A Short Account of Nosodes

See also: Vaccination

See also: Research

Nosodes are remedies made from disease material or diseased material (pathological material, pathological specimens), whether tissues, discharges, exudates, excretions, suppurations or secretions. They are not to be confused with ‘sarcodes‘, which are remedies made from healthy tissue. Nosodes have many use:

  • They are widely used in homeopathic practice to help treat cases of infectious diseases. At the AVMC, we do not treat infectious disease solely in this way, as we do not believe it is either the quickest or the most effective or the safest way (proper and diligent homeopathic individualised prescribing for each patient, on the basis of signs and symptoms, is both the safest and most effective treatment). We certainly do not use nosodes in the acute phase of a dangerous infectious disease but they can have an important role in helping during the recovery phase. There are nosodes for most infectious diseases of animals; at the AVMC, we have many unique nosodes of this type. Use of nosodes in this way is referred to as isopathy, rather than homeopathy.
  • Nosodes can have homeopathic therapeutic properties in their own right. Such nosodes are found in the homeopathic materia medica and have undergone a proper ‘proving'. Examples are Bacillinum, Carcinosinum, Medorrhinum, Psorinum, Tuberculinum.
  • They are often used in farm situations, to limit the spread and the effects of infectious diseases. This has especially been used as a vital component of mastitis control on many farms, both organic and conventional. Clinical trial work, carried out by the AVMC, has demonstrated the efficacy of this application.
  • They can be used in the prevention* of infectious diseases (see paper: Nosodes for Protection), in the manner of vaccination (but quite unlike it in reality). This is called ‘homeoprophylaxis' (see below*). A clinical trial on kennel cough prevention was performed by the AVMC. Many dog, cat, horse, pony and rabbit ‘owners' use nosodes as an alternative to vaccination, apparently without penalty**.
  • There are the so-called ‘bowel nosodes’, which are classified with nosodes but arguably are not actual nosodes, according to the strict definition. These are related to certain groups of homeopathic remedies and may be used in their own right or as a useful adjunct to one of the related remedies. Their use is not confined to bowel disorders, despite the name. They can be used in treatment of more complex cases, in which homeopathy alone has not achieved the desired result.
  • Nosodes can be made for an individual patient, from that patient's own disease material (‘autonosode') or from another animal in a group for treatment of that group (‘isonosode'). They can be derived from another animal altogether, for ‘off the shelf' use (‘general nosode'). They can be made from laboratory culture of pathogenic organisms (‘petri nosode'). They can be made from vaccines (‘vaccine nosode') – this latter is not a method advocated by the AVMC, except, perhaps, to help in the treatment of a vaccine-related disease.

The use of nosodes is a specialist area, not without its dangers, so it is recommended that they should only be used only on the advice of a properly qualified veterinary surgeon (fully-qualified and experienced homeopathic vet).

The AVMC does not set out to treat or to prevent any of the UK’s ‘Notifiable Diseases’, without the express permission of DEFRA

* Homeoprophylaxis: This is not a fully proven technique but a large number of animal carers in the UK are using this as the sole method of prevention of infectious diseases such as (e.g.) Parvovirus, Distemper, Hepatitis, Leptospirosis, Kennel Cough, FeLV, FIV, Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis (FVR), Feline Calicivirus, Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP), Equine Influenza, Strangles, Herpes, Chlamydia, Myxomatosis, RHDV and Bovine Mastitis and appear confident in its efficacy. Some bee keepers (apiarists) believe that the Varroa nosode has helped their bees.

** Homeoprophylaxis: Our own dogs, cats and horses are only protected in this way, as an alternative to vaccine, and our dogs have met both parvovirus and distemper, without ill effect.

Latest news: We have received a first-hand report, in July 2009, of a litter of circa 5-week-old Hungarian Vizsla puppies that caught Parvovirus. They were ill for a few days, with bad diarrhoea but they all threw off the infection and survived, much to the surprise of the local vets. They had just started their homeoprophylactic course of nosode, three days previously. They were too young for conventional vaccination. Other unvaccinated (but nosode-protected) dogs in the household were unscathed. Many other dogs in that area reportedly died of Parvovirus during that outbreak.

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