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.
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.
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.