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Homeopathy

Posted Sep 14 2008 2:45am

“I didn’t know where to turn when my husband left me and my three youngsters after 20 years of marriage,” said Gloria, a 42-year-old secretary. “On top of the shock and worry, my bowels went haywire; the hospital diagnosed ulcerative colitis. Drug treatment over the next two years had worrying side-effects, so I consulted a homeopath, who gave me homeopathic remedies, with vitamins, minerals and herbal tea. After four visits, I walked away, hardly able to believe it - I was completely cured. I should have tried homeopathy long ago.”

Dr Andrew Lockie, a leading homeopath, says, “Homeopathy can be effective in any situation where the body is still capable of helping itself - including chronic illnesses, infections and injuries where there is enough vitality. Homeopathic medicine is cheap, simple, effective and when used correctly. They’re very, very safe.”

How Did Homeopathy Begin?

Samuel Hahnemann Modern homeopathy was discovered by Samuel Hahnemann, a German doctor born in 1755. Just after he qualified, he was shocked to find that contemporary doctors gave patients large doses of poisonous mercury and took so much blood from them that some even died. He began to study gentler substances which helped the body to heal itself.

Hahnemann read that quinine was effective against malaria. A healthy person himself, he took doses of quinine and, to his astonishment, developed malarial symptoms. He found that a substance which caused disease symptoms in a healthy person could cure that same disease in a sick person. This principle - ‘like cures like’ - was known to the ancient Greeks; a form of it is used today in vaccination, which stimulates the body’s defenses without actually producing the disease itself Hahnemann also found that, paradoxically, the more a remedy was diluted, the more powerful it became.

He finally became famous in 1812 when he used his principles of homeopathy on 180 of Napoleon’s soldiers with typhoid. Only one of them died. In 1854 the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital took in 61 victims of a cholera epidemic; only 10 died (16 per cent) compared with half of those receiving drugs. Today, homeopathy is increasingly popular.

Making The Homeopathic Remedies

Taken from plant, mineral or animal sources, the original substance or ‘mother tincture’ is diluted with alcohol, between ten and hundreds of times, and shaken forcefully each time. Latin names are used for the remedies - for instance, Allium comes from onion and Apis from bees. White homeopathic pills contain milk sugar (lactose) as well as the active remedy, and dissolve in the mouth. Remedies also come in tincture form. You can buy remedies from chemists or health stores for self-treatment, or have them prescribed by a homeopath.

How Do Homeopathy Works?

The idea behind homeopathy is that an illness can be cured by tiny doses of some-thing that, in a healthy person, causes that very illness’s symptoms. When you think that the remedies are often so diluted that there’s virtually nothing left of the mother tincture, it’s not surprising that so many doctors doubt homeopathy’s power. But, despite the fact that in higher dilutions there is not a molecule left of the original substance, homeopathy often seems to work. The remedy is thought to be acting on the energy level rather than on the physical.

What Can You Expect From Homeopathy?

A homeopath not only pinpoints individual symptoms but finds out what kind of person you are.

  • Do you worry a lot?
  • What kind of weather do you like?
  • Are you sociable or shy?

Questions like these can help reveal your ‘constitutional type’. There are 15 major constitutional remedies but more than 2,000 remedies in all. Different remedies are prescribed for the same illness, depending on the individual. One remedy may be prescribed to deal with the present illness, but once that is cured, a constitutional remedy may be given to strengthen health. Some homeopaths practice ‘complex’ homeopathy, giving mixtures of remedies.

How To Take Homeopathic Remedies

Although there are no side effects, you may notice a brief increase symptoms; this usually means the remedy is working.

Basic Rules:

  • Don’t touch the pills - tip them into the lid, then drop them onto your tongue. (Some remedies now come in a pump-action dispenser which makes taking pills easier.)
  • For children and animals, crush tablets between two small spoons and then drop the powder onto the tongue.
  • Keep remedies away from strong smells or sunlight.
  • Cut out or reduce coffee and tea.
  • Do not eat or drink 20 minutes before or after taking a remedy.
  • Do not use flavored toothpaste.

Constitutional Types

A constitutional type is a combination of psychological, emotional and physical characteristics which describe the person as a whole. Once a homeopath has identified this, they can prescribe a remedy to boost your general health. Here are some of the most common constitutional types:

PHOSPHORUS
Affectionate, sympathetic, imaginative people. They are vulnerable, and sensitive to stronger personalities, atmosphere, light, sound. They fear the dark and being alone. Chilly. Slightly built, usually well-proportioned, they have dark or fair hair. Prone to throat and chest infections.

PULSATILLA
Mild, yielding types who weep easily. They need affection, seek strength in others and are very perceptive. Their moods and symptoms keep changing. Fair with blue eyes. Generally feel warm but need fresh air. Thirstless.

SEPIA
Drained by family or work. They feel indifferent to those closest to them, and crave solitude. Wild mood-swings. Irritable and chilly. Thin, tall and lean. Prone to headaches and hormonal troubles.

LACHESIS
Talkative, jealous personalities with strong opinions about everything. Highly sexed. Generally feel hot. Symptoms begin and are worst on left side. Freckled redheads or dark-haired and lean, with pale skin. Prone to throat, gland and circulatory troubles.

ARSENICUM ALBUM
Fastidious, precise, restless individuals who are very anxious, especially about money and health. They must have company. Chilly. Stylish and aristocratic looking. Prone to skin, chest and gastric symptoms.

NATRUM MURIATICUM
They are sad and sensitive people, but cannot cry and hate consolation or fuss. Dwell on past unhappiness. Easily offended and feel injustices. Crave salty food. Squarish build, sandy or dark hair. Prone to headaches.

Homeopathy Is Good For:

  • ear infections & blocked sinuses
  • migraine & other headaches
  • irritable bowel syndrome
  • asthma
  • hay fever
  • skin problems including eczema
  • menopausal symptoms
  • depression & anxiety

Homeopathy:

AVAILABILITY - Widespread

MEDICAL EVIDENCE - Increasing

MEDICAL ACCEPTANCE - Mixed

SELF HELP - Possible

Image credit: Wikipedia

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