What is Homeopathy ?

Homeopathy is a therapy based on the principle ‘like cures like’. Homeopathy was first founded by Dr. Samuel Hahnemann (1755 – 1843), who was qualified German doctor and chemist. Homeopathy does not just treat the disease but the ‘diseased person’ using a holistic approach by administering remedies prepared from minimal amounts of extracts from the plant, animal or mineral kingdom. This system of therapy is based on the finding that minute doses of extract from the plant, animals or mineral kingdom can produce symptoms in the body of a healthy individual that mimic the very disease it is known to treat – the difference being that this artificial state of disease thereby produced is temporary and cannot be traced back to any bacteria or virus.Allopathic medication Quinine is prepared from Cinchona bark and is used in the treatment of Malaria. Hahnemann, the founder of Homoeopathy discovered that when he took minute doses of the extract of the Peruvian cinchona bark, his body produced symptoms of Malaria that it was supposed to treat. Hahnemann based this therapy of Homeopathy on the law of nature that - A weaker dynamic affection is permanently extinguished in the living organism by a stronger one, if the latter (whilst differing in kind) is very similar to the former in its manifestation (Hahnemann, cited in Boericke, 1921, p.111, §26).

How were Homeopathy remedies originally prepared ?

Hahnemann was disillusioned with the medical practices prevalent during his time. He observed the human agony associated with practices such as bloodletting, purging and the use of mercury and arsenic.

Determined to give his patients a better deal, he began his journey of developing a range of remedies that would not have any adverse effects on his patients.Method of preparation of remedies:

• Potentization
• Dilution
• Succussion

Hahnemann diluted one drop of the extract from the plant, animal or mineral kingdom and diluted it with 9 drops of water or alcohol, making a dilution of one in ten (1x) or one drop in 100 drops (1C). He took a drop from these dilutions and further diluted it 15 or 30 times (15C, 30C).

However, he realized that the higher dilutions were less effective. He therefore shook the remedy vigorously after every dilution in the hope of releasing the latent energy trapped in the crude substance. This process of vigorous systematic shaking is called succussion. The process by which the strength of the remedy was increased by progressive dilution and succussion or agitation of molecules is called potentisation. The process of potentisation releases the latent energy trapped in the molecules of the extract. The energy so released acts upon the diseased man to bring back over all order in his system. Machines now perform the process of dilution and succussion, thereby reducing or eliminating any human error in the process.

How are Homeopathy remedies prepared now ?

Homeopathy remedies can be prepared by any qualified Pharmacist according to the methods and standards mentioned in the Homeopathy Pharmacopeia using machines for dilution and succussion. We have major Pharmaceuticals like the German based company called Sharda Boiron, Dr. Wilmar Schwabe and Walleda. In New Zealand we have Naturopharm and Similimum who are the major suppliers of the remedies. India has many Homeopathy pharmaceuticals; many of them are German based. New remedies are tested on healthy human beings – usually willing students of Homeopathy or the physicians themselves. The symptoms produced are recorded in a systematic manner as per standards and methods mentioned in the Homeopathy Pharmacopoeia. There are British, American and Indian standardized publications of the same.

How do Homeopathy Remedies Act ?

When we see a patient, we have to first find out what is curable in the case and then match his symptoms to a remedy that produces similar symptoms in a healthy individual. The remedy in its minute dose will act on the individual based on the following Laws of Nature (Roberts, 1942, p.63):

1. Law of Action: Action and reaction are equal and opposite. The remedy will produce symptoms similar to the symptoms of the disease in the patient and as per the above law, the reaction will be equal and opposite which means a complete removal of the symptoms. What this means is that when we are treating a patient for loose stools, we will give a remedy that will produce loose stools as a primary action. As per the above law every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Therefore the reaction of the body to that remedy will be opposite which is stopping the loose stools and restoring normal stools.
2. Law of Quantity: The quantity of action necessary to effect any change in nature is the least possible.The decisive amount is always a minimum, an infinitesimal.

This means that though the quantities of the remedy consumed by the patient is minimal or even just a memory of the original substance stored in the water or alcohol, as per the law, is enough to effect a change in the body. Vaccination would be a good example of this phenomenon where a minute amount of the vaccine is enough to stimulate the immune system and provide life long immunity.The remedies administered will help the patient’s body to get rid of the current symptoms, strengthen the immune system and also helps the body to fight inherited tendencies for disease.In Homeopathy, the process of cure confirms to Herring’s Law of Cure which is stated as follows (Herring cited in Roberts, 1942, p.63): Cure takes place from above downward, from within outward, from the more important to the less important organ and in the reverse order of the onset of the symptoms.This means that if you have asthma and eczema all over your body, the asthma will go first and you will see the eczema regressing first around the head and will slowly progress down to your legs before it finally disappears.

Another example would be of a patient recovering from stroke. While the patient recovers from the stroke symptoms he may suddenly begin to develop eruptions that had been suppressed with ointments and creams years ago. These eruptions will appear for a short time and then disappear on its own. Cure proceeds from a more vital organ to a less vital organ and old symptoms may pop up temporarily while the body attempts to get back into a state of health.

Since no trace of the original substance used to prepare the remedy is found in the Homeopathy remedies, how do we know it is not just placebo effect ?

Scientists are still working on this issue and it is of great interest to nuclear scientists. Ruby George Clinical trials have proven beyond doubt that every remedy will produce its unique set of symptoms every time it is administered to healthy individuals.No two remedies will produce the same set of symptoms – each one is unique. In my patient’s words, ‘if you have diarrhoea and vomiting and if you take the wrong remedy, it will not work – you have to get the remedy right’. If it was just placebo effect any remedy would do the job.Just because we cannot see air, it does not mean air does not exist. Just because we cannot explain many phenomena in nature, it does not mean it does not exist. We use science as a frame work to explain phenomena that already exist in nature. When the same phenomenon can be repeatedly produced under similar conditions, it can be labelled as scientific. In this computer age we do acknowledge the fact that large amounts of data can be stored in little electronic chips – it is highly probable that a similar phenomenon occurs during the process of potentisation – memory of the original substance could probably be stored in the molecules of water or alcohol -- we will have to wait till scientists invent a way of proving this. While that happens it cannot be denied by any patient of Homeopathy that the therapy works!

How are Homeopathic medicines dispensed?
Homeopathic remedies are dispensed in either liquid form or as pills. A few drops of the remedy usually preserved in 90% alcohol are dropped into a bottle of water or pilules or powder made of goat’s milk or cane sugar. Mother tinctures are always dispensed as liquids.
How do I take the remedy? / How are Homeopathy remedies taken by the patient?

The remedies stimulate nerve endings. The usual method of consumption is oral – a few drops of the liquid form of the remedy are dropped on the tongue or a few pilules of the remedy are eaten like a lollies. The pills should be ideally administered to the patient using the lid or a spoon. The number of pills or pillules will depend on their size. If the pilules are small then 5 or 6 at a time would be ideal. If they are big tablets, two at a time should be okay. No water is required to eat the pilules. They are sweet and palatable – kids enjoy it.

One dose is equivalent to either:
• 5 or 6 pillules taken at a time or
• 2 pills taken at a time or
• Two to three drops of liquid taken at a time or
• Few drops of the liquid rubbed into the skin of the patient at a time Pills look like small tablets while pilules look like small round globules that look like sago or confetti. The pills and pilules are made from the sugar of milk. These pills or pilules are medicated with a few drops of the remedy. Remedies are also dispensed using olive oil or Vaseline as a base when required.
Is there any other way that the medication can be administered other than the oral route ?
In case the patient is in coma, or if for some reason the patient refuses the remedy or in the case of infants, the remedy can be administered in the liquid form by dropping it onto the palms and soles of the patient. However, care should be taken by the person administering the remedy not to touch the remedy. Ideally use a spoon to drop it onto the patient’s palms or soles. The remedy can also be mixed with olive oil or Vaseline and rubbed into the patient’s skin.