What Is Homeopathy And What Does It Mean?
Filed under Principles & Practice of Homeopathy
WHAT IS HOMEOPATHY AND WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
Homeopathy is the science of treating sick people based on the principle that anything a medicinal substance can cause in the way of symptoms, that same substance can cure those same symptoms when they appear in a sick person.
Now, that’s a mouthful. To be very simple, let’s look at milk allergy. A lot of people simply cannot drink milk. If they do, they get sick. Their stomach bloats; they get abdominal cramps; they may get diarrhea. An infinitesimally small dose of milk, one that has been diluted hundreds of times, could, if given to a person with milk allergy, cure their sensitivity to milk. In ‘homeospeak’ we say, “Like cures like.” That is to say, a small dose of milk can modify or eliminate a milk sensitivity.
I once treated a man with an extreme allergy to fire ants. When bitten by a fire ant, he became violently ill. His throat swelled; he became short of breath and his heart rate accelerated. He was so sensitive to fire ants that he feared he might die if bitten again. As a result, he carried with him a ready-to-go injection of adrenaline prescribed by his doctor.
I gave him a medicine called Formica rufa which is prepared from an ant that is able to secrete formic acid from its abdomen. Presumably he was allergic to formic acid. In the homeopathic formulation, Formica rufa is diluted many hundreds of times and each time it is shaken or succussed vigorously. I gave this man a single dose of Formica rufa. Some weeks later he was again bitten by the fire ant and did not react. The homeopathic medicine had immunized him.
We can do the same thing with people who are allergic to bee stings. The medicine Apis mellifica is prepared from a honey bee which has been soaked in alcohol in order to infuse it with the various chemical constituents of the bee. Using a filter, the particulate matter is removed. This remaining solution of alcohol contains all the chemicals that once made up the honey bee. A drop of this alcohol is then diluted serially and each time it is diluted it is shaken vigorously or, as we say, ‘succussed’. When given to a person with an allergy to bee stings it often eliminates the allergy and the person can, in the future, withstand a bee sting without reacting. Another use is the treatment of an acute bee sting where it can relieve the pain and swelling often within minutes.
To return to the definition of homeopathy—the word comes from the Greek ‘hómois-’ meaning ‘like’ or ‘similar’ and ‘-pathos’ meaning ‘suffering.’ We often say, ‘Like Cures Like.’ So a substance that can cause symptoms can remove those symptoms. When we treat an illness we choose a homeopathic medicine that is ‘like’ the pathology (suffering) of the patient. When that medicine matches, point by point, the illness, the patient recovers.