Homeopathy is a system of medicine that is based on the Law of Similars. The truth of this law has been verified experimentally and clinically for the last 200 years.
Let's look at an example: If your child accidentally ingests certain poisons, you may be advised to administer the syrup of Ipecac to induce vomiting. Ipecac is derived from the root of a South American plant called Ipecacuanha. The name, in the native language, means "the plant by the road, which makes you throw up." Eating the plant causes vomiting.
When a group of healthy volunteers took this substance to determine the effects of this drug, they found that the drug induced other symptoms as well. The mouth retained much saliva. The tongue was very clean. There was a cough so severe that it led to gagging and vomiting. There was incessant nausea. While it is expected that vomiting would usually relieve the nausea, this was not the case.
Such an experiment, using healthy volunteers, is called a proving, and it is the homeopath's source of information about the action of a drug.
Of what use could this plant be? If a person were suffering from a gagging cough after a cold, or a woman were experiencing morning sickness with incessant nausea that is not relieved by vomiting, then Ipecacuanha, administered in a minute dose, especially prepared by a homeopathic pharmacy in accordance with FDA approved guidelines, can allay the "similar" suffering.
Frequently Asked Questions
How does homeopathy differ from conventional medicine?
Homeopathy attempts to stimulate the body to recover itself. Let's look at an example: the common cough.
First, we must accept that all symptoms, no matter how uncomfortable they are, represent the body's attempt to restore itself to health. Instead of looking upon the symptoms as something wrong which must be set right, we see them as signs of the way the body is attempting to help itself. Instead of trying to stop the cough with suppressants, as conventional medicine does, a homeopath will give a remedy that will cause a cough in a healthy person, and thus stimulate the ill body to restore itself.
Second, we must look at the totality of the symptoms presented. We each experience a cough in our unique way. Yet conventional medicine acts as if all coughs were alike. It therefore offers a series of suppressive drugs something to suppress the cough, something to dry the mucus, something to lower the histamine level, something to ease falling asleep.
Homeopathy, on the other hand, looks for the one substance that will cause similar symptoms in a healthy person. We characterize all as "coughs" but they are different illnesses in the individuals, and therefore require different homeopathic treatment.
How are the remedies prescribed?
The selection of any homeopathic remedy is made on the totality of the symptoms presented by the patient. Any remedy may be used for any condition if the symptoms generated by the remedy match the symptoms experienced by the patient.
Aconite, or Wolf's bane, is thought of in any case of colds in which the symptoms come on suddenly. There could be a cough or sneezing, but the main guiding point is the suddenness of the onset.