Before the age of
manufactured medicines, ancient peoples used plants from their
environments to produce remedies. Although many drugs are based on
herbs, there has recently been a resurgence of interest in the use of
plants in their natural form. This may be due to concern about the
side-effects and possible addictive nature of some prescribed drugs.
People are returning to remedies that offer a safe and effective
alternative to these drugs, especially since herbalists claim the active
ingredients that the pharmaceutical industry extracts or produces
synthetically may be safer and more effective in their natural state.
Herbalism aims to
tailor treatments to the needs of the individual, which may involve
eliminating toxic waste products, stimulating the body's defence
mechanism or toning the whole body. Herbs can be administered in a
variety of ways and used either as a medicinal drink, a tincture, a
herbal ointment or a poultice or compress. Among the disorders
that respond well to herbal remedies are digestive complaints, skin
complaints, insomnia, colds and arthritis.
The principle that 'like
may be cured by like' is one of the cornerstones of homeopathy.
Remedies are given which, if applied in full concentration, would produce
the same symptoms as the disease being treated. The remedies are
thought to accelerate the body's natural healing process. In contrast,
conventional Western medicine, which tends to take a more combative
approach, seeks to eliminate the cause of the disease by destroying
as we know it today, was founded by Dr. Samuel Hahnemann (1788-1843),
a German physician, who first published his new theories 200 years ago.
However, the natural principles underlying homeopathic thinking were
identified as far back as Hippocrates, in the 5th Century BCE, and were
used by the ancient Egyptians. Indeed, the ancient medical systems
of the East, such as Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine, bear some resemblance
to homeopathy, in their view of treating the whole person and the view
of 'vital force'.
Intrigued by the use
of quinine in the treatment of malaria, Hahnemann took a dose and
discovered it produces shivering, sweating and fever - classic malaria
symptoms. He deduced that a disease's symptoms were the body's
healing mechanism and so, by giving medicines that produced the same
symptoms, recovery could be advanced. He went on to test arsenic,
belladonna and mercury on himself and, by observing the symptoms each of
these substances produced, he matched them to specific illnesses.
Further tests appeared to confirm that a remedy would help to cure a
condition with which it shared symptoms. The validity of this
theory is still disputed, but homeopaths believe that remedies provoke
the body's natural healing mechanisms into overcoming the disease.
It is also believed that the weaker (more diluted) the remedy, the more
potent it is.
Below is a table of
the more popular homeopathic remedies and their uses. For instructions
on the correct usage of these remedies, it is essential to consult an
authoritative resource, such as those offered in our
Acidity in stomach, anticipatory anxiety, diarrhoea, disturbed
sleep pattern linked to anxiety, extreme reactions to stress,
headache, heartburn, wind and flatulence
Abscesses, bruising, shock, accident or trauma of any kind, encourages
healing of wounds, pre- and post- dental work trauma (emotional,
as well as physical), grief, immediate pain and shock fractures,
insomnia, muscle aching after over-exercising, muscle cramps,
osteoarthritis, strains and sprains, vaginal bruising and shock
following childbirth, varicose veins, whooping cough