1. What is homeopathy?
Homeopathy, a therapeutic system used for over 250 years, works on the principle that ‘like cures like’ — an illness is treated with a substance which could produce similar symptoms in a healthy person. However, homeopathic medicines are given in highly diluted forms and are therefore extremely safe and have no side-effects. Homeopathy is a holistic system of treatment. It aims to treat the whole person, rather than just the physical symptoms.
2. What is a homeopathic consultation like?
The homeopath will ask not only about your illness but also about how you are affected by environmental factors such as temperature and the weather, what kinds of food you eat or avoid, your moods and feelings as well as your medical history in order to establish a complete picture of you, as a person. This is then related to the description of your current symptoms in order to prescribe the correct remedy at the right strength. Whereas in allopathic medical practice, people diagnosed with the same condition will generally be given the same medicine. Every individual reacts and adapts in a different way to their surroundings and this is accepted and respected in homoeopathy for remedy selection. The way people adapt to new home, family, or work environment; their reaction to external circumstances; their past and present experiences; and their general state of mind are all key attributes of patient assessment and treatment.
3. What happens in subsequent homeopathy consultations?
The subsequent consultations entail discussions about what has happened to the particular symptom(s) - are there changes in intensity or frequency, has the patient noticed any changes in his/her general health (appetite, sleep, bowel habit etc.). To a homeopath, this most recent picture is again a new symptom totality that needs to be addressed; the medicines are again prescribed taking this changing totality into consideration. The second prescription is therefore based on the new symptom totality - which may also change from patient to patient even in cases where the diagnosis of the disorder might be similar. In homeopathy there are no fixed rules for describing a particular ‘plan of treatment’ for a particular disorder - the doctor would prescribe based on the totality of the presenting symptoms, then fine tune and adjust according to changes reported by the patient.
4. What is constitutional treatment in homeopathy?
According to homoeopathy, mind and body are very much linked and physical problems cannot be effectively cured without understanding and putting right the person’s constitution and character. Constitution in homeopathy means a person’s state of health, including their temperament and any inherited and acquired characteristics. To determine the constitution of a person, a homeopath usually asks a great many questions. Homeopathy believes that if your constitution is healthy, you will not succumb to any infection, i.e. bacteriae and viruses will not affect you as your susceptibility is low. This is the basic difference between allopathy and homeopathy. Allopaths believe that one becomes sick due to infection, i.e. bacteriae and viruses; hence their treatment is aimed at killing the infection using strong drugs. This however, further reduces the immunity of the person making it weaker and the person becomes more susceptible and falls sick again and again. Homeopaths believe, however, that first your constitution becomes weak and then you become susceptible to infection. The bacteriae and viruses are the end products of disease process and not the cause of disease. The bacteriae and viruses are everywhere; they will not affect you till your immunity is strong. In homoeopathy treatment is aimed at raising the vitality, i.e. immunity of the person so that he can fight out the disease himself. This is why homeopathy is able to cure permanently while in allopathy there are frequent remissions.
5. Individualistic nature of homeopathic prescription?
Unlike allopathy, homeopathy is not readymade but tailor-made to suit an individual. Therefore, in homeopathy two people are unlikely to be prescribed the same remedy. One remedy may be prescribed constitutionally for general bodily imbalances and another remedy may be prescribed simultaneously for specific, acute symptoms. On the subsequent visit the remedies may be changed depending upon the progress of the patient. Thus, we can say that in homoeopathy we us designer remedies designed especially for an individual.
6. How does a homeopath chooses the potency i.e. strength of the remedy?
Several factors are considered while deciding the potency of the remedy prescribed like, condition to be treated, the strength of the patient, the age of the patient, and the circumstances. Not only must the remedy given be suitable, but the potency chosen must also be appropriate to the individual patient.
7. What reactions should one expect after taking a homoeopathic remedy?
Usually after taking a well-indicated homeopathic medicine, the person feels better in all aspects – physical, mental and emotional. Occasionally after taking a homeopathic medicine your symptoms may become slightly worse. This effect will be brief and is a good sign that the body’s natural healing energies have started to counteract the illness. After this, the symptoms will subside as you regain your health. If symptoms do not go away, talk to your homeopathy.
8. Homeopathy first aggravates the disease and then improves?
It is a myth. It does not happen to all cases and always, if the chosen remedy matches the patient’s need. But if repeated more than the need, often increases the complaints, but it would subside on its own as soon as the medicine is withdrawn. Sometimes, a patient who is dependent on some other medicines, for example, steroids, stops them, then he gets the original disease symptoms, and considers that the disease has aggravated.
9. How to take homeopathic remedies?
Avoid putting anything in your mouth for half-an-hour before or after taking your medicine. This is because homoeopathic medicines get absorbed from the inner linings of the mouth. Substances usually leave a coating in the oral cavity and also an odor. This may hinder the absorption of the medicine. You may, however drink water. It is also advisable to completely avoid strong substances like coffee and mint while taking homeopathic remedies because these may antidote the remedy prescribed. Strong household cleaners and other such chemical products may actually have a poisoning effect on the body. Handling medicines can inactivate them; therefore, avoid touching homeopathic remedies. It is best to tip 4 pills into the lid of the container and then tip the medicine into your mouth. If the pills are touched or dropped, they should not be returned to the container. Otherwise your remedy will lose its ability to do its job. Remedies should be stored away from strong light, strong temperature variations and strong smells.
10. Can homeopathic medicines be taken along with allopathic medicines?
Homoeopathic medicines can be safely taken along with other allopathic medicines like high blood pressure and diabetes medicines. Your regular allopathic medicines are not stopped for some time. Your homeopath will be able to reduce your other drugs if you begin to improve under the influence of the homeopathic ones.
11. Someone told me homoeopathy is quackery?
NO. The founder of homeopathy, Dr. Samuel Christian Hahnemann, MD, was a German allopathic doctor of his time. He, disillusioned with his profession, left his career in allopathic medicine to research alternative treatments. He began treating patients with a principle of “like cures like”. He called his new system “homeopathy”, from the Greek word: homeo meaning “similar” and pathos meaning “suffering.” Government of India through Central Council of Homeopathy controls and reviews education, research and practice of homoeopathy in India. In India most of the Government run clinics and hospitals have a homeopathic unit. Homeopathy in India is a full-fledged Bachelor’s degree course spanning 5½ years of training with one year internship and a post-graduate MD course. There are around 147 homeopathic medical colleges all over India which offer undergraduate medical education; many of these are government run while others are run by private educational societies. Out of these 23 offer postgraduate education. Minimum qualification for admission into these colleges is high school with Biology, Physics and Chemistry as majors. The students also have to undergo an entrance exam for admission into the undergraduate homeopathy degree course. The above process ensures that only the talented students are chosen to become future homeopaths. There is no difference between the homoeopathic medical curricula and that of MBBS and in 4½ years the students learn Anatomy, Physiology, Biochemistry, Microbiology, Pathology, Parasitology, Forensic Medicine, Gynecology, Obstetrics, Ophthalmology, ENT, Surgery, Community Medicine, Practice of Medicine along with Homeopathic Pharmacy, Repertory, Materia Medica and Homeopathic Methodology & Philosophy. From the second year on, they learn bedside medicine and attend clinical classes. Exams are conducted at the end the academic year. At the end of 4½ years after passing their final exams, they are awarded the BHMS degree (Bachelor of Homeopathic Medicine and Surgery). There is a 1-year internship after that where the prospective homeopaths are posted in the hospital and other Government-run clinics to get some real-world experience. At the end of the internship, the homeopaths register themselves with the State Homeopathy Boards which in effect is a license to practice. There are postgraduate courses also. Admission to these is through an entrance exam.
12. Why homeopathic medicines are slow acting?
Homeopathy is NOT slow acting. This myth is popular, because most of the people approaching homoeopathy have a long history of chronic ailments, and hence the treatment takes time. Since homeopathy offers a much better alternative than allopathy in such ailments, it is believed that homeopathy is slow acting. Homeopathy is, in fact, FAST and RAPID in Action in acute conditions.
13. How effective are homoeopathic medicines?
The efficacy and effectiveness of homeopathic medicines has been demonstrated by more than 250 years of successful use by physicians all over the globe. It is the better and sometimes the only alternative in many ailments. Homoeopathy cures curable conditions and palliates incurable conditions. Homeopathy is not only a therapy which can effectively cure acute or chronic diseases, but it is a method of stimulating the defense mechanism and balancing the constitution of patients. It is capable of enhancing the degree of productivity, creativity and serenity of people by removing the susceptibility to disturbing influences. More and more people are being successfully treated.
14. How can small white pills given in homeopathy be effective?
Most of our medicines are prepared in an alcohol base. The white sugar globules or pills are only a medium or vehicle for the transport of the medicine into the body. These doubts arise in people who use homeopathic medicines for the first time. It is the medicine (in liquid form) that acts on the patient.
15. Homeopathy is nothing, but faith healing?
NO, scientific, random, double-blind, controlled studies have repeatedly indicated that homoeopathy is not placebo effect. The effects of homeopathic medicines have been observed repeatedly on neonates, infants, unconscious patients, animals where faith healing is not possible. Hence, the misbelieve that homeopathy is placebo is nothing but prejudice.
16. Do homoeopathic medicines have any side effects?
No, homeopathic medicines do not have any side effects, as they are administered in minute doses and do not have a chemical or mechanical effect on the body. The term ‘side effects’ of a medicine comes from modern pharmaceuticals. These drugs are aimed at one area of the body such as the cardiovascular system, the gut, the kidneys, etc. Though they have a primary area of action, they also affect other areas of the body. If these other affects are undesirable, they are known as adverse side effects. Streptomycin, an excellent antibiotic, has been known to cause deafness. The deafness is an adverse side effect. Homeopathic remedies are not employed against one particular area or organ of the body. The homeopathic remedy is chosen because it matches as closely as possible the totality of symptoms of the patient. Side effects, such as tissue destruction, do not occur under homeopathy.
17. How are homoeopathic medicines made?
Homeopathic medicines are derived from a variety of natural materials and are prepared in licensed laboratories under strict quality control. They are given in tablet, granules, pills, liquid or powder form and are available in different, but extremely dilute strengths known as potencies.
18. What is the shelf life of homeopathic medicines?
If properly stored, homeopathic medicines can be used for years without any deterioration of quality. Storage Guidelines: Medicines are to be kept tightly capped at room temperature in a cool, dry, dust free environment and away from direct sunlight. They should not be exposed to strong odors. Don’t store your remedies in your medicine chest if you also keep things like strong smelling balms, or cough drops that contain menthol.
19. Is homeopathy safe for children and pregnant females?
Yes, homeopathy is totally safe for children. It can also be safely administered to pregnant females.
20. Can diabetic patients take the sweet sugar pill given in homeopathy?
Yes, diabetics can take pills because the amount of sugar present is very minute. Also, medicines can be administered in distilled water, thereby avoiding pills.
21. Can homeopathy be used in emergencies and is it ‘fast acting’?
Yes, homoeopathy is effective and efficient in acute conditions and in emergencies. The right remedy, the right potency and the right dose can have amazing action in acute diseases.
22. What other things promote recovery along with homeopathy?
All homoeopathic remedies work best when combined with balanced diet, yoga, a low-stress environment, and emotional and intellectual states that promote a balanced body system.
23. What are the types of disorders in which homeopathy would benefit?
Usually people are under the impression that homeopathy can treat only chronic diseases like arthritis, skin conditions, migraines, menstrual irregularities, hemorrhoids, digestive conditions, allergies, cancer, liver, kidney, heart and lung disorders. But what many people do not know is that it is very effective and prompt in acute conditions like tonsillitis, pharyngitis, viral fevers, vomiting, diarrhea, dysentery, asthma, bronchitis, constipation, injury, childhood disorders etc. Sometimes it may cut short the attack of the disease all together and in most cases gives relief faster than conventional treatment and that also without any side effects.
24. While I am on homeopathic treatment, some acute trouble arises; in that case can I take allopathic treatment along with my constitutional homeopathic treatment?
This would depend on the problem you have and your homeopathic treatment. This issue is best decided by your consultant homeopath.
25. Is it true that homoeopathic medicines are tested on healthy human beings?
Yes, it is a fact that homeopathic medicines are first tested or proved on healthy human beings of both the sexes. The effects are recorded and a compendium of the symptoms and signs is prepared. Using these compendia as references, a homeopathic physician selects a remedy to be given to a patient.
26. How far are laboratory investigations useful to a homeopathic physician?
They are useful only to understand whether the case can respond to homoeopathy or not and to decide the prognosis which can only be decided after an exhaustive case taking. These are also necessary to assess the progress in the case.
27. Can we give homoeopathic medicines to our pet animals?
One of the wonderful advantages of using homeopathic medicines is that it is very easy to give them to animals. There’s no need to force pills down their throats or squirt nasty-tasting liquids in their mouths. In fact, giving an animal family member his remedy can be part of a quiet, relaxing healing time for both of you. Just follow these simple steps: Before you begin, remember to rinse your hands to remove any residual odors that might de-potentize your remedies. If you’re working with a family member or other animal who is comfortable being handled by you, have it relax in a quiet, comfortable place, and spend a few moments stroking and talking softly to her until she relaxes into this special time with you. If possible, have her lie on her side. Make a point of gently touching her around her mouth so that she associates this contact with your loving attention. To avoid handling your remedies any more than necessary, open the bottle and gently tap the number of globules you need - usually four - into the cap, returning any extras from the cap back into the vial. If you touch a globule or it falls on the floor, throw it away; returning it to the vial might de-potentize the remaining globules. If your patient is a dog, cat, or other small mammal, stroke the side of his face, then gently lift the side of his lip and drop the globules directly from the cap onto his gums. Allow his lip to fall back against the gums and continue to gently stroke his face and body. Chances are he will continue to lie quietly, enjoying your attention and barely noticing the sweet-tasting pills dissolving in his mouth. If it’s not practical to have the animal lie on her side (as with a horse or other large animal, or one who is a little tense), it’s okay to use your fingers to place the pills in her mouth. As long as there are no strong smells on your hands, touching the remedy briefly will not de-potentize it. Simply pour the correct number of pills from the vial cap into the palm of one hand, then pick those up with the thumb and forefinger of your other hand and place them on the animal’s gums, in her mouth, or slide them between her lips. Ideally, the pellets will dissolve against your patient’s mucous membranes as they release their healing energy into his system. However, if he chews and swallows the pellets, don’t worry. They will still do their job. Even if they remain on his gums only a few moments before he shakes his head and spits them out, there’s an excellent chance his system will receive the benefit of the healing energy. If the animal you’re caring for is unwilling to allow you to handle her mouth, crush the pellets and dissolve them in a small amount of water, and administer it with an eye dropper or offer it for her to drink. If she doesn’t lap all of it up right.
28. What is the scope of homeopathy?
If there is evidence that surgery is warranted, the homeopathic physician too is anxious that it be done promptly. Major surgery often necessitates a long, difficult recovery period. Homeopathic remedies, by stimulating and strengthening the body’s defense mechanism, can aid recovery enormously. Fortunately, good homoeopathic prescribing has made many operations unnecessary. Fractures, ofcourse, must be set and cast by an orthopedic surgeon. Manipulation of the musculoskeletal system is referred to a qualified osteopath, chiropractor, rolfer or massage therapist. In each of these situations, homeopathy can provide corollary assistance. For example, a homeopathy remedy can speed the union of a fractured bone; a bad bruise or sprain can be helped greatly by the specific homeopathic remedy. Homeopathy cannot cure birth defects whether biochemical or structural. It can, however, improve the level of health of persons born with congenital weakness. The range of problems to which homoeopathy can be effectively directed is extensive and includes first aid, acute illnesses and all kind of chronic conditions.
29. Can homeopathy treat anything and everything?
Like any other system of medicine, homeopathy has its own limitations. By homoeopathy any ailment acute or chronic, local or general can be treated except diseases where surgery is unavoidable. Furthermore, we may note that many surgical diseases are treatable by homeopathic remedies to a great extant like enlarged tonsils, kidney stones, appendicitis, warts, piles, fissures and fistula.