Monday, February 18, 2013

The Difference Between Homeopathic Remedies and other Natural Remedies

Many people ask if there is a difference between homeopathic remedies and other natural remedies (herbs, vitamins, etc). And although they are all in the realm of alternative medicine, homeopathy is very different from other natural remedies.

Homeopathy is its own system of medicine, there are many homeopaths in the world who only prescribe homeopathic remedies, while other practitioners prescribe any combination of natural therapies and/or remedies.

Classical homeopathy is based on the law of similars. This law shows that disease is cured by a medicine that creates symptoms similar to those the patient is experiencing in a healthy person. Every homeopathic medicine is proven - meaning a healthy person takes the medicine and writes down all of the symptoms they experience from that medicine. That remedy will then cure those same symptoms in someone who is ill (like cures like).

An example of this: a person comes into the office and feels restless, nervous, anxious. They can't sleep at night. They experience heart palpitations. Does this state sound familiar? What do you think creates this state in a healthy individual? It's a beverage many know and love so well.


The homeopathic remedy Coffee will help a person that experiences the above symptoms (the same symptoms that coffee causes).

Homeopathy is also based on the principle of a single medicine. A classical homeopath only gives one remedy at a time - a remedy that matches the totality of the patient. A patient doesn't leave the office with a bag full of supplements. The one remedy is considered the person's constitutional remedy. It covers the mental, emotional, and physical state of the patient. A good homeopath won't prescribe one remedy for a headache, another for constipation, but instead, the one remedy covers both of these things.

Minimum dose is another principle of homeopathy. Homeopathic remedies come from the plant, mineral and animal kingdom and very rarely contain the crude substance. Instead, a mother tincture is made from the substance. The remedy is then taken and diluted and succussed (shaken) until there is little to no substance left. This principle is confusing for many people since they can't believe that homeopathic remedies would do anything if they don't contain any crude substance. But, homeopaths have discovered that the effects of homeopathic remedies are strengthened upon dilution and as long as the medicines have been shaken between each dilution. They become very deep acting and powerful medicines (although very safe and non-toxic). This is why they are safe for babies - and everyone for that matter.

Herbal remedies contain the crude substance with active molecules. Many remedies cannot be given to pregnant women, nursing women, or babies because they contain elements that many be harmful.  You have to be very careful in what you give your baby in the herbal realm. This, again, is why we prefer the use of homeopathy for babies.

Vitamins also fall in the realm of natural remedies. Vitamins can be given through breast milk - so they are something that mommy can take. But, if you aren't breastfeeding it's difficult to give a vitamin supplement directly to baby. It's better to give this kind of nourishment through food and diet. Children can eat smoothies that are loaded with nutrients as well as fruits and veggies. Babies, on the other hand, are more difficult to get good nourishment to if they aren't breastfeeding.  This is a topic for another time, but I just wanted to show that homeopathy is also different from vitamin supplementation. Vitamins are given to support the body, but not necessarily to cure chronic ailments.

You can find homeopathic remedies from online pharmacies and local homeopathic pharmacies. Many Whole Food stores carry homeopathic remedies as well as health food stores. This is what a homeopathic remedy may look like:

There are also different potencies for homeopathic remedies. What you take yourself or give to your child depends on how sensitive they are. If you have a question, then consult a homeopath. A good potency to start with is 30C. As you can see in the picture, it says 6C. This is the potency. This is a very low potency.

A couple interesting facts about homeopathy:

  • Samuel Hahnemann is the founder of homeopathy. In Washington D.C. there is a  memorial of Samuel Hahnemann. It is the only non-war statue in Washington D.C. I think that's pretty amazing! Someone was impressed with homeopathy. 

  •  The British Royal Family has publicly used homeopathy for many years. Today, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has her own personal homeopath - Dr. Peter Fisher who is both a medical doctor and homeopath. 
Obviously, I am a strong advocate of homeopathy. To me it has been the most effective medicine - treating many complaints I had with much success.

Svea Lynn is a traditional Naturopath, classical homeopath and holistic doula. Her private doula practice can be found here. Her Montreal Natural Fertility site can be found here

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