September 17, 2008

HomeopathyI may be mistaken, but I guess that a great deal of my readers is convinced that herbal medicine and homeopathy are two quite similar concepts. Nowadays, a great variety of homeopathic medicines and herbal remedies is being sold in our pharmacies and drugstores, therefore, it is very easy for any ordinary customer to get lost and confused. Many people suppose that herbal and homeopathic remedies are produced in the same way and have similar medical effects. Is this true?

Homeopathic medicine emerged in the beginning of the 19th century and was based on the researches and theories of Dr. Samuel Hahnemann, a German physician and medical practitioner. He introduced the idea to heal people who suffer from a certain disease with such substances, which can produce the symptoms of this disease in a healthy person. This principle laid foundation for homeopathy as a new approach of alternative medicine. Therefore, homeopathic treatment means “fighting fire with fire” and aims on stimulating our immune system to activate our natural healing powers.

At that, homeopathic practitioners use various animal, plant and mineral extractions, and their remedies are usually diluted to a great extent in order to minimize (or completely eliminate) possible side effects. That is why homeopathic remedies are supposed to be quite safe and can be taken safely, along with other medications and pharmaceuticals. The risks of drug interaction between homeopathic and other medicines are practically absent.

Herbal MedicineAnd now, what about herbal medicine? It is centered on using only plants and plant extracts as the main element of medications, though modern herbal remedies include also such products as propolis and honey, fungal spores, or even the products of animal origin. Though some homeopathic and herbal remedies are made from the same material, preparation process and dosages are substantially different. Homeopathic medicines are produced by repeated procedures of dilution or “potenization” of the substance. At the same time, the majority of herbal remedies are usually made from roots, leaves or other parts of plants, which can be powdered or used in the form of extracts or capsules.

One more important difference between homeopathic and herbal remedies is individualization and more specific effects of all homeopathic medications. They must be also used in smaller dosages than herbal remedies. Finally, medical specialists tend to recommend homeopathic medicines for treating mostly acute conditions, but herbal remedies can be recommended as more effective cures for chronic conditions.

Author Info: Hi! My name is Carla and I am a 5th year medical student at HYMS. I am interested in alternative medicine and I have done months researching the topic of herbal medicine. Besides, I like interviewing people and learning more about their experiences with one or another type of herbal treatments. I am willing to contribute to this site with my knowledge, and I would be happy to help you out to the best of my ability with any specific questions or problems related to alternative medicine.

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