In this series of articles we explore several holistic and natural medical practices which complement (or are Complementary) Allopathic medical practices and can offer gentle natural wellness. In this Article we look at Homeopathy, in particular What Is Homeopathic Medicine and How Does Homeopathy Work?
What Is Homeopathic Medicine ?
Homeopathy is a complementary system of medicine working on the holistic principle of “‘like cures like” or the Latin…Similia Similibus Curanter.
Homeopathy holistic healing is known to be founded by Dr.Samuel Hahnemann. Hahnemann was a German physician with an interest in natural therapies,leading to him, luckily for us, to translating a book on the medicinal properties of the medicine Cinchona, when he read that Cinchona cures malaria, because of its bitter taste. This statement fascinated him. It was the first time he had encountered remedies that were not man made produced pharmaceuticals.
From Pharmaceuticals to Homeopathy
Hahnemann was surprised by this statement and when he read on, he found a footnote which said that cinchona poisoning leads to malaria-like symptoms.
This set him thinking and he decided to test the medicine of himself. He experienced the symptoms of malaria, by repeatedly taking the Cinchona medicine and after continuing his experiments found that those medicines which cause disease-like symptoms in healthy individuals are capable of curing the diseased individuals.
So, homeopathy relies on the Materia Medica – a book containing the properties of medicines, properties which have been proved on healthy individuals. Homeopathic doctors rely on the materia medica as the authority for it contains not empty theories, but details of symptoms which were experienced by hundreds of provers. It is thus a system based on sound principles and as a result of solid experiments.
What Is Homeopathic Medicine?
The theory behind the working of homeopathy is that the body of every human being contains a vital force within the body which regulates the functioning of the body.
Due to reasons such as heredity, environmental conditions, stress etc, this vital force weaken causing disease. So, disease is nothing but a complex of certain symptoms observed in the human body. The homeopathic physician make a study of not only the symptoms the patient is complaining of, but of the entire patient himself.
This leads to a picture of the patient. The physician then prescribes homeopathic medicine, which matches this picture. Now, the medicine so prescribed would have caused the same symptoms in healthy person during ‘drug provings’.
This medicine is given in a highly diluted dose, so as to prevent side effects. This minute dose, creates a similar disorder in the vital force and provokes the vital force to react to the symptoms and overcome. (The same system is used in vaccines, where vaccination against small-pox is done by injecting the small-pox disease-causing organism, so that the body can build up its natural immunity).
Does homeopathy rely on placebo treatment ?
Now, all homeopathy medicines are given in a very low dosage. This is called as ‘potentisation’. Hahnemann discovered that the more the medicine was diluted (with alcohol or lactose), the more potent it became.
So, homeopathy makes use of medicines in a very low form. For eg: a doctor may prescribe a medicine with potency C.
What is Homeopathic Medicine C?
What it means is that the medicine has been diluted to C (100 times), i.e: for every ninty-nine parts of the diluent, there is one part of the medicine. The question is how does such a small dose work ?
The medicines contain an internal energy which is transferred to the vital force leading to cure. Generally, there is a canard against homeopathy, that it relies on placebo treatment, which is totally false. While the medicines may contain so less of the substance that it cannot be detected in a lab, it has been proved that these medicines are highly effective.
While, it is easy to say that men who take the medicine may feel that they are getting better due to auto-suggestion, homeopathy has just as effective in curing animals. Can anyone say that animals can be cured by placebo treatment ?
Is homeopathy of use in treatment of all types of diseases ?
Homeopathy is the best way to cure both acute and chronic diseases. Right from fever, cough, cold to asthma, skin diseases, cancer and diabetes.
All these are not only just curable but the cure is mild(without side effects) and permanent. While allopathy makes use of strong medicines to cure, which cause severe side effects, homeopathic medicines are not only sweet and easy to take, they work highly effectively without any side effect.
The danger of allopathic medicines is that they do not cure but suppress. For eg : a cough and throat infection is not cured by allopathic drugs, but is suppressed and the disorder may move to the lungs causing asthma and other severe problem.
Homeopathy works on the principle of ‘Cure the person, not the disease’. It takes into account the totality of symptoms of the individual and treats each individual separately.For eg: there may be two patients suffering from fever.
While an allopath would prescribe the same medicine for both, the homeopath observes the overall symptoms. The first patient may be suffering from fever caused due to exposure to cold wind, also the patient is full of anxiety and fearful of death.
This corresponds to a homeopathic medicine Aconite, which when given results in immediate cure.
The other patient suffering from fever, has his conditions worse after midnight. Despite the high fever and thirst, he wants to drink just little quantities of water. This corresponds to a homeopathic medicine Arsenic. So, the same medicine may not cure two cases of the same disease. Homeopathy thus, treats the individual and not the disease. The name of the disease is not important to the homeopathic physician.
Isn’t homeopathy too slow as a system of treatment ?
Cases of acute diseases/disorders like headache, fever, cold, cough, etc can be cured within minutes through the proper selection of the homeopathic remedy.
However chronic diseases like asthma, heart problems, cancer etc need time to cure.
There is a belief that allopathic medicines give immediate relief, but at what cost ? The use of strong medicines and steriods weaken the body’s natural immune system.
Homeopathy restores the body to it’s original state of health. If a disease is chronic in nature it means that it would have been in the human body for a long time, so it requires some time to be cured. This can vary depending on the problem and the patient.
Generally, a strict diet is required while taking homeopathic medicines. Homeopathic medicines must always be taken on an empty stomach and stimulants like coffee, strong tea, nicotine, alcohol, etc must be avoided as they interfere with the working of the medicine.
If the patient does not follow the diet prescribed, the healing process is slowed down. There are numerous cases of diseases of long-standing and of serious nature like kidney failure, heart failure, severe asthma which has been cured within a few days.
If homeopathy is so effective, why has it not overtaken allopathy ?
Whatever criteria you may use, there is no doubt that homeopathy is much more effective than allopathy, but the sad fact is that homeopathy has lagged behind in popularity. The failure is not of the system, but of the physician.
Homeopathy is a science and has its principles which have to properly applied to find the right remedy (the similimum).
Homeopathy has more than 2000 remedies to choose from. Even if you filter out the not-so-used ones, you get more than 200 remedies. Choosing one among them is not so easy and requires the application of great skills on the part of the physician.
Also, the homeopathic colleges have totally failed in teaching homeopathy as per the principles laid down by Hahnemann. This has resulted in doctors prescribing compound drugs (which is prohibited by Hahnemann, who calls for only one remedy to be prescribed at a time).
Thus, their treatment is a hit and run affair. A number of homeopaths who neither understand nor are able to apply this treatment, prescribe allopathic medicines and thus discredit homeopathy. In fact the number of doctors who properly apply the scientific principles of homeopathy are but a few.
This is the only reason why homeopathy has not overtaken allopathy. To quote Mahatma Gandhi – “Just like my principle of ahimsa(non violence) homeopathy can never failure. Failure if any is of the person who practices it”.
Can homeopathy be practiced by anyone ?
The answer to this is YES.
Anyone who has truly understood the principle of Simplex, Similimum, Minimum and anyone who is committed to the system of holistic healing, can practice homeopathy, even if they are not certified doctors.What is required is a knowledge of biology, knowledge of the human anatomy and physiology and most importantly the knowledge of symptomatology,i.e : diseases and their symptoms.
This knowledge coupled with the mastery over the principles and a thorough understanding of the materia medica, will help in the practice of homeopathy. However, the fallacy that homeopathy can be practiced by reading books is totally FALSE. It is not reading books, but by understanding and applying principles that homeopathy can be practiced.
What are the different types of medicines used in homeopathy ?
Homeopathy uses an array of medicines whose source ranges from animals to plants and chemicals. Plants like Onion (Allium),Capsicum,Belladonna, Cactus, etc are used for preparation of homeopathic medicines. A large number of chemicals like Nitric acid, Arsenious acid, Iron, Phosphorous are popular homeopathic remedies.
There are also a large number of animal sourced medicines like Naja & Lachesis which are snake poisons. Medicines are also prepared from substance like milk (Lac def) and sand (Silica). The products of diseases are used to prepare homeopathic medicines called as nosodes.
These nosodes include Carcinosin (prepared from the cancer cells), Tuberculinum (prepared from the cells of the lungs of cow infected by tuberculosis), etc. While there may be a few people who are apprehensive of taking such medicines, they need not fear, because the process of preparing homeopathic medicines ensures that they are diluted such that they lose their original form and are rendered harmless.