My blog

What is homeopathy?

Homeopathy is derived from the Greek words for “like” and “suffering.” The guiding principle behind homeopathy is “like cures like,” originates from Egypt and ancient Greece. In the late 18th century, a German physician named Samuel Hahnemann read that quinine-containing Peruvian bark (chinchona) cured malaria. Hahnemann swallowed a dose of Peruvian bark and began to feel feverish, drowsy, extremely thirsty, and agitated, which are all symptoms of malaria. Hahnemann started to experiment more and formed his theory that like cures like, or the Law of Similars: that when a substance in large doses causes certain symptoms, in small doses it can cure these same symptoms.

Herbs and other plants, minerals, venom from snakes, and other substances can be used to make homeopathic remedies. They are diluted again and again and “succussed” or shaken vigorously between each dilution. The process of sequential dilution and succussion is called potentization.

How Does Homeopathy Worvk?

Homeopathic remedies start with substances, such as herbs, minerals, or animal products. These substances are first crushed and dissolved in a liquid, usually grain, alcohol, or lactose, mechanically shaken, then stored. This is the “mother tincture.”

Homeopaths then dilute tinctures more with alcohol or lactose, either 1 part to 10 (written as “x”) or 1 part to 100 (written as “c”). These tinctures are shaken, yielding a 1x or 1c dilution. Homeopaths can further dilute these tinctures 2 times (2x or 2c), 3 times (3x or 3c), and so forth. Many times professional homeopaths will use much higher dilutions, because they believe the more diluted the substance, the more potent its healing powers.

Homeopathic remedies aim to stimulate the body’s own healing mechanisms. Homeopaths believe that physical disease often has mental and emotional components, so a homeopathic diagnosis includes physical symptoms (such as feverishness), current emotional and psychological state (such as anxiety and restlessness), and the person’s constitution. A person’s constitution includes qualities related to creativity, initiative, persistence, concentration, physical sensitivities, and stamina. The right remedy for a condition will take all of these aspects into account, so each diagnosis and remedy is individualized. That means 3 people with hay fever could need 3 different prescriptions.

Health food stores and some pharmacies sell homeopathic remedies for a variety of problems. Homeopaths often recommend taking remedies for no more than 2 to 3 days, although some people may need only 1 to 2 doses before they start feeling better. In some cases, homeopaths may recommend daily dosing.

What is homeopathy?

How can I find a qualified practitioner?

To find a homeopathic provider in your area, contact: The Council for Homeopathic Certification. The National Center for Homeopathy The American Association of Naturopathic Physicians. The North American Society of Homeopaths Homeopathic Educational Services in Berkeley, California

There are homeopathic schools and training programs, although no diploma or certificate from any school provides a license to practice. Many homeopaths are also medical doctors (MDs), although homeopaths are licensed in almost every health profession category, including veterinarians. In most states, practitioners of homeopathy must be licensed health care providers. Several respected certification agencies exist. The American Board of Homeotherapeutics certifies medical doctors and doctors of osteopathic medicine (DOs) who have specialized in homeopathy (DHt indicates a doctor of homeopathy). Naturopathic doctors study homeopathy extensively as part of their medical training and some are certified by the Homeopathic Academy of Naturopathic Physicians (DHANP). All homeopathic practitioners, including chiropractors, nurse practitioners, and acupuncturists, can apply for Certification in Classical Homeopathy (CCH).

Does my medical insurance usually cover homeopathy? Insurance companies are more likely to cover homeopathy when the person providing the service is a licensed health care professional, such as an MD or DO who also practices homeopathy.