WHAT IS HOMEOPATHY?
Homeopathy is practiced all over the world by many health professionals: doctors, dentists, pharmacists, veterinarians, homeopaths, naturopaths, chiropractors, practitioners of Ayurvedic medicine ...
Created in the early 19th century by Samuel Hahnemann, it is essentially based on two foundations: the law of similarity and the process of high dilutions.
The law of similarity
Similia similibus curentur: the similar cures the like. This principle, which goes back to Hippocrates, wants a substance that causes a group of symptoms in a healthy person to heal a sick person with the same group of symptoms. It is this principle that gave its name to homeopathy, a word derived from the Greek homeo and pathos that signify respectively "similar" and "illness or suffering".
The process of high dilutions
According to this foundation, the dilution of a remedy can increase its curative effects. Homeopathic remedies are diluted several times in a mixture of water and alcohol. Between the successive dilutions, the remedy is administered a series of tremors, which are called succussions in the jargon of homeopaths.
TWO HUNDRED YEARS OF HISTORY
Samuel Hahnemann (1755-1843), a German physician, was also a chemist and linguist. Dissatisfied with the medical techniques of his time, he withdrew, in 1784, the practice of medicine to collect, translate and revise various works of pharmacology written in German, French, English, Italian and Latin.
In 1790, while Samuel Hahnemann was translating the Materia Medica from a Scottish doctor, he disagreed with the author, who mentioned that the efficacy of malaria treatment was based on the bitterness and astringency of cinchona bark (of which quinine was later removed). He rightly noted that other equally bitter and astringent plants had no effect against the disease. Out of curiosity, he ingested some of the bark for a few days and discovered that the substance caused him symptoms similar to those of malaria, such as intermittent fever and diarrhea.
This reminded him of the law of similarity, evoked in the Hippocraticus Curriculum. Six years later (1796), he published, in a scientific journal, an essay on "a new approach to identify the healing properties of drugs".
Since his first experience with cinchona bark, he had experimented on himself, as well as on his collaborators and relatives, various substances whose pathogenesis he had been able to establish, that is to say all the symptoms. caused by the experimental administration of a drug to a healthy subject. He had also developed the technique of dilutions to circumvent the problem of the toxicity of certain products. These were the beginnings of homeopathy.
In 1799, Hahnemann's ideas gained credibility when he succeeded, thanks to a homeopathic remedy, in preventing and treating scarlet fever, which reached epidemic proportions in Germany. In 1810 he published the Medical Organon, which was to constitute the true founding manual of homeopathy. This therapeutic technique flourished in Europe and was introduced in America in 1825 by Hans Burch Gram, a Boston doctor who had studied homeopathy in Europe.
The first American medical school of homeopathy, Hahnemann Medical College and Hospital, was founded in 1835. In 1849, while cholera was raging in the city of Cincinnati, two homeopaths published statistics indicating that only 3% of 1,116 patients they had been treated had died as a result of the disease. Yet at that time, it was estimated that between 33% and 50% of patients with this disease died.
Between the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century, the practice of homeopathy flourished in Europe and North America. However, in the 20th century, the creation of highly effective allopathic drugs, such as antibiotics, led to a decline in the practice of homeopathy. It will be necessary to wait until the end of this century to see a revival of interest for the technique.
At the World Health Organization, it was noted in 1994 that homeopathy had been successfully integrated into the public health systems of several countries, including Germany, France, England, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Mexico. There are 11,000 physicians practicing homeopathy in France, England and Germany, as well as 10,000 in Latin America. In England, 42% of doctors who do not practice homeopathy do not hesitate to refer their patients to a homeopath.
THE HOMEOPATHIC METHOD
Homeopathy is based on the premise that the body has the vital energy required to generate a natural healing process. Thus, Hahnemann argued against the dominant tendency of scientists that it was less important to know the specific cause of the disease than to find ways to stimulate the natural healing process inherent in any living organism.
Thus, the homeopath strives to carefully identify all the patient's symptoms in order to trigger or support the corresponding healing process. The practitioner will therefore seek to know when and how the symptoms appear, which amplifies or decreases their intensity, the times they appear, the actions that aggravate or relieve them, etc.
Thus, two patients suffering from the same disease, in the sense of classical medicine, could be prescribed different homeopathic remedies because their constitution differs or their specific symptoms are not the same. For example, both could have colds, but not the same nasal discharge. Homeopaths today have computerized databases that help them choose the right remedies based on the myriad of combinations of symptoms and the makeup of their patients.
A homeopathic preparation marked 6X denotes a remedy in which the original extract has been diluted (usually in a mixture of water and alcohol) six times, one part of the extract for nine parts of solvent each time. This is called a low dilution or a decimal dilution. At each step, that is 6 in this case, the mixture will have been boosted by administering 100 shakes to it.
Centimesimal dilutions (one part of the original extract for 99 parts of solvent, at each dilution), which are designated by the letter C, are also found, and of the corresponding dilutions bearing the letter M (one extract part for 999 parts of solvent). These last two types of preparation constitute high dilutions.
We often see the letter H (for Hahnemann) contiguous to the symbols X, C or M (for example, 30CH). This identifies the Hahnemannian dilutions we have just described.
Some dilutions are prepared in a slightly different process developed by another contemporary Hahnemann homeopath, Dr. Korsakov. Korsakovian dilutions, which are generally identified by a K, would be more effective than the Hhnemannian ones in low dilution, but both processes would give equivalent results in high dilution.
In homeopathy, remedies prepared in high dilution are thought to have a longer duration of action than those prepared in low dilution, but their onset of action is slower. Once the extract is diluted, it is presented in the form of tablets, granules (small soluble balls, whose base is usually sucrose, which is allowed to melt under the tongue) or solutions that take a few drops to that time. For topical uses, there are also some homeopathic preparations in the form of lotions or ointments.
HOW TO USE THE REMEDIES
Homeopathic remedies are absorbed under the tongue.
Tablets and granules
Place them under the tongue and let them melt.
Add the recommended number of drops to 1 or 2 tablespoons of water, then stir in the mouth for 30 seconds before swallowing.
Food and toothpaste can interfere with the absorption of homeopathic remedies. Therefore, it is recommended that they be taken at least 5 minutes before eating or brushing, and at least 30 minutes later. It is also best to wait 2 minutes between taking two remedies.