Sometimes I get this question when I am talking to someone about homeopathy, or when someone decides to try homeopathy but they don't really know what it is. “What is homeopathy? Is it like naturopathy, herbalism, or Ayurvedic medicine?” someone might ask.
Like these other modalities, homeopathy can be used in many different situations: mentally, emotionally, and physically. It is useful for acute ailments like the flu or bruises, to more chronic conditions like anxiety, insomnia, arthritis, menopausal issues and digestive complaints like IBS. Homeopathy helps direct the person's vital force towards recovery in a gentle way.
So how is homeopathy different than the modalities listed above? Homeopathy uses a like-cures-like approach, which was first observed by Dr. Samuel Hahnemann in the late 1700s. He was discontented with the medical practices of the time, and set out to find something better. During his journey, he was investigating why cinchona bark could cure malaria. At the time, the only explanation was that cinchona bark cures malaria because it was so bitter. So he ground up some of the bark, put it in water, and drank some of the concoction every day for a few days to see what would happen. During that time, he had the same symptoms as someone with malaria! Once he stopped taking cinchona bark, he stopped having all of the malarial symptoms. Surprised by what had happened, he tried this with some other substances and wrote down all of his new symptoms. With these notes, he then attempted to treat people by closely matching the symptoms he had from a substance, to that of his patient. He found that this method of healing worked well to bring about a speedy and gentle cure! This was the start of homeopathy.
Homeopathic medicine can be used for a wide range of diseases, even ones that have been long-standing and simply refuse to budge. It can also be used alongside other treatment modalities and pharmaceutical drugs. For instance, people who need help with ADHD, high blood pressure, depression, back pain, or thyroid problems, and who are taking pharmaceutical drugs can also benefit from homeopathy. Someone could be seeing a counselor for PTSD, or chiropractic care for an old injury and find that they can recover faster with the addition of homeopathy.