Homeopathy

What is Homeopathy?

Homeopathy is a safe, gentle, and natural system of healing that works with your body to relieve symptoms, restore itself, and improve your overall health. It is extremely safe to use, even with very small children and pets, has none of the side effects of many traditional medications, is very affordable, is made from natural substances.

It is used to treat acute illnesses, like colds, ear infections, migraines, and sore throats, as well as chronic conditions, like asthma, depression, autism, and arthritis.

Homeopathic medicines – known as “remedies” – are made from natural sources (e.g., plants, minerals), and are environmentally friendly and cruelty-free. Most are available over the counter in grocery stores, drug stores, health food stores, homeopathic pharmacies, and online. They are also extremely affordable. Homeopathic remedies when used as directed, are completely safe for everyone – including pregnant and nursing women, infants, children, and adults. They are given in such small doses that they don’t cause side effects.

One thing to note is that the word homeopathy is not a general or “umbrella” term that describes a variety of different natural therapies. Although homeopathic remedies are derived from natural substances, homeopathy should not be confused with herbal medicine, Chinese medicine, or other types of natural medicines. It is its own, unique therapeutic system. 

Anyone can learn to treat simple conditions safely at home using homeopathy, but a professional should treat serious or life-threatening conditions.

How Homeopathic Medicines are Made

Homeopathic medicines are drug products made by homeopathic pharmacies in accordance with the standards and processes described in the Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia of the United States (HPUS) – the official homeopathic manufacturing manual for the United States. Homeopathic medicines are regulated by the FDA and homeopathic pharmacies must comply with the FDA’s current Good Manufacturing Practices. The substances used to prepare homeopathic medicines include plants (such as Wolf’s Bane, Deadly Nightshade, dandelion, or plantain), minerals (for example, iron phosphate, arsenic oxide, or sodium chloride), or animal products (e.g., the venom of a number of poisonous snakes, or the ink of the cuttlefish). There are even a few homeopathic medicines prepared from chemical drug substances such as penicillin or streptomycin.

The technique for making a homeopathic medicine involves repeated dilution of a specific substance until little of the original substance remains. When manufacturing a homeopathic medicine from a plant, for example, the first step involves cleaning and preparing the plant with alcohol and water, as prescribed in the HPUS, to make a tincture. This tincture is then diluted and strongly shaken. This step is repeated over and over to create increasing potencies of the medicine. For example, one drop of a plant tincture may be mixed with 9 drops of alcohol (to achieve a ratio of 1:10), and the mixture will then be strongly shaken – a process known as succussion. The resulting homeopathic medicine is labelled with a potency according to the number of times this has been done.

For instance, a substance that has been diluted 1:10 and succussed six times will be labelled 6X and contains 1 part of the original substance in 1 million parts of the diluent. Homeopathic medicines are available in various dosage forms and potency ratios. Two of the most common dosage forms are pellets and tablets, which are composed of sugar and lactose saturated with the liquid dilution. The most common types of potencies available are X (1:10 ratio), C (1:100 ratio), and LM or Fifty Millesimal (1:50,000 ratio). (Note that a 1M potency is simply an abbreviation for 1000C.) Like traditional medicines, a homeopathic medicine can be designated as a prescription or non-prescription drug. Most homeopathic medicines are non-prescription unless they a) have limited use for serious conditions; or b) are made from a toxic substance and are low enough in potency (dilution) that they contain a potentially harmful amount of this substance.

How Does Homeopathy Differ From Conventional Medicine?

Homeopathy is based on a rule of nature called the Law of Similars. This law states that “like cures like,” or that a medicine can cure a sick person if it can cause a similar sickness in a healthy person. For instance, if you peel an onion, your eyes burn, itch and water. You might also have a runny nose and begin to sneeze. If you had similar symptoms during a cold or allergy attack, such as a runny nose, watery eyes and sneezing, a homeopathic micro-dose of the remedy Allium cepa (red onion) would help your body heal itself.

The homeopath regards symptoms as the body’s healthy attempt to restore itself to balance. That is why a homeopath will choose a remedy that supports the symptoms – rather than opposing them or suppressing them as in conventional medicine. In conventional medicine, a cold or hayfever sufferer is given an antihistamine to dry up the runny nose and watery eyes artificially. But this medication often comes with unpleasant side effects like sleepiness and constipation. With the correct homeopathic remedy, however, there are no side effects and a person is restored to health naturally.

Homeopathy also recognizes that each person exhibits his or her disease in a unique and slightly different way. That is why two people with the same disease will not necessarily receive the same homeopathic remedy. A cold sufferer with a stopped up nose and dry eyes would receive a different remedy than one with a runny nose and watering eyes. Unlike the “one size fits all” approach to prescribing often used in conventional medicine, a homeopath chooses a remedy that matches the unique symptom profile of the individual. Conventional medicine seeks to control illness through the regular use of medications; if the medicine is withdrawn, the person’s symptoms return. For example, the daily use of drugs for asthma (or any chronic disease for that matter) alleviates the symptoms but does not cure the underlying problem. In homeopathy the ideal is that a person needs just enough of the homeopathic remedy to stimulate their healing response. In other words, homeopathy seeks to cure a person so that they do not need any medications – homeopathic or otherwise.

The History of Homeopathy

The Law of Similars has been documented since at least the time of Hippocrates (ca. 400 B.C.), but it is Samuel Hahnemann (1755-1843), a German doctor and chemist, who is credited with founding homeopathy. He discovered the truth of the Law of Similars by testing small doses of medicine on himself.

By 1900, about twenty percent of doctors in the United States were homeopaths, but due to various political and social changes, homeopathy became relatively unknown in the US until recently. There is wider acceptance of homeopathy in such countries as France, Germany, Mexico, Argentina, India and Great Britain. In fact, the family doctor to England’s Queen Elizabeth is a homeopathic physician. In fact, the World Health Organization estimate that it is currently practiced by over 500 million people worldwide.

What is “Classical” Homeopathy?

Over the last 200 years, many definitions of “classical” homeopathy have been used. At the core of nearly all of these definitions are the following key elements:

  • The Law of Similars: matching the symptoms of a medicine tested on healthy humans to the individual seeking treatment.
  • The Minimum Dose: determining the least amount of medicine needed to effect the needed change.
  • Totality of Symptoms: matching the complete symptom profile of the patient to the symptom profile of the remedy.
  • Single Remedy: administration of one remedy at a time.

Who Practices Homeopathy?

Homeopathy is practiced by a wide variety of health-care practitioners including medical doctors, osteopaths, naturopathic physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, dentists, veterinarians, chiropractors, acupuncturists, nurse midwives, podiatrists, and professional homeopaths. Individual states regulate the practice of homeopathy, and each state’s laws and requirements for practice are different. 

In most cases, homeopathy can be practiced legally by any health professional whose license entitles them to prescribe medicines, such as MDs, DOs, NDs, etc.  In addition, three states specifically license the practice of homeopathy for medical and osteopathic physicians: Arizona, Connecticut, and Nevada. Two of these states, Arizona and Nevada, also allow the practice of homeopathy by registered Homeopathic Medical Assistants, under the auspices of a licensed MD or DO. Since 2000, Minnesota, Rhode Island, and California have adopted legislation that allows unlicensed complementary and alternative health practitioners (including unlicensed homeopaths) the freedom to practice as long as they give full disclosure of their training and background. Efforts are underway in other states to adopt similar legislation.


Source: homeopathycenter.org

Print Friendly, PDF & Email