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What is Homeopathy?
Homeopathy, (from the Greek words meaning ‘similar suffering’), is a safe, gentle and effective holistic system of medicine, developed 200 years ago by Samuel Hahnemann, a German doctor. Working on the Hippocratic principle of similars or ‘like cures like’, Hahnemann discovered that substances which in large doses may cause sickness, in tiny doses will cure a similar sickness.
For example, chopping onions can cause red, streaming eyes – similar to the symptoms of some hay fever sufferers. The homeopathic remedy made from onion (Allium Cepa) could be used to treat hay fever where red, streaming eyes are a significant symptom.
Homeopathic remedies are believed to work by stimulating the body’s own healing power. This power is very great and many complaints heal themselves unaided, but when the healing process is faulty, blocked or slow, the homeopathic remedy can act as a stimulus to the curative powers of the body. The aim is for you to reach a level of health so that eventually you will need infrequent treatment.
What are homeopathic remedies?
They are made from a wide variety of materials, including plants, minerals, metals and animal products. Minute amounts of natural substances are diluted and shaken in a process known as ‘potentisation’. The remedies are non-addictive, non-toxic and have no side effects, so are safe for everyone, including pregnant women, babies and the elderly. The remedies can be taken safely with other medications.
Homeopathic remedies are made up in a variety of different forms. The most common form is small tablets made of saccharin and lactose. These can be soft dissolvable tablets or small round hard pillules. The tablets are left to dissolve under the tongue rather than being swallowed and should be taken at least 15 minutes before and after food or drink.
For babies you can crush the soft tablets between two sterilised spoons and tip the powder on to the tongue or a little water can be added to the powder on the spoon or the tablet can be dissolved in a clean glass, stirred vigorously and given as needed a teaspoonful at a time.
Some people may be particularly sensitive and if this is the case there are some substances that can antidote the effect of the remedies. These include coffee (not caffeine), strong peppermint, eucalyptus oil, camphor and other similarly strong smelling substances. It may be best to avoid these, particularly around the time you are taking the remedies.