Are you considering using homeopathic medicine?
This popular healing system isn’t only used by tea-sipping hippies. Many celebrities swear by it too.
Paul McCartney once said:
I can’t manage without homeopathy. In fact, I never go anywhere without homeopathic remedies. I often make use of them.
Queen Elizabeth II was also a fan of homeopathic remedies. In fact, her personal doctor was a qualified homeopathic physician.
Paul, who is now in his 80s, is still very active. And the Queen remained busy well into her 90s. This makes you wonder if using homeopathic preparations is the smart people’s choice.
There’s been a lot of controversy around this complementary medicine system though. So, let’s take a closer look and see whether homeopathic drugs could help you improve your health.
What is homeopathic medicine?
Homeopathy (or homoeopathy) is a unique healing system with the philosophy:
Like cures like.
This relates to the belief that substances which cause disease, are also capable of curing it.
This only works when you use a particular type of dosage.
Most health care providers prescribe medicines in milligram or gram amounts. This is true for doctors and many complementary medicine practitioners, e.g. Naturopaths. However, this contrasts homeopathic preparations, as prescriptions only include tiny doses of substances.
(This is where we circle back to the ‘like cures like’ philosophy)
Because in minute doses the homeopathic remedy can heal. But, in large doses, it could create the symptoms you’re trying to treat.
History of homeopathy
Homeopathy was created by Samuel Hahnemann, a German physician, in the late 1700s.
It’s predated by Chinese and Indian medicine, which are more than 3,000 years old. Even so, it’s one of the oldest alternative medicine practices in Europe.
Samuel Hahnemann did this after struggling to make a living for 15 years in his industry. Part of him knew there was more to healing than conventional medicine principles. So, dissatisfied with medical treatments in his time, he began experimenting. He became obsessed with understanding how treatments biochemically impact the body. Then, he decided to use himself as a test subject… which led to a life-changing discovery.
Experimenting with regular doses of cinchona (quinine), caused him to develop the symptoms of mild malaria. This sparked a new concept relating to the curative power of drugs. Many of his ideas were published, with one of his most famous being in the 18th Century: Organon of the Healing Art.
It explains that illnesses could by cured using a medicine that, if given to a healthy person, would produce similar symptoms in milder form. For example, imagine a patient with severe nausea. According to Hahnemann, treatment is medicine that produces mild nausea in a healthy person.
Next, trials of homeopathy needed to occur. A process called ‘proving’ (or pathogenetic trials) helped him create a compendium of ‘like cures like’ medicines.
Which health conditions can homeopathy treat?
Some doctors question the effectiveness of homeopathy. They may call it a fake medicine or categorise it as bad science. But, many class these as derogatory terms because…
They’ve experienced the effects of homeopathy themselves. They have healed using diluted preparations that resonate with homeopathic philosophy.
Homeopathic treatments can help a wide variety of conditions . Some of the most common include:
Treatment varies depending on the cause. Most homeopathy remedies include ingredients from eucalyptus, phosphorus, ipecac, and diluted herbal medicines. If allergies are the cause, treatment also involves reducing exposure to the irritant.
Priority is for the Homeopath to understand the exact nature of the symptoms. There could be a sour taste in mouth, tightness in the chest, nausea or something else. Every symptom informs the practitioner about the root of the complaint. It’s viewed as a lifestyle-related problem, rather than a disease. Therefore, treatment also involves diet/lifestyle changes.
It’s imporant to determine the patient’s exact condition. Is it osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia? Maybe it’s another type of arthritic condition. Emotions are also considered. Just like conventional drugs, treatment aims to reduce inflammation and joint pain. Homeopathic medicines derived from poison ivy (Rhus tox) are commonly used.
Anxiety and depression
Mental health conditions involve extensive investigation into the patient’s background and emotions. Homoeopathic medicines for anxiety and depression usually include calming ingredients, e.g. Valerian. In some cases, they’re used instead of psychotropic drugs. Lifestyle recommendations will also be made. Talking with a counsellor and getting more exercise, like yoga, may be suggested.
Hayfever (allergic rhinitis), food sensitivities and more. These can all involve reactions that relate to the immune system. The aim of homeopathic drugs, in this instance, is to improve the body’s ability to cope with the irritant. Sometimes, these medicines are used as a preventative if the patient knows they’ll be exposed to a trigger.
Psoriasis and eczema
Stress is one of the biggest triggers of psoriasis. That’s why practitioners will discuss this topic in detail. They’ll also look at the area and note its appearance. Homoeopathic medicines will be chosen based on reliable evidence during ‘proving’. Medical science doesn’t have a lot of answers for these conditions. This makes homeopathy an attractive choice for many with skin conditions.
Migraines and headaches
Migraines and headaches look different for each person. Therefore, practitoners take time to understand all aspects of the condition. They’ll want to know your symptoms, plus it’s location, triggers, what makes it better/worse. Treatment involves a diluted version of an original substance. This can treat and prevent the condition.
Cold and coughs
These are common ailments, which is why most people looks for a natural remedy free from side effects. Medical science doesn’t have a lot to offer in this area. And that also makes homeopathics attractive. Remedies address common symptoms like runny nose, fever, cough, body ache, and watering eyes. Emotional health is also considered.
Homeopathic Treatments VS Scientific Evidence
A homeopath could speak to you about the efficacy of homeopathy for days. However, there is a lot of controversy around this alternative treatment.
Many clinical trials have investigated how effective it is. That’s mainly because using counter remedies of diluted substances is not the norm. Orthodox medicine (mainstream) uses a different philosophy that favours higher doses of medicines. So to them, homeopathy is an unorthodox medicine. This makes them skeptical it has any positive impact on the body.
Effects of Homeopathy – Study Results
Let’s see what systematic reviews have to say about homoeopathic preparations..
In 2019, a systematic review looked at using homeopathy for bronchial asthma. Qualitative and quantitative inadequacies made the results inconclusive. However, a critical overview shows evidence that it works is high.
Another systematic review analysed headache and migraine data. Some results suggested homoeopathic preparations were effective, while others did not. The conclusion was that more research is needed.
There is also an encouraging case report that focuses on psoriasis and homeopathy. It concluded that:
Homeopathy is a gentle, safe method of treatment that would appear to have positive effects in the treatment of psoriasis.
The British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology tells you the jury is out on this matter. Their data questions whether homeopathy is any more effective than placebo.
Homeopathic Vaccines VS Conventional Medicine
Despite the term homeopathic vaccine, there is technically no such thing.
Being immunised is medical terminology. It refers to stimulating the body, using germs, to develop resistance to infections. The end-goal is to produce antibodies to pathogens that support immunity.
This contrasts homeopathics, which don’t intend to produce specific antibodies. Instead, they support immunity in other ways. Even though the majority of people aren’t sure about using homeopathy in this manner, many parents opt for it. They view it as a safer option than traditional vaccines. The whooping cough vaccine is one of the most popular homeopathic ‘vaccinations’.
Debate in this area is rife. And there’s passion behind the arguments on both sides.
It’s best to do your own research and decide what’s best for you and your family.
Homoeopathic medicines are popular, despite what clinical trials are showing.
A recent study shows a 15% increase in adults using homeopathy in the United States.
It’s estimated that 1.1 million Aussies trust homeopathics.
These growing numbers suggest there’s more to homeopathy than meets the eye.
Maybe, we’re living in a time where homeopathy can’t be properly measured. Possibly, we need to wait for more advanced scientific equipment to test viability. It’s happened before, so why can’t it happen again.
In the year 2099, people may look back on today in disbelief that everyone didn’t accept homeopathy as effective treatment.
If you want to be ahead of the curve and improve your health, click here to book a homeopathic appointment in your area.