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Using homeopathic medicines at home

  • Homeopathic treatments, made from natural substances, are shown in the Cambridge, Mass., office of a homeopathic practitioner. Homeopathic remedies to treat illnesses at home are becoming more common. AP file

For the Monitor
Published: 4/25/2016 10:46:11 AM

One day last winter, while visiting a New Hampshire food co-op, I soon learned nearly half the staff had caught the flu, many had missed work, while others were still working and miserable.

I realized the staff was unaware the store sold a product that helps prevent the flu from developing into more than a minor annoyance. The product is the popular homeopathic remedy no one can pronounce, Oscillococcinum.

I pointed this out to some friends working there, who soon made purchases, and have since spoken to me about the product’s effectiveness.

As a longtime user of homeopathic medicines, I’m happy to share some basic information on this unique form of home medicine, one that, if widely adopted, would transform our health for the better, and help reform the bloated health care system.

I’m not a licensed practitioner, so the following is based on personal use, including family and pets, over more than 40 years.

By employing homeopathic medicine as our first line of action for simple, everyday health concerns like colds and flu, we avoided paying for health insurance, and never worried about it. The few times we needed to use a hospital, we paid out of pocket. Were we lucky? Yes, but sometimes you help create your own luck.

How the medicines work

Homeopathic medicine works on the energetic, or vibrational, level. If you don’t believe we are energetic beings, then you can stop reading this. Chances are you also don’t believe in quantum physics, or anything else your eyes can’t see or measure.

Homeopathic medicines work like a tuning fork to stimulate your immune system to heal your body quicker. They do so in ways similar to an immunization, but without any danger of a side effect. That’s because the medicines are so highly diluted and in most cases there are literally no remaining molecules of the original substance.

Homeopathy was developed in the early 1800s by the German physician Samuel Hahnemann. Hahnemann’s system is based on what he called The Law of Similars, or like cures like. This theory states a substance that causes symptoms to appear in a healthy person can cure those same symptoms in a person who is ill. Unlike an immunization, though, Hahnemann understood the medicine needed to be so highly diluted that no side effects would be possible. His system of both diluting and vigorously shaking the remedy accomplishes that goal.

For example, if a healthy person ingests arnica tincture, they will break out in black and blue marks, feel as if they were beaten by a baseball bat, and eventually die of internal bleeding.

When I take homeopathic arnica before and after I play tennis, I do not have to take Tylenol or Advil, as I know my muscle soreness and aches and pains diminish with no side effects. Like cures like. When wild mountain goats fall, they intuitively munch on arnica flowers that grow at the base of alpine mountains, sensing their bruising will be diminished.

How homeopathic medicines are proven

There are more than 3,000 medicines listed in the Homeopathic Pharmacopia, a book that details how they are made. In order to determine what set of symptoms each medicine is able to alleviate, it is first necessary to test the substance on a healthy person. These are called provings.

Hahnemann tested dozens of medicines on himself, including basic medicines of the day like Belladonna and Arsenicum, and on his medical students and fellow physicians. Each person recorded the physical, mental, and emotional symptoms produced by ingesting the substance. These symptoms were recorded in detail, and form the foundation of homeopathic prescribing. The medicines and the symptoms they produce, are listed in the Homeopathic Materia Medica.

Homeopathy is the only form of medicine tested on people rather than animals.

How the medicines are made

Homeopathic medicines are primarily made from plant, animal, and mineral sources. Manufacturers are held to the same rigorous standards as drug manufacturers. The process, though, is simple.

Typically, a tincture is made from a plant such as arnica montana, which we now know is a wild mountain daisy. One drop of that tincture is diluted in nine drops of water, creating a 1X potency. That dilution is vigorously shaken in specific ways. One part of the 1X potency is then diluted in nine parts of water, producing a 2X potency, and vigorously shaken again. This process is repeated until a 6X potency is reached.

At this level, science tells us there are no longer any molecules left of the original substance, yet the healing impulse remains.

How this series of dilutions and shakings imparts the healing impulse of the plant while no molecules remain is one of the mysteries of homeopathy. What is not mysterious, though, are the results. This is not a form of placebo medicine, as millions of people have experienced their healing qualities.

The FDA approves homeopathic medicines to be sold as over-the-counter drugs because they present no possibility of doing harm.

An international form of medicine

Hahnemann found great success treating scarlet fever and similar epidemics of the day using these highly diluted medicines. By the end of the 19th century, homeopathy spread around the world. It became so popular, in fact, the AMA was largely formed in protest over this new form of medicine.

Amongst the well-known supporters of homeopathic medicine are the British royal family, David Beckham, the “world’s fastest man” Usain Bolt, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Paul McCartney, Cindy Crawford, Yehudi Menuhin, Vidal Sassoon and Pat Riley.

Homeopathic medicines are referred to by their Latin names, and you can walk into any pharmacy in the world and find them under those Latin names.

Why then, doesn’t everyone know about this simple and effective form of medicine? Like so much in our world that makes no sense, it comes down to one word: greed. The medicines are inexpensive to make, sell for less than $10 for a bottle of 100 tablets, and can’t be patented, so the big drug companies aren’t interested in them.

The good news is the products are readily available, not only in natural food stores, and co-ops, which carry a wide variety, but also in supermarkets and drug stores.

Basic medicines to use at home

Homeopathy works on both acute and chronic levels. Acute issues are the ones we can deal with on our own at home. Homeopathic practitioners are able to work on the deeper level of chronic ailments such as migraines, arthritis, and allergies. They often employ medicines that are very highly diluted. In the homeopathic world, the higher the dilution, the deeper acting is the remedy.

New Hampshire is fortunate to have a significant number of homeopathic practitioners who help with deeper issues.

Remember, there’s no danger of side effects, so don’t be fearful of trying a remedy that seems appropriate. If it doesn’t help after a few doses, it’s likely the wrong remedy, and you should try another. It’s the only form of medicine you can safely use on your children, as well as your pets.

There are numerous books to help you find the right remedy. The one I recommend is Everybody’s Guide to Homeopathic Medicine by Cummings and Ullman. I also recommend you consider buying a home remedy kit. As inexpensive as the remedies are, they are even less costly when purchased in a kit. Hyland’s, Boiron and Washington Homeopathic Products all offer good home kits. It’s handy to have a variety of remedies at your disposal, and since they last forever, you don’t have to worry about them going out of date.

This list of my top 12 remedies to have at home is a good place to start. Further your education by enrolling in a local homeopathic study group, as well as exploring the resources at the National Center for Homeopathy at homeopathycenter.org.


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