by Jacqueline Sehn, DVM, CVH, VetMFHom
Dating back to Hippocrates, the father of medicine, homeopathy is a very popular and scientific system of medicine that was fully organized and described by Samuel Hahnemann in the early 1800s. Hahnemann, a chemist, linguist and medical doctor, when translating a pharmacology textbook, read that Cinchona bark, used those days to treat malaria, was thought to be effective because of its extreme bitterness. Unsatisfied with such explanation, he decided to take small doses of the drug by itself, to see what happened. To his amazement, he developed intermittent fevers, sweats and all malaria symptoms! Observing this similarity between the symptoms produced by a disease and the drug used to treat it, he started studying other active substances.
For many years thereafter, he experimented with numerous plants, minerals and animal-derived products. He demonstrated that each substance could elicit a curative response to rid the patient of the disease which resembled the response provoked by excessive exposure to the test substance. Examples are the use of the bee venom (Apis) in the treatment of acute inflammation and swelling; Ipecac for relief of vomiting; pepper (Capsicum) for healing of burns. Hahnemann founded homeopathy based on one simple, verifiable and reproducible principle, Similia similibus curentur, or 'like is cured by like,” known as the Law of Similars.
Allopathic or conventional medicine opposes the body's symptoms through means of subduing the body’s reactions (removing skin eruptions, drying up discharges, suppressing allergic reactions, removing fevers). Thus the body’s natural means of healing (eruptions, fevers and discharges) are interrupted. Rather than control and counteract symptoms, homeopathy works with the body in the healing process. Since one's symptoms reflect the attempt of the body to regain homeostasis, or balance, the tiny homeopathic dose sparks that reaction, acting as a catalyst to the person's own ability to heal. Working with the body enables the homeopath to use doses in the realm of nanoparticles since the patient is already primed to that direction of influence.
These minute doses of homeopathically prepared medicines (called remedies) do not have side effects. They can, however, cause a temporary aggravation, which is almost a summation of the disease with the remedy. This (sometimes called the healing crisis) is usually short-lived and followed by a period of great relief. The existence of this brief aggravation, and the response to homeopathic treatment in children and animals such as dogs, cats, birds, horses, cows, clearly demonstrate that homeopathy does not work by placebo effect. 1,2,3
Homeopathic remedies were always studied individually; therefore response of the body is deeper and longer lasting when one finds the single exact remedy needed by the patient versus using combination remedies which are readily available over the counter. It is also important to realize that homeopathy and conventional medicine sometimes have an antagonistic effect, and often your practitioner will help you taper off the drugs which may preclude response to these natural remedies.
Homeopathy is a powerful and important tool for the holistic veterinarian. It can be used in acute and chronic diseases and it is safe and effective. The result after treatment is usually a stronger body, a decreased susceptible state, a greater sense of well-being! Thank you for giving your patient the chance of becoming stronger and healthier!
1. J Clin Psychiatry 2011; 72(6):795-805.
2. Pediatr Infect Dis J 2003; 22(3): 229-34.
3. Bornhöft G and Matthiessen P (Eds.): Homeopathy in Healthcare- Effectiveness, Appropriateness, Safety, Costs. New York, Heidelberg. Springer Publishing. 2011; 141-4.