At some point in your life, you’ve probably walked down the aisle of a health food store and seen rows of small, stacked bottles labeled with exotic names and the word homeopathy.
Seeing them in a health food store leads some to think homeopathic remedies are just another form of herbal medicine. Actually – remedies are not used in herbal medicine ever and instead are used in a unique and very popular system of medicine called homeopathy.
So what is homeopathy exactly? Well, we are now learning that it's a form of nanomedicine. The word Homeopathy is derived from the Greek words homeo, meaning "similar,” and pathos, meaning "suffering” (such as the pathology of a disease). Homeopathy operates on a law of nature - "like cures like”, and has been used clinically for more than 200 years.
So what does "like cures like” mean?
Hippocrates talked about it. It means that a patient suffering from symptoms can be treated and cured by doses of a substance (mineral, animal or plant) capable of producing similar symptoms in a healthy person.
Tens of thousands of physicians and over five hundred million people use homeopathy around the world – which according to the World Health Organization makes it the 2nd most commonly used form of alternative medicine.
The clinical results achieved by homeopaths are truly astounding. In fact, because of the system’s clinical results, homeopathy experienced a period of very rapid growth during the deadliest epidemics of the 19th century – a period that saw both untreated and conventionally treated patients die at alarming rates.
Homeopaths use medicines made from extremely small quantities of nanoparticles created when the medicines are made (nanoparticles range in size from 1 nanometer (nm) on a side up to 1000 nm or more). These nanoparticles are then diluted to create the final product available in stores.
What does current research show?
For more than sixty years, scientists, using ever more refined spectroscopic equipment, have discovered unexpected properties of the remedies used by homeopaths. They have also been able to detect the original medicinal substance nanoparticles used to create each remedy.
With this knowledge of remedy nanoparticles, scientists are now able to differentiate one remedy from another as well as one potency from another of the same remedy.
Not only that, but scientists are now able to measure physiological changes produced by homeopathic remedies in a large number of experimental cell, plant, animal, and human studies.
One might ask – could this phenomenon of physiological change be just a placebo effect of some kind?
Actually – no. The placebo response can’t explain objectively measurable changes such as infertility reversal, stillbirth prevention, or worm eradication observed in randomized, placebo controlled trials in farm animals. Similarly, the innumerable homeopathic cures reported in infants and unconscious people also cannot be explained by the placebo response.
So what’s the big deal about nanoparticles and how could such a small amount of anything affect health?
Science now knows that nanoparticles have properties quite unique from ordinary bulk materials (like OTC and prescription drugs), including greater bioavailability with improved rates of absorption and enhanced catalytic ability for chemical and biochemical reactions . What that means is that less of something is actually more in many ways!
Homeopathic nanoparticles can initiate a process in nature called hormesis. Hormesis is a term from pharmacology, toxicology and physiology that refers to the way the body adapts over time to low levels of stressors or toxins. The effects of hormesis have been demonstrated in over 8,000 scientific studies .
Disease, though, can be the result of this is adaptive capacity of the body. When faced with an allergen, an infectious agent, or cumulative stress, the body can change from a healthy state to an unhealthy one. The symptoms we express when we are ill are a result of that adaptive state.
Homeopathic remedies seem to work by hormetically signaling your body to reverse the many adaptations it has made to combat an allergen, infection or chronic stressor. In short – the remedies trigger your body’s innate ability to heal.
About Dr. Lisa Samet
Dr. Lisa Samet N.D. provides Washington Homeopathic Products with a weekly column on using homeopathy for the family. She's a naturopathic physician who specializes in homeopathic medicine and she's a partner with Dr. Andre Saine N.D. She is perhaps best known as a guest expert on homeopathy used by Dr. Mehmet Oz M.D. on the popular TV program - the Dr. Oz Show. Dr. Samet graduated from the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in 1998 and has been practicing in Montreal since then. She was born and raised in New York.
Dr. Samet has chosen to focus on homeopathy because in her experience it is the deepest healing modality available in that it does not just soothe or palliate symptoms but can actually stimulate the body to start to heal itself. Dr. Samet sees patients in her Montreal office as well as long distance using Skype. Learn more here: Dr. Lisa Samet. You can follow her on Facebook as well.
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 E. J. Calabrese and M. P. Mattson: Hormesis provides a generalized quantitative estimate of biological plasticity.