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Homeopathic Care: Is Homeopathy Safe?

Homeopathic medicines are, without question, "the safer medicine." However, as with any medicinal herb or natural substance, there's always the chance it can be misused and thusly cause more harm than good.

Homeopathy may effectively treat a health condition, may cure a serious infection without the need for antibiotics, and may rapidly relieve various other life-threatening symptoms. These medicines require strict individualization to obtain the best results, so one cannot always depend on them for rapid, effective relief.

It is generally recommended to try these medicines one at a time and allow a month or more between medicine. Not all practitioners will wait a month or more before trying a new medicine. Some practitioners prescribe daily doses of a certain medicine and may change the dose/medicine at any time during treatment. Finding an effective remedy may take several months. When people with chronic headaches, arthritis, or other persistent symptoms are not receiving help with conventional drugs, delay isn't a major issue, since they have already been waiting for curative care for years.

Many homeopaths assume that there are no incurable diseases, only incurable people.

Health food stores or pharmacies carry homeopathic medicines sold for specific conditions. Most homeopathic manufacturers make mixtures of homeopathic medicines, called "combination remedies" or "complexes," where generally 3-8 substances which are commonly given for a certain type of condition are placed together in a single medicine. These medicines are marketed as such with the assumption that the combination of medicines will be helpful to a broad number of patients suffering from a specific complaint. Although many people do find these medicines to be helpful, it's best (and possibly safer) to have a professional practitioner recommend an individually chosen medicine, which works more often and more effectively.

Perhaps the greatest danger of homeopathic medicine is that the patient may delay the use of other potentially effective medical treatments. Since most homeopaths are medical doctors or some other licensed medical professional, they generally know when conventional medical care is required or when referral to a specialist is indicated.

Another potential danger of homeopathic medicines arises if a person continues to take a medicine when it is no longer necessary. A small percentage of those who do may experience a "proving" (the symptoms produced in overdose of the subsubstance).

Learn More About Homeopathy -
A widely recommended source of homeopathic books, tapes, home medicine kits, and software is:
Homeopathic Educational Services
2124B Kittredge St.
Berkeley, California, 94704 USA

The Consumer's Guide to Homeopathy is available from Homeopathic Educational Services or through your local bookseller.

A letter to the editor of the New England Journal of Medicine. (1) in 1986 reported that a patient took eight doses of a homeopathic medicine in two hours as recommended by a chiropractor and shortly thereafter experienced severe epigastric pain which was later diagnosed as pancreatitis (a potentially dangerous disease). It should be noted however the remedy prescribed by the chiropractor was a "combination medicine," and was prescribed for the treatment of cancer. Although the patient's health history was not described in the letter, one might safely assume that he wasn't healthy prior to treatment, and one should not necessarily assume that the medicine caused this condition.

(1) H.D. Kerr and G.W. Yarborough, "Pancreatitis Following Ingestion of a Homeopathic Preparation," New England Journal of Medicine, 1986 Jun 19;314(25):1642-3


General Information

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