Two tenets which underlie all homeopathy practices are:
- “Like Cures Like” or the “Law of Similars” – the idea that diseases are cures by substances that produce similar symptoms in healthy individuals
- Law of Minimum Dose – the idea that the lower the medication dose, the greater its effectiveness; stated otherwise, smallest concentrations of a particular toxin are used to cure the same symptoms it would cause in larger amounts (hence the extremely dilated homeopathic remedies)
The concept of “like cures like” can also be found in the sciences of vaccination and inoculation, while an example of the law of minimum dose is the use of poison ivy to treat a rash.
What Do Homeopaths Do?
As a holistic health treatment, homeopathy takes into account a person’s physical and psychological state, focusing not on the causes of illness but rather on how each individual is affected by the symptoms of a particular disease. Homeopathy is thus highly patient-centered or client-oriented. Homeopathy practitioners, known as homeopaths, further maintain that diseases have spiritual causes or can be caused by disturbances in one’s vital energy or life force. Working with individuals to restore a state of health, homeopaths seek to remove or cure ailments via remedies that stimulate people’s natural or inherent ability to heal. If take in large doses, homeopathic substances would cause the very symptoms they are endeavoring to cure, however in very diluted amounts, they subtly stimulate the body’s defense system to heal itself. Hence homeopathic remedies are selected in a potency that most closely matches the energy and symptoms of the illness and are prescribed in minute, singular doses.
Choosing a Homeopathic Treatment
With well over 3,000 homeopathy remedies to choose from, knowing which to select is a daunting task. While it is highly advisable to consult with a professional homeopath before choosing a course of treatment, there is also little risk of injury from taking the wrong remedy given the extreme dilution which has been likened to ‘a pinch of salt in an ocean of water.’
Popular homeopathic remedies include:
- Sulfur to cure skin infections
- Arnica to cure bruises, scrapes, and sprains
- Ignatia to reduce stress, anxiety, and digestive disorders
- Cantharis to treat burns and urinary tract infections
- Belladonna to treat headaches, fever, and dilated pupils
Safety and Regulation of Homeopathic Treatments
Are homeopathic remedies safe? While efficacy of homeopathic treatments have not been accounted for by the weight of scientific or clinical trials, thousands of users testify their effectiveness in helping treat a vast array of ailments and conditions. While homeopathic remedies are regulated by the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) as drugs, the FDA does not evaluate the remedies for safety or effectiveness.
Established in 1982, the Accreditation Commission for Homeopathic Education in North America (ACHENA) – formerly known as the Council on Homeopathic Education – is the sole accrediting body for homeopathic education. An independent agency, it assesses homeopathic training programs in the US and Canada and is made up of professional homeopathic practitioners, educators, and supporters of homeopathy from national organizations and the public.