What Is Homoeopathy?

Homoeopathy like Allopathy, is a branch of medicine that was developed by a German physician Dr. Christian Friedrich Samuel Hahnemann plus two hundred years back. If you haven’t been to a homoeopath before, you are probably unaware of those little white pills prescribed by him and those little glass bottles containing liquids marked with letters CH and X. 

The basics of Homoeopathy lie in the age-old doctrine “Similia Similibus Curentur” i.e. “Let likes be cured by likes”.  It was back in the 16th century that a Swiss German botanist, philosopher and physicist called Philippus Aureolus Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim ( popularly called Paracelcus, Father of Toxicology) gave the doctrine “Similia Similibus Curantur” meaning Like cures Likes”. Dr. Hahnemann modified this statement and said that this is not true for every case but applies to majority of them. Homoeopathy treats a patient with  natural medicinal substances which if ingested in large doses, would mimic the symptoms of the disease and produce illness but in smaller doses, relieve those symptoms. Homoeopathic medicines are obtained by diluting natural medicinal substances like plants, parts of a plant, minerals, animals and parts of animals in alcohol or water and potentizing them through methods like trituration and succussion in different scales of measurement ( often marked as CH for centisimal and X for decimal scale). Studies are being conducted to find out if Homoeopathy is based on nanotechnology.

Homoeopaths claim to cure not the disease but the individual suffering from it. They believe that an indivual falls prey to a certain disease not just bacause the disease is prevalent but also because the individual had a certain susceptibility to that disease. Their point is that even though a certain illness may be prevalent at a certain time in a certain place but not every individual falls ill at the same time; neither do all portray the same disease picture i.e the basic symptoms of a disease are the same in all patients yet some symptoms differ from person to person in intensity as well as character. Homoeopaths believe that this difference in the disease picture is due to differing susceptibility of different individuals and needs to be given importance while treating a case. It is because of this ‘individual’ approach that homoeopathy takes into consideration, a patient’s history, his overall physical and mental traits (together called ‘constitution’), his dreams etc besides his presenting symptoms to arrive at the most suited homoeopathic remedy.  The dosage depends on the patient’s age, his intellectual traits and emotional status unlike allopathy where most of the medicines are prescribed according to a patient’s body weight. Complete case taking procedure takes at least one hour and the most similar remedy (to the patient’s disease picture) is prescribed ( This remedy is called “Similimum”) in appropriate dose, considering all his symptoms, mental and physical picture in totality. It is this reason that two people suffering from the same disease will never benefit from the same medicine. And this is exactly why homoeopathy cannot be (or should not) practiced accurately as tele-medicine.

THE MYTH ABOUT SIDE-EFFECTS

It is believed that Homoeopathy is safe since the medicines are highly dilute and do not produce side-effects unlike allopathic medicines. However, this is not true. Dilutions prescribed in homoeopathy may not contain large quantities of crude medicinal substances but they are highly potentised through methods of potentisation like trituration and succussion (Explanation of the concept of ‘potentisation’ is beyond this blog) and may show effects after taking a single dose. As far as side effects are concerned, different homoeopathic remedies have been proved to have a certain affinity or inimicality towards other homoeopathic remedies. The complementary medicines may be taken simultaneously or one after the other but inimicals may cause harm. 

WHAT TO EXPECT?

Homoeopathy is considered as slow acting but there have been cases where a single dose effected relief within a few minutes. Such miracles are rare though and should not be expected in every case. Homoeopathy believes in gentle but permanent cure of disease, not merely removal of symptoms. An aphorism from the book of Homoeopathic philosophy – “Organon of Medicine” is –

“The highest ideal of cure is rapid, gentle and permanent restoration of the health, or removal and annihilation of the disease in its whole extent, in the shortest, most reliable, and most harmless way, on easily comprehensible principles.”

 

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