Homeopathy: New Age Medicine
Over the past decade popularity of alternative medicine has nearly quadrupled as individuals are dissatisfied with the side effects of conventional drugs and the ever-increasing costs. A number of Insurance companies refuse to cover Homeopathic expenses in developed countries. This has prevented the spread of homeopathy and willingness to try or consider homeopathy as a primary line of treatment.
In 1790, Samuel Hahnemann, a German physician, observed that the plant Cinchona, containing quinine, administered in high dosage to a healthy individual, provoked an intermittent fever, and that this same remedy, taken in infinitesimal dosages, cured this symptom in an individual suffering from the same type of fever. He proved this principle on himself, his family, and his colleagues. Experiments conducted with numerous other medicinal substances were always very conclusive. This accidental experience laid down the stepping-stone of Homeopathy.
The term "Homeopathy" means
HOMEO = similar and
PATHOS = disease.
Homeopathy is based on three basic laws:
The law of Similars
A substance when administrated to a healthy person will produce particular symptoms. When this substance is administered to an individual with the same or similar set of symptoms, in a diseased state, it will cure by boosting the body’s natural responses.
The law of Infinitesimal
This is based on the principle that smaller the quantity of the medicinal substance, greater is its effect. A drop of the crude medicinal substance (plant tincture, chemicals etc) is added to 99 drops of alcohol and given 10 strokes. This is the 1st potency or 1C. A drop of this is further added to 99 drops of alcohol and after 10 strokes you get 2C. Similarly when 1 drop of medicine is added to 10 drops of alcohol, the first potency is 1X. Higher the potency, lesser is the material dose, and stronger is its effect. Commonly prescribed strengths are 6C, 30C, 200C, 1000 (1M), 10000 (10M), and 3X, 6X, 30X (C=Cent i.e. 1 drop in 100 drops & X=Decimal scale i.e. 1 drop in 10 drops).
The law of Individualization
In Allopathy or modern medicine two persons suffering from the same disease is usually treated using the same medicine. However, a Homeopathic physician does not label a patient by the disease condition but considers a prescription based on the totality of both the mental and physical characteristics of the patient. Thus every case is different and needs an individualistic prescription.
What do Homeopathic Medicines look like?
A Homeopath generally prescribes four categories of medicines :
1. Homeopathic Dilutions: These are medicines potentised in alcohol (Refer above to: Law of Infinitesimal) and dispensed in cane sugar pills or pellets. There are over 1400 remedies in the Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia. A Homeopath generally advises a patient to take 4-6 pills at varied intervals of time.
2. Mother Tinctures: These are actual plant extracts known to cure or palliate ailments in material doses. Alcohol, water and glycerin are commonly used for the process of extraction. For e.g. to make 1 litre of mother tincture, only 100gms of the crude medicinal substance is used, and the rest being alcohol, water or glycerine.
3. Mother Solutions: Chemical substances are dissolved in alcohol, water or glycerine and dispensed in a very dilute form. The ratio of the medicinal substance to the vehicle is usually 1/10. These solutions are absolutely safe, non-toxic and highly effective in treating various conditions.
4) Triturations: These are powdered medicinal substances mixed with lactose and triturated using a mortar and pestle for hours. The ratio of the medicine to lactose is 1/10. They are dispensed either as powders or tablets.