Here is my personal view from experience, on homeopathy. It is neither an official explanation, nor are any of the examples intended to be suggestions of treatments. They are examples of uses of homeopathy at Furry Boots. Where appropriate, Furry Boots consults with professional Homeopaths.
The reason for writing this, is to try to answer the question
frequently asked of me:
"What do you mean by 'HOMEOPATHY'?"
I'll start by saying that I would not have Sindri pictured here, if it were not for homeopathy - he would have died of Oleander poisoning - and nor would I have a number of my kitties who are hale and hearty and healthy after serious health incidents made right with homeopathy.
So despite my intensive scientific training, and the fact that homeopathy defies explanation by any known scientific method - I am now a firm supporter of this gentle and powerful method of maintaining and restoring health.
Homeopathy was discovered by Samuel Hahnemann (who died in 1840)
when he noticed that an extremely small amount of a substance
could cure the symptoms caused by a substantial dose of that same
substance. For example, symptoms caused by arsenic poisoning would be
cured by taking an infinitesimal amount of the arsenic poison.
He also showed that this only worked in a person who did already have
the symptoms which needed to be cured. When a healthy person took some
arsenic, they got arsenical poisoning symptoms. When a person already
poisoned took the tiny dose, the symptoms were cured.
This paradoxical finding -
Hahnemann called it "curing likes with likes"
- is the basis for Homeopathy (homeo=same).
Hahnemann did find that there were side effects if you
tried to cure a problem with a very small amount of
the same substance (arsenic for example). It cured someone
with arsenic poisoning but there were side efeects.
It caused him to experiment to see if diluting the
substance would reduce the side effects. It did. But
it also diluted the beneficial effect.
What happened next is documented - but just why Hahnemann even tried it, seems to be undocumented:
Hahnemann found that if you diluted the remedy to get rid of the side effects, BUT you also shook the remedy well with each dilution, then you not only retained the beneficial effect of the remedy, but the beneficial effect actually became enhanced - while still losing the side effects.
So this wonderful discovery is why homeopathic remedies are shaken hard when they are diluted, and why the higher dilutions are called "higher potency" remedies. (For example a 200C potency remedy has been diluted 1 in 100, 200 times, with 100 shakes for each dilution.) These higher dilutions DO have higher beneficial effects towards a cure, but the side effects are all gone.
Hahnemann used many preparations as remedies in his day, and since then about 4500 homeopathic remedies have been developed. Each one has a well defined set of symptoms associated with it, and the remedies and their symptom sets can be found in books called "Materia Medica of Homeopathic Remedies".
Ideally, to cure any living being of a set of unwanted symptoms, one must find the
homeopathic remedy which has the most closely matching set of symptoms
associated with it.
The symptom set must be SIMILAR - not necessarily identical.
This last point is very important and gives homeopathy amazing strength to cure,
because you need not find an exactly matching symptom set. The homeopathic remedy
will cure anything with a similar set of symptoms. Hence for example, disease
caused by two different viruses, but with a similar set of symptoms, can be cured
by a single homeopathic remedy.
Mutating viruses had better watch out! Homeopathy has an answer!
The other important principle, is that because homepathy works for a set of symptoms in any living thing (it can be a human, cat, dog, bird, bee, etc), there is no need for a specific diagnosis - only full knowledge of the set of symptoms of the living thing, and knowledge of the most closely matching homeopathic remedy, as to the symptom set for that remedy.
Somehow, by a method unknown to modern-day science, the homeopathic remedy induces the body to rid itself of the unwanted symptoms associated with the remedy. One should not take a homeopathic remedy if one is WELL and has no unwanted symptoms - because doing so for a number of doses can induce the symptoms to occur. One should take a remedy to CURE symptoms.
Taking a homeopathic remedy to INDUCE symptoms, is how
new homeopathic remedies are discovered and "proved". Once proved by many volunteers,
and once the symptom set is well documented, the remedy can be added to the
materia medica references.
An ill person with those
symptoms, would then be cured of the symptoms by the remedy.
This is most strange-sounding to the scientific minded - but this is essentially how homeopathic remedies function. The best I can say is that homeopathy works - we do not know how - - but it works kindly and effects wonderful results - and all this without side effects - not to mention at very low cost.
POTENCY OF REMEDIES:
The next revelation for me concerning homeopathy, was that when they speak of tiny amounts, they really mean it! At first I did not believe the claim, that in most homeopathic remedies - all of them over about 6X potency - there is so little of the original remedy substance in the homeopathic preparation, that there is not any left at all which can be detected by modern scientific methods!
Having worked as an analytical chemist, this did not sit well with me as an idea, I felt some of the original substance must be present - but after seeing the results of a treatment on Sindri, and after making some of a remedy used on Sindri myself - an exceptionally highly diluted one - and seeing the spectacular effect - I am a believer in the "no chemical left" claim.
So no wonder the method has no side effects. But to me it's still a wonder that it has such a powerful healing effect. I use remedies on my cats - they are very clever and know a lot of English words - but despite their vocabulary, I still think they would not know what a placebo is and so the homeopathic results are certainly genuine!
I'll describe what "dilute" means, in homeopathic terms, and you'll see what I mean.
Homeopathic remedies come in many "potencies".
Ideally, one cures with the lowest dose of the lowest potency suitable for the situation. If that does not work, one can increase potency and/or dosage to suit the situation. You can go to a higher potency any time it seems a good idea, but not to a lower one during the course of a treatment. Hence the tendency is to start low when in doubt. Potency numbers are allocated, higher numbers for higher potencies.
A "potency" of 1C is made by diluting one part of remedy in 99 parts of water. For example, one uses one drop of remedy, adds 99 drops of water, and shakes well 100 times. If you leave out the shaking (which 'potentizes' the remedy) then by the end dilution the remedy will not be effective. (I do not understand this as a scientist, but it is so.)
To make a potency of 2C, you take a drop of 1C, and dilute in 99 drops of water, and shake 100 times. And so it continues. One normally uses a potency of around 30C or higher, for example I saw spectacular results from a potency I made starting with 30C, and working it up to 200C, to assist my cat to overcome Oleander poisoning. If you can imagine how much dilution this involves, you might find this as amazing as I did. Especially since the actual dose was further diluted:
A drop of Oleander 200C was put in 3/4 cup of water, stirred, and 2 drops of this was the medicinal usage directed by my homeopath. Within 5 minutes of being dosed, the cat's reaction to the remedy was obvious.
A few examples of uses I have experiences with homeopathy:
Heal results of a Violin Spider bite on the thigh, in myself, (Calendula 200C) after my thigh had threatened gangrene;
Nip infection in the bud (Aconite 200) in newborn tubefed kittens - they never had so much as a sticky eye;
Cure chronic carrier cat flu of a new variety which arrived with an imported cat (Feline URI Nosode 30C);
Cure a serious closed pyometra in a breeding female (Pyrogenium 30C, 200C and 1M);
Overcome ataxia from traumatic brain damage accident soon after birth;
Overcome tendency to toxicity after spider bites, cat bites, etc (Ledum 30C, Lachesis 200C, Hypericum 30C); Lachesis is particularly effective where bleeding is involved, such as with some rat poisons, and some snakebite poisons (notably Boomslang for example.)
Ledum is more appropriate with Hypericum for cat bites which otherwise tend to be rather nastily infected, and also for spider bites (Black Widow) with nerve toxins. As with other remedies, the symptoms suited to the remedy symptoms - will be cured by that remedy.
A homeopathic principle is that the more acute the problem, the less accurate the
choice of remedy needs to be. In order to cure a chronic syndrome, the best
matched remedy is far more necessary, as the symptom picture will include attitudes and states of mind
as opposed to a mainly physical immediate trauma.
This is fortunate as in emergency one can use a "polychrest" well known for being helpful in a crisis, and in a crisis there is not time to find the exact match for symptoms. If the case later becomes chronic, or if one only uses homeopathy after other methods have failed, so that the case is not only chronic but advanced, there will be more time (and it takes several hours, and can take days) to find a suitably matching homeopathic remedy. (It's worth the trouble!)
Homeopathic nosodes can be used both to vaccinate against disease
- AND to cure the disease should it occur - and also to
overcome vaccination reactions to conventional vaccines.
Use and dosage vary, but the same nosode can be used. Furry Boots
vaccinates by the homeopathic method, using Feline URI nosode 30.
This covers herpes, rhinotracheitis, calici, chlamydia, and feline infectious enteritis.
As all the cats arriving are proved free of FeLV,
and there is no chance of exposure,
FeLV vaccination is not used at Furry Boots.
HOW DOES ONE SELECT THE REMEDY TO MATCH THE SYMPTOM SET?
.....THERE ARE ABOUT 4500 REMEDIES:
Homeopathy has developed techniques to make it a bit easier to know which of the 4500 or so homeopathic remedies, is the best to use for a particular patient. Nobody has memorised the full symptom set of all 4500 remedies!
What has been done, is that each remedy has been studied, and its symptom set has been recorded. There are many books which list the remedies in this way, usually in alphabetical order, and such a book is called a "materia medica". I'll list my favourite reference books later.
The materia medica is where you choose the remedy, but is not a good place to start looking for the right one, as you first need to have some idea which remedies to look up. So the materia medica is only useful once you have a short list of remedies most likely to be suitable for the symptoms that matter.
Another book called a repertory, is used to arrive at a short list of remedies. A repertory lists symptoms in several categories. The most important category is the mind. I consider it is this way because after all your mind/brain is what will directs the healing, so a match of mind symptoms is prerequisite to finding a suitable remedy. Now everyone is different, and what mind symptoms you have will be different from the ones I have. So for you and for me, *different* remedies will be needed to cure the *same* problematic symptoms.
.....CHOOSING THE RELEVANT SYMPTOMS TO USE:
Choose the top 7 to 10 mind symptoms. Mind symptoms are things like anxiety, fear, sadness, confusion, aversion to company (or the opposite), and lots more.
Choose 5 or so relevant "generalities". Generalities are things that affect the entire body (as opposed to the place where perhaps the most irritating symptom occurs, which may be a weepy eye or bad knees.)
Generalities are things like Feels the cold easily (or Gets hot easily), feels better in wet weather, feels worse at night, gets edema, and so on. Again one chooses the most relevant ones.
Especially note "peculiarities", and give precedence to these when choosing between two remedies later. Those are symptome you have now when you are ill, which are not normal for you under ordinary circumstances. For example for me, if I suddenly did not get cold easily, I'd know that was most peculiar for me.
Lastly - surprise as it is of least importance! - list the top 5 or so specific symptoms that are bothersome right now, like plantar fascia pain, migraine, sore eye, broken leg, asthma, cold, earache, etc.
.....REPERTORY LOOKUP TO GET YOUR SHORTLIST:
Now that you have the relevant symptoms, you look them up in a repertory. A repertory is a listing of symptoms, and next to each one, is a whole list of remedy names - in fact all the remedies that happen to include that symptom. So what you end up with is a list of remedies associated with each of your listed symptoms. Next you look for the common remedies. You will find about 4 to 10 remedies that are listed over and over again opposite the various symptoms you listed.
Those are your short-list to look up in the materia medica. Now is the time to pull out the materia medica and choose the *one* remedy that best approximates your symptom set - the one most similar - called the "simillimum". This single remedy will cure you, starting from the mind and attitude, and progressing through generalities, to the specifics.
.....MATERIA MEDICA LOOKUP:
Look up each shortlist remedy in the materia medica, and read it in full. It will be obvious as you read the descriptions of the shortlist of remedies, that only one is the best fit. You will not need to find a perfect fit. Often you will be surprised how well the remedy does fit, however, and will find all sorts of other symptoms that the remedy helps, in addition to the important ones you listed. I always get a big kick out of doing this for a pet, as it is hard enough for a human, but when I see corrborating symptoms for one of the kitties (like prefers open air or prefers dark hideyholes) (or like easier going upstairs than downstairs) then I just know I have done the "repertorising" work correctly, and it was worth the considerable effort!!! Be aware that repertorising can take hours or days - though it gets better with practice and experience.
Of course it is even more exciting, when I give the remedy and see results, often after conventional veterinarians have said there was nothing more that could be done. So I highly reccommend anyone with energy to try homeopathy, and work at it. I know one "should" see a professional homeopath, but they are not available round the next corner generally, and self-help beats no-help hollow if you can't find professional help.
My own study of homeopathy is of course ongoing (what isn't?) and I learn from every instance. I also learn a *lot* from homeopaths I know, and from the homeopathy list for professional homeopaths, which anyone can join (but beware - they post zillions of emails). So mostly I use my homeopahy references which are:
*** Homeopathic Repertory and Materia Medica, pocket edition by Boericke, Jain Edition. (I cut my teeth on that one, and it was fine for all but feline nosodes and more complex cases.)
*** Kent's Repertory of the Homeopathic Materia Medica by Kent,J.T., also Jain edition. (Jain editions are cheaper - sometimes come with the odd free "remedy" squished between the pages!)
*** Clarke's 3-volume Dictionary of Practical Materia Medica, also Jain edition.
*** A homeopathy booklet written just for me by my cousin Gwen, useful for me and my cats. Thanks a million Gwen!
*** A two-page homeopathic advice and birthpack list from homeopath and vet Charles Barrett of UK, which is invaluable to me as a cat breeder.
*** I have a few books intended as references to use for cats or pets, but I find them superficial and unlikely to get me the one ideal remedy to ensure a cure. So they tend to gather dust a bit. But I can't toss them either!
*** My other references are people who have worlds of experience in homeopathy. They are usually my best references.
HOMEOPATHY FIRST PORT OF CALL at Furry Boots:
Due to all the positive experiences with homeopathy, which I have had the pleasure of observing and experiencing with the help of trained homeopaths, I can now say that homeopathy is the first treatment of choice at Furry Boots.
This is not to say that other sciences do not have a place - ALL the sciences do have a place. To omit any entirely, is like tossing half the tools out of the toolbox. This policy does say however, that in most situations, homeopathy will effect a result before the situation is severe enough to need other help.
In addition, homeopathy appears to have effects beyond what's possible in some other disciplines. It is this after all - homeopathy having success after other health care failed - which started me using homeopathy in the first place. I hope the system is soon used more often by more people, to cure more problems.
My Homepathic Birthpak Link
FURRY BOOTS NFO's - Homeopathic Kittening Information
My Homepage Link
FURRY BOOTS Home Page - Irene de Villiers