Homeopathy has two qualities that make its use challenging. The first one involves economics: homeopathic remedies can be very cheap to use since the doses are so small. You would think this would make homeopathic treatment very popular. Unfortunately, the pharmaceutical companies have an economic interest in people using a LOT of medicine, not a little. Hahnemann–the 18th century doctor who discovered homeopathy–was literally run out of town by the pharmacists where he lived. His patients were getting better on such a small amount of medicine that he was ruining their business.
The other quality of homeopathy that makes it more difficult to use is that treatment needs to be individualized to work well. This means even though you may be lucky enough to come across a remedy that helps you, it often takes a trained homeopath to find the right one, especially when we’re talking about chronic issues.
And lastly, although it sometimes comes across as yet another conspiracy theory, it seems to be the case that the American Medical Association of the early 1900s did its best to squelch homeopathy in this country.*
But here we are in 2013! Optimistic about this wonderful form of natural healing continuing to spread again, as people re-discover its gentle power.
*Read Harris Coulter’s “Divided Legacy: the conflict between homoeopathy and the American Medical Association” for more on this.
How Conventional Medicines and Homeopathic Remedies Interact
The good news is that–with very few exceptions–they don’t interfere with each other. This means that if you are currently taking prescription medicines but you’re also interested in trying homeopathic treatment, you don’t have to wait.
One exception to this rule is medicines that are steroid-based. The reason for this lies at the core of how homeopathy works: the genius of the homeopathic remedy is its ability to trigger the body’s own healing mechanism. But! this is diametrically opposed to what steroids are designed to do, which is to suppress the body’s immune system. It wouldn’t actually hurt you to take both at the same time, but the homeopathic remedy wouldn’t have much chance of working since the steroids would be interfering with the body reacting in a natural way.
So if you are taking steroids but would like to pursue homeopathic treatment, we would start with a (free) conversation to determine what would be the best option for you in your unique situation.
Even though homeopathic remedies ARE made from natural substances–plants, minerals, animals, etc.–they are qualitatively different from vitamins and supplements. You could think of homeopathic remedies as super-concentrates, or essences. Because they are much more powerful than their “crude” origins, they are classified as medicines, and thus need to be used much more carefully. For example, if you are self-treating, don’t repeat a remedy for more than 3 days. If it hasn’t helped you by then, it isn’t going to!
Another difference in using herbs vs using a homeopathic remedy is that, while herbs might be used to address individual symptoms–e.g., a runny nose or constipation–homeopathic remedies are designed to treat the whole person, taking into account not only all physical symptoms, but emotional and mental issues as well. This whole-system aspect also means that the correct homeopathic remedy for any given person is much more difficult to find.
One of the coolest aspects of homeopathy that many people aren’t aware of is how little it can take to feel better for a long time. It’s pretty typical for a client of mine to get one dose of a homeopathic remedy and have it keep working for 3-6 weeks! How can this be? It’s not that the substance itself actually lasts that long. What happens is that the remedy sets off a natural reaction within your own system and the healing reverberations just keep going.
This is great on so many levels:
- It means homeopathic remedies are not going to break your budget.
- It means that homeopathic remedies are better for the environment since we are taking less out of it and putting less in.
- And it means that some people will be able to get off conventional medicines that are going to do long-term damage if taken daily for the rest of their lives.
And I think that’s pretty cool.