More than half of French people (56%) occasionally use homeopathy, in particular to prevent winter infections, but most of them consider themselves to be poorly informed about this type of treatment (“The French and homeopathic medicines”, survey Ipsos conducted in 2010 with 1,200 people aged 18 and over and published in April 2011). As a result, when we broach the subject, we meet as many fans as there are detractors.
However, like acupuncture, homeopathy is increasingly used, often as a complement to other treatments, to reduce side effects, for example. Some hospital services even call on the skills of homeopathic doctors to support heavy treatments, such as those used in oncology. But the controversy persists, often for lack of information.
Difference between classical medicine and homeopathy
In classical medicine (allopathy), the prescribed drugs are intended to oppose the effects of the disease by repairing dysfunctions or by combating the aggressors.
Conversely, in homeopathy, we attack the disease by absorbing very low doses of substances causing the same symptoms. Homeopathic preparations are obtained from plant, mineral or animal materials (“strains”), by the method of successive dilutions: the active substance (sulfur, mercury, echinacea, belladonna, etc.) is diluted in water or in a water-alcohol mixture before being administered, the very high dilutions being considered to be the most effective.
A homeopathic dose
Homeopathy is based on the constitution of the person to activate his defenses. You should know that 1CH = 1 drop of active principle.
The active principle is diluted in 99 times its volume of liquid (water or mixture of water and alcohol) to obtain a 1 CH solution (C per hundredth and H for Hahnemannienne); a drop of the previous dilution is taken and in turn diluted in 99 times its volume for 2 CH, and so on up to more than 30 CH to treat deep, chronic or allergic disorders.
There are also low dilutions reserved for acute affections, expressed in DH (D for tenth), the active principle then being diluted in 9 times its volume of liquid for 1 DH.
Each color of tube (or dose) corresponds to a dilution ranging from 4 CH (yellow) to 30 CH (purple). The label contains the name of the strain (animal, vegetable or mineral substance) and the dilution.
The price of a tube containing 80 granules is around € 1.80, with, on prescription, reimbursement by Medicare at 30% for “moderate benefit”.
This original therapy was developed by Samuel Hahnemann, German physician, toxicologist and chemist, at the beginning of the 19th century, based on the conclusions of experiments he made on himself with cinchona (decoction of bark of the shrub of the same name). He verified that this plant – known to lower fever – caused in him the same symptoms of feverishness that he sought to treat in the sick.
“This principle of “treating evil with evil” is still relevant today, explains Dr Jacques Boulet, general practitioner and director of the Center for teaching and development of homeopathy.
Faced with food poisoning or gastroenteritis, a pharmacist will suggest an intestinal dressing (Smecta), an antidiarrhoeal (Tiorfan) and an antispasmodic (Spasfon). By resorting to homeopathy, taking Arsenicum Album granules will offer a precise and comprehensive response by acting on diarrhea and pain – arsenic producing the same symptoms -, and at the same time reducing fatigue, anxiety and chills.
The same goes for hay fever by taking Lung histamine and Apis, making it possible to avoid taking antiallergics or reducing their quantity, without side effects observed“.
We could also cite Arnica in granules or gel, for bruises and bumps without gravity, widely available for self-medication in pharmacies.
The form of these drugs, usually granules, but also syrups, drops, creams or gels, does not necessarily differentiate them from conventional drugs. So much so that two out of ten households use them without knowing it! Those with a blue sticker are directly accessible in pharmacies, but are reimbursed at 30% (“moderate benefit”) only on medical prescription by Medicare. In total, Social Security reimburses 1,163 of the 2,500 existing strains.
Activate the healing process with homeopathy
Homeopathy, a medicine developed by Dr Hahnemann, is based on the following principle: the body has the strength within it to generate a natural healing process. Also, it is important to find the means to stimulate this natural process inherent in every organism. In this, the desired effect is similar to vaccination which inoculates viruses to prevent them.
The homeopathic doctor therefore seeks to carefully discover all the symptoms of a patient in order to activate the corresponding process. Also, two patients suffering from the same disease can be prescribed different homeopathic remedies, because they do not have the same constitution.
The therapy is based on “the law of similarities”, according to which any substance which, in high doses, causes such or such symptom in someone healthy, is capable of curing these same symptoms in a sick individual.
Decrease unwanted effects
Many general practitioners supplement their knowledge and develop their practices towards homeopathy. ” I have been a general practitioner and homeopath since the start of my exercise and I take advice from my fellow specialists, without a priori, confides Jacques Boulet.
Traditional medicine often combines different treatments. In oncology, for example, alongside heavy therapy, psychological monitoring for the well-being of the patient makes perfect sense. In the same vein, homeopathic medicines are complementary to other treatments. “ They are used, for example, to reduce the side effects of chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
In allergology, they are used as a field treatment, in addition to inhaled cortisone spray. Or in gastroenterology:
If the gastroenterologist treats a stomach ulcer with an antacid, diet, diaphragm physiotherapy sessions, etc., the homeopathic doctor will treat the anxious and dyspeptic area (digestive disorders) to avoid recurrence, continues Dr Boulet.
Homeopathy is based on the constitution (terrain) of the person in order to give their defenses all the chances. Thus, in the medication for a urinary tract infection, Pareira Brava compound (Arsenicum album, Pareira brava, Mercurius corrosivus, Berberis vulgaris, Sarsaparilla) comes in addition to the specific treatment to reduce recurrences.
As for seasonal ailments, they are taken care of preventively and require daily treatment over several months. From September, for example, to prevent ENT pathologies, such as nasopharyngitis, influenza or angina, we combine individualized field treatment, a treatment that stimulates immunity, such as Echinacea, and drugs targeting the feared pathology. , such as Mercurius for patients prone to angina.
In the spring, it is the areas sensitive to allergies that are supported. Patients who suffer from migraine, rheumatic or herpes disease expect the treatment to mobilize their natural defenses over several months and push back the crisis. It is this consideration of health, in its broadest sense, which best sums up homeopathy.
Homeopathy also treats gynecological pathologies
Fabienne Donner, general practitioner in Nancy, notes that in gynecology, half of the pathologies are functional: “Pain due to menstruation, menopause disorders, breast pathology during breastfeeding … In gynecology, half of the complaints are of functional origin. In eight years of practicing with women, I have learned to recognize their needs. The controversy over the effects of menopausal hormone therapy on women’s health was the trigger.
To respond to hot flashes, redness, sleep disturbances and sweating, a treatment consisting of Belladonna (belladonna) and Lachesis mutus (rattlesnake venom), every day, and Sulfur (sulfur), once a week on three months, gives good results.
Likewise, taking Actaea racemosa (plant) during the last month of pregnancy prepares for childbirth (quality of contractions and dilation of the cervix). Its granules also have the advantage of erasing the small contractions that tire the mother.. ”