About Homeopathy

 

 

 

 

 

The father of modern medicine, Hippocrates, wrote about 'the way of opposites' and the 'way of similars. The word 'homeopathy' means, in Greek, 'similar suffering', or 'like cures like'. Even though the principle of homeopathy was understood, the practices of medicine from early Roman physician Galen, to Paracelsus in the middle ages, were based around 60 - 70 cure-all remedies.

Homeopathy as it is practised today, was accidentally discovered by German physician, Dr Samuel Hahnemann, in the late 18th century, when to understand the action of the quinine containing herb Cinchona, he took some and developed malarial symptoms. He went on to test a range of other substances. He then tested these substances on patients suffering from the symptoms represented by the drug picture recorded was able to cure diseases that had never been cured before. He described his theory by a single Latin phrase: Similia Similibus Curentur (let likes be cured by likes).

He tested enough substances to provide him with a pharmacy, with which he was able to treat a growing number of illnesses. Diseases like - scarlet fever, he treated with the herb belladonna. As he studied more substances, he created what became known as "drug pictures" also known as provings. It is from these humble beginnings that the pharmacy of over 2000 medicines which homeopaths use today, began. Today, the same substances tested in the same way as Samuel Hahneman did over 200 years ago, provide the same results.

(Unwitting) Medical examples of the use of the homeopathic principle.

  • Ritalin & dexamphetamines are stimulants used to treat hyperactive children.
  • Radiation therapy for cancer treatment both causes and treats cancer
  • Modern vaccination gives a small amount of the very disease it aims to protect against
  • Allergic desensitising programmes consist of giving small amounts of the substance the patient is allergic to, so immunity develops.
Examples of this principle:

IPECAC. When given in full strength, a dose of Ipecac will cause the patient to vomit. Given in a dilute form, this medicine is given to treat nausea and vomiting.

  • COFFEE can cause sleeplessness, is a common treatment for insomnia.
  • APIS MELLIFICA a remedy made from the honeybee, is used for... well you know now - beestings.
  • STINGING NETTLE (Urtica Dioica) is used for skin rashes.
  • THE RHUS TREE which causes severe skin reactions, is used for severe skin rashes
  • RED ONION which when chopped makes our eyes water and sting, is a wonderful remedy for the sneezing and discomfort of hay fever.

Please note that this information is not intended to be used for self-diagnosis or self-treatment.

 

The Medicines

The medicines used in homeopathic treatment come from vegetable, mineral and animal sources. Some are poisons in their crude form (arsenic, mercury eg) and others are inert substances, like oyster shell and common salt. When properly prepared, these substances lose any inherent harmful nature and develop an ability to treat disease. For example, the remedy 'Natrum Muriaticum' prepared from common salt is a common treatment for hay fever and headaches.

Preparing the Medicines

Preparing homeopathic medicines involves serial dilutions and shaking of the product between dilutions. After several dilutions, the initial substance is essentially washed out and cannot be detected chemically in the final product. This makes no sense whatsoever in light of present day science. But regardless of what our sciences tell us is impossible, in practice, the higher the dilution the stronger and longer lasting the effect. (See the research papers in 'Frequently Asked Questions on Homeopathy) All homeopathic remedies are government-approved medicines. They are manufactured in Australia and all over the world to strictly set standards.

Matching The Remedy To The Patient

Homeopaths assess which remedy is appropriate by conducting a very thorough interview. During this interview, the homeopath gathers information in order to match the patient's "disease" with one of the homeopathic "drug pictures." When the remedy is a good match, the client's symptoms improve. Homoeopathic medicines are taken in the form of drops or small pills.

The Use of Homeopathy Internationally

  • There are 5 homeopathic hospitals in Great Britain run by the British National Health Service, and 2 private homeopathic hospitals.
  • The World Health Organisation (WHO) have called for closer incorporation of homeopathy into "western medical systems" (WHO Bulletin, 1999, 77, 2, 160-165)
  • Homeopathy is one of the world's most frequently used complementary therapies (Rheumatic Diseases Clinics of North America, 2000, February, 26, 1, 117-123)
  • The users of homeopathy have a higher level of satisfaction with their treatment than those using orthodox medical treatment. (British Homoeopathic Journal, October 1989, 78, 219-229)
  • British consumers of homeopathic products find that homeopathic over-the-counter (OTC) products are extremely effective in the majority of cases. (Newsletter of The Royal London Homoeopathic Hospital NHS Trust, January 1997, 90-94)
  • The European Parliament has called for homeopathy to be integrated into medical practice. (Archives of Internal Medicine, 159, 17, September 27, 1999)
  • The French Medical Association has called for homeopathy to be included in all medical degree training. (Archives of Internal Medicine, 159, 17, September 27, 1999)
  • 42% of British doctors refer their patients for homeopathic treatment. In the UK, homeopathy is the only form of natural medicine supported by the National Health Service (Natural Medicine Society News, June 1992)
  • 66% of UK pharmacies sell homeopathic medicines. (The Pharmaceutical Journal, October 16, 1999, 263, 644-646)
  • 45% of Netherlands doctors use homeopathy (Family Practice, 1990, September, 7, 3, 227-232)
  • 47% of Dutch doctors use homeopathy (Medical Journal of Australia, 2000, 172, 105-109)
  • 65 to 80% of the world's population (about 3 billion people) rely on traditional (alternative) medicine as their primary form of health care. (WHO)
  • 20% of Scottish doctors have been trained in the use of homeopathy (J Alt And Compl Med, 2001, 7, Suppl 1, S103-9)
  • Homeopathy is the most frequently used natural medicine in Italy and the typical user as in other western countries is well educated, 35-44 and female (European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, 2002, April, 58 (1), 61-4)
  • In Italy, 16,000 pharmacies stock homeopathic medicines and the homeopathy market in Italy generates a turnover of 129 million Euros. (Financial Times, May 3, 2002)
  • Japanese doctors have set up the Japanese Physicians Society for Homeopathy to train doctors in homeopathy (Simile, Oct 2002, 7-8)
  • In Switzerland, in the 10 years to 2002, interest in homeopathy has risen by 300% and homeopathy is rebatable by most health insurance providers (Swiss Radio International, May 2, 2002)
  • 39% of paediatricians in Belgium are in favour of homeopathy (Homeopathy, 2002, 91, 262)
  • Patients using homeopathy cost the French government half of that for patients who use orthodox treatments (Archives of Family Medicine (1998, 7, 537-40)
  • UK doctors using homeopathy cost the government 12% less than UK doctors who do not use homeopathy. (Natural Medicine Society News, June 1992)
  • As far back as 1980 US studies found that those people who engage in self-care practices spent 26% less on hospital bills and 19% less on physicians' services. (John Fiorello, Helping Ourselves to Health: The Self-Care and Personal Health Enhancement Market in the US, New York, 1983, 67, The Health Strategy Group, 325 Spring St., New York, NY 10013)
  • 40% of French doctors use homeopathy, and the patients using homeopathy cost the French government half of that for patients who use orthodox treatments (Archives of Family Medicine, 1998, 7, 537-40)