What is Homeopathy?
Homeopathy is a modality of medicine that originated in Germany hundreds of years ago. Homeopathic remedies are often presented as pellets, creams, or gels. They are derived from diluted substances such as plants, minerals, and animal products. The substance is diluted hundreds of times, so that if tested, no substance will actually be found in that remedy. It is believed that dilution allows for the extraction of the energetic essence of that substance. Homeopathy is based upon what is known as the theory of the “Law of Similar’s.” This is the principle of, “like cures like,” which is where an illness can be cured by a substance that produces similar symptoms in otherwise healthy individuals. Think of someone who is feeling down or angry, they will often gravitate towards sad or angry music in order to feel better. We also see this play out in the conventional world, where a child with ADHD is prescribed a stimulant (Adderall/Ritalin) in order to calm down. These are examples based upon the Law of Similar’s.
How Does it Work?
There are hundreds of studies that show homeopathic medicine is effective, however, the exact mechanism of action has yet to be discovered. This is one of those scenarios where science hasn’t quite caught up yet. There are several theories that exist. Physicists acknowledge that everything on Earth vibrates at a certain energetic frequency. One theory is that one’s disease or illness carries its own frequency as well. When that disease or illness is matched with a homeopathic remedy of the same frequency, it is believed they cancel each other out. This brings the patient back to their original state of health. For example, when one peels an onion, their eyes will often burn and itch. One will often experience watery eyes and a runny nose. These are often the symptoms experienced in those who suffer from seasonal allergies. In order to address this, the homeopathic remedy of Allium cepa, which is derived from red onions, is often used.
If interested in researching the science behind homeopathy, see the studies listed below:
Bell I et al. Improved clinical status in fibromyalgia patients treated with individualized homeopathic remedies versus placebo Rheumatology 2004;43:577–582
Magnani P et al Dose-effect study of Gelsemium sempervirens in high dilutions on anxiety-related responses in mice Psychopharmacology DOI 10.1007/s00213-010-1855-2
Grimaldi-Bensouda L, Engel P,Massol J, et al. Who seeks primary care for sleep, anxiety and depressive disorders from physicians prescribing homeopathic and other complementary medicine? Results from the EPI3 population survey. BMJ Open 2012; 2:e001498. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2012-001498
Olioso D, Marzotto M, Bonafini C, Brizzi M, Bellavite P. Arnica montana effects on gene expression in a human macrophage cell line. Evaluation by quantitative Real-Time PCR. Homeopathy. 2016 May;105(2):131-47. doi: 10.1016/j.homp.2016.02.001. Epub 2016 Mar 14. PMID: 27211321.
Papp R. et al. Oscillococcinum® in patients with influenza-like syndromes: A placebo-controlled double-blind evaluation. British Homeopathic Journal 1998, 87, 69-76
How is Homeopathy Prescribed?
Homeopathy is highly individualized and tailored to each person. It is very common for multiple patients with the same disease, be prescribed different homeopathic remedies. Homeopathy is prescribed based on the “picture” of one’s disease or illness and not on the illness itself. For example, we could infect multiple people with the same common cold virus and each person may present this cold differently. One individual may become feverish, hot, and irritable with a pounding headache. Whereas another individual could become cold, sad, and have a sore throat. These are all different ‘pictures’ that can arise from the same virus. So, instead of matching a remedy to a particular virus or illness, we match it based on the picture that is exhibited. Ideally, the homeopathic remedy that is prescribed will cover all of the physical and mental/emotional symptoms that are present.
How Long Does Homeopathy Take to Work?
For acute conditions, an improvement in symptoms will often occur within several hours. For chronic conditions, on the other hand, one will often notice an improvement in symptoms within a week or two. The healing process that takes place in chronic conditions is often gradual and subtle. This is why it is important review your symptoms in detail during every follow up in order to evaluate if a change has occurred. With homeopathic treatment, there is a possibility that an incorrect remedy may, at first, be prescribed. It may take some trial and error before discovering the homeopathic remedy that is best for you. However, the majority of patients will at least see a partial improvement in symptoms within the first or second remedy that is prescribed.
What Conditions Can Homeopathy Address?
- Social anxiety disorder
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Chronic Pain
- Morning sickness in Pregnancy
- Menopausal symptoms
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Multiple sclerosis
- Hashimoto’s/Graves disease
- Ulcerative colitis
Don’t see your condition listed above? Contact Dr. Mykayla Werner at DrWerner@anandahealth.care to see if homeopathy is right for you!
What are the risks of Homeopathy? Are there any side effects or interactions?
Homeopathic medicine is gentle, safe, and effective. It does not interact with any medications or supplements. Homeopathy is non-addictive and does not create any side effects. However, there are certain risks that may occur upon starting homeopathic treatment. One risk is that of experiencing an aggravation (worsening of symptoms). This is where your symptoms may become worse before they improve. This is similar to what others refer to as a, ‘healing crisis.’ An example of this may occur in someone who is sick with a fever. This individual may take a homeopathic remedy, which then temporarily worsens their fever before it breaks and resolves, altogether. Although it is a risk, it is important to know that not everyone will experience an aggravation. If it does occur, it is typically seen within the first week of treatment and may last 24-48 hours. If this is a concern, there are dosing strategies available to help mitigate this response.
There is also a small percentage of the population (roughly 1%) who are sensitive to homeopathic medicine. In these cases, adjustments in the frequency of dosing will be required. If you suspect that you may be a part of that population, there are strategies available to mitigate your response. Upon starting homeopathic treatment, there is also a risk of having a return of old and forgotten symptoms. For example, let’s say that you used to experience eczema as a child. You begin homeopathic treatment and notice that while your chief concerns are improving, your eczema is coming back. Although it may be bothersome, this is actually a great sign your body is healing at an energetic level all the way back to when you were first experiencing that symptom!
Is Homeopathy Expensive?
Most remedies are fairly inexpensive and cost between 10-15 dollars. They can be found at most health food stores or on our FullScript website for convenience. As single vial will typically last 1-2 months.
I’m Pregnant, Can Homeopathy Help Me?
Yes, homeopathy is well documented to be gentle, safe, and effective in those who are pregnant and/or breastfeeding. It is so safe; we can give it to children and animals, as well. Homeopathy is different from traditional medicine, in that, one could accidently consume an entire bottle of a remedy and no ill or dangerous effects will occur.
Is Homeopathy Safe in Children?
Absolutely! Children and babies, in particular, have a tendency to respond quicker and more effectively to homeopathic treatment than adults. It is unclear how or why this is but there are several theories that exist. One theory, is that their ‘vital force’ is stronger than adults and as such, are able to heal and recover faster.
Can Homeopathy Help if I’m Already Taking Other Medications?
Yes, homeopathy works well alongside most other medications. Once one has been established on the correct homeopathic remedy, it is possible, for certain patients to wean off or discontinue certain medications, altogether. Please note, this varies on a case-by-case basis. Homeopathy cannot be used to replace certain lifesaving medications. It is important to work with your healthcare provider before implementing any changes in your medication routine. For those with more complex or severe cases, I often recommend the use of both homeopathy and medications. Utilizing homeopathy can help keep one’s medication stable and at the lowest, effective, dose possible.
When I Google Homeopathy, Why Do People Say it’s Not Real?
Homeopathy has a poor reputation in America’s scientific community. This is due to a lack of understanding in how it works. When we study homeopathy, we have to understand that it is prescribed on an individualized basis. In, traditional medicine, we use one specific medication for an illness. Homeopathy, on the other hand is different, in that there are hundreds of possible remedies that one could use for a specific type of illness. Again, this is prescribed based on the ‘picture’ of the illness that is presented instead of the actual illness itself.
In the scientific community, the gold standard of studies, are called, double blind, randomized, controlled trials. This is where one homeopathic remedy is prescribed to multiple patients with the same illness. However, this sets homeopathy up for failure in that a remedy must be prescribed on an individualized basis AND by an experienced homeopath. When these factors are taken into consideration, homeopathic medicine performs very well in studies. Many of which are conducted in Europe due to a lack of funding in the U.S.
Homeopathy is used widely across Asia and Europe with great success. It was originally discovered in Germany and is popular amongst European countries, such as, France and England. The Queen of England, is even known to have her own royal homeopathic physician. Homeopathic trainings are recognized and included in medical schools throughout Switzerland, Sweden, and Finland which are some of the healthiest countries in the world!
Click on the links below for further information: