A system of medicine based on toxicology, pharmacology and experimentation, Homeopathy uses high dilutions & therefore less toxic forms of medications & substances found in nature to stimulate body’s faculties, including the immune system, towards health.
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Origins of Homeopathy
Samuel Hahnemann (1755-1843) a German Physician, linguist, and the father of Homeopathy noticed that the medical practices of his time were crude and produced more harm than cure.
Based on an observation made earlier by Paracelsus that “what makes a man ill also cures him”, he started experimenting with minimal amount of substances to cure disease. He came across this concept when translating a medical treatise on the effectiveness of Cinchona’s (Quinine) bark in treating Malaria. His experimentation with ingesting this substance caused shivering, fever, and arthralgias, similar to the symptoms of Malaria.
Based on these observations he formed the “Principle of Similars” which states a substance that produces symptoms of sickness in a healthy individual will have a curative effect when given in very dilute quantities to a diseased person exhibiting those symptoms. This concopt is also know as “Like Cure Like”. Homeopathy is believed to stimulate the body’s own healing processes.
He then started experimenting with different substances available in nature on healthy individuals to establish their effects. He called these experiments Provings. Provings are collected in large Homeopathic reference guide called the Materia Medica. Provings are still compiled by dosing healthy individuals with various substances and documenting the results. The provings are reproducible and the effects have been consistent over time, this Homeopathy is scientific and based on experimentations.
Provings or tests are the profile of specific symptoms produced by a substance in a healthy individual. These symptoms can be local such as the symptoms of Cinchona on joints, presenting concomitant (occurring at the same time) symptoms like Cinchona’s fevers and shivers, and psychological / emotional as discussed below. The experimentation and the specific symptoms they manifest are reproducible and the same every time.
Thus Homeopathic medications are specific to the individual. A headache may be treated differently according to its location, sensation, modalities (aggravating and alleviating) and concomitant symptoms in the same individual at different times.
Medication or Herb?
Homeopathy uses substances found in nature. Herbs, animals, plants, and minerals are used to make Homeopathic medications. (Please see our next month’s article on the production of Homeopathic medications.) Highly diluted substances are carried in pill, syrup, drops, and cream forms. Since these medications are highly diluted, they are free of side effects and usually a good substitute to the treatment in pediatrics and pregnancy.
Homeopathy in action
Think of the effects a bee sting leaves on an individual. The area that was stung will get edematous, warm, red, and tender. Homeopathic preparation of Apis Mellifica will reverse the symptoms resembling a bee sting.
What Does Homeopathy Treat?
Homeopathy can be used to treat almost any illness, chronic or acute. It can also be used adjunctively with conventional medicine without interacting or causing side effects.
More importantly, Homeopathy can be used for certain conditions that conventional medicine struggles with. Certain conditions like shooting pains, vertigo, tinnitus, to name a few, are treated easily by Homeopathic medications and comparing to the side effects of conventional medicine Homeopathic medications show superior effect.