What are Homeopathic Medicines made of?
Homeopathic medicines are prepared largely from naturally occurring substances, vegetable, animal or mineral. Some substances are quite poisonous in their original, natural state. But when diluted as per homeopathic guidelines, they lose their toxicity.
How are Homeopathic medicines tested?
Most countries where Homeopathy is well established, have a central regulating authority. In the United States, for instance, there is the Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia Convention of the United States ( HPCUS).
The profile of a medicine is determined by a process called “ Proving”. Homeopaths in the past have formulated rules for the conduct of provings. But there are variations in the methodologies.
Usually, during a “proving” a team of normal people ( twenty or more) are given the remedy and observed for a month or two. They are asked to record their symptoms individually and then their observations are reviewed by a master prover. Some individuals of the team may be given placebos. Sometimes the dosage varies among the subjects. In others, depending on the sensitivity of the subject, another round of trials may be conducted.
The reactions are well documented. Usually, the monitoring agency demands detailed descriptions, statistical analysis, some form of verification.
Yet in a time and society where allopathic drugs and Clinical Trials are the accepted norm, homeopathic provings are viewed with circumspection. As often the main prover is aware that he has taken the drug, it cannot be as impersonal as a double blinded trial.
Homepathic doctors refer back to comprehensive drug and symptom databases called “ Materia Medica.” The first of these was compiled by Hahnemann and is called “ Materia Medica Pura”. Materia Medica are run into several volumes detailing all symptoms, medical substances and dosages.
To access information homeopaths also use a quick reference known as a repertory. This is like an index of symptoms citing references to a materia medica.
Apart from working on their own knowledge and intuition, homeopaths check with one or more repertories and Materia Medica before diagnosing and treating ailments.
Preparation of homeopathic prescriptions
Homeopathic medicines are prepared from miniscule quantities of plant, animal, mineral or diseased substances. A small portion is dissolved in water or ethyl alcohol and shaken, diluted again and shaken. Repeated dilution leaves hardly a trace of the original substance.
This agrees well with the Homeopathic dictum, medication should be in the minimum dose possible.
Today’s scientific thinking questions this as often the level of dilutions leaves such a minimal part of the original substance which is well below the Avogadro’s number, meaning that the original form of the substance is not present in such a mixture.
Are Homeopathic Medicines Safe?
Homeopaths claim that the medication is safe because the original substances is present in minimal quantities. One of homeopathy’s tenets is to do no harm.
Sometimes homeopathic medication is known to produce “aggravations” or increase in the symptoms. This, homeopaths believe, is the initial reaction to the medication and is a part of the remedy.
Precaution In Diet During The Treatment
As medicines get absorbed through the tongue the patient is advised to minimise or avoid raw onion, raw garlic, coffee, menthol, camphor or any strong smelling substance. These may act as antidotes to the homeopathic medicine.