Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A Needle in a Haystack

In our home, we turn to homeopathy for medical care whenever we can.  Homeopathy is the art of treating 'like with like'.  Developed by Samuel Hahnemann 2 hundred years ago, Homeopathy uses small pillules of multiply-diluted plant-based medication to treat the very symptoms that the plants themselves cause, if ingested in their full form.  For example, one remedy for nausea and vomiting is Ipecac - something we know to cause nausea and vomiting.  However, the Ipecac used for homeopathic remedies is really only a very minute amount of the material - the very essence of it, you may say - just enough to kick the body into gear to heal itself.  If you want to know more about this fascinating medicine, go here or here.  I realize many people consider this type of medicine 'quackery'.  I however, do not, as I have seen firsthand, so very many times, how it has healed my family from some pretty tricky ailments that modern, allopathic medicine has missed.

I love homeopathy, and have studied it for many years.  Our youngest son tends to respond to the remedies quickly when he has an ailment.  No two ailments seem to be alike for him, so I often have to go to my homeopathy books to look up his symptoms and find the 'right' remedy.  This is a bit easier now that he can tell me.  It was a bit challenging when he was a baby.  But even so, there are so many remedies, and so many symptoms out there, it is a bit like finding a needle in a haystack.  A trained homeopath has rubrics at their fingertips, typing in symptoms, and the program spits out a remedy.  But until now, I had to do it all by hand.

Today, I was lucky to find a good resource for my complaint.  ABC Homeopathy has a remedy repertory that walks you through the symptoms, asking all sorts of questions, then making the suggestion as to which remedy might be the best.  I know some folks might feel uncomfortable with this type of diagnosing, but I feel pretty confident in my abilities to find a good remedy, and to cross-check anything that the computer program suggests with what I know about each remedy.  I also know that if I do not hit on the correct remedy, my son will not suffer.  These pillules contain such a tiny amount of medication that I get it wrong, all I notice is he does not get better within a small frame of time - say 2 hours or so.  If I get it right, he begins to get better pretty quickly - the color returns to his face, he is smiling more, wanting to eat, etc.  Then, if I give one dose too many, his symptoms return.  I stop giving the remedy, and he feels better - back on the road to health.  His body is supported, and he is able to take over the healing process.

The program suggested Phosphorus for our son who is dealing with stomach pain, a sore throat and general exhaustion.  Phosphorus is made from amorphous phosphorous, and suits those people who tend to feel nervous, hate exams, like to be in the limelight and tend to be very sensitive to the atmosphere around them.  Physical symptoms include nosebleeds, headaches, respiratory symptoms and nausea.  Constitutional indications of this remedy tend to be for those folks who are intelligent, gregarious and artistic.  I love how this method of medicine really takes the whole picture into account for each patient.  Another plus is I can find many of the low-dosage (appropriate for colds, flus, sprained ankles, etc) remedies at my local health food store for a small price - around $6 gets me a tube with enough remedy to last for quite a while.  No prescription is needed for remedies at these low dosages, though seeing a professional Homeopath is highly recommended for those who need extended care and medical support.

I know I'm not doing Homeopathy justice by my little lay-person's description.  I encourage you to check out the homeopathy websites if you are interested in more information.


Barbara Bechtel said...

i've recently turned to homeopathy. it amazes me that homeopathy is the norm in Europe. But Americans are a nation of pill poppers. In most European countries you have to go to the pharmacy counter just to get aspirin!

Before I took up my art full time, I carried a economy-sized bottle of advil with me at all times. I took at least 4-6 EVERY DAY. About 2 weeks ago, I was having a discussion with my boyfriend, and I realized I haven't taken Advil in over a year, about the same amount of time I have been self employed. Even now, if I do have some ailment that requires "medicine", I opt for rest and homeopathic remedies. I can't believe the difference.

Modern medicine treats the symptoms, not the cause. It is so disheartening that alternative medicine is called quackery. In Florida, Naturopath Doctors aren't even allowed to be accredited.

When I was in college, one of my professors was a doctor of Chinese Medicine. Anytime one of us has a cold, he would pull us a aside and tell us (insert Chinese accent here), "Go home and eat 6 fresh organic oranges. Do not cheat and drink the juices, you must eat whole fruit. Go now,eat, you feel better tomorrow." And you know what, it worked! I still use it today. If I can't eat the oranges, I will still fresh juice the oranges, and drink that. It really helps.

Dogwood said...

Lots of interesting information from you today. Thanks. I know a little about homeopathy but not much.

Have a nice afternoon.

goldenbird said...

I've heard of homeopathy but never quite understood what it is. Thanks for the info and links, I plan to look in to it more.

Jill said...

Wow - Barbara, thanks for that info on the oranges! I can just hear your instructor now!

skepticat said...

@Barabara Bechtel

Barbara, I'm not sure where you get the idea that homeopathy is the norm in Europe because that is simply not true. In fact, as more and more evidence emerges that it is only effective as a placebo in conditions that are placebo-responsive, the popularity is declining. In the UK, in response to public pressure, government is beginning to withdraw funding for homeopathy - not that it got much in the first place.

If you feel homeopathy helps for minor ailments, go ahead and take it but please don't take it for anything serious - there have been catastrophic consequences for people who relied on homeopathy instead of seeking proper medical help.

See here:

Remember - even homeopaths admit that there isn't a single molecule of the original ingredient remaining in the typical homeopathic 'remedy' once it has been diluted.

Jill said...

It's good when folks have a chance to share how they really feel, Skepticat. I visited your webpage and found you share quite a bit of your own views there as well as visiting other people's pages and spreading your thoughts. I was not able to find what your credentials are for being so thoroughly convinced that homeopathy and chiropractic are quackery, but just as I feel strongly about homeopathy (and chiropractic, actually), you are free to have your views. What I'm concerned about is the vehemence with which you try to convince others of your opinions. The wonderful thing about this country is our freedom to choose. As long as the information you provide challenges both sides of the coin, then it appears valid in my book. If you are only out to peg alternative therapies without considering where these methods are appropriate, then your comments lose credibility.
I stated in my post that homeopathic medicines contain the very essence of the material it is based on, being diluted to such a degree. We all understand that the placebo effect is incorporated. But how do you explain a young child, not knowing anything about the medicine being administered, ending up with either an improved illness or additional symptoms based on the remedy given? If I give the wrong remedy, my son takes on the additional symptoms that ill-chosen remedy was supposed to heal. If I give the right one, he begins the healing process. My son doesn't know the difference. But his body does.
And lastly, to come to Barbara's defense:
She is correct when she states that homeopathy is the norm in Europe. In Europe, homeopathic doctors are respected and given a proper place in medical society. Not everyone visits a homeopath, though many choose to. European medicine is set up to allow a variety of treatments without the type of public attacking that occurs here in the States. They've been doing this much longer than we have, and have already found the basis that it works.

Barbara Bechtel said...

Skepticat, Thank you for your opinion.