Robert Müntz took over the direction of the family-owned Salvator Pharmacy, founded in 1760. In 2003 he founded the company Remedia Homeopathy GmbH, a subsidiary of the Salvator Pharmacy that is now directed by his wife Sabine Müntz. In 2010 he built a new homeopathic laboratory in the Technology Center complex in Eisenstadt. Each year he has traveled to the Amazon or other exotic locations to acquire material for new remedies. He shares some of his adventures with us today.
AS: Welcome to Hpathy Robert! In 2003 you founded the homeopathic pharmacy Remedia Homeopathy GmbH and in 2010 built a new homeopathy laboratory in Eisenstadt. Throughout that time you were designing new potentizers. What motivated you to develop the new potentizers? What advantages are built into the potentizer Remedia uses nowadays?
RM: For many years I tried to develop a potentizer as there was a need to offer high potencies for special therapy situations. The most recent one is a result of different changes to the former potentizer such as:
1. Stronger force of strokes (500 G)
2. Eight prescriptions being potentized at one time
3. More reliable over a span of 100,000 potentizing steps
4. There is no electromagnetic interference of the remedy due to the use of pneumatic “muscles”.
AS: You’ve never been a sit a home pharmacist. You’ve travelled alone to remote areas of the Amazon to find material for remedies. You climbed giant trees and encountered poisonous spiders and snakes. Can you tell us something about those adventures?
RM: I had made it my goal to study and observe life up in the heights of the giant tropical trees. There is plant and animal life to be found there, about which still very little is known. The first challenge is how to get up there. It is a surprisingly difficult problem to solve without screwing bolts into the trunk or bark. The native Indios here use a loop made from palm fibers to climb 20-30 cm (8-12 inches) on strong trunks up into the crowns to gather their fruit. Those trees, however, in which I was interested are 30-40 meters (100-150 feet) tall, and their lowest branches are still 25-30 meters (75-100 feet) off the ground. Indios never climb these trees.\
View from 150 feet above the jungle floor
I came up with a solution which seemed to work well. To get up onto the first branches of the tree I used bow and arrow. Tying a fish line to the arrow, I shot it across the first branch and used this line to pull a climbing rope over the branch all the way to the ground. With one end of this tied securely to a tree, I ascended the trunk with the aid of a chest and hip belt. Getting down by rappelling off the trunk is comparatively safe and easy. In this manner it takes about one hour’s time to get up into the crowns of those giants. But the abundance and variety of life up there is well worth the effort: orchids, bromeliads, and insects which never make it to the bottom of the rainforest live here.
AS: Who did you live with during this trip to the Amazon?
RM: I was living with the Nhengatu tribe, which populates an area approximately 150 km (100 miles) upstream from Manaus on the ‘black water river’, the Rio Negro. This northern tributary of the Amazon is an area where mosquitoes are less of a problem. The acid rich water of the river is not conducive to the growth of their larvae.
The general area of the homeopathic expedition: the confluence of the Rio Negro and the Rio Solimoes constitute the Amazon river, the world’s largest river system
The language spoken by the Nengatu tribe in Terra preta is named after the tribe itself — Nhengatu. They live off hunting, fishing, and manioc farming, which makes them practically self sufficient. They don’t have any western medication or a medicine man which would advise them on the use of folk medicine. Therefore each one of them is an expert in plant identification and their medicinal uses. The gadgets of western civilization are unknown to them — there is no TV or radio. It struck me how calm and well balanced these people were.
AS: Do they get many visitors from the West?
RM: I was proud to be the first white person to live with the Nhengatus for a longer period of time and observe them hunting, fishing and farming. One important aspect of my trip was to look for already known sources of homeopathic remedies and maybe to bring back as yet unknown poisons or venoms and make them accessible to homeopathic provings. This was a task which the Nengatu tribe helped me to accomplish.
AS: How did you initially befriend the Nhengatu Tribe?
RM: Well, in Austria I got in contact with a lady who has been many times at the settlement of the Nhengatus. She was very popular among the Indians and much loved. They were very happy to see her again during my trip to Ven and it was easy to talk with them with her help. Unfortunately she became seriously ill just before our departure to Ven. Treatment with homeopathy was a project, and alas, it could not be realized because of her sudden death.
AS: You began the process of making remedies while in the field. What were the challenges of making remedies in the rainforest?
RM: When preparing homeopathic remedies in the jungle, one is faced with unexpected difficulties, particularly concerning the cleaning of the instruments. A hand trituration up to a C3 takes three laborious hours of grinding and scraping. There is no clean water, which means that sufficient quantities of distilled water have to be carried along. At a relative humidity of close to 100% and temperatures around 30-35º C (86-95º F) I had a difficult time preventing perspiration from my hands and forehead from getting into the mortar. And all this while fighting off insects which were attracted by the lactose being triturated.
An additional problem was the sterilization of mortar and pestle afterwards. I used some 96% ethanol, which I burned in the mortar to sterilize it. Every potential remedy was triturated to the C3 following Hahnemann’s instructions (6th Organon). Back home in my pharmacy, I used these C3 triturations as the basis for higher potencies. It was Hahnemann’s big pharmaceutical achievement to introduce C3 triturations in 1835 as the general and preferred way of preparation (c.f. Ref. 3). He changed from mother tinctures to C3 trituration because of their improved action and shelf life. The C3 trituration constitutes the highest and at the same time most elaborate way of preparing homeopathic remedies.
AS: Did you bring back any fish remedies?
RM: A homeopath in Europe had asked me to bring back the rare remedy Pyrarara for a difficult case of his. The fat from underneath the skin of this fish is used even today by the local population as a remedy for fresh or slow healing wounds. People with too much Pyrarara fat in their diet can develop symptoms which resemble leprosy. I isolated the yellow colored fatty tissue of a 1 meter (3 feet) long species of Pyrarara with a knife. Then 60 mg of it were triturated with lactose to the C1 potency, then up to the C3.
AS: How about snake remedies?
Similar to the fat of Pyrarara is the fat of the boa constrictor. It too is used by natives in the treatment of wounds, where it is applied directly to the skin and then covered with a piece of cloth. I prepared this, as of yet still unknown to homeopathy, remedy in the same manner as Pyrarara by C3 hand trituration.
AS: What other creatures did you explore?
RM: Another remedy I was supposed to bring back home was a species of the jumping spiders, the Salticides, which are of quite variable appearance. I found a colorful specimen of about 1.5 cm (3/4 inch) length. They move by either running or jumping, where the jumps take them a distance of about 10-20 cm (4-8 inches). On observation, the spider appeared to me as very nervous and shy. Closer observation reveals that its behavior is not just aimed at flight. It runs a bit away, stops, watches the suspected enemy and even comes back some distance towards the enemy. Apparently the peculiar behavior is aimed at surprising the enemy. You will find this spider frequently in the dried outer leaves of palm trees
AS: Did you make a remedy from fire root?
RM: When trekking through the jungle, it is almost unavoidable to make the unpleasant acquaintance of the so-called fire root, Cipó de Fogo. It pays well to keep away from her, because touching the young offshoots, the skin starts to burn like fire. Immediately after touching it, a well circumscribed redness develops. The pain subsides a bit over the next couple of days, but touching the affected area makes it flare up again. A fair skinned person develops a red discoloration, which changes to deep purple over a couple of days and disappears after 2-3 weeks.
AS: Could you describe the experience of hunting for specimens in the jungle?
RM: It is a laborious undertaking to hunt for homeopathic remedies in the Amazon jungle; sometimes it can even be dangerous. When I learned from an Indo that there is a certain kind of extremely poisonous spider in this area, I decided immediately that this would make for a potentially useful and interesting new remedy. On further inquiry, the Indio told of a child, which had been bitten by the spider while sleeping in a hammock. He started to scream horribly, and all usual medicine was not able to help him. The child died the next morning, with his skin a strong red to black color.
Of course I did everything to find this spider. After several days I got lucky. We found a hole in the ground of about 12 cm (5 in) diameter, in which a few spidery legs were visible from the distance. Attempts to scare the spider out of its hole with a stick were unsuccessful, so we used a shovel to open the spider’s home. I was surprised by the size of the animal; I have never before seen such a big spider. Catching it in an empty plastic cup, I was again surprised by the weight: I estimated it at about 0.25 kg (0.5 lbs.). On close observation I could see how the spider rubbed its hairy hindquarters with one of its legs and thereby spread almost invisible hairs all around the vicinity. Shortly afterwards, my skin started to itch unbearably, I had to scratch my palms continuously, but without any relief. Out of safety concerns and hygienic reasons I decided not to milk the spider in the jungle, but rather took it back with me to Europe, to have it properly identified. The spider turned out to be a specimen of Terraphosa leblondi.
AS: What was your most recent project?
RM: Last year I was in the Peruvian rain forest with Jan Scholten and a film team from Berlin. This documentary will be broadcast on 3SAT (50 minutes) on the 13th November at 8:15 pm (prime time). It shows my approach in finding and collecting material for new remedies in the rainforest. It also discusses the position of homeopathy in our medical system nowadays. Readers can watch a clip from the movie at www.seagull-film.de or http://www.youtube.com/embed/qL5_NrDBDzM?rel=0 which gives a sense of our adventures. The director’s cut (about 90 minutes) is available for purchase in the shop over our homepage. It`s adapted in English, Spanish and Arabian languages.
Robert Müntz and Jan Scholten in the rainforest
AS: Remedia makes 6.500 remedies and some of the most esoteric ones. You go to great lengths to satisfy customers’ needs. When someone orders a remedy from Remedia, there may be an adventure story behind it! Thanks so much for sharing with us today, and for your dedication to homeopathy.