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Homeopathy 101

Getting Started

WHAT IS HOMEOPATHY?

Homeopathy is a unique and sometimes controversial medical modality developed by Samuel Hahnemann (1755-1843), a German doctor and chemist. Since its inception homeopathy has been criticized by its detractors for its unconventional approach to healing. At the same time, it has expanded to become the second most commonly used medical system in the world.

Homeopathy 101

● Used in over 80 countries worldwide

● Used by 100’s of millions of people

● Part of the national health system in Brazil, France, Germany, India, Mexico, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and the UK

● Used by English Royal family for 150 years

● Has been used by famous people past and present, including Charles Darwin, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Twain, and Paul McCartney

The homeopathic approach utilizes a vast number of natural substances in the treatment of health problems. The original classical homeopathic medicines (also called “remedies”) were made from plant, mineral and animal substances.

Subsequent innovations in homeopathy introduced new categories of remedies. “Nosodes” are made from pathological excretions and secretions, as well as from microbial cultures of fungi, bacteria and viruses. “Sarcodes” are medicines made from healthy body tissues and organs. Remedies are also prepared from body chemicals, such as hormones and neurotransmitters. There is even a category of homeopathics made from various forms of energy (“imponderables”), such as electricity, lightening, sunlight, moonlight, x-rays, magnetism, and mobile phone radiation. The term “Comprehensive Homeopathy” encompasses these new additions to the homeopathic medicine chest.

WHAT IS SO UNIQUE ABOUT THE HOMEOPATHIC APPROACH?

Homeopathy is unique because its underlying principles run counter to the paradigms of both modern medicine and herbal medicine. The term “homeopathy” is derived from the Greek words “homeo” meaning similar and “pathos” meaning “suffering.” In homeopathy a medicine is chosen because it is similar to the patient’s sickness. In contrast, Dr. Hahnemann coined the term “allopathy” (“allo” = other, different”) to describe modern medical practice, which treats diseases with drugs whose effects are opposite to the patient’s sickness. When you think about both over-the-counter and prescription drugs many of them begin with the prefix “anti.” There are antibiotics, antihistamines, antihypertensives, and anti-inflammatories. In contrast, homeopathic medicines are chosen for their similarity to the symptoms and disease experienced by the patient. In addition, homeopathy uses the smallest possible dose of medicine.

Dr. Hahnemann founded modern homeopathy on two fundamental laws:

1) The Law of Similars “Let likes be cured by likes.” This ancient medical paradigm can be traced back to Hippocrates and offers profound guidance on the most effective way to bring about true healing. The Law of Similars tells us that the best medicine is the substance from nature that would cause the symptoms in a healthy person that you wish to cure in a sick person. The symptom pictures of thousands of substances from plant, mineral and animal sources have been documented in the homeopathic literature through a process called “provings.”

2) The Law of the Minimum Dose “Less is more.” Homeopaths use the minimum amount of medicine necessary to relieve symptoms and bring about cure. Homeopathic theory and practice suggest that therapeutic power increases with increased dilution of a remedy. A higher potency (more diluted remedy) will act more deeply, act for a longer period of time, and have curative action with fewer doses. Since homeopathic medicines work by catalyzing the body’s innate healing mechanisms it is not necessary to continually take medicine once the healing process begins.

EXAMPLES OF HOMEOPATHIC REMEDIES

HOW ARE HOMEOPATHIC REMEDIES MADE?

Homeopathic medicines are prepared through a systematic process of dilution and succession. The first step is making a mother tincture from the desired ingredient. This tincture is then repeatedly diluted with water or alcohol at a ratio of 1:9 or 1:99. A 1:9 dilution is called an “X” potency, and a 1:99 dilution is called a “C” potency.

Between dilutions the remedy is “succussed,” i.e. the liquid dilution is repeatedly pounded against a firm but resilient surface. This entire process ¾ called potentization ¾ is believed to create a deeper acting medicine while keeping toxic properties to a minimum.

Homeopathic medicines can be purchased and taken in liquid tincture form. They are also commonly available in small glass vials containing lactose pellets that have been saturated with the potentized mother tincture.

WHY DO HOMEOPATHS USE DIFFERENT DILUTIONS?

There are many reasons why homeopathic remedies are made in different dilutions. The question of which potency to use with any particular patient is complex, and each practitioner will have their own approach to making this choice. However, generally speaking lower potencies are believed to be more appropriate for superficial or local symptoms (such skin conditions), for very sensitive patients, and for those with low vitality. Higher potencies are indicated for patients with strong constitutions and for symptoms on the mental and emotional level.

WHAT ARE POTENCY CHORDS?

Some DesBio homeopathic formulas contain “potency chords,” which are a mixture of a number of different potencies of the same homeopathic medicine. Potency chords have several valuable properties. They help ensure that the patient will receive the potency that is most beneficial for their physiology. The patient’s response may be faster and more comprehensive, with lower potencies eliciting a quick improvement of superficial symptoms and higher potencies working more slowly to address the mental and constitutional aspects of the case. In addition, it seems that potency chords tend to minimize the potential for the aggravation that can sometimes occur with the patient’s initial response to the remedy.

“Different potencies act differently in different cases and individuals at different times under different conditions. All may be needed. No one potency, high or low, will meet the requirement of all cases at all times.” Dr. Stuart Close (1860-1929)

HOW DOES HOMEOPATHY WORK?

There is still a lot that we don’t know about how homeopathy works. It is believed that homeopathic medicines stimulate the body’s natural healing responses and ability to restore homeostasis even though they are extremely diluted. This hypothesis is gaining credibility in recent years as laboratory and animal research have started to identify specific pathways by which remedies modulate the immune system. Investigators have also demonstrated that homeopathic remedies modulate gene expression in dilutions as high as 30C.

These breakthroughs in understanding how homeopathy works are consistent with a well-known pharmacologic phenomenon called “hormesis.” The term hormesis describes the differing response of cells and organisms to an environmental agent or toxin – a beneficial response is observed from low dose stimulation while an inhibitory or toxic effect is observed from a high dose.

Recent research using powerful electron microscopes has also shown that even in extremely dilute homeopathic medicines the original starting substance can be found in the form of clusters of “nanoparticles.” Nanoparticles are very tiny particles between one and 100 nanometers in size. These nanoparticles could theoretically acquire the structural information of the original ingredient during the process of potentization.

HOW DOES DESBIO DO HOMEOPATHY DIFFERENTLY?

DesBio’s comprehensive homeopathic products are on the cutting edge of homeopathic theory and practice. Classical homeopathy uses remedies from Dr. Hahnemann’s three original sources of remedies: the plant, mineral and animal kingdoms. In addition, Classical practitioners almost always prescribe one single remedy at a time. DesBio draws from a more extensive range of ingredients and also simplifies prescribing by creating formulations designed to address a broad range of symptoms.

Types of Ingredients in DesBio’s Comprehensive Homeopathic Formulas:

  • MINERALS AND METALS
  • ANIMALS
  • PLANTS
  • NOSODES
  • SARCODES
  • BACH-PATERSON BOWEL NOSODES
  • BODY CHEMICALS
  • PHENOLICS

Combinations:

DESBIOCHORDS – Multiple potencies of a single remedy

BURGI GROUPS – Multiple remedies in matching potencies

TERMS TO KNOW

Proving – From the German word “prufung,” meaning to “examine” or “test”; Healthy volunteers take repeated doses of a remedy and record their experiences on the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual levels. All of the experiences the provers had in common are compiled and create a symptom picture of the substance being tested. These are the symptoms that can be cured with this ingredient according to the Law of Similars.

Homeostasis – “A tendency to equilibrium or stability in the normal physiological states of the organism.”

Tincture – A solution prepared from vegetable materials or chemical substances macerated or percolated in alcohol or a combination of water and alcohol.

Mother tincture – A plant, mineral or animal tincture used as the basis for making a homeopathic remedy.

Lactose – A sugar molecule present in the milk of mammals.

Bach-Paterson bowel nosodes – Homeopathic nosodes prepared from gut bacteria.

Phenolics – A class of chemical compounds present in many foods, pollens, etc. They are thought to play a role in allergies, sensitivities, and other inflammatory reactions.

Antidote – The neutralizing of the effect of a homeopathic remedy by various substances and influences, such as heat, light, coffee and strongly aromatic ingredients.

At DesBio we prefer to use the term “Integrative Medicine” rather than “Alternative Medicine.” Integrative Medicine utilizes all of the scientific research and all of the modalities that are beneficial for the patient, both from conventional medicine and from alternative/holistic medicine. DesBio specializes in the Power of 3 – carefully designed, scientific protocols that combine nutritional, herbal and homeopathic products. We strongly recommend that all patients consult with a licensed health care professional who is trained to recognize when conventional medical approaches are indicated as well as how to integrate conventional medicine with homeopathic treatment.

by Cathleen Rapp ND

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

1) IS HOMEOPATHY THE SAME AS NATUROPATHY OR HERBAL MEDICINE?

No. People tend to use these terms interchangeably, but they are all separate disciplines. Herbal medicine – healing with medicinal plants in physiological dosages – has been used by human beings for at least 5000 years. Naturopathy is a broader term; it encompasses a philosophical approach to health that emphasizes the importance of prevention and embraces numerous healing modalities, including nutrition, herbal medicine and homeopathy.

2) DO HOMEOPATHIC REMEDIES INTERACT WITH OTHER MEDICATIONS?

While a pharmaceutical medication may interfere with patient’s ability to respond to a homeopathic remedy, it is unlikely that a homeopathic medicine above 4C potency will interfere with or alter the action of an allopathic drug. Make sure to inform your practitioner of any medications that you are taking so they can advise you of any potential issues.

3) DO HOMEOPATHIC REMEDIES HAVE SIDE EFFECTS?

Because homeopathic remedies are administered in micro-doses they do not cause the kind of secondary adverse/toxic effects that can be caused by drugs.

4) DOES HOMEOPATHY HAVE ANY SCIENTIFIC SUPPORT?

Yes, and the number of scientific studies being conducted on homeopathy is increasing. Basic laboratory research is providing insight into the mechanism of action of highly diluted substances as well as confirming their biological activity. Observational studies of actual patients “consistently show that patients improve clinically following homeopathic treatment (often from chronic, difficult to treat conditions) ….” With regard to clinical trials, study design has an important impact on whether useful and meaningful results will be generated.

An extensive list of studies on homeopathy can be found here: https://www.hri-research.org/resources/research-databases/

You will need to sign up for a user name and password to utilize the database.

RESEARCH SHOWS HOMEOPATHY IS EFFECTIVE FOR:

  • Eczema
  • Asthma
  • Upper respiratory illnesses
  • Ear infections
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Menopause
  • Diarrhea
  • ADHD
  • Irritable Bowel
  • Depression

5) CAN I TAKE HOMEOPATHIC REMEDIES WITH FOOD?

Homeopathic remedies should be taken 15-20 minutes before or after eating, drinking, or brushing your teeth as strong flavors and odors may interfere with sublingual (under the tongue) absorption. Drinking water is fine.

6) ARE THERE ANY FOODS I SHOULD AVOID?

There are varying opinions regarding which substances may alter or antidote the action of homeopathic remedies. The ingredient of greatest concern is probably coffee. However, the effects of coffee are most problematical for prescriptions of a single dose of a high potency. In contrast, DesBio’s protocols utilize repeated doses of low to medium potencies. For coffee drinkers it would be best to take your remedies a half hour after drinking coffee.

In addition, it is recommended that you do not use, and do not store your remedies near strong aromatic substances, such as camphor, moth balls, nail polish & remover, tiger balm and essential oils.

7) WHAT IS HAND SUCCUSSION? IS IT BETTER THAN MACHINE SUCCUSSION?

Homeopathic remedies were traditionally made by hand, and homeopathic pharmacies continue this tradition today to make lower potency remedies. However, for higher potencies the process of hand succussion is extremely time consuming and labor intensive. Therefore, special machines have been designed and built to replicate as closely as possible the hand motions of a person succussing a vial.

8) ARE DESBIO REMEDIES IMPRINTED?

No. DesBio remedies are manufactured according to the classical Hahnemanian method of dilution and succussion of the original starting material.

9) CAN I TAKE MY HOMEOPATHICS THROUGH AIRPORT X-RAY MACHINES?

There is limited data available to conclusively answer this question. However, an animal study suggests that airport x-ray and red-light barcode scanning do not diminish the effect of homeopathic remedies. Alternately, early model microwave ovens and mobile phones appeared to deactivate the potency of homeopathic solutions in this investigation.

10) CAN INFANTS, CHILDREN AND PREGNANT WOMEN TAKE HOMEOPATHIC REMEDIES?

Infants (birth to 2) should be given 1/3 the adult dose. Children (2-12) should be given ½ the adult dose. DesBio does not recommend our homeopathic products to pregnant women, as their effect on a developing fetus is unknown.

10) DO HOMEOPATHICS EVER EXPIRE?

Properly stored homeopathic remedies can last for many years. They should be stored in a cool, dark place away from sunlight, moisture, strong odors (camphor, perfume, nail polish, essential oils, etc.) and magnetic/electrical fields.

11) CAN I FREEZE MY HOMEOPATHICS?

Homeopathic remedies should not be exposed to extremes of temperature.

12) IS THERE REALLY ANYTHING IN THERE BESIDES WATER AND ETHANOL?

See “How Does Homeopathy Work” above.

13) IS HOMEOPATHY AN ALTERNATIVE TO CONVENTIONAL MEDICINE?

At DesBio we prefer to use the term “Integrative Medicine” rather than “Alternative Medicine.” Integrative Medicine utilizes all of the scientific research and all of the modalities that are beneficial for the patient, both from conventional medicine and from alternative/holistic medicine. DesBio specializes in the Power of 3 – carefully designed, scientific protocols that combine nutritional, herbal and homeopathic products. We strongly recommend that all patients consult with a licensed health care professional who is trained to recognize when conventional medical approaches are indicated as well as how to integrate conventional medicine with homeopathic treatment.

REFERENCES

1 – The School of Homeopathy. Lightening (Fulgurite). Available at: https://www.homeopathyschool.com/the-school/provings/lightning/. Accessed January 28, 2019.

2 – MedicineNet. Medical definition of allopathy. Available at: https://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=10981. Accessed January 28, 2019.

3 – English Oxford Living Dictionaries. Allopathy. Available at: https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/allopathy. Accessed January 28, 2019.

4 – Bellavite P, Conforti A, Plasere V, Ortolani R. Immunology and homeopathy. 1. Historical background. eCAM. 2005;2(4):441-452. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ec

5 – Josephson K. Don’t fight the feeling: Emotional health and chronic disease. DesBio Event. Josephson_emotional health_0219.

6 – Boiron. About homeopathy. Available at: https://www.boironusa.com/education-training/homeopathy/. Accessed February 5, 2019.

7 – Americans for Homeopathy Choice. How does homeopathy work? Available at: https://homeopathychoice.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/How-Does-Homeopathy-Work.pdf. Accessed February 5, 2019.

8 – Mattson MP. Hormesis defined. Ageing Res Rev. 2008 Jan;7(1):1-7. doi: 10.1016/j.arr.2007.08.007.

9 – Upadhyay RP, Nayak C. Homeopathy emerging as nanomedicine. Int J High Dilution Res. 2011;10(37):299-310.

10 – WholeHealthNow. Quinn M. Methods of preparation of homeopathic medicines. Available at: http://www.wholehealthnow.com/homeopathy_info/hahnemann_labs_preparation.html. Accessed February 6, 2019.

11 – Montagnier L, Alissa J, Ferris S, Montagnier JL, Lavallée C. Electromagnetic signals are produced by aqueous nanostructures derived from bacterial DNA sequences. Interdiscip Sci. 2009 Jun;1(2):81-90.

12 – Petrovska BB. Historical review of medicinal plants’ usage. Pharmacogn Rev. 2012 Jan-Jun;6(11):1-5.

13 – American Association of Naturopathic Physicians. Johnson C. Homeopathy primer. Available at: https://www.naturopathic.org/article_content.asp?article=796. Accessed February 12, 2019.

14 – Los Angeles School of Homeopathy. Famous people who use homeopathy. Available at: http://www.lahomeopathicschool.com/famous-people-who-use-homeopathy/. Accessed February 12, 2019.

15 – Sankar K, Jadhav AP. Nosodes and Sarcodes. Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge. 2017 Jan;16(1):158-163.

16 – Hpathy. Bhatia M. Homeopathic potency selection. Available at: https://hpathy.com/organon-philosophy/homeopathic-potency-selection/. Accessed February 15, 2019.

17 – The Aurum Project. Controversial homeopathic proving of a combination remedy. Available at: https://aurumproject.org.au/proving-combination-remedy/. Accessed February 15, 2019.

18 – Cummings S, Ullman D. Everybody’s Guide to Homeopathic Medicines. Jeremy P. Tarcher, Inc. Los Angeles, 1984.

19 – The Free Dictionary – Medical Dictionary. Homeostasis. Available at: https://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/homeostasis. Accessed February 15, 2019.

20 – Whole Health Now. Understanding & working with the bowel nosodes. Available at: http://wholehealthnow.com/courses/bowel-nosodes.html. Accessed February 15, 2019.

21 – Power-Pak C.E. Continuing Education for Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians. Introduction to homeopathic medicine for the pharmacy professional. Available at: https://www.powerpak.com/course/print/115139. Accessed February 18, 2019.

22 – BoironUSA. Frequently asked questions. Available at: https://www.boironusa.com/education-training/faq/. Accessed February 19, 2019.

23 – Homeopathy Research Institute. Observational studies. Available at: https://www.hri-research.org/resources/essentialevidence/observational-studies/. Accessed February 18, 2019.

24 – Homeopathy Research Institute. Clinical trials overview. Available at: https://www.hri-research.org/resources/essentialevidence/clinical-trials-overview/. Accessed February 18,2019.

25 – National Center for Homeopathy. Quirk T. Research about the use of homeopathic medicines. Available at: https://www.homeopathycenter.org/sites/default/files/WelcomeToNCH.pdf. Accessed February 18, 2019.

26 – Lotus Health Institute. Disrupting the action of the remedy when it is taken internally. Available at: http://www.alchemilla.com/index.php/homeopathic-medicine-mainmenu-33/18-what-antidotes-homeopathic-remedies. Accessed February 19, 2019

27 – Lotus Health Institute. What antidotes homeopathic remedies. Available at: http://www.alchemilla.com/index.php/homeopathic-medicine-mainmenu-33/18-what-antidotes-homeopathic-remedies. Accessed February 19, 2019.

28 – Hahnemann Labs. Methods of preparation of homeopathic medicines. Available at: https://www.hahnemannlabs.com/preparation.html. Accessed February 20, 2019.

29 – Helios Homeopathy. Remedy preparation. Available at: https://www.helios.co.uk/remedies/remedy-preparation. Accessed February 20, 2019.

30 – Homeopathic associates. Protecting your remedies on the go. Available at: https://homeopathicassociates.com/antidoting/protecting-your-remedies-on-the-go/. Accessed February 20, 2019.

31 – Saha S, Hossain DM, Mukherjee S, Mohanty S, Mazumdar M, Mukherjee S eta l. Calcarea carbonica induces apoptosis in cancer cells in p53-dependent manner via an immune-modulatory circuit. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2013;13:230.

32 – Marzotto M, Olisoso D, Brizzi M, Tonini P, Cristofoletti M, Bellavite P. Extreme sensitivity of gene expression in human SH-SY5Y neurocytes to ultra-low doses of Gelsemium sempervirens. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2014;14:104.

33 – Boericke W. Homeopathic Materia Medica. 9th Ed. New Delhi: B. Jain Publishers; 1983

34 – Mathur KN. Systematic Materia Medica of Homeopathic Remedies. New Delhi: B. Jain Publishers; 1972.

35 – Morrison R. Desktop Guide to Keynotes and Characteristic Symptoms. Albany, CA: Hahnemann Clinic Publishing; 1993.36 – Weber S, Endler PC, Welles SU, Suanjak-Traidl E, Scherer-Pongratz W, Frass M et al. The effect of homeopathically prepared thyroxine on highland frogs: influence of electromagnetic fields. Homeopathy. 2008 Jan;97(1):3-9.

36 – Natural Rearing. Fundamentals of homotoxicology: potency chords. Available at: http://www.naturalrearing.com/coda/l_fundamentals_of_homotox.html. Accessed on April 30, 2019.

FOR FUTURE REFERENCE

1 – Homeopathy Research Institute. Homeopathy use around the world. Available at: https://www.hri-research.org/resources/essentialevidence/use-of-homeopathy-across-the-world/. Accessed February 12, 2019. https://www.powerpak.com/course/print/115139. Accessed February 18, 2019.

2 – No abstract available

Chirumbolo S. Molecules and nanoparticles in extreme homeopathic dilutions: is Avogadro’s Constant a dogma? Homeopathy: the journal of the faculty of homeopathy. 2011 Jul 1;100(3):107-108.

(PMID:21784325)