In fact, homeopathic medicine, for many reasons, has achieved such popularity in Europe that it is no longer considered an "alternative medicine." First, England's Royal Family has been under homeopathic care since the 1830s. Second, organized medicine in Europe has not been as antagonistic to homeopathy as American medical organizations have been. And third, convincing research has been published in numerous European medical and scientific journals.
One-third of the French population uses homeopathic medicines, and 39% of French family physicians prescribe them. Twenty percent of all German physicians prescribe homeopathic medicines, 42% of British physicians refer patients to homeopathic physicians, and 45% of Dutch physicians consider homeopathic medicines effective. If these figures aren't impressive enough, according to a recent market research survey, the field of alternative and complementary medicine, including homeopathy, is expanding so quickly that it was Europe's second biggest growth industry during the 1980s, second only to the computer industry. "Complementary medicine" is a term popularized by Prince Charles to emphasize that much of alternative medicine is not simply an alternative but is a valid complement to other types of medical care.
Many people in England who grew up with homeopathy are now having their own children who they regularly treat homeopathically. Such is the case with Terry and Diane Linden, who live in London and whose three children (5, 11, and 15 years of age) have been brought up using homeopathic medicines. Two of these children have never taken a conventional drug, and the other child has done so on only a couple of occasions.
Terry and Diane have noticed that many of their friends' children--treated with conventional medicines--would get recurrent bouts of their symptoms. The antibiotics that were used to treat sore throats or ear infections would have to be used again and again. Terry and Diane questioned if conventional drugs were really curative or simply acting on the symptoms alone.
Terry and Diane's children get sick occassionally just like other children, but with the aid of homeopathic medicines, they get over their illnesses relatively quickly and don't generally have recurrent bouts of the same illnesses. What's more is that Terry and Diane have begun to teach their two older children how to use homeopathic medicines themselves to treat common ailments and injuries. By teaching their children how to care for themselves with homeopathic medicines, these parents are empowering their children in a way that is in itself therapeutic.
Using safer, natural remedies, such as homeopathic medicines, is particularly important when treating infants and young children. Their young bodies are developing. Their nervous systems are just beginning to integrate with the endocrine and immune systems and with various organ systems. Although the human organism can be incredibly resilient, it can also be very fragile, especially during infancy.
Parents can be reassured that homeopathic medicines are safe for infants. Despite the fact that some homeopathic remedies are made from originally poisonous substances, they are diluted so many times that it is not possible for a baby to ingest enough of the substance to cause any damage, even if the infant swallowed the contents of an entire bottle.
To make it easier for infants to take a dose of a homeopathic medicine, you should crush the pellets or pills between two clean spoons and then place the powder in the baby's mouth. Because homeopathic medicines are made with a small amount of lactose (milk sugar) or sucrose, they have a sweet taste that most infants and children love. (Although some parents may be trying to restrict the amount of lactose and sucrose in their children's diet, the amount contained in homeopathic medicines is so small that it poses no real problems, even for diabetic children.)
The Need for Safe Alternatives
Parents tend to be more concerned about their children's diet, safety, and hygiene than they are about their own, and are inclined to seek out quality health care for their children, even for minor complaints. Unfortunately, parental concern too often translates into anxiety and fear, preventing parents from taking constructive action at home. Instead, many parents with a sick child immediately take their child to a doctor, even for minor ailments, hoping that the doctor will simply make the problem go away.