Homeopathy

Homeopathy is a system of alternative medicine created in 1796 by  Samuel Hahnemann, based on his doctrine of like cures like ( similia similibus curentur), a claim that a substance that causes the symptoms of a disease in healthy people would cure similar symptoms in sick people.

Allopathic medicines attempt to alleviate the symptoms of disease by attacking/affecting the natural defense of body whereas the homeopathy embraces the body’s natural response system by either encouraging the symptoms of healing or attacking the root cause of the illness.

Hahnemann believed the underlying causes of disease were phenomena that he termed miasms, and that homeopathic preparations addressed these. The preparations are manufactured using a process of homeopathic dilution, in which a chosen substance is repeatedly diluted in alcohol or distilled water, each time with the containing vessel being struck against an elastic material, commonly leather-bound  book. Dilution typically continues well past the point where no molecules of the original substance remain. Homeopaths select homeopathics by consulting reference books known as repertories, and by considering the totality of the patient’s symptoms, personal traits, physical and psychological state, and life history.

 Homeopathy is a natural form of medicine used by over 200 million people worldwide to treat both acute and chronic conditions. It is based on the principle of ‘like cures like’. In other words, a substance taken in small amounts will cure the same symptoms it causes if taken in large amounts.

The holistic nature of homeopathy means each person is and their body, mind, spirit and emotions are all considered in the management and prevention of disease. Taking all these factors into account a homeopath will select the most appropriate medicine based on the individual’s specific symptoms and personal level of health to stimulate their own healing ability.

Homeopathic medicines are safe to use as they rarely cause side-effects. This means when used appropriately under the guidance of a qualified homeopath they can be taken by people of all ages, including babies, children and pregnant or breastfeeding women.

What does homeopathic treatment involve?

Homeopaths work in the same way as any other conventional doctors. History taking, examination and investigation are all important in establishing the diagnosis. However, as well as asking about your symptoms, a homeopath will be interested in you as an individual and the unique way in which your symptoms affect you.

The homeopathic consultation

Questions about your lifestyle, eating habits and preferences, temperament, personality, sleep patterns and medical history help the homeopath to form a complete picture of you. This picture will be matched to the symptoms of your illness in order to prescribe a particular type and strength of homeopathic medicine.

As a guide your first appointment could take anything up to an hour, with follow-up appointments typically lasting 30 minutes. 

Preparing for your appointment

To get the most out of a consultation, it is helpful to make some notes beforehand and to think through all the issues that are affecting your health. We  ask new patients to complete a questionnaire before their first appointment. This is a helpful way of saving time and to your advantage to do so if requested.

The medicine

At the end of the consultation we will give you a prescription and advise you how often to take the medicine. Homeopathy is usually taken in tablet or pellet form, but is also available in liquid and powder form. You may be prescribed a homeopathic gel or cream for topical use as well.

The evidence base

Randomised controlled trials

Up to the end of 2014, a total of 104 papers reporting good-quality placebo-controlled randomised controlled trials (RCTs) in homeopathy (on 61 different medical conditions) have been published in peer-reviewed journals. 41% of these RCTs have reported a balance of positive evidence, 5% a balance of negative evidence, and 54% have not been conclusively positive or negative.

The medical conditions for which positive RCTs of homeopathy have been reported include the following: allergies and upper respiratory tract infections; childhood diarrhoea; hay fever; influenza; insomnia; rheumatic disease; sinusitis; vertigo.

Patient outcome studies

Bristol Homeopathic Hospital, 2005

In 2005, the largest service evaluation of homeopathic treatment reported that 70% of 6,500 follow-up patients experienced improvement in their health.  Eczema, asthma, migraine, irritable bowel syndrome, arthritis, depression and chronic fatigue syndrome – difficult chronic problems suffered by many people – all improved. 

How Does It Work?

A basic belief behind homeopathy is “like cures like.” In other words, something that brings on symptoms in a healthy person can — in a very small dose — treat an illness with similar symptoms. This is meant to trigger the body’s natural defenses.

For example, red onion makes your eyes water. That’s why it’s used in homeopathic remedies for allergies.    Treatments for other ailments are made from  poison ivy, white arsenic, crushed whole bees, and an herb called  arnica.   

Homeopaths weaken these ingredients by adding water or alcohol. Then they shake the mixture as part of a process called “potentization.” They believe this step transfers the healing essence. Homeopaths also believe that the lower the dose, the more powerful the medicine. In fact, many of these remedies no longer contain any molecules of the original substance. They come in a variety of forms, like sugar pellets, liquid drops, creams, gels, and tablets.

What Conditions Does Homeopathy Treat?

It’s used for a wide variety of health issues, including some chronic illnesses:

  • Allergies
  • Depression
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrom
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Premenstrual Syndrom
  • Migaines

It can also be used for minor issues like briuses, scrapes, toothaches, headaches, nausea, coughs and colds.   

Don’t use homeopathic medicine for life-threatening illnesses, like asthma,  cancer,  and heart disease  or in emergencies. Some homeopathic products called “nosodes” are marketed as an alternative for vaccines, but there’ is only antidotal evidence of this working .

 Single Remedies –   Remedies are labeled by the ratio of dilution and the number of times diluted. Such labeling helps to discriminate a homeopathic remedy from an herbal or mineral supplement. In this process, a substance may be repetitively diluted 1:10 (labeled X scale) or 1:100 (labeled C scale) or 1:1,000 (labeled M scale). Then the number of times it is diluted and succussed is noted, e.g. 12X, 30C, 10M.

The fascinating and scientifically confusing thing about homeopathic remedies is that the more diluted they are, the stronger they become-that is, potentized. In chemistry, there is a concept of how many molecules of a substance are present in a defined solution (it is called one gram mole). This is called Avogadro’s number, and it is 6.023 x 1023 . Therefore, if you dilute a solution 1 to 10, twenty-four times, or 1 to 100, twelve times, there cannot be any molecules of the original substance left! That is why homeopathy is considered a process that works through “sub-molecular” interventions.

Complex Remedies -Combination remedies are a mixture of a small number of low potency single remedies that are commonly recommended to relieve various conditions. Take the WHP combination remedy Be gone Diarrhea… often helpful in cases of uncomplicated diarrhea. It’s a combination of three remedies – Arsenicum album, Cuprum arsenicum and Veratrum album. Each of those remedies is often prescribed singly (as opposed to in-combination) to people with diarrhea – the choice of which one being guided by the very specific symptoms each patient presents.

 Heaven Scent carries the following lines of Homeopathy:

Pascoe –  German remedies in Complexes

Unda –  numbered system of complex homeopathy and singles remedies as well

Helios –  single remedies in pellets

Borion – single and complex remedies

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