Bowls of flowers and herbs with mortar and pestle

What is Homeopathy Anyway?

March 20, 2010 • by Julie

Even though homeopathy has been around some 200 years, there is still a lot of work to be done in educating the general public on what homeopathy is exactly. Some people think that using herbs or simply shopping at their local health food store is homeopathy. That’s not to say that these are bad things, in fact they are quite good. However, what I would like to do here with this post is to give you a simple lesson on what homeopathy is, and how it works.

Let’s first start by discussing the basic philosophy of homeopathy. The basic principle of homeopathy is based on what is called the Law of Similars. Or “Like Curing Like.” The holistic approach goes back as far as the 4th century BC to the writings of Hippocrates, but the man who truly put homeopathy on the map was a man named Samuel Hahnemann, a German physician(1755-1843). We will discuss him further at another time.

In conventional medicine symptoms are viewed as being inflicted on the organism by the disease, thus they must be eradicated or suppressed by drugs, treatments or surgery. Where as with homeopathy, we see these symptoms (ie. burning sore throat, throbbing headache, a fever that comes on fast and furious) as the language of the body, an expression of an underlying imbalance. This imbalance is displayed as symptoms. These symptoms are guide posts and signals that tell us and direct us to a deeper understanding of a person’s state. With the Like Cures Like principle we take those symptoms and compare them with homeopathic medicines that cause those same symptoms in a healthy person. Yes, you read that correctly. Homeopathic medicines are tested on the healthy, and then their symptoms are recorded and catalogued. A very simple example of this is the remedy (remedies are what we call homeopathic medicines) Allium cepa. Allium cepa is made from the red onion. We have all experienced what happens to our eyes, nose and throat when cutting an onion. The eyes first start to burn, then tear up, our nose begins to run and we may experience burning in our throat. Now think of a person with hay fever, or a cold you may have experienced with burning, itching watery eyes, and a clear running nose. This is a very simple understanding of the Law of Similars and the idea that Like Cures Like. It is an example that most can relate to. What is more important however, is that we understand that the body tells us what we need. It is designed to do this in a very sophisticated, yet simple, manner. That is why in homeopathy we say we treat “the person” not the “disease,” for everyone experiences “dis-ease” in their own way and for their own reasons. We look at the totality of a person, not just what is going on physically, but what is going on with them mentally and emotionally as well.

Let’s take these symptoms I mentioned above, the throbbing headache, the burning sore throat, and the fever that comes on fast and furious, seemingly out of no where into consideration. I could prescribe a remedy that addresses just those physical symptoms, and we may have success, or I could take the time and find out a bit more about what is going on in the life of this patient. What weakened this patient’s immune system to begin with that made him or her susceptible to this acute condition? On further examination we may find this patient has been working overtime perhaps at school and on the job and is under tremendous financial stress, therfore working double time while trying to complete his education. By adding in those mental and emotional symptoms to our assessment, we better serve this patient. Will a homeopathic remedy remove the financial burdens of this patient?? Well, that would be nice wouldn’t it? The answer is naturally no, BUT, what it can do is put his body in a state of homeostasis (balance) strengthening his immune system and therefore making it easier for him to better deal with the curve balls life throws sometimes. We have nearly 4000 remedies to choose from, and out of those, I am sure to find a remedy for the person who is ill because of being over industrious and is experiencing anxiety do to his personal finances. If we cure only what is on the surface we aren’t addressing the underlying problem, and chances are, the patient will continue to get sick, usually in the same way, over and over again. Now, the very next person that may walk in my office may well be experiencing the same exact symptoms. Am I going to prescribe the same remedy? Chances are not likely. On further investigation of this patient, we find that he or she has just lost a loved one. Perhaps its been a month, or even a year. The grief is deep and seemingly unending. This person is not ill due to being over industrious. This person is physically ill do to his or her grief. They will not receive the same remedy. Again, treating the person, not the disease.

Homeopathy has changed my life, my parenting, and how I chose to treat myself as I walk through this life. We are exposed to so many stressors that we were not subjected to some several hundred years ago. In an effort to make our lives easier in this life, we have managed to make them exceedingly more complicated. With homeopathy less is more. With homeopathy we can take back a simpler approach to life. I hope I can help you experience this.