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185 Years of Official Recognition of Homeopathy in Russia

Last modified on November 20th, 2018

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Dr. Leonid Kosmodemyanskiy, Editor in Chief of the Russian Homeopathic Journal, Deputy Chief Physician of the Moscow Homeopathic Center shares the struggle over 185 years to protect and grow homeopathy in Russia.

Summary

This article is devoted to the emergence and development of homeopathy in modern Russia. It also covers the holding of the International Congress “World Homeopathy Day, Moscow 2018”, that was held on April 9-10, 2018.

Special focus is given to the official response of the General Prosecutor’s Office  and the state Duma of the Russian Federation about the legality of the use of homeopathy in Russia and the position of some scientists; what is set out in the Memorandum “Homeopathy as Pseudoscience”, that is the document but not the legal act and that hasa mandatory nature.

In 1824 Dr. Adam brought the first news about homeopathy to St. Petersburg. In Germany he got acquainted with Hahnemann. He wrote about the new teachings of doctors Schering and Zeidlitz. So,C.F.S. Hahnemann`s ideas (he was the founder of homeopathy) found fertile ground in Russia.  In 1827 there appeared the first publication in homeopathy. Dr. Bigel published “Examination of the theory and practice of treatment according to the method of Dr. Hahnemann“.

By the imperial decree of Nicholai I, homeopathy was officially recognized in Russia in 1833. It was preceded by heated discussions and disputes in scientific medical circles and on the pages of popular publications which had special criticism. There were negative comments from Vladimir Dahl (more famous as the author of the Explanatory Dictionary of the Living Great Russian Language and a doctor of the famous writer – Alexander Pushkin).

The literary talent of Vladimir Dahl in his publications did not leave the reader a drop of doubt about the worthlessness of the new direction of medicine at that time. But his views radically changed after the successful cure of Dahl’s relatives and friends by homeopathy.  His remorse published in an open letter to Odoyevsky testifies about it. After that, he more thoughtfully approached the study of Hahnemann’s doctrine and later made a lot of efforts for the development of homeopathy in Russia. We hope that today’s opponents of modern homeopathy will follow the example of this talented and true patriot of the homeland.The immutable foundations of homeopathy’s development in Russia, which still serve as the basis for the development of modern homeopathy today, were been born in this way.

As at the beginning of the development of homeopathy in Russia, so in the            present day, the debate about the effectiveness of homeopathic medicines attracts increased attention of the public and scientists.

Despite the debate, the homeopathic method of treatment has been actively developing over the last 25 years and homeopathy has been introduced into the public health system. Still, there are publications in mass-media discrediting both the method of treatment and the doctors using this method in their daily medical practice. Apparently, it is connected with the lack of awareness about existing scientific research proving the effectiveness and safety of homeopathic medicines, and with the lack of information about the legal aspects of the regulation of homeopathy in Russia. In this connection, experts who study homeopathic phenomena and actively apply homeopathy, came to the conclusion that it is necessary to identify homeopathy as a medical specialty. It will help to improve the educational level of doctors, and to attract more qualified specialists who understand the scientific basis and practical significance of homeopathy.

On January 27, 2017 doctors and pharmacists using the homeopathic method of treatment held the 6th Russian homeopathic Congress. The most pressing issues of homeopathic development in Russia were discussed there. During the Congress it was decided to discuss the necessity of introducing homeopathy as a medical specialty. They would discuss this issue with the active participation of the Russian homeopathic portal (http://rushomeopat.ru/) by December 1, 2017and create a Working Group to analyze the proposals and publish the results of the discussion at the VII Russian homeopathic Congress.

At this Congress, the celebration of Russian homeopathy and the birthday of S. Hahnemann and the International day of Homeopathy were established.

However, on February 6, 2017, the members of the Commission to Combat Pseudoscience and Falsification of Scientific Researches of the RAS  published the Memorandum “Homeopathy as Pseudoscience”   (which was signed by 8 of the 59 members of the Commission).

Immediately after the Memorandum, Deputy Minister of health of the Russian Federation, Tatyana Yakovleva said: “Homeopathy is officially recognized by the World Health Organization. The Health Ministry also recognized homeopathy. If an appointment has a specialist who knew nothing about homeopathy, who does not have a specialty and the necessary education, then it is a pseudoscience”.

On February  9 2017 an extended meeting of the Expert Council on improving the legislative regulation in the field of complementary medicine of the state Duma Health Protection Committee was held. One of the issues was devoted to the use of homeopathic medicines in medical practice.Despite this, the negative reaction from the mass-media to homeopathy continued to grow like a snowball. It bore a clearly destructive nature and caused long-term negative consequences for both doctors and patients (who use homeopathy with great successto prevent and treat various diseases that are often incurable by standard methods.

Therefore, on March 10, 2017, the National Council for Homeopathy was forced to appeal to the Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation with a request to take measures regarding violations made by the Commission to Combat Pseudoscience And Falsification Of Scientific Research Of The Presidium of the Russian Academy of Sciences, in the development and adoption of the Memorandum No. 2 “Homeopathy as Pseudoscience”.

On April 11 2017, a Scientific and practical conference dedicated to the Day of Russian Homeopathy was held. During this conference the negative reaction of the media to homeopathy was comprehensively discussed.

On April 25 2017 the Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation  considered the appeal of the National Council for homeopathy and analyzed the regulatory legal acts in the field of health protection and circulation of medicines, regulating the use of homeopathic treatment. By the order of the Ministry dated back to 29.12.2012 № 1705n, the rules for the organization and activities of the medical rehabilitation department of the medical organization providing care in outpatient settings are approved,and it was recommended in the organizations of such departments to have special physician’s offices for homoeopathists.

Thus, the use of homeopathy is not prohibited by the current legislation and it is regulated by the relevant regulations. The Memorandum No. 2 “Homeopathy as Pseudoscience”, adopted by the Commission to Combat Pseudoscience and Falsification of pseudoscientific researches of the Presidium of Russian Academy of Sciences, is not a normative act, and does not have a mandatory nature. The dispositions of the Memorandum shall be recommendatory in nature; the position of individual scientists is set out in it. Thus, the Prosecutor General office`s response confirmed the legality of the method of homeopathy in practical health care.

On May 25 2017 during the Congress “Right to Medicine”, the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation represented by the director of the department of drug provision and regulation of medical products, Elena Maksimkina in response to the request of homeopathy supporters, asked not to prohibit homeopathic medicines and did not support the idea of banning homeopathic medicines.

On June 13, 2017, at the meeting of the International Council of the Liga Medicorum Homoeopathica Internationalis (LMHI) it was decided to hold the International day of Homeopathy in Russia.

On June 15 2017 the resolution of the 6th Russian Homeopathic Congress devoted to the problem of introducing a medical specialty “homeopathy” was discussed in the report “the Relevance of Specialization in Homeopathy in Russia” during 72 LMHI Congress in Leipzig (Germany) (Reporter: Professor M. D. Sc. L. Kosmodemyanskiy).

On November 10, 2017 there was held a survey of participants of the XXII Interregional Scientific And Practical Conference, “Homeopathy and Modern Medicine”, that is held annually in Sarato. Sixty three respondents participated in the survey.They were asked:  “Is it worth it to take the initiative in the Ministry of health of the Russian Federation on the introduction of a specialty in homeopathy or not”. 83% of them answered: “Yes”.

But the attacks on homeopathy have continued. A bill to ban the advertising of homeopathic medicines was reapplied to the state Duma. It required indicating on the packages that these are homeopathic medicines with unproven efficiency. It also provided for the withdrawal of homeopathic medicines from use in state and municipal medical institutions,“to protect the citizens from the false advertising of homeopathy”, and to inform patients who purchase homeopathic drugs in the pharmacies that homeopathy has no scientific evidence of clinical effectiveness.

As a result on November 14, 2017 in the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation a round- table discussion “Methods of Traditional Medicine In Modern Health Care” was held. The theme of the event was: The Place Of Homeopathy In Medical Practice. All participants of the developing “anti-homeopathic hype” had the opportunity to speak. As a result of this discussion, it was concluded that it is necessary to stop this unjustified battle and not to disturb doctors who are forced to work every day in the midst of a negative reaction from the mass-media, but focus on curing patients.

On November 29 2017, the all-Russian inter-university scientific and practical Conference “Homeopathic method of treatment in the modern health care system” was held at the Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia (RUDN University), where a survey of participants was also conducted.

Fifty three respondents participated in the survey.They were asked: “Is it worth it to take the initiative in the Ministry of health of the Russian Federation on the introduction of a specialty in homeopathy or not”.  83% of them asked said: “Yes”.

On January 26 2018 during the 7th Russian Homeopathic Congress, that took place in the Central House of Scientists of the Russian Academy of Sciences (in Moscow) there was discussed the question about the introduction of a medical specialty in homeopathy. The report “On results of implementation of a decision of the 6th Russian homeopathic Congress on the question of the necessity of introducing a medical specialty “homeopathy”, was introduced by L. V. Kosmodemyanskiy.

The general results of the survey:

All – 304 – 100%

For – 249 – 82%

Against – 39 – 13%

Abstained – 16 – 5%

As a result of the discussion of this issue, it was decided to apply to the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation, the Ministry of Science and Education of the Russian Federation, the government of the Russian Federation to consider the introduction of the specialty “homeopathy”, and appeal to the WHO on the development and approval of standards and requirements for education and accreditation (certification, licensing) of doctors, pharmacists, veterinarians for homeopathy.

Thus, in Russia, the legal competence of the “Memorandum” was checked by the Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation, which gave an unambiguous assessment that this document is not a legal act, moreover it does not have a mandatory nature.

There is also an information letter (from the decision of the Expert Council on the Improvement of Legislation in the field of complementary medicine of the Committee on health protection of the state Duma of the Russian Federation) “on the procedure for using homeopathic medicines”.

From the letter it follows: the Memorandum No. 2 “Homeopathy as Pseudoscience” issued by a separate group of individuals, adopted by the Commission on combating pseudoscience and falsification of scientific research under the Presidium of the RAS, is not based on the current legislation, is not an official position of the RAS and it does not have a mandatory nature. This position is confirmed by the Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation in the letter № 74/1-217-2017 dated back to 25.04.2017.  In this letter the above sources are analyzed and it explains that the “use of homeopathy is not prohibited by the current legislation and is regulated by the relevant regulations”.

Despite this, attacks on homeopathy in Russia continue!The state Duma of Russian Federation held a discussion of the bill about the prohibition of advertising of homeopathic medicines with the requirement to write on the package that these medicines come with unproven efficiency.

There were attempts to prevent the holding of the VII Russian homeopathic Congress and the XXVIII Moscow international homeopathic conference the Central House of Scientists of the Russian Academy of Sciences, where such conferences have been held since 1993!

Doctors and patients using homeopathic treatment were forced to take part in the signing of the petition and appeal to the President of Russia V. Putin and the leadership of the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation with the requirements to protect against harassment of homeopathy in Russia. The petition and appeal collected more than 60,000 signatures in 7 days.

Together with the Liga Medicorum Homoeopathica Internationalis , Russian specialists are actively seeking to counteract this anti-homeopathic campaign!In 2017 the international Council of LMHI decided to hold the next celebration of the World Day of homeopathy in Russia, which was held on April 9-10, 2018 in Moscow.

For the first time in the capital of the Russian Federation, the celebration of “World Homeopathy day 2018”, was dedicated to the 185th  anniversary of homeopathy in Russia, in memory of S. N. Korsakov, dedicated to the birthday of S. F. Hahnemann and was held by the decision of the Council of the Liga Medicorum Homoeopathica Internationalis (LMHI). The Committee represented by the collective members of LMHI in Russia, the Russian Homeopathic Association (RHA) and the Russian Homeopathic Society (RHO) was established on the basis of the decision under the leadership of Vice-President of the LMHI, MD Professor Leonid Kosmodemyanskiy, together with the President of the RGS- Vladimir Mishchenko and the President of RHA, the representative of the European Committee for homeopathy in Russia, Nikolai Zamarenov. The national Council for homeopathy and other public associations representing national homeopathy, took part in the work of this committee.

At the International Scientific Homeopathic Congress in celebration of the “World Homeopathy Day – 2018”, were presented the reports of  President of the Liga Medicorum Homoeopathica Internationalis  (LMHI) Dr. Alok Pareek, Vice President of LMHI in Russia prof. Leonid Kosmodemyanskiy, president of the European Committee for homeopathy (ECH) Helen Wren and the head of the Subcommittee on science of the LMHI, director General of the Research Council on Homeopathy of the Ministry of AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Tibetan medicine, and Homeopathy), the government of India – Raj Manchanda, whose report was read by its Secretary S. Gopinathan and director of the International Institute of Integrative Medicine – Robbert van Haselen, the member of the Presidium of the Russian Geographical Society Ilya Tiraspol, President of the National Council Aleksey Karpeeva, President of the Russian homeopathic Association – Nicholai Zamarenov, Irina Buryakova, research officer of the Museum-reserve “Dmitrovskiy Kremlin” Ludmilla Fatueva presentation that most clearly reflect the essence of Finance.

Welcoming statements were made by president of the Liga Medicorum Homoeopathica Internationalis  – A. Pareek, president of the European Committee for homeopathy Helene Renoux, secretary of the Council for research of the Ministry of AYUSH of the government of India S. Gopinathan, Academician of the Russian Academy of Science, and Prof. Vadim Zilov from the Presidium of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS),all who addressed the Congress.

Academician Zilov V. in his welcoming speech announced to the RAS the importance of the ongoing International Scientific Congress of Homeopathy in Russia. The celebration of the World Homeopathy day 2018 is of great importance in our country as well, because of the decree signed by the emperor Nicolay I, and it marks 185 years of official recognition of homeopathy in Russia. Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences Prof. Zilov also stressed the invaluable importance of scientific foundations of homeopathic therapy, forming the new directions of the development of modern science. Especially highlighted was the practical role of homeopathy in integrative medicine.

The national Vice-President of LMHI in Armenia, Dr. Mariam Gharabaghtzyan, also made a welcoming speech, wishing all the participants fruitful cooperation in the way of integration of homeopathy into practical health care. She noted that in this regard it can be considered appropriate to introduce the specialty “homeopathy” in Russia, as it is implemented in Armenia. That is becoming more important in connection with the formation of a common economic space between the countries of the Commonwealth. This allows us to count on possible prospects not only in the formation of economic relations, but also contributes significantly to the exchange of experience and professional levels of specialists in the field of homeopathy. Representatives of various public associations on homeopathy represented in Russia and abroad also gave a welcome speech. “The World Homeopathy Day 2018” in Russia helped to consolidate all the specialists who apply homeopathy in their medical practice and to strengthen international relations with colleagues abroad, and  also to increase the role and status of LMHI in Russia and around the world.

During the opening ceremony, president of LMHI Dr. Alok Pareek was awarded the honorary medal S.N. Korsakov – “for outstanding contribution to the development of homeopathy worldwide”.  All participants of the Congress warmly and cordially spoke about the work and organization of the event.

In his message to the organizers of the Congress – “World Homeopathy Day: Moscow 2018”,  President of LMHI Dr. Alok Pareek praised the event, emphasizing the relevance and content of scientific reports, scientific presentations, programs and organization of the event.  He especially noted the friendly and kind attitude of all participants of the Congress, the enthusiasm of Russian doctors in the study of homeopathy in a country with a rich and long history of the development  S. F. Hahnemann’s teachings and sincerely thanked everyone for the excellent organization of the event and the warm and friendly welcome.The organizing Committee of the Congress thanks everyone who took part and supported the work of the Congress and “World Homeopathy day – 2018!”

We hope that such consolidation of patients, specialists and all progressive-minded people on the planet will help to overcome the perceptions in the minds of those who do not know, and do not want to know,that homeopathy is now the most frequently used method of complementary medicine,in many countries,according to the World Health Organization. And this proves once again, that despite 200 years of attacks, homeopathy exists and will exist as an independent, and complementary direction of effective medicine.

About the author

Leonid Kosmodemyanskiy

Leonid Kosmodemyanskiy

Dr. Leonid Kosmodemyanskiy is Editor in Chief of the Russian Homeopathic Journal, Deputy Chief Physician of the Moscow Homeopathic Center, Professor of the Department of Homeopathy RUDN University and National Vice-President of Liga Medicorum Homoeopathica Internationalis in Russia.

3 Comments

  • I enjoyed very much this short history of homeopathy in Russia. It is quite remarkable that one of the original leading skeptics of homeopathy in Russia withdrew his criticisms and became a strong advocate of homeopathy after he witnessed some compelling cures from the homeopathic treatment of friends and relatives.

    It was also remarkable to read about the presistent and repetitive efforts of the skeptics of homeopathy to do whatever they could to stop homeopathy…without success! It was impressive to read how 80+% of a surveyed group of leading scientists expressed their support for homeopathy on several occasions, and yet, this group of skeptics remained peristent in their efforts to stop homeopathic practice in Russia, once again, without success.

    It is fascinating to watch skeptics of homeopathy maintain their ignorance and arrogance, and three (or more!) cheers to advocates of homeopathy in Russia who continue to advocate successfully for the science and art of homeopathy.

  • Hi ,
    I am reading homeopathy books at home . I would like to practice homeopathy as a profession . can I get a homeopathy degree on line which helps to practice homeopathy as an alternative medicine in India.

    if yes , kindly suggest me the way to proceed with the online certificate course.

    Thanks

    With best regards
    Bhaskar

    • Dear Bhaskar,

      The Center for Homeopathic Education, The IACH E-learningprogram and and the British Institute of Homeopathy and ALLEN college all have distant learning courses, but I believe that to practice in India you would need a BHMS degree from a medical school. You could check with one of the homeopathic organizations in India.

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