Homeopathy as Part of a Healthy Lifestyle
Supporting the Wisdom of the Body
By: Dana Ullman, MPH
The human body is brilliant, truly brilliant. We as humans have survived as long as we have because of the wisdom of the body. Sadly, however, there is a strong tendency to assume that symptoms are something wrong with the body that must be treated, inhibited, or suppressed. Although this type of thinking may make sense to some people, it doesn't make sense to those of us who have knowledge of or respect for the human body.
In fact, another way to understand symptoms is that they are an important, if not vital, effort of the organism in response to stress or infection, and symptoms are the bodymind's best effort to defend and heal itself. The body creates fever, inflammation, pain, discharge, or whatever is necessary in order to defend and heal itself. While these symptoms may be painful or discomforting, medical treatments that inhibit or suppress symptoms may provide helpful short-term benefits, but they also tend to create a more serious and chronic illness.
The derivation of the word "symptom" is helpful to better understanding of the disease process as well as the healing process. The word "symptom" comes from a Greek root and refers to "something that falls together with something else." Symptoms are a sign or a signal of something else, and treating them doesn't necessarily change that "something else." Just because a drug gets rid of a symptom does not mean that the person is cured. Using drugs to suppress symptoms is akin to pulling the plug on your car's oil pressure warning light. Just because the light is turned off doesn't mean that your car's oil pressure is "cured". In fact, ignoring that light may lead to your car's breakdown.
Once one has a respect for the "wisdom of the body", it makes sense to use various natural therapies in order to augment and support the body's defenses rather than suppressing them. Ultimately, homeopathic medicines are some of the most powerful natural drugs available today to help augment the body's ability to heal itself. Because homeopathic medicines are chosen for their ability to cause experimentally in healthy people the similar symptoms as the sick person's is presently experiencing, each medicine is chosen for its ability to mimic his or her own body's wisdom which then helps the healing process.
The trick to finding the correct homeopathic medicine that will augment a sick person's defenses is to find a medicine that has the capacity to cause the similar syndrome of symptoms that this person is experiencing. Homeopaths are too scientific-minded to assume that there is one medicine to fit the symptoms of everyone with the same disease. Instead, homeopaths assume that everyone has his or her own syndrome, of which the disease is but a part.
To be more specific, one person's "headache syndrome" will be substantially different than another's. One person's headache syndrome may have pain behind the eyes, worse on the left side, aggravated by motion, by touch, and by heat, relieved by lying quietly, by applying firm pressure, and by exposure to coolness. This person's symptoms are accompanied by constipation and nausea. In contrast, another person's headache syndrome includes a pulsating and throbbing headache in the forehead that is worse on the right side, comes and goes quickly, is relieved by standing or sitting, and is aggravated by lying down, by exposure to cold, by drafts, or being jarred. This second person is also experiencing abdominal cramping and flushes of heat, both of which come on rapidly and then leave just as rapidly.
A homeopath would prescribe Bryonia Alba (wild hops) to the first person and Belladonna (deadly nightshade) to the second person.
By learning to treat an acute illness correctly, you will be more likely to not get a chronic illness, and you'll be a lot healthier for it.
The Top Ten Homeopathic Medicines for the New Medicine Cabinet:
Below are some homeopathic medicines that should be a part of your medicine cabinet. The descriptions provided for each medicine is only a small part of what you should know about them and their many benefits. For more detailed information on each medicine, it is recommended that you obtain one or more of the popular homeopathic guidelines (see the Resources section at the end of this article).
A "Homeopathic Vitamin C".....
Aconitum napellus (monkshood). This medicine is very helpful at the first stages of an infection, whether it be a common cold, sore throat, cough, or earache. It'll often stop the pain and discomfort in its tracks.
The Common Cold can be cured.....
Allium cepa (onion): Because it is known to cause tearing of the eyes and dripping of the nose, it is a frequent remedy for the common cold (or even certain allergies), especially when there is a thin, watery, and burning nasal discharge that irritates the nostrils. Typically, the person's symptoms are worse in a warm room and are relieved in a cool room or in the open air.
The most important First Aid medicine.....
Arnica (mountain daisy): This is the #1 remedy used for shock and trauma from injury. It also helps to reduce pain from injury and to speed the healing process. Whether you're into competitive sports or exercise regularly or if you simply don't like to feel the pain of an injury, Arnica is the place to start. Arnica should be taken internally in pill form, and it is also very helpful externally (in an ointment or spray form) for sprains and strains.
The most effective remedy for Colic or Teething.....
Many parents owe their sleep to homeopathy, not because it helps them directly, but because it is so good for their infant. Chamomilla is THE remedy for the irritable infant, especially from teething or colic. The infant cries incessantly, and nothing seems to provide any relief, except carrying them, and even then, the crying begins recurs as soon as the parent puts the child down.
The most useful medicine for Injuries to Nerves.....
Hypericum (St. John's wort): This remedy is the first medicine to consider for injuries to the nerves or to parts of the body rich with them, including the fingers, toes, and back. Any injury with shooting pains should be given this remedy.
The most valuable medicine for the 1st stages of Sadness or Anxiety.....
Ignatia (St. Ignatius bean): The majority of psychiatrists will one day soon use this remedy. It is one of the leading homeopathic medicines for acute grief, anxiety, and depression, especially after a death or separation from a loved one. The person sighs frequently, has a lump in the throat, and may tremble.
The 1st medicine to consider for PMS.....
Magnesia phosphorica (phosphate of magnesia): This is the first medicine to consider for menstrual cramps. It has helped prevent many women turn from Dr. Jekkyl into Ms. Hyde as a result of menstrual cramps. It is particularly indicated when a woman's cramps cause her to bend over and when they experience some relief from warm applications.
The most important medicine after Over-indulgence.....
Nux vomica (poison nut): This is the premier medicine for ailments exacerbated by overeating or over-drinking or by overuse of conventional or recreational drugs. Considering how many people have these vices, this is an all too frequent medicine today.
The many uses of a medicine for children and women's health.....
Rhus tox (poison ivy): This medicine is the most common remedy for sprains and strains. It is especially indicated when a person experiences a "rusty gate" syndrome, that is, pain on initial motion which is reduced the more the person continues to move. It is also often given to people with the flu or arthritis who experience this similar rusty gate syndrome.
By adding these homeopathic medicines into your home's medicine cabinet, you will be following the wisdom of Hippocrates, the father of medicine, whose most famous words were: "First, do no harm." Homeopathic medicines can and should be considered first medicines because they are so much safer than any other type of drug. Not only do they have a spectacular history of safety, there are no known side effects to them or drug interactions about which to have serious concern.
When homeopathic medicines are added to your healthy lifestyle of eating well, exercising, and feeling and expressing love, your health and happiness will be the only side effect you will experience.
Stephen Cummings, MD, and Dana Ullman, MPH. Everybody's Guide to Homeopathic Medicines. New York: Jeremy Tarcher, 2004.
Dennis Chernin, MD, MPH, The Complete Homeopathic Resource to Common Ailments. Berkeley: North Atlantic Books, 2006.
Dana Ullman, MPH. Homeopathic Medicines for Children and Infants. New York: Jeremy Tarcher, 1994.
Dana Ullman, MPH has authored 10 books on homeopathic and natural medicine. His newest book will be published in October 2007, entitled The Homeopathic Revolution: Why Famous People and Cultural Heroes Choose Homeopathy. He has worked with alternative medicine institutes at Harvard, Columbia, University of Arizona, and UCSF. He has authored chapters in medical textbooks that specialize in pain management, cancer treatment, psychiatry, and veterinary medicine.