Homeopathy

Homeopathy is viewed as a stimulus therapy in which the body is given incentives to heal a disease on its own by taking certain, highly diluted remedies. The term “homeopathy” is made up of the Greek words “homoios” (similar) and “pathos” (suffering). In homeopathy, the disease is mainly treated by means that work according to the so-called similarity principle. It is based on the observation that a substance that causes certain complaints in humans or animals can also cure the same (or similar) complaints. Within homeopathic teaching, there are different directions with different conceptions of how the homeopathic principles should be implemented.

Origin And Philosophy Of Homeopathy

The principle of similarity occurs in different cultures and also in the writings of the ancient Greeks, for example with Hippocrates. The similarity principle was also taken up, again and again, later in the course of medical history. The German doctor, pharmacist, and chemist Dr. Med. Habil. However, Samuel Hahnemann (1755 – 1843) was the first to systematize this principle and use it as the basis for a new direction in medicine. His “Organon” and other publications are still used in practice by homeopaths today.

Hahnemann developed homeopathy on the basis of a large number of self-experiments with medicinal products. His first self-experiment took place with cinchona bark, which was used to treat intermittent fever (malaria). Hahnemann took a large amount of cinchona bark without having a fever himself and developed a fever. After several further attempts with different drugs, he came to the conclusion that substances that cause certain symptoms (e.g. fever) in healthy people can cure the same symptoms (e.g. febrile colds) in sick people. According to Hahnemann, the organism of a sick person receives an impulse from the drug to use its defenses in a targeted manner against certain symptoms of the disease.

The principle of homeopathy is based on these findings: «Similia similibus curentur» (the like is cured by the like). Hahnemann discovered in further theoretical and practical investigations with medicinal products that the effectiveness of the substances changes due to their concentration. Diluted drugs often showed a stronger effect than the undiluted basic substance. Thereupon he developed a special production and dosage theory, the potentization process and the principle of the smallest dose.

Manufacture Of Homeopathic Remedies

When producing homeopathic remedies, one proceeds according to a homeopathic drug book. The starting substance is gradually diluted in a certain ratio with water, alcohol or lactose and potentized after each dilution step by shaking or rubbing. Today, three different dilution series are used in homeopathy: D, C, and LM. The only difference between the D and C series is the dilution ratio:

D = decimal power

Dilution ratio: 1: 9 (Latin decem = 10)

In the D series, one part of Vorpotenz (for example D1) is mixed with nine parts of thinner and then shaken vigorously at least ten times (liquids) or rubbed in a mortar for an hour (powder). The result is a D2, which you dilute again tenfold and potentiate to produce the D3.

C = centesimal power

Dilution ratio: 1:99 (Latin centum = 100)

In the C series, one part of pre-potency (for example C1) is mixed with ninety-nine parts of diluent and then potentized.

LM or Q power:

Each dilution step corresponds to a ratio between starting substance and diluent of 1: 50,000.

Hahnemann developed the third series of potentiations, called LM or Q potency, in the last years of his life. LM potencies are produced using a special, very complex process. Each dilution step corresponds to a ratio between the starting substance and the diluent of 1: 50,000. The higher the number after the D, C or LM, the stronger and longer-lasting the effect of the homeopathic medicine.

Powers above D30 or C30 are called high potencies. These are mainly used by homeopaths to treat chronic ailments.

Homeopathy

Application Of Homeopathy

Homeopathic remedies are mainly supplied in the form of globules, drops, tablets, and ointments. Some doctors also give homeopathic medicines through a syringe. Before a new homeopathic drug is used to treat sick people, it is only tried on healthy test subjects (drug testing on healthy people). These write down the physical and psychological changes that occur after taking the product. These changes indicate which symptoms in sick people could be alleviated with the same remedy. For example, homeopathically diluted bee venom (apis) is used to relieve symptoms caused by a bee sting, provided that it is a pink swelling that is warm to the touch and the pain is relieved by applying ice. Another simple example is remedies made from homeopathically diluted onion extracts. These are given off in the case of a cold, in which the eyes water and the nose runny.

In the case of complex diseases, the homeopath needs a lot of experience to find the right remedy. The active ingredients used in homeopathy mainly consist of natural substances such as plants, minerals, and animal substances. “Classically”, that is, according to Hahnemann’s teaching, working homeopaths administer so-called “individual remedies” to their patients. Individual remedies consist of a single basic substance, for example, a mineral, an animal substance, or an extract from a flower, and they contain a whole range of ingredients from the plant.

The homeopath recognizes that he has chosen the right remedy for the treatment of his patient, among other things by the so-called «initial worsening» (healing reaction) of the symptoms. This means that the patient’s illness may worsen in the initial phase of treatment. Such initial aggravations are usually more severe, the higher the potency of the administered agent, i.e. the greater the dilution. After the initial deterioration has disappeared, a significant improvement in the state of health can occur within a few days. Mixed preparations made from various individual remedies are mainly used in the treatment of acute illnesses such as flu, runny nose, or indigestion. They are very suitable for self-medication. However, many classic homeopaths reject the administration of mixed preparations.

So that the homeopathic remedies develop their optimal effectiveness, one should observe certain rules when taking them, for example, Homeopathic remedies should be taken as often as necessary and as rarely as possible. The more acute and serious disease is, the more often you should take the remedy. If the symptoms of the disease improve significantly, the homeopathic remedy should no longer be taken. If possible, you should not combine several homeopathic remedies. In the event of a healing reaction, the drug should be discontinued until the reaction has completely disappeared.

Homeopathic Technique

Before each homeopathic treatment, the individual clinical picture must be precisely recorded in a detailed and long conversation. In the initial consultation, the patient describes his symptoms as detailed as possible so that the homeopath can draw conclusions about appropriate homeopathic remedies from the clinical picture. In the case of headaches, for example, a distinction is made between whether the pain is felt as throbbing, pulling, or stabbing, whether the pain tends to subside in the fresh air or in closed rooms, or whether the patient feels the need to lie down to relieve the symptoms. The homeopath chooses a suitable remedy depending on the pain sensation. Further information about the patient will help him with this. He, therefore, asks about the patient’s inclinations, interests, character, and reactions to environmental stimuli. He also takes physical characteristics such as height, weight, and constitution into account when making his assessment.

After the initial consultation, the homeopath looks up the important symptoms in a so-called “repertory”. This look-up is therefore called “repertorisation”. Depending on the nature of the complaints, the repertorization places more emphasis on the physical complaints or on the personality of the patient. In classical homeopathy, the same remedies are not administered to every patient with the same symptoms. Depending on the type of person affected, the treatment is adapted accordingly. For this reason, the first interview plays a crucial role. In contrast to chronic complaints, it is usually much easier to find the right remedy for acute illnesses. The dispensing of homeopathic remedies without considering accompanying symptoms as well as alleviating or worsening influences is not considered a correct homeopathic treatment in the circles of classic homeopaths practicing according to Hahnemann.

Effect Of Homeopathic Remedies

Hahnemann explained the effectiveness of homeopathic remedies by stating that it is not the concentration that is decisive, but the “dynamization” or the release of a force of the substances. This happens during potentization: By shaking the substance several times, the information on the basic substances should be transferred to the diluent, even if no basic substances can be detected materially or chemically. The effect of the diluted basic substances should enable the body to heal its illness with its own strength. In the meantime, many doctors trained in conventional medicine also use homeopathy to treat various diseases, for example:

    • Allergies (but not in the case of life-threatening reactions)
    • Defensive weakness
    • Chronic diseases
    • Psychosomatic illnesses

Side Effects Of Homeopathic Preparations

Today there are around 2500 homeopathic single and mixed preparations available, which are used for many diseases. However, a necessary surgical intervention or the supply of vital substances cannot be replaced by homeopathic therapy. That is why homeopathic remedies are only used as an accompanying therapy in the treatment of serious, acute illnesses.

Epigastric Hernia

Doctors call an epigastric hernia a break in the upper abdominal wall between the navel and the lower end of the sternum. When fat and connective tissue penetrate from the abdominal cavity through the layers of the abdominal wall and a sack-like protuberance of the peritoneum forms a so-called hernial sac, this is a hernia. Epigastric means: relating to the upper abdomen (the epigastrium).

Frequency

Epigastric hernias are comparatively rare. They only make up 5 percent of all hernias. Inguinal hernias (inguinal hernias) or umbilical hernias (umbilical hernias) are much more common.

Symptoms

In many cases, epigastric hernias go unnoticed because the fractures are either very weak or hardly any tissue from the abdominal cavity slides into the hernial sac.

When abdominal wall fractures cause discomfort, the fat and connective tissue of the large network, the so-called greater omentum, has often shifted. In rare cases, parts of the small intestine also enter the chest through an epigastric hernia. In these cases, severe upper abdominal discomfort usually occurs, which increases with pressure.

Epigastric Hernia

This pressure is usually built up from the inside, for example by carrying heavy loads. Persistent sneezing (for example with allergies), persistent coughing (for example with chronic lung diseases such as COPD) or strong pressure during bowel movements (especially with constipation) increase the pressure in the upper abdomen.

The bulging hernial sac is usually visible and palpable from the outside. In rare cases, acute epigastric hernias are accompanied by nausea, fever, or vomiting.

Complications

Complications arise when the tissue in the hernial sac of an epigastric hernia becomes twisted and disconnected from the blood supply. This is a medical emergency that requires immediate surgical treatment. If the trapped tissue dies, there is a risk of life-threatening infections of the chest or abdominal cavities such as peritonitis or pneumonia.

Treatment

Small abdominal wall hernias without symptoms do not necessarily have to be operated on. A symptomatic epigastric hernia is usually treated surgically (fracture closure), as the risk of abdominal organs slipping into the chest increases over time. If the abdominal wall needs stabilization, a plastic mesh can be implanted, for example, which reliably closes the abdominal wall hernia.

Pulmonary Emphysema

Pulmonary emphysema is primarily the end-stage of lung diseases such as chronic bronchitis or COPD. Read more about symptoms, causes, and treatment.

Definition

Pulmonary emphysema is a serious, progressive, and incurable disease of the lungs. Medical professionals also refer to it as pulmonary emphysema. The colloquial language is particularly familiar with the disease terms lung flatulence or lung overinflation. With pulmonary emphysema, lung function continues to decrease. This creates progressive shortness of breath. The associated lack of oxygen not only severely restricts physical performance. There are also secondary reactions that place a heavy strain on the heart, among other things. A typical consequence of emphysema is, for example, the cor pulmonale, a common form of right heart failure.

Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency

In addition to the acquired form of emphysema, there is also a congenital variant. Alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency is one of the rare diseases with 2.5 new cases per 10,000 inhabitants per year. In this disease, the congenital deficiency of the protein alpha-1-antitrypsin triggers chronic inflammatory processes in the lungs.

Frequency

According to experts, the frequency of emphysema is growing worryingly. Exact figures are not available because emphysema and COPD are not always properly recorded separately. But it is assumed that there are around a million cases in Germany. The vast majority of emphysema occurs in smokers over the age of 50.

Symptoms

A characteristic symptom of emphysema is increasing shortness of breath (dyspnoea). As a rule, the shortness of breath initially only occurs during physical exertion. As the disease progresses, there is difficulty breathing even when the body is at rest.

Advanced emphysema causes chronic oxygen deficiency, which can be recognized by the blue color of the lips and fingers (cyanosis). Another visible symptom of emphysema is a barrel-like enlargement of the upper body, the so-called barrel chest. Doctors speak of the barrel chest. The barrel breast is created because the lung tissue continues to inflate.

Causes

By far the most common cause of emphysema is chronic lung diseases such as chronic bronchitis. If the bronchial passages are permanently inflamed, narrowed, and cause shortness of breath, coughing, and increased sputum, this chronic bronchitis is one of the chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases that are described in more detail under COPD. Chronic bronchitis and COPD are also precursors of lung cancer. The most common cause of all these diseases smoking.

Pulmonary Emphysema

How Do The Symptoms Of Chronic Bronchitis Arise

In healthy people, the air you breathe reaches the alveoli via the bronchi. Gas exchange takes place in these alveoli. During the gas exchange, the elastic alveoli absorb the oxygen from the inhaled air and then release carbon dioxide from the blood with the exhaled air. That requires a certain elasticity. In the case of emphysema, this elasticity is gradually lost as a result of inflammatory processes. The alveoli become increasingly inelastic and are no longer able to completely release the exhaled air. As a result, less fresh inhaled air can be taken in. This causes the alveoli to expand and ultimately lose their function entirely. Sometimes the small alveoli transform into large emphysema bubbles.

The approximately 300 million alveoli of a healthy person have a surface area the size of a football field. With emphysema of the lungs, this area for gas exchange sometimes shrinks to the size of a towel.

Treatment

Pulmonary emphysema cannot be cured. Treatment can only relieve symptoms. The most important thing is to prevent the disease from progressing, or at least to slow it down. To do this, it is imperative to stop smoking.

Drug Therapy For Emphysema

The symptoms of not too advanced pulmonary emphysema can be alleviated by drug therapy. The aim of this therapy is to widen the bronchi (bronchodilation) and to stop the inflammatory processes in the lungs. So-called beta-2 sympathomimetics are often inhaled for this purpose. Active substances in this group are salbutamol, salmeterol, or reproterol. Anticholinergics like ipratropium or inhaled glucocorticoids like budesonide, beclometasone, or fluticasone have even stronger anti-inflammatory properties.

In the case of congenital alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency, the protein can be given in the form of medication (infusions) and thus prevent the development of pulmonary emphysema. Unfortunately, the therapy is very costly and not as promising as one initially hoped it would be.

In the case of very advanced pulmonary emphysema, selected emphysema patients (younger than 60 years, high therapeutic motivation, no additional complications) only have a lung transplant as the last chance. The possibilities of artificial ventilation are very limited due to the characteristics of the disease.