Homeopathy is based on the principle that you can treat ‘like cures like’, that is, a substance which causes symptoms when taken in large doses, can be used in small amounts to treat those same symptoms. For example, drinking too much coffee can cause sleeplessness and agitation, so according to this principle, when made into a homeopathic medicine, it could be used to treat people with these symptoms. This concept is sometimes used in conventional medicine, for example, the stimulant Ritalin is used to treat patients with ADHD, or small doses of allergens such as pollen are sometimes used to de-sensitise allergic patients. However, one major difference with homeopathic medicines is that substances are used in ultra high dilutions, which makes them non-toxic.Homeopathic medicines (which homeopaths call remedies) are prepared by specialist pharmacies using a careful process of dilution and succussion (a specific form of vigorous shaking).
HISTORY AND SCIENCE OF HOMEOPATHY:
As yet, science has not been able to explain the mechanism of action of ultra high dilutions in the body, but laboratory experiments have repeatedly demonstrated that homeopathically prepared substances cause biological effects.
There is also a growing body of research evidence that homeopathic medicines have clinical effects.
The principle of treating “like cures like” dates back to Hippocrates (460-377BC) but in its current form, homeopathy has been widely used worldwide for more than 200 years.
It was discovered by a German doctor, Samuel Hahnemann, who, shocked with the harsh medical practises of the day (which included blood-letting, purging and the use of poisons such as arsenic), looked for a way to reduce the damaging side-effects associated with medical treatment.
He began experimenting on himself and a group of healthy volunteers, giving smaller and smaller medicinal doses, and found that as well as reducing toxicity, the medicines actually appeared to be more effective the lower the dose. He also observed that symptoms caused by toxic ‘medicines’ such as mercury, were similar to those of the diseases they were being used to treat e.g. syphilis, which lead to the principle he described as ‘like cures like’.
Hahnemann went on to document his work, and his texts formed the foundations of homeopathic medicine as it is practised today.
Homeopaths often see patients with long-term, chronic problems, many of which have failed to respond to conventional medicine. As a system of medicine, homeopathy is aimed at treating the person, rather than the disease diagnosis, and as such can be considered in almost any ill health, where tissue has not been irrevocably damaged.
Most people visit a homeopath with a diagnosis from their doctor, and patients are encouraged to keep their medical practitioners informed as treatment progresses. Some people see a homeopath because they have side effects from conventional drugs, and others because conventional tests have failed to find the cause of their problem.
BENEFITS OF HOMEOPATHY:
There is a growing body of research evidence suggesting that treatment by a homeopath is clinically effective, cost effective and safe. Homeopathy benefits many illnesses and some are below:
- Allergies and upper respiratory tract infections
- Ankle sprain
- Childhood diarrhoea; chronic fatigue
- Ear infections
- Hay fever
- Premenstrual syndrome
- Rheumatic diseases