From the Jungle, into the Jungle
For many years Mag. pharm. Robert Müntz has travelled to various rainforests all over the world and has become well-known as a supplier of homeopathic remedies. Pictures of his last expedition show that he is not afraid of exotic animals.
The pharmacist Mag. pharm. Robert Müntz is driven by two great passions: the desire to travel and the fascination for homeopathy. For more than 20 years he has undertaken expeditions to the most remote rainforests in order to look for new substances for homeopathic remedies.
When being asked how often he has been to the jungle, Robert Müntz has to stop and think briefly. Probably 40-60 expeditions, from Venezuela to Surinam, from Bolivia to Borneo. “I think altogether I have spent one and a half years of my life in the hammock,” the adventurer says. At the beginning of the 90ies his first trip took the pharmacist, born in 1958, to the Amazon rainforest in Brazil – it was love at first sight. “The range of emotions is overwhelming. The sheer joy when watching a pink dolphin jump or the feeling on the skin when it is raining as if the sky opened a tap – everything is a lot more intensive.”
It started out as a mere desire for adventure and nature, however, he soon noticed that travelling could be combined with his second great passion: homeopathy. Before his next trip to Brazil a friend and homeopath from Belgium asked whether he could get him a “Pyrarara”, a homeopathic remedy gained from the fat of a certain Amazon catfish. “I managed to get the fish, potentized the remedy on site and sent it to Belgium,” the pharmacist remembers. Word got around quickly that from his trips Müntz took remedies gained from animals and plants back home which no other producer supplied. Whether it was the rare Black Orchid from the jungle of Papua New Guinea or the fat of a Boa Constrictor.
Up to now almost every day Müntz receives enquiries from homeopaths from all over the world. Yet, he can only deal with a fraction of these enquiries – for reasons of time and conscience. “You come across simply absurd suggestions time and again. There has to be at least a minimum of material quality. If it gets into the area of esotericism, I refuse to do it. Because in that case homeopathy runs the risk of receiving negative publicity.”
FROM THE AUTODIDACT TO THE HOMEOPATHIC WHOLESALER
But how does one learn to make a remedy from the fat of a snake or the skin of a toad? “I have taught myself a lot by self-study in the course of years. In addition, various reference books and talks with other homeopaths have helped me a lot,” Müntz recounts. Already during his time at university he started manufacturing his first homeopathic remedies at the laboratory of his father’s Salvator Apotheke (pharmacy) at Eisenstadt. “One reason for my fascination for homeopathy was certainly the fact that my father ridiculed it so much,” the pharmacist, himself father of three children, remembers with a grin. Furthermore, his then one-year-old son had to fight a persistent angina time and again. “Only when our family doctor administered a homeopathic remedy, he recovered. This was proof to me how effective homeopathy is – even if you do not understand it completely.” When Müntz took over his father’s pharmacy in 1990, he increasingly started to concentrate on the manufacturing of homeopathic remedies. “We have expanded our range of preparation methods continuously, from C- and D-potencies to Q- and Korsakoff-potencies.” In 2003 he set up his own factory named Remedia Homöopathie GmbH. Today he provides more than 5,500 different globules and dilutions in addition to the registered remedies of Remedia GmbH at Salvator Apotheke. With his most recent company Reference Analytics Müntz also wants to enter the market of nosodes. At the moment they are busy meeting the legal demands and validations. Prospects are soaring.
THE CALL OF THE JUNGLE
Nowadays Salvator Apotheke is run by his wife Mag. pharm. Sabine Müntz. However, with more than 80 employees at three companies there is more than enough to do. Yet, Müntz is drawn to the jungle time and again. “Of course it was always hard to say good-bye to my family.” Moreover, it is a certain risk to leave back the companies. Therefore excellent preparation for a trip is essential. In this case Müntz has also learned from mistakes of past expeditions. “Unaware and confident, we were going by rubber dinghy through a region in Peru where cocaine was grown on a large scale. Luckily, we were stopped by the military and taken into protective custody.” On the Rio Negro a trip ended with a heat collapse at a military hospital: “We were going along the equator by boat for about 20 days. Without a sun sail and sufficient headwear.”
The choice of an expedition team is almost equally important as the preparation as such – because certain things cannot be planned. “You need people who do not lose their heads and nerve,” Müntz says. “When a myriad of leaf-cutter ants attacks the camp at night and changes shoes and rucksacks into colanders, you can only jump into the nearest pond and wait.” In addition, there is the aspect of hygiene: After three days in the rainforest you are bound to smell each other. “As a rule I therefore only travel with a local guide and friends of whom I know that they just take part in everything,” Müntz explains laughing.
On principle, the enthusiastic adventurer is convinced that any expedition to the jungle is a lot less dangerous than it is supposed to be over here. “Of course, when lying in the hammock at new moon not seeing anything, it is somehow scary. However, all these worries are just based on education and stories. In fact, a simple car ride along the A1 is a lot more dangerous.”
PAIN ON BEHALF OF HOMEOPATHY
His most recent expedition in July 2012 took Robert Müntz to the rainforest of Peru. There he was looking for a very special animal: the “24-hour-ant” as it is called by the locals. The name of the animal comes from its sting: It is said to be the most painful sting of all animals and the pain lasts as long as 24 hours. “It cannot be covered by anything,” Müntz reports from own experience. He had himself stung by some of these nasty creatures – voluntarily. This is no way love of masochism but the fundamental principle of homeopathy, the so-called homeopathic law of similars. It says that a sick person can be cured by a remedy which causes similar symptoms to those of the sick person in a healthy proband. For many years Müntz has therefore tested a lot of substances on himself right in the jungle. He wanted to check the symptoms.
In the years to come the busy pharmacist will reduce the quest for new remedies. “In fact, in the meantime homeopathy has enough remedies and the existing ones have to be tested thoroughly.” However, he remains loyal to the jungle. Recently he bought a piece of primeval forest in the jungle of Costa Rica, where he wants to set up a biological station. “I do not know yet what will really be possible there but I am looking forward to getting to know the rainforest, the howler monkeys and the morpho peleides. It will be a sanctuary. And maybe also a place to find new homeopathic remedies.”
After the takeover of the pharmacy in 1990 Müntz increasingly started to concentrate on the manufacturing of homeopathic remedies. In 2003 he set up his own factory, Remedia Homeopathy.
On his last expedition to the Amazon rainforest in Peru Robert Müntz and his team were accompanied by a film crew from Berlin. Last November the travel film “Jungle camp for homeopaths” was broadcast on TV. Here is a short trailer (in German).