Homeopathy is a system of medicine developed in the 18th century by Dr Samuel Hahnemann, which approaches good health in a holistic way – taking account of the whole person and not just the symptoms or ‘disease’. Homeopathy uses natural substances (plant, minerals or animal substances) to stimulate your body’s ability to heal and strengthen your overall constitution.
Homeopathy is now the second most widely used form of natural medicine globally and is used by over 200 million people annually. In England it is estimated that over 6 million people use Homeopathy regularly and in India many of the homeopaths are originally trained as doctors and there are over 11,000 homeopathic hospital beds.
Hahnemann was originally trained as a medical doctor but observed that very few of the treatments at that time actually worked, apart from a few herbal medicines. Hahnemann trialled these herbal medicines on himself and found that they caused similar symptoms to those that they treated. This lead to the first principle that “like cures like”. For example think about peeling an onion and how your eyes water and your nose may start dripping. These type of hay fever like symptoms would mean that you would use the remedy, Allium Cepa, which is red onion.
The process of experimenting with physical doses of a substance, even herbs ,was often quite overwhelming in terms of the symptom picture so he started trialling a diluted amount of a substance to see whether he still got an effect, which is now called a proving. He found that smaller and smaller amounts would still produce symptoms or a therapeutic effect. This is the second principle which is “minimum dose”. Homeopathic medicines are often diluted and shaken or “succussed” and still have a therapeutic effect.
Hahenmann and a group of his colleagues eventually “proved” about 50 remedies, primarily from herbal medicines initially and started using them to support patients. Over time the process of dilution and succussion allowed them to use substances such as minerals and animals.
Homeopathic medicines have been used for a wide range of conditions and in particular were helpful during epidemics of infectious diseases. In 1854 reports were given in the UK showing that the hospitals were experiencing a death rate of 46% from an outbreak of cholera, in comparison the homeopathic hospitals had a rate of 18.4%. In original data the homeopathic hospitals were excluded as they distorted the data but after a public uproar they were published.
Homeopathy in the Home
Once you understand the basics a small first aid kit plus a few books is usually enough for most people to start using it for lots of common conditions including coughs and colds, stomach upsets, sore throats and sinusitis as well as sprains, strains and common injuries. There are useful prescribing tips in the following blogs Natural Medicine First Aid 2022 which looks at bruises, bumps, strains and sprains, Treating Colds and Flu at home which looks more at remedies for upper respiratory tract infections and Stomach Aches and Pains for stomach upsets including diarrhea and constipation.
My first experience of the value of homeopathy came when my son had an earache in the early hours of the morning. Having already discussed this with my homeopath we were fairly sure Belladonna was needed for his ear infection. He got one dose and settled down and after a second dose he rolled over and went back to sleep. Better still with treatment the run of ear infections stopped and we didn’t have the need for antibiotics and panadol.
For more information on using homeopathy there are some really useful courses on my site and if you are keen you can join my next Using Homeopathy Made Easy Course which starts on the 4th October and runs at lunchtime from 12-1pm. If you miss the live course I will record it to have it available as a resource. If you are unsure about doing an online course why not see my recent webinar on Natural Medicine for Common Illnesses and see if you are comfortable with the format.