diseased fragment of tissue, such as a growth. Rabies nosode, for example, starts with the saliva of a rabid dog and is then "potentized."

A nosode could be described as an "oral vaccine" in the sense that its purpose is to "immunize" the body against a specific disease. The major difference between a nosode and an "orthodox" vaccine is of course the extremely small (if any) quantity of physical substance in a nosode. Remember, it is the "energy" pattern not the "substance" that does the job in a homeopathic remedy.

Do they work?

There is a considerable body of evidence (gathered over the last 200 years) that strongly suggests they actually can provide immunity!!

As usual when discussing the origins of homeopathy we must refer to ‘human’ experience which only in relatively recent time has been applied to animals.

The ‘Father’ of homeopathy, Dr. Samuel Hahnemann, was the first to use prophylactic remedies. He found that a girl whom he had treated with "Belladonna" (the homeopathic form of course) for an unrelated problem, did not develop Scarlet Fever when the rest of her family became sick. He found the "provings" of Belladonna fit the disease picture of that particular epidemic of Scarlet Fever. (Remember the principle of ‘like cures like’). He went on to show that by administering Belladonna he could prevent and cure that disease.

Later, homeopaths also found that "Ailanthus" could also prevent Scarlet Fever. Hahnemann later advocated the use of "Camphor" to prevent or treat Cholera. He had never seen the disease, only heard descriptions of it from the east. Successful treatment and prevention of Cholera during this epidemic greatly popularized homeopathy throughout Europe at the time.

Other homeopaths found that "Lathyrus" is able to prevent polio. "Mercurius Cyanatus" was effective in preventing diphtheria. "Baptisia" was useful for preventing typhoid fever. The list went on for measles, mumps, chicken pox, hepatitis, etc..

But it is not only in ancient history that we find compelling evidence that nosodes can and do provide effective immunization. Take Polio as an example:

  • 1850—Taylor Smith in Johannesburg, south Africa immunized 82 people with "Lathyrus". 12 of the 82 were in direct contact with disease in an epidemic area. There were no cases reported in any of the 82—a 100% success.
  • More recent times—Grimmer in Chicago ‘vaccinated’ 5,000 young children with "Lathyrus". None of them developed polio.
  • Heisfelder, in a study between 1956-58, immunized over 6,000 children with this nosode. There were no side effects and no cases of polio.
  • In 1975 during an polio epidemic in Buenos Aires, "Lathyrus" was given to 40,000 people. Not one of these developed polio.

In veterinary medicine, probably the best know study was done by Dr. Christopher Day of England involving ‘kennel cough’ in a boarding kennel. At the time he was called in, there were 40 dogs in the kennel with 35 that had kennel cough. About half had been vaccinated for this malady. He gave a nosode to all the animals that were there and all the dogs that came in through the rest of the summer (another 214 dogs). He successfully reduced the incidence of kennel cough from over 90% to less than 2%. (Sorry Charlie, nothing is 100% foolproof.)

Nosodes have been developed and used successfully for almost all animal disease and more recently for ‘heartworm’. The late Dr. George MacLeod, in his book "Dogs: Homeopathic Remedies" had this to say about nosodes: "…gives a more solid immunity inasmuch as it incorporates the entire defense system, which is mobilized as soon as the vaccine is taken into the mouth and builds up protection with each further dose. This build-up leads from tonsillar tissue through the lymphatics incorporating the entire reticuloendothelias system. This procedure is equivalent to what is known as ‘street infection’ viz., ingestion of virus etc. during daily contact with other animals, when immunity would be built up in the same way."

"…There are no side effects when using homeopathic oral vaccines—a reaction may sometimes be observed…but such reaction is transient and soon passes."

"…Another advantage in protection by homeopathic means is that vaccination can be started very early in the pup’s life, e.g., within the first week if necessary. This does not interfere with the presence of any maternal antibodies."

Nosodes appear to stimulate the entire natural immune system to react against a specific disease. One of the many reasons that they have not been accepted in the ‘orthodox’ medical community, is that they do not produce specific, measurable antibodies! Thus ‘titter testing’ is of little value in measuring effective immunity from nosode usage. Again, because the ‘mechanism’ of action is poorly understood, the ‘orthodox’ reaction is to reject all evidence as merely ‘anecdotal’.

In the U.S.A. the primary source for nosodes is the Hahnemann Pharmacy in Berkley California. Interestingly, nosodes can be obtained in ‘singular’ form or in a ‘combination’ form. Both forms are presently being used by holistic vets with good results.

I should mention however, that there is no unanimous agreement between vets, with respect to the schedule of application. There are various protocols of administration being used, so don’t be surprised if you run across different recommendations from different people.

Nosodes share the same problem as other homeopathic remedies, i.e. they don’t fit into current scientific understanding. Back in the 1550s an Italian anatomist said the heart was a pump. He was burned at the stake. Seventy five years later, William Harvey said the same thing. He was knighted. What happened in between those two events was that the mechanical pumps came into widespread use for irrigation and mining. Homeopathy doesn’t make sense to most people because it lacks a real world metaphor. Until it has one, all the positive studies in the world won’t be able to crack open the closed mind. I am thankful that there is a growing number of people that "choose to think for themselves."

Vaccination Summary

To the very serious student of the vaccination question, the most outstanding feature of the material we have presented will probably be the amount of information we have left out!! We have made no attempt at relating some of the horror stories concerning children and baby vaccinations. We have not mentioned the newest recall of unsafe canine vaccines. To cover the subject in total would require a book or perhaps more accurately several volumes of books.

Many questions are still to be resolved. There comes a time in everyone’s life however, when you must choose a direction to go in, that fits with what you are trying to accomplish. For me it was a devotion to a totally natural way of rearing my animals. This may or may not be what is suitable for you.

Some breeders have chosen to use both nosodes and conventional vaccines. At the other end of the scale, there are those that have chosen to not use any form of vaccination. Regardless of your choice please remember that nothing is 100%, guaranteed, effective!!

If you choose to ‘go natural’ and to help you with your puppy buyers, you may want to consider obtaining a form from your holistic vet like the following:

XYZ Veterinary Hospital Inc.



Owner:To Whom It May Concern:

This letter is to verify my recommendation that this animal should not be given vaccinations due to the risk of creating or exacerbating illnesses in this animal. This animal is either a breed type or an individual who has a tendency to develop illness as the result of the immune system stress created by vaccination.

Recent studies have shown the relationship of routine vaccinations to many immune related diseases. Many immune system diseases such as allergic dermatitis, food allergies, autoimmune thyroiditis (hypothyroidism), decreased resistance to infections, blood dyscrasias, and general immune system suppression have been related to vaccination.

It is my opinion that the above mentioned animal has a risk of illness if give vaccinations.


Dr. Wellthought

In this series of articles we have tried to provide you with something to think about. If we have stimulated your thirst for knowledge, I will be well satisfied. If you choose to pass along your knowledge, I will be ecstatic.