Homeopathic remedies are highly diluted substances derived from matter that comes from plants, minerals, or animals. They are intended to trigger the body’s natural system of healing. In other words, homeopathy attempts to stimulate the body to heal itself. This form of medicine is based on two theories:
1. Like Cures Like– According to this premise, a disease can be cured by a substance that produces similar symptoms in healthy people. For example, contact with poison ivy causes a strong allergic reaction topically in most people. So according to this principle, when made into a highly diluted homeopathic remedy, poison ivy could be used to treat people with these symptoms. This concept is sometimes used in conventional medicine. For example, to make somebody less sensitive to a known allergen they are injected with increasing amounts of an allergen over time, building up resistance.
2. Law of Minimum Dose– This theory espouses that the lower the dose of the medication, the greater its effectiveness. Many homeopathic remedies are so diluted that no molecules of the original substance remain. This is perhaps the most controversial aspect of homeopathic medicine because it is the opposite of pharmaceutical drugs in which potency increases with higher doses. However, it is in the process of making the diluted homeopathic remedy that its potency is unleashed.
According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, homeopathy was developed in Germany more than 200 years ago. Today, it is practiced all over the world by practitioners ranging from physicians to herbalists. In fact, many countries house hospitals that use homeopathy diagnostic techniques and treatments.
What is a Homeopathic Remedy?
Although they are often formulated as sugar pellets to be placed under the tongue, homeopathic remedies may also be administered in an ointment, gel, cream, or liquid drops. Because treatments are tailored to each person, it is not uncommon for individuals with the same condition to receive different remedies.
The term Homeopathy is often mistakenly used as a reference to natural medicine or holistic medicine in which the use of complementary therapies such as nutrition, herbs, acupuncture, and naturopathic medicine are used in replace of prescription medications and surgery. Homeopathy is a form of alternative medicine but represents a very specific type of medicine that does not encompass any therapies outside the use of homeopathic remedies.