NEXT : Healing Diseases using Homeopathy
What is Homeopathy?
Homeopathy is based on the principle that substances that are poisonous in large doses can be very beneficial in small doses. Homeopathy is a form of medicine that treats the body as a whole and helps it to heal itself. It can be used for the short term (acute) illnesses and long term (chronic) illnesses. The objective is to prevent the patient from getting the illnesses again (prevention). The name homeopathy comes from the Greek word "homios" which means "like" and the word "pathos" meaning "suffering". Thus homeopathy simply means treating like with like.
In the fourth century B.C., Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, observed that large amount of certain natural substances can produce symptoms in healthy people resembling those caused by the disease, while smaller doses of these same substances can relieve those symptoms. in 1790's Samuel Hahnemann, a German doctor, amplified this concept and proposed the practice called homeopathy. He proposed that "Let like be cured by like". Homeopathy uses animal, vegetable and mineral preparations to cure a person's illness. Millions of people in Britain, Europe and America uses Homeopathy.
Homeopathy looks at each patient and develops a remedy or treatment plan strictly for him or her. It invokes the powers of healing inherent in individuals (our immune system) to develop a successful therapy. The more one knows about the patient, the symptoms, likes and dislikes, what makes them better or worse, it helps in developing a "symptom picture" of the patient that can lead to a successful treatment.
If we think about the principle of homeopathy, it has a lot in common with our present understanding of immunizations. To prevent us from catching small pox, a vaccine is prepared which is a mild form of the virus that causes the disease. The principle is that introduction of this small amount of the virus in our body system will set out our body's defenses so that when the actual virus shows up, our body will have enough barriers or fighting power to prevent the virus from entering our body. Homeopathy practitioners believe that when we introduce a very very small amount of the deadly material into the body, our body will unleash enough defenses to prevent the disease from recurring again. However, there are significant differences between the concepts used in Western medicine and those of homeopathy. Vaccines are not rendered more potent when they are diluted like homeopathic preparations. In conventional treatment, there is a minimum dosage that need to be given before the medication becomes effective in treating the underlying problem. For example, when taking antibiotics, we have to take the whole course at regular intervals to maintain a potency level in the bloodstream to kill the bacteria.
Homeopathic remedies, which are made from naturally occurring plant, animal, or mineral substances, are recognized and regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and are manufactured by established pharmaceutical companies under strict guidelines. There are over 2000 homeopathic remedies that are usually referred to by their abbreviated name. (For example Arg nit. stands for Argentum nitricum). These are derived from such exotic sources as bee stings, snake venoms, arsenic, gold and silica, and even compounds from diseases tissue. Homeopaths also prescribes tissue salts. Tissue salts are prepared from mineral sources. Homeopathic remedies are diluted to such an extent that there can be no possible side effects from even the most toxic substances. The dilution process is known as 'potentation' Taken in this ultra diluted form, Homeopathic remedies have no side effects and are perfectly safe, non-toxic and non-addictive.
Names of Homeopathic Medicines
Most of the Homeopathic medicines are referred to by their Latin names. The table below shows some of the common Homeopathic medicines and their Latin names.
|Latin Name||Common Name|
|Allium cepa |
Magnesia phosphorica (Mag phos)
Hahnemann's calcium sulphide
Venom of the bushmaster snake
Duck heart and liver
How does Homeopathic remedies work?
Many of the homeopathic remedies are so diluted that according to the known laws of physics and chemistry, they couldn't possibly have any effect. Once you get beyond a certain point-24x or 12c -there is probably not even one single molecule of the original active substance remaining. Critics of homeopathy often point to this fact as they dismiss the effect of homeopathy as merely due to placebo effect.
And yet, according to homeopathic doctrine and experience, the more diluted the solution, the more potent it is. Homeopaths contend that the remedies work and they see no reason to stop using them simply because we do not understand how they work. They often argue that pharmacologists cannot explain exactly how most conventional drugs work. For example, even aspirin is not fully understood in terms of how it works, but physicians have no difficulty in recommending its use.
Over the years several theories have been proposed to explain the action on homeopathic potentization.
The effects of microdoses have been known for a long time, and there are a number of examples that support the idea that very diluted concentrations of a substance will have a measurable and sometimes profound effect. Scientists call this phenomenon: hormesis.
Scientists from Michigan State University have shown how hormesis work in nature. They used microdoses of a fertilizer to stimulate crop production. In a dose equivalent to a 9x dilution, the fertilizer increased tomato yield by 30 percent, carrots were 21 percent bigger, and corn yield increased by 25 percent.
Our own bodies secrete minute amounts of hormones that have powerful effects. Thyroid hormone is present in our blood at only 1 part per 10 billion-yet this is enough to regulate the rate of our entire metabolism. Many animal studies show that low doses of some substances elicit a beneficial response while high doses are harmful. This phenomenon has been documented to occur with radiation, antibiotics, and heavy metals.
Pheromones are powerful aromatic hormone-like substances that creatures secrete to attract one another. One molecule of moth pheromone is so potent, it will attract another moth from miles away and trigger a cascade of physical reactions. Though well documented, the exact mechanism for pheromones remains unknown.
Homeopathic Remedies Work in Spiritual/Energy Plane and Not in Physical Plane
Homeopathic remedies are believed to work in the spiritual plane as opposed to the physical plane as we are used to think and measure. Hahnemann believed that dilution and succussion released a spirit- like power that worked on the spiritual level of the vital force in humans. We are familiar with the formerly invisible, immeasurable, unknowable energy forms, such as electromagnetic radiation and subatomic particles. Magnets exerted their force long before science could explain the mechanism. Physicists are still trying to explain gravity and the nature of matter, still discovering phenomena such as the "strong force" and the "weak force."
Homeopathy is an energy medicine, as are acupuncture and therapeutic touch. Homeopaths believe that although the physical molecules of the original substance may be gone, dilution and succussion leaves something behind-an imprint of its essence, or its energy pattern-that gives it a kind of healing charge. Potentization does not occur if you simply dilute the substance, even if you dilute it repeatedly. Nor does it occur if you only shake the substance vigorously. There is something about each process that builds sequentially upon the other, causing the power to be retained and progressively intensified.
But how does the information in such a minute amount of substance get transferred to the body? Some theorists suggest the repeated succussion creates an electrochemical pattern that is stored in the water carrier and then spreads like liquid crystallization through the body's own water; others say the dilution process triggers an electromagnetic imprinting that directly affects the electro- magnetic field of the body. This concept is used in other therapies also. For example, Ayurveda suggests taking water that has been potentizated by precious metals such as gold. The water is believed to possess curative power as a result of coming in contact with gold and other gemstones although no molecular transfer takes place. The healing power of crystals and magnets are believed to come from their effect on the energy pattern or vibration frequency. So, the suggestion of the homeopathic remedies as working on the energy plane may not be as far fetched as we may think at the first glance.
Homeopathic Remedies Activate the Vital Force
Homeopaths believe that it is the energy or "vibrational pattern" of the remedy, rather than the chemical content, that stimulates the healing by activating what Hahnemann called the Vital force. Vital force is the healing power or energy that exists within us all. It is called by the name Chi by Chinese and Prana by Indian Ayurveda. The vital force fuels the mind, body, emotions and mind. It keeps us healthy and balanced. When the balance of the vital force is disturbed by factors such as stress, pollution, improper diet and lack of exercise, it becomes weakened resulting in the person getting sick.
Scientists who accept the potential benefits of homeopathic theory suggest several theories to explain how highly diluted homeopathic medicines may act. Using recent developments in quantum physics, they have proposed that electromagnetic energy in the medicines may interact with the body on some level. Researchers in physical chemistry have proposed the "memory of water" theory, whereby the structure of the water-alcohol solution is altered by the medicine during the process of dilution and retains this structure even after none of the actual substance remains.