Different Theories on How it Works
Homeopathic remedies are made from plant, mineral, and animal extracts and diluted to varying degrees. Although many of the substances are poisonous in their crude state, others are common medicinal herbs, foods and spices. The process of producing remedies is very precise. Every major homeopathic company or pharmacy around the world follows the same protocol. To make remedies derived from soluble substances, such as plants, parts of the plant are dissolved in a 90% alcohol solution. The mixture is left in the dark for about 2-4 weeks. It is occasionally shaken and then strained through a press. That produces the so-called Mother Tincture. Insoluble substances, such as metals and minerals, are first ground continually until they become soluble. To produce a homeopathic remedy, the mother tincture has to be potentized, which is a combination of dilution and vigorous shaking.
People tend to believe that generally the higher a dose of any given medicine, the greater its potency, but the opposite is claimed to be true for a homeopathic remedy. Homeopathic solutions can be diluted to the extent that literally no molecules of the original substance remain; yet according to homeopathic philosophy the more diluted it becomes the greater its potency becomes.
Samuel Hahnemann based his theory of how homeopathy works only on the results of experiment and observation. He found that remedies could exhibit their healing qualities only after they were homeopathically potentized (diluted and vigorously shaken). Even after the remedy is diluted beyond the Avogadro number, it remains biologically active, but only if it was potentized. The conclusion was that the biological activity of homeopathically prepared remedies involved energy. Hahnemann suggested that during the process of vigorous shaking (called successions in homeopathy) the energy of the original substance was transmitted to the neutral matter (water) in which it was diluted. The dynamic force which causes the illness and the homeopathic healing, was called vital force by Hahnemann.
Despite certain experimental evidence that high dilutions of biologically active substances can retain activity if they were vigorously shaken during the dilution process, this issue remains controversial. A unique molecular organization of water has been implemented in its potential ability to transmit biological information.
Conditions it Works Best For
Although the mechanism of action of homeopathic preparations has not yet been clearly and sufficiently established, homeopathic remedies for treatment of a variety of conditions have been studied in clinical trials. In a meta-analysis of 89 studies (Lancet, vol. 350, pages 834-843, September 20th, 1997) results favoring homeopathy were shown for allergic asthma, hayfever, minor burns, skin lesions, dermatosis, diarrhea, gastritis, irritable bowel, sprains, dental neuralgia, migraine, seasickness, labor pains in child birth, premenstrual syndrome and cystitis. Because some of the studies lacked scientific rigor the authors still called for more careful scientific research to determine homeopathys effectiveness for any single clinical condition.
In Europe homeopathic treatment is integrated into the medical care provided by physicians. In France and the UK approximately one third of medical doctors use homeopathy and there are five homeopathic hospitals operating within the British National Health System. Based on positive clinical experience homeopathy is used in the treatment of various chronic conditions such as asthma, skin diseases including eczema and psoriasis, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, depression, migraines, otitis media, hypertension, various gynecological problems and allergic rhinitis.