Homeopathic remedies have been used widely in Europe for the past 200 years, and they have gained in popularity in America during the last decade or so as well. Depression, anxiety, asthma, colds, stomach issues, high blood pressure...the list of conditions it has been used to treat is quite significant.
They were developed with the thinking that the body has the ability to cure itself of most conditions and that “like cures like.” This means that something that would create symptoms of an illness in a healthy person would cure that same illness in another person.
Here we take a look at homeopathy as a whole and how it works as well as how it compares to other alternative treatments. As with any form of medicine, the ultimate decision for your care will be your own so you need to understand all of your options and the science or philosophy behind them.
Let's begin with a brief introduction to this alternative healing method...
The term “like cures like” refers to the idea that substances that produce symptoms of diseases in healthy persons will cure those same diseases in others. To this end very diluted substances or remedies are used in homeopathic treatment.
These remedies will contain chemicals or components that will produce the symptoms of certain illnesses in healthy people. Those who are sick can then build up an immunity or reaction to those remedies and be cured of their illness.
These remedies are made from plants, animal products, or certain minerals. Favorite products that are used to create these remedies include white arsenic, crushed whole bees, poison ivy, belladonna, red onion, mountain herb, and stinging nettle.
These are usually made into sugar cubes or pellets and are placed under the tongue to dissolve. Some might also be prepared as drops to be placed on the tongue or gels that a person would rub on their skin.
Very often homeopathic remedies are individualized for each person. A homeopath will take into account not just the symptoms of a certain illness but also other factors such as their weight, diet, emotional state, and so on.
A person who wants a remedy for irritable bowel syndrome but who also gets panic attacks may get a remedy that is different than someone who doesn’t have a panic disorder, as an example.
Is it effective and safe?
Whether or not homeopathic medicine is effective is a matter of debate for most experts. Some state outright that remedies are no more effective than placebos, and others have noted that they do seem to offer some relief for conditions like arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome, and different forms of dermatitis.
A remedy used in homeopathy is very diluted which in turn typically makes it safe, but this too will vary according to the homeopath as these remedies are usually mixed by hand. The biggest risk that most remedies carry is when they are improperly administered or manufactured. To avoid this risk, it’s recommended that a person always work with a licensed and reputable homeopath.
Even though it is very diluted and generally safe, it’s always necessary to tell your doctor of any treatment you’re taking including any homeopathic medicine. These may interact with prescription drugs or you may be allergic to certain ingredients in those remedies.
Every alternative treatment option works in its own way and offers its own measure of relief for various conditions. As an example, acupuncture is said to work because the insertion of tiny needles causes the body to increase blood circulation to certain areas in order to heal the small tears caused by those needles.
Blood brings with it healing nutrients and oxygen, so a person can heal from certain conditions faster with an acupuncture treatment. Massage therapy has the same effect.
It's difficult to compare homeopathic medicine to these and other alternative healing methods because they all work a little differently. It's impossible to say with any certainty that one is more or less effective than another, because what works for one individual will not necessarily work for another.
You may find that homeopathy works wonders for you while Chinese medicine does not. Or that acupuncture helps you with a number of conditions that herbal supplements do not. It's an individual thing.
Many people find that a combination of therapies works. For example, homeopathy with acupuncture and massage. You can always try different things to see what works for you, as long as you are under professional medical guidance.
A much easier comparison is with conventional medicine, which oftentimes masks or suppresses symptoms rather than try to address the root cause as homeopathic remedies do. Also, conventional drugs usually target one specific problem while homeopathy takes the entire body into account.
As we mention above, it's a personal choice. If you find the right homeopathic medicine from the right practitioner it may work wonders for a specific condition that you have. It's certainly worth looking into if a) conventional medications aren't working for you or b) conventional drugs do work for you but they are causing some serious side effects.
In our opinion it's always best to know all of your options and not just settle for a medication because everyone else is taking it. A good example of this is cholesterol drugs. Many people assume that if their cholesterol is high they need to be on statin drugs like Lipitor. Well, research has shown that most people do not actually have to be on these drugs. Not only are they not necessary in most cases, they can cause a host of very serious side effects.
So, in this case, if you truly need to lower your cholesterol, there are alternative options out there that are safer and just as effective. Diet, exercise and supplementation can all help lower cholesterol significantly. There are homeopathic remedies that can help with that and other heart related issues as well.
Bottom line is...if you are suffering from any health condition, whether it is depression or arthritis or stomach pain...it is always wise to explore your treatment options, and not just rely on the advice of one medical professional. Homeopathic medicine just might be the solution you've been looking for!