The human body is equipped with a marvelous system of repair and self-preservation. This healing system is active throughout the lifetime of the individual and is capable of restoring the individual’s own rhythm and balance if it is given a chance.
Homeopathy is a powerful complementary medicine that stimulates this natural healing process through the use of plant and mineral substances in very small doses. Homeopathic remedies act as a catalyst to restore the normal function of the individual at all levels: mind and body. With the aim to restore health rather than suppress symptoms, they bring fast, gentle, effective, and permanent cure without side effects. They are green, not tested on animals, and are derived from natural sources.
While many know of homeopathy as a common folk medicine, in places like India, where I trained to be a homeopathic physician, it is integrated into standard care at clinics and hospitals. Among many purposes, it is used to build up the immune system, improve diet, and reduce the side effects of other treatments. It is also used to prepare a person physically and psychologically for the shock and trauma of surgery, as well as shorten the recovery time after surgery.
Great personalities like Mother Teresa, Mahatma Gandhi, John Rockefeller, Tina Turner, and Pope John Paul II used homeopathy and encouraged others to use it. The British royal family has used and endorsed homeopathy for last three generations.
To understand homeopathic principles, we can first turn to the definition of homeopathy. It comes from the Greek words homeo meaning similar and pathos meaning disease or suffering. The founder of homeopathy was Dr. Samuel Hahnemann (1755–1843). Based on his observations he formulated the so-called “Law of Similars” in which like cures like. This can be explained with a simple example. One common hay fever remedy is prepared from Allium Cepa (onion) because a healthy person chopping an onion will often get a runny nose and streaming eyes. Thus, Allium Cepa can cure the same set of hay fever symptoms of runny nose and watery eyes.
Hahnemanian homeopathy, often called classical homeopathy, is a holistic approach that considers physical, mental, and emotional aspects of an individual. According to the homeopathic way of thinking, a disease originates from a disturbance of the patient’s "vital force." This is the life force energy that sustains life. As the origin of disease occurs on this energetic level, the homeopathic remedy also has to be on this level. Such an energetic medicine is made through diluting the remedy and succussing it, or shaking it vigorously. All homeopathic medicines are "potentized,” which releases the potential of a substance from its physical matrix so it can operate in an energetic field.
Homeopathy has an individualized approach for each person and it takes into consideration all the signs and symptoms manifested by the body and mind. Even two brothers with colds may need different remedies depending on symptom presentation. Homeopathy doesn’t look at disease as an external entity. The symptoms manifested by the body during sickness help us to identify a unique remedy for that individual. It’s like getting fit for a tailor made dress rather than buying something from the store.
The work of the homeopath is then to look at the more subtle level, at the image of the disease, to see the manifestation at the deeper level. By looking at all the aspects of disease, not just the diagnostic symptoms, the perversions of functions that manifest in mind, body, and spirit, the homeopath sees the sum total that provides a sound basis for prescription . The homeopath goes deeper to the root of disease and takes care of things from there.
Homeopathic treatment is a two-fold process, including constitutional for chronic complaints and acute for complaints of an acute nature. Homeopathic consultation for a chronic illness or condition consists of a complete case taking, which includes the patient’s history, their current condition, and information about their nature (body temperature, energy level, appetite, sleep, personality, and mental and emotional make-up). After collecting all the data, the homeopath takes some time to analyze the case and come up with the remedy that matches all the symptoms presented by the individual. Depending on the patient's response to the remedy, the homeopath may repeat or change the remedy.
Chronic illness is caused by “miasm,” a homeopathic term derived from the definition “polluting or residual poisons.” Miasms can be acquired or inherited and affect the body and the mind. They are like a computer virus that disrupts the programming and crashes the system. Thus, effective treatment of chronic ailments needs a miasmatic remedy. The three original miasms discussed by Hahnemann were Psora (mother of disease), Sycosis, and Syphils, which were followed by the additions of Tubercular and Cancer miasms. Homeopaths understand that miasms exist in various layers within the body and the miasmatic remedy is like peeling away the layers of an onion as we work to correct disease and build health.
A few chronic diseases responding successfully to homeopathy are: allergies, asthma, recurrent respiratory infections, A.D.D./A.D.H.D., ear infections, migraines, sinus infections, autism, acid reflux, irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, thyroid problems, chronic yeast infections, menopausal related complaints, neuralgias, nervous disorders, depression, anxiety disorders, insomnia, and obesity.
Homeopathic consultation for an acute condition (for example, flu, urinary tract infection, headache, food poisoning, ear infection, colic, fever, sprains, bruises, and cuts) can be done in-person or over the telephone. The homeopath will ask questions pertaining to the specific condition and some questions about the person’s general mood, sleep, appetite, and so on.
I run a family practice and see clients of all ages, from infants to geriatrics. I work with many parents who are drawn to homeopathy because it offers a safe treatment for childhood ailments without side effects. A lot of baby ailments like teething, colic, ear infections, sleep issues and cold/flu respond effectively with remedies. I recently treated a child who had asthma and had been taking treatments for it. Once we evaluated the case , it became clear that his underlying fears, such as fear of water, were a derangement at the emotional level. By treating him with homeopathic remedy and looking at the whole picture , we were able to address his fears, cure his asthma, with no further medication required, thus healing him at all levels.
Minor complaints during pregnancy that affect the general well being of the mother, like morning sickness, constipation, or cold and flu, can also be successfully treated using homeopathic remedies. There are even remedies that can be used to help with normal labor and delivery, breast-feeding issues, and for proper bonding of mother and child.
There are about 3,000 proved remedies compiled and organized in books formatted by homeopathic practitioner. The homeopathy remedies are prepared under strict guidelines provided bythe Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia of the United States (HPUS) . If you are interested in trying homeopathy for your own well being, here are a few remedies that can be used to treat common family illnesses and can be found in the health food store. These remedies can be used in 30c potency and the dosage can be every four to five hours depending on intensity of symptoms (30c is a standard dosage, referring to the centesimal potency scale, in which the dilution contains 1 part mother tincture and 99 parts alcohol or water). Please consult a practitioner for questions or concerns.
Arnica: Derived from the plant Arnica Montana, it helps reduce muscle soreness, swelling, bruising, trauma, and shock. Arnica can be used after an accident or minor fall from tripping in the park or outdoor play. It can be used to recover from a strenuous workout.
Chamomilla: Made from the chamomile flower, it soothes teething, as well as bloating in the abdomen and stomach of people with severe diarrhea. It can be used for babies who are irritable, scream with anger, are restless, or demand to be held.
Aconite: This is especially effective when taken at the first sign of a cold or fever and also treats anxiety and fear after shock or trauma. It can be used after dental treatments.
Ruta: Also known as a first aid remedy, it is made from rue, Ruta graveolens, known as the herb of grace. It is used for strains to tissues around bony parts brought on by over exertion, or if the body has general bruised soreness, is aching with weakness, or is worse lying or sitting still. People who need ruta are troubled in their minds. They become quarrelsome and dissatisfied and, despite their restlessness, feel languid and despairing.
Caulophyllum: This is a beautiful homeopathic medicine for women in their childbearing years and can be used for certain conditions during pregnancy and labor. In long drawn out labors it is needed for extremely painful, ineffective contractions.
When used carefully and correctly with the help of a trained professional, homeopathy is highly effective at treating all types of physical, mental, and emotional disorders. Homeopathy can prevent illness as well as cure it. It helps our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual selves to integrate. When this occurs, our perception of well being is enhanced, our energy levels are increased, and we often feel as though we are at last fulfilling our creative potential.