The recent ruckus regarding the effectiveness of homeopathic remedies and ayurvedic medicines against Covid-19 is the inspiration for this post today. It seems that allopathic doctors are all riled up due to the state government recommending the use of homeopathic remedies as preventives. It is clear that they fear that these remedies will fail and that people emboldened by having taken the preventives will go out indiscriminately and cause a wider spread of the disease. I can understand their fear.
What I write here is not a defense or condemnation of any branch of medicine. I also know just enough of the three major medical systems to know that each has different theories of how diseases are caused and how they can be dealt with. My aim is just to show you why I do not think that homeopathy is complete hogwash as some people think and reiterate. If you check the Wikipedia page on homeopathy (which some knowledgeable homeopath should consider rewriting soon), it will show a completely biased outlook favoring allopathic medicine and calling homeopathy a "pseudo-science". I wonder how there are medical colleges all over India that teach this pseudo-science!
1. It is very slow and healing takes a long time, even in the case of colds and flu.
2. You can't trust homeopaths because they give powdered allopathic medicine to speed up recovery.
It wasn't till 2015 when I heard the talk of a renowned homeopath presenting a program on TV that I started thinking of taking homeopathic treatment for my pre-diabetic condition. And that good doctor happened to be my husband's classmate and dear friend. Although we had known him for so long, it was a classic case of familiarity breeding indifference (not contempt, never). Here are a few instances of how he and his wife who is also a gifted homeopath have helped us over the years.
1. My younger son developed small white patches on his skin. I took him to a physician nearby who recommended vitamins and a lotion. Two months, no change. Next to a dermatologist at a reputed hospital. He prescribed a high-dose antifungal medication as well as an ointment. Two weeks later we went back with no change. This time he wrote out a list of six medicines. I was chatting with the pharmacist and casually asked her what all these were for. She said she didn't know the uses of any except one that was for itching. That puzzled me because my son's condition didn't include that symptom. Coming back with the meds, I did a detailed online search. What I found really shocked me. Two of those medicines were carcinogenic and banned for pediatric use. One would cause intense itching as a side effect (so that was what the anti-itching medicine was for). One was a high-dose steroid. When one of those meds was used, the user was to avoid sunlight (we weren't informed of this). Since I was already taking homeo medication, I rang up my doctor and tentatively explained the situation and asked if he could help. My son's case was taken over the phone, the medicines arrived by mail. Within two months, the condition was gone and has not returned.
2. My elder son developed eczema-like sores on his feet and lower legs. I thought it was due to his playing outdoors and applied topical treatments recommended by our local GP. Then I noticed that he was developing thick, raised, dark skin over the healed areas and wherever he had lacerations on his skin. This time I immediately called my homeopathic doctor who asked me to send him photos. He diagnosed it as lichen planus - and sent medicines immediately. But he also asked us to get it verified using a biopsy and blood test. For the test I had to go to a dermatologist. The list of medicines he gave me of course included a host of medications both topical and to be ingested. This condition has no cure in allopathy. So our elder son is on a long-term homeopathic treatment for the same. He still has dark scars on his skin from the early flare-up, but since then, nothing.
3. One morning I was aghast to see that my urine was blood red. Needless to say, I panicked and called my homeopathic doctor. He directed me to start drinking water, ordered blood and urine routine tests as well as an abdominal ultrasound to rule out uterine bleeding. Yes, I had severe urinary tract infection. The medicine was twelve drops of a remedy in half a glass of boiled water. The doctor then educated me on the symptoms of UTI and told me to take one dose of the same medicine if I felt any of those symptoms coming on. This was amazing for me because after our trip to Rameswaram and Dhanushkoti in 2013, DH had fallen ill. He was first misdiagnosed with flu and treated only with Paracetamol till he was in a very bad condition. When we got to the hospital he was diagnosed with UTI and had to stay there for a week and take high-dose antibiotics to recover.
4. I got dengue fever in 2017. My homeo doctor recommended testing for dengue after she listened to my symptoms. After confirmation, I took only homeo medications and recovered completely. My blood platelet count was below normal only on the day I was diagnosed. On conducting regular followup tests on the doctor's recommendation, it never went below normal again.
5. In May 2019, we visited a temple town in Karnataka. On the overnight train journey back home, our younger son felt nauseated, had a stomach ache, started vomiting and ran a slight fever. I did my best to soothe him and avoid dehydration. Reaching home, I called my doctor who asked me to give one dose of a remedy. The kid was up and asking for lunch by noon time. Over the course of the next week, the rest of the family developed symptoms of the same disease in varying degrees. My elder son and I escaped with mild symptoms as we took the remedy immediately when we recognized the symptoms. DH was caught outside escorting visiting family members around the city when he developed symptoms. But he too recovered within 12 hours of onset, with just one dose of remedy. This would not have been remarkable if not for what we learned on a visit to relatives in December 2019. A group of ten or so of them had been to the same temple town in May 2019 around the time we had been there and had all been felled by the same symptoms for at least a week each. Three of them required several days' hospitalization due to dehydration and high fever. Even family members who had not gone to the temple town caught the infection and were prostrated.
6. Before starting taking homeopathic treatment, I used to get colds at least once in a month or two and at least two or three times a year, these would blow up into infections (bronchitis, sinusitis and whole hosts of other itises) that would require the use of antibiotics. I am glad to say that I have not needed antibiotics for the last three years, touch wood! At the least sign of colds, I call my doctor and take the recommended remedy. I have found that if I catch symptoms early, just one dose can heal me. If I neglect the symptoms till they are worse, I might need three days' worth of remedies. But that is usually enough.
7. I once ate fried dried shrimp in a chutney. Two hours later I started choking. At the time I had no cold or any other condition, so I connected it to the shrimp and called my doctor. She told me to take a dose of a remedy and wait to see if the choking sensation eased within ten minutes. It did, I could literally feel my air passages opening up again.
Of course these are only the more spectacular instances and I could go on. It has not been easy to adopt homeopathy for our ailments. Social conditioning has a lot of influence on us. DH who is a worry wort, tends to keep asking me, "Should we go to a doctor?" several times during my illnesses or the kids'. But over the years, he too has become convinced of the efficacy of homeopathy. These days, I can tell that his question is more out of habit rather than actual anxiety.
Here are the things that I feel are different about my homeo doctors:
1. Detailed case-taking at the beginning to analyze each patient's idiosyncrasies.
2.The use of modern lab tests to confirm diagnoses rather than depending on just the listing of symptoms as in classic homeopathy.
3. Immense patience and readiness to accept the skepticism of patients.
4. Exact documentation on the progress of patients' conditions.
5. Their use of the Target Super protocol that they developed with years of clinical practice.
6. Telling the patients the exact names of the remedies, in most instances. I know this is usually not done mainly to avoid self-medication and consequent inefficacy of remedies. But since my doctors do not live in our town, we consult mostly over the phone. Therefore, we can actually be sure that we are not taking "powdered allopathic medicines."
My personal philosophy regarding the health care of my family has now expanded to include homeopathy in all instances except in dire emergencies or acute infections with sudden onset. I believe that homeopathy has a lot to contribute to medical care. In fact, once the era of antibiotics is over due to the development of superbugs, I believe we will have to turn to alternative medicine, especially homeopathy for help. I hope that all branches of medicine can be brought together, forgetting their differences, so that the most appropriate and effective treatment can be provided for each disease. The first step in any medical course should be the acceptance of other medical branches as well.
Therefore, in these Covid times, I am not very scared. At the slightest cold-like symptoms, I turn to my trusted doctor for help. But even with this ready help at hand, we strictly practice wearing masks, social distancing and sanitizing. And we don't go out unnecessarily even though we miss meeting our friends and family members.
If you want to know the basic principles etc. of homeopathy, you can take a free Udemy course: Introduction to Homeopathy by Ellen Bench, D.Hom, Homeopathic Master Clinician. It is very interesting and enlightening.