1. What is Homeopathy?
Homeopathy is a complete system of medicine which assists the natural tendency of the human body to heal itself. It acknowledges that all symptoms of ill health are a mere manifestation of the disharmony within the whole person and that it is the patient that requires treatment and not the disease. It has been in existence worldwide for nearly two hundred years and its popularity is rising in the present day.
2. How do the remedies work?
A homeopathic remedy acts as a signal which energizes or stimulates the body's healing power, mobilizing the defense systems and working in the mental, emotional and physical aspects of the being. Just as a television produces images of the program it has been tuned, so is a sick person very much in tune or sensitive to the correct remedy and only a minute stimulus from the correct signal (or remedy) is required. Therefore, in homeopathy, only one remedy (or signal) is used at a time. The idea is to cure with the minimum amount of medicine and with the minimum amount of intervention. For the same reason, it is not possible to take an overdose of homeopathic remedies in the same way as in allopathy. Homeopathic remedies are not therefore intrinsically dangerous. Nonetheless, they are clearly capable of stimulating the body’s reactive forces powerfully and should be treated with respectHomeopathy remedies are prescribed to the Law of Similars which states" That which makes sick shall heal". For instance, we know that when cutting a strong smelling onion we often experience an acrid running nose, a soreness in the throats and stinging, watery eyes. A homeopath will prescribe Allium cepa (made from onion) for patients who suffer from cold and a sore throat with similar symptoms. This Law of Similar has been part of medical practice since ancient times but homeopathy (similar & suffering) as we know it today was first formulated two hundred years ago by a German physician, chemist and linguist, Dr. Samuel Hahnemann.
3. Is Homeopathy a holistic science?
Homeopathy is holistic medicine. Homeopaths do not treat physical, emotional and mental illnesses separately, but regard them as intimately connected. These are all aspects of the whole of the patient’s suffering. Further, they understand that symptoms of illnesses are evidence of the body’s natural and automatic efforts to heal itself. These clues are used to guide them when prescribing a remedy. So, the patient may be asked questions about all sorts of apparently minor deviations from health and about character and personality traits. It may appear that the homeopath is interested in matters that have little to do with the particular complaint about which the patient is most concerned. This is because, before prescribing, the homeopath wants a complete overview of the patient. A remedy is then prescribed for that individual patient and not for his or her disease. Therefore, homeopathy is truly holistic.
4. Is Homeopathy a proved science?
It definitely is. Homeopathy is a science based on sound logic and vast experimental data. Homeopathy is the only medicinal science where data has been collected by proving on human beings and not on animals because human beings can communicate their actual feelings during the testing while animals cannot. The principles of Homeopathy have been derived and authenticated by vast clinical experiments and data. The homeopathic medicines are prepared in a standardized manner. The homeopathic pharmacopoeia lists more than 3000 remedies, whose clinical efficiency has been proved in various clinical trials conducted all over the world.
5. Are Homeopaths qualified doctors?
Yes. There are more than 180 homeopathic medical colleges in India and about 1000 colleges all over the world recognized by their respective Governments. The degree course is an extensive study encompassing the detailed and thorough study of the human body, Homeopathic pharmacy, Medicine, Gynaecology, Materia Medica, Philosophy, Total patient management etc. In India the full course lasts for four and half years followed by internship for 1year, which includes practical training in hospitals. There are now also postgraduate courses available in India. One must register with the Medical Council to practice legally.
6. Is it true that Homeopathic medicines are only placebos (sugar pills)?
No. The pills of Homeopathic medicines are made from sugar but they work only as vehicles. Actual liquid medicine prepared from various natural medicinal substances, is poured over the pills and dispensed as medications. Homeopathic medicines are also available in liquid form or tinctures, which can be administered directly or by diluting them in water whenever required.
7. Does the Homeopath give the same white pills for all illnesses/patients?
There are about 3000 medicines and 10 variable potencies (powers of medicines) of each medicine so minimum 30,000 various permutation and combinations are utilized.What seems so is not true. The white pills which are dispensed from a homeopath are only neutral vehicles or carriers of actual medicines that is sprinkled on them.When the actual drug is poured on these white pills they get coated with the curative power of the drug. Different drugs are usually poured in various differing potencies as to best suit different patients.
8. Does one have to take the medicines for a long time?
Usually not. The duration of the treatment depends upon the nature of the disease and the fighting capacity of the patient's body. The treatment is required for a certain time period so as to improve the resistance of the body to fight diseases. Taking into consideration all these factors the treatment is continued for a certain time frame for the benefit of the patient. Once the patient starts improving we stop the medicines and the natural immunity and control mechanism of the body will take care of the rest of the problems.
9. Does homeopathy take a long time to act?
The time taken for the cure is proportionate to the chronicity of the ailment. In fact if a patient seeks homoeopathic treatment at the onset of an ailment, he stands great chances of a really quick recovery. Also in acute illnesses homoeopathic medicines act fast and effectively. For e.g. if "X" is suffering from bronchial asthma and he is suffering for the last 14 years and has been to various systems of medicine. Now if you give him homeopathy and say in 2 years time the patient is completely alright - Please tell us which one is slower? It is a myth that medicines act slowly. Its action is quick and the effect lasts much longer, often forever. The disease is cured from its roots. With most of the other systems of medicine symptoms are merely palliated or at times suppressed while in Homeopathy they are cured for good.
10. Do homeopathic medicines have steroids?
If the patient has any doubts he should check the medicines from a standard laboratory before consuming any quantity.All Homoeopathic medicines are prepared by using scientific predefined methods of extracting the medicinal properties from source substances. There is no scope or need to adulterate the derived medicines with any other substances, as this would completely obliterate the curative properties of the same. The prescription of homoeopathic medicines is based on the similarity of the symptoms of the patient with those produced by the drug (in its purest form) when proved (clinical trials) in healthy individuals. So any addition to the original medicine would completely alter its medicinal properties and hence alter it non-curative. Also if steroid is added the medicines will taste bitter.No. It is a misconception that has been developing in the recent times. Due in many cases after seeing the improvement in a very short time people think that homeopaths give steroids.
11. Why do homeopaths do not tell the name of the medicines that has been given?
The name of the medicine is not disclosed for the benefit of the patient. If the patient after knowing the name of the medicines starts taking it according to his or her whims and fancies; it will distort the disease picture and in the future treatment of the patient will be much more difficult. Also certain medicines have to be changed and given as per the state of the disease and recovery.If the patient wants a copy of case record can be provided to the patient but at the end of the treatment, when patient has completely recovered or decides to stop or change the physician.
12. Does homeopathy believe in disease diagnosis and the pathological investigations?
Yes. It is very essential to diagnose a disease, but for the selection of the remedy we require to know the characteristic symptoms of the patient and not the disease symptoms. For e.g. If a person is having an attack of asthma, he will be having wheezing and congestion of the chest and he gets relief only if he throws his head backwards. Wheezing and congestion of chest are symptoms of the disease but for the selection of the remedy the important symptom is 'relief by throwing head backwards'. Hence to differentiate the disease symptoms with the individual characteristic symptoms good knowledge of disease is important. The pathological investigations are also important to judge the improvement, know disease diagnosis and the prognosis.
13. Is it safe to take Homeopathic medicines during Pregnancy?
Yes. It is always better to take homeopathic medicines from a qualified homeopathic doctor. If the treatment is planned in a proper way it will have lots of benefits to the mother and the child. The child will be much healthier and the medicines will help to fight the hereditary diseases which are carried from generation to generation. In fact if homeopathy is given during pregnancy, the delivery would be normal and easier. The child will be relatively healthier and emotionally well balanced, intellectually sound and physically stronger.
14. Does one have to stop other medicines which the patient has been taking?
No. The patient should not stop the medicines which he has been taking. It should be tapered gradually once the patient is improving but this should be done in consultation with the treating physician. In some cases where the other medicine cannot be discontinued, both the medicines have to be continued for the benefit of the patient. The treatment should be planned and properly implemented.
15. Are there any food restrictions during the treatment?
Yes the patient is only advised to avoid eating or drinking 15 minutes before or after taking homeopathic medication. One has to avoid coffee, raw onion and raw garlic. Also avoid eating mint, camphor and menthol as these can hinder the action of the homeopathic medicine or antidote the effects of the medicine.