What is homeopathy?
It's an alternative system of medicine propounded by the German physician, Dr. Samuel Hahnemann, in 1796 AD. It's a very safe, effective and individualized form of treatment which has been used by millions of people for over 200 years. It was quite popular in Europe and USA until the introduction of antibiotics and vaccines in the 1900s.
How does it work?
Homeopathy is based on the principle that substances which normally cause harm in material doses, would instead cure, when highly diluted and potentized. For example, onions cause watering of eyes, but a homeopathic remedy prepared from onions prevents the same when it occurs due to allergy, infection etc. Thus homeopathy can be considered to be a kind of a highly advanced vaccine therapy.
Is homeopathy safe? Are there any side effects?
Homeopathy is absolutely safe (during pregnancy too) and does not have any side effects as long as they are prescribed properly. Since homeopathic remedies are highly diluted, no harmful properties of the original crude substance remain. Also, all the remedies are extensively tested by many volunteers before being included in the materia medica. To be on the safer side, do not take high potency homeopathic remedies (1M and above) unless prescribed by an experienced homeopath as these can cause unintended, long lasting aggravations. The ones prescribed by our remedy finder are low potency ones (200C and below), which are very safe. Finally, homeopathic drugs have minimal interaction with conventional allopathic medicines and can be safely taken along with them.
Can homeopathy be used for treatment of infants and children?
We recommend exercising caution while administering homeopathic remedies to children below 5 years of age as they are unable to adequately articulate the symptoms they experience, especially during aggravations. It's perfectly safe for older kids but they can be more sensitive to higher potencies (above 200C) than adults.
How are homeopathic remedies prescribed?
Newly discovered remedies are tested by healthy volunteers and the symptoms produced are recorded in a process known as 'proving'. All useful remedies and associated symptoms are then documented in a type of medical encyclopedia called the 'materia medica'. When patients present their symptoms, a homeopath refers to the materia medica and selects the remedy which most closely matches the symptoms described by a patient.
How are homeopathic remedies prepared?
They're prepared from a myriad of organic and inorganic substances such as herbs, biological products, toxins, chemical elements, natural and synthetic compounds etc. Firstly, a mother tincture is made from the crude substance by dissolving (if soluble) or mixing (if insoluble) in a water-alcohol solution, such that it derives at least some properties of the original substance. Then this mother tincture is subjected to repeated steps of dilution and vigorous shaking (succusion), which is collectively called potentization. After many steps of serial dilution and potentization, a homeopathic remedy of certain potency is obtained.
Is there a scientific explanation for the mechanism of action?
The homeopathic phenomenon of higher potency with greater dilution is one of the greatest mysteries and no conclusive scientific explanation has been found yet due to the limits of present day science. From a biological perspective, the most plausible explanation is that homeopathy stimulates and aids the body's natural mechanisms to fight infections, repair damage and ultimately heal. Newer theories expalin homeopathy as a form of nano-pharmacology ,which involves the concept of nano structures of water molecules and their electromagnetic influence on the cells of the body.
If homeopathy is so effective, why isn't it popular?
Lack of scientific proof and inadequate research have been the greatest impediments to the growth of homeopathy. Misconceptions and unfounded fears have lead to it being called 'quackery', 'placebo effect' and even 'witchcraft', preventing doctors and patients from adopting it. Clinical trials have failed to prove its effectiveness because the same remedy is administered to many people having different sets of symptoms, against the basic principles of homeopathy. Increasing drug resistance and side effects have rekindled interest in Homeopathy, leading to a worldwide resurgence. Homeopathy can be considered analogous to Yoga, which despite having no scientific evidence, is still gaining popularity.