|Homeopathic Essentials||Darrell Miller||06/11/05|
June 11, 2005 05:13 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (email@example.com)
Subject: Homeopathic Essentials
Homeopathic Essentials by Jane Lane Energy Times, February 1, 2000
The principles of homeopathy are elegantly basic and, to some, maddeningly elusive. This system of medical treatment employs The Law of Similars or "like cures like," and calls on natural plant, animal and mineral substances that induce the body to heal itself.
That homeopathy works is virtually incontrovertible. With its ancient roots and European practice spanning hundreds of years, homeopathy employs minute doses of diluted extracts to replicate symptoms of a malady, which then vanishes. But the very fact that it works puzzles many experts who have researched the phenomenon.
Understanding The Tradition
Homeopathy evolved from its earliest practice recorded by 10th-century BC Hindu sages to its codification by Hippocrates in 400 BC. " Through the like, disease is produced and through the application of the like, it is cured," he wrote, expressing the fundamental principle of homeopathy, according to Homeopathic Medicine at Home (Tarcher Perigee) by Maesimund B. Panos, MD, and Jane Heimlich. Samuel Christian Friedrich Hahnemann, the erudite and intellectually audacious German physician and chemist, seized upon the essentials of homeopathy in the early 1800s.
Through Hahnemann's work, homeopathy developed into an intricately systematized science, veering into the arcane for the contemporary individual seeking relief for everyday ailments.
Modern practitioners and manufacturers of homeopathic remedies benefit from Hahnemann's daring research (which included potentially lethal experiments on himself) and complex doctrines.
They've streamlined and modernized Hahnemann's concepts to provide more relevance to modern ills and sensibilities.
The Bold Experiments
Hahnemann denounced the medical practices of the 18th century, which involved cauterizing, bleeding, blistering and purging patients to expel the pernicious fluids or humors believed to cause disease.
He also reviled the kind of omnibus prescription drugs of the day, which loaded many substances into one compound. In 1790, Hahnemann conducted his groundbreaking experiment establishing the basis of homeopathy.
The customary treatment for malaria at the time was Cinchona officinalis or Peruvian bark-quinine. Medical wisdom attributed its efficacy to its bitterness and astringency. Hahnemann rejected this explanation, noting that other botanicals are far more bitter and astringent, yet are powerless against malaria.
To prove his theory, Hahnemann took some cinchona compound and promptly developed the symptoms of malaria. His deduction: Like cures like, or The Law of Similars. A substance that, in minute doses, induces certain symptoms in a healthy person cures a sick one.
The Set of Laws
A set of fairly complex laws developed from Hahnemann's initial Law of Similars.
The Law of Proving refers to the process of ascertaining the effectiveness of a homeopathic therapy by administering a substance to a healthy person to record in minute detail its effects. Practitioners also use the standard double-blind method using a placebo or unmedicated tablet against a homeopathic compound.
The first proving was performed in 1790 and the procedure endures today, using only humans, not laboratory animals, for greater accuracy. As homeopathic preparations are not toxic, proving has never produced lasting adverse reactions. Descriptions of provings are compiled into books called materia medicas, including Boericke's Materia Medica and Repertory and The Lectures of Homeopathic Materia by James Tyler Kent, used regularly in contemporary practice.
The books are highly indexed collections of symptoms and the remedies that cure them called repertories. The most extensively used repertory is Kent's Repertory of the Homeopathic Materia Medica.
In 1800, the third Law of Potentization was devised, regulating the processing of homeopathic remedies through successive dilutions and shaking.
This law represents perhaps the profoundest mystery of homeopathy and demands the boldest leap of faith: The higher the dilution, the more intense the potency of the medicine. Substances that are inert in their natural state act as medicine. And as they are so dilute, homeopathic remedies do not act directly on the tissues, accounting for their non-toxicity. Adding to the inherent safety of homeopathic therapies is the discipline's adherence to the single remedy. Centuries ago, homeopaths seemed to have been prescient about current drug interaction troubles.
(Historical information courtesy of Homeopathic Medicine at Home by Panos and Heimlich.)
How It Works: The Vital Force Homeopathy embraces a philosophy centered on the concept of "vital force," an intelligent, dynamic life force within each individual responsible for maintaining one's life and balance on all levels. The vital force creates a defense mechanism similar to the immune system, but incorporates protection against imbalances on the emotional and mental planes as well.
Homeopathy equates disease with imbalance. As the defense mechanism attempts to restore balance, symptoms appear: pain, swelling, rashes and fevers on the physical side; grief, jealousy, anxiety, anger, confusion and loss of memory on the emotional and mental end.
Homeopaths regards these symptoms as evidence of the vital force's curative exertions, not merely annoyances to be eliminated. Symptoms guide the homeopath in his or her attempts to harmoniously augment the efforts of the vital force.
Homeopathic remedies are prepared according to the standards of the United States Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia and are recognized by the US Food and Drug Administration. " Homeopathy respects the complexity and uniqueness of each individual," observes pharmacist and naturopathic doctor James LaValle (and his co-authors) in Smart Medicine for Healthier Living. "To identify the correct homeopathic remedy, you must carefully observe your unique-even quirky-behaviors and responses." Indeed the emphasis on the "unique, even quirky" may lead to the perception of homeopathy as a sketchy pseudo-science. Homeopathy simply does not fit the drug model of allopathic medicine.
Its ability to help people, however, has been repeatedly evaluated through rigorous scientific research. A comprehensive review in the British Medical Journal (302, 1991: 316-323) of more than 100 clinical studies of homeopathy published during the last 30 years revealed that 77% of those studies produced positive results for the people involved. A host of additional studies provides clinical evidence: