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Home > Understanding Homeopathy- it is NOT herbal medicine
Understanding Homeopathy- it is NOT herbal medicine
by Dave Foreman
How homeopathy works
Two important ideas on which the science of homeopathy is based are Potentization and the Law of Similars. The Law of Similars states that since exposure to a substance can cause specific symptoms in a healthy person, that substance- when correctly prepared as a homeopathic remedy-can stimulate the body's curative powers to overcome similar symptoms during an illness.
A person who is exposed to poison ivy will often develop skin problems such as a rash, bumps, itching and in more severe cases joint pain and discomfort. The homeopathic remedy, Rhus toxicodendron, made of potentized (explained below) poison ivy, can help the body overcome rashes, osteoarthritis, herpes simplex, eczema, psoriasis, gout, chicken pox and more. The actual symptoms of the illness were not caused by exposure to poison ivy, but the remedy made from poison ivy can help the body overcome them, because the symptoms are similar.
Potentization (mentioned above) is a process that involves a series of precise dilutions and succussions (vigorous shaking). Each compound used in homeopathy has to go through this process. Potentization is very important, because the repeated process of dilution and succussion brings about an energetic change that gives the substance a deeper curative effect. Repeated dilution greatly reduces the chances of chemical toxicity, allowing the homeopathic use of many substances that would otherwise not be safe to take as medicine.
To prepare a 6X potency of Arnica, one part of the Arnica "mother" tincture is combined in a vial with nine parts of the carrier liquid, and shaken vigorously ten times, making a 2X solution. The process is repeated four more times, for a total of six dilutions and succussions-and the final result is a 6X potency of Arnica. (To make a 30C, one part of the tincture would be combined with 99 parts of the carrier liquid and shaken vigorously 100 times in each of thirty steps.) Pellets, tablets, powders, sprays, gels and liquid dilutions are then made ready for consumer use.
What are homeopathic remedies?
Any plant, mineral or animal substance can be used as a homeopathic remedy. The original substance is diluted in liquid, then repeatedly and vigorously shaken with each dilution.The more dilutions and succussions a substance undergoes, the higher the potency will be. Higher potencies of homeopathic remedies (anything higher than 12C) have been diluted past the point that molecules of the original substance would be measurable in the solution. I know this part will blow your mind. How can something with nothing actually do anything for me? It appears that they function on an energetic level to stimulate the body to heal itself more efficiently. Homeopathy is different from conventional medicine because conventional medicine simply defines health as the lack of symptoms (if you dry up a runny nose, is your cold gone and are you healthy?). Homeopathy defines health as the lack of disease (if you get rid of the source of the runny nose in the process of dealing with the source, the runny nose will disappear on its own).
Is there evidence that homeopathy works?There are literally hundreds of high-quality, published basic sciences, pre-clinical and clinical studies showing that homeopathy works. These studies have been published in respected journals like Lancet, Pediatrics, Rheumatology, Annals of Internal Medicine and more.
Can I give homeopathic medicines to my children?
Homeopathic medicines can safely be given to children. As with any over-the-counter medicine, it is advisable to check with a doctor or a pharmacist before treating children younger than 2 years of age. The dosage is generally the same for adults and children since the activity of homeopathic medicines is not dependent on the size of the individual using it.
Can animals be treated with homeopathic medicines?
For more than 150 years, homeopathic medicines have been used to treat pets, farm animals, competitive animals and even wild animals. More and more breeders and animal lovers use it every day. Having said this, the FDA has not approved homeopathic products for use in veterinary medicine. I am not sure why, but my assumption is that it is too difficult to determine effectiveness in animals.
Are homeopathic medicines regulated?
Since the passing of the federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act in 1938, homeopathic medicines have been regulated as drugs by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Since homeopathics are treated as "medicines", there is more control over their quality and effectiveness. To be accepted as a homeopathic medicine by the FDA, product ingredients must be identified in the Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia of the United States, or generally accepted as homeopathic under the principles of homeopathy. Regulating homeopathic medicines as drugs, as opposed to food or dietary supplements, ensures that they adhere to drug labeling specifications.
How do I read the label?
If I was purchasing belladonna 30C, the "30" indicates that the source material has been homeopathically diluted 30 times. The "C" stands for "Centesimal" and indicates that each of the 30 dilutions was made at the rate of 1/100. If it was an X, it would stand for 1/10. In most cases, the homeopathic medicines you can purchase in the store are combinations of many different homeopathic substances. Oftentimes, these products are named to reflect the condition(s) that they address, such as colic, teething, allergies, stress, joint, strains, sprains, etc. Using combination formulas will usually give you a better chance of achieving results, but you may have to use the product more frequently and for longer periods of time.
Which homeopathic dilution should I choose?
The level of dilution in homeopathy does not correspond to strength: a 30C is not stronger than a 6C. The difference is in their level of action. While a 6C is suitable for local symptoms, a 30C or higher is more appropriate for more general conditions such as allergies, stress or sleeplessness. The dilution you choose will depend on what it is you are trying to eliminate health wise.
Purists in the homeopathic world are not big fans of flower remedies because they are not prepared using traditional homeopathic techniques. Regardless, I feel that these remedies should be considered when working on your health. The most popular flower remedies are the Bach Flower Remedies developed by Edward Bach.I personally have used them (especially Rescue Remedy) and noticed positive effects on my wellbeing.
Micro-dosed homeopathic medicines above 4C are safe and have no known side effects or contraindications. They can be safely taken with other conventional medicines and are sometimes recommended to complement other treatments.