HOMOEOPATHY
Dr Medha Kapadia *
Consultant Homeopath, Mumbai, India.*
What is Homoeopathy?
This system of medicine was founded by Dr. Samuel Halmemann in the latter part of the 18th century. It is based on the principle "SIMILIA SIMILIBUS CURENTAR" which literally means like cures like. This means that substances, which produce a certain set of symptoms in a healthy individual cure the same set of symptoms in a diseased individual.

Medicines are made from plants, animals, chemical compounds etc. These drugs are tested on normal healthy individuals in crude doses and the changes they bring about are noted. These are then used to cure the same symptoms in a diseased individual - but in very minute doses.

The medicines used are prepared by the method of potentization. By this, the material quantity of the drug is reduced but the curative quality of the drug is enhanced. Therefore the amount of medicine given is very very small but its curative powers are manifold.

When treating a patient homoeopathically, the person is treated as a whole, not just the disease. Therefore, when managing a person homoeopathically, apart from the totality of the disease, the totality of the person as an individual are of equal importance. Elaborate details are taken into account- his build, appetite, thirst, food likes/dislikes, bowel habits, menstrual history (in case of females), sleep, dreams, are all taken into account. Also of prime importance is the mental make-up of the patient. The nature of the patient, sensitivity, fears, phobias, moods are all taken into account. In fact these details form the base from which the remedy is selected.

Therefore, two people suffering from the same disease but with different mental & physical disposition will require different remedies to cure the same disease.

Homoeopathy therefore treats the individual who is diseased not the disease in the individual.
HOMOEOPATHY IN PEDIATRICS
Homoeopathy treats individuals of all ages & it can become one of the preferred methods of treatment especially for children. Excellent results are noted where in homoeopathic medicines were given to treat various kinds of illnesses in children.

Homoeopathy acts on the patient, there by increasing the resistance of the individual to fight the disease. The medicine helps to boost the immune system & thus helps the patient to fight the disease.

Homoeopathy has good scope in management of nearly all medical diseases of children. Right from infancy to adulthood, this system can help patients with all medical problems. Various infectious diseases, bacterial, viral, parasitic infestations, nutritional disorders and all other systemic disorders are effectively managed by homoeopathy. Homoeopathy can also bring about favorable results in various behavioral disorders, which affect children - nocturnal enuresis, phobias, hyperactive disorders, autism etc to enumerate some of them.

Because of very minute doses, which are prescribed, these medicines are very safe when administered to children with very few side effects if at all they occur. Also because of the sweet taste children readily take the medicines and trouble.

Homoeopathy therefore become a very safe & easy method of treatment in the pediatric disorders.
HOMOEOPATHY FOR RESPIRATORY DISORDERS
Respiratory disorders are amongst the most common diseases one encounters in practice especially in children. Changed life style, food habits which include a lot of preservatives, artificial colors, increasing pollution, compact living have all contributed to an increase in the rate of upper as well as lower respiratory tract problems.

The most commonly faced problems are recurrent colds, sinusitis, pharyngitis, laryngitis, bronchitis, pneumonia, asthma and pulmonary tuberculosis. The above listed infections could be viral, bacterial, fungal etc.

Homoeopathic treatment has a very good scope in the infections of the above mentioned illnesses. The infections of the upper respiratory tract can be managed very effectively. With long term treatment with a constitutional remedy, the patient can be made less susceptible to these infections. Also, it has been observed that when these infections are treated by homoeopathy, the post - infection lethargy, anorexia are very negligible & the child enjoys good health, becomes active and playful much faster. This is one of the plus points of homoeopathy.

In cases of affections of the lower respiratory tract like bronchitis, pneumonia, if homoeopathy is resorted to before the infection localizes itself, then the infection is aborted even before a certain diagnosis can be confirmed through laboratory tests & radiography. Also as homoeopathic medicines are not organism specific, there is no question of bacteria or virus getting resistant to these remedies. If the disease picture of the patient matches with the remedy picture, the result is amazing.

Asthma is another respiratory disorder for which homoeopathy is quite beneficial. Asthma is a condition wherein the bronchus and its branches go into a spasm in reaction to an allergen. Homoeopathic medicines can help in reducing this hypersensitivity of the respiratory tract. By proper constitutional treatment, the frequency and intensity of these attacks can be greatly reduced avoiding the use of bronchodilators & steroids. The acute episodes can also be managed effectively with these medicines.
HOMOEOPATHY AND SKIN DISEASES
Skin ailments seen in pediatric age group range from simple fungal infection, nappy rash to more serious conditions like atopic dermatitis & psoriasis. One comes across a lot of these cases in homeopathic practice. In homoeopathy, we believe that any physical ailment is an expression of the mental state of the person, so is true with skin disease. Therefore, when treating a skin disease, all the aspects of the child- his development, his temperament, fears, moods, cravings, aversions are all taken into account. Another important aspect is the mother's state during pregnancy where a definite correlation can be found with the child's ailment.

The most common skin problem encountered especially in infants is fungal infection in folds - in neck, around the knees, between buttocks and groin region. This is common more in infants who are obese. It presents with marked redness of the skin in these folds. Usually, this infection settles by taking proper hygienic measures and keeping the part dry, but if it persists then proper medication is required. In practice, I have observed that silica (biochemic preparation) is very useful, but it should be administered after consultation. Also appropriate constitutional treatment with proper intercurrent medicine helps in the long-term management.

Seborrhic dermatitis is another common skin ailment that one comes across in practice. It presents as scaling of skin of the scalp with yellow discharge & hair fall leaving patches of baldness. Excellent results have been observed after use of homeopathic medicines in these cases. Drugs like vinca minor, Dulcamana have been found to be useful. For all acute exacerabations, the management should consist of following up with a constitutional remedy.

Werruca vulgaris or warts is another skin ailment which is very successfully treated with homeopathic medicine. Warts are growths of skin, which may be found on fingers, palms, soles, around neck, on face. These may be cauliflower like growths. Homeopathic remedies given on constitutional basis, has shown wonderful results wherein the warts fall off. Local applications even of homeopathic remedies is strictly contraindicated for treatment of wants, so is cauterization or any others means of removal of want. Intercurrent homeopathic remedies given along with the constitutional remedy enhances the response.

Scabies is another common skin ailment. It is an infectious disease which causes burrows in the webs of the fingers, toes. The disease spreads quite rapidly to all family members, even if a single individual is affected. Therefore the whole family has to be treated. Drugs like Psorinum, sulphur have shown good results but should be taken only after consultation. Medicines that are given on the basis of totality of the symptomatology give the best results.

Atopic Dermatitis is a hypersensitive reaction of the body where the skin is affected. The skin shows redness with itching, there may also be oozing. Also secondary infection may lead to discharge of pus and blood. Bilateral symmetry may be observed in atopic dermatitis. Homeopathic medicines produce very good result in these cases as they act on the immune system and reduce this increased reactivity of the body. Constitutional homeopathic remedy given after detailed case taking & examination works the best. Local applications are contra indicated when on homeopathic medicines. Occasionally, one or two acute exacerbations may take place but no medicines that would suppress the disease should be used. Any secondary infection that takes place can also be managed using homeopathic remedies.
HOMOEOPATHIC TREATMENT FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Do homoeopathic medicines take a long time to act, before any appreciable changes can be seen?
This idea is not correct. The pace of treatment depends on the disease one is treating and patient's compliance as well. Homoeopathic medicines do act well in management of acute cases. Acute exacerbation of diseases like asthma, acute gastroenteritis, epilepsy etc can be effectively managed by homoeopathy. If, however, the patient does not see any improvement for a long period of time, patient should report to the consulting homoeopath.

Do homoeopathic remedies contain steroids?
Genuine homoeopathic remedies never contain steroids. This question arises because of malpractice done by a few. If a patient doubts the presence of steroids in the medicine, they can get it lab tested.

Should one stop all other medicines once they begin with homoeopathic treatment?
First of all, the patient should inform the homoeopath about all other medicines that one is taking. Depending on the nature of the illness and the medicine being taken- the dose, duration, withdrawal should be strictly as instructed. Certain medicines like multivitamins, calcium, which are dietary supplements, can be taken safely along with homeopathic medicines.

There is a general belief that when one begins with homeopathic treatment, initially the disease gets aggravated and then it cures. Is this true? If so then how does one differentiate when the disease is getting worse & when it is getting cured?
It is true that occasionally after taking homoeopathic medicine, the disease appears to worsen before it starts settling. There is nothing to worry about this aggravation, as it is short lasting. There is improvement in general health of the patient & most important it is not life threatening. However, if the disease worsens and along with that, there is deterioration in the general health of the patient as well, then the treatment needs to be reassessed.

However, all changes observed should be informed to the homoeopath for proper assessment.

Is clinical diagnosis important for homeopathic treatment?
Establishing an accurate clinical diagnosis is an integral part of homeopathic treatment. The diagnosis is required to know the prognosis, to select the remedy, the doses and repetition of remedy. Laboratory tests, radiological investigations carried out to establish the diagnosis are also parameters for further assessment of the disease.
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