Homeopathy: A Little Dose Goes a Long Way
Homeopathy is based on the principle of “like cures like.” Homeopathic medicine is a natural pharmaceutical science that uses very small doses of substances from the plant, mineral, and animal kingdoms to stimulate the body’s own defenses. The primary principle of this treatment is the law of similars; that is, the principle that a substance will help to heal symptoms similar to those it is known to cause. The symptoms of the patient are matched with the symptoms of the homeopathic remedy. For example, Eyebright (Euphrasia officinalis) is an herb that in large doses irritates the eyes, but in small doses has a healing effect. The homeopathic remedy derived from Eyebright is often prescribed for relief of allergy symptoms.
The remedies stimulate the person’s immune system and bring about an improvement in that person’s health. Immunization is also based on the principle of similars. The analogy I use when explaining homeopathy to my patients is the way our body responds to an immunization. Giving the person small amounts of a toxin that causes a disease stimulates the body’s immune system to produce antibodies against the disease we want to prevent from occurring.
Homeopathic remedies may be derived from plant, animal, and mineral sources. The remedies used in homeopathy are very diluted. Paradoxically, the more dilute the remedies are, the more effectively they work. Although homeopathic medicines may be so dilute as not to have any molecules of the original substance, an energy or essence of the substance remains.
The wonderful benefit of homeopathy is that this method is truly holistic; it treats the whole person–the physical, mental, and spiritual is addressed with the etiology (all of the causes of a disease or abnormal condition).
A Case Study
Recently a middle-aged woman visited my practice who presented with signs and symptoms of Bell’s Palsy on the left side of her face. Bell’s Palsy is an abnormality of the facial nerves that leads to sudden weakness or paralysis of the muscles on one side of the face.
The patient had gone to the emergency room the night before for treatment and received the drug prednisone. Because she had just received this treatment, she and I made the decision to wait and allow the prednisone to take effect. After four weeks, there was no change.
When she visited me again, I did a homeopathic intake and prescribed a remedy. Within days of taking the remedy, there was noticeable progress; after two weeks there were no residual signs and symptoms of Bell’s Palsy on her face. She left my office in awe of homeopathy.
Is homeopathy supported by scientific studies?
There have been numerous scientific studies done to determine the efficacy of this treatment, and the results of these studies have been mixed. To learn more about the studies and to read an objective report on the history and current applications of homeopathy, visit the U.S. government’s National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine web site.
As with any alternative or conventional medical procedure, the effectiveness of the treatment differs with the individual. It’s important to remember that homeopathy should be regarded not as a “magic cure-all” but as one more option a healthcare provider can offer patients. My advice to people is to stay open to all types of therapies. Modern technology may not be able to measure exactly how homeopathy works at this time, but the results can be amazing and the side effects are negligible.