Homeopathy & Herbal Medicine Print

Homeopathy has developed from the concept of like to treat the like. In other words if one takes a substance that causes symptoms, when given in a homeopathic dose it can be used to treat those symptoms. An example of this would be Belladonna or Deadly Nightshade. When given in pure form, Belladonna causes palpitations and flushes. Administered in a homeopathic dose, it can be used to treat flushes and palpitations.

Preparation of homeopathic medication is by repeated dilution of the so-called 'mother tincture'. Initially each dilution is by ten, and the suffix "D" was used to indicate that the dilution was by ten. So a 10D medication has been diluted by ten parts and this has been repeated ten times.

Because early homeopaths wanted to use higher and higher dilution, the centesimal method of dilution was introduced where each dilution stage was by one hundred. The suffix "C" was used for this, so that a 10C indicates a mother tincture which has been diluted by one hundred times and this has been repeated ten times.

This massive dilution leads to problems with acceptance in the orthodox fraternity. Clearly one reaches a stage where nothing is left of the mother tincture, and water is being diluted with water. This has led to widespread criticism of the practise and widespread rejection of its status as a valid treatment.

Homeopaths counter this argument by stating that energy is transferred by each dilution. An important process at dilution stage is that the medication has to be 'successed' at each stage of dilution, which is violent agitation. If this succession does not take place the it appears that the medication will not work. Homeopaths claim that this succession produces a vibration amongst the water molecules, the frequency of which is dependant on the mother tincture. Some credence was put to this theory by French research in the mid Eighties, but this was subsequently denounced.

In the UK there are two basic forms of homeopathy: 'classical' and 'complex'. Classical homeopathy is the use of single remedies, often at very high dilution. On the Continent, complex homeopathy is much more widely used and this involves mixtures of remedies, often at very low dilution rates. This means that there will be a herbal element involved in this form of treatment, as something of the original mother tincture remains, which could itself have direct medicinal effects.

Complex homeopathy is particularly used in Germany and there are companies as large as some UK pharmaceutical companies producing complex homeopathic medication.

Valid research in the area of either form of homeopathy would be extremely useful as it is a cheap method of treatment, and therefore could have wide implications not only in the UK but also in developing countries.