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There is presently an unprecedented interest in natural alternatives to conventional drug and surgical therapies. Homeopathy is an alternative that is experiencing a surge in interest because of its safety and effectiveness.

What is homeopathy? Homeopathy is a therapeutic approach based upon the idea of Similia Similibus Curantur (Like cures like): A pharmacologically active substance administered to a person in good health triggers a series of symptoms. These same symptoms in a sick person can be cured by giving micro doses of this substance. For example, Ipecac in a large dose causes vomiting; in a small specialty prepared dose it becomes a main remedy for nausea and vomiting.

Who discovered homeopathy? In 1790, German physician Samuel Hahnemann began uncovering homeopathy while translating a medical document written by a Scottish doctor. Hahnemann started experimenting with Chinchona bark and found that it would cause toxicological symptoms and disorders similar to those which it cured when consumed in small doses. He then conducted provings for many other substances. A proving is an experiment to determine the mental, emotional and physical symptoms a substance produces in healthy subjects. Hahnemann also started the prescribing of homeopathic remedies.

How is a homeopathic remedy selected? The healthcare practitioner will spend anywhere from 20 minutes to two hours to collect the patient's case. The case is all of the relevant mental, emotional and physical symptoms that the patient is presently experiencing . The practitioner will then analyze the case using a repertory and materia medica. The repertory is a book which serves as an index to all of the symptoms. A materia medica is a text which describes each remedy and the symptoms and diseases associated with it. After analyzing the case the practitioner may prescribe a single or set of acute or constitutional remedies or support the function and nutrition of the body homeopathically, depending on the patient's symptoms and the training, style and experience of the practitioner.

How does homeopathy work? Researchers have produced hundreds of studies demonstrating the effectiveness of homeopathy for a variety of diseases and syndromes. Additionally, researchers have proposed multiple theories as to how homeopathy may work. These theories have yet to be proven.

How are homeopathic remedies made? There are exact specifications for the manufacture of each homeopathic remedy based on the nature of raw materials and the desired end product. The raw materials can consist of plants, minerals, metals, animal byproducts or chemicals. Most of the raw materials are from plant materials. The desired plant material is placed in a one part plant material to nine parts alcohol/water preparation (by weight). This becomes the mother tincture. The mother tincture is used to start preparing the desired dilution. If an "X" dilution is requested, the mother tincture is diluted by one part of material to nine parts of an alcohol/water mixture. If a "C" dilution is requested, the mother tincture is diluted by one part of material to ninety-nine parts of an alcohol/water mixture. The number placed before the X or the C tells the manufacturer how many times to dilute the substance in a 9 part or 99 part combination of alcohol and water. Between each dilution step, the remedies must be succussed. Succussion is the process of shaking or pounding the remedies. The number and the letter after the name of the remedy are called the potency. The final step of preparation is to make the remedy in a form appropriate for consumption. The remedies can be in drop, tablet or globule/granule form. The remedy may be placed in a dropper bottle for easy dosing or the remedy may be used to impregnate dextrose/lactose/sucrose tablets, globules or granules. Globules or granules are small spheres of sucrose and lactose. With globules, granules or tablets most of the alcohol and water from preparation is dried Off, while the homeopathic preparation remains.

How is the potency chosen? The potency of the remedy is selected based on the training, style and experience of the homeopathic practitioner. Most practitioners use a 6X or 12X where there are local symptoms or the case and the remedy are a limited match. A 15X to 3OX potency is best prescribed where there is some similarity between case symptoms and remedy. In cases where all the mental, emotional and physical case symptoms match the remedy description a 30C or higher is commonly used. Your homeopathic practitioner may prescribe any potency from 3X to 200C, or a less commonly used potency such as LM or M.

How should I take my remedy? All remedies are placed under the tongue, away from food or anything else in the mouth. For liquid remedies, a dose of ten to twenty drops is quite common. Globules or granules are commonly placed under the tongue until they dissolve. For tablets, two are usually placed under the tongue until they dissolve or for two minutes - after which the remainder is chewed.

Will anything interfere with my homeopathic remedy? Most homeopathic practitioners agree that coffee, strong mints, essential oils (strong odors), camphor, and extreme stress can limit the effectiveness of the remedy. It is best to avoid exposure to these factors while dosing the homeopathic remedy.

Will my homeopathic remedy interact with any other supplements or medications I am taking? Any remedy of a 12C or 24X potency is unlikely to interact with any other oral preparations, because at these potencies and greater, homeopathic preparations no longer contain any molecular material to have a chemical effect.

Are there any side effects or potential to overdose with homeopathy? Side effects when taking homeopathic remedies are very rare and should be reported to your homeopathic practitioner for verification. The potential to overdose with homeopathy is minimal due to the micro doses involved.
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