What is Homeopathy

What is Homeopathy

Homeopathy is a practice of medicine that relies on minute amounts of herbs, minerals and other substances to stimulate a person's natural defenses. A single dose of medicine can heal the body, mind and emotional state of a person without virtually causing any side effects.
HolisticZine Staff
The term 'homeopathy' is derived from the Greek words homoios (similar) and pathos (suffering).The medical dictionary describes homeopathy as a system of medical practice that treats a disease especially by the administration of minute doses of a remedy that would in healthy persons produce symptoms similar to those of the disease. In other words, it can be classified as a holistic system of medicine. This system of medicine is notable for its practice of prescribing water-based solutions that do not contain chemically active ingredients. The therapeutic principles of homeopathy were first recognized and applied by Saxon physician Samuel Hahnemann (1755-1843) and first published in 1796.

Treating the Person not the Disease
While customary medicine system like allopathic typically tries to control, suppress or eliminate a patient's physical symptom, ayurveda believes that all diseases originate due to derailment of the three humors of human life (Tridosha) -vaat, pitta and kaffa. Homeopathy treatment practice is customized and individualized to the patient, with the intent of removing the underlying cause. The homeopathic system of treatment does not combat disease symptoms in the same manner as one would in conventional practice. Homeopathic philosophy considers that if the organism is brought back into balance, the symptoms of disease (imbalance) will resolve accordingly. Therefore, whereas a conventional diagnosis is based on a defined set of common symptoms, a homeopath practitioner tries to diagnose a broad and unique picture of imbalance specific to each individual.

Small Effective Doses
Homeopathic remedies are made from many substances, including plants (which account for about 60% of all homeopathic remedies), minerals and animal products. Preparation of a remedy normally involves crushing the original substance (e.g. plant material) and dissolving it in an exact solution of alcohol and/or distilled water. This mixture is then left to stand for anything up to several weeks, during which time it may be shaken (succussed) from time to time. This solution is known as the mother tincture. There are many different dosage forms in homeopathy: soft tablet triturates, compressed tablets, medicated pellets, dilutions and topicals (ointments, oils and sprays).

The Cure Palette
The scope of homeopathy is extensive. Homeopathy does not treat diseases per se. Homeopathy activates the body's own healing processes in both the physical and emotional levels. The medication can be used in first aid safely to get relief from ailments like sprains and bruises, minor burns, skin irritations and reactions (including poison ivy, diaper rash and insect bites), teething pain, etc. Since homeopathy has no harmful side effects, the treatment is considered safe and placid even for acute health problems such as colds, flu, coughs, sprains, etc. It can also be used to assist sensitive conditions such as pregnancy. And it is not just first aid and acute treatments; homeopathy can be extremely effective in treating chronic and long-term health problems. Allergies, asthma, eczema, hay fever, headaches, stress and respiratory infections, recurrent ear infections, homeopathy can be effective in treating a host of physical disorders. However, while in acute conditions, with the right diagnosis the results can be seen in minutes, homeopathic treatments show slower results in chronic conditions. The gradual progress not only helps recovery of disease, it also offers a method of maintaining health and preventing illness. It is a subtle yet effective therapy that can correct small imbalances if a patient's vitality is low.

A quick guide to some common homeopathic medicines:
  • Aconite: Commonly known as monkshood, aconite is highly toxic. A non-toxic, diluted extract of aconite is used in homeopathy to treat symptoms similar to that of poison.
  • Arnica: Arnica is used by homeopathic physicians to treat bruises, sprains, and strains.
  • Belladonna: This is used to treat symptoms of dry mouth, nausea, delirium, etc.
  • Bryonia: Commonly known as wild hops, bryonia is used to treat vomiting, diarrhea, inflammation, etc.
  • Calcarea carbonica: Also known as calcium carbonate or calc carb, it is used to treat symptoms of exhaustion, depression, and anxiety.
  • Cantharis: Cantharis is used in homeopathy to treat conditions with symptoms of abdominal cramps, vomiting, diarrhea, convulsions, etc.
  • Ferrum phosphoricum: Also known as ferrum phos or iron phosphate, it is used to treat symptoms of low energy and anemia.
  • Ignatia: The remedy Ignatia is most commonly used for emotional problems. Made from the seeds of Ignatia amara, which contain strychnine, it affects the nervous system.
  • Ipecac: This medicine is made from the dried root of the plant Ipecacuanha. Ipecac induces vomiting and causes gastrointestinal distress. Homeopaths prescribe it to treat similar symptoms.
  • Kali bichromicum: Commonly known as potassium bichromate, kali bichromicum is a poison used also in textile dyes, wood stain, etc. Homeopaths use it to treat localized pain.
  • Ledum: Also known as marsh tea, ledum is used to treat infections, most often from animal bites, stings, cuts, etc.
  • Lycopodium: Homepathic physicians use dilute doses of lycopodium for treating diarrhea, digestive upset, backaches, cold, etc.
  • Mercurius vivus: Also known as quicksilver, it is used to treat symptoms of sweats, shaking, nausea, etc.
  • Natrum muriaticum: Commonly known as salt, it is used to treat conditions that cause excessive thirst and salt cravings.
  • Nux vomica: It is used to treat symptoms caused by overeating and too much caffeine or alcohol.
  • Phosphorus: It is used to treat symptoms of excessive thirst, fatigue, and nervousness.
  • Pulsatilla: It is used to treat conditions that are accompanied by discharge, such as bedwetting, sinusitis, etc.
  • Rhus toxicodendron: Commonly known as poison ivy, homeopaths use it to treat conditions with symptoms of fever, swollen glands, and restlessness.
  • Ruta: It is used to treat conditions with bruising, such as tennis elbow, sciatica, etc.
  • Silica: Silica, sometimes called silicea terra is used by homeopaths to treat conditions that cause weakness, sweating, and sensitivity to cold.
As a result of getting to the source, homeopathy can bring about remarkable improvements in your health and well-being. Homeopathy, like many natural medicines, is cost-effective over the long time because it brings you to better health.