The principle that only ‘the minimum dose’ should be employed is based upon the understanding that the stimulus of natural medicine triggers the body’s internal and intrinsic healing response. The same principle of minimum dose can also be applied to pharmaceutical drugs, but for different reasons.
Following the principle, natural therapists like homeopaths and herbal practitioners give only enough medicine to initiate a healing response within the body. Once triggered, the healing response continues - driven by the organism’s innate need to maintain health and balance. The use of the minimum dose has the advantage that it does not produce the gross side effects that are so often the pitfall of conventional treatments.
The concept of the minimum dose relates to the Arndt-Schultz law (named after the pharmacologist Hugo Schultz and the psychiatrist Rudolf Arndt, who formulated the law). The law applies to both pharmaca (active ingredients that prevent, treat or cure disease) and poisons, and states that:
“For every substance, small doses stimulate, moderate doses inhibit, large doses kill”
This concept is obvious when we think of painkillers like paracetamol, but it can also be applied to Nutrition – just think of alcohol or sugar. And when it comes to supplementing essential nutrients, more is not always better. Nutritional supplements, while valuable in the correct dose, can cause toxicity if taken to extremes. Even water – something we are usually told to drink more of – can kill if excessive amounts are drunk in a short space of time.
By providing a minimal dose coupled with the correct conditions for the body to heal itself, the overuse of any substance, be it natural or otherwise, can be avoided.