Homeopathy, a holistic medical system, was created over 200 years ago by Samuel Hahnemann, a medical doctor disenchanted with traditional (allopathic) medicine and its inability to actually cure disease. A combination of scientific method and art, homeopathy is founded on a series of distinct principles, the basis of which is “like cures like” meaning a substance that can cause symptoms in a healthy person, can also cure them in its homeopathic (diluted, energetic) form.
What is a Remedy?
Homeopathic remedies are made according to FDA guidelines using highly and systematically diluted materials of plant, mineral, or animal (usually milk) origins. The remedies are prepared according to the second principle, “potentization,” a process by which the remedy is highly diluted in water and converted to energy by succussion (a method of shaking) creating a non-toxic, safe medicine for people of all ages, as well as animals.
Unlike herbal preparations, there is not a single measurable molecule of the original substance remaining in the remedy, only its vibrational energy. The water is then infused onto sugar pellets. Many people dose with the dry pellets, but water dosing (taking the remedy in water) has gained momentum as a gentler, faster-acting method.
While remedies are available in most health food stores and on the web for under $7, it is not advisable to try to treat chronic issues on your own. Acute issues such as colds, ear infections, stomach bugs, influenza, bruises, etc. are a great place to start treating yourself and your family. There are many excellent self-help books available (see resources) to assist you in choosing a remedy. However, if you are under the care of a homeopath for a chronic issue, it is not a good idea to treat yourself without consulting with your homeopath first.
In accordance with homeopathy’s third principle, each remedy is “proven” in a clinical study of healthy people to determine what symptoms it can cure. While there are over 2,000 proven remedies available today, approximately 200 remedies, known as polychrests, comprise those most frequently used.
How Does it Work?
Homeopathy addresses the body in a holistic manner, meaning it takes into account all symptoms, mental and physical, as it addresses the body’s core weaknesses and obstacles to health. The remedy works as a catalyst to stimulate the person’s own immune system to respond and heal itself by strengthening the body’s overall constitution. It does this using the smallest possible dose. This fourth key principle is the law of the “minimum dose,” meaning the dose given is so small it should cure without side effect.
The goal of homeopathy is to restore true health so the remedy can be discontinued. Unlike allopathic medicine, the correct remedy (called the simillimum) cures the underlying issue (without side effects) so a lifetime of medication is not necessary.
Are Herbs Homeopathy?
Homeopathy is often confused with herbs or supplements and mistakenly used as a catch-phrase for alternative medicine or considered “new age.” However, classical homeopathy is its own complete system of medicine using one remedy at a time. A holistic approach, homeopathy treats the whole person taking into account not only physical and mental symptoms but things such as dreams, sleep habits, food cravings and aversions, general personality, family health history, etc. It is safe for pregnancy, newborn babies, and even pets.
Does it Really Work?
Contrary to the mass of misinformation in the press and on the web, there are many scientific studies in peer-reviewed medical journals confirming homeopathy’s effectiveness. Documented results in treating babies and pets disproves the placebo effect theory sometimes attributed to its success. It is nontoxic and effective in treating both acute and chronic illness. Homeopathy is an individualized, natural, holistic medicine offering healing and health to everyone.