When I was a young mom with four children, I was always looking for ways to relieve their discomfort when they were sick. I wasn’t interested in suppressing their minor illnesses because I know that illness has value and fighting it off helps to mature a child’s immune system. Instead, I was looking for soothers and immune boosters.
Herbal teas and tinctures helped. Echinacea was an early favorite. The scents of essential oils were comforting, especially lavender, though I like the citrus scents of grapefruit and lemon for the freshness they bring to a sick room. Bach Flower Remedies are so subtle that they are perfect for children, especially because they address the emotional discord that often precedes illness.
In the early eighties, I interviewed a popular Albuquerque doctor, Karl Robinson, for a feature in Mothering magazine and learned about homeopathy for the first time. I immediately appreciated the complex observations of the sick person that go into identifying an appropriate homeopathic remedy. I was drawn to homeopathy because it taught me a lot about illness and gave me new tools for observing my children’s illnesses.
Homeopathic medicine looks at the entire condition of the particular individual and suggests a medicine that matches most of their symptoms. For example, before homeopathy, I thought a cough was just a cough. Now, I know that there are many different types of coughs. Some are dry and hacking and sound like a seal barking. Some are croupy. Some are loose and create a lot of discharge. The person who is coughing may be red or pale; listless or active; hungry or uninterested in food. Each of these symptoms and others are looked at together to determine the most effective homeopathic remedy.
HOMEOPATHY AT HOME
There was a small homeopathic pharmacy in Albuquerque where I picked up the book Homeopathic Medicine at Home and started buying remedies for simple colds and coughs. Two I liked right away were Aconite and Belladona. Aconite is for the very beginning of an illness, when the first symptoms appear. Belladona is for illness that comes on suddenly, even violently, when the child is flushed red and has dilated pupils.
These were conditions I already recognized from observing my children and I found that when I gave the right homeopathic remedy they would have an almost immediate, but brief, intensification of their symptoms and then begin to improve. It seemed to me, in observing my children, that the homeopathic remedy stimulated their immune systems.
HOMEOPATHY ON THE INCREASE
Homeopathy is growing in popularity. US retail sales of homeopathic medicine reached $437 million in 2018. The global revenue for homeopathic products was $5.39 billion in 2017 and is expected to reach $15.98 billion by 2024. The most popular homeopathic medicines are those for cold and flu, especially the popular Oscillococcinum, which is the top selling natural remedy for cold and flu. Over 200 million people use homeopathy on a regular basis.
- 50% of French consumers use homeopathic medicines.
- 70% of French physicians consider homeopathy to be effective.
- The British Royal Family has used homeopathy for 200 years.
- There are five homeopathic hospitals in England.
- 100 million Europeans use homeopathic medicines.
- 100 million Indians rely solely on homeopathy for their medical care.
Homeopathy appeals to educated people. Consumers, especially women, are concerned about the safety of traditional over the counter (OTC) drugs, particularly for long-term use. They are looking for OTC products that are pure and healthy and look for homeopathic products where their conventional OTC counterparts are sold.
Because homeopathy is prescribed based on the overall symptoms of an individual rather than on one or two generalized symptoms, it has been difficult to study clinically and evidence on its effectiveness has been inconclusive. Nonetheless, homeopathy has proved effective for generations of families, including my own. My mother used it for sleeplessness. I use it for arthritis pain and overstimulation. I gave it to my children for coughs and colds and they, in turn, give it to their own children. The experience of hundreds of millions of homeopathic users worldwide attests to its safety and effectiveness.
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About Peggy O’Mara. I am an independent journalist who edits and publishes peggyomara.com. I was the editor and publisher of Mothering Magazine for over 30 years and founded Mothering.com in 1995. My books include Having a Baby Naturally, Natural Family Living, The Way Back Homeand A Quiet Place. Ihave conducted workshops at Omega Institute, Esalen, La Leche League, and Bioneers. I am the mother of four and grandmother of three. Please check out my email newsletter with free tips on parenting, activism, and healthy living.