What you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.
—James Downey, Billy Madison

Pictured: Toxins coming out.  Or cancer.  Whatever it is, it's your fault.

Pictured: Toxins coming out. Or cancer. Whatever it is, it’s your fault.

My first experience with SCAM was as a first year medical student. I was on the bus to school when the person next to me asked, after looking at my reading material, if I was a medical student. Yes, I am. Why so was he, enrolled at the local naturopathic school. I knew nothing about naturopathy, or medicine for that matter, at the time, so when he told me that warts were not caused by a virus but in fact due to the body walling off toxins and expelling them through the skin, I did not have much to say. I suspected it was nuts, but lacked the education or understanding of disease to know for sure, and who knew, maybe he was on to something.

When we got to cutaneous diseases I learned that warts were indeed caused by the papilloma virus, not toxins, and the best therapy remained swinging a dead cat in a graveyard at midnight. So I filed that curious incident away as a fluke, even though it is part of standard naturopathic teaching, which is often separated from reality.

It should not have surprised me that there is a whole field of pseudo-medicine devoted to the pseudo-treatment of pseudo-toxins that goes by the nom de scam of Homotoxicology. Yet another One True Cause of all disease. Being a splitter, I think Harriet missed this one. All diseases in this particular SCAM are due the toxins and the bodies attempt to remove them.

Homeotoxicology was invented? Discovered? Created? Concocted? Fabricated? Made up? Pulled out of… thin air, yeah, that’s the ticket, thin air?

I am never certain as to the proper term for the process used by lone fantabulists like DD Palmer or Ignatz von Peczely to create, out of nothing, a complex pseudo-medical discipline and then waste their life, and other peoples time, money, and health, on the pursuit of a pot of SCAM at the end of the rainbow. What is the word for writing fiction but believing it real? Add your own snarky term below, I’m not going there. I am the last person to resort to extraneous partisan snipings.

Anyway. Hans Heinrich Reckeweg is the person behind Homotoxicology. He was a German MD who became a homeopath and had quite the imaginative career. Following his release from captivity in 1946 (by whom and for what I would be curious to know) he started to expand upon classic homeopathy.

Hahnemann was a one symptom/one worthless treatment kind of guy. Reckeweg reasoned that if multiple homeopathic nostrums had the same effect, then they should all be given at once and the body could choose which one it needed. You may scoff, but I get the feeling that is how empiric antibiotics are often given in the hospital. I exaggerate but a little.

But he expanded upon the Caedite eos. Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius concept of multiple interventions. He gave not only multiple remedies (up to 30), but at multiple potencies (i.e. dilutions. ‘Potency’ in the homeopathic spiel is as misleading a phrase as ‘integrative’ is at a medical school) of the same preparation, so the body had to choose the medication and the dilution it wanted for a cure. And he got to charge the fee although evidently the body did all the heavy lifting.

He considered it a work of genius with the potential to be:

A Bridge Between Allopathic and Homeopathic Medicine.

Only if the bridge crosses the Tacoma Narrows. He was perhaps the Dr. Oz of his day with his interest in combining reality- and fantasy-based therapies. Not content with a new form of homeopathy, Rekeweg went on to elucidate what he considered to be the cause of all disease and its treatment. No hubris there.

Another website describes homotoxicology as:

a biological medicine that is a cybernetic system of information arranged in self-maintaining levels. Each level keeps the one immediately below in homoeostasis. With every disease or imbalance this affects the given level. If the homotoxins are not cleared in the matrix they impregnate the cell. The basic extracellular system is a uniform stable environment, regulated in all the cells of the body.

It is always odd to find a series of words that appear to mean something but have no actual content.

Diseases are caused by homotoxins. What are homotoxins? Substances that are harmful to the body. Or a more (or perhaps less) specific definition:

any substance that has a direct or indirect damaging effect on the human organism. Not the substance in itself is the most important. Crucial is its effect on the organism.

A pretty broad definition as at the right concentration or velocity anything can be harmful. One website gave:

examples of homotoxins (including) toxic mercury amalgam fillings in the teeth associated with electric currents and voltages, dysbiosis (unhealthy micro-organisms in the gut often due to an unhealthy diet, hormone replacement therapy, and antibiotics), chronic yeast infections (Candida), gas, diesel and petrol fume intolerance, exposure to unhealthy electro-magnetic fields, pesticides, and undiagnosed bacterial (Salmonella paratyphi), or protozoon (Giardia and Amoeba) infections in the gut, possibly picked up on holiday abroad.

It can include geopathic toxins (living in the wrong place) and:

an homotoxin can, in its highest state, even be immaterial.

So anything and everything can be a homotoxin, including nothing. It is a dangerous world out there.

Unlike the ‘like curing like’ of homeopathy, homotoxicology postulates a unique cause of and treatment of disease:

“diseases” are expressions of the battle of the organism against toxins, in its attempt to counteract and expel them. When the body can no longer expel them, for whatever reason, the organism tries through increased pathological means to make up for the damage already sustained. This process goes in six distinct phases:

  1. Excretion phase or the expulsion of toxins through body orifices, e.g. diarrhea, vomiting;
  2. Reaction phase – where toxins are removed by the body reacting against them, e.g. fever, inflammation and mobilization of white blood cells to consume the toxins;
  3. Deposition phase – storage followed by deactivation of the toxins in connective and fat tissue and in the vascular system;
    The above phases are naturally “reversible.” The following phases become more and more difficult to deal with as in these processes damage occurs to the organs themselves
  4. Impregnation phase – severe disease occurs in a “locus minoris resistentiae”, the body’s weakest organ;
  5. Degeneration phase – the organ is increasingly and irreversibly damaged, with alteration of the cellular enzymes and in the organic structure;
  6. Neoplasm or Cancer phase- the cell genes are damaged.

The International Academy for Homotoxicology produces tables and offers courses in homotoxicology that show the interrelationship of these phases of disease. Beware!

The academic and scientific level of the content of these programs is quite high…

Evidently, as they are way over my head, appearing to me to be a meaningless table of diseases with an arbitrary organization, unhinged from known anatomy and physiology. It is simple but complex: all diseases and symptoms are due to the body’s attempt to expel toxins from the body using the above hierarchy. So in this system, depending on one’s success in removing a toxin, you may end up on the spectrum from difficulty with concentration to meningitis to cerebral sclerosis to migraine to Alzheimer’s to glioblastoma. In the world of homotoxicology all these neurologic diseases are related to degrees of failure in toxin removal. Quite creative and not even wrong.

Homotoxicology offers imaginary treatments for these imaginary diseases, so it is well suited to naturopathic practice. One you discover what phase the patient is in you can then embark on a therapy with the:

3 pillars of homotoxicology which are 1. drainage and detoxification, 2. immunomodulation and 3. cell and organ support. These 3 pillars are filled in with medications containing plant preparation groups (PPG), mineral preparation groups (MPG), catalysts preparation groups (CPG) and organ preparation groups (ORPG).

These preparations can reverse the progressive vicariation, as the degeneration phases were originally named by Reckeweg.

These nostrums either inactivate the toxins or work through a modulation of the immune system. Being nothing but injected water they do nothing.

One of the foundations of homotoxicology is Madison’s, er, I mean Hering’s Law, a law that is a valid as the laws of homeopathy:

a disease evolving to recovery of health will do this from the inside out, from vital to less vital organs, from the torso to the extremities (centrifugally). A disease that is suppressed or becomes chronic tends to move to deeper lying (organ) tissues (centripetally).

And of course, homotoxicology is quantum. I bet quantum doctors do not get into boxes.

This does explain the theory of warts given to me all those years ago on the bus, why the wart toxins were migrating from the core to the periphery, but in reality what I was told was but a red Hering. Sorry. Could not resist.

It is a remarkably complex system of pseudo-medicine and all diseases are explained and treatable within the system. However, it is completely disconnected from reality and all that we know about the pathophysiology and treatment of diseases.

It is always a tough call. Do we follow the collected, albeit always-evolving, information of modern medicine and science or do we go with the epiphanies of a single person whose ideas of disease and treatment not only run counter to all of medicine, but all other pseudo-medicines?

Despite being a fictional system of diagnosis and treatment, homotoxicology has had time and money wasted on testing its efficacy. To summarize:

Despite mostly positive findings and high ratings on the Jadad score, the placebo-controlled, randomised clinical trials of homotoxicology fail to demonstrate the efficacy of this therapeutic approach.

No surprise there.

I don’t much care for the movies of Adam Sandler, but who knew that Billy Madison was homotoxicology personified? Although a simple “wrong” would’ve done just fine, it would not have been a blog entry.



Posted by Mark Crislip

Mark Crislip, MD has been a practicing Infectious Disease specialist in Portland, Oregon, since 1990. He is a founder and  the President of the Society for Science-Based Medicine where he blogs under the name sbmsdictator. He has been voted a US News and World Report best US doctor, best ID doctor in Portland Magazine multiple times, has multiple teaching awards and, most importantly,  the ‘Attending Most Likely To Tell It Like It Is’ by the medical residents at his hospital. His growing multi-media empire can be found at edgydoc.com.