Homeopathy is an alternate medical science that 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 of 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 a 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:
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 a 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 goes, however, modern medicine refuses to believe that negligent amount of disease-causing illness can have any effect on building 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 the 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 the 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 numbers of homeopathy practitioners and users.
Does Homeopathy Really Work:
There have been several scientific studies and results both in favor of and against homeopathy as medical 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 on counting the number of people who responded to the medicines applied, no account of the healing rate was 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 the Netherlands, who had analyzed meta-data from 25 clinical trials on homeopathy. Their end results proved that homeopathy successfully treated over 90% of 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 Banerji's to study two homeopathic medicines Ruta 6 and Calcarea Phosphorica 3X on patients with a 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 the 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 an 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. Over time, homeopathy can help alleviate several diseases, both physiological and psychological because 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 that 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 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 leads 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 the 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 that has recently taken deep roots in India. Homeopathy claims to help people lose weight effectively but unlike the fitness centers 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.
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 coming 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 intervals, 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 Dos 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 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 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 safety as several ayurvedic medicines that 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 comes 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.