What is Homeopathy?
By Diane Solomon DHM DipI.O.N Diane Solomon is a nutritionist and homeopath trained in London at the prestigious Institute of Optimum Nutrition and The British Institute of Homeopathy. She has practiced since 1985. Moving back to the States in 1992, she now lives in Hillsborough County, New Hampshire. Although retired from practice, she still helps occasional clients gain maximum health. Her focus is now on writing, to share some of the knowledge gleaned from those years of practicing. She is in the final edit stage of her new book, “Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: a guide to the homeopathic treatment of CFS,” due to be published September 2015.
Homeopathic philosophy is very different to that of orthodox medicine as we know it. The medical world we have grown up with has its accent on finding a “single bullet’ to attack any invader to the body. A good example is an antibiotic, which acts like a specific “hammer,” targeting specific bacteria in the body and killing it. The body’s own immune system does not take part in the fight, but is overridden by the antibiotic itself. In fact, the immune system is suppressed during the duration of the course of antibiotic treatment.
Current medical opinion takes the views that symptoms are a direct manifestation of the illness and, therefore, treats the ailment by suppressing the symptoms. Homeopathy, by contrast, sees the symptoms as the body’s reaction against the illness as it attempts to overcome it, and seeks to stimulate and not suppress this reaction. It acts with the body, to stimulate it to raise its own defenses to battle the problem. Therefore, the immune system takes part in the fight, and the body is stronger for it.
The basic principle of Homeopathy has been known since the time of the ancient Greeks. Derived from the Greek word “Homoios’ meaning “like,” homeopathy is the practice of treating “like with like.” That is to say, treating an illness with a substance which when taken by a healthy person produces symptoms similar to those displayed by the person who is ill. Here’s an example. When cutting onions for cooking, your eyes itch and run, your nose runs, and you sneeze. Onions made into a homeopathic remedy, known as Allium Cepa, can be very effective in reducing the symptoms of runny nose, itching eyes, and sneezing that accompany a cold. Another example is Poison Ivy (Rhus Tox). In homeopathic doses, Rhus Tox is a valuable remedy for certain skin rashes since in its undiluted state it causes them. Therefore “like cures like.” This principle is known as the “law of similars.” and has been used throughout history. Hippocrates himself wrote, “Through the like, disease is produced, and through the application of like it is cured.”
Homeopathic remedies appear to trigger a healing process in the body by stimulating the body’s natural forces of recovery. It is a natural medicinal science that uses very small doses of plant, animal, or mineral substances to stimulate the body’s innate healing ability. Homeopathy views most symptoms as efforts by the body to re-establish homeostasis and therefore seeks to support the body’s inherent efforts to heal itself. Homeopathy uses specially prepared, infinitesimal doses of substances that, in larger quantities, would cause the very symptoms they are trying to address.
A German physician, Samuel Hahnemann, developed homeopathy in the early 1800’s. A respected physician and chemist, he was nevertheless appalled by the medical practices of his day, such as bleeding, and the use of toxic substances such as arsenic and mercury. He sought a method of healing which would be safe, effective, and gentle. The main treatment for malaria was quinine from cinchona bark. He decided to take quinine himself to see what would happen. He discovered that when he took small regular doses of cinchona bark it produced symptoms very similar to those of malaria! But when given to a patient suffering from malaria, the symptoms were alleviated, and the patient would recover. Imagine his astonishment at this discovery. He also tested belladonna, mercury, arsenic and silver nitrate, common poisons and substances used in medical practice at the time, to see what their effects would be on healthy people. And once again he found that small dilute doses of these substances would induce symptoms similar to the illnesses for which they were being used. Many similar experiments over many years led Hahnemann to the conclusion that remedies obtained from animal, vegetable, and mineral sources were just as effective in extreme dilutions. He worked to establish the smallest effective dose, realizing that his was the best way to avoid side effects. In doing this he unexpectedly discovered that the more a remedy is diluted, the more effective it becomes.
Homeopathic medicines are manufactured through a scientific pharmacological procedure called “potentization.” This is a process of diluting and shaking and further diluting and shaking. The most commonly used dilution in the United States is the decimal or “x” potency. A 1x potency is a concentration of 1/10th, 2x is 1/100th, 3x is 1/1000th etc. To create a common potency, a 6x, one would start by making a 1x. This is done by mixing ten drops of the original plant or mineral substance with 90 drops of water and alcohol, then shaking hard, or hitting against a surface such as a book, thirty to fifty times. This is known as dilution and succussion. For a 2x, you simply take ten drops of the 1x, and, just as you did before, mix with 90 drops of alcohol and water, and succuss. Continue with the 3x, 4x, 5x, until you create a 6x.
No one can yet explain satisfactorily how homeopathic doses work. One theory is that succussion creates an electrochemical pattern somewhat akin to a holographic memory which is stored in the dilutant and then spreads through the body’s water. Another theory suggests that the dilution-succussion process creates an electro-magnetic field. Recent work by physicists using nuclear resonance imaging has ascertained that there is a different structure and shape to the molecules of a homeopathic remedy and those of simple water and alcohol. This has gone some way to stopping the claim that “there’s nothing in them” which has plagued homeopathy to date. Also, there have been more and more careful studies recently which help to confirm the effectiveness of homeopathy. In any case, with modern physics constantly discovering smaller and smaller particles and their effects, and with the discovery that insects can detect and act on pheromones in the air to one part per million, the idea of an infinitesimal dose having an effect on the body no longer seems impossible.
Because they are so greatly diluted, homeopathic remedies are not harmful. They are safe, non-toxic and non addictive. Homeopathic remedies, like all medicines, are regulated by the FDA. Because they are so extremely dilute and are free from side effects, they are completely safe for the patient. Homeopathic remedies will not interfere or react with other medications the patient may be taking.
Homeopathic remedies come in various forms, usually drops (water and alcohol), tablets, and pellets. They are best absorbed under the tongue, well away from food and drink. While taking remedies it is best to avoid caffeine, mint, menthol, camphor, and cortisone, as these substances will often antidote the remedies or lessen their effect in the body. The remedies must be stored away from magnets, cell phones, microwave ovens, heat over 150 degrees Fahrenheit, and strong smelling substances such as camphor and eucalyptus.
Having taken the homeopathic dose recommended by the practitioner, it is sometimes possible that the patient will experience a slight aggravation of his symptoms before improvement begins. This is a confirmation that the correct remedy has been chosen, and is therefore not a negative reaction. However, it is also common for a level of relief to take place without this aggravation, and is the ideal goal of the homeopathic practitioner. Less is always better than more, when it comes to homeopathy, and when a reaction has taken place, it is usual to stop the remedy. For simple, acute conditions, it is fine to try homeopathic remedies on your own, but is best to work with a practitioner if you are dealing with more complex health issues, and chronic complaints.
The deepest work in homeopathy is achieved through what is known as “miasmatic” treatment. A “miasm” is a predisposition to an inherited disease pattern, which can produce a tendency towards a variety of conditions. Hahnemann found several miasms that can be transmitted from one generation to another. One leads to disorders such as diabetes, insomnia, depression, alcoholism, osteoporosis, heart disease. Another leads to tendencies towards fibroids, cysts, tumors, asthma, allergies, and even manic depression.. A third leads to eczema, psoriasis, one-sided migraines, anxiety. Miasms exist on very high vibrational levels, therefore miasmic treatment generally consists of higher and higher potencies, which go deeper and deeper into the systems to erase more and more of the miasmatic shadow, potentially even the person’s DNA.
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RECOMMENDED READING: INTRODUCTORY:
1) “THE FAMILY GUIDE TO HOMEOPATHY, Alain Horvilleur, M.D., Health and Homeopathy Publishing, Inc.; Virginia, U.S.A.; 1986
2) “EVERYBODY’S GUIDE TO HOMEOPATHIC MEDICINES,” Stephen Cummings and Dana Ullman, Jeremy P. Tarcher, Los Angeles, Ca. U.S.A.; 1984
3) “HOMEOPATHIC MEDICINE, A DOCTOR’S GUIDE TO REMEDIES FOR COMMON AILMENTS,” Trevor Smith, M.D.
1) “THE SCIENCE OF HOMEOPATHY,” George Vithoulkas, Grove Press, Inc, New York; 1980
1) “LECTURES ON MATERIA MEDICA,” James Tyler Kent, B. Jain Publishers, New Delhi, India; 1993 Reprint Edition
2) “HOMEOPATHIC DRUG PICTURES,” M.L.Tyler, B. Jain PUblishers, New Delhi, India; 1980