Homeopathy is a safe, natural form of medicine, based on the practice of treating like with like. Homeopathy is derived from the Greek words homios, meaning like or similar, and italios, meaning suffering.
Homeopathy is concerned with treating the whole person rather than the illness alone. The homeopath will consider the patient as a whole, both physically and psychologically, taking into account the patient's physical appearance, their likes, dislikes and their temperament. It is there fore a highly personalized form of treatment, so patients who apparently suffer from the same illness may be given advice for different medicines.
Homeopathy is a well established form of healing. Today many of the leading pharmaceutical companies are researching and mass-producing homeopathic medicines.
Homeopathic medicines look very much like conventional medicines, are taken in the same way, but the way they work is entirely different.
The medicines are not synthetic and are derived from natural sources. Over 60% of homeopathic remedies are prepared from vegetable or plant materials. Other remedies are prepared from naturally occurring mineral substances, including metals, non-metallic substances, and mineral salts. Animal sources of homeopathic remedies include: Cuttlefish (the ink or juice provides sepia) and Honeybee.
Homeopathic medicines are prepared by obtaining the remedy in its most concentrated form, and then, through a long process of dilution, by preparing a medicine whose potency is sufficient to effect a treatment. The potency describes the measure of the dilution of the remedy and is denoted by the number which follows the name of the medicine itself, the higher the number, the greater the dilution (up to one part remedy to one trillion parts dilutant).
Homeopathic medicines, commonly referred to as remedies, may come from the plant, mineral, or animal kingdom. Some common remedies include: arnica montana, from the Leopard's bane plant; belladonna, from the deadly nightshade plant; calcarea, calcium carbonate from oyster shells; sepia, from cuttlefish ink; and the element, sulphur.
Homeopathic remedies today are produced using the same dilution principles as in Hahnemann's day. In a common dilution of 1:100, one drop of the homeopathic substance is added to 99 drops of water and/or alcohol. The mixture is then potentized by a process called "succussion" - repeated tapping on a hard surface for a specific length of time. Remedies may be diluted up to 1000 times, leaving only an infinitesimal trace of the substance. Remedies are typically diluted 10, 100, or 1,000 times, which translate into potencies that are marked with the Roman numerals X, C, and M. Homeopathic remedies range from 6X as the lowest potency to 1M or more as the highest potency.
Remedies can be taken orally in pill, powder, or drop form, rubbed topically, or injected. There are usually no side effects from homeopathic treatments, but a patient can experience what is called a "healing aggravation," a temporary accentuation of symptoms. This is seen as a positive sign that the remedy is working. Depending on the severity of the symptoms, a homeopath may choose an antidote, which produces the opposite effect of the remedy. The antidote may be another homeopathic remedy, or a strong substance, such as perfume, camphor, or coffee, which are known to block the effects of a remedy.
In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recognized homeopathic medicines as drugs since 1938, working with the Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia Convention to produce and update their reference book of homeopathic medicines. Over the years, the FDA has classified homeopathic medicines as either prescription or more commonly as non-prescription (over-the-counter), depending on their strength. In the United Kingdom, homeopathic medicine has been part of the National Health Service (NHS) since it began in 1948. There are currently 5 homeopathic hospitals in the NHS. Homeopathic medicines are available over-the-counter or by prescription.
Safety of Homeopathic Medicines
Because of the very, very small doses used in homeopathic treatment, the medicines are completely safe, non-addictive and have no unwanted side effects. The curative properties of the remedies are released even in extremely high dilution and render the medicine completely safe for the treatment of both children and babies.
Always consult a practitioner before buying homeopathic remedies, and make sure that they are kept safe and out of the reach of all children.
Where dosing instructions have been followed, no case of toxic action has ever been reported in association with homeopathic medicines.
Receiving Homeopathic Treatment
Homeopathic treatment is practiced by fully qualified Health Practitioners who understand the philosophy of homeopathic medicines well as patients' emotional and daily situations.
While some homeopathic medicines are readily available in both regular pharmacies and health stores, you MUST consult your homeopathic practitioner before attempting treatment for any serious ailment or illness.
If you are currently on medication for a serious medical or psychological condition, you should NOT stop taking your medication in order to start homeopathic treatment. Your practitioner will advise you on the best course of treatment, often working with your internist or therapist.