Homeopathy has been garnering more and more attention as its popularity spreads. And with good reason – it is convenient, safe, effective, and affordable. So what is homeopathy? Contributor Rheagan will tell you all about it below!
What is homeopathy and what does it do?
Homeopathy is a unique form of energy medicine discovered/founded by Dr. Samuel Hahnemann, a German physician, in the late 18th century. This system of medicine is based on the premise of “like-cures-like,” otherwise known as the law of similars.
This law of similars was known to Hippocrates and Paracelsus, and several traditional cultures have used this principle in their healing practices, but it was Dr. Hahnemann who developed it into the system of medicine we know today as homeopathy. The term homeopathy literally means same (homoios) suffering (pathos).
The terms “homeopathy” and “homeopathic” are often erroneously used interchangeably with terms like “holistic” or “natural.” While homeopathy is a form of holistic or natural care, not all natural or holistic remedies are homeopathic. To be considered homeopathy, a remedy must adhere to the law of similars.
For example, elderberry syrup is a great natural remedy, but because it is not utilized in a like-cures-like manner, it is not homeopathic.
What is homeopathy?
Homeopathy utilizes remedies formulated from various substances found in the plant, animal, and mineral kingdoms which are then diluted to “potentize” them.
The more diluted a remedy is, the stronger its effect on the body. As the physical aspect of the remedy is weakened (through dilution), the energetic properties are heightened.
Each remedy has a symptom picture which is matched to the symptoms of the person seeking relief. This picture is established through a series of scientifically documented processes called a proving. The proving reveals what symptoms the remedy can cause in a healthy person. This then correlates with the symptoms it can relieve in a person suffering dis-ease (like-cures-like).
How does homeopathy work?
Homeopathy works by matching a remedy to the symptoms, whether physical or emotional, that someone is experiencing. One looks at the whole picture of the person and compares it to the whole picture of the remedy. Even tiny details that one may not think are relevant can make the difference between the correct match or not.
For example, a common remedy for the common cold is allium cepa and one of its chief indications is nasal discharge that burns and causes a raw upper lip. Conversely, euphrasia, another common cold remedy, is indicated by the lack of burning from the nasal discharge.
While trying a poorly-matched remedy won’t cause harm, it will not provide relief of symptoms.
Homeopathy can also be used for deeper healing, often referred to as constitutional care. In this case, a single remedy is matched to the person as a whole. This is best done under the care of a trained homeopath.
Homeopaths undergo extensive education and training to practice. These skilled professionals are trained and experienced in taking a complete case of a person seeking treatment and will know best what to look for when matching a remedy.
What are the benefits of homeopathy?
The benefits of homeopathy are numerous. Here are a few:
- Homeopathy is safe for all ages, from newborn to 100+, though it would be best to seek the care of a homeopath when seeking treatment for very young babies as their vital force tends to be more sensitive.
- Treatment is perfectly customized for each individual, no matter the issue at play.
- Remedies are accessible and inexpensive.
- Remedies are also easy to administer.
What can homeopathy be used for?
Because homeopathy works by addressing physical and emotional symptoms, the underlying diagnosis does not have much bearing on treatment, so homeopathy can be used for anything from acute annoyances to deep-seated chronic issues.
Types of homeopathic remedies
Homeopathic remedies come in several different formats.
Pellets- the most common and most easily available remedy. Homeopathic pharmacies buy or make blank pellets made of sugar, and then coat the pellets with the liquid remedy. Once dry, the pellets are packaged in plastic or glass bottles or dispenser tubes.
Since the remedy is on the outside of the pellet, it is important not to handle the pellets to avoid the risk of the remedy rubbing off. Pellets are said to be more resistant to the negative effects of travel than tinctures, so that may be something to consider if you know you will be travelling with your remedies frequently.
Tinctures- also popular, but harder to come by, are tincture remedies. These are made with water or alcohol and often have to be ordered from a homeopathic pharmacy. Often easier to administer to young children and those with physical limitations, wet remedies (also known as water doses) are said to be slightly stronger than dry dose pellets.
Topical remedies- Homeopathic remedies can also be applied topically. Arnica cream is a common and popular example of this application. A remedy can be applied directly to the site of injury or complaint. Try this arnica cream.
When a remedy is needed for more systemic use but oral administration is not an option, a wet remedy or pre-prepared cream can be applied to pulse points of the body, such as behind the knee or the inside of the wrist.
Paper remedies- not so well-known and often harder for our allopathically-trained minds to grasp. Since homeopathy is an energy medicine, and the remedies are so diluted as to not contain any of the original substance past 12C potency, remedies can also work by intention. The mind leads and the emotions and body follow.
For a paper remedy, the name of the remedy is written on a piece of paper which is then carried in the pocket or held under a glass of water to be sipped. The energetic properties of the remedy are imparted to the water being consumed as the remedy itself. While certainly handy to use in a pinch, the effects of a paper remedy are said to wear off sooner than that of a physical remedy.
Remedies similar to homeopathy
Flower essences are a close cousin to homeopathy. While not homeopathic in that they are not administered under the like-cures-like premise, they are another form of energy medicine.
Dr. Edward Bach who discovered the flower essences was himself a homeopath, but his work with the flower essences focused solely on flowers and transmuting their energy to the remedy and addressing the emotional field rather than the physical one. We like Bach Flower Remedies. Scroll down here to learn more about them.
Cell salts are another remedy similar to homeopathy. Developed by Dr. Wilhem Schuessler in the 19th century, these are 12 homeopathically-prepared remedies of the 12 inorganic mineral compounds (“salts”) necessary for cellular health. While not necessarily administered under the law of similars, cell salts can help address a variety of physical and emotional complaints by promoting the balance of these salts in the body. Buy cell salts here.
How long does it take for homeopathic medicine to start working?
Homeopathy can work in seconds or it can take years. It depends on the circumstances and what you are expecting from your remedy. A really good constitutional remedy should begin to alleviate symptoms fairly quickly, sometimes within days, and then continue to have a positive effect over time.
Considerations and contraindications
Homeopathy will not interfere with other medications, but some people may experience sensitivities to the base material of the remedy. Many homeopathic pellets use lactose in their formulation. For those with dairy sensitivities or allergies, this can be problematic. In this case, it is best to seek pellets made with sucrose instead.
While antidotes to homeopathy are a debated topic amongst homeopaths, certain environmental influences have been reported by some to hinder the effects of homeopathic remedies. Direct sunlight, high heat, and strong odors can be problematic, as well as essential oils, particularly peppermint.
Camphor and menthol may also antidote remedies, so you may need to consider switching toothpaste and mouthwash and avoiding throat lozenges, as well as using caution with topical applications such as Tiger Balm, vapor rub, or other preparations containing essential oils. Coffee has been known to antidote remedies, so consider the timing of when you take your remedy with respect to your morning cup of coffee (or consider opting for a bulletproof tea latte instead).
X-ray does not appear to be problematic to homeopathic remedies, but electromagnetic fields (EMF) have been known to antidote remedies, including ultrasound and MRIs. Take care to store your remedies away from sources of EMF exposure (WiFi router, cell phone, etc.) and be prepared to re-administer a remedy following exposure to ultrasound or MRI. (source)
Is homeopathy right for you?
Homeopathy is an alternative healing modality that can be used whether you’re battling an acute or chronic condition.
For those seeking to expand their healing journey, homeopathy deserves consideration. It is safe, convenient, easy to use, does not interfere with other allopathic treatments or medications, and can be very effective when used in conjunction with other diet and lifestyle adjustments to promote health and healing. As with any new therapy, it is best to consult with a trained professional for input on your unique considerations.