Overview of Homeopathy
An alternative medical system known as Homeopathy (also known as homeopathic medicine), is a system that has its foundation in natural or herbal remedies which have been around for thousands of years, and in recent history, refined by scientists and doctors that created a high quality of control over formulas and dosing based on the theory of Homeopathy.
Most famously – the Chinese have used natural or herbal remedies for thousands of years, and nearly all civilizations depended on many of these cures for centuries. More recently, and as scientific processes were applied to the natural medicines field, an alternative medical system of homeopathy was developed in Germany over 300 years ago.
The premise of homeopathic cures is based on two theories;
A disease can be cured by a substance that produces similar symptoms in healthy people; and
by lowering the dose of the medication, the greater its effectiveness.
Homeopathic remedies are diluted so much that most of the original molecular substance no longer remains.
Homeopathic remedies are primarily derived from plants, minerals, animals, and even humans. Examples of raw materials used to produce homeopathic medicines are;
- crushed whole bee
- poison ivy
- stinging nettle
Homeopathic remedies are manufactured as small, round sugar pellets and taken sublingually (under the tongue) as absorption is better than swallowing. Why? If the pellets are consumed, the acids in the digestive burn off the ingredients. Under the tongue, the medicine has the chance to get absorbed slowly and evenly. Other delivery forms of applying the medicine are creams, gels, drops, and tablets. Another unique characteristic of prescribing medication is that, like eastern-medicine, treatments are specifically designed for each person based on personality and symptoms experienced. So the treatments may take more than one “try” to get the right prescription, and the diagnosis process can be longer than a regular doctor’s visit.
Are Homeopathic Medicines FDA Controlled?
Per The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the Act), “The FDA recognizes as official the drugs and standards in the Homeopathic Pharmacopeia of the United States and its supplements (Sections 201 (g)(1) and 501 (b), respectively). Until recently, homeopathic drugs have been marketed on a limited scale by a few manufacturers who have been in business for many years and have predominantly served the needs of a limited number of licensed practitioners. In conjunction with this, homeopathic drug products historically have borne little or no labeling for the consumer.” “…Those products offered for treatment of serious disease conditions must be dispensed under the care of a licensed practitioner. Other products, offered for use in self-limiting conditions recognizable by consumers, may be marketed OTC.”
Are Homeopathic Medicines Prescribed by a Physician?
When this article was published, laws regulating the practice of homeopathy in the United States varied from state to state. They were not consistent about what type of professional should be involved in prescribing homeopathy. In general, an individual who is “licensed to practice” medicine or “other healthcare professionals” can legally practice homeopathy (Nurse Practitioners). So, non-licensed professionals may practice homeopathy depending on their state.
The most restrictive states are Arizona, Connecticut, and Nevada, which mandate homeopathic licensing boards. The person prescribing homeopathy are state-licensed medical physicians with an MD or DO education.
Some states explicitly include homeopathy for other healthcare professionals, such as chiropractic, naturopathy, and physical therapy.
Are You Considering Homeopathy?
If you are – then take some basic steps to understand your treatment options.
First of all: “DO NOT”
POSTPONE seeing a healthcare provider about any medical problems because you have started or are considering homeopathy. Ever.
STOP using medicines that you are currently under prescription for and seek your Medical Doctor’s opinion before supplementing or replacing your current treatment, as NOT all natural supplements are safe or without side effects.
USE Homeopathic products as a substitute for conventional immunizations.
TREAT yourself or your family members without medical advice as it relates to homeopathic or natural remedies.
Second, know your risks.
No matter what type of medicine you take, know what can happen, side effects, and possible interactions with other drugs. Although homeopathic remedies are very safe and highly diluted, some of the products sold over the counter may have a different concentration not intended to treat your condition. Some products do contain substantial amounts of active ingredients. Any drug or supplement that contains chemicals, including homeopathic products, may have unintended side effects or drug interactions. With a few exceptions, homeopathy is much safer with minimal to no side effects when compared to conventional medicine.
Homeopathy is not the answer to all conditions, but it is a great tool and should be combined with western medicine.
It is a great alternative to treat some conditions and decrease antibiotic use when they are not needed, as they have side effects/sequelae.