The Other Medicine

A user’s guide to homeopathic remedies

by Mary Jo Ruggieri

Homeopathy, often called “the other medicine,” reaches across the world. It is used in many villages in the Middle East, hospitals in India and Greece and all through Europe. A homeopathic remedy, when prescribed correctly, will act as quickly as an antibiotic (maybe faster) with no side effects.

Dr. Kathleen Jones, a teacher, practitioner and specialist in homeopathy, will share her expertise with us as we follow the yellow brick road to understanding classical homeopathy:

Homeopathy began with Dr. Samuel Hahnemann, a German chemist and medical doctor who discovered the “laws of similars,” or “like cures like.” He discovered that by treating patients with very small amounts of a substance (homeopathic doses), he could achieve cures far quicker than his fellow doctors who used very large and often poisonous doses. He declared that a substance that is poisonous in large doses could cure in very small doses. A good example of this would be nitroglycerin, which given in small amounts treats angina but in large amounts will cause angina.

Hahnemann continued his study by using himself and other volunteers. They would take small quantities of substances and report their symptoms. These results would later be used to treat patients with similar symptoms–and cures resulted. Hahnemann lived from 1755 to 1843, and by the end of his life, use and acceptance of homeopathy spread throughout Europe. Homeopathy then became popular in the United States; in the 1800s through early 1900s it was the most widely used form of medicine in this country.

In the early 1900s, allopathic medicines were introduced. Chemically based drugs were developed and large companies began to push aside the simpler and less expensive homeopathic remedies. Medical colleges were forced, for financial reasons, to remove homeopathic courses and allopathic-based medicine was born.

In Europe, freedom of choice continued and to this day you can walk into any pharmacy

and see half of the store filled with homeopathic remedies. With the recent movement toward more natural approaches to many of life’s problems, homeopathy has made a comeback in the U.S.

Dr. Jones suggests that to get the best results from homeopathic remedies, one must first understand the way they are made and sold. We may get closer to Oz if we use our brains to understand this concept!

You will often see remedies listed as a “10C” or a “12X.” Each number and letter signifies the potency and the dilution to which the remedy is made. The original formula (mother tincture or mother solution) is made out of herb, animal or mineral substances and prepared in alcohol. It is diluted successively in water by a factor of 10 each time. If we use 10 milliliters of mother solution and add 90 milliliters of water, the resulting solution is called 1X potency. In Britain, the commonly used scale is the X scale, but in other European countries they use the C scale, which uses a factor of 100. Some practitioners use the M scale, a factor of 1,000.Most newcomers to homeopathic medicines use the 6C or 6X potencies, as they are the safest. Higher potencies are stronger, deep-acting and work over a long period of time and can produce unwanted results when used by the inexperienced. Most health food stores carry only low potencies; if you need to explore higher potencies, it is best to see a qualified practitioner.

Remedies are usually sold in the form of tablets, pills or capsules. These are made of a simple harmless carrier substance such as lactose and are easy to take and pleasant tasting.

Homeopathic remedies are usually selected by a symptom picture and can be used for mental, emotional and physical problems. In acute situations, you can take one dose every half-hour for up to six hours and then hourly for six doses, then three times a day. You can take a remedy for about two weeks; after that time, for a chronic condition, you should consult a practitioner.

Remedies should be taken within 15 to 20 minutes of food and drink. Allow the remedy to dissolve under the tongue and do not wash it down with water. Also avoid coffee and peppermint as they can nullify results.

Homeopathy as a system of medicine has many advantages. Jones explains that homeopathic remedies are easy to administer, readily available, cost-effective, suit a

wide range of people and they can treat the symptoms before developing into a major problem. It does help to keep that tin man oiled.

The next time you feel flu-ish, or have digestive problems, you might consider popping a daily dose of homeopathics. As Dorothy said as she was leaving Oz, “there’s no place like home”–homeopathic remedy that is!

May the longtime sun shine upon you.