Gemmotherapy - Super Herbs

There are a number of therapies that have been used for the last thirty-five to two-hundred years that follow some homeopathic principles and are powerful adjuncts to classical homeopathic prescribing. Hahnemann utilized isotherapy which uses the dilutions of the blood or urine of the patient. Hering developed nosode therapy which incorporated diseased tissues, and Conan created diluted and dynamized organotherapy, which is the administration of healthy organs, glands or tissues from animals to rectify the analog organs, glands or tissues in the human patient.
Gemmotherapy is a branch of phytotherapy (more specifically embryophytotherapy) which was discovered by Henri Pol Bruxele and colleagues in 1965. This was further detailed and developed into a clinical application by Max Tetau, MD.

Gemmotherapy employs glycerine macerates of fresh buds and other vegetative tissues in the growing stage. Dechelating lithotherapy uses dilutions of minerals and rocks to help liberate oligoelements (trace elements) so that the latter can be more efficiently utilized by the body. Oligotherapy utilizes metalloid homeopathic dilutions of trace elements to improve enzyme function and is commonly used with the other therapies mentioned.

Oligotherapy (trace mineral therapy) is often used concurrently with gemmotherapy as they act as catalysts. The oligo elements catalyze the enzymatic systems of the body to more efficiently utilize the gemmotherapy: allowing detoxification that would take months with gemmotherapy alone to happen within weeks.

Gemmotherapy incorporates the buds of fresh plants or embryonic tissues in the growth phase, such as young shoots. These tissues are rich in growth factors, including phyto hormones, auxins and gibberellins. The active principles in the gems are present which start to disappear after a plant reaches a certain point in its growth. An example is auxin which is a hormone found in plants, in vitro studies show that auxins stimulate cell growth. This substance has been tried in agricultural applications and has been successfully used in Italian peach orchards for the purpose of growing larger peaches that have a better resistance to disease.

Auxins have a fetal hormonal action and are found only in the buds of a plant. Gibberellins are the other principle factors in these remedies. They stimulate RNA and protein synthesis. Like the auxins, they are present only in the buds and are not found in the whole plant. Therefore all of our current homeopathic remedies that are prepared from the whole plant (usually flowering) do not have these key elements present.


For many years gemmotherapy held an important place within French homeopathic circles where these macerations were used for the purpose of drainage and detoxification. It is for this reason that the first comprehensive studies on such therapy came about from the Homeopathic Society of Normandy and constituted the object of important publications in the homeopathic archives of Normandy.

Dr. Max Tetau states: "When an emunctory of the organism, that is an excretory system such as the kidneys, the liver, etc., is inadequate or blocked, when a glandular or tissulary system is deficient, when a well individualized treatment conforming to the similimum of the patient does not give the hopeful results, but on the contrary presents aggravations or the appearance of new troubles, it is necessary to stimulate the organs of elimination by means of medications whose organic tropism or physiological affinities are known... page 41.

Phytoembryotherapy, also referred to as gemmotherapy, is very close in concept to homeopathic therapy due to this drainage capacity. In a homeopathic sense, drainage stimulates the organs emunctories, allowing it to more effectively react to the homeopathic therapy.

Three types of drainage have been distinguished:
1. Drainage by means of organ stimulation.
2. Drainage by means of tissue excitation.
3. Drainage by means of toxin elimination.

Gemmotherapy provides us with a modern method of drainage, perfectly adapted to the Vital Force disturbance being treated. It can easily be combined with other homeopathic prescriptions. If people are considered as a whole, the elements to which they fall prey develop on a terrain weakened by the slowing down of the elimination organs - emunctories - which are trying to work while there is a continued growth of a pool of toxic substances, badly broken down metabolites, waste material and immune complexes. There is also a concurrent decrease in the defense systems.

In the past drainage remedies have been limited to what was available in our Materia Medica. The kidneys were stimulated by berberis and solidigo. The liver with chelidonium, taraxacum, and carduus marianus. The skin was drained with fumaria, saponaria and viola tricolor. Other remedies were aimed at tonifying the veins like aesculus, hamamelis, hydrastis and viburinum. These previously utilized approaches can be amplified and diversified with the use of specific gemmotherapy remedies, as well as organotherapy which is used to stimulate or regulate the function of specific organs.

Homotoxicology is a parallel concept. Their hypothesis is a progressively worsening internal clogging of the body as a primary path of the aging or disease process. This concept is quite valid since it facilitates the development of pathology. Homotoxicology remedies are combinations used to reverse this toxic trend and bring the body back into a healthier state.

Drainage is a technique acting internally as one of the "Natura Medicatrix," a specific Hippocratic concept. Draining remedies work in a mild and prolonged manner as they aid the function of the bodies emunctories in order to gently detoxify it. Homeopathic remedies customized according to the Law of Similars are more likely to work on a terrain that has been thus improved with a significant reduction in the risk of aggravation.

For today's homeopath, drainage has become an even more important issue. Our patients have changed considerably from those who have consulted Hahnemann or, more recently Kent and Hering. The patients we see today are stuffed with tranquilizers and sleeping pills. Heart and stress patients come to us with a variety of antiarrythmic's, diuretics and calcium deposits. Hormone therapy and vaccinations flourish among our population. Antibiotics, anti- inflammatories, analgesics and antihistamines are all in wide spread usage. As some of these medications are often necessary, there is no question about stopping them immediately, rather we seek an eventual reduction in the drugs used.

As soon as they are harvested, the bud and embryonic plant tissue are soaked in a mixture of glycerin and alcohol, in a ratio of 1/20 of the dry weight of the fresh plant used. Glycerin is selected as an excipient as it allows for better extraction of the embryonic ingredients. After three weeks, the macerate is filtered and diluted to 1/10 with a mixture of water, alcohol and glycerin. With this 1/10 solution, Hahnemann's first decimal (DH), is the medicinal form of gemmotherapy remedies. It is the only one prescribed since it is the formula that provides the maximum and, above all, the most consistent effect. All of the glycerin extracted macerates are subject to the protocols in the French pharmacopoeia.

by Daniel P. Towle, D.C., DNBHE
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