It’s World Homeopathy Awareness Week, so we are reprinting a number of features having to do with this fascinating alternative to medicine.

Dear Dr. Boli: I have a small splinter in my toe, and my friends recommended digging it out with a sterilized needle. That sounds like it would hurt. I was wondering: Is there a non-invasive homeopathic remedy for splinters? —Sincerely, A Man with a Splinter in His Big Toe, Specifically the Left One.

Dear Sir: Dr. Boli is not a doctor of homeopathy, but he has consulted with a number of well-known homeopaths who prefer to remain anonymous. This is the answer they provided.

First, it is important to determine whether the splinter is a wood splinter. We shall assume that it is; but if it is a splinter of something else–glass or ceramic, for example–then please write again and give more specific details.

As homeopathy operates on the principle that whatever in measurable quantities causes a symptom will in infinitesimal quantities cure the same, the homeopathic remedy for a wood splinter is, of course, sawdust highly diluted. The dilution must be in inverse proportion to the size of the splinter; for, as homeopathic remedies are stronger the more they are diluted, it should be plain to the veriest tyro that a larger splinter will require a stronger and therefore greater dilution. For an average splinter, a 15C dilution of sawdust is recommended.

It goes without saying that you should not attempt to manufacture this dilution yourself. Even if you could provide the properly sterile distilled water and the necessary measuring equipment, there are certain incantations which, without going into any detail, Dr. Boli’s homeopathic consultants have darkly hinted are required in order to render the remedy effective.

Dr. Boli’s correspondents asked him to remind you that homeopathic remedies may take some time to work through your system to the big toe, the time depending in particular on the strength and magnetic orientation of your vital force. Should infection set in, remind yourself that what allopaths call “infection” is in fact nature’s way of dealing with an interruption to your body’s perfect health. Should the infection progress, Dr. Boli’s correspondents have pointed out that amputation is an entirely natural and drug-free alternative to homeopathy.