V.D. Kaviraj is a Dutch homeopath, author, researcher and pioneer in Agrohomeopathy. During the 1960’s he co-founded the Magic Bus company, offering rides to India by minivan. He experimented with psychedelics, kept company with Alan Ginsberg, Bob Dylan and Ken Kesey, ran organic farms in France and Belgium, studied with an herbal witch and astrologer and travelled the world to study plants. While in India he became seriously ill and was cured by homeopathy. The desire to understand what had cured him lead to an apprenticeship in the 1970’s followed by 10 years running Dr. Chatterjee’s rural clinic. He has written textbooks on various aspects of homeopathy and as well as the fictional Boon Files (in the style of homeopathic detective stories.).” In 1982 he was initiated into the Bhakti and Shamanic healing traditions.
In 1986 Kaviraj successfully treated apple trees with Belladonna and subsequently moved to Australia where he did large scale experiments with remedies for sick plants. This led to his pioneering book “Homeopathy for Farm and Garden”.
AS: In 1986 you treated a diseased apple tree using Belladonna. What happened? Was that a kind of epiphany, such as Newton had with his apple?
Kav: As for what happened with those appletrees, well, here it is. Friends of mine from Arau Switzerland had a very nice house with a very large garden to the south. I had been treating them, their children and their animals for some years and when those apple trees got rust, she asked me if it was also possible to treat plants with homeopathy. ‘Sure’, I said, ‘but I know nothing about it’. She said, ‘ach du bist ein Krueterhexe, du wirst schon was finden’. – You are an herbal wizard, you will find something.
So we went outside and I saw these trees, with hanging leaves and all those red spots on the leaves, the twigs and branches and the trunks. So I asked her how long had they had this problem and she answered that it had begun three days before, with the frost and now all of them had it. Then I wanted to know if they were thirsty and she told me she watered them thrice daily, after which the leaves went up for a few hours, to then drop again.
To me that seemed like a case of ‘scarlet fever’ – fast, furious, dark red spots and very thirsty.
So I immediately thought that Belladonna might be able to do something at least. All I had were a few pills in the 200X and we dissolved about 10 in 20 litres of water and watered the trees with that. Three days later, the rust was all gone and the plants looked healthy again. It was in the fall – around the end of September and the apples were fall ripening. The first apples had tasted very sourly-bitter, when the rust was infecting the trees and after the rust had gone, they tasted so sweet and were so juicy, unbelievable! So I was completely surprised. How had this happened??!!!
I was quite flabbergasted by this success and then thought that maybe there was a way to develop this for plants too. At that time I was living in Amsterdam and had no garden so I started with pot-plants, meaning plants in pots as well as marihuana – legal to grow there – and prone to mildews, in the Dutch wet climate. I also tried to do something in public parks, but it was altogether quite a puzzle – diagnosis, provings and clinical observations were to be developed first. When I then went to Australia in 1990, I had better options – a house with a 1 hectare garden and plenty of possibilities.
I had scoured the literature for examples of experiments with plants and had no PC, so no Internet. I had a large library of homoeopathic books and found 4 examples, as I say in my book. I then started to sort out remedies from the insect world, in the hope of finding some that could be used for plants. The first large success came with Helix tosta, which kept snails out of the garden as if by magic. If I did not spray the weeds, they were forced to eat those, or move on – to the neighbour. That was 2 birds with one stone – or actually three. No snails on my crops, get them to work for me and a neighbour that needed something to get rid of snails. Soon the whole street was using the remedy and from there I started to write to growers clubs, offering my snail remedy. In six months time, I had the entire city of Perth using this remedy. That is when Monsanto began to make trouble for me, but that is another story altogether.
Next was the discovery of Silicea and its incredible possibilities. I took my cue from Steiner, who recommends silica as a biodynamic fruit enhancer. I discovered it does a lot more than just that.
Then there were of course the aphids – they gave me a headache for 3 years, before I had licked that problem. I toasted them and triturated them in that state, I drowned them in alcohol by the hundreds, trying to make a tincture, I triturated them live – none of it worked for one millimetre. Then one day I walked into the garden and saw the larvae of Coccinella septempunctata – the lady bug – at their devastating work among the aphids and bingo! There was the remedy!
Such gave me courage to carry on, for sometimes I felt like throwing in the towel, what with Monsanto and some of the puzzles that I faced with the remedies. Imagine, the relationships between the elements are completely different from the use with humans and animals. That was another puzzle that gave me headaches – figuratively that is. Altogether I was however fascinated enough to keep it up and even founded a company, of which only the email is left – Similicure – to produce and sell the remedies.
At some point I moved to the east coast and bought land with some friends and then I really got my hands dirty – 5 hectares of testing ground on a 120 acre plot. By 2000, I wrote the book and offered it to B.Jain in New Delhi, who promised all and did nothing for the 5 years that their contract lasted. I returned to Amsterdam, because by then the NRA – National Registration Authority – had ruined the business by their exorbitant registration fees – 20,000A$ per product. Mind you, when I started, it was 20A$, and every few years they simply increased it 10fold. For a year the manuscript lay around till Mark Moodie ed me with the offer of publication.
Now, I have written a second edition, with a much better layout – organised by problem and plant family and fully illustrated. However, it will first appear in German, because Mark has not sold all his copies and so to bring it out in English would do him much harm – a no-go, as far as I am concerned.
AS: Your pioneering work really opened a door and has laid the groundwork for others to follow. Can you say something about how you take a plant’s case? In what ways is it analagous to a human case and how different? How far can you take anthropomorphizing?
Kav: In taking a plant’s case, we must pay particular attention to its external appearance, as we also do with humans. However, the difference is that there are no questions to ask, and of course no mental symptoms. Some plant states are similar in that their external symptoms resemble those in acute diseases in humans, such as the resemblance of rust to scarlet fever. Parasites such as the aphid have only a fleeting resemblance in that they are parasites. We really have nothing similar, other than pathology reports from plant pathologists, which some homoeopaths who are schooled in orthodox medicine sometimes demand.
Therefore, the idea that anthropomorphic observations are relevant, is only superficially so. We must take the plant as it is, in its own unique way. This means that we have to take into consideration the soil, the weather, the climate and their food in the larger context, but also the plant family, which I consider their constitution. After all, the Cucurbitae have different problems from the Leguminosae and the Graminae have different problems again, while all may suffer some similar problems. The aphid is shared with nearly all cultivated plant constitutions, just as scarlet fever is shared by nearly all human constitutions. The sequels to aphid infestation are often different for each plant constitution. Just as some parasites in humans may carry disease, so does the aphid. In grains, they are the vector for Barley Yellow Dwarf virus, while on the more leafy plants they may assist in the development of Mosaic virus. It has not yet been investigated how different these two plant diseases really are and what the differences consist of. To me, they are different manifestations of what I call the plant miasms.
The plant miasms are really caused by different (wrong) methods of cultivation and suppression of symptoms with poisonous substances. The first causality is improper spacing in monocultures. Plants are too close together, which is unnatural and they consist of a single species, which is also seldom seen in nature. The second causality is bare soil cultivation, which simply means a soil devoid of organic material. The third causality is the addition of inorganic plant ‘foods’ – NPK. This is similar to humans eating junkfood – it keeps them alive, but causes problems in its own right. It is imperative to know all these circumstamces in plant diagnosis.
These miasmatic states are of course very different from those for humans.They relate to those conditions I mentioned above. Bare soil cultivation is the first and could be called the fungus miasm. Because there is no organic content in the soil, the soil fungi are forced to attack the living crop – they have to live too and this guarantees their survival. The second miasm relates to spacing – the stress miasm. The third is connected to the nutrients – the junkfood miasm, characterised more by excess NPK and not enough micronutrients. The fourth is related to the suppressive treatment of pests and diseases – the poison miasm.
These problems caused by the wrong cultivation methods then set up reactions in the form of diseases and pests, which are invariably treated wrongly – even in so-called organic gardening. For in all these methods the focus is on the disease or the pest, while the suffering plant is not given any attention other than noticing its condition. This is the wrong approach and will remain a wild-goose-chase forever. It is the plant which suffers the pest or disease and thus it is the plants that needs treatment. Therefore it is the plant that requires our undivided attention, taking into consideration all of the above.
AS: Your insights into the plant kingdom and the parallels concerning constitutions, suppression and miasms are fascinating and momentous. Could Agrohomeopathy transform agriculture? What would the world have to gain?
Kav: Agrohomoeopathy would certainly transform agriculture tremendously, if and when it would be applied. It would be the true Green Revolution. I would have other benefits too, for agroforestry to which I shall return shortly. However, considering the tremendous amounts of money involved in Agribusiness, the chances are slim. The only hope I have is when it takes in India, where in Rajastan many farmers are already working with the concept and when my book – translated by Mr. Lethif into 5 Indian languages – is used by as many farmers as possible. If I had the money, I would set up a business as I did in Australia and offer the first treatment for free, so the farmers can see that it works and that it’s lasting effects will save them lots of money which they now spend on poisons. First get them convinced and then charge money – cheaper still than poisons at the same amount.
Imagine the benefits for the farmer first – a reduction in costs of treatment by at least 75% and possibly up to 90%. Next he can sell his produce as organic, getting a better price. Moreover, he no longer runs such great health-risks, reducing his healthcare insurance. He also grows on cleaner land, stops polluting the groundwater and so contributes to better earth management and a cleaner environment.
For the consumer there are similar benefits – healthier foods, no intake of poisons, equally reduced healthcare bills and a better quality of life. It will reduce the expenditure of governments for healthcare by such a significant amount; the sums are incalculable at present. Hence it can lead to significant reductions in taxes, which will enable people to pay for things they currently can not afford. It would help reduce the economic crisis we are in at present and shorten it considerably.
A cleaner environment has other benefits too. If we consider that our crops use up 50% of all arable land and if we also take into account that 30% of the crop is lost to pests and diseases, we can see that our crops have little capacity of taking up CO2. If we also consider that 30% of our natural forests suffer similar circumstances, we are faced with the fact that together with the weak plants we still have, about 50% less intake of CO2 is the result.
When homoeopathy is implemented, we have several benefits in this scenario.
1. More and healthier plants, so increasing the uptake of CO2.
2. More trees that are healthy, having the same effect on CO2.
3. An increase in covered land with plants by 30%, all of which take up much more CO2 than any sick plants are capable of.
4. Therefore, an increase in greenhouse-gas reduction that lies at somewhere between 150 to 200%.
One might think that my mathematics are off the mark, but we must consider that sick plants reduce their intake by 50%, 30% that does not take up anything at all. That makes for an 80% reduction compared to normal.
Given the fact that pesticides, herbicides and fungicides are made from fossil fuels, as well as the fertilisers, their reduced use and elimination would also help in cleaning up the greenhouse gases by some 30-50% of the farmer’s use. This means an even greater reduction in greenhouse gases than the mentioned 200%.
Homoeopathy improves not only the health of the plants, they also grow bigger and larger, so increasing the volume of leaf structures capable of taking up CO2.
This increase lies in the order of 30-50%. At the normal intake, we can assume a 100% uptake. At the increased uptake we have eliminated the 80% reduction compared to normal and added the 80% above normal. That makes for an increse of 160%.
Silicea has, besides the benefits enumerated by Steiner, a few other characteristics that are extremely important for agriculture. The first is as a help in seed germination, which results in nearly 100% of seeds being viable. Next it makes for stronger plants. The best feature of Silicea is its capacity to be able to green a desert in record time, by enabling the sand to hold enormous amounts of water for long periods – up to 6 weeks after spraying, water is held in pockets under the surface, to the extent that a spade will come out moist. My experiments in Australia have shown that a piece of desert of 100HA, greened in less than 3 months and permanently so. This greening of the desert can add tremendously to our surface of arable land and thus increase the CO2 uptake by another 30 to 40 %. It will also help in alleviating world hunger and provide enough food for all the world’s inhabitants. Provided of course we devide the benefits equally.
Since healthy people also think more harmoniously,it could be very likely that homoeopathy for people and livestock would also gain tremendous advantage and be implemented more readily everywhere. This would lead to a further reduction in healthcare costs, which at present lie somewhere at 10%, if not more, of a country’s GDP. If we also consider that people who are less sick will produce more, the gains are staggering, for it would increase the GDP by at least 20%, because the time lost due to sickness is tremendous. In short, the benefits outweigh the cost of conversion by a large margin and the sooner we implement it, the better it would be. We might even be able to heal the entire planet, at a fraction of the cost of technological ”solutions” which will only cause more problems. Since healthy people are less exploitative, that idea is less far-fetched than it seems.
AS: Given the current economic climate and the world’s needs, Agrohomeopathy starts to seem less utopian. The work in India sounds very promising. Let me ask about dose and potency. What kind of potencies are used and does the “treatment” require many doses? Are there any cautions?
Kav: In the treatment of plants one has to be more careful than with people, in the sense that plants are more sensitive in their reactions to homoeopathic remedies. Naturally, a remedy that does not fit the plant does nothing at all, like for instance Nux vomica Plants do not get tetanus and so Nux has no effect on plant life.
Within the plant constitution we spoke about, any plant remedy that falls within the same Family has a strong effect. Any remedy made from a companion Family also has a strong effect. As examples we may here mention basil and tomato, or beans and potato. The target plants belong in the Solanacea family, while the ones used as a remedy belong in the Leguminosa and Labiata Families.
The dose is dependent on several circumstances, but generally a 6X is the preferred potency. In the case of repellent qualities, sometimes a lower potency works better, such as a 3X, because the amount of substance required may be larger – pheromones being the active ingredient, which disappear in the higher potencies.
Moreover, 10 drops of a 6X on a litre of water, succussed 50 times – to compensate for the fact that it is spread over a large surface and has to serve many plants – is further diluted in 200 litres of water, with which the plants are treated. It is obvious that any pheromones are as good as gone at such dilution rates.
Repetition may be necessary after about 3 months – I say maybe, depending on the severity of the problem, the weather and the state of the plants in the following period. Obese plants grown with chemical fertiliser will need repetition, while organically grown plants may not need any repetition, simply because their constitutions are stronger. This counts for all annuals and biennials. Trees are a different subject altogether, also dependent on the manner in which they are kept. Nonetheless, here we also see that repetiton may be necessary, dependent on the problem and their general condition.
Compare such results with conventional agriculture, where the farmer sprays between 10 to 16 times during the growing season of a single annual crop, for a single problem and the advantages of the homoeopathic method are immediately obvious.
With the elementary substances one has to be cautious – repetition is only allowed when absolutely necessary, since they have a much deeper action. This is even evident in humans, but especially so in plants, which rely on elemental substances for their sustenance. In these considerations the micronutrients are more important than the macronutrients. Silicea can for instance green a desert, but create one as easily, if given too often or at the wrong time.
The acids, such as Acetic, Citric and Oxalic acid are even more dangerous for plants, in the sense that they form part of the Krebs-cycle, which regulates respiration. If you want to kill a plant – a ‘weed’ – simply repeat it twice in 24 hours and the next day the plant will have died. The same counts for Phosphoric acid, but this acid is more selectively used – not all plants react in the same manner to it.
The best time to apply is when the sky is overcast, because UV will destroy the remedy – the reason they are kept in brown glass bottles. This destruction by UV also helps to break down the remedy quickly when that is needed – like in the weed killers – so that the crop can be planted within 24 – 48 hours after the remedy has been given. Uv also makes sure there are no residues of any remedy found after 48 hours, making it impossible to pollute the soil, groundwater or other part of the environment.
It is also advisable to avoid breathing in the spray ourselves if we use spraying equipment – we could do a proving. Spraying may be necessary in orchards, where other means may not be so effective. While this is relatively harmless with many of the remedies, many others are not so benign, as every homoeopath knows who has proven remedies on himself. Spray is therefore not the preferred method of administration, because of these dangers. Much better is the use in trickle systems or simply watering it on the roots with a watering can.
AS: I constructed a sample repertorization using just your book. One can also visit www.considera.org, the website set up by the publisher to collect and share information.
- Fruits rotting: Ferrum p, Ferrum s., Calc P.
- Worse from wetness : Am c, Am mur, Calc p, Camphora, Sul, Zincum met.
- Excessive pollination : Acon, Amm c, Calc p, Ferrum m, Ruta
- Stamen long : Calc p / Epidermis soft : Calc p
To advance the science of Agrohomeopathy, does research necessarily have to be done on a large scale? Is there a way our readers could take part?
Kav: Of course the reader could take part – in fact, I would like them to do so, if only to prove to them that the method is right and to disprove and correct the mistakes I certainly have made. After all, some of those remedies have not been proven, but are included on the basis of symptom similarity in the crude form- especially the elemental substances.
In the beginning I only tried parks and municipal greenery, because I had no garden, when I lived in the city. Some friends grew Marihunana, but did not want to risk their plants for my curiosity, while they were ready to try me as a last resort, if their chemical solutions proved to be no solutions at all. House plants were also among my first test objects. Then I moved to Australia, where the prospects for testing were much better, as I already told you. I used for most of my tests, beds of 2m by 10m, under different circumstances, growing different plants – vegetables, ornamentals, flowers and clones from trees.
I set up 5 beds, containing different types of plants or sometimes the same, next to each other, arranged according to growing method, i.e.
1. following orthodox agriculture, using chemical fertilisers.
2. following the organic method, which uses compost and manure.
3. biological, which uses companion plants to avoid pests and diseases and lure predators.
4. biodynamic, using preparations made from cow dung, like B500.
5. permaculture method, which grows small amounts of plants, surrounded by many different other plants in so-called plant societies.
After some time, I put each of them under stress – not giving water, too much fertiliser, not enough companion plants or too many of them, planting them too close for comfort and whatever else would come up to stress them.
As a result, plants would attract pests, become sick or develop nutrient problems such as excess or deficiency. Also, I used remedies in repeated doses, to discover if they would become sick or attract pests, so that a clear picture developed of the entire syndrome of conditions and circumstances.
Then I would try out remedies for the problems created with the first stress methods and try to find antidotes for the conditions created by the provings with remedies. This is a time-consuming process and will result in many frustrations, because it is fraught with many mistakes. It can also give good insights, especially with provings, because they often mimic the conditions created by the first types of methods mentioned to induce stress.
I also searched for situations where such conditions occur naturally, such as pests and diseases on plants that grow in the wild, in parks and other municipal greenery. Of course I asked many of my friends to tell me if they had problems with pests in their gardens or their pot plants and if I could have a try in treating them. Some complied, others did not.
In this way I collected as much evidence of a certain problem that I could find and began treatment, often on clinical observations first, or even just clinical.
Anyone who tries these ideas will find that I have denoted the predator principle as universal, while the isopathic remedies made from them are much less certain – the mentioned problem with aphids being a prime example. On the other hand, with snails it works remarkably well. Similarly, the companion plants I also consider universally effective, although I have not tried them all, while still mentioning them in the book, time being the greatest commodity in short supply. A growing season lasts from 3 to 9 months for some plants, while others use up to 2 years. All that time, your beds are occupied and cannot be used for other purposes. You have to have a lot of patience too and be ready to sit, watch and wait, wait and wait a little longer still.
The Law of Similars can be seen as a quintessential principle – so far I have discovered four more than like is cured by like, some of which are already familiar to everyone. Hence quintessential, and universally applicable on people, animals and plants.
Like produces like, like attracts like, like imitates like and like neutralises like.
Hence what we see happening in nature, we can take as a principle that can be imitated by us, such as using the predator in potency to combat the pest or the companion plant to protect the crop with an almost wrap-around shield. Anything that happens in the crude, such as excess or deficiency in nutrients, can also be used in potency to combat the problem, but here you must first study the relations of the nutrients between each other, because they are different than in humans. Thus what happens in nature produces the same results in potency, will attract the same problems that can be treated the same in imitation and be antidoted by the similar remedy.