Homeopathy is one of the most widely used forms of medicine in the world today, because people are discovering the benefits of a system of medicine that is safe, effective and treats them as unique individuals. Homeopathy is a complete system of medicine that treats mental, emotional and physical illness.
Homeopathic medicines are chosen to treat the whole person, because homeopaths believe the mind and body operate as one, and you cannot treat one part of the body without affecting the whole. Medicines are chosen to fit all the characteristics of the patient, so physical disorders are considered in relation to the individual’s mental and emotional state.
Homeopathy works on a principle known as ‘the law of similars’ or ‘like cures like’. This law states that a substance that can cause a disease can also relieve it. For example, coffee – or Coffea as it is known in Latin – is a stimulant that can cause temporary insomnia. Coffea may be used in minute potentised (i.e. homeopathic) doses to relieve that insomnia. Another example is that chopping onions can cause your nose and eyes to run with copious amounts of water. The onion – Allium cepa – can be used homeopathically to treat colds and hayfever where the main symptoms include runny eyes and nose. The founding father of homeopathy over 200 years ago, the German doctor and chemist Samuel Hahnemann developed the system of medicine we now call homeopathy. He had a very clear and humane approach to the practice of medicine: "The highest ideal of cure is rapid, gentle and permanent restoration of health, or removal and annihilation of the disease in its whole extent, in the shortest, most reliable and most harmless way, on easily comprehensible principles." (Samuel Hahnemann, Organon of Medicine).
To maximise the healing potential of the medicines he used, Hahnemann prepared them in a very specific manner. This involved diluting the substance concerned, then shaking it vigorously with impact. This sequence of actions is known as succussion. A substance can be diluted and succussed many times, and Hahnemann termed this process potentisation. Hahnemann observed that potentisation made the medicines more effective and reduced the likelihood of unwanted effects. Each new homeopathic medicine undergoes a particular process called a ‘proving’. Volunteers or ‘provers’ take the new substance until they experience symptoms. All symptoms that result from taking the substance are recorded in detail. In this way a huge variety of natural substances are tested for their healing and curative properties and can be added to the homeopathic pharmacy. Unlike orthodox drugs, homeopathic medicines are not tested on animals.
Homeopathic medicines are usually supplied in tablet, powder or liquid form. As with all medicines, they need to be stored safely and appropriately. Patients often feel a sense of wellbeing, optimism and relaxation after taking their homeopathic medicine. The speed with which you feel relief will depend on the condition being treated. In acute ailments, this can be very fast indeed. In more chronic conditions, your recovery rate will depend on the nature and duration of the illness and on your individual vitality.
Homeopathy can be used effectively by everyone, from babies and children to adults, including women during pregnancy. Homeopathic medicines promote the body’s natural ability to heal. When prescribed appropriately, they are safe, non-toxic and non-addictive. They can be taken alongside drugs prescribed by your doctor and will not interfere with their beneficial action. As your condition improves, you may be able to safely reduce your conventional medication, thereby avoiding the unwanted effects that sometimes accompany the long-term use of drugs. NB: you should always consult with your GP before making changes to your conventional medication.