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Homeopathy Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What is Homeopathy?
A. The word Homeopathy comes from two Greek words "homoios” meaning similar and "pathos” meaning disease or suffering. It is based on the law of "Likes Cure Likes” and was first formulated by the renowned German physician Samuel Hahnemann in 1789. A minimal, homeopathic dose of a natural substance (plant, animal, or mineral) which would normally cause symptoms (such as poison ivy from exposure to the poison ivy plant) in a healthy person, when given to a sick person exhibiting those symptoms, will effect a cure. For example, this is why people can often take homeopathic Rhus toxicodendron (poison ivy plant) to cure their allergic reaction to poison ivy.
Q. How safe is Homeopathy?
A. Homeopathic medicines are potentized (manufactured) by serially diluting the original substance with alcohol and water (or lactose for tablets), and vigorously shaking (succussing) the mixture after each dilution (tablets are succussed by grinding the mixture with mortar and pestle). Because the remedy becomes highly dilute very early in the potentization process, such that a 4X is diluted 1:10,000 and a 5X is diluted 1:100,000, they are extremely safe and rarely produce side-effects or drug interactions. Homeopathic medicines act by stimulating the body’s own healing mechanisms. Because they are not acting chemically, they do not have the potential to cause any sustained damage. Therefore, homeopathic medicines are a great choice for mothers, adults, babies and animals.
Q. Can I Take Homeopathic Remedies with My Other Drugs?
A. Yes. Because homeopathic medicines are very dilute, they are considered safe to use with other drugs. However, because homeopathy works to support the body’s natural immune response, and many conventional drugs work to suppress the body’s healing mechanisms (like fever or skin rashes), a homeopathic physician should be consulted for an individualized treatment plan.
Q. What is the Difference Between X and C?
A. Both X and C are designations for homeopathic potency scales. X is the Roman Numeral for 10 and means that that particular homeopathic medicine has been diluted 1:10 during the potentization process. C is the Roman Numeral for 100 and means that that particular homeopathic medicine has been diluted 1:100 during its potentization process. X and C are simply two different ways of manufacturing a remedy. The X potency scale has traditionally been very popular in the US since Dr. C. Hering, a famous American Homeopath, was a huge proponent of the X scale. C potencies have traditionally been used mostly in Europe. Today, Washington Homeopathic Products offers both X and C potency scales.
Because both a 30C and a 30X have gone through the dilution and succussion steps 30 times, they are considered to be comparable potencies. However, because C potencies are more dilute, they are considered to be slightly stronger. WHP recommends that people who have been taking remedies in X potencies stick with the X potency scale, and those who have been using C potencies, stick with the C’s. However, high potencies, such as 200 or 1M are typically only available in the C potency scale.
Q. How Are Homeopathic Medicines Regulated in the USA?
A. Homeopathic medicines are regulated as drugs by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia of the United States (HPUS) was written into federal law in 1938 under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. The HPUS tells homeopathic medicine manufacturers exactly how the individual homeopathic medicines must be made. All homeopathic medicine manufacturers in the US (including WHP) must manufacture in accordance with the guidelines set out by the HPUS. Homeopathic pharmacies and manufacturers are inspected by the FDA just like other pharmacies and must comply with all Good Manufacturing Practice standards.
While most homeopathic medicines are designated by the FDA as "over-the-counter” drugs, and thus allowed to be sold in health food stores and to the general public, some homeopathic medicines are designated "prescription” Rx drugs. These Rx homeopathic medicines are available only to licensed practitioners with Rx prescription authority.
Q. Does Coffee Antidote Homeopathic Medicines?
A. It is often said that strong odors such as camphor, coffee (includes decaf), and mint, can antidote (render ineffective) homeopathic medicines. There is some documentation to support this. However, WHP generally has observed that in individuals who are accustomed to drinking coffee on a daily basis, remedies are not usually antidoted by their coffee consumption. For individuals who regularly do not drink coffee, their remedies may be antidoted by its consumption. The best rule of thumb is to be aware of the potential for antidoting, and if after being exposed to a strong odor, you notice a return of your symptoms, readminister the remedy and avoid exposure to the offending odor in the future.