All about Homeopathy – History, Benefits and Side Effects
Homeopathy is an alternate medical science which functions on the principle of “like negates like”. Created by Samuel Hahnemann in 1796, Homeopathy has received severe flak for working only as a placebo. However, several results conducted during different time periods have proved that homeopathy is functional and effective albeit time taking. Its long distance cousin allopathy focuses on the affected area of the body and cures infections or diseases by introducing high quantities of disease negating elements for a short period time.
Homeopathy, on the other hand, focuses on the entire human body, it functions on an intrinsic belief that every part of the body is linked to the other and curing one part involves curing the whole. A good homeopathy practitioner will note down all your details, including your response to emotionally charged situations, food preferences, other health complaints before making a prescription. Generally the prescribed medicines have very small dosage of the disease causing element, the basic belief being that the small but regular doses of the disease causing elements will negate the disease over a period of time.
Homeopathy is affordable and easily accessible, it poses a huge challenge to the highly regulated and expensive allopathy market, making it a favorite practice to discredit among allopathy practitioners whose daily bread and butter it threatens. To understand the what, when, why, who, and how of homeopathy, we first need to understand its history both global and Indian.
- History of Homeopathy:
- How Does Homeopathy Work:
- Does Homeopathy Really Work:
- What Can Homeopathy Cure:
- Benefits of Homeopathic Treatment:
- Guide to Use Homeopathy Medicines:
- Potential Limitations and Side Effects of Homeopathy:
- 1. Homeopathic Medicines can Delay other Healthcare Options:
- 2. Homeopathic Medicines Cannot Prevent Operations Completely:
- 3. Effectiveness of the Homeopathic Medicines Depends on the Environment of the Patient:
- 4. Ineffective Against Nutritional Deficiencies:
- 5. Immunity of Certain Individuals to Homeopathy:
- 6. Side-Effects:
- Frequently Asked Questions:
- News on Homeopathy:
History of Homeopathy:
Homeopathy functions on the “law of similars.” It is believed that this notion was followed by ancient civilizations including India to heal the root cause of a person’s ailment. Homeopathy got its modern name from Samuel Hahnemann in 1796. He started experimenting on himself, his family and some followers to find cures for various illnesses. Hahnemann argued that very dilute amount of disease causing elements can help the body in building a resistance to it. This principle has been accepted by modern medicine as far as vaccination for various illnesses go, however, modern medicine refuses to believe that negligent amount of disease causing illness can have any effect on building an immunity against the disease. Despite criticisms from traditional medicine practitioners, homeopathy continued to gain popularity in the west. Recently, a Harvard Study revealed that the population of people opting for homeopathy is rising in the United States of America, making healthcare cheaper for incumbents.
Homeopathy believes that suppressing the symptoms of an illness is not the cure to that illness. High antibiotics or large doses of anti-illness medication ingested for a short span of time focus on suppressing the symptoms rather than eradicating the cause. Homeopaths over the years have argued that suppression means that a fractured part of the illness causing element is still present in the body and can cause further infections and diseases. Homeopathy, seeks to eradicate causes of an illness by building up the human body’s immunity. This is done by exposing the human body to trace amounts of disease causing elements over a long period of time.
Homeopathy also believes that each individual reacts differently to an illness, which means that cures for each individual are created by carefully studying the individual as well as his or her response to the illness. This approach has been seen as “hogwash” in the western world which depends primarily on one shoe fits all as far as medicines for common symptoms go. However, it has been proved time and again, that modern science has not been able to explain outlier symptoms for common diseases.
Ancient Indian physicians just like their counterparts in different ancient civilizations of the world believed that individuals have different reactions to different elements. Some people had excess “pitta” in their bodies, some people had less. They believed that these individual tendencies shaped a person’s nature as well as reaction to illnesses and medicines.
Homeopathy, in its modern avatar entered India through Bengal in early 19th century. Mahendra Lal Sircar was the first homeopathy physician of India, he was followed by several other practitioners who adopted homeopathy after understanding its merits. In 1881, the first homeopathy institution of India called the “Calcutta Homeopathic Medical College” was established, which further popularized homeopathy in India. Homeopathy continued to flourish over the years and in 1973 the Government of India recognized it as a national system for medicine and established a regulatory authority to handle homeopathy related affairs. Today India has some of the highest number of homeopathy practitioners and users.
How Does Homeopathy Work:
No one has been able to prove how homeopathy works scientifically but it does produce result. There have been allegations that homeopathy medicines are so dilute that they are just water but in 2009, after analysing over 2000 samples of homeopathy medicine, Dr. Martin Chaplin concluded that homeopathy medicines are not the same as ordinary drinking water. Even the preparation of homeopathic medicines is subject to speculation. Popular speculations include:
1. Effects of Silicon Particles:
It was observed that when homeopathic medicines and water are shaken vigorously in a glass bottle, some parts of silicon break off and mix with the medicine. It is believed that these silicon particles help preserve the unique nature of homeopathy medicines.
2. Difference in Pressure:
Another theory believes that when a glass bottle is shaken vigorously, it creates a difference in pressure inside the unscrewed bottle. The pressure is akin to what the water surface faces on a mountain top, it is this change in pressure which maintains the uniqueness of the homeopathy medicine.
3. Formation of Bubbles:
A really popular theory states that the formation of bubbles after the vigorous shaking of the glass bottle ensures that the medicine does not lose its identity in water.
While it is difficult to ascertain what makes a homeopathic medicine unique there are several ways in which homeopathic medicine could be used and it works differently for different time periods.
4. Homeopathy as First Aid:
As in case of Arnica, Homeopathic medicines can be used as first aid medicines, providing immediate relief from ankle sprain or any other kind of muscular injury.
5. Homeopathy for Acute Diseases:
Acute diseases are diseases which are short lived and could be treated in a short span of time. Diseases like cough, cold and flu require immediate relief and cure and homeopathy plays a role in effectively healing the body from these diseases.
6. Homeopathy for Permanent Cures:
Homeopathic medicines believe that a certain person reacts to a disease causing element only because he/she is susceptible to it, by introducing safe and trace amounts of the same disease causing elements, a person’s tolerance could be increased till he/she stops reacting to the agent. This long term cure may go on for year at end, where a person’s body is allowed to grow resistance gradually. Illnesses like kidney stones, acidic reflux, insomnia can be cured through homeopathy.
Does Homeopathy Really Work:
There have been several scientific studies and results both in favour of and against homeopathy as medicine science. It is one of the most intensely researched fields, however what one needs to remember is that certain researcher biases also lead to separate conclusions. Some of these studies include:
- In clinical studies conducted on homeopathic cures vs placebos for children with warts (1966, followed by 1998), the results were similar, which was that homeopathy performed slightly better than placebos as far as the response rate of children was considered. However, since the results only focused counting the number of people who responded to the medicines applied, no account of the healing rate were considered. The data for the 1966 clinical trial shows that homeopathy medicines cured more than 20% of a child’s warts, whereas, placebo only cured 3.3%.
- In 1991, The British Medical Journal published a report submitted by three scientists from Netherlands, who had analysed meta-data from 25 clinical trials on homeopathy. Their end results proved that homeopathy successfully treated over 90% cases of respiratory infections, hay fever, digestive system diseases, abdominal surgeries, stress, and anxiety among other physiological and psychological illnesses.
- Banerji Protocol: Indian researchers Dr. Sen Pathak collaborated with Banerjis to study two homeopathic medicines Ruta 6 and Calcarea Phosphorica 3X on patients with brain tumor. Their studies displayed astounding results, these medicines were able to kill off cancer causing cells without harming the other living and growing cells, even incurable cancerous brain tumor responded to these medicines. In 1991, The National Cancer Institute (NCI) of United States of America evaluated the Banerji Protocol on 10 patients with different kinds of cancers. Four patients showed signs of some response, after further inspection the Cancer Institute declared that homeopathic medicine does work and can be employed as alternative medicine to treat cancer. Today, there are several guide books on understanding and implementing Banerji Protocol to cure several diseases including eczema, thyroid, and acne.
What Can Homeopathy Cure:
Homeopathy is believed and has been proved to cure even cancer but is mostly utilized for treating chronic illnesses. However, one needs to remember that homeopathy cannot magically cure everything, no medicine can cure everything, including traditional medicines. Overtime, homeopathy can help alleviate several diseases, both physiological and psychological because the science focuses on the body as a complete and connected system.
Benefits of Homeopathic Treatment:
1. Reduce Anxiety & Depression:
The conventional medical practice for mental healthcare includes prescribing pacifying medicines to people who suffer from anxiety and depression. These medicines not only inhibit a person’s ability to emote, they also create a certain psychological dependence and addiction on an external source for being functional. Homeopathy on the other hand understands that the symptoms of any illness are indications that the body is either fighting or adapting to that illness, which means that it does not need medicines to suppress symptoms but assistance in fighting off or adapting to the illness. Homeopathy, focuses on healing the patient, however, if a person suffers from violent episodes, even the practitioner would insist that the individual also seek the help of a psychiatrist.
2. Treat Allergies & Asthma:
Asthma is a chronic disease which results in the inflammation of the air tracts causing chest pain, breathlessness or shortness of breath, coughing, and wheezing. Asthma can be developed at any age but is generally found in younger children, it can also be triggered by anything like genetics, allergens, irritants, premature birth, cough or cold, changing season and so on. Traditional medicine prescribes the long term use and dependency on inhalers which ease the inflammation of the air tracts. Homeopathy, on the other hand, focuses on the cause behind the development of asthma in every patient and prescribes long term medicines around it. The long term use of these medicines, lead to the patient being completely cured of Asthma with the last few months or years being riddled with random outbursts of eczema for people who are more susceptible to allergies.
3. Treats Chronic Diseases:
Acute diseases are short termed, however, they may have chronic roots. Mental or emotional trauma generally are root causes of most chronic diseases, apart from psychological trauma certain unhealed or ill treated physical injuries, sensitivity to particular elements in the environment can cause chronic illnesses. Repetitive or chronic illnesses dilute a person’s quality of life, while traditional medicine focuses on suppressing the symptoms of the chronic illness, it mostly doesn’t focus on the possible impact of seemingly unrelated health issues causing these chronic illnesses. Homeopathy on the other hand deep dives into a person’s past and present health issues to understand the relationship between past traumas and present symptoms. Medicines are prescribed according to the unique chronic illness root of the patient. Although it must be noted, that while homeopathy has a great response rate for the treatment of chronic illness, homeopathy cannot guarantee completely curing some kinds of chronic illnesses and may refer a patient to seek help from allopathy too.
4. Homeopathy for Weight Loss:
Obesity is a problem which has recently taken deep roots in India. Homeopathy claims to help people lose weight effectively but unlike the fitness centres and weight loss pills which have the same approach to every person, homeopathy takes into account the fat zones in a person’s body, along with their dietary preferences, digestive process and emotional stability before providing medicines which can help them lose weight.
Related Read: Home Remedies to Loss Weight
5. Improves Body Resistance & Immunity:
Since homeopathy functions on the principle of similar, its approach to improving a body’s immunity is to identify elements, which when come in contact with the body in large quantities cause the body to react strongly and display symptoms of distress. A homeopathy practitioner then, prescribes medicines, which release the same elements in trace amounts inside the body at regular interval, allowing the body to build disease fighting antibodies, which then improves the body’s tolerance towards the disease.
6. Use in Epidemic Diseases:
Today we rarely hear about widely spreading pandemic diseases like Cholera (the last being the Ebola virus), however this does not mean that we don’t suffer from them. Homeopathy is a safe option to opt for epidemic diseases like viral fever, flu, and chickenpox among others.
7. Surgery Avoidance & Cost Effective:
Homeopathy is cost effective, natural and safe. Homeopaths also believe that given the correct medicine, homeopathy can help cure cysts in the uterus and ovaries, appendicitis, tonsils, sinusitis, piles, other benign tumors, kidney stones among other diseases without even sending a patient to the operation theatre. Homeopathy can also play an instrumental role in helping a body heal from operations. Please note that even homeopaths agree that under certain extreme circumstances operation is the only option available, in fact homeopathy works best if administered when symptoms first start showing.
Guide to Use Homeopathy Medicines:
Homeopathic medicines are generally presented with very specific instructions which form a guide to using homeopathic medicines correctly. Each medicine must be taken at a specific time, in a specific quantity and way. However, there are some common guidelines for the correct use of all homeopathic medicines. Here are some Do’s and Don’ts for using Homeopathic Medicines:
1. 30 Minutes Rule:
It is generally suggested that food particles be rinsed from your mouth, before you take a homeopathic medicine. The reason being that most homeopathic medicines are absorbed from the mucus membrane of the mouth, and a coating of food particles may prevent the complete absorption of the homeopathic medicines. It is advised to abstain from eating anything 30 minutes before taking a homeopathic medicine.
2. Consult Your Doctor:
Even though Homeopathy is harmless, it is always advised to consult your doctor before mixing it up with allopathic medicines or taking higher doses of the medicine regularly. However, if you are using ayurvedic medicines then you may continue taking the same safely as several ayurvedic medicines have the same roots ayurvedic medicines.
Homeopathic medicines are very delicately balanced mixes, it is therefore suggested to store all your homeopathic medicines in dark, cool and dry places.
1. Don’t Touch Your Pill:
Touching your homeopathic pills is the biggest no-no out there. Oil or water from your palms, may react with the pills, rendering them useless or partially functional on ingestion. Liquid homeopathic medicine generally come with a dropper and for the pills, it is better to pour the required amount on the cap of the tube of the medicine and then pour them in your mouth directly.
2. Avoid All Addictions:
It is suggested that if you are using homeopathic medicines, then it would be better if you abstain from abusing substances like alcohol and tobacco.
3. Self Medication:
Homeopathic medicines are safe and most are safe for self medication especially for acute illnesses. However, for chronic diseases as well as some higher concentration medicines it is strongly advised that a Doctor’s opinion is sought before taking the medicines.
4. Use after Expiration:
Homeopathic medicines are made of natural elements and hence, some would believe that they could be stored indefinitely and are safe to use even after the expiration date. This is not the case, be very careful of the expiration dates of all your medicines.
Potential Limitations and Side Effects of Homeopathy:
Homeopathy medicines are created in such microdoses that most of them are safe from episodes of overdose, however, this does not mean that homeopathic medicines do not have their side-effects or limitations.
1. Homeopathic Medicines can Delay other Healthcare Options:
Getting the correct dosage or the medicine for the individual is a difficult and time taking task for a practitioner. A patient may forget to mention a key symptom that he/she thinks is unrelated, leading to a wrong prescription. Not to mention, homeopathic medicines show results after a point of time. While this may work very well during the onset of a chronic disease, such delays in healthcare during the terminal stages of the disease can only prove to be more dangerous.
2. Homeopathic Medicines Cannot Prevent Operations Completely:
A myth surrounding homeopathy medicine is that they can prevent the need for operations completely. This is not true, it is a fact that homeopathic medicines can reduce the need for an operation for several illnesses, but even homeopathic practitioners agree that under certain unavoidable situations, operations are the best way forward.
3. Effectiveness of the Homeopathic Medicines Depends on the Environment of the Patient:
This condition is especially true for allergic reactions. Homeopathic medicine can help cure an acute reaction to an allergen but it will remain ineffective if the patient is being regularly exposed to the allergen. Under such situations, the patient may suffer even more than he/she was suffering previously. It is necessary to isolate the individual from allergen, for the medicine to work and in cases where it is difficult to isolate the individual and the allergen, exposure to the allergen must be reduced.
4. Ineffective Against Nutritional Deficiencies:
Homeopathic medicines are also ineffective against nutritional deficiencies, which could be cured by change in lifestyle and diet as well as opting for necessary supplements.
5. Immunity of Certain Individuals to Homeopathy:
This is probably the most frustrating limitation for practitioners. A patient who isn’t responding adequately to the treatment for no reason at all. It is either because their correct similar element has not been identified yet or that the person is simply immune to homeopathy. Interestingly, some individuals are resistant to certain allopathic treatments too.
While it has already been proved that any serious from overdose of homeopathic medications is hard to come by, there could be certain instances where a person may start developing similar symptoms as they did when they started their medication. However, such symptoms don’t bother practitioners, as they could be contained and remedied immediately. It is however important to remember that there are several illnesses which could be triggered if homeopathy medicines are mixed with contradictory allopathic medicines for an unregulated time period.
Frequently Asked Questions:
1. Can we refer to allopathic diagnosis for homeopathic treatment?
Homeopathy is highly flexible but self medication is strongly discouraged, unless a homeopathic physician has already treated for the same illness and presented you with a prescription. You can also mention your allopathic diagnosis to your homeopathic physician, it will help them prescribe the correct medicine for you.
2. Can we mix allopathic and homeopathic medicines?
In most cases, yes. Since homeopathic medicines are extremely diluted and natural, there is no restrictions against allopathic medicines. However, consulting a physician before combining both approaches is recommended.
3. What is the consultation process for homeopathy and how long does it last?
The length of consultation depends upon the disease. If its an acute illness which requires immediate relief, the physician may prescribe a temporary relief agent. However, a homeopathic physician cures the human body along with the ailment and thus sessions with a homeopathic physician could be time taking, as they ask several questions and details before referring a certain prescription.
4. What are homeopathy medicines made of?
Homeopathic medicines are made of combinations of: Natural Ingredients and Herbs, Minerals, Animal Products, Disease Causing Agent, Healthy Element, Potentized Energy Sources and Potentized Antigens.
5. Are there any diet restrictions while using homeopathic medicines?
No. Although some physicians will advise you to avoid strong smelling substances like garlic, onion and coffee while using the medicines. Homeopathy medicines also work best when taken on an empty stomach and allowed to be dissolved in the mouth.
Homeopathy has been recognized in India as a credible version of alternative medicine. Given the safety and benefits of homeopathy one wonders why homeopathy is not as wildly popular or preferred as allopathy. A strand of theorists believe this is because homeopathy challenges the basic assumptions of allopathy, however, instead of perceiving homeopathy and allopathy as standing against each other, we can see the former as an extension of the latter.
Combining both practices can revolutionise the healthcare sector. However, that is a distant dream one strives for, we at Medlife are happy to announce that we also provide our customers with homeopathic medicines, log onto our website and get your homeopathic medicines at your doorstep now.
News on Homeopathy:
Homeopathy Medications Proven To Be Helpful As A Non-toxic Alternative For Steroids In Dental Treatments.
– 25th Oct 2018
In a recent study done on the reduction of steroids in the treatment of dental problems at Nagpur by Dr. Kavita Chandak revealed that homeopathy medicines can be used as a nontoxic alternative for the treatment of dental problems. Dr. Chandak used a test group of 30 patients who visited the dental clinic of Dr. Sanjog Chandak.
This study started before 2 years of the Congress leading to these surprising results. The study group consisted of subjects from both genders and were only classified based on the disease category. There were three such divisions under the disease categories of Oral Lichen Planus, Trigeminal Neuralgia and oral sub-mucosal fibrosis.
The results were announced at the prestigious World Congress on homeopathy 73rd Edition conducted at South Africa’s Cape Town.The age group of the test subjects were 40 and above as patients have a a higher probability of devoloping serious dental conditions across this age. Out of the three disease groups, Oral Lichen Planus along with the dangerous Oral Sub-Mucosal Fibrosis are chronic conditions pertaining to the oral cavity. Trigeminal Neuralgia, however, is an acute condition that is characterized by extreme facial pain.
The study consisted of a method in which the patients were given traditional medicines in a combination with homeopathic substitutes to understand the marginal effect produced by the difference of the doses. Since steroids such as corticosteroids and immunosuppressants provide immediate relief but at a cost of a wide range of side effects, it’s essential that the results of these studies are taken into account more seriously.
Since homeopathic medicines can provide the same effect without being extremely harmful to your body, this alternative is truly revolutionary in the sector of dental care. The study, however, needs to conducted on larger test group before getting approval for public use.