Although homeopathy is the second most common medical system in the world, many people wonder how it works. The treatments have been used since the 18th Century and now they are quickly growing in popularity with wider availability and a more holistic, proactive approach to one's health.
It used to be called alternative medicine, but herbal and homeopathic remedies have gone mainstream as new research by Mintel indicates approximately a third of Americans are changing from OTC medicines to natural products to overcome common and other ailments.
What is a homeopathic remedy?
A homeopathic remedy is actually a pure, natural substance that has been diluted many times so that when administered in small doses, it has no unwanted, adverse side effects. This natural medicine usually comes from organic sources and such sources can be vitamins, minerals, roots, fruits or vegetable extracts. Homeopathic remedies are named for the plant or animal ingredients they are made from.
How does homeopathy work?
Homeopathy is a medical system that uses infinitesimal doses of natural substances to stimulate a person's immune system and body's natural defences, not only offering relief from temporary disorders but can also provide long term healing due to its individual and "holistic" approach. This often leads to a complete recovery from the disease or condition as well as providing an improved understanding of the patient's situation, making it easier to avoid recurrence or relapses in the future. Homeopathy stimulates the body's natural defence system by re-establishing normal immune system and cell functioning.
Here are some easy to understand examples
A good way of illustrating the idea behind homeopathy is to take the example of an onion. While a raw onion will usually make your nose run and your eyes water when peeling it, taking a tiny bit of raw onion could cure a cold with the same symptoms – running nose and watering eyes.
Other examples are:
- A full strength dose of Ipeca will cause vomiting. In a very diluted dose, it becomes a remedy to control nausea and vomiting.
- Coffee before bed will generally cause a sleepless night. In an infinitesimal dose, it is used to treat insomnia.
- A large dose of sodium sulfate will characteristically provoke diarrhea. An infinitesimal or homeopathic dose can cure that same type of diarrhea.
Homeopathic medicine is based on three key principles
- The remedy you take should produce the symptoms you are feeling in an otherwise healthy person.
- You should take the lowest possible dose that produces results.
- And you should only take one remedy at a time on a clean palate.
A few DOs and DO NOTs regarding homeopathic remedies
- Avoid heat, light, moisture by keeping any remedies in a cool, dark place.
- Keep them away from TVs and other electronic devices emitting electromagnetic radiation (EMR); because of the subtle energy of homeopathic remedies, they can be damaged.
- Keep away from mint - such as mint or peppermint toothpaste, mint in your ice tea or mint chocolate chip ice cream -during the time you are using homeopathic remedies.
- Avoid aromatics such as menthol, camphor, tiger balm and perfume as these can neutralize homeopathic remedies.
- If your remedy comes in pill form, don't touch with your hands as the oil from your hands can affect them.
- Take half an hour before eating or 1 to 2 hours after meals.
- If you are taking pills, do not chew or swallow but dissolve under the tongue instead so they quickly absorb into the bloodstream. Homeopathic drops can be taken the same way or in a glass of water.
- Avoid stimulants such as smoking, coffee and caffeine especially within 30 minutes of taking homeopathic remedies.
Homeopathy is effective, completely natural and doesn't cause any dangerous side effects.
And because there are no known side effects and no contra-indications, homeopathic remedies can complement conventional drugs.