H omeopathy is a system of alternative medicine developed in the eighteenth century by the German physician Samuel Hahnemann. Unlike conventional medicine where drugs are given to work against the body and its symptoms, homeopathic remedies work with the body to help stimulate the body to heal itself.
Homeopathic Medicine uses the "Law of similars" (like cures like). The term "homeopathy" was coined by the German physician Christian Friedrich Samuel Hahnemann (1755–1843) and first appeared in print in 1807. Minute doses of plant, animal and mineral substances are used for the treatment and prevention of various symptoms, especially those that have a mental emotional basis. A very gentle yet very effective way of treatment.
WHAT IS HOMEOPATHY?
The term homeopathy comes from the Greek words homeo, meaning similar, and pathos, meaning suffering or disease. Homeopathy is an alternative medical system. Alternative medical systems are built upon complete systems of theory and practice, and often have evolved apart from and earlier than the conventional medical approach used in the United States. Homeopathy takes a different approach from conventional medicine in diagnosing, classifying, and treating medical problems.
Key concepts of homeopathy include:
- Homeopathy seeks to stimulate the body's defense mechanisms and processes so as to prevent or treat illness.
- Treatment involves giving very small doses of substances called remedies that, according to homeopathy, would produce the same or similar symptoms of illness in healthy people if they were given in larger doses.
- Treatment in homeopathy is individualized (tailored to each person). Homeopathic practitioners select remedies according to a total picture of the patient, including not only symptoms but lifestyle, emotional and mental states, and other factors.
In medicine, there are two basic ways for treating ill health:
- The way of the opposites
- The way of the similars
Let’s take an example: Consider a patient having a cough.
- The way of the opposites (or the conventional medical way) is to use anti-cough drugs that suppress the cough
- The way of the similars (homeopathy) is to give a medicine to help the body recover from the cough. A homeopathic substance that will cause a cough in healthy persons can cure a similar cough and restore health in the ill patient
In homeopathy, the uniqueness of the individual and their symptoms is very important. Using our cough example, conventional medicine treats all coughs alike. In homeopathy, how you uniquely express the cough is important to your treatment, as are the other symptoms associated with your cough. All of the symptoms you experience are important to help us select the correct homeopathic medicine for you.
For example: some of the questions your naturopathic doctor or homeopath may ask you besides the regular medical questions pertaining your cough in order to give you the homeopathic remedy that bests suits your symptoms, may include:
- What is the color of the sputum?
- Is the cough better in a warm /cold environment?
- Is the frequency of the cough increased or decreased at night? Early morning?
- Is the cough better with drinking warm /cold fluids?
- What side of the throat is more painful on swallowing?
To help your naturopathic doctor identify the appropriate homeopathic medicine, accurate observation and reporting of your symptoms is essential. Here are the topics that you can think about before your next visit:
- unusual symptoms and the characteristics of your illness
- the pattern of your symptoms and the cause of your illness
- anything that make your symptoms better or worse (other than drugs)
- your level of energy and what affects it
- how your energy changes during the day
- your body’s response to weather
- your sleep position and patterns
- recurrent dreams
- foods that you specially like, dislike, or that effect you
- your thirst and fluid intake
- your bodily functions (menses, elimination)
- your personality
WHAT ARE HOMEOPATHIC REMEDIES MADE FROM?
Homeopathic medicines are made from plant, animal or mineral products, which are so dilutes that there, is no chance of toxicity. Remedies are sold in liquid, pellet, and tablet forms. After taking the homeopathic substance, your symptoms may become worse before they improve.
The worsening is usually a good sign that the medicine is working and the body is "house cleaning" in order to restore your health. If this occurs, please contact your naturopathic physician or homeopath.
SAFETY OF HOMEOPATHIC MEDICINE
Homeopathic medicines are not known to create side effects and hence are quite safe to use with babies, children, pregnant women and pets. However, please consult your naturopath or homeopath before using any medicine.
Homeopathic medicines in high dilutions, taken under the supervision of trained professionals, are considered safe and unlikely to cause severe adverse reactions.
Some patients report feeling worse for a brief period of time after starting homeopathic remedies. Naturopaths / Homeopaths interpret this as the body temporarily stimulating symptoms while it makes an effort to restore health.
Liquid homeopathic remedies can contain alcohol and are permitted to have higher levels of alcohol than conventional drugs for adults. This may be of concern to some consumers. However, no adverse effects from the alcohol levels have been reported either to the FDA or in the scientific literature.
Homeopathic remedies are not known to interfere with conventional drugs; however, if you are considering using homeopathic remedies, you should discuss this with your health care provider. If you have more than one provider, discuss it with each one.
People should be taking a homeopathic medicine for a limited time and only when the person is experiencing a specific set of symptoms for which the medicine is indicated. If these symptoms disappear, it is not necessary to take the medicine any longer. If the symptoms change, it may be necessary to take a different remedy or formula that most accurately fits the new set of symptoms.
IMPORTANT TIPS FOR STORAGE AND USING OF ALL HOMEOPATHIC REMEDIES
- Avoid coffee, camphor, mint, perfume, strong odours, essential oils, or recreational drugs since these substances are known to antidotes the effect of many homeopathic remedies.
- Store your homeopathic medicine away from light, strong odours and extreme heat or cold.
- Take your medicine at least 10 minutes before or after eating or drinking since food and drinks may interfere with its activity.
- Do not touch the pellets with your hands. Gently tap 2-3 pellets into the lid and then toss them into your mouth so they can dissolve under your tongue. If you have a liquid homeopathic, squirt 2-3 under your tongue.
- Take your homeopathic medicine ONLY as prescribed.