I was asked to write about the topic of homeopathy. Since I am more of a “natural” doctor, it seemed fitting. I actually had to think about it.
When my brother Tom came home from his first semester of medical school, I was 12 years old. He gave us a lecture on medicine, as he was training to be an allopathic physician.
An allopathic doctor focuses on counteracting symptoms of a disease or injury to promote healing. Tom told us about osteopathic, chiropractic and homeopathic medicine.
Osteopathic medicine physicians practice in every medical specialty. In 1969, practicing chiropractic medicine was actually illegal in my home state of Louisiana!
Homeopathic physicians typically treat ailments by prescribing diluted remedies, hence the saying, “The medication was given at a homeopathic dose.”
Ten years later, in New Orleans, I learned about homeopathic medicine at a scientific meeting. I went home with as much information as I could, hoping to learn more about it.
True homeopathy uses the scientific method, which requires a great knowledge of pharmaceutical and herbal pharmacopeia. The pharmacopeia is the official publication listing of medicinal drugs, their effects and directions for use.
I have collected an issue from almost every decade for the past 100 hundred years. You would be amazed at things that have changed in the use of certain remedies over this time.
The idea, originating before modern instrumental chemistry, was to take a substance causing symptom “X” and then give it in a small amount to a person who was actually experiencing the symptom. In a way, it is similar to the allergist desensitizing someone to an allergen.
As we learned more about medical chemistry and disease processes, interest in homeopathy also seemed to fade.
More modern homeopathic ideas relate to the wavelength of the substance, or its energy field. The theory is if it were diluted to almost nothing, the potion would still have the desired effect but also not harm the patient. Energy fields, magnetism, wavelengths and other phenomena are being understood more and more every day.
Homeopathic medicine is not a standardized practice. There is no formula that every homeopathic physician goes by. The fact it isn’t standardized is the beauty of it. I feel it is more art than science. Certainly, just like allopathic medicine, it is not an exact science.
I consider myself an allopath first to focus on counteracting symptoms of diseases to promote healing. I am still open to homeopathic treatments.
I suggest these books for more information on homeopathic remedies and medicines. The first is “Biological Therapy with Homeopathic Remedies,” by Hans-Heinrich Reckeweg, or “Nutritional Herbology,” by Mark Pedersen, or “Diet and Nutrition A Holistic Approach,” by Rudolph Ballentine.
I will be giving a talk on homeopathic medicine at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 29, as part of the Healthy Woman event at Carolinas Hospital System in Florence. For more information about the event, call 843-674-2615.
Dr. Robert Richey practices internal medicine at Carolinas Medical Alliance Internal Medicine and is a member of the medical staff at Carolinas Hospital System.