Treating like with like

The basic principles of this form of healing were set out in the book “Organon of the Art of Healing”, published by German physician Samuel Hahnemann in the 19th century. He stated that a remedy could cure a disease if it produced similar symptoms to those of the disease in a healthy person.

The remedies are activated during their preparation by vigorous shaking, known as succussion.

Homepathic remedies go deep. They don’t just work on a physical or mental level; they affect the etherical body of the person taking them.

I first discovered homeopathy in India when I went to a homeopathic hospital in Mumbai, seeking treatment for raging sinusitis. Since then, I’ve used it for all manner of ailments, ranging from high blood pressure, insomnia, and a hormonal imbalance to general fatigue and coughs and colds. It has helped me through various phases of grief, and when I gave up smoking. I have no doubt that it has boosted my body’s defences and immunity. The remedy salix fragilis (crack willow) has been particularly effective for me.

I always have a tube of carbo vegetabilis in my bag in case of indigestion, and arnica is usually on hand in case of bumps and bruises. I keep apis mellifica and ledum palustre handy, too, for insect bites and stings.

There has been much criticism of homeopathy, with many scientists saying traces of the original substance cannot possibly exist in high dilutions, so there must be a placebo effect. Others accept that traces do exist, whatever the dilution.

Proponents of homeopathy have included J.D. Rockefeller, Mahatma Gandhi, and members of Britain’s royal family. Prince Charles has long been an avid defender of this form of medicine.

Homeopaths in England and Ireland use higher dilutions (potencies) than those in France. My Irish homeopath treats me with such dilutions as 1M (a dilution of 1 part in 1,000). In France, people tend to take 5, 7, or 9 CH dilutions, usually going no higher than 15 or 30 CH. Homeopaths outside of France usually prescribe just a few doses; in France, people tend to take three or four low-potency granules every day over a period of time.

While there are those who vehemently dismiss homeopathy, many French GPs routinely prescribe the remedies. Unfortunately, some GPs prescribe homeopathy without taking a holistic approach. (Unlike in Britain, homeopathy cannot be practised in France by someone who is not a qualified doctor.)

The upside in France is that all kinds of homeopathic remedies are available in pharmacies, and they are very inexpensive; if a remedy is not in stock, you can order it easily and it arrives that day or the next. There are critics, though, who say that remedies in France are not always produced properly.

In England, some remedies are available in chemists and health food shops, but less common remedies are only available in specialist pharmacies.

Some homeopaths say that to receive the benefits of a particular remedy, you don’t even need to take it, but can write its name on a piece of paper, place it under a glass of water and, with the right intention or prayer, can receive it via the water. As my homeopath puts it: “An intentional remedy can work beautifully in a crisis.” Remedies, she says, “give you wings to do what you need to do for yourself to be happy”.

As a reiki practitioner, I can even call on the energy of a remedy and integrate it, without taking it physically. (Classical homeopaths would generally dismiss such methods.)

Classical homeopathy is strictly based on Hahnemann’s research and techniques and attention is paid to finding constitutional remedies that are prescribed one at a time. Clinical homeopaths focus more on symptoms and use very high-potency remedies. In complex homeopathy, several remedies and/or potencies are mixed together into one remedy.

Homeopathic remedies can be made from any plant or mineral. A substance that could not be taken in its natural state, like belladonna (deadly nightshade), can be taken in a homeopathic dilution. And homeopaths don’t limit themselves to the plant or mineral world; pretty well anything that exists can lend itself to homeopathic dilution. (The remedy sepia is drawn from cuttlefish ink.)

One homeopath in England has worked with a remedy prepared from fragments of a stone circle. Others have proved (tested) remedies drawn from all manner of elements, including basaltic lava from Arizona.

Peter Fraser, the director of the Institute of Homeopathy in Bristol, England, has taken a particular interest in proving and using new remedies, focusing on chronic fatigue syndrome, allergic reactions, hyperactivity and concentration disorders, auto-immune disease, and HIV. He has overseen the proving of remedies drawn from all kinds of insects, including the plague locust. The Atlantic herring, the cockroach, the house sparrow, and the western European badger have all lent themselves to homeopathic proving.

There has even been a remedy made from a piece of the Berlin Wall. My homeopath had this remedy, and says it was so powerful she had to keep it away from her other remedies, out in the garden shed.

According to an editorial in the International Homeopathic Internet Journal, “Berlin Wall has many symptoms that fit the psychological aspects of that wall, a split between two worlds. The wall in Berlin seems to have been immersed with the psychological emotions and thoughts of humankind.”

It’s fine to self-treat with homeopathy for minor ailments, or to give remedies like chamomilla or arnica to your children, but it’s not advisable to treat oneself for complex problems, or to take high dilutions without consulting a qualified homeopath. There is no single remedy for a cough or for a headache in homeopathy; two people with the same symptoms may well be given completely different remedies.

You need to be prepared for a rocky road for at least a few days if you take a high potency. The remedy will bring up old symptoms, but the good news is that they then clear for good. So, if you break out in a rash, or feel quite unwell for a short time, don’t worry; your homeopath will be thrilled. The remedy is working.

Quotes about homeopathy

“Homeopathy is one of the few medical specialties which carries no penalties, only benefits.” – Yehudi Menuhin

“Homeopathy is the latest, most refined method of treating patients economically and non-violently.” – Mahatma Ghandhi

“There have been two revelations in my life. The first was bebop, the second was homeopathy.” – Dizzy Gillespie


Institute of homeopathy

British Homeopathic Association

And this article is very comprehensive: Life Positive