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U
nderstanding Homeopathy
 


Ten Most Frequently Asked Questions on Homeopathic Medicine

© Dana Ullman, MPH

The following is one in an ongoing series of columns entitled Understanding Homeopathy by Dana Ullman, MPH. View all columns in series
What is Homeopathy Anyway?
Homeopathic medicine is a natural pharmaceutical science that uses various plants, minerals or animals in very small dose to stimulate the sick person's natural defenses. The medicines are individually chosen for their ability to cause in overdose the similar symptoms the person is experiencing. "Homoios" in Greek means similar and "pathos" means disease or suffering. Since one's symptoms are actually efforts of the organism to reestablish homeostasis or balance, it is logical to seek a substance that would, in overdose, cause the similar symptoms the person is experiencing. The medicines, thus, go with, rather than against, the person's natural defenses.

In essence, homeopathy is composed of two highly systematic methods: toxicology and casetaking. First, homeopaths find out the specific physical, emotional, and mental symptoms that various substances cause in overdose. Homeopathic texts have more detail on toxicology than any other source. Second, the homeopaths interview their patients in great detail to discover the totality of physical, emotional and mental symptoms the person is experiencing. The homeopath seeks to find a substance that would cause the similar symptoms the person has and then gives it in small, specially prepared dose.

It Seems Illogical to Give Doses of Substances That Cause Symptoms Similar to Those the Sick Person Has in Order to Cure Them. Explain This.
Homeopaths, like many modern physiologists, recognize that symptoms represent the best efforts of the organism to adapt to and defend against various stresses or infections. Because the body is not always successful in dealing with every stress or infection, it is important to find a substance in nature that has the capacity to mimic the symptoms the person is experiencing in order to aid the body in its efforts to defend and ultimately heal itself.

The "law of similars," the basic principle of homeopathy, is even used in some conventional medical therapies, such as immunizations and allergy treatments. These treatments, however, are not pure homeopathy since homeopathic medicines are more individually prescribed, given in smaller doses, and used to treat sick people and to prevent disease.

Homeopaths Use Such Small Doses That They Could'nt Possibly Have Any Psychological Effect. How Can You Respond to This?
Although we don't understand precisely how the homeopathic medicines work, there is clear evidence that the medicines are active and can heal. Homeopathy became popular in this country and in Europe during the 1800s because of its success in treating the many infectious diseases that raged during that time, including yellow fever, scarlet fever, cholera, and many others. The death rate in homeopathic hospitals was between one-half to one-eigth of those in conventional medical hospitals. Homeopathic medicines also have been shown to work on infants and on various animals (including dogs, cats, horses and even cows) where it is highly unlikely that they are acting only as a placebo. Homeopaths also find that people who are being treated with homeopathic medicine for a chronic disease sometimes experience a temporary exacerabation in their symptoms as the body's defenses are being stimulated. Homeopaths have found that a "healing crisis" is sometimes necessary to achieve healing. It is highly unlikely that this temporary worsening of symptoms is the result of a placebo response.

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About The Author
DANA ULLMAN, MPH, is one of America's leading advocates for homeopathy. He has authored 10 books, including The Homeopathic Revolution: Why Famous People and Cultural Heroes Choose Homeopathy, ...more
 
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Disclaimer: The information provided on HealthWorld Online is for educational purposes only and IS NOT intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek professional medical advice from your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.