People often assume that homeopathy is the same as herbalism. Though both utilize plants in their preparations that’s pretty much where the similarity ends. One major difference is that homeopathic remedies are made from many things in addition to plants. Almost anything on the planet can be used, including minerals, insects, animals, and energy fields like x-ray. But the difference doesn’t stop there.
Herbalism — The Wisdom of Plants
The use of plants for healing is a very ancient practice and evolved simultaneously in many different parts of the world, including Asia, Europe, and the Americas. The earliest mention of herbalism goes all the way back to around 3000 B.C. and was written on clay tablets in Mesopotamia. Early Egyptians, Chinese, Middle Easterners, and Indians were all using herbs in their healing arts and kept records of their formulas and ideas from the beginning. Different cultures developed their own principles and styles of application for herbal usage; thus we have Traditional Chinese Medicine, Ayurveda, Native American Herbalism, and Traditional Western Herbalism, each tapping into the power of plants but with their own slants.
Phyto-Chemicals are Beneficial to Health
All the foods we eat contain phyto-chemicals (among other things). These phyto-chemicals nourish the body much in the same way as other nutrients like, proteins, fats, vitamins, amino-acids, etc. Herbs contain higher amounts of phyto-chemicals than other foods. Though herbs are part of every cuisine and we consume them regularly with meals, some are so strong tasting that we wouldn’t want to eat them so they are available to us through supplementation. Our bodies absorb and assimilate the phyto-chemicals contained in the plant material. Some herbs are beneficial to specific parts of the body or specific imbalances while others are considered “tonics” meaning they support general good health. All herbal preparations, whether tinctures, powders, teas, or salves contain physiological amounts of their active ingredients, while homeopathic remedies typically contain only the energetic imprint of a substance. Herbal treatment is prescribed based on an assessment of what nutrients the body needs to be more healthy, while homeopathy is prescribed based on the principle that “like cures like”.
Homeopathy — Quantum Healing
The term homeopathy literally means “similar suffering” and is based on the principle that a substance which causes symptoms in a healthy person can also heal similar symptoms in someone who is ill; this is known as the Law of Similars. The knowledge that similars can heal has been around for thousands of years. Hippocrates, the father of Western medicine, discussed this principle over 2000 years ago and observation through the centuries has confirmed the efficacy of this modality again and again.
Holism — Everything is Connected
One of the unique things about homeopathy is that it sees all the symptoms of illness as connected and emanating from a deeper disturbance. By looking at the pattern of disturbance in each person, the homeopath seeks to understand which remedy matches the pattern (and person) the best. The consultation process is very different from one with a conventional doctor because a person’s mental state and emotions are considered every bit as important and revealing as the physical state. Many aspects of a person’s life and feelings are explored, including childhood memories, dreams, food cravings, typical stressors, and sleep habits.a
Homeopathics Stimulate Energetically
Homeopathic remedies are prepared with a very precise process of diluting and agitating a small amount of each substance in water and alcohol. Though it seems counter-intuitive, the more dilution and agitation, the more powerful the effect of the medicine even though the amount of actual substance gets smaller and smaller. Perhaps a good way of describing it is that homeopathic remedies contain medicinal information that is not molecular but energetic. More or less dilution and agitation determines the potency of remedies you see in the store, such as 6c, 30c, 200c, etc. Every practitioner has his/her own methods for choosing the potency for each patient but all take into account each patient’s unique state and needs.
Treating the Person, Not the Disease
Conventional medicine treats illness with medicines designed to suppress the symptoms that are causing distress. This is a bit like turning off the warning light in your car instead of having the car serviced to figure out what malfunction caused the light to go on in the first place. Herbal medicine treats illness by giving the body what it needs nutritionally to stimulate and support healthy functioning. However it is not individualized in its approach. Certain plants are associated with certain conditions and/or body systems and they will be used for everyone with the same illness or imbalance. Homeopathy, on the other hand, treats illness as a unique manifestation in each person, even when two people come with the same disease name assigned to them. The homeopath looks at the way each person expresses and experiences their disease and will prescribe different medicines for different people although they may have the same medical diagnosis.