Natural materials have been used as medicine for as long as man has been cooking food. As people realized that food could change the way you feel and help people recover from illness, medicine was born. Various systems of medical diagnosis have been developed all over the world. Most traditional herbal medical systems are very similar in that they look to what substances will counteract the symptoms seen in the patient, and thus treat the medical condition. In the late a 1700's a new and very different system of medicine emerged.
This relatively new system is called Homeopathy. In Homeopathy various natural substances are matched to the patient symptoms, not by what would counteract the symptoms, but by what would cause the symptoms. The substances are diluted to a high degree and then given to the patient. This "like cures like" system of treatment is a big departure from the traditional herbal medicine. Most forms of herbal medicine are different in that the herbs themselves, or an extract or a soup made from the herbs is taken by the patient, in much the same way that a person takes in food. Homeopathy has survived, and like herbal remedies, Homeopathic remedies are now commonly available on store shelves.
Patients sometimes tell me about a herb that they are taking without knowing that it is a Homeopathic. Like herbal medicine, some substances used as medicine are poisons, and need to be used carefully. In Homeopathy the medicine is diluted to the point that it is no longer a poison concern.
It is important for consumers to understand what they are buying. Homeopathic remedies like herbal remedies can be very effective. The important part is to know why you are using a particular substance. Herbs used in a Homeopathic remedy are often used for exactly opposite reasons than a herbalist would use the same substance. The best thing to do is educate yourself about the medicines that you are using. When in doubt consult a practitioner who is trained in the medicine you are using.
— David Bock
This article was from David's LakeCountryOnline.com column, "The Practical Herbalist"
David Bock, C. Ac., Dipl. OM, FABORM
Wisconsin Certified Acupuncturist
National Board Certification in Oriental Medicine
Fellow American Board Of Oriental Reproductive Medicine
Bock Acupuncture & Herbal Medicine
888 Thackeray Trail #206
Oconomowoc, Wisconsin 53066