Dr Geneviève Ziegel
PHARMAKON, PHARMAKOS, HOMEOPATHY, PLACEBO …
Pharmakon… placebo …
Pharmakon, this both poisonous and « medicinal” substance cannot be evoked without unavoidably mentioning the “Placebo effect” at some time.
Imbued with mysterious virtues and potential risks inherent to its own essence and to the origin of its prescription, the pharmakon as it appears at the end of its course, calls for a quest in some unknown spaces and in the most ancient ages. The magus, the chaman, the witch doctor and everything they are associated with, are summoned around it .
Magic lingers around the pharmakon’s face.
It rules over the anguish that goes with it and subtly pervades whatever bears the placebo mark in its very essence.
That substance which alters the body nature includes something “poisonous” beyond its healing virtues.
“Beneficial or harmful” it can be both a “magical preparation (...), a salvation help (...), a dye and a make-up”, it makes the body “different”, it transforms it in its very nature. Nothing will ever be the same again ...Something will remain from this trouble which has altered the vital potentiality and which has sometimes permitted the ultimate cure, thus opening a space of freedom, if not a body liberation, consumed by a blazing fire ... Hell and Heaven ...
And nonetheless .. heaven and Hell.. : the etymologic roots are enlightening as to the slow slide from Indo-European to Greek which transformed the substance which “carries power over” into the current definition of pharmakon. A rather strange reminder of the supreme authority given to maguses and soothsayers who, in the grip of some substances, would deliver the healing message ... illness and cure being concentrated on the same point would bear testimony to the absence of duality which characterized the sacred element. Pure and impure; sacred and profane; blessed and doomed, were then only the two faces of the same entity.
A remedy in the real meaning of the original term as well as an emanation from the one who prepares both medicine and poison –the pharmakos (eus) - , this pharmakon “ which alters the body nature” is both its consequence and its reminder.
The physician cannot be dissociated from it.
Here the subjective aspect appears and brings about whatever bolsters the placebo and the “placebo effect”. Magic, religion, cultures, primitive ages of mankind, antiquity, are there as watermarks, borne by words that are apparently close – and yet very different in the nuances and cryptic messages they carry, for those who would not pay attention to their definitions and their transformations throughout the ages.
The excesses brought about by the Bacchic cults in Europe, or by the abuses of pharmakon ingested by the “practitioner” who delivered the message in other countries, have most likely contributed in restoring a certain order. That “drug” supposed to convey a comprehension of what could bring about healing, eventually showed its effects and what it could entail in terms of cheating and deception. Thus the sacred was separated from the profane; the pure from the impure; the poison from the remedy.
Apparently nothing has remained from the original pharmakon – except its representation in the form of a rite - the pharmakos rite .
A symbolic reminder of what it was – a remedy - that “cures and heals” before becoming the current pharmakon , i.e. a medicine, it opens up onto strange spaces .
A remedy “ be a remedy for, take care of, correct” ... Though it was primarily a remedy “pharmakos “ , the current pharmakon keeps only traces of it. It is only a “medicine “ now.
“Pharmakon”, pharmakos ... pharmakon ...
The pharmakos enacts the original “pharmakon” in a materialized form : “Poisoner, magician, witch doctor ; that who is used as a remedial or a preventive agent, or who is sacrificed for another’s sins”; later, termed as “villainous, wicked.” The definition is explicit here and is strangely staged in a sinister ceremony where someone “expiates another’s sins” – one for all - and purges the city of its evils. A surprising passage which, at one point, characterizes both “illness and remedy” through the same word : pharmakos.
Here the inhuman echoes of ancient Greece can be heard, when a few unfortunate men, dragged out of their shelters and handed over to a furious mob full of hatred, could but oppose their silent suffering to the horde that called for their death...A straighforward remedy to ward off the evil of a society they were unlucky to belong to, they were selected among the disabled, the ugly, the poor, or the outcasts. They both embodied its illness and composed its saving remedy as they first wandered around the City streets in order to purify those who came across them or who touched them, so that their sacrifice should calm down the crowd and the premises of its rebellion.
Here the “symptom is not the disease”...: the trouble is to be found in some other place that we must consider and reach.
The pharmakos is a “symbol” ..
It speaks a cryptic language and reminds of the cure as it was at the “Beginnings”. It refers to ancient times when man was linked to nature and to his environment. Whatever he understood –or felt- enabled him to enact the process of cure by observing it and using its hidden living forces. A forgotten, repressed or deviated consonance, it reappears where it is least expected and recalls the past to reveal a trace, whose materialized aspect is shown in order to deliver its meaning.
The pharmakos is a “sign” of call.
The original “pharmakon”, emerges in a symbolic and cryptic form, whose task is to point out the evil as well as to cure it, since it shares its double polarity.
That cyclic ritual is a singular recall ... it seems to be laden with a multiple role, that of making visible whatever might be forgotten from a primitive past, conjugated in the present tense at various levels, and available in various aspects, be it historical, religious, therapeutic or cultural.
The pharmakos is a living symbol of that strange re-presentation which has the potential to start a new life cycle, as a witness and as a recall. The past is there as a wartermark, permeates the transmission, and introduces the placebo which is associated with it and is revealed to prevent the “pharmakon” –whose links with lies and ignorance Socrates deplored- from achieving its deathly, lethal and deceitful strategies.
What ruled over the pharmakos’ eviction out of the City walls is clear – when its Body’s order needed restoring or when the end of winter preluding to the spring’s arrival and
promising a new cycle was announced ... Everything was to be purified, through the slow progress in the City streets whose putrid miasmas had to be rid of... By raising new energies, as though restoring a dynamics, they were stimulated by perennial stems which ensured that a rebirth should not be done in an old form. The parts “useful for germination” were beaten so as to be sterilized and deprived of their reproductive power, which gave full strength to the symbol, before enacting the ultimate sacrifice, or, occasionally, the Body’s eviction from the City.
Somehow “staged “ in a scenario all the more tragic as it was recurring, linked to the primitive laws which most often emerge in the shape of rites, homeopathy designates both “illness and remedy”. It is not a medicine.
It seems a “remedy” such as it was originally. But its healing side, which bears its particular sign, overcomes the sole individual side to show through the collective one. It questions the City about the evil borne in its bosom which requires a recurrent purification. It includes the strange characteristic of being regularly taken out as a popular medicine, marred by incomprehensible and inexplicable facets, so as to serve as an outlet for an unnamed anger. .. The fear of “magic” descended from the most ancient times borders on the apparent assurance – and sometimes the arrogance- of the “affluent” in knowledge, in front of the common people, gullible and ignorant, who trust in witch doctors, decoction suppliers, or in herbs collected in the moonlight, at the time when the fairies fight for space with grimacing faces born from hellish darkness.
The fear is there, unraveling passions and looking for its scape-goat as soon as the anguish gets too strong or as order needs restoring – homeopathy recalls the “pharmakos”, bearing the poisoner’s characteristics, as well as those assigned to “ what serves as a remedy and a protective” before being labelled as “ an impostor and a scoundrel”. Like it, it “expiates” someone else’s offences. The past , invited to the present, is conjugated on stage. Doesn’t Jacques Derrida, in his book about pharmakon, recall how the reality –even unspoken- could be read through the lines inscribed by their author’s conscious and subconscious ?
Homeopathy, bearing the nursing “pharmakos” virtues –the original remedy- is laden with the magical past which is woven in it.
It therefore conveys whatever part of the pharmakeos soothsayer magician’s subjectivity when he prescribed some remedy, in precise rituals where rythms, hours and seasons played their parts . Consequently , it bears all the drawbacks inherited from the past according to a number of modern thought supporters supposedly liberated from any obscure legacy of that past.. Thus :
It cannot be but a “placebo”.
Pharmakos designated in its very essence turns out to be laden with an extra defect where the political borders on the religious : medicine, obscurantism and “magic” : charlatanism, magic, deception, fraud, lie, placebo. They are all linked together.
“It pleases the Lord, singing placebo” ... The first chords of the Evensong for the Dead sung by some crowd supposed to express the circumstance sadness for a few pence, already introduces a shameful connotation, in which the pretence borders on the swindle and allows the slow slide towards the definition : “ a medicine given to please the patient”.
The impact of that religious connotation can be understood, as its load - still active within the memories and transmitted throughout the generations - constitutes its subconscious.
In addition there is the confrontation of “the rich and the poor” in a space where sacred and solemn times are soaked in more prosaic interests .. the powerful and the great ones faced with “the simple crowd”; the medical scientists faced with the magicians; the scientists faced with the “visionary ignorant” .
Everything is in disguise ... except the truth which can but emerge, day by day, ever. ..
And maybe too , whatever imposes a communication within the living body and the laws of survival inscribed in the reptilian...: homeopathy, which was issued from the past after a long journey tainted with knowledges stemmed from the traditional medicines and speeches marked by religion, belongs to the strange areas of a knowledge which cannot but contribute in promoting and defining it.
Linked to the laws of the living by the so-called “traditional” medicines inherited from ancient ages, it disturbs ... This apparent “placebo” poses a problem, as well as its resilience faced with the regular attacks against it. Just as the pharmakos could ritually suffer them. It disturbs the order of the established thought by transferring the conflict in that shady area where everything is well-ordered, but where everything cannot be put in order; where everything is classified, but where everything cannot be codified, nor integrated in a precise box. Something disturbs. Just as the “placebo effect” which is linked to it and a number of other associated factors :
Actually everything is disturbing about the placebo.
There are no landmarks nor any real order – the magic certainly interferes ! There are variable, yet present results, some effects marked in the blood or in the brain-reflected images, but they are unavoidable effects, various criteria of positive action, unfortunately backed up by more uncertain factors, an action visible without prescribing the least molecule nor even the slightest granule... some subjective factors that can be spotted but not classified : the speech and the imaginary interfere and bring about tangible effects or action ... The subconscious mixes up its effects here.Traditions, culture, society, the subject’s history, genes bearing the memories of successive generations, they all have their say, to “speak” the subject, give him a “singular” place as well as his place within the living body.
There is no “case”,but just one subject; a subject at work who speaks the subconscious.
Past, future, present, everything is entangled; they state and denounce the “placebo” and deal with its “effect” in what it has to say and to reveal, as well as its inability to say and reveal everything ...
A well-known face, the placebo is used in experiments.
It is used to release the conclusive symptoms of the illness and the healing effect of the remedy to which its effects are compared. As precise, well spotted symtoms, they can be measured according to the placebo, before disappearing, thus bearing testimony of the molecule or the substance healing virtues... If the remedy is effective, it statistically enables to keep at bay the selected disorders, according to precise, statistically marked criteria for a majority of cases. If by any chance the answer was less obvious or more elusive with some subjects, a sub-class would be called for and would generate a different, more moderate treatment in terms of time and dose.Class and sub-class diagnosises, regularly re-examined and corrected, pose a problem to the physician as he can’afford to sum up the subject in “ one case”. They pose a problem to the research worker who cannot register all the figures liable to come up. They come up against what pertains to psychic pathology and its disorders that are difficult to label, to list and to cure : the deep-seated pathologies inscribed in the matrix of behaviour or exhibiting only one facet, directly linked to the culture or country of origin, are treated similarly. There is no consideration for what differenciates them nor for other approaches – which are nonetheless a possible answer for the subject. What is proposed here is the adequate answer and, unless one is careless, the imposed one.
Born from the huge America, even though its conception was not entirely originated there, the DSM still raises some questions . ..A North American model for mental disorders, this classification of mental disorders is used beyond the fronteers where it appeared. Some foreign pathologies are appended, provided they are to be found in the USA , as well as pathologies which are labelled valid for these countries too.
The therapeutic consequences cannot be described, as a list of symptoms replaces the description of the illness and the doctor’s expert approach to decrypt its real sense is eliminated.
This listing is unavoidable to prescribe, modify, sharpen the treatment with a commendable view to see more clearly, to have a common speech understandable by all; getting a cheaper working process has an interest, but it strikes a nag ... The research worker as well as the doctor are deprived of a control which falls to the statisticians and Health finance managers. Politics interfere, the Heart and the main organs of the City are summoned ... the question of universality is raised. A major problem, no less disturbing, arises for the physician when a therapy, a therapeutic mode or procedure are suggested, at times with a view to impose them. The physician is reluctant, the patient escapes from it ... Irrationality is in full swing where rationality wants to impose its law.
A little-known aspect : the “placebo” comes up against the DSM classification.
If the DSM wants to stick to statistical results , it shows its limits.If it wants to remain the only one accounting for what is and what must be done, it departs from the daily clinical reality. When it is left to the physician who strictly applies the treatments it poses a problem in front of the patient’s singularity. Its long-term effects are to be foreboded - though they are not particularly foreseeable at the moment. The evidence is given by the multiplication of pathologies to be treated uniformly, without any real individualization of the therapeutic contribution, the growing demand for systematic medications for the slightest “mishap” , and conversely the over-standardized treatments which raise the patients’ suspicions. The subject is ill- treated.
Moreover, though such an approach –parametrized and restrictive as it is- enables a classification in statistics and averages, it does not exempt from any of the hazards incurred by the “placebo effect” : the “healing pharmakeos”- what it is , what it stands for and what it shares - are still working. The “placebo effect “ constitutes the problem in experimentation. The not stricly comparable patients, groups, molecules, the exceptional situation linked to the setting up of the protocol itself, the lack of subjects all the more evident as the selection is strict, the announcements about the proposed medicine, its managers’ reputation ... they all contribute in complicating things and in toning down that aura of absolute objectivity.
The disturbing spectre of a “non measurable” relation appears.
The experimenter’s choice, the background, the remedies’colours and aspects introduce the shadow of the one who prescribes and makes –even though they don’t have the same face, the same aura, nor the same impact certainly, they can be put together in the melting pot.
The echo of the past reappears .
It appears suddenly at a level where it is hardly conceivable or parametrizable, nor above all reproducible, and shows how both power and “practitioner” meet and somehow “merge” in the prescribed medicine to impart its healing virtues and turn it into a “remedy” –that remedies and cures -...
Consider the art of medicine, the scientific precision and , located between these two references, the physician !
What comes from ancient times with its rites arises here as a watermark, unpredictably.Man then lived as an integral part of nature. He observed its effects and transposed them in the therapeutic media or medicines, the symbolic bearers of a heavy load. The “magic” side took its roots in the sacred and in the forces it summoned. Whatever cure was issued from it translated this constant dialogue with a world which, through the “practitioner” and what he conveyed, delivered his message laden with both powers of death and of life; that which recalls the original “remedy pharmakos” and thereafter the present pharmakon, that strange substance which brings an expiatory suffering to light by potentially “helping” to “ salvation”, thus possibly delivering people from the shadow of sin by hastening the ordeal of the “passage” through illness ...
A body illness, a thought illness ... The poison operates within the life forces; however all that cannot but be altered, transformed and memorized by the body and by the generations throughout the journey.
Recorded in the depth of the treatment, the placebo can only pose a problem.
It emerges in an unsuspected space which goes far beyond what has been described. What is it made of ? What irrational blending does it mix with the unexplained and the unexplainable ? Homeopathy would only have a “placebo” effect, psychoanalysis and its derivatives have a “placebo” effect, most traditional medicines would be “placebo” for the major part of their action.
Is the classic approach released from it ? Certainly not . Whenever the relation between the giver and the receiver occurs, the “placebo effect “ operates. The physician’s psyche, the belief in therapeutics, the virtues associated with it, the remedies aspects, the directions for use, they all intervene and are inserted in the subject’s personal and hereditary history and in his ways of establishing links with the outside and within himself.
Put forward by some, contested by others, questioning the value of medications prescribed through statistics and classifications that provide “cases” rather than suffering subjects, the placebo turns out to be linked not only to the conditioning imposed by culture and society, but to its perception of illness as well.
It clashes with what contributes to invest any treatment with an imaginary or “irrational” power...
“Irrational”... the key word ... it rhymes with unexplainable and comes out again regularly whenever the term “placebo” or its “effect” are pronounced. It makes the medicinal active element and the healing process difficult to grasp; it questions the way where the healing vector must go in order to be effective. It is of concern all the more so as the refusal to observe and analyze the facts with another approach or other tools strenghthens its hazardous expressions and uses.
Stamped with the Cartesian dualism, the supporters of “medical only”, grappling with the measurable, the assessable, the demonstrable oppose those who occasionally consider the relation as the only “primum movens” of the therapeutic impact.. The “case “ here clashes with the singular, the listing of the proposed signs has difficulties being superposed to what is “really “ beyond the complaint and the presented symptoms. Their real meaning is not analyzed.
The medication, the prescribed dose will not necessarily be adapted to the subject’s suffering. It escapes statistics as much as advanced listings to emphasize the prescribed molecule’s advantages and uses...
For want of a diagnosis of the real etiopathogeny, the subject can also be sent back to himself or be understood by the supporters of “relational only”, often little prepared to assess the impact of hereditary imprints or of ground transformations responsible for pathogenics that are impossible to neutralize by the only power of speech or of the healing rite.
Therefore the medicine, which has its own role, cannot be separated from the one who selects and gives it; nor can the physician be invested with such an active power that it would make any medication useless or always exempt from a material support. Even the past times magicians had their “daimon” – or their inner voices to guide them and whisper the right course, the right medication, or the “healing” speech. Torn between two trends that are as limited as they are little adapted to the singular, the medical art must then win acclaim again and the practicioner must throw light on the therapeutics for use with his experience and knowledge.
If the medicine is filled with a curative power, it is - according to the Indo European root – because it “conveys a power” whose more or less efficient mediator is the physician, owing to what he is and what he knows. In addition to its components which the body is liable to use in order to restore a new balance, the prescribed active substance turns out to bear a kind of “memory” implying the work of those who contributed in raising its therapeutic virtues.
Eventually... What of it ?
Allopathy : The prescribed medicine, like any therapeutic support, is pregnant with a “placebo effect”. The belief in its effectiveness, linked with the power of the therapeutic relation and the doctor’s faith in the value of the prescribed molecule, plays a part which is all the more important as the latter is stamped with the latest scientific data; the rest is achieved by the specific effect imparted to its action – demonstrable, reproducible and visible on various parameters .
Homeopathy : except in animal and cellular experimentation, considering its individualized action, the prescribed product can hardly pass the “double blind” test. This can only pose a problem ...
However the action of this diluted and dynamized substance is far from being only a “placebo effect”. It has an action of its own. Its positive effects and those that reveal a worsening follow a kind of logic which can be spotted through the pathogenesies. Therefore it does not have the only perceptible properties in the case of a so-called “ neutral” substance, active in its impact on the subjective and the imaginary, with the improvements, transformations or spontaneous sedation of symptoms which would characterize the “ placebo effect”.It operates as a vector of change, whenever the receiving organism treats the information so as to turn it into a curative signal, in conformity with the pathogenetic signs it reflects.
Thus it is considered as conveying only one “placebo effect” whenever one refuses to leave the range of action of a strictly molecular intervention. Whatever operates in the relation – as in a psychoanalysis, a psychotherapy, a cultural therapy or a simple curative support – contributes in completing an effective approach. The latter is all the more individualized as the subject’s reactional mode and mentality take shape as mirroring watermarks. The prevailing diathesis it belongs to is presented as a counterpart generally termed as a “psychic structure”.
Emerging from the words and the blanks of those who pass or passed on its message, the past pervades the present.
It influences the coming ages as well. Maybe we can consider that lies and ignorance, the thought poisons – as active as the pharmakon whose deathly effects Socrates described and underwent – are not totally effective in the end . The living body’s adaptative strategies eventually make them appear so that the perverse and hidden effects might be treated, don’t they ? The question may well be asked.
A medicinal “Pharmakos “, homeopathy plays a part.
A symbolic representation of an ancient past where magic, still synonimous of sacred – and not of devilish stratagems, bearers of illusions and charlatanism – would enable to observe if not to “perceive” Nature at work and to imitate its actions before fixing them in a “ritual” intended to keep the information, thus illustrating one of the healing messages. It indicates the remedy – not the medicine – likely to cure the body of the living and that of the City as well. Closely linked to the living whose laws it follows, it favours its adaptative potentialities at various levels :
Doesn’t it turn the placebo into a kind of “pharmakon” by leading it to indicate the poison of the established thought, which can open up a space for recovery even though it would leave marks ?
Doesn’t it point out those concepts which, rigidified if not ossified in a unique prospect, can become its pitfall and vector of confinement ? Beyond what may appear, diluted in vagueness, impalpable, magic and irrational, doesn’t it reveal its capacity to support dynamics ? Doesn’t it show its potential to restore a body’s energy, be it a living one or that of the society it belongs to ?
Doesn’t it raise the question of a materialism released from some founding contributions of the past, within certain limits, so that one goes from the remedy that cures to the medicine that “alters the body nature” ? Isn’t it beyond its visible aspect, in a subtle way, the bearer of a promise of evolution ?
The question can only remain stated...
It can also be concluded by this open-minded text, published in the Journal of the Medical Association in January 2007 and written by the Cote d’Or Medical Association Ethics Committee. Their words illustrate the difficulties met by the physician whenever he enters a dogmatic system. They encourage further reflexion :
“We all receive an identical training at the start, which is also a conformation. Conventional medicine has become a science based on evidences, at the end of comparative analyses. It is its own way of evolving, of improving and that approach reassures our western consciences. The other medicines lack in these near mathematical references, but they are reinforced by affective or historical references and by human experience. We all know patients who reported the successes of colleagues who practise a medicine different from our prerequisites. Rejecting a priori what is different borders on discrimination. It is not acceptable. An ethical attitude consists either in gaining a sufficient knowledge of the precepts that govern the other medicine, or in adopting a tolerant policy for the principles we do not know. In both cases it is advisable to avoid upsetting the patient who has his own landmarks and must benefit from them. This duty to be tolerant is valid for everyone. The indispensable faith in what one does should not lead to sectarism. We must recall that our professional code of ethics imposes to resort to colleagues when our own means seem insufficient or inadequate . (...) Our references, for want of being technical, must be human, that is to say moral. Noone has the monopoly of honesty. Under these conditions, how can we track down the purveyors of illusions, the miracle- workers, the quacks who deserve our reprobation ? Maybe by knowing each other better, by acknowledging the patient rather than the practice.
In order to avoid being passionate, the debate must be reasoned and focussed on the patient’s interest. Its support for any therapeutic approach should not bring discredit on it. During one of Mességué’s trials a barrister declared : “The healers are blamed for not being doctors, well I blame the doctors for not being healers !” This is a reflexion we should meditate upon.
To conclude, let us ban the term : alternative medicine. This epithet suggests an exclusive attitude which is quite unethical and unreasonable. The tolerance for others has the advantage of considering them as complementary ,which, far from sanctioning a breach between practitioners, far from imposing on the patient the necessity to conceal his alternate steps, enables to preserve a useful contact which will benefit everyone.”
Geneviève Ziegel Montpellier
Ziegel Geneviève. “Homeopathy faced with placebo”.
Monte Carlo international interviews Edition. Dec.2006
1 This text takes up part of the themes developed in the book : « homeopathy faced with placebo » by Genevieve Ziegel. Editions of Monte Carlo international interviews . Dec.2006
2 Medicama : “ an active substance used for treating a morbid ailment or manifestation”. Might come from latin medicamentum signifying : “medicine, remedy”, as well as “drug, dye, make-up” ; the distinction between “remedy” and “ medicine” coming first from the Indo European roots ( phar : carry, mak : can), then from the Greek roots (pharmakos, pharmakon), eventually causing the two terms to be separated : “all that heals the disease is remedy; medicines are only the matters or mixtures artificially composed, prepared and administered to produce that effect (...) medicines are the products of man’s certain industry (...) What is considered in the remedy is its effect, strength, effectiveness; in the medicine, it is its composition (...) or its use.” From Lafaye, dictionnaire des synonymes. Remedy, medicine. Le Grand Larousse de la langue Française. Deuxième édition. Tome IV . Page 1300.
3 Pharmakon : « Any substance by which a body nature is altered, any salutary or harmful drug, hence medicinal drug, medicine, prepared remedy, solid or liquid medicine ; means of ensuring salvation, deathly, consuming, murderous, lethal poison, magic preparation, dye, make-up … » Dictionnaire Bailly. 11è edition.
4 Pharmakeus (eos) : « The one who prepares or administers medicines ; the one who composes magic preparations, hence poisoner, magician.” Dictionnaire Bailly.
5 Pharmakos : “Poisoner, magician, sorcerer; the one who serves as a remedy or as a preventive agent, i.e. who is sacrificed to expiate another’s sins , particularly a city’s sins; later, villain, wretch.” Dictionnaire Bailly.
6 Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders.
7 Diagnostic classification of various mental disorders elaborated in the United States together with other countries, European in particular.
 This text takes up part of the themes developed in the book : « homeopathy faced with placebo » by Genevieve Ziegel. Editions of Monte Carlo international interviews . Dec.2006
 Medicama : “ an active substance used for treating a morbid ailment or manifestation”. Might come from latin medicamentum signifying : “medicine, remedy”, as well as “drug, dye, make-up” ; the distinction between “remedy” and “ medicine” coming first from the Indo European roots ( phar : carry, mak : can), then from the Greek roots (pharmakos, pharmakon), eventually causing the two terms to be separated : “all that heals the disease is remedy; medicines are only the matters or mixtures artificially composed, prepared and administered to produce that effect (...) medicines are the products of man’s certain industry (...) What is considered in the remedy is its effect, strength, effectiveness; in the medicine, it is its composition (...) or its use.” From Lafaye, dictionnaire des synonymes. Remedy, medicine. Le Grand Larousse de la langue Française. Deuxième édition. Tome IV. Page 1300.
 Pharmakon : « Any substance by which a body nature is altered, any salutary or harmful drug, hence medicinal drug, medicine, prepared remedy, solid or liquid medicine ; means of ensuring salvation, deathly, consuming, murderous, lethal poison, magic preparation, dye, make-up … » Dictionnaire Bailly. 11è édition.
 Pharmakeus (eos) : « The one who prepares or administers medicines ; the one who composes magic preparations, hence poisoner, magician.” Dictionnaire Bailly.
 Pharmakos : “Poisoner, magician, sorcerer; the one who serves as a remedy or as a preventive agent, i.e. who is sacrificed to expiate another’s sins, particularly a city’s sins; later, villain, wretch.” Dictionnaire Bailly.
 Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders.
 Diagnostic classification of various mental disorders elaborated in the United States together with other countries, European in particular.
GIRI, due to its nternational structure, organizes workshops yearly throughout the world. The aim of the GIRI is to bring together pharmacologists, biologists, physicians, chemists, physicists and other professionals to communicate, exchange experiences and develop joint research projects; the distinctive feature of the research activities of the group is the study of ultra low dose substances or high dilutions, homeopathy included. Although the mechanism of action of the very diluted solutions of active principles on biological systems is an important concern of the GIRI, the major interest of the Group is directed towards the advancement and understanding of high dilution effects. More than one hundred persons are GIRI members, coming from 20 different countries.
The GIRI was created in Monaco in 1985, sharing the same values as the Monaco Talks, by HSH Princess Antoinette de Monaco, Prof. Madeleine Bastide and Dr René-Philippe Halm.