The Real Story About Homeopathy

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Homeopathy is a form of alternative health that originated in the mid 1800s. It has slowly grown in popularity, on the basis of some health breakthroughs, and an increasing trend of seeking natural forms of medicine. Doctors Health Press has a newsletter devoted to it. Homeopathy is the recipient of commons myths and assumptions that are simply untrue. Here we look at them, and dispel them.

Myth #1: “There is no proof that homeopathy works.”

Homeopathy is based on logic and experimental data and has been studied for a variety of conditions. This often takes place in India and other countries and the results are seldom reported here. How the remedies might work is still up for debate. That they work in some way has been proven in experimental studies. If you ask homeopaths, the proof that their medicines work is in what their patients tell them.

Myth #2: “Homeopathic remedies are just placebo — sugar pills.”

Yes, remedies are made with very diluted amounts of the original plant, animal or mineral. For that reason, many people falsely assume the pills are really just placebo and contain no medicine. But the structure of these remedies is different from water or sugar and they have certain actions in the body. “Placebo” means people think the medicine is working when in reality it’s doing nothing.  But homeopathy has been found to work in a wide range of conditions — and it works on babies and animals, who cannot possibly be affected by placebo.

Myth #3: “Homeopathy is a miracle cure for almost anything.”

It isn’t a cure-all. Like any medicine, homeopathy is limited. Some people won’t react. Some conditions are not treatable. While it can help with symptoms, homeopathy cannot cure many diseases and situations where an organ or system is compromised.

Myth #4: “Homeopathy is slow in working.”

Nope. In fact, homeopathy works fast when treating acute problems. In fact, if a remedy shows no sign of working by the third or fourth day, you are supposed to try another one. It will certainly take longer when used for chronic (longer term) conditions, but no longer than most drugs.

Myth #5: “It’s only good for chronic problems.”

Homeopathy is good for chronic issues, but that’s hardly all. It’s actually better for acute symptoms happening right now. The myth stems from the fact that people tend to visit the homeopath only after their illness has progressed and become chronic. What if they had tried homeopathy at the outset?

Myth #6: “Homeopaths are not trained doctors.”

They have formal training in medicine, albeit not in conventional medicine. Homeopathic colleges all over the world train new practitioners. When you see a homeopath, ask for his/her accreditations.

Myth #7: “Homeopathy is just a type of herbal medicine.”

This is wrong for a few reasons. Homeopathy uses not only herbs but animals and minerals, too. For an animal example, take Apis, which is honeybee. But it’s also theoretically different than herbal medicine, which uses the
active ingredients in herbs to treat health problems. But homeopathy is based on far different principals and acts in different ways. Plus, they are generally tried one remedy at a time, whereas herbal medicine often uses many plants at once.

Myth #8: “Strong scents and flavors work against the remedies.”

Many people think that substances with strong flavors — such as coffee, alcohol, mint, onions and garlic — physically counteract a remedy. It is true that homeopaths have wanted patients to avoid these things, but it was mostly to see if a remedy worked without any potential interference. None of them would actually work against a remedy. (You are, though, meant to take a remedy at least 15 minutes outside of any meal.)

Myth #9: “Your symptoms get worse before they improve.”

Many people believe that there are negative reactions right when you first start a treatment. But this is far from definite. Some people are very sensitive to a remedy and it happens. Some people take a remedy in too high a dilution. They don’t always get worse! If in doubt, always go for the lower dose.