First edition: 2013
ISBN / EAN: 978-90-76189-44-4
Full color, hard back, 373 pages
In the “Claimer” section (as opposed to ‘disclaimer’ section) Dr. Joe Rozencwajg conveys the purpose of this book on Gemmotherapy, “This is a book for health practitioners who want to learn something new and different.” I suspect that homeopaths in general belong to this tribe of practitioners and so HPATHY is a perfect venue for a review of this book. As you pick up this book, be prepared to encounter the author’s sense of humor in the most unexpected places…at one point, he calls himself a Brussels sprout because he was born and raised in Brussels, Belgium!Joe was drawn to Gemmotherapy while he was still practicing conventional medicine. He was intrigued by the facts that Gemmotherapy uses bud extracts, is supported by laboratory research and clinical experience of medical doctors, there are not too many remedies to study, these remedies cover most pathologies seen in the general practice, remedies taste good and lastly, one does not have to be a herbalist or a homeopath to master and practice Gemmotherapy. Joe has found in his practice that Gemmotherapy can solve difficult situations and allow other therapies to act and complete the cure in depth. That Gemmotherapy can be used conveniently alongside any other healing modality is an added bonus.
The premise of Gemmotherapy is that the buds and other young parts of plants are “epical meristems” or simply, young cells with elevated nucleo-cytoplasmic balance. These are the herbal equivalent of “stem cells” from the animal kingdom. Meristems are permanent regions of growth where the cells remain forever young, divide actively throughout the life of a plant and these newly divided cells subsequently differentiate into various tissues that a mature plant possesses.
The proponent of Gemmotherapy, Pol Henry, a Belgian medical doctor, studied the extracts from buds, rootlets, young shoots and inner bark of roots and he found that bud extracts have a far superior range of action as compared to extracts from other parts of plants. Based on his study, he also concluded that bud extracts work powerfully, in depth and act faster even in very small doses. Gemmotherapy remedies act through drainage and facilitate stimulation and regeneration of cells, tissues and organs. Objectively, Gemmotherapy accomplishes clinical normalization of patients and this can be verified in the laboratory by testing protein electrophoresis or study of protein coagulation patterns. This measurable but non-specific pattern is elevated in various disease conditions and it becomes normal after treatment with Gemmotherapy bud extracts.
For preparation of Gemmotherapy extracts, buds are collected annually every spring, macerated in a mix of alcohol, glycerine and water, and then potentized to 1X or 1D or presented as concentrates that require the use of even smaller dosage. The author is very clear about mentioning for the sake of classical homeopaths that Gemmotherapy is not homeopathy because Gemmotherapy bud extracts are not potentized beyond 1X and the remedies are not prescribed based on simmillimum. Prescriptions are based on understanding of physiology, biochemistry and physiopathology of the disease and a deep understanding of botanical chemistry. A thorough understanding of the mechanism of disease in each and every patient assures individualization of treatment.
The materia medica of Gemmotherapy is presented quite precisely, limiting the list to only 51 remedies. Each plant in the materia medica is shown in a full color photograph and Dr. Joe has included information from Western and Eastern herbalism, aromatherapy, homeopathy, Ayurveda, traditional Chinese medicine as well as the most recent research and publications. For posology, the author asks us to use our intelligence and match the dosage (quantity as well as frequency) to what our patient can tolerate well. Gemmotherapic indications and combination with other gemmotherapy extracts that can be used synergistically for various disease conditions complete the chapter on each remedy.
Reading through this materia medica can help the practitioners decide if they would like to include Gemmotherapic extracts in what they offer to their patients because the background, application, outcome and literature on each of the 51 remedies is given in a balanced manner.
A full chapter on suggested therapeutic application gives a taste of what can be accomplished by use of Gemmotherapic extracts when they are individually formulated according to the pathophysiological picture of the patient’s illness, function and organ involved, mechanism of his disease, its root, associated disease and the need for other approaches. The author indicates that such a prescription can succeed in alleviating the complaints because it is based on individualization.
Various systems in the body, common diseases encountered in these systems, the indicated Gemmotherapic preparations that could help alleviate the disease condition constitute a highlight of this book. It is very encouraging to read about the practical application of Gemmotherapic preparations in clinical settings especially because Gemmotherapy is a relatively young and emerging healing modality for our generation.
In discussing the place of various alternative healing modalities, the author draws from his exceptionally wide ranging education, expertise and specialization (too many to list) and strongly voices his opinion that there is no harm in approaching the patient at several levels. Gemmotherapic extracts focus on material, physical aspects of physiology, and homeopathic remedies act on energetic levels, including mental / emotional situations while directing the physical level toward self-correction. Dr. Joe claims that a combined use of these two components achieves a result that is bigger than the sum of two components. In terms of daily practice, the patients recover well, stay well and heal deeply. Now, that is good all around, per Dr. Joe.
A few cases described at the end highlight the fact that there is no possibility of a “give this for that” approach, even though the clinical integrated repertory gives a list of conditions and indicated remedies.
Having journeyed with this book from cover to cover, I find myself reflecting on the idea that when our true purpose for being a practitioner of the healing art and science is helping our patients regain optimum wellness, we should be welcoming research and advances that we encounter, study these in depth and continue to enhance our tool kit as we grow in our practice. With this view, I find that Gemmotherapy gives us an interesting possibility for achieving our goal.