Integrated medicine as a concept is based on gentler therapies that look at the person as a whole. Be it Homeopathy, Ayurveda, Siddha or Unani, they all look at managing different aspects of an ailment than just giving a remedy to a particular health condition.
When it comes to Homeopathy, we always tend to ask, how does it work? Why do all medicines look the same? Here are answers to a few frequently asked questions on Homeopathy.
What does the phrase ‘like cures like’ mean in Homeopathy?
Homeopathy is based on the pillar of ‘like cures like’. The medicines are prepared from various sources such as plants, animals or minerals.
Dr Bhavi Mody, homeopathic consultant, Vrudhi Holistic Health Care, Mumbai, explains, “When a substance derived from these sources is given to a healthy human being, he or she develops certain symptoms.” These symptoms are recorded in a book called Materia Medica. Later when a person with similar symptoms comes to the doctor, the same substance is given to manage their condition. That is why the principle is known as “Law of similia” which is commonly known as `like cures like’.
What does a homeopath need to know about a person to prescribe the right medicine?
Homeopathic medicines are prescribed through a process called individualisation. Dr Mody says, “If two persons come with similar health conditions, each of them will get a different medicine that is customised to their needs. For this customisation, we need to take a detailed history of the person.”
She adds that the practitioners look into the cause of the ailment, the symptoms and genetic history. They also observe the individual’s emotions, thoughts, feelings and other psychological aspects in detail and prescribe the medicine accordingly.
Dr Mody reaffirms that a detailed history from childhood till date is necessary to get the best results. Homeopaths say that the onset of the ailment, whether it is sudden or gradual, is also a criterion while choosing a remedy.
Why do most of the homeopathic medicines look the same?
Homeopathic medicines are given in different forms such as globules(the small round pills), drops, ointments, creams among which globules are most commonly used.
Dr Kirthi Jawalkar, homeopathic consultant, Shree Health Care Centre, Hyderabad, says, “Homeopathic pills do not just look the same, they smell and taste the same too.”
She explains that the small, sugary globules act only as vehicles that carry the liquid homeopathic medicines that is put on top of them. This is the reason why we should not touch the globules while taking the medicines. It is always taken using the cap of the bottle. They smell similar because the medicines are alcohol based.
Are homeopathic pills safe for people with diabetes?
Dr Jawalkar says, “Cane sugar/milk sugar are commonly used in making globules. The sugar content in the small globules is minimal and hence safe for people with diabetes.”
We advise you to always consult your physician for an individual guidance as blood sugar levels and the severity vary from person to person.
Do these medicines have side effects?
Homeopathic medicines are diluted as homeopaths believe that only a small dose of the original material is enough to trigger the body’s healing response. By diluting the medicine, the side effects and addiction to the original material are reduced. A study published in the British Homeopathic Journal in 2000 looked at adverse effects published from 1970 to 1995 and found that the medicines are generally safe, and they are unlikely to trigger reactions.
Does Homeopathy also work for acute conditions?
“Homeopathy works well in both acute and chronic cases,” says Dr Mody. Acute cases like common cold, strep (sore or infected) throat are also effectively managed with Homeopathy, along with chronic conditions like arthritis and psoriasis, she adds.
Can we complement homeopathic medicine with modern medicine?
Dr Sana Parveen, homeopathic consultant, Care and Cure Homeopathic Clinic, New Delhi, gives an emphatic yes to this.
She says, “With appropriate consultation, most of the homeopathic medicines can be taken along with modern medicine.” They act well as a complementary medicine for health conditions such as diabetes and hypertension.
Dr Sana adds a word of caution, that one should not discontinue any medicine without consulting their physician.