Demystifying Homeopathy

What's Homeopathy?
Copyright  C  1999 and prior years Jacob Mirman, MD. Reprinted with permission.

by Jacob Mirman, MD 

(To read the rest of Dr. Mirman's book Demystifying Homeopathy online, for free, click here.)

Homeopathy is a system of medicine whose principle was accidentally discovered by a German physician, Samuel Hahnemann, at the turn of the 19th century. It all came about when he ingested some Peruvian bark (quinine) and developed malaria-like symptoms. Knowing that malaria patients were treated with quinine, he then had the idea that possibly malaria is cured by quinine because it causes malaria-like symptoms in healthy people. He decided to explore his theory by testing other substances. His tests were conducted by either taking the substances internally himself or by administering them to healthy volunteers and then recording all of the symptoms the volunteers experienced. These recorded results created "drug pictures" also known as provings.

The next step was to give the tested substances to patients suffering from the same symptom complex represented by the drug picture recorded in the above manner. The results were incredible. People were being cured from diseases that had never been cured before. He condensed his theory into a single Latin phrase: Similia Similibus Curentur (let likes be cured by likes).

The medicines used in homeopathic treatment come from vegetable, mineral and animal sources. Some are poisons and others are inert substances in their crude form. When properly prepared, these substances lose any inherent harmful nature and develop a power to treat disease. The preparation involves serial dilutions and shaking of the product between dilutions. After several dilutions, the initial substance is essentially washed out and cannot be detected chemically in the final product. Confused? Thatís very reasonable as it makes no sense whatsoever in light of present day science. But regardless of what our sciences tell us is impossible, in practice, the higher the dilution the stronger and longer lasting the effect. 

All homeopathic remedies are FDA approved drugs. They are manufacture d by several pharmacies in the US as well as abroad to strictly set standards and in compliance with FDA regulations. 

Homeopaths assess which remedy is appropriate by conducting a very thorough interview. During this interview, the homeopath will spend 1-2 hours gathering information in order to match the patientís "disease" with one of the homeopathic "drug pictures." When the remedy is correct, oftentimes the client will experience an improved sense of well being and the eventual resolution of disease symptoms. Sometimes, the client may experience an "aggravation" or worsening of symptoms in the beginning of treatment. While these aggravations can be challenging, they are not permanent. The best way to deal with the aggravations is to stay in touch with the practitioner. Usually, the homeopath has seen similar situations and is able to guide the client through the difficult situation. 

Conditions amenable to homeopathic treatment include anything that does not involve destroyed tissue. For example, asthma, which is an inflammatory condition, can usually be resolved. Whereas, emphysema, which is the destruction of lung cells, would not be expected to reverse. It may however, be reasonable to try homeopathy even in the cases of irreversible pathology as it frequently offers palliation.

Here is a brief overview of a few of the things homeopathy has successfully addressed: inflammatory conditions, autoimmune diseases, ulcers, headaches, depression, ADD, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, seasonal affective disorder, anxiety, viral syndromes, chronic ear infections, menopausal symptoms, eczema and many more. 

We realize this explanation is in a pretty abbreviated form and may have produced more questions than it answered. If thatís the case, we encourage you to do more research. There are a number of good books on the market, which will walk you through the process at a more, user-friendly pace. For those of you who are even more dedicated, there are classes available at various locations.

About the Author:
Dr. Mirman is a board certified internist. He graduated from the University of Minnesota Medical School and completed his residency in Internal Medicine at Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois. His initial homeopathic training was with the Faculty of Homeopathy in London, England. He followed this program with a series of preceptorials with several internationally renowned homeopaths. He continued his studies by attending the ESSH School of Homeopathy in Flagstaff, Arizona. Dr. Mirman is a founding member and Registrar of Minnesota Homeopathic Association and a member of the board of directors of the ESSH School of Homeopathy.

Andrew Saul, PhD

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