There’s a quick fix for most everything nowadays, right? When our computers crash, we buy another one, plug in our backup drive and life is back to normal. If your oven breaks in the middle of roasting a chicken, no problem! Throw it in the crockpot. Johnny gets a sore throat–get him to quick care and on antibiotics and that’s that. The world keeps turning, you still have to get dinner on the table and fold the laundry, and get the rest of the kids off to soccer practice. Who has time to think?
I meet a lot of intelligent, well-meaning people who are skeptics when it comes to the efficacy of homeopathy and I am cornered by their frustration. I nod in understanding as they spill out their stories. Some have read the latest studies, they understand the theory behind the practice, or they’ve just perused the blue vials of homeopathic remedies available for purchase at their local health food store. They’ve tried homeopathy…and it just didn’t work. The bottle said “for colds and flu” but it didn’t provide any relief. After a dose or two, they’ve simply decided they’d had enough, that homeopathy is bogus, and then opted for something easier like herbal echinacea, acetaminophen, or antibiotics. Why?
Our modern system of medicine (allopathy) and our culture have encouraged a certain way of thinking about health. We are not supposed to get sick. When we do, it should be relatively painless, easy, and certainly not a bother or inconvenience. Symptoms such as runny noses, headaches, cough and fevers are to be halted, not respected as the body’s natural way of cleansing or healing itself. The second expectation is that there is a panacea–the magic pill that will make it all go away and leave you “better,” because, after all, the body certainly doesn’t know how to fix itself. Most all of us, whether we like it or not, have been influenced by this way of thinking in one way or another.
People seek out homeopathy for a variety of reasons–they’re fed up with the current medical system, they want something safer and more natural than synthetic pharmaceuticals, their sister-in-law’s friend had a miraculous cure from her terrible allergies, or they’ve tried everything and nothing has worked, so why not?! Some find a good home care homeopathy book or a well-trained classical homeopath from the beginning, and some spend five minutes reading the label on the little blue remedy bottle at the store before going home and giving it a shot. The latter are rarely successful in their attempts, but occasionally will hit the mark with relief of their symptoms. Many folks fall into this category and become skeptics or in the very least, discouraged with homeopathic medicine.
This is why homeopathy doesn’t work. Homeopathy doesn’t work when the founding principles aren’t followed. The principles of “like cures like,” the minimum dose, and prescribing on the individual rather than the disease are crucial to success. There are literally thousands of remedies made from things in our world–minerals, plants, animals, synthetics, man-made synthetics and drugs–and it is not humanly possible to have mastered them all, even for professional homeopaths. But what about the description on the bottle that said “for colds and flus?” The FDA regulates the manufacture of homeopathic remedies and requires that an “indication” be placed on the label. Homeopathic remedies can treat a vast spectrum of symptoms and ailments, therefore most remedies cannot be limited to one or two conditions. Here is where the problem often begins for those with little or no knowledge of homeopathy. We are so used to selecting medications based off of our disease condition that we are not used to selecting a remedy that requires seeking out the symptoms of a disease condition as they pertain to that individual. When a homeopathic remedy fails to act, it is not a failure of the medicine, but a failure of the prescriber to select the indicated remedy.
Homeopathy is not an easy approach to health for many people for that reason. Think of it this way… Imagine a pond, a small pond as the core of a person’s illness or disease. You carry in your hand a fistful of small pebbles. One of those pebbles will hit the center of that pond if you throw it accurately, but if you throw the entire handful you won’t know which pebble hit the center. So you try it…and you see several rings of ripples, some near the center and some near the edge, resonating through the water. This is why classical homeopaths only use one remedy at a time. Now, upon closer examination of the pebbles, you decide that the grey one with golden flecks is the right shape and size for your best shot at hitting the center of the pond. You give it a good toss and hit what you deem is the center of the pond, and with satisfaction watch the concentric circles glide from the center, out. That is the aim of homeopathy…to hit the center of the organism so that healing can proceed from the inside out.
Homeopathic remedies are not like allopathic medicine in that they do not suppress or mask the symptoms. Rather, they stimulate the body’s own innate healing ability to begin the process of healing. Sometimes, even after a well selected remedy is given, the remedy will not produce the desired effect. When this happens, it is often the result of what homeopaths call an “obstacle to cure.” This means that there is something in the patient’s lifestyle that is preventing the body from doing the work it needs to. Diet, stress, lifestyle, medications, and advanced mechanical diseases are just some of the culprits. However, even if homeopathy does not “cure” the disease, it often provides people with better sleep, energy, and a sense of well-being. This is often the case in patients with terminal or incurable diseases such as cancer or congestive heart failure.
I know what it is like to fail in selecting the right remedy. As both a mother prescribing ailments and a classical homeopathy, I have had my share of mystery cases. I am a human being and my knowledge is limited and finite. I will never master homeopathy. But by God’s grace I will be able to hit the center for some people over the years, and be able to witness improvement in the lives of those I treat.
Be encouraged if you are new to homeopathy. Don’t give up. Homeopathy is one of the most challenging fields to encounter in life, but your hard work, study, and determination will reap rewards, especially in the middle of the night when the right remedy helps your feverish child get some much needed sleep.