By using small doses of medicinal substances prepared from natural, non-synthesized elements, homeopathic doctors area able to develop therapeutic drugs referred to as homeopathic remedies. Fully answering the question what is homeopathy involves more than just mixing plant, mineral, animal or other materials together to prevent cures for a variety of ailments.
The effectiveness of homeopathic remedies relies on the Law of Similars. This is a unique rule of nature that essentially means “like cures like”. In other words, a reduced dose of homeopathic medicine given to someone that actually causes a comparable sickness in that person will eliminate symptoms of the sickness. For example, a common homeopathic remedy for the common cold is Allium cepa, or red onion. The Law of Similars governing the efficacy of homeopathic remedies states that the elements comprising an onion causes congestion, a runny nose and sneezing, the same elements given in very small amounts should help a person overcome similar cold symptoms.
Another example of homeopathy is using small amounts of diluted caffeinated coffee to treat someone suffering from insomnia or anxiety. Since larger doses of caffeine cause sleeplessness and nervousness in most people, the “like cures like” principle forming the basis of homeopathic principles should be applicable with caffeine as well.
Doctors of homeopathy prepare homeopathic remedies through a process called potentization, in which the natural element is diluted with purified water or alcohol in an unbreakable container and then shaken as vigorously as possible while striking it against something flexible or elastic. Called “succussion” by homeopathic practitioners, this technique is supposed to activate the diluted substance into eliminating symptoms originally caused by the natural substance.
Three different logarithmic scales defining the potency of each remedy governs the method of measuring homeopathic remedies. The “C” or “centesimal” scale dilutes substances by a factor of 100. For example, a substance requiring “two C” dilution will need to be diluted twice–1/100 and then one more time out of that 1/100 solution. The decimal (X or D) scale is also used that advocates diluting substances to ten times it original potency.
One popular theory possibly explaining why homeopathic remedies seem to alleviate symptoms of many illnesses involves a reaction occurring when the original element and the water or alcohol used to dilute the element are violently mixed during the succussion process. Scientists believe that the creation of nanostructures comprised of an exclusive, robust ingredient remain in the remedy even when the solution has been diluted many times over.
Homeopathic treatments most frequently administered are designed to relieve non-life threatening health conditions such as diarrhea, menopausal difficulties, flu and cold, general pain, allergies, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, ear infections and asthma. However, people suffering serious illnesses such as cancer or malignant tumors who have not benefited from traditional pharmaceuticals often seek help from homeopathic practitioners in an attempt to find an alternative cure, such as homeopathic treatment for osteoarthritis.
Although regulation of homeopathic remedies remain under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, the FDA is not responsible for evaluating the effectiveness or safety of homeopathic treatments. However, the FDA does enforce policies concerning homeopathic drugs described in Conditions under Which Homeopathic Drugs May be Marketed.