The practice of homeopathic medicine began officially in the 1800s by Samuel Hahnemann, a German physician. The basic idea of homeopathy is that the human body's natural state is one of health and that we possess the ability to heal ourselves. It is a belief based on the idea that symptoms are not meant to be suppressed with medication but used as an indication of what the body needs in order to heal itself. The idea is that when we follow the directions provided by our symptoms, we will know to stimulate our healing processes in order to make ourselves well.
Homeopathic doctors dilute known medicines in order to make them more powerful, according to their beliefs, while minimizing toxic reactions and negative side effects. They consider the wellbeing of the whole patient - mental, emotional, and physical - when deciding upon a treatment where conventional doctors often only consider the physical manifestations of an illness and how to treat it.
According to most homeopathic beliefs, homeopathy utilizes safe preparations of natural substances, about 80 percent of which are derived from plants like wild hops (Bryonia), marigold (Calendula), and poison ivy (Rhus toxicodendron). Other remedies come from animals or animal products like honeybee (Apis mellifica) and inky fluid from cuttlefish (Sepia). Still other remedies come from minerals and mineral ores like sodium chloride, flint, and sulfur.
Homeopathic remedies are prepared by grinding the active ingredient and mixing it with alcohol and water, then allowing it to soften and steep. The mixture is then filtered to produce what is called a tincture, made more potent by dilution, which increases the healing power while decreasing the concentration.
There are many different potency ranges. The base tincture has a potency of 1x. To make a 2x potency, one part of the base is mixed with 9 parts alcohol and shaken 10 times. To make a 3x potency, one part of the 2x potency is mixed with 9 parts alcohol and shaken again. This process is continued until the desired dilution is acquired. In addition to alcohol, other mixing agents include water, glycerin, and lactose.
Homeopathic medicines come in c potencies as well as x potencies. C potencies are created by mixing bases in a ration of 99 to 1 instead of 9 to 1. There are k potencies as well. The 1000k potency is labeled as 1m, a 10,000k potency as 10m, and so on.
Homeopathic doctors prescribe their remedies in pellets, tablets, and dilutions (liquids). The mixing, or potentizing, affects the way a homeopathic medicine works. In general, the lower potencies, like 3x and 6x, have a larger affect and are used for acute illnesses and are taken once every 15 minutes to once every 4 hours. Medium potencies, like 12x and 30x, affect the senses and nervous system and are used for chronic conditions. They are taken once a day to three times a day. High potencies, like 60x and above, affect mental conditions and are taken once a month to once a year.
A typical homeopathically effective remedy is taken in the form of 3 tablets to 10 pellets for adults and 2 tablets to 5 pellets for children.