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Homeopathy is one of many naturopathic or complementary medical treatment methods. The term "homeopathic" is often equated with "naturopathic" without knowing what homeopathy actually means. This is a form of therapy that uses agents that are manufactured according to certain rules. These can come from minerals, plants or the animal kingdom, for example.
Note: So far, the mode of action of homeopathy has not been adequately explained from a conventional medical point of view, or studies have shown it. Therefore, from the perspective of conventional medicine, homeopathy is one of the complementary medical healing methods. However, since many people have had good experiences with it over the centuries and the method is relatively gentle and free of side effects when used properly, there is no reason not to try homeopathy yourself. This can be particularly worthwhile in the case of ailments that cannot be cured from conventional medicine, but can only be kept in check with medication. This applies, for example, to complaints such as neurodermatitis or hay fever.
Choosing the right remedy is in the hands of a well-trained homeopath. Homeopathic remedies should never be made by yourself. To rule out health risks, you should only take medication that can be purchased in the pharmacy. Some remedies are available on prescription.
Homeopathy - a brief overview
You can find all the important information about homeopathy in our short overview.
- Law of Similarity: Homeopathy is based on the law of similarity, which says “something similar is healed by something similar”. It says that only the remedy that produces the same or similar symptoms in a healthy person that the sick person has developed can heal.
- Exponentiation: Homeopathic remedies are obtained, for example, from minerals, plant substances or animal substances (such as sodium, arnica, various spider or snake venom) and then diluted in a specified way. This special type of dilution is called "potentiation". Followers assume that a homeopathic remedy will have a stronger effect with increasing potency.
- application areas: Homeopathic remedies have a very wide range of uses. The holistic approach is important, that is, it is usually never treated just one symptom, but the whole person is included in the choice of remedies.
- Worsening: After taking a homeopathic remedy, the symptoms may temporarily worsen.
- Note: The choice of a suitable remedy should only be made by a well-trained homeopath. Homeopathic remedies may not be made by yourself. In order to avoid health risks, you should only take homeopathic remedies from the pharmacy. For some remedies you need a prescription.
Historical background - the beginning of homeopathy
The doctor and pharmacist Samuel Hahnemann (1755 - 1843) was the founder of homeopathy. When he found out that malaria patients could benefit from the use of Chinese bark extract, he wanted to find out the effects of Chinese bark. Hahnemann wanted to find out how this remedy works in a healthy person and carried out a self-experiment. For this purpose, he ate a piece of china bark, whereupon he developed symptoms similar to malaria. From this, he concluded that the best remedy for a certain disease is the one that causes the symptoms in a healthy person that are most similar to the symptoms of the disease.
This was the starting signal for homeopathy. However, a few years passed in which he continued to try himself and also carried out various tests in family and friends. It wasn't until six years later, in 1796, that his thoughts on homeopathy were published. This was the birth of this fascinating form of therapy.
Law of Similarity
The law of similarity "similar things are healed by similar things" (Latin "Similia similibus curentur") is the basis of homeopathy. This law states that only the remedy can heal, the drug picture is similar to the symptoms of the disease that man has developed.
In order to know about the individual drug pictures and the effect of the individual remedies, homeopathic drug tests were and are necessary in healthy people. Healthy people take the means to be checked. The symptoms that occur are recorded and people are closely observed. The knowledge gained is written down in directories, the so-called medication teachings or materia medicae. In order to determine the effect of a substance, the physical symptoms, emotions, dreams and feelings associated with the ingestion are recorded precisely. If a sick person then develops symptoms that the remedy causes in a healthy person, from the point of view of homeopathy, the administration of this remedy can cure the disease.
It differs from conventional medicine, allopathy, which is based on the principle of contradiction: there, for example, an excess of gastric acid is treated with a drug that reduces acid formation; in the case of fever, a fever-lowering agent is given. In homeopathy, on the other hand, a person with an excess of stomach acid would be prescribed a remedy that would trigger an excess of stomach acid in a healthy person, or a person with a fever would be prescribed a remedy that would trigger a fever in a healthy person.
Example: The kitchen onion - Allium cepa
The principle of similarity can be illustrated quite well with the help of the kitchen onion. When cutting an onion, the eyes tear and burn, the nose runs, the secretion being very watery. In homeopathy, allium cepa (onion) is used when exactly these symptoms are described: runny nose with a runny nose, burning eyes and plenty of watery secretions.
This example is shown in a very simplified way. However, a therapist should undergo a long period of training to get to know the homeopathic remedies properly and then be able to use them correctly in practice.
The potentiation - pillar of homeopathy
Hahnemann carried out many tests and increasingly reduced the dosage of the individual substances in order to reduce the resulting symptoms. He found that smaller doses worked even better. He refined his experiments and developed the exponentiation rule. This was also called the rule of the smallest possible dose, which states that the smaller the dose of an agent, the greater its effect. Thereupon he developed his method of diluting and shaking the substances more and more until, depending on the potency, only tiny amounts or even no molecules of the starting material are left. This special form of dilution is called potentization and is carried out according to precisely defined rules.
Capital letters such as C, D, LM (or Q) and XM indicate the ratio in which the substance was diluted. C stands for centesimal and thus the dilution 1: 100, D means decimal and thus dilution 1:10, LM means 1: 50,000, XM 1: 100,000. The number following the letter, for example D6, indicates how often the agent has been diluted and shaken, in our example six times in a ratio of 1:10.
Production / potentiation
Either rubs or mother tinctures are used as the basis for the production of homeopathic remedies. A so-called trituration of the substance (triturated with milk sugar) is first produced from solid and insoluble starting substances, and a so-called mother tincture from soluble substances.
The trituration or the mother tincture is then usually mixed together with an alcohol-water mixture in the specified mixing ratio, for example in a ratio of 1:10 with a D-potency. This means that one part of the starting substance with nine parts of the carrier substance is put together in a small bottle and shaken, from which the D1 is then formed. The necessary shakes are either on the ball of the hand or on a firm surface.
To get the D2, you take a part of the D1 and shake it with nine parts of the vehicle and so on. In order to obtain the power D6, this process is repeated five more times as described above.
Due to potentiation in homeopathy, the proportion of detectable matter decreases more and more, but the healing effect increases more and more. Substances that are not soluble in alcohol are triturated with milk sugar until they are soluble and then potentiated accordingly.
The production of homeopathic remedies is regulated in the German Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia. Homeopathic remedies are usually available as globules (milk sugar balls) or drops.
In homeopathy, the dosage is based on various criteria: Is the disease acute or chronic? Are the symptoms more physical or mental in nature and how severe are they? Are children or adults affected? To decide which potency is administered and how often it is given, a lot of experience, empathy and knowledge is required.
In homeopathy, the dosage is called a “gift”. One dose usually corresponds to three to five drops or three to five globules. The more acute the symptoms, the more often the remedy is given; this can be hourly or even more frequent at low potencies in the initial phase.
Homeopathic remedies are absorbed by the oral mucosa. This means that a gap of half an hour to eating should be kept before and after ingestion. Globules are sucked, drops are kept in the mouth for a while and then swallowed.
From anamnesis to homeopathic remedy
In order to find the right homeopathic remedy, a detailed medical history (patient consultation) is important. The patient is systematically interviewed. Parents are interviewed for young children who cannot yet speak. The symptoms are analyzed in detail: where does the pain occur, what character does it have (e.g. pulling, stabbing, boring, dull), when does it occur, how long does it last and further questions need to be clarified. If you have a cold, it would be important, for example, whether the secretion is thin, slimy, transparent or even yellowish. Is the runny nose cold or your nose constantly running? If there are additional headaches, are they constantly there or only when moving?
Based on the survey, the appropriate remedy is then selected and the dosage is determined. In addition, the patients are informed that an initial worsening can occur when taking a homeopathic remedy and what should be done in this case.
The constitutional agent
Users of classic homeopathy try to find a so-called constitutional remedy for every patient. A remedy that corresponds to his type, his life circumstances, his behavior and attitudes as well as the symptoms of illness and accompanying circumstances. The constitutional means include, for example, individual properties, appearance, appearance, character, certain peculiarities and complaints. The therapist tries to find this out with the help of a detailed medical history. In the best case, the constitutional remedy can cure the patient from physical complaints, but can also strengthen him mentally and give him more energy overall.
In order to find the right remedy, the practitioner relies on the exact narrative on the one hand, and on the other hand on his own powers of observation. The medical history, also called case recording, requires a calm and familiar environment. Everything is precisely logged and evaluated. So-called repertories are used for this, which are homeopathic reference works. The means found should then ideally match the person as well as a key to the lock.
Example: Pulsatilla (pasque flower)
To describe the complete drug picture of the Pulsatilla would go beyond the scope here. In the following lines, however, you will get a first insight into the nature of the pasque flower, for which ailments it is suitable, which mood and which characters can best be treated with it.
Pulsatilla is above all a constitutional agent for gentle, mild, motherly and compliant people who are easily close to tears. They would like comfort and affection and quickly feel lonely and alone. People who use Pulsatilla as a remedy love fresh air and always feel better there. They are often fearful and indecisive, are easily discouraged and their mood is like an April day - sun and rain alternate constantly. The condition of Pulsatilla includes a dry mouth without thirst and an aversion to fat and / or warm food and drinks. Pulsatilla suffers from complaints such as flatulence, stomach pain, cough, wandering limb pain and much more.
An initial worsening as part of a homeopathic treatment may or may not occur. The existing complaints are intensified. However, this usually only lasts briefly and the symptoms then usually become less and less. If this is not the case, you should definitely consult a doctor, a naturopath or a naturopath. If there are complaints that did not previously exist, the remedy should be discontinued.
Many people are afraid of getting worse. However, this is unfounded. The first reaction is a reaction from the body that shows that it is now starting to heal itself.
The course of healing in homeopathy
If homeopathy is used in the treatment of a disease, the so-called herring rule is important for the healing process. This was prepared by the American homeopath Constantin Hering. It says that homeopathic treatment first moves the symptoms from the inside out.
If, for example, a patient suffering from asthma develops an itchy rash during the therapy, it may be uncomfortable, but it is a sure sign for the experienced therapist that the treatment is a step in the right direction.
Compounds used in complex homeopathy contain several individual homeopathic remedies. These remedies are usually put together in such a way that the various substances support each other in their effects. Classical homeopaths do not use these remedies because they contradict the rule of the principle of similarity (see above). (sw)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.
Susanne Waschke, Barbara Schindewolf-Lensch
- Bierbach, Elvira (ed.): Naturopathic practice today. Textbook and atlas. Elsevier GmbH, Urban & Fischer Verlag, Munich, 4th edition 2009.
- Rossi, Elio et al .: Homeopathic therapy in pediatric atopic diseases: Short- and long-term results; in: Homeopathy: the journal of the Faculty of Homeopathy, Volume 105, Issue 10, 2015, Thieme Connect
- Pandey, Vinita: Hay fever & homeopathy: a case series evaluation; in: Homeopathy, Volume 105, Issue 36, 2015, Thieme Connect