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Homeopathy in Peril

As healthcare costs surge throughout the United States there has been a growing movement for change to the status quo. In this environment people are demanding more options and at lower prices. That’s why the FDAs latest shenanigans towards homeopathy come off as particularly tone deaf. Homeopathy is a unique system of medicine dating back to 1796 that relies on a few basic principles. “Like cures like”, meaning a substance that produces similar symptoms can be used to alleviate or even eliminate those symptoms when given in the appropriate dosage and form. The classic example of this is when identical waves travelling in opposite directions cancel each other out (referred to as destructive interference). Another principle is that potentization increases strength. This is where a lot of people fail to understand homeopathy. Potentization is achieved by serial dilutions, each with vigorous shaking/motion between the next. While it may sound like simply diluting, there have been several studies showing that potentized substances are different from dilutions. The end concept is not unlike principles applied in pharmacology (Arndt-Schultz law) and toxicology (hormesis) that explain different doses of a given substance can have different actions, even opposite reactions depending on the dose. Finally, diseases and their remedies can be described as part of a greater family which in homeopathy is called miasms. Think of this as taking into consideration that genetics and our environment can predispose us to act or react in certain ways. Likewise, the medicines (referred to as remedies in homeopathy) can be categorized by miasms that show relations to each other. Homeopathy has been very popular throughout the world ever since its creation. There are several types of practitioners who have successfully used homeopathy in their therapeutic tool kits including medical doctors, homeopaths, naturopaths, naturopathic physicians, osteopaths, nurse practitioners, physicians’ assistants, and more. Most of the original homeopathic doctors were in fact medical doctors and to this day make up a significant number of homeopathic prescribers. The royal family in the UK have used homeopathy as a crucial part of their care for decades. This tool has also been an integral part of my practice. As a disclaimer I do not in any way claim that homeopathy is a cure all, nor does it have a 100% success rate. I don’t think there is a medication, supplement, surgery, or any kind of treatment that has that success rate. There are times however, when a remedy is well indicated, and it has made all the difference. I have seen rashes disappear, pain alleviate, sleep improve, eye infections clear, moods stabilize, abdominal pains go away, depression lift, tremors completely stop, and many other beneficial responses. In some of those cases it was the only treatment provided and in others it was part of the overall treatment plan. The point is that it was an option and those patients reported it was a critical component in turning around their health. Just as important is the fact that these remedies are usually incredibly inexpensive, usually costing between $5-$15 for a month supply. This is an option that patients deserve and in fact, some depend on. The FDA last year began to draft new guidelines [1] on how homeopathy should be regulated, that if adopted may decrease or eliminate the availability of many common remedies. Again, I’ll insert a disclaimer here. There is a need to ensure that the remedies are being manufactured appropriately to ensure quality and safety. I’m certain that the FDA has that as their end goal, but their guidelines are unfortunately off mark. The American for Homeopathy Choice Foundation have raised a petition [2] to alter the guidelines to better preserve access to homeopathic remedies while improving safety and efficacy of homeopathic remedy manufacturing. A summary of their petition [3] is also available in everyday language. I highly encourage individuals who use homeopathic remedies, know someone who uses homeopathic remedies, or would consider using homeopathic remedies to get educated about this issue and sign the citizen petition [4].Homeopathy is a critical option for patients to have access to. The remedies are gentle and when manufactured appropriately are very safe. When well indicated they can be part of an effective treatment plan. Due to their low cost, they represent a cost-effective option with little potential for harm and considerable potential for good. We need more options in the US for healthcare, not less. Please help us preserve this option for those who need it most. Please sign the citizen petition linked here: 1-\ 2- 3- 4-

-- Anton Alder, ND

  Naturopathic Physician

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