What is homeopathy?
Homeopathy (British spelling ~ homoeopathy) is a system of medicine based on the principle of ‘like cures like’. Minute doses of natural and synthetic substances are attenuated to act as a stimulating factor for healing. Simply, homeopathy encourages the body’s own natural healing ability through the use of homeopathic preparations (medicines / remedies). These medicines are prescribed on the basis that it will treat the disease that is similar to the clinical presentation when the remedy or raw material that it is made of is administered to a healthy person.
Is homeopathy safe?
Homeopathy lays claim to being one of the safest therapeutic systems since it does not bombard the body with chemicals that can sometimes be toxic. Instead it uses the body’s own healing ability in order to treat the disease. The minute doses used in homeopathy are not toxic and can be safely used in pregnant women and babies. It does not run the risk of drug interactions and adverse reactions seen with pharmaceutical drugs. Although the symptoms of the disease can sometimes aggravate momentarily, homeopathy does not cause the disease to worsen.
Does homeopathy treat only the symptoms?
With a thorough understanding of homeopathy, it is evident that homeopathy does not treat the disease nor the symptoms of the disease. Instead it treats the patient by stimulating the body’s healing ability to overcome the illness. Diseases arise with disturbances in the body’s delicate balance known as homeostasis. Homeopathy aims to restore homeostasis to ensure that the body can then function at its peak and restore health. The disease can be overcome and the symptoms will then resolve.
Is homeopathy a natural system of medicine?
Natural medicine is a popular term coined for the use of healing substances derived from nature. It is often used to refer to complementary medicine or alternative therapies. Homeopathic remedies are not only made from herbs. It uses a wide range of substances from nature and synthetic sources as the basis for homeopathic preparations.
Homeopathy is a complementary system of medicine that is often seen as an alternative to mainstream medicine (allopathy). However, the role of homeopathy is to work side-by-side with all systems of medicine, both complementary and allopathic. Homeopathy cannot claim to be any more ‘natural’ than herbal medicine (phytotherapy) or conventional medicine (allopathy).
Is homeopathy a recognised system of medicine?
Homeopathy is recognised by the South African Department of Health as a complementary system of medicine. It is also recognised as a therapeutic option by most medical aids in the country. Despite widespread criticism of homeopathy from various different sources, homeopathy has not ceased to exist – not in South Africa nor in other countries across the globe.
Although homeopathy is not represented in the public health sector, it continues to thrive in the private health sector as homeopaths in private practice and homeopathic clinics exist in every province and major city in South Africa. The practice of homeopathy is regulated by the Allied Health Professions Council of South Africa (AHPCSA) according to the Allied Health Professions Act, 63 of 1982.