Homeopathy is a form of medical approach that relies on the inherent capacity of an organism to heal itself. This very unique system of therapy is based on the observation that a medicine can cure the same symptoms in an ill person that it produces when administered to a healthy individuals.
The homeopathic approach differs from other systems of treatment which act by such mechanism as suppressing bodily responses or external disease agents(allopathic medicine), by replacing substances that the body fails to produce(replacement therapy, e.g., hormones, insulin), or by use of attenuated doses of disease producing agents to sensitize or desensitize the immune system(immunization or allergy desensitization). The homeopathic prescription(medicine) provides the information the organism needs to bring about a healthier state of function using the minimum dose necessary.
Formulated initially by Hippocrates in the 5th century BC., homeopathy rests on the principle "Like Cures Like" That is, an illness can be treated with a substance capable of producing similar symptoms to those being suffered be patient. Largely ignored for a number of centuries Hippocrates's idea of 'like cure like' had been brought back to life by the work of the famous Swiss alchemist and physician Paracelsus (1495-1541). However, once again this idea did not gain much popularity for another 300 years. It was not until the late 1700's that it was actively investigated by a German physician, Dr. Samuel Hahnemann. While being able to speak eight languages, this genius acquired an excellent education in chemistry and medicine at the universities of Leipzig , Erlangen , and Vienna . After qualifying as a doctor at the age of 24, he set up in practice. Although Hahnemann mainly worked as a doctor, he supplemented his income by writing articles and books on medicine and chemistry. A dedicated physician with deep concerns for his patients, in these writings he frequently protested against harsh medical practices of the time, especially bloodletting, purging, as well as massive doses of medicines that were administered to patients often with terrible side effects. Hahnemann became increasingly disillusioned with conventional; medical practice, eventually giving up his work as a doctor to become a translator. In 1790, while translating the works of the Scottish doctor Cullen, Hahnemann became interested in the recorded action of a new medicine, Cinchona Bark, a source of Quinine. Cullen theorized incorrectly that this medicine could cure malaria. Hahnemann discovered the true nature of Cinchona Bark. When taken internally in allopathic (large) doses, the medicine caused symptoms similar to malaria (fever, chills, etc.). However, when administered to the patients in micro (small) doses, these symptoms could be quickly and dramatically "cured". Always searching for the true Hahnemann inquisitive mind led him to the discovery of homeopathy. He became a believer of that which he set out to disprove, namely that Cinchona bark could successfully treat malaria when used in micro doses. Hahnemann further hypothesized that one may select therapies on the basis of how closely a substance's toxicological symptoms matched the symptoms of patient's disease. He called it the "Principle of Similar". He than went on to repeat the process with other common substances that were in use as medicines, such as Arsenic and Belladonna by giving a minute doses to a healthy volunteers while carefully recording the symptoms they produced. The procedure was called "proving" or, in modern Homeopathy, a "human pathogenic trial." The symptoms that "provers" developed were recorded and published in1825-1833 in the six volumes of Materia Medica Pura. In addition, he discovered that the effect of homeopathic medicines is strengthened dramatically upon successive dilutions and vigorous shaking between each dilution (Potentization). He called this Homeopathy. In 1810 he set out his principals on The Organon of Rational Medicine, and two years latter began teaching Homeopathy at the University of Leipzig .
During the 19-th century, Hahnemann philosophy spread rapidly from Germany across the Europe . During this time 15% of all medical doctors were homeopaths.
Some of Hahnemann disciples immigrated to the US where Homeopathy flourished throughout the rest of the 19-th century. By 1900 there were 22 homeopathic colleges in the United States , including Boston University , Hahnemann Medical School , New York Medical, and University of Michigan . In 1905, there were in the United States 112 homeopathic hospitals, 59 dispensaries (clinics), 143 homeopathic medical societies, and scores of medical journals. Homeopathic practitioners numbered near 15,000, many of whom were women. Hahnemann Medical College of Philadelphia provided training in allopathy and homeopathy, giving their graduates two degrees, one in allopathic medicine, and one in homeopathic medicine.
With the change in medical education catalyzed by Flexner report in 1910 and the discovery of antimicrobial, both practitioners of conventional medicine and the pharmaceutical industry combined their attacks against homeopathic medicine. In 1910 guidelines for the funding of Medical Schools have been established, favoring AMA-approved institutions virtually crippling competing schools of medicine. By 1918 the number of homeopathic colleges had been reduced to 7. Hahnemann Medical College stopped teaching homeopathy, granting only one allopathic degree, sometime in the 1950's.
Since the 1970s there has been a resurgence of interest in Homeopathy prompted by the widespread experience of limitations of the present medical model: high costs, adverse side effects, lack of personal relationship with the providers, and ineffectiveness in treating many chronic and acute conditions. It is estimated that currently 500 homeopathic physicians practice in US, and many more use Homeopathy on a limited basis.
In summary, Homeopathy is an extremely unique system of therapy that relies on the inherent capacity of an organism to heal itself. It is totally safe and does not cause any side effects, as is frequently the case with conventional medicines. The homeopathic physician does not reject the great discoveries of modern science, yet in his approach applies medical principles which had been known to mankind for over 2,000 years. This is one of the most safe, efficient and rewarding therapy available to public.
Homeopathy: Frequently Asked Questions
1. What are homeopathic remedies? Homeopathic remedies (medicines) are manufactured by homeopathic pharmaceutical companies, which are regulated by the F.D.A. Homeopathic remedies are derived from animal, vegetable, and mineral sources. Final product, however, contains only dismal (or none) amount of the original substance. The degree of dilution is referred as "potency" of the remedy.
2. Are homeopathic remedies considered prescription medicines? Some homeopathic medicines can be bought "over the counter" and require no prescription. Frequently this is the case of medicines combining several remedies in low potencies (1X to 12X). Generally, any remedy that is greater 12X will require a prescription as some low potency remedies will.
3. What should I be aware of when taking homeopathic medication? Homeopathic preparations are extremely safe to take because of their highly diluted form. Nonetheless, frequent repetition of a dose without the advice of a professional is not recommended.
4. What is "aggravation"? Sometime an initial worsening of your symptoms may occur. This initial aggravation is usually a good sign and signifies that your body is responding to a remedy. It may also guide a physician in further treatment approach. Although the physical symptoms might get worse for a short period of time, you as a whole will start to feel better fairly soon. Typical aggravation subsides quickly, followed by the recovery.
5. Are homeopathic remedies poisonous if accidentally consumed by a child? No. The frequency of dosage is much more important in the treatment than the amount of medicine consumed at one time. The consumption of an entire bottle of pills, tablets, or liquid is only as dangerous as its sugar (sucrose, lactose) or alcohol content and has nothing to do with homeopathic remedy.
6. Can someone else take my remedy if they have a similar condition? Yes. But they should not be discouraged if the medicine does not help them. Despite of some similarities each person is viewed and treated differently.
7. How careful do I have to be in storing my remedies near electrical outlets and TV's? It is generally advised to store homeopathic remedies out of direst sunlight at room temperature, away from magnetic influence. Never place your remedies on or within 3 feet of equipment that radiates a strong magnetic field (TV, micro-wave, magnets). Any electrical wiring, outlet or switch will have a weak magnetic field, and remedies should be safely positioned 6 inches or more away. Homeopathic remedies possess dynamic electromagnetic field of various amplitude and frequencies, depending on their potencies. This field becomes unpredictably altered when strongly affected by other magnetic fields.
8. When and how should I take my remedies? Remedies should not be taken together with food because this might interfere with their absorption. Some foods possess weak homeopathic activity and may potentially "antidote" your remedies (peppermint, garlic, onion, coffee, etc.) Take them at least 30minutes before or after eating or drinking under the tongue until fully dissolved.
9. May I drink coffee, regular or herbal teas while taking homeopathic medicines? Daily consumption of coffee or teas of any kind may potentially modify the action of some homeopathic medicines. As discussed earlier some drinks may act as weak antidotes. Therefore eliminating coffee and regular tea typically produces best results during the course of the treatment.
10. Is it safe to treat children and babies with homeopathy? The efficacy of homeopathic treatment is dramatically increased while delivered to babies and children. Due to their more dynamic and powerful vital force, children typically respond more efficiently and quickly to the treatment with homeopathy.
11. May I take vitamins and mineral supplements while taking homeopathic medicines? Yes. Generally they do not interfere with the remedies, yet may not be doing you any good. In addition, it is possible to check individual compatibility of the remedies through special diagnostic testing.