What is homeopathy? Homeopathy is a system of medical therapy that uses infinitesimal doses of medicines, or remedies. The remedies, which must be shaken to be considered homeopathic, are prepared from the plant, animal and mineral substances. It is the same thing as herbal medicine? Not at all. Herbal medicines uses tinctures of botanical substances, whereas homeopaths use ultradiluted “micro” doses from not only plants, but minerals or any other substance found in nature.
Homeopathy is a 200-year old system of medicine used successfully by more than 200 million people worldwide. It can effectively treat many of the chronic ailments and conditions that so many of us suffer from today, with a historical record of success in treating epidemics.
Homeopathy is based on a spiritual, no-physical premise and requires that the homeopath see the patterns of the physical expression to understand the disease. It is based on a diagnosis but on a collective understanding of the persons symptoms and deviations from health.
Homeopathy is a medical system that attracts some skepticism in the United States, and for many people it is surrounded by an aura of mystery.Yet homeopathy is widely used and valued by millions of people around the world, especially in Europe, as an effective mode of treatment.
Another thing about homeopathic remedies many people may not know is that they are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as drugs, although the FDA does not evaluate the remedies for effectiveness or safety. However, the FDA does require that the active ingredients in homeopathic remedies be listed.
Classical homeopathy is the child of Samuel Hahnemann, a German physician who developed the principles of homeopathy in 1755. One principle is the Law of Similars (like cures like), which says that if a substance can cause symptoms of an illness in a healthy individual, then giving that same substance to a sick person with similar symptoms will cure him or her.
Another German physician, Hans-Heinrich Reckeweg, MD (1905-1985) became interested in homeopathy and studied it extensively after a homeopath cured his father of a serious kidney ailment. As this conventionally trained MD began prescribing homeopathic remedies for his patients, he made two major observations: patients often needed another remedy after being prescribed the first, and many diseases seemed to be caused by exposure to external and/or internal toxins.
Today there are a number of companies that offer combination homeopathic remedies. The ingredients in these remedies are chosen based on the Materia Medica, the reference volume for homeopathy that lists hundreds of remedies and information such as the symptoms people might show who could benefit from the remedy and clinical uses for the remedy.
Future articles will explore other aspects of homeopathic remedies, especially those that contain a combination of ingredients. For now, consumers should take away the message that not all homeopathic remedies are alike, and that the “other” homeopathic approach, which utilizes a combination of ingredients in its remedies, is an alternative to classical homeopathy and a form whose benefits are currently being explored using scientific methods.