FAQS IN HOMEOPATHY
Q1, What is Homeopathy?
ANS. Homeopathy is a scientifically based system of medicine developed by Dr. Samuel Christian Friedrich Hahnemann. It is based on natural law of healing “Similia Similibus Curantur” which means ‘likes are cured by likes’.
‘Homois’ means like or similar and ‘pathos’ means suffering or disease. Therefore, homeopathy is a system of medicine that treats diseases by giving medicines which possess the power of producing similar disease in a healthy human being i.e. while taking the case the homeopathic doctor compares the symptoms of the patient with those of the medicines and depending on this principle (Law of similars) the most similar medicine (similimum) is administered to the patient. This law of similars for treating diseases has been in use since the time of Hippocrates but it was Dr. Hahnemann who developed it into a holistic system of medicine. The principles and application of homeopathy were put forward by him in 1810.
Q2. Homeopathic medicine are given in very small doses, then how does it work?
ANS. In homeopathy to bring about a gentle, rapid and permanent cure it is essential that the minutest dose of the medicine must be given (according to ‘law of minimum’) to avoid unnecessary side effects. Moreover, in homeopathy, drugs are taken in their crude forms (most concentrated form) and then prepared into medicines through a series of dilution and succussions or triturations. This process is known as ‘Potentization’. As the disease occurs as a result of derangement in the vital force (which is dynamic in nature), it is important that the medicine given is also dynamic. Hence homeopathy drug dynamization is done through the process of potentization, whereby the quantity of the medicine decreases but its innate dynamic power releases. Hence, the quantity of the dose has nothing to do with the effect of the medicine.
Q3. Can anyone take homeopathic medicines?
ANS. Yes, homeopathic medicines benefit people from all age groups.
Q4. Are homeopathic medicines safe for pregnant women?
ANS. Yes, women can safely take homeopathic medicines during pregnancy but self-prescription should never be done and the homeopathic doctor should always be consulted.
Q5. Can I take homeopathic medicines along with the medicines of other systems of medicine (Allopathy, Ayurveda, etc.)?
ANS. It is usually best to avoid taking medicines from different system of medicine together. But in case you are taking any ayurvedic /allopathic medicine, and want to begin homeopathic treatment, it is advisable to start the homeopathic medicines and gradually taper off the other medicines. Never stop any medicine abruptly.
Q6. Do homeopathic medicines produce any side effects?
ANS. Homeopathy is based on the principles of “law of similars” and “law of minimum”. Medicines are required basically to arouse a reaction in the body. Because of hypersensitivity in disease only a small (minute) amount of medicine (i.e. sub-physiological doses) is required to bring about cure. As homeopathic medicines are given in very small doses therefore, they are completely safe, non-addictive and produce no unwanted side effects.
Q7. What are homeopathic medicines?
ANS. Homeopathic medicines are derived from natural sources like plant, animal, mineral source or healthy secretions of body (like thyroid hormone, insulin etc.) or diseased secretions (like purulent secretions from tubercular abscess, virus taken from mucus of whooping cough etc.). Medicines prepared from the healthy secretions from the body are called as sarcodes and those prepared from the diseased secretions from the body are called as nosodes. There are more than 2000 homeopathic medicines whose drug picture (symptoms and signs) have been recorded in Materia Medica.
Q8. How are homeopathic medicines prepared?
ANS. The drugs are taken in their crude forms (most concentrated form) and then prepared into medicines through a series of dilution and succussions or triturations. This process of preparing homeopathic medicines from their crude form is known as ‘Potentization’. The process refers to a specific procedure of series of dilution wherein one part of a medicinal substance is diluted with 99 parts of alcohol. The strength of the homeopathic medicine increases upon successive dilutions and vigorous shaking between each dilution. The degree of dilution is referred to as potency. Potency are denoted by number like 6C, 30C, 200C etc. (higher the number higher is the potency). These potentized medicines penetrate the blood brain barrier, cellular and nuclear barriers and hence the therapeutic effect is produced on mental (mind), physical (body) and spiritual (soul or vital energy) plane. The physiological doses of homeopathic medicines are known as ‘Mother tincture’. These act mainly on the physical plane.
Q9. What do the suffix 6, 30, 200, 1M denote?
ANS. These basically denote the strength of the medicine. The strength of the homeopathic medicine increases upon successive dilutions and vigorous shaking between each dilution. The degree of dilution is referred to as potency. Higher the number, higher is the potency e.g. 1M (or 1000 potency) is higher than 200 potency.
Q10. Where should Homeopathic medicines be stored?
ANS. Homeopathic medicines are very sensitive and should be kept away from sunlight and strong odors. Always keep the medicine bottle tightly closed and store it in a cool place.
Q11. How do I know that I am improving with homeopathic treatment?
ANS. Once you take a homeopathic medicine you should observe that there is :
• calmness of mind
• decrease in the presenting symptoms
• no new symptoms
• no worsening of old symptoms
Q12. For how long do I have to continue the homeopathic medicine?
ANS. After taking the medicine once you start feeling better, you can gradually increase the duration between the doses as per the instructions of your doctor. But do not stop the medicine on your own and always consult your doctor.
Q13. Why does Homeopathic case taking take so long?
ANS. The principal basis of homeopathic case taking is a holistic approach i.e. a homeopathic doctor tries to know his patient physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally. Besides enquiring about the main complaint of the patient, the doctor asks certain unique things like patients cravings and aversions, likes and dislikes, aggravating and ameliorating factors. This detailed case taking helps him in individualizing every case and thereby, selecting a most similar medicine.
Q14. Why are mental symptoms so important in Homeopathy?
ANS. Mental symptoms reflect the inner self of a person. With the help of these symptoms we come to know the understanding, intellect, temperament, habits etc. of a person, and all this information in turn helps in individualizing the case. Hence with the help of these symptoms the homeopathic consultant is able to individualize each and every patient and thereby select the most indicated medicine for each case.
Q15. How does the homeopathic doctor select medicine?
ANS. Homeopathy is not only a science but an art. It treats the diseased person and not the disease. Hence during the case taking the homeopathic consultant takes the symptoms from the patient. The doctors tries to understand the patient physically, mentally, spiritually as well as emotionally. Besides he also enquires into certain unique things like patients cravings and aversions, likes and dislikes, aggravating and ameliorating factors. Once the doctor gets the complete symptom picture he tries to take out unique and characteristic symptoms which helps him in individualizing the case. These symptoms are then matched with those of the medicines and the medicine having the same symptom picture (similimum) as that of the patient is prescribed. Hence it is very essential that the patient gives the correct and precise symptoms to the doctor.
Q16. Does homeopathic medicine always in the beginning aggravate the disease before treating it?
ANS. No, this is not true. If the Homeopatic medicine is properly selected according to the homeopathic principles (i.e. it is well indicated to the case, is given singly and in a minimum dose) and is given in the right potency then it will not cause any unnecessary worsening of the disease. Hence it is always advisable to take homeopathic medicines in consultation with your homeopathic consultant.
Q17. Can homeopathy deal with surgical cases?
ANS. Many surgical conditions like BHP (benign hypertrophy of prostate), warts, corns, piles, renal stones, gall stones, uterine fibroids, fibroadenoma in breast can be treated solely by homeopathic medicines. But in certain cases where a disease has advanced to such a stage where surgery cannot be avoided (like ruptured appendix, myocardial infarction, third degree piles, prolapsed rectum etc.) homeopathic doctors do advise surgery.
Q18. Is it safe to take homeopathic medicines on our own?
ANS. Selection of a homeopathic medicine requires a complete knowledge of homeopathy. Selecting medicine just on a few, common symptoms or taking the wrong potency or dose may not help you much. In fact, intake of wrong medicine can also worsen the disease or produce some organic changes within the body. Therefore it is always best to consult your homeopathic doctor.
Q19. Can homeopathic medicine if taken accidentally, harm in any way?
ANS. Any person especially children may take homeopathic medicines, accidentally. But there is nothing to worry about. A person may just develop the symptoms of the medicines but they can be easily antidoted. As soon as you observe any symptoms immediately consult the homeopathic doctor.
q20. What are the benefits of homeopathy as compared to other system of medicine?
ANS. According to homeopathy, all diseases occur as a result of an imbalance between the body, mind and soul. Hence, while treating the disease instead of just dealing with the disease, it considers the patient as a whole (i.e. physically, mentally, emotionally as well as emotionally). It believes in a HOLISTIC APPROACH:
Homeopathy deals with the root cause of the disease. Instead of suppressing the symptoms it tries to remove the basic cause of the disease, so that the person gets completely cured.
All Homeopathic medicines are proved on healthy human beings and not animals, as in other system of medicine. Thus, the effect of medicine is clearly known on human beings and it can be prescribed safely.
Homeopathic medicines are given in very minute doses i.e. doses are given in such an amount so as to initiate a healing response within the body. As the medicines are not given in physiological doses they do not produce any unnecessary side effects.
Q21. How are homeopathic medicines dispensed?
ANS. Homeopathic medicines are usually dispensed in three forms: in sugar pills, in water or powder form. To dispense the medicine in sugar pills (globules) the homeopathic dilution (liquid medicine) is poured on the pills. The pills absorb the medicine and then can be given to the patient. Similarly the prescribed dose of medicine may be put in small amount of water and can be taken. Usually when the medicine is to be repeated frequently it is given either in globules or in water. If the medicine is to be dispensed in powder form then the medicated globules are mixed with lactose powder. This is usually done when only a few doses of the medicine have to be prescribed to the patient.
Q22. Do homeopathic medicines have any expiry date?
ANS. As homeopathic medicine are prepared in alcohol base they do not spoil easily. But if not properly stored the medicine can definitely evaporate. Hence it is essential that the homeopathic medicines are stored:
- at room temperature in a clean and cool place
- tightly capped
- away from sunlight
- away from strong smelling things such as camphor, perfumes, incense sticks
Hence, if the medicine is stored properly as per the above guidelines they can be used for a long time (up to 15-20 years or even more).
Q23. What is the correct procedure of taking homeopathic medicines?
ANS. There are certain points to be remembered before taking any homeopathic medicine.
- Always make sure that you rinse your mouth with water before taking the medicine. Any strong smell of food may hamper the effect of medicine.
- Do not eat or drink anything 15 minutes before or after taking the medicine as it may hamper the absorption of the medicine from the mouth.
- Do not touch the globules. Take the pills either in the cap of the bottle or on a clean paper and put them directly in the mouth.
- Let the pills dissolve in your mouth, never chew them.
- Avoid eating strong smelling things like raw onion, garlic, coffee, cardamom etc. while you are on homeopathic treatment.
Q24. Does Homeopathy have any disease specific remedies?
ANS. No two people are alike, hence the disease they may suffer from may also not be the same. The extent of the suffering or disease depends upon the resistance (disease fighting ability) of each person. Two person may be exposed to the similar disease causing factor (e.g. viral infection) but each may not manifest the disease in the same intensity and with the same symptoms. Although both of them may suffer from the same disease (for e.g. viral fever) but because of different symptom picture they will be requiring different medicines. Hence in homeopathic treatment it is very important to individualize each case and prescribe medicine on the constitution, temperament and habits of a person. Therefore there are no disease specific remedies.
Q25. What are the factors that may hinder the process of cure in homeopathy?
ANS. There may be many factors that may act as an obstacle to homeopathic treatment. These include:
- Maintaing factors: These are the factors that are responsible for the continuation of the disease. Unless these factors are removed a healthy state can not be restored. They may include living in damp basements, improper diet, occupational hazards etc. Hence while taking the medicine it is also important to remove these causes, otherwise disease will not be cured.
- Strong smelling things like raw onion, garlic, coffee, cardamom etc. may reduce the effect of the medicine, thereby delaying the process of cure.
Not following the instructions of the doctor for example not taking the medicine on time, or taking more medicine.
- Prescribing homeopathic medicines against the principles of homeopathy i.e. either the medicine is not well indicated to the case or it is given in physiological doses or it is given in combination or mixture. Prescribing on this basis can just worsen the disease or suppress the disease and not cure it.