Homeopathic medicine offers easy-to-take, effective treatment for many common illnesses without any unpleasant side effects. Yet this system of health care faces loads of criticism and controversy. Some even call it quackery and tom-foolery. Just what is homeopathy anyway and why is it controversial?
Modern homeopathy was founded by Doctor Samuel Hahnemann of Germany in the early nineteenth century. He was dissatisfied with the then-current medical practices of bleeding, purging, blistering, and cauterizing. Surely, he thought, there has to be a better way!
He finally stumbled upon that better way in 1790 when he tested quinine (obtained from cinchona bark) in an attempt to figure out how it cured malaria. As a healthy man, he took doses of quinine twice each day – and discovered that for a few hours after each dose, he’d experience symptoms identical to those of malaria.
What was happening here?
Dr. Hahnemann hypothesized that many medicinals derived from nature cause the same symptoms in a healthy person that they cure in a sick person. He and a team of friends and colleagues went on to test 99 different substances to prove that his hypothesis is true.
Proving the Law of Similars
These testings are called “provings” in homeopathy and form the basis for choosing the right homeopathic remedy for individual situations. Let me give you an example…
When a healthy person is stung by a bee and bee venom enters the body, he feels a stinging pain that it followed by burning and swelling. He may experience itching, redness, and welts or bumps on the skin. He will often feel better if something cold is applied to the sting.
On the flipside, if a person is experiencing many of these symptoms – even if they’re caused by allergies, chickenpox, or a sore throat – homeopathic bee venom (called Apis Mellifica) will bring relief.
This is called the Law of Similars and actually gives us the word homeopathy. In Greek, homoios means “similar” and pathos means “suffering” or “sickness.”
Since Dr. Hahnemann’s death , more than 600 other natural substances have been “proved” and added to the homeopathic pharmacy.
How Are Homeopathic Medicines Made?
Here’s the part where some people begin to doubt homeopathy’s ability, and they throw out words like quackery and snake oil. But it’s also the part where I become more and more fascinated and awestruck.
Homeopathic remedies are made from natural substances including plants, minerals, metals, sand, animal parts, and even insects. The substance is first crushed and then diluted.
For a liquid preparation, one part of the medicinal substance is combined with nine parts pure water and then shaken vigorously. One part of this new mixture is then mixed with nine parts water and again shaken. The process is repeated to achieve the desired potency.
On the label of any homeopathic medicine, you’ll see the name of the medicine along with its potency. For instance, Nux Vomica 6X. The number 6 means that the substance was diluted and shaken six times. (If you see 6C instead, it means that the substance was diluted with 99 parts water six times.)
According to our modern scientific capabilities, remedies of 24X or 12C potency no longer contain any of the original substance. The most powerful microscopes and other detection tools can find only water (or sugar, in the case of homeopathic pills).
So how can homeopathy work?
No one know for sure how homeopathy works. Some call it the “mystery of homeopathy.” Some suggest that the repeated shaking produces an electric field around every molecule of the original substance, and that the stronger the electric field is, the more effective the substance will be. Um, okay … I guess … maybe.
Physicist Dr. William A. Tiller stated that “In my modeling, homeopathic remedies treat at the etheric level of substance.” Etheric simply means that we can’t observe what is happening using any instrument or device. In other words, it’s a fancy way of saying, “We have no idea!”
In my belief, it’s a simple matter of modern science and modern tools not being infallible. Anyone who believes that we humans can detect, measure, and quantify every single aspect of this great planet … well, to put it bluntly, that person is purely arrogant.
Only God, who created all, knows absolutely everything about creation.
It’s only since the invention of the electron microscope that have scientists been able to confirm the existence of atoms, long believed to be the tiniest substances in existence. Later they figured out that atoms are actually made up of subatomic particles, and in 1964, a scientist discovered that quarks make up the subatomic particles.
Who are we to say that today’s knowledge is the end all and be all?
Something is happening when homeopathic medicines are diluted and shaken again and again. While the original substance is getting weaker and weaker, something gets stronger and stronger.
I have no idea what that something is, but I trust that God knows. And I know firsthand that the something works incredibly well.
For my own family, I have successfully used
- Cantharis to relieve the pain of sunburn
- Chamomilla to treat severe ear pain
- Mag Phos to relieve menstrual cramps
- Pulsatilla for sinus pain and congestion
- Nux Vomica to stop diarrhea, indigestion, and ulcer pain
- Ruta to take away the pain of twisted knees
…and many others that I can’t think of off the top of my head. I’ve even given homeopathic remedies to our cats, and you can’t tell me that a placebo would work on a cat.
If you doubt that homeopathic remedies can work, I urge you to just give them a try. This system of medicine is likely the most inexpensive form of health care available. A bottle of 80 homeopathic pellets costs less than $7, and the dosage is just 1-2 pellets at a time.
Before you decide which remedy to try, pick up a good book on homeopathy. My favorite is Homeopathic Medicine for Children and Infants by Dana Ullman, M.P.H. (Master of Public Health). Homeopathic Medicine at Home by Dr. Maesimund B. Panos is another good one. Or check out ABC Homeopathy, an excellent online resource.
Have you ever tried homeopathy? Would you? Leave a comment below or drop me an email. I’d love to hear from you!
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Panos, Maesimun B., M.D. and Jane Heimlich. Homeopathic Medicine at Home. Jeremy P. Tarcher / Putnam, 1980.
Ullman, Dana, M.P.H. Homeopathic Medicine for Children and Infants. Jeremy P. Tarcher / Putnam, 1992.
This information has not been evaluated by the FDA and is intended only for educational purposes. It is not intended to diagnose, prevent, treat, or cure disease. Always consult a healthcare professional before making significant changes to your healthcare routine.
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