When illness affects our bodies, there are other forms of treatment available besides the medications prescribed by physicians. Although prescription drugs are very important in many instances, they can have adverse-sometimes even deadly-side effects. A better understanding of treatment options will enable us to work with our health-care providers to choose the treatment most likely to bring about health in a given situation.
Homeopathy is a treatment option that was practiced widely in the United States until the early twentieth century, when medicinal (pharmaceutical) drugs became popular. Homeopathy is still very much accepted and used in Europe, especially in Germany, Switzerland, and England.
Homeopathy seeks cures that correspond with the natural laws of healing. The living human being is affected by internal as well as external elements, which together result in a dynamic balance or imbalance of the person’s mind, body, and spirit. These three parts of the whole are closely interrelated, and whatever happens to one part may ultimately affect one or both of the other parts. The natural laws of healing recognize this principle and the ability of the body to heal itself with the aid of materials and methods that are nontoxic and have no side effects.
The term homeopathy comes from the Greek roots homoios, meaning similar, and pathos, meaning suffering or sickness. The basic law of homeopathy is “the law of similars.” The law states that a substance can cure a disease if it produces in a healthy person symptoms similar to and much milder than those of the disease.
Samuel Christian Friedrich Hahnemann was the German physician who formulated the theory of homeopathy in the 1800s. However, Hahnemann was not the
first to discover the concept. In 400 B.C., Hippocrates wrote that through the like, disease is produced, and through application of the like, disease is cured. Besides Hippocrates, Paracelsus, a sixteenth century German physician, also described the law of similars in his writings. However, it was Hahnemann who developed the therapeutic agents prescribed in homeopathy that have been published in the Materia Medical First published in 1927, the Materia Medica, by William Boericke, M.D., is the most complete encyclopedia of homeopathic therapeutic agents developed by Hahnemann, and is widely used by homeopathic physicians as a source book.
Today, a homeopathic physician, by observing symptoms of a disease, prescribes the appropriate substance, which under scientifically controlled conditions has produced the same disease symptoms in a healthy person. The traditional form of treating with homeopathic substances was prescribing one therapeutic agent at a time, until the original symptoms had decreased. Some modern practitioners recommend using multiple agents simultaneously. Homeopathic treatments have been found to have no side effects; however, if an inappropriate therapy is given, no change will occur in the symptoms or disease.
Homeopathic therapies are prepared by potentization. Each agent is prepared by successive dilutions of the ingredients (plant or animal origin), alternating with succussion (vigorous shaking), which is continued until the resulting medicine contains no molecules of the original substance. Potencies for homeopathic agents are designated by a number that is followed by an x. The x represents 10, and signifies that the mother tincture has been diluted to one part in 10. The number preceding the x indicates the number of times the remedy has been diluted. The more diluted a remedy is, the more potent it is said to be. Thus, a 6x potency remedy, which has been diluted 6 times, is considered more potent than a 3x remedy, which has been diluted only 3 times.
Sometimes, upon successful treatment of symptoms of the disease, another set of symptoms appears. This is not unusual during homeopathic treatment. Symptoms are the body’s methods of protection; they warn that an imbalance exists. Some of the symptoms are really the body’s means of restoring harmony. For example, bad breath is a sign that either decay, gum disease, or digestive problems are present. If you choose the appropriate therapy for the bad breath and resolve the problem, you may begin to have symptoms relating to either the digestive system or the teeth, depending on the cause of the bad breath. Sensitive teeth may indicate excessive wear of the enamel due to grinding or clenching of the teeth. This habit may be the result of stress or other factors that should be addressed. If the sensitivity is treated, you may begin to experience other symptoms related to the original cause of the problem. These symptoms may be emotional or physical. Once one set of obvious symptoms related to a disease is treated, a deeper level of symptoms appears, until all underlying causes are addressed. Ultimately, the immune system, which is the body’s defense mechanism, must be made strong enough to handle any harmful external attack, whether
emotional or physical.
Homeopathic agents used in treatment and listed in the following table may be purchased from health-food stores. Some homeopathic agents are sold by the name of the illness-“Flu,” “PMS,” “Asthma,” “Cough,” “Allergies,” etc. These homeopathics have more than one therapeutic agent in them. Other preparations offer single therapies. Due to the manner in which homeopathics work, the single therapy may be the choice, initially. Once you understand how you respond to a particular substance, you can read the labels of the compounded therapies, and choose one of them.
You should have a copy of the Materia Medica on hand (available at some health-food stores). Look up the various therapies listed, and determine which may
be best for you, by considering the symptoms that the particular substance treats. It is important to note that mint and coffee may decrease the effectiveness of homeopathic substances.
Consult with your physician before giving homeopathics to children, or before taking them during pregnancy or when breastfeeding. Of course, there are many excellent homeopathic physicians available. Some health-food stores have lists of these physicians, some of whom may also be listed in your Yellow Pages under “Physicians.” Some osteopathic physicians have also been trained in homeopathic medicine by their medical schools. However, many of these schools stopped teaching homeopathy in the 1950s. Physicians and osteopathic physicians trained in homeopathics are the health-care providers of choice, since they are knowledgeable in drug interactions and medical conditions, as well as in the homeopathic treatments appropriate to your condition.
Homeopathic remedies come in pellet, tablet, and liquid form. The liquid or mother tincture is an alcohol extract of a specific remedy. The liquid is generally placed under the tongue with an eyedropper that usually comes with it. Creams, ointments, or salves can be prepared by mixing the liquid with a cream or gel base. The creams and ointments are useful for sore muscles of the face and neck associated with temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ) or long dental treatments. The tablets and pellets, which are made with a base of lactose (sweet milk sugar), are dissolved in the mouth, without chewing. These are excellent for children. Avoid touching them, as this may decrease their effectiveness. For infants, dissolve the pellet or tablet in water and give it to the child with an eyedropper. Since the liquid remedies contain alcohol, they should not be given to children.
It is advisable to take homeopathic treatments fifteen minutes before or after eating. Strong flavors such as mint and camphor, odors from perfumes and paints, and caffeine may decrease the effectiveness of the remedies.
Homeopathy requires personal observation to determine the length of treatment needed with each remedy. If no change occurs in a chronic ailment after a week, switch to another remedy. If improvement is noted, continue with the remedy until all symptoms have disappeared. If a new set of symptoms appears, start a different remedy.
|Acidum nitricum||Diarrhea caused by antibiotics.|
|Aconite||Anxiety, nervousness, fear, physical and mental restlessness, stiff and painful neck.|
|Ambra grisia||Children with extreme nervousness|
|Ammonium carbonica||Pain on chewing, TMJ.|
|Ammonium phosphoricum||Facial paralysis.|
|Antimonium crudum||Dry lips, cracks at corners of lips, canker sores.|
|Antimonium tartaricum||Mouth sores caused by Candida albicans.|
|Apis mellifica||Swollen gums; red, sore tongue and throat; cancer of the tongue.|
|Arnica||Easily Bleeding gums; dry, ulcerated tissue; dry, red tongue; toothache that is worse at night; metallic taste; sore muscles; pain, sprains.|
|Arsenicum album||Gums that bleed easily; dry mouth with ulcerations; dry, red, ulcerated tongue; neuralgia of teeth that is worse ant night; metalic taste.|
|Arsenicum metallicum||Tongue that is coated white and shows imprint of teeth, ulcers in mouth|
|Arum triphyllum||Cracked and sore corners of mouth.|
|Belladonna||Toothache, abscess, grinding of teeth, fever.|
|Bismuthum||Toothache that feets better with cold water, swollen gums.|
|Borax||Canker sores, bitter taste in mouth, dry mouth.|
|Bryonia||Cracked and dry lips, yellow- to dark brown-coated tongue.|
|Calcarea carbonica||Crackling noise and throbbing in ears, pulsating pain in teeth, swollen submaxillary glands, bleeding gums, toothache from hot or cold food or drinks, bad breath.|
|Calcarea fluorica||Loose teeth with toothache when chewing, oral tumors, teething pain.|
|Calendula||Cuts and other wounds caused by tooth extraction.|
|Capsicum||Oral herpes, bad breath.|
|Causticum||Facial paralysis, pain in facial bones, pain in jaws with difficulty in opening mouth|
|Chamomilla||Toothache that intensifies with hot or warm foods or drinks, teething pain.|
|Dulcamara||Cold sores, especially on lips; symptoms of neuralgia.|
|Echinacea rudbeckia||Canker sores, receded gums that bleed easily, cracks at corners of lips, dry or swollen tongue.|
|Eupatorium peffoliatum||Cracks in corners of mouth, yellow-coated tongue, thirst.|
|Formalin||Loss of taste.|
|Hepar sulphuris||Painful, bleeding gums; depression; anxiety; swelling; infection; pain in jaw upon opening|
|Hypericum||Injuries to nerves as in deep cavities; for pain control after any major dental treatment|
|Ignatia||Mouth constantly full of saliva, toothache, sour taste.|
|Kali muriaticum||Pyorrhea, cold sores, thrush, swollen glands in neck and jaw.|
|Kali phosphorkum||Bad breath; excessive dry mouth in the morning; toothache; spongy, bleeding, and receding gums; anxiety.|
|Kreosotum||Children with anxiety|
|Kreosotum||Swollen, spongy, bleeding gums; cold sores; dry, cracked lips; pain in facial bones; lack of energy.|
|Lycopodium||Dry mouth, bad breath.|
|Mercurius corrosivus||Advanced gum disease with loose teeth and swollen, inflamed gums.|
|Mercurius cyanatus||Ulcerated mouth, pain and swelling of salivary glands|
|Mercurius hydrargyrum||Gum disease, sore tongue.|
|Mercurius solubilis||Bad breath, excessive salivation, oral herpes. (Recommended during and after removal of many mercury fillings).|
|Mercurius vivus||Metallic-tasting saliva, bad breath, swollen gums, general body weakness.|
|Natrum muriaticum||Thick coating on tongue; numbness, tingling of tongue and lips; dry mouth; cracks at corners of mouth; loss of taste; unquenchable thirst.|
|Natrum phosphoricum||Canker sores on lips and cheeks.|
|Nux vomica||Bad breath caused by gastric disturbances.|
|Phosphorus||Easily bleeding gums, persistent bleeding after tooth extraction|
|Phytolacca||Teething pain, pain in the soft palate, swollen tonsils.|
|Plantago major||Toothache that is sensitive to touch, worse with cold.|
|Pulsatilla||Toothache, bad breath, alteration or loss of taste, salivary gland disorder.|
|Pyrogenium||Bad breath; red, dry, and cracked tongue; dry throat; bad taste.|
|Rhamnus californica||Muscular pain and swollen joints in jaw(TMJ), canker sore between gums and lips.|
|Rhus toxicodendron||Loose teeth, sore gums, red and cracked tongue, cold sores around mouth, pain in jaw joint.|
|Santoninum||Headache, bad breath, thirst, loss of appetite, grinding of teeth.|
|Silicea||Gums sensitive to cold, abscess.|
|Staphysagria||Toothache during mensturation, anger, moodswings.|
|Sulphuricum acidum||Cold sores, gums that bleed ealily, anxiety, craving for stimulants.|
|Symphytum||Anxiety after trauma.|
|Trillium pendulum||Excessive bleeding after tooth extraction, bleeding gums, headache in front of head.|
|Upas tiente||Herpes of lips|
|Xerophyllum||Headache, backache, TMJ, pressure in sinuses and behind eyes.|
|X-ray||Excessive exposure to x-rays, painful throat when swallowing.|
From The Complete Book of Dental Remedies by Flora Parsa Stay, DDS, ©1996. Published by Avery Publishing, New York. For personal use only; neither the digital nor printed copy may be copied or sold. Reproduced by permission.