Homeopathy 101: Hoax or healer?

Science and the pharmaceutical industry

There’s been a lot in the press recently about homeopathy, most of it negative. Until recently homeopathy was, along with acupuncture, considered one of the core pillars of complementary medicine, but a spate of recent attacks have led to its being formally outlawed by the NHS and regularly trashed and bashed by the newspapers and media.

The press, informed by the pharmaceutical companies and the medical community, repeatedly condemn homeopathy, throwing it firmly into a ‘charlatan’ pile - alongside most of the other complementary and alternative therapies that they claim have no basis in science and no evidence to prove efficacy.

Those with an anti-homeopathy agenda would have you believe that there is little research that shows quantifiable results, despite the more than 300 double-blind and placebo-controlled trials published in respected peer-reviewed medical journals, including The Lancet, The British Medical Journal, Paediatrics, Rheumatology and many others. Such positive results are simply written off and attributed to the placebo effect.  

To some degree, the nay-sayers are perhaps right. The problem with homeopathy is that you cannot really do so-called ‘proper’ conventional medical trials, blind or not, because the remedies are prescribed individually, each specific to the person with the problem. The same remedy will not, like with prescription drugs, get you the same result. You could have 10 people with the same sickness, but each might need a different prescription despite the apparent similarity of their illness.

If you believed everything that has been written, you might never give homeopathy a second glance. But have you considered the possibility that scientific evidence and statistics might be manipulated to give the results that funders are looking for and paying for? Complementary therapies in general don’t offer potential for large profits, and are not therefore supported by the large drug companies. CAM (complementary and alternative medicine) lacks the budget to spend the millions of pounds necessary to ‘prove’ efficacy, and therein lies the answer to the paucity of CAM research. As with much in this world, it’s all down to money.

Yet as more and more of the world’s populations turn to natural remedies and healing methods that are gentler, less expensive and oftentimes just as effective as the pharmaceutical choices, complementary therapies are beginning to be perceived as a potential threat that may ultimately divert funds from the drug company coffers. Which is why you will see article after article filled with negative comments about homeopathy, for instance - and if enough of the nay saying sticks in your mind they will have achieved their goal - possibly preventing you from ever experiencing homeopathy for yourself.

So, as I have said many times before, and despite the risk of boring you, will probably say many times again, please make up your own mind. Don’t have your health decisions made for you. For therein lies the path to Big Brother World, and we are all far too far along that road already.


How does Homeopathy work?

Homeopathy was invented by Samuel Hahnemann in 1796. The name homeopathy is taken from two Greek words that combined mean ‘similar suffering’ and the system of healing that he created is based on the idea that ‘like cures like’ and that something that triggers a certain symptom or illness can also be used as a remedy to alleviate it. Homeopathic medicines are made from plant, mineral and animal substances, so diluted in water that the amount of molecules from the original compound are often virtually - and sometimes entirely - non-existent in the final product. They contain, however, the energetic frequency of the original substance, and this is what achieves the healing.

Homeopaths work on the basis that every part of your physical body has an energetic field and that any disturbance or imbalance in that energy field will be the cause of the patient’s physical symptoms. By treating that energy field with specific energy remedies, the corresponding area of the physical body is also restored to health. 

Central to homeopathy is the concept that the same substance that can make you ill in large doses, can also heal you in a minuscule dose. 10 cups of coffee, for example, would make most of us sit up sleepless all night long. In a homeopathic dose, however, coffee is a cure for sleeplessness. 

Homeopathy is often dismissed by those who don’t grasp its fundamentals. They mock the minuscule amounts of substance the remedies may contain - and query how any tiny sugar pill, or pillule, could possibly achieve all that is claimed for it. They knowingly quote ‘the placebo effect’, and use as proof of homeopathy’s charlatan tendencies the fact that the NHS is no longer using it.

And indeed, to those of us used to popping pharmaceutical pills, the homeopathic approach may seem like something straight out of Hogwarts. How could something so ephemeral possibly work? Yet time and time again it just simply does.


‘First do no harm’ - The Hippocratic Oath

Unlike their pharmaceutical compatriots, homeopathic remedies, in combination or alone, will rarely harm you. They usually either work for you - or they do not. And unlike the majority of medical prescriptions, some of which you can expect to be on for the rest of your life, a homeopathic remedy is a short term, and usually, effective cure - and best of all rarely has side effects of any kind.

‘Side effect’ is a phrase that summons up an image of a slightly harmless reaction, of not much import, neither here nor there in the scheme of things. Yet I have, however, far too often listened to the serious regrets of people whose prescription drugs created irreversible health issues more distressing than their original problem. Read the small print. Conventional drugs carry with them risks that can be literally life changing. They come with the possibility of full on ‘effects’ - not ‘side’ effects at all.


Homeopathy is directional

Homeopathic healing happens in a logical and very particular way. Firstly, the healing starts internally, working from the inside of your body out. Secondly, that healing moves downwards, from the top of your head towards your feet, resolving what it encounters on the way, and lastly, and rather remarkably I always think, the symptoms that appeared last always disappear first.

Even more fascinatingly, the pill that melts so innocently under your tongue can trigger a short burst of an old illness or symptoms from long ago, healing the residue of whatever is ‘leftover’ in your body at the same time as dealing with the more recent problems.


Less is more...

This is the bit that boggles the logical brain and many people struggle with. Hahnemann himself believed that the smaller the amount of the original compound in the remedy, the more powerful its potential for healing, and that the more a homeopathic medicine undergoes ‘potentization’, a form of dilution with vigorous shaking, the more effective that remedy is.

Dr Karin Lenger’s research has now proved him correct, showing that the highest energy of homeopathic remedies is found in those that are most highly succussed (the aforementioned shaking) and highly diluted.


Homeopathic mathematics

Do you know what the different letters and numbers that appear on the tiny phials actually mean? Most of us recognise the name of the substance itself, but 1X? Or 6C? What’s the difference? Which is more potent?  Each original substance is made into a tincture first, and then diluted into different ‘potencies’.  Usually, the potency is matched to the vitality of the person who will be taking it.

The decimal or X (the X refers to the Roman numeral for 10) potencies are diluted on a scale of 1:10. To make a 1X dose (1:10), a physical compound - arnica, for example - is taken and diluted into a solution that is nine parts water and one part arnica. It is then shaken 10-20 times, or ‘potentised’.

2X (1:100) would take one part of this 1X solution and mix it with 9 parts water and then shake it 10-20 times. 3X (1:1,000)would take one part of the 2X solution, mix with 9 parts water, shake and on it goes. 6X works out at 1:1,000,000.. Homeopaths often use substances as dilute as 200X (or 200 dilutions of 1:10). Each time a remedy is shaken, or ‘succussed’, more energy is impressed into it, so that, although 200X might seem extremely diluted, it is also extremely potent

The centisimal or C scale was invented by Hahnemann. Dilute a physical compound 1:100 parts water and you have 1C (C being the Roman numeral for 100). Hahnemann recommended 30C as an effective dosage. 2C is a 1:10,000 dilution of the original substance.

M potencies are diluted by 1:1,000 per iteration

Complicated, and hard to get your head around.

When you choose a remedy from a health shop or pharmacy you are likely to be offered one of the ‘low potency’ remedies, which include 6C, 9C, 12C or 30C. The ‘high potency’ remedies are those above 200C, including 1,000C (1M) and 10,000C (10M). These should always be prescribed by a professional.


How to take homeopathic remedies

You will probably be given a small bottle of tiny white balls or pillules. Follow the instructions on the bottle and suck the pills at least 5 minutes apart from eating or drinking anything else. Do not touch them with your fingers but pour into the cap of the bottle and from there place directly under your tongue and hold until they melt away.


Homeopathic remedy protocols

*Always start with a low dose, so that you can progress to a higher one later.

*A lower dose will cover a wider range of symptoms. The higher doses are specific and best prescribed by an experienced homeopath.

*The more sudden and severe your symptoms, the higher the initial dose you could start with.

*The higher the potency of the dose, the less often you need to take it.

*Mental or emotional problems sometimes need a higher potency and are said to respond better to 30C or higher doses - although if the remedy is rightly prescribed for the patient they can also respond to a lower potency.

*Reduce or stop taking the pills as your symptoms improve.


The best place for information and help regarding different remedies, apart from a well-qualified practitioner, are the pharmacists at Ainsworths, Helios or Nelsons.


Ones to try? Best stock remedies for your Homeopathic medicine chest

Here are a few of the more popular tried and tested homeopathic remedies. Experiment, and decide for yourself, and please feed back and let me know how it went for you…

To avoid Tetanus after an injury - Ledum 30C and hypericum 30 C – every 4 hrs

Sea sickness - Tabacum 200C acute sickness, feel better in the fresh air or Nux Vomica 30C- take 1 hour before sailing – repeat every 4 hrs. Cocculus 30C – when food makes you feel horribly nauseous.

Surgery - Arnica 6X for inflammation, trauma bruising – take after surgery rather than before (but only if you are not on a blood thinner).  Calendula 30C - speeds healing and is anti-septic – take twice a day for 5 days to speed up healing. Continue for 2 weeks.

Sprained ankles or knees – Ruta 30C and Arnica – every 4 hrs.

Stings or bites – Apis 30C or 200C if it’s swollen, red, hot or painful.  Ledum 30C or 200C if the bite is septic and feels better when cooled.

Colds, flu - Anas Barb 200C, one pillule four times daily. In France this is the homeopathic best seller - but known by the name (legal reasons) of Oscillococcinum.

Weak pelvic floor muscles - Aletris Oligoplex 6 to 8 weeks - 72% apparently become symptom free...

Diarrhoea/ food poisoning – Arsenicum 30C or 200C

Fever in young children – hot to touch, red in colour and thirsty – Belladonna 30 or 200C

Teething – Chamomilla 30C

Anxiety – before an engagement/public speaking – Lycopodium 30C – every 4 hrs.

Burns – if a scald – Causticum; if more of a blister – Kali Bich.  Both 30C and take every 4 hours.  Heat stroke – Belladonna 30C.

Eye infection or styes – Pulsatilla 30C

Bruising – Arnica 30C

Colic – Camomilla 30C

Cystitis – Cantharis 30C

Period pains – Mag Phos in tissue salt form - 6X put in warm water and sip regularly…

And last but not least – Cellulite - Rhus tox 6 and Apis 30. One of each pill for two nights in a row before bed. 10 days later 60-70 per cent of your cellulite may - or may not - be gone... Reports back to me on this one PLEASE! 

The media seems to have it in for homeopathy these days, but keep your mind open or you may find yourself missing out on a healing system light years ahead of its time. It’s quantum physics versus the flat earther. Far ahead of its time in the 19th century, and still struggling to be understood in the 21st. The proof, as ever, is only to be found in tasting the pudding - or should that be the pillule?  

Don’t let other people make your mind up for you - ever.



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Written by health advocate Sara Davenport, founder of one of the UK's leading breast cancer charities, Breast Cancer Haven. With over twenty years' experience in holistic health, Sara's digital dose of wellness teaches you to listen to your body, tweak your lifestyle and improve your health. 

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