The Family Guide to Homeopathy: Symptoms and Natural Solutions

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9780133069945: The Family Guide to Homeopathy: Symptoms and Natural Solutions

A Safe, Natural, and Effective Alternative Medicine

Millions of people, including health professionals, are mining to homeopathy, a form of medicine that treats illness by stimulating the body's natural defenses. Dr. Lockie explains how homeopathy can help restore health, rather than simply fight disease.

This family reference guide provides all the information necessary to understand how homeopathy works, and how any individual can use it simply and safely to treat a wide variety of illnesses. Accessibly organized by symptoms affecting all parts of the body from head to toe, The Family Guide to Homeopathy offers a list of remedies for hundreds of conditions along with details on how often and how long to give the remedy. It covers everything from heart disease to menopause, from allergies to ulcers, including advice on when to consult a doctor. Special sections feature symptoms and solutions for special problems affecting men, women, infants, and the elderly.

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About the Author:

Dr. Andrew Lockie has had seventeen years of medical experience both as a GP and as a homeopathic physician. He is a homeopathic consultant to the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine and has written numerous articles for both the medical and lay press. He has recently been appointed information officer at the Faculty of Homeopathy in London where he is responsible for handling public relations.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Part 1

WHAT IS HOMEOPATHY

Homeopathy is an exceptionally safe form of medicine that treats the whole individual. It is equally concerned with maintaining good health and aiding recovery from ill health, and like all forms of medicine -- even those that use powerful drugs and high-technology surgery -- relies for its effects on the body's own powers of self-regulation and self-healing. Since its development nearly two hundred years ago homeopathy has benefited millions of people, young and old, from all walks of life, in countries all over the world.

The word "homeopathy" (also spelled "homoeopathy") comes from two Greek words, omio (meaning "same") and pathos (meaning "suffering"). A homeopathic remedy is one that produces the same symptoms as those the sick person complains of, and in doing so sharply provokes the body into throwing them off. "Like may be cured by like," also expressed as similia similibus curentur, is the basic principle of homeopathic therapeutics. The opposite therapeutic approach is "allopathy," which is defined as a system of therapeutics in which diseases are treated by producing a condition incompatible with or antagonistic to the condition to be cured or alleviated.

The idea that remedies and symptoms sharing certain key features might interact in such a way as to banish illness, and the implied corollary that two similar states of discomfort cannot exist in the same body, was not new even two centuries ago. The great achievement of Samuel Hahnemann, the founder of homeopathy, was that he systematically studied, for himself, all the orthodox medical remedies of his day, noted their effects on healthy people, and then used this knowledge to give very specific and safe treatment to sick people. This was revolutionary in an age when medicines were indiscriminately prescribed, often in poisonous quantities.

Homeopathy is a naturopathic form of medicine -- it seeks to assist Nature rather than bludgeon her, to assist the body's own healing energies rather than override them. The "disease" is not only the virus or the bacteria -- these are merely the organisms that move in when the body's defenses are low. The discovery of legions of microorganisms since Hahnemann's time has done nothing to alter this fundamental truth. The fever, the inflammation, the diarrhea, the headache -- these are not the disease either, but the body's attempt to return to normality. Such ideas may be difficult to adjust to if one has been brought up in the belief that both attack and cure come from the outside, but they are ideas that have been accepted by humanistic physicians since the time of Hippocrates.

Another tenet of naturopathic and therefore of homeopathic philosophy is that every person is different. The same remedy, the same diet, the same general advice does not necessarily help everyone with the same ailment. Indeed there is no such thing as the same ailment; the course of a particular kind of cancer in one person will not be the same as that in another. Accordingly, homeopathy has the most flexible system of remedy prescribing of any system of therapeutics, as this book demonstrates. The most effective remedy is always the one that matches three things: the physical symptoms, the mental and emotional symptoms, and the general sensitivities of the person concerned. It is also taken in the lowest possible dose for the least possible time.

If homeopathy is, or becomes, your first line of health care, you will probably want to consult a professional homeopath from time to time. Indeed his or her skills should complement and guide your own. The purpose of this book is to enable you to give homeopathic first aid and to help you decide on a sensible course of action for ailments and diseases already diagnosed. It will also enable you to treat homeopathically the symptoms that do not add up to any particular ailment, symptoms that general practitioners see the most of and find hardest to treat.

Homeopathy is also a rational system of medicine. If the body's defense systems are handicapped by poor diet, bad habits, destructive emotions, and environmental stresses, it stands to reason that homeopathic remedies, of themselves, will be of limited benefit. If you consult a homeopath, he or she may suggest a change of diet or lifestyle before prescribing any remedy. Homeopathy is not a system for those in search of instant, easy answers, although it can act very swiftly in acute conditions. It requires careful selfmonitoring and a willingness to stick to a course of action. The prize is higher vitality and greater resistance to all disease processes.

THE BEGINNINGS OF HOMEOPATHY

The "father" of homeopathy was Samuel Christian Hahnemann, born in Dresden in 1755. Despite his humble background -- his father worked in a porcelain factory -- he acquired a good education, became fluent in eight languages, and studied chemistry and medicine. He then set up in practice as a physician. But the accepted medical customs of his day, which included excessive purging, bloodletting, and cavalier prescribing of drugs that often caused more suffering than they cured, gnawed at his conscience, and after a few years he turned to translating rather than doctoring to earn his living.

It was while he was translating a treatise on herbs by a Dr. Cullen of Edinburgh that he came across the tiny seed that was to flower into a whole new system of medicine. Cullen stated that quinine, an astringent substance purified from the bark of the cinchona tree (Cinchona calisaya), was a good treatment for malaria because it was an astringent. Why, Hahnemann wondered, should quinine have an effect on malaria when other, more powerful, astringents did not? He decided to investigate. For several days he dosed himself with quinine and noted down his reactions in great detail. It seemed that in a healthy person, himself, quinine produced all the symptoms of malaria -- fever, sweating, shivering, weakness. Was this why it also cured malaria?

Fascinated, Hahnemann repeated the quinine tests, which he called "provings," on his acquaintances, again noting their reactions in meticulous detail. He then went on to test other substances in widespread use, such as arsenic, belladonna, and mercury. There were strict requirements for the people involved in these provings. They had to be healthy in mind and body; they could not take anything that might confuse the results, such as alcohol, tea, coffee, or spicy foods; and they were to avoid "all disturbing passions."

Hahnemann found that people's responses varied. Some of his volunteers showed one or two mild symptoms in response to a particular substance, but others experienced vigorous reactions with many and varied symptoms. The symptoms most commonly found for each substance he called "first line" or "keynote" symptoms. "Second line" symptoms were less common, and "third line" symptoms rare or idiosyncratic. Together these symptoms added up to a "drug picture" of the substance concerned.

Using the results of his provings, Hahnemann went on to test various substances on sick people. But before he did so he questioned them thoroughly about their symptoms, general health, way of life, and attitudes, and gave them a physical examination. From each interview and examination he built up what he called a "symptom picture," then prescribed the substance whose drug picture most closely matched it. The closer the match, the more successful the treatment. What he had suspected from his early experiments with quinine was indeed proving to be the case: A remedy and a disease that produce the same symptoms cancel each other out in some way. The adage similia similibus curentur, "like may be cured by like," was true. In his first essay on the subject, A New Principle for Ascertaining the Curative Powers of Drugs and Some Examination of the Previous Principles, published in 1796, he stated: "One should imitate Nature, which at times heals a chronic illness by another additional one. One should apply in the disease to be healed, particularly if it is chronic, that remedy which is able to simulate another artificially produced disease, as similar as possible, and the former will be healed...." The name he gave to this new principle of healing was "homeopathy."

This was not the end of the story, however. To Hahnemann's dismay some of his patients reported that their symptoms actually got worse before they got better. To prevent such "aggravations," as he called them, Hahnemann started to dilute his remedies. First he made a tincture of the substance concerned, leaving it to stand in a solvent, usually pure alcohol, for one month. He then strained off the liquid, the "mother tincture." Then he took 1 drop of mother tincture and added it to 99 drops of pure alcohol, a dilution factor of 1:100. To mix the 1 drop with the 99 thoroughly he "succussed" the mixture by repeatedly banging it on a hard surface for a specific length of time. The dilution process could be repeated again and again, with each successive dilution having one-hundredth the strength of the preceding dilution. If the substance was insoluble, it was triturated, or ground up, before being dissolved into solution.

To Hahnemann's surprise, diluted remedies not only forestalled "aggravations" but seemed to act much faster and more effectively. They were, paradoxically, weaker but more potent. The process of successive dilution and succussion "potentized" the original substance in a way that is difficult to explain.

Today most homeopathic remedies are available in centesimal potencies, that is, successively diluted by a factor of 100. It is also possible to obtain some of them in decimal potencies, successively diluted by a factor of 10, or as mother tinctures. In this book 6c is the potency recommended for most acute or self-limiting ailments, and 30c the potency recommended in chronic conditions or emergencies: 6c means that the remedy has been diluted six times by a factor of 100, and 30c that it has been diluted 30 times by a factor of 100. This means t...

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