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Description: Homeopathy is a medical system discovered by the German physician and chemist, Samuel Hahnemann, in the late 18th century. Homeopathic medicines work by stimulating the body’s natural ability to adjust and find balance through the energetic cues provided by the remedies that come from the animal, mineral and plant kingdoms. Each remedy portrays a different constellation of symptoms that together present a picture. The closer the symptoms of the illness match the remedy picture, the more likely the remedy will resonate and cause a healing response. This leads to the homeopathic aphorism “like cures like.” Homeopathy effectively treats a variety of acute and chronic conditions, even genetic and psychological. The way in which a particular illness manifests varies considerably from person-to-person; therefore, different remedies are often appropriate for the same type of condition in different people.

What to look for: Homeopathic remedies are inexpensive since they are made from substances that exist naturally and cannot be patented. They are made according to strict standards by a variety of reputable companies. Te remedies are available singly or in combination, and come in both X and C potencies, the C being more common and slightly higher potency (a 30X is roughly equivalent to a 12C). The Roman numerals are paired with numbers that indicate increasing potency as they get higher (e.g., 6C, 12C, 30C). Remedies, made from mother tinctures, contain minute amounts of the remedy substance; in fact, lesser amounts as the potency increases. They come dispensed on sucrose tablets or pellets, but may also come in liquid form that is especially easy to dispense to infants. Kits that contain a number of the most commonly-used remedies are also available. A good-sized household kit should contain 40-50 remedies.

Uses: Self-treatment is appropriate for mild-to-moderate acute conditions. One should consult with a homeopathic practitioner to treat severe or chronic conditions. The lower the number, the more frequently they must be taken. For instance, a 7C potency would be taken once daily, a 12C potency would be taken every other day, and a 30C potency would be taken twice or three times weekly. Lower potencies can be taken very frequently, for a total of 5-7 doses during the first few hours in acute conditions. Homeopathic remedies can cause a short-term increase in symptoms, called an aggravation, in the process of bringing about a complete healing response and resolution of symptoms. The remedy should be stopped when a resolution of symptoms occurs. Homeopathic remedies neither interact with pharmaceutical drugs nor have their associated side effects, and are therefore safe to use as indicated. Generally, infants, children, and people who are especially sensitive or whose health is seriously compromised, should take lower potencies. If there is some improvement, but the improvement does not continue, then it is appropriate to repeat the dose and/or try a higher potency. If there is no improvement, then one must try a different remedy. Books that reveal remedy pictures are an indispensable aid to choosing a correct remedy.

Where to find: Health food store or online resources.

Avoid: Do not touch the remedy with your hands; instead, take it directly from the cap of the container and let dissolve under the tongue. Do not take remedies within fifteen minutes of eating. Avoid drinking coffee and using strong essential oils such as camphor (common in many topical products), eucalyptus and peppermint (common in toothpastes), because they are likely to antidote the remedy. Do not take a remedy repeatedly unless it results in a lessening of symptoms, and an overall improvement in health.