about homeopathy

Is Homeopathy Safe?

Safe and effective
Homeopathy is perfectly safe. This is because homeopathic medicines are made from a very small amount of the active ingredient. Two hundred years of practice, research and trials have proved the safety of this gentle system of medicine for both people and animals.
Gentle and non-addictive
Unlike some conventional drugs, homeopathic medicines are non-addictive and have no dangerous side-effects. Homeopathy is safe to use for babies, children and pregnant or breastfeeding women, who are under the supervision of a homeopathic doctor.
Regulated practice
Members of the Faculty of Homeopathy are doctors and other statutorily registered healthcare professionals bound to act within the competence of their profession and their level of training and qualification in homeopathy. This means that a homeopathic medicine would not be prescribed when, for example, a conventional treatment is actually the better option for a patient.
Long-term problems
Homeopathic doctors often see patients with long-term, chronic problems, many of which have failed to respond to conventional medicine, such as eczema, chronic fatigue syndrome, asthma, migraine, irritable bowel syndrome, arthritis and depression.
Whole person medicine
However, as a system of medicine homeopathy is designed to treat the whole person and can therefore be considered in almost any situation where a person’s health is depleted. It can also be very useful in the treatment of minor ailments, from cuts and bruises to coughs and colds. A medical doctor trained in homeopathy will know when it is most effective to use homeopathic medicine, conventional medicine or a combination of both.

Helping Pets

One of the interesting things about homeopathy is that it can have great results in animals. Sceptics often use the argument that homeopathic treatment works because it is all in the mind of the patient. It would be hard to apply this argument to your pet cat or dog!
Conditions often seen
A pilot study published by the BHA in 2007 found that the conditions most commonly seen by homeopathic vets are arthritis, atopic dermatitis, lameness, epilepsy, diarrhoea, aggression, fear, pruritus, hyperthyroid and kidney failure. A total of 767 pets took part in the study. Patients were predominantly cats and dogs, but horses and some other smaller animals were also present in the study.

Treatment

Homeopathic doctors work in the same way as conventional doctors do. History taking, examination and investigation are all important in establishing the diagnosis. However, as well as asking about your symptoms, a homeopathic doctor will be interested in you as an individual and the unique way in which your symptoms affect you.
The homeopathic consultation
Questions about your lifestyle, eating habits and preferences, temperament, personality, sleep patterns and medical history help the doctor to form a complete picture of you. This picture will be matched to the symptoms of your illness in order to prescribe a particular type and strength of homeopathic medicine.
As a guide your first appointment could take anything up to an hour, with follow-up appointments typically lasting 30 minutes. This does vary depending on the practitioner and the setting in which they work (NHS appointments may be shorter for example).
Preparing for your appointment
To get the most out of a consultation, it is helpful to make some notes beforehand and to think through all the issues that are affecting your health. Some homeopathic practitioners ask new patients to complete a questionnaire before their first appointment. This is a helpful way of saving time and to your advantage to do so if requested.
The medicine
At the end of the consultation your homeopathic doctor will give you a prescription and advise you how often to take the medicine. Homeopathy is usually taken in tablet or pillule form, but is also available in liquid and powder form. Homeopathic gels or cream may also be prescribed for some conditions.

The medicines

Homeopathic medicines are manufactured by repeatedly diluting and succussing (shaking) a preparation of the original substance, mainly plants and minerals, in water and alcohol. After dilution the medicine is added to lactose tablets or pillules.
The strength of the medicines
Over-the-counter homeopathic medicines that you can buy in high street shops tend to be in either the 6c or 30c potency. 6c means that the substance has undergone 6 steps in a series of dilutions, where each step involves diluting 1 part medicine to 99 parts alcohol/water. The more stages of dilution and succussion the preparation has gone through, the more potent the medicine is – so a 30c medicine is more potent than a 6c medicine. Although this is opposite to the way most conventional medicines manifest their effects, where a greater dose has a greater physiological impact, there are some conventional drugs that have paradoxical, or inverse, effects at lower doses. An example of an inverse dose-response relationship is the net vasodilator effect of adrenaline which, toward the lower range of the dose-response curve, increases with more dilute doses of the drug.

Integrated approach

Homeopathy cannot replace all other forms of healthcare, but can be used as the first treatment option in a wide range of conditions. It can also be used in a complementary way in other situations, for example, to support good recovery after operations. Homeopathy doesn’t interfere with conventional medicine and should be seen as a complementary treatment, not as an alternative.
The best of both worlds
Despite the differences in approach, homeopathic and conventional treatments can work very well alongside each other. Consulting a medical doctor trained in homeopathy allows you to receive the best of both worlds, with the most effective treatments being tailored just for you.