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An introduction

Other than the 'tradition' (b. 1920s) of using biodynamic preparations, until the mid 1980s I had only heard of one person suggesting Dr Bach's Rescue Remedy for a sick house plant, and of QR for improving compost. Now, I am familiar with several approaches (some of which have lead to commercial products) and you can read their stories here. All these disciplines use preparations whose effect cannot be explained within the orthodox western scientific understanding (although there are ever more investigations within the scientific tradition), and which leave infinitesimal or zero material residues. Whilst some are derived from the biodynamic preparations, others take their heritage from homoeopathy or other disciplines dealing with 'energy'.

There is no universal agreement between the practitioners and advocates on the application rates, the modus operandi, or the bigger picture that might incorporate the ability of such preparations to interact with plants to their benefit.

For some this is yet another reason to dismiss such an approach to plant health as barren. However, I am of the opinion that the trickle of reports of success - some backed up with unsolicited testimony from well respected and independent horticultural laboratories - is a spur to clarify the ground and to establish a firmer foundation. A cheap, safe and easy-to-make set of solutions with zero-residue and a 200 year history of, at the very least, being harmless, seems to be a very attractive avenue down which to stroll, especially when contrasted with the corpse-strewn highway which is the current alternative. This part of the Considera initiative is an invitation to chose this avenue and join in the work of constructing that secure platform.

Much of the existing work is inspired, directly or indirectly, by Rudolf Steiner's agriculture course lectures of June 1924. It is clear that this is the case for the 'classical' BD preparations. For these, as far as theory is concerned, the agriculture course itself, Karl Konig, Enzo Nastati and Glen Atkinson have given me the most help. Otherwise, without some insight, it really seems like pantomime witchcraft!

I am particularly heartened that, in recent years, there have been original developments from the biodynamic preparations; creativity has been seen to flourish. Conservative feathers have been ruffled, and questions asked about whether this is 'real biodynamics', but it has got to be good for the transition from dogmatic to critical practice. May E Bruce, Glen Atkinson and Enzo Nastati have taken their lead from these biodynamic preparations but have then potentised them as homeopaths do, although May E Bruce dispensed with the sheaths that are usually used when making the BD preps.

Hugo Erbe, although continuing to use the classical preparations, added another 21 to the originals and used them to great effect in his plant breeding. However, his work was clearly influenced by the approach to the natural world as being the physical manifestation of beings and the work of beings - another barrier for the orthodox modern scientist.

I thought that I had found a spontaneous and original departure when I found the work of GSR Murthy in Andhra Pradesh, India. Indeed it would be unfair to simply call it derivative, but I was very interested to discover that Mr Murthy was inspired in his work by reading Dr Dorothy Shepherd's 'A Physician's Posy' (p230 in my 'Health Science Press' 1969 Edition) in which the biodynamic work was mentioned. Mr Murthy spent 30 years experimenting with 'homoeonutrients' and homoeopathically potentised plant strengtheners.

Something similar has been attempted by those behind the Biplantol range in Germany and Switzerland. Independent research shows some encouraging results with these too.

I came across the work of Vaikunthanath Das Kaviraj, a Dutch homoeopath who had created a materia medica and repertory (available in book form since August 2006 from this site). These were the fruits of 12 years of research into the effects of remedies from the homoeopathic pharmacopoeia when used on plants in Australia. Vaikunthanath Das Kaviraj based his approach and recommendations firmly on the shoulders of Hahnemann and Kent and the classical school of homoeopathy: single remedy, minimum dose, repeat only with great caution etc. Incidentally, it seems that Margery Blackie ('The Patient, Not the Cure', p 143+, 1989 Woodbridge Press edition) know of some work with dying trees and grain growing, and before her von Boenninghausen's interest in agriculture threatened to spill over into his homoeopathic work ('Lesser Writings') but, if it exists, it seems not to have been printed. Lucietta Betti in Italy worked within an orthodox academic framework and you can read of others 'doing science' in the literature survey. Stephan Baumgartner has taken on diligent scientific investigation into homeopathy as the result of a national referendum in Switzerland. He works from the University of Bern, frequently using plants for his work. Dr. M. Abdul Lethif is working on his 'Agrocare' range in Kerala. The Comenius Institute are working in South America.

There are schools which consider that they have harnessed the effective aspect of biodynamic and homeopathic remedies without even the water, alcohol or milk sugar 'carrier' used in most homoeopathic schools. Cosmic pipes and radionic broadcasters transmit the 'pattern' directly. And then there are those who think that this is all unnecessary and that 'intention' is enough, and 'you grow what you think'.

As an individual I have interest in all of these ideas, but it all depends on when one hits ones 'boggle threshold'. By this I mean to acknowledge that all of this is 'off the map', it is 'weird' stuff. For each person there is a point at which the madness overwhelms the method, and there is no obvious way to sift out the geniuses from the charlatans ... or is there?

Well, yes I think there is a way to get beyond ones skepticism, and this is where the dull plodding scientific method comes in. The Considera conviction is that research needs to be continued, both in the field and in the laboratory, and results need to be collated. Furthermore, a common language needs to be found so that people from across the spectrum can communicate about these things.

The method that is being suggested by this site is that of trial, observation, and cataloguing, followed by distillation of these experiences by those interested. The language is that of observation (phenomenology), standard botanical pathology (named diseases) with a very restrained sprinkling of biodynamic jargon. I have found it hard to avoid the latter because - outside of such circles - there are no culturally accepted terms for many of the aspects which biodynamic growers recognise.

The framework that has been used for humans and animal health is the literature of the homoeopathic materia medica (the catalogue of what each remedy does) and repertory (the index to this catalogue). Considera has taken the seeds of these from Vaikunthanath das Kaviraj and making them available for the democratic processes of science: trials, research, peer review and time. Let's try it!


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