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Homeopathy is a medical system that is based on the belief that the body can cure itself. Tiny amounts of natural substances such as plants and minerals are used that they believe will stimulate the healing process. In the 1700’s in Germany, this belief was developed and is common in many European countries. It is not as popular in the United States and is sometimes poo pood. I must say that I had two years of Homeopathy education by some of the world’s best teachers. I have seen what would be thought of as miracles with certain patients that used Homeopathy. In certain countries, there are Homeopathy hospitals.
The belief behind homeopathy is “like cures like”, or rather something that brings on symptoms in a healthy person can treat an illness with similar symptoms, given in a very small dose. This is supposed to trigger the body’s natural defenses. As an example a red onion makes your eyes water and this is the reason it is used in homeopathic remedies for allergies. Other treatments for ailments are made from poison ivy, white arsenic, crushed whole bees and an herb call arnica.
The homeopathic doctors, who are called homeopaths, weaken these various ingredients by adding water or alcohol. It is then shaken as part of a process called potentization, which they believe, transfers the healing essence. They also believe that the lower the dose, the more powerful the medicine. Many of these remedies no longer contain any molecules of the original substance and they come in a variety of forms like sugar pellets, liquid drops, creams, gels and tablets.
When visiting a homeopath they will ask a number of questions about your mental, emotional and physical health to prescribe the remedy that best matches all of your symptoms and then will tailor the treatment best for you.
Over-the-counter homeopathic remedies can also be purchased at drugstores and health food stores. The dosage and quality of these various products will depend on the manufacturer.
Some conditions treated by homeopathy are:
✓ Chronic fatigue syndrome
✓ Rheumatoid arthritis
✓ Irritable bowel syndrome
✓ Premenstrual syndrome
Homeopathy can also be used for minor issues like bruises, scrapes, toothaches, headaches, nausea, coughs and colds.
Homeopathic medicine should not be used for life-threatening illnesses like asthma, cancer, heart disease or in emergencies. Avoid using it in place of vaccines. The homeopathic products are called “nosodes” and are marketed as an alternative for vaccines, but there is no research to prove they are effective.
The research on whether homeopathic medicine works or not is mixed. There are some studies that show homeopathic remedies are helpful while still others don’t. When symptoms improve because you believe the treatment is working, it is considered the placebo effect. Some critics attribute the benefits of homeopathic remedies to this effect. This can trigger the brain to release chemicals that will briefly relieve the pain or other symptoms that you might be having. Because some of the theories behind homeopathy don’t line up with the principles of chemistry and physics, the doctors are divided. The scientists argue that a medicine with no active ingredient should not have any effect on the body.
The FDA oversees the homeopathic remedies but they aren’t checked to see if they’re safe or effective. Most of these are watered down and don’t cause any side effects. Some exceptions can occur because these medicines can contain a large amount of an active ingredient like a heavy metal, which can be dangerous. In 2016 a warning was issued by the FDA against using homeopathic teething tablets and gels because of possible health risks to infants and children.
Before trying any of these alternative treatments, talk to your doctor. He will make sure that they are safe and won’t interact with any of the other medications that you might be taking.
Dr Fredda Branyon