What is homeopathy? A beginner’s guide to the basic principles behind this fascinating, safe, and effective system of medicine.
I’ll admit, the first time I Googled “What is Homeopathy?”, I read a couple of articles, had a good laugh, and then moved on.
It sounded absolutely ridiculous.
I was under the impression that homeopathy was somewhere in the neighborhood of “herbal.” Or maybe essential oils? Or a combination of whatever makes up natural home remedies?
I didn’t even know how to say homeopathy. I figured it was something like homeo-path-ee. It’s actually ho-mee-op-uh-thee. (I did my best. If you’re still confused, just listen here… and yes, I realize that her voice is kind of creepy).
But the funniest part? I was using homeopathy without even knowing it! In fact, I raved about it! It was the only thing that helped our daughter’s teething pain. So much so, that we made late night runs to get more so she could sleep.
It didn’t seem so ridiculous once I figured that out…
So, let’s put it all out on the table. I’m going to tell you what homeopathy actually is, some of the principles behind it, and at the end, I’ll share the remedy that worked for my daughter’s teething pain, because I think it’s the remedy that will convince you this WORKS (especially if you’re a mom to little ones).
Also, remember, I am not a homeopath or a doctor. Anything I say should not be taken as medical advice or as a diagnosis. This is for educational purposes only.
What is Homeopathy?
Let’s start first with what homeopathy isn’t.
It is NOT the use of herbal remedies (herbology), essential oils, food, vitamins and supplements, or acupuncture/oriental medicine.
Homeopathy is not a form of pharmaceutical drugs.
A practitioner who studies and practices homeopathy is considered a homeopath, or a homeopathic doctor. This is not the same as a functional medicine practitioner, naturopath, or holistic medical doctor. I say this because I notice many people (like me) tend to replace the word “holistic” with “homeopathic” thinking it means the same thing.
Okay, so now onto what homeopathy is.
Homeopathy is a system of medicine used to treat a variety of acute and chronic conditions. It has been in use now for over 200 years and more than 200 million people use it to address health concerns. It is a primary system of medicine in many, many countries worldwide including India, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, and more. The U.S., unfortunately, is not one of these countries.
It involves the use of remedies, often in the form of sugar pellets or tinctures, that consist of highly diluted doses of various naturally occurring and man-made substances, such as plants and minerals. These remedies are prepared using very specific processes.
Homeopathic remedies work to stimulate the body’s own natural healing process. They produce more of a gentle nudge in the right direction, rather than a forceful action or suppression of symptoms. This makes homeopathy not only effective, but also incredibly gentle with no lasting side effects or risk of overdosing.
See the picture below for what the remedies look like… those blue tubes can be found at Whole Foods and many other health food stores. Like me, you may have walked past them at some point and looked with great confusion as you read the names of the remedies (because they are in Latin).
This one is called Rhus Toxicodendron and is made from poison ivy, which sounds scary, but remember, these are VERY dilute and NOT toxic. Read on to learn more.
The Basic Foundation of Homeopathy
Homeopathy is based on the “Law of Similars.” Samuel Hahnemann, the German doctor who discovered homeopathy in the 18th century, found that if a substance given to a healthy patient in high doses produces a set of symptoms, that same substance in small doses can actually cure a disease or ailment that presents similar symptoms in a sick person. This is known as “like cures like,” and is a very common saying in the homeopathic world.
I know that can be super confusing and no matter how many times I try to write it, it seems that it’s still confusing. So, let’s use an example that I learned from one of my favorite homeopaths, Joette Calabrese.
Take an onion. When you cut an onion, what happens?
Your eyes water and they usually burn. You get a clear, egg-white-like runny nose. Some of you may even sneeze.
Can you think of any other time in your life when you may experience those same or similar symptoms?
Think allergies. Hay fever. Colds.
So, the homeopathic preparation of an onion can actually TREAT those allergies, hay fever, or cold as long as the symptoms are watery, burny eyes and a clear, egg-white-like runny nose. This is an example of like cures like. The onion produces a set of symptoms in a healthy person, and when properly diluted, can actually cure those same symptoms in a sick person when they experience something like allergies.
If you think it sounds crazy, I was right there with you. Remember when I told you that I laughed? Here’s why…
The Use of Dilution / Small Doses
The theory of vaccines is often used to help describe the dilution principle. A small dose of the chicken pox in a vaccine is supposed to help the body develop an immunity towards exposure. However, in homeopathy, the small doses are… really (and I mean REALLY) small. Not even comparable to the small dose of chicken pox in a vaccine.
I’m talking so dilute that there is no measurable material left in the final preparation. You still with me? Nothing LEFT! It’s just water at that point.
Not only that, but I also read that the higher the dilution (the more water that is added), the more potent the remedy becomes. While I don’t remember a ton from my degree in chemistry, I definitely remember that the more dilute a solution is, the weaker it becomes.
Absolutely bogus. I immediately thought that this was nothing more than a placebo. How could people possibly believe this stuff?
And yet, I was using it every day. I was giving it to my 1-year-old for teething pain and it worked extremely well.
How’s that for placebo effect? Keep in mind, she was only 1… so placebo effect wasn’t a thing in that case.
A Quick Recap of What Homeopathy Actually Is:
- Homeopathy is a system of medicine that has been in use for over 200 years.
- The foundational principle is called the “Law of Similars,” which means like cures like. This means that if a substance given to a healthy patient in high doses produces a set of symptoms, that same substance in small doses can actually cure a disease or ailment that presents similar symptoms in a sick person (think about the onion and allergies).
- We’re talking super dilute remedies, which is why homeopathy is nontoxic and safe to use. So the Rhus Tox remedy in the picture above is made from poison ivy, but doesn’t actually contain a toxic level of it that would stimulate an allergic response.
But there’s one more thing I should probably talk about. It is both the greatest thing about homeopathy, but can also be the worst.
Homeopathy is Extremely Individualized
Meaning the same remedy that works for my daughter’s teething pain isn’t necessarily the same remedy that will work for your child’s teething pain.
Likewise, if your symptoms for allergies are NOT watery, burning eyes with a clear, egg-white-like runny nose, but rather sinus congestion and a migraine-like headache, that onion remedy – called Allium Cepa – likely won’t work for you, because the symptoms are not similar.
The correct homeopathic remedy to use for a specific ailment is based on symptoms and how those symptoms present.
What I mean by that is – it goes deeper than just a headache. It asks the questions of whether or not that headache is throbbing or just a dull ache. Is it on the right side? Left side? Behind the eye? Is it better or worse when you move? Does cold air make it worse?
Basically, you can have 20 different people with headaches and 20 different remedies to treat them, because they all present differently.
This is awesome because of how personalized homeopathic treatment is for a person. Goodbye to the OTC drugs that can work for everyone but have undesirable side effects due to their suppressive nature.
It’s not so awesome because sometimes, as you can imagine, it can take awhile to find the right remedy. But when you do, it’s back to being awesome.
Homeopathy Changes the Way You See Illness and Health
Those symptoms that we all despise? They become your key to finding the right remedy. You begin to appreciate the road map of signals your body is giving you so that you can help it HEAL on its own, much faster and more efficient than before.
In a world of increasing rates of chronic illness, where symptoms are very loud for many of us each day, homeopathy might just be the answer you have been searching for. It has helped me and my family tremendously, especially in managing our autoimmune conditions.
And for any parents out there, unhappy with the currently conventional prescription drug treatments for childhood ailments and disease, homeopathy is a GREAT tool to have at your disposal for raising a drug-free family.
So, What Was the Remedy that Helped Teething Pain?
The remedy we used to help my daughter’s teething pain is called Arnica Montana. It’s great for injury and pain associated with bruising, swelling, and/or trauma.
About a week after discovering the power of Arnica for my daughter, I fell down the stairs. HARD. I hit my back and neck and could barely move. After taking just one dose of Arnica, I had great relief from my pain (even better than if I had taken ibuprofen).
I continued taking it and along with 2 chiropractic adjustments, I was about 90% better the NEXT DAY. I went to work (which required walking about a quarter mile from my car to my desk) and had no issues.
(Still didn’t know it was homeopathy at that point.)
The kind I used can be found on Amazon here.
If you have a teething child and are interested in using homeopathy, I recommend these teething tablets which can also be found at Amazon and many stores that sell baby products.
The teething tablets have a combination of remedies in them which can help bring your baby relief faster because you don’t have to spend your time guessing what the right remedy is.
Remember, homeopathy is based on how symptoms present in an individual, so just because Arnica worked for my daughter’s teething, doesn’t mean it will work for everyone else.
I now bring Arnica with me everywhere I go. If any of my kids take a spill and bump their head, a quick dose of Arnica will bring the swelling down almost immediately. If I continue to treat it, the bruise will usually be very mild or not there at all.
Since bruises are so common for children, this is the remedy I recommend to all parents just starting out with homeopathy because it works SO WELL. Grab a bottle and see for yourself!
Want to learn more about Homeopathy?
Homeopathy does require a bit of learning upfront. For example, if you were to take a remedy as you were eating, it may not work. There are some basic rules, but thankfully they aren’t hard to learn.
So, if you’re thinking that the Arnica, teething tablets, or homeopathy in general something you’re interested in using, click here to listen to a podcast by Sue Meyers about the basics of homeopathy. She is full of knowledge and this is a great way to jumpstart your learning!
If you’re still a skeptic, the book: Homeopathy – Beyond Flat Earth Medicine may help. It was one of the first books I read and I highly recommend it, even if you aren’t a skeptic.
Additionally, if you are looking for research and evidence proving the efficacy of homeopathy, click here to view the Compendium of Homeopathic Research from the Americans for Homeopathy Choice website.
I think once you discover the power of homeopathy, you’ll be convinced, and there will be no turning back!
If your interest in using homeopathy is growing and you would like the freedom to choose this as an option, then please head over to Americans for Homeopathy Choice to learn more about protecting our healthcare rights in the United States. Homeopathy is currently under attack and we need your support!
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Hi! I’m Anna, co-founder of Healthy Habits Reset. After managing my own autoimmune diseases using lifestyle, habit, and mindset changes, I now work to teach others how to navigate the treacherous and confusing journey of chronic illness living. I firmly believe YOU hold the power to question, think critically, and become your own rock-solid advocate in a world full of unhealthy habits, so you can find the healing you deserve.