Introduction to homeopathy
Homeopathy is a form of alternative medicine created in 1796 by Samuel Hahnemann. It is based on the doctrine of “like cures like”, which rests on the assumption that the cause of an illness can also be it’s cure. Although this assumption has been widely debunked and homeopathy has been shown to have no legitimate medical effect, many people still turn to this type of therapy to treat a variety of concerns.
What is homeopathy used to treat?
Homeopathic medicines can be administered either in liquid form, or delivered via small sugar pills. You can buy homeopathic remedies over the counter in a number of health food shops, or you can see a specialist to get a specific recommendation.
Some of the most common homeopathic treatments include:
- Allium cepa (onion): used to treat the runny nose and eyes of the common cold.
- Arnica (mountain daisy): applied to sprains and bruises to reduce pain and inflammation.
- Hypericum (St. John’s wort): prescribed for nerve injuries or pain in areas with a high density of nerves, such as fingers and toes.
- Chamomilla (chamomile): may help with insomnia, particularly in infants.
There are thousands of homeopathic remedies that claim to be able to alleviate almost any physical or emotional complaint.
How does homeopathy work?
Homeopathic medicine is created by diluting down the substance until it is only a trace (and indeed, in many cases not even that). Although for the most part there is no trace of the original substance left in the tincture, even at a molecular level, there are many substances used in homeopathy that are poisonous if ingested undiluted. These include belladonna, arsenic and poison ivy.
While modern science suggests that homeopathy does not work, it may still have strong placebo effect that can still help to alleviate symptoms of certain illnesses. However, complementary medicine should never be used as a replacement for medical intervention when needed.
Other (scientifically proven) things that can have a positive impact on your health beyond medicine include exercise, improved nutritional choices, meditation, spending time in nature and massage.
What will happen if I see a homeopath?
Your homeopath will typically start with a thorough discussion of your history, and will ask you about your physical, mental and even emotional states, as well as your general lifestyle. In classical homeopathy, your practitioner will synthesise this information into the preparation of a single mixture, while a “clinical homeopath” will make up a series of preparations depending on your needs.
What is the difference between homeopathy and herbal medicine?
Herbal medicines can be provided by herbalists and naturopaths to address a variety of complaints. These solutions tend to be undiluted, in order to deliver an effective dose of the herb in question to the individual. Herbs have been used for thousands of years in medicine, and have documented effects.
If you are interested in trying a natural solution alongside any medical treatment, it might be worth trying to find a naturopathic doctor. In this case, they will be able to give you sound, proven medical advice while also drawing on holistic and complementary medical traditions.
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