German Physician Samuel Hahnemann formulated homeopathic theories in the late eighteenth century, although these principals were, understood hundreds of years prior (Greek physician Hippocrates 460BC.) The principal is that symptoms of the person are not seen as negative effects of the illness but as an attempt of the person to resist disease.
Hahnemann tested a treatment for malarial on himself by taking many doses of quinine, after sometime he induced malarial-like symptoms and came to the conclusion that quinine worked precisely because it mimicked and supported our our healing responses. This self experimentation led to the principal of 'like curing like' hundreds of homeopathic remedies gave since been tested by giving them to healthy people and recording the responses.
These 'remedy pictures' are then applied to see which one of them fits the symptoms of an ill person. When a remedy has been identified as being appropriate to encourage the individual's self healing mechanisms, it is then prescribed in minute amounts. Hahnemann had found that by diluting his remedies in a special way he was able to get a quicker effect, and he understood these dilutions to work on a more subtle level that simply obtaining a physical reaction.
To date there are 8,554 single remedies in their natural systematic position this is according to current research by Jörg Wichmann who has led a project since the nineties which set out to make a complete worldwide homeopathic medicine list and all provings which have ever been conducted. This has been an on-going task since provings of new substances are constantly being carried out in order that they can be used as homeopathic medicines.
Homeopathic Medicine Facts
- Substances originating from plants, animals or minerals can be made into homeopathic medicines.
- Homeopathic medicines are relatively inexpensive.
- Homeopathic medicines can be given in the form of pills, powder or liquid.
- There are more than 4,000 homeopathic medicines and over 8,000 single remedies.
- The central principle of homoeopathy is ‘like cures like’, or the Law of Similars - Latin: similia similibus curantur. This principle dates back to the Greek physician Hippocrates who lived in the 5th century BC. This law states that any substance which is capable of producing symptoms in a healthy person will remove similar symptoms occurring as an expression of disease.
- Discovered by the German doctor Samuel Hahnemann over 200 years ago, homoeopathic medicine is based upon sound scientific principles and the laws of nature. Far from being ideas-based, homoeopathy is a completely evidence-based, empirical medicine - a unique concept when it was founded.
- Homoeopathy assists the body to heal itself, which brings the patient to a higher level of health.
- The homoeopathic practitioner endeavours to search for and treat the origin of the disease.
- The homoeopathic practitioner treats the whole person, believing all symptoms are interrelated, and seeks to select a medicine most closely covering that totality of symptoms.
HOW ARE HOMEOPATHIC REMEDIES FORMULATED?
Substances used in homeopathic remedies are first soaked in alcohol or water to extract their essential ingredients, this initial solution is called the 'mother tincture'. This tincture is then diluted successively either by factors of ten (called the decimal scale) or 100 and called the centesimal scale.
POTENCY TABLE FOR HOMEOPATHIC MEDICINES
The Centesimal scale
1C = 1/100 - of mother tincture
2C = 1/10 000 - of mother tincture
3C = 1/1 000 000 - of mother tincture
6C = 1/1 000 0000 000 000 - of mother tincture
The Decimal Scale
1X = 1/10 - of mother tincture
2X = 1/100 - of mother tincture
6X 1/1 000 000 - of mother tincture
Each dilution is shaken vigorously before further one are made, this is thought to make the properties more powerful by adding energy at each stage while impurities are removed. These remedies can be made into tablets or used in the form of ointments solutions powders suppositories ect. High potency (the more dilute) remedies are used for more severe symptoms and the lower potency (less dilute) for milder ones.
Decimal potencies, such as 6X, are used more when self-treating with homeopathy. The lower the potency, the more frequently the medicine typically needs to be re-administered.
Professional homeopaths frequently use the potencies from the centesimal scale. In a centesimal preparation,
1 part of the original substance is mixed with 99 parts of water or alcohol to form a "1C" medicine. This process is repeated a number of times. Each time the medicine is diluted and shaken, it actually becomes stronger, rather than weaker. Dilutions of various strengths are inoculated onto sugar pellets.
When using the C potencies, professional homeopaths most often use 30C (diluted 30 times), 200C (diluted 200 times), 1M (1000 dilutions), and 10M (10,000 dilutions). A single dose of a high-potency medicine may last for weeks or months, occasionally for years.
What can you expect from a Homeopathic consultation?
In-depth investigation is made by the practitioner along with asking about your symptoms, they will be interested in you as an individual and the unique way in which your symptoms affect you. The first consultation with a homoeopath may take an hour or more, however simple acute complaints may only take 15-30 minutes. Information relating to current symptoms and past medical history will be required.
Questions may also be asked about diet, sleep, lifestyle, and about some mental and emotional aspects. Physical examinations may be required according to the particular complaint. Treatment then involves the prescription of the most suitable medicine, matching all of the symptoms and individual characteristics of the patient to the medicine.
Two people with the same condition may have very different prescriptions because of their own unique set of symptoms. Your practitioner might also advise general lifestyle and dietary changes as part of a treatment plan or recommend a visit to a General Practitioner (Health Care Provider) or for tests to be carried out.
What conditions can homoeopathy treat?A wide range of both acute and chronic illnesses may benefit from homoeopathic medicine. Acute illnesses commonly prescribed for include:
- Sports injuries
- Coughs & cold
- Hay fever
- Travel sickness.
Homoeopathy may also be of help with:
- Coping with stress, anxiety and depression
- Autoimmune diseases and
- On-going chronic complaints for which conventional medicine often has nothing further to offer.
Today, extensive clinical experience, observation and research continue to support homoeopathy’s effectiveness for a wide range of complaints for men, women, children, and animals.
What type of medicine can be given?
Homoeopathic medicines are made utilising predominately plant, animal & mineral substances in dilution to stimulate the body’s own natural healing response. They are prepared according to strict guidelines set out in international pharmacopoeias and under the control of the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). Since the medicines are very dilute, homoeopathic medicines are considered gentle in their action when prescribed by a registered homoeopath.
How to take homoeopathic medicines?
Homoeopathic medicines can be given in the form of liquid, granules, powder or tablets and are designed to stimulate the body's natural healing response. Depending on your individual situation your homoeopathic practitioner will give you more specific directions for taking your medicine(s).
- The medicine is usually taken away from food or drink, or as directed by your practitioner.
Do your research
Before choosing a Homeopath you may wish to consider the following
- A word of mouth referral is a great place to start
- What qualifications do they hold?
- How long have they been practising?
Like all treatment decisions in life it really is a personal choice, I used to work in a high stress, environment with crazy deadlines at a magazine publishing company. The entire day revolved around the time the DHL (courier) pickup person was coming. One very manic day of (disaster and drama after drama) I was reaching my limit, a co-worker pulled out a tiny bottle and said have a few of these drops they will calm you down. They did instantly and to this day I always carry a bottle of Rescue Remedy.
This is a homeopathic remedy for stress containing flower essences of: Cherry Plum, Clematis, Impatiens, Rock Rose and Star of Bethlehem. I have successfully used flower essences for dogs to, by adding the remedy to her water bowl, she suffered with separation anxiety and this really helped her. I have linked below in references to Bach Flower Essences - a good place to start if you would like to learn a little more about the individual essences.
Until next time
be human, be kind, be you.
- Australian Homoeopathic Association.
- Provings info is a specialised database for classification, remedy provings and substances in homeopathy.
- BOOK // Guide to Natural Healing Geddes & Grosset 3rd edition. (January 1997)
- Bach Flower Essences