The sources of homeopathic drugs are many. Most of the drugs are prepared from plants, but mineral and animal products are also used. It is wonderful to see how homeopathy harnesses the energy present in the potentized drug substance for the purpose of cure. Many substances are inert in their crude form but after the process of potentization, the medicinal powers are unleashed. Common salt or sodium chloride is one such substance. A regular article of our diet, it is probably used only by homeopaths as a medicine.
The role of ginger (a common spice in our diet) as a medicine has also been known traditionally amongst all the cultures and societies. Mothers and grandmothers all over the world have used it for gastric problems and as a digestive.
A study conducted by the University of Rochester in New York has found that people who started taking ginger a few days before their chemotherapy for the treatment of cancer had fewer and less severe bouts of nausea.
Homeopathy has used ginger for the past hundred years or so.
As a homeopath, I would use it in potentized form for the vomiting of old drunkards and for diarrhoea from drinking bad or impure water. It is also known to cure colic and diarrhoea caused by eating melons, particularly cantaloupes.
It has been suggested in the past that ginger is not the right food to be given to persons with kidney disorders. In homeopathy, it is used to treat patients who have had a complete cessation of the function of the kidneys. (This is an example of the underlying law of nature- let likes be cured by likes).
In asthma, the patient who requires Ginger as a homeopathic medicine may have a severe attack and must sit up in the bed to breathe but is surprisingly free from any anxiety about the disease. Such peculiarities and deviations from the expected are picked up by the homeopath to make his prescriptions.
Amongst the plants, one family that is very useful to a homeopath is the Solanacaeae. There are many members of this family like Beladonna, Stramonium and Hyoscyamus. These are very poisonous in their crude state. Tabacum (tobacco) also belongs to this family and is known universally because it contains nicotine. The other members of this family are Capsicum, Solanum lycopersicum (tomato) and Solanum tuberosum (potato). These three are a part of our diet. Since they belong to the same family, they share many botanical characteristics. However, it is the presence of the active ingredients or the active principles that makes each different from the other. Hence Belladonna, Stramonium, and Hyoscyamus are very strong poisons. Tabacum is a milder poison, while the last three are the least poisonous. Nevertheless, each is a useful medicine in homeopathy.
Tobacco is one of the important causes of morbidity and mortality in the world.
The active principle in tobacco, nicotine is a well-known narcotic and has far reaching effects on the body. Tobacco in any form is dangerous to health. When chewed as a habit, it causes a chronic irritation of the mucus lining of the mouth leading to oral cancers. Tobacco chewing and smoking cause cancers not only in the mouth but also the esophagus (food pipe) and the stomach and lungs.
Nicotine is a vasoconstrictor, leading to a reduction of blood supply to various organs. It causes a vasoconstriction of the lining of the stomach wall, which makes it vulnerable to insults from organisms as well as the acid in the stomach and produces gastric ulcers. It also causes a relaxation of the lower end of the stomach (the pyloric valve) and allows the alkaline bilious secretions to enter the stomach. This alkaline juice is an irritant and once again predisposes the person to gastric ulcers.
Nicotine constricts the blood vessels of the heart causing ischaemia and leads to angina and heart attacks. Similarly it acts on the blood vessels of the limbs and can cause gangrene due to the vasoconstriction.
Homeopathy uses tobacco in a diluted and purified form to treat many illnesses. It has been used effectively to treat vertigo and seasickness, the pains of kidney stones, esp. of the left side and also angina pectoris.
After potentization, the therapeutic power of the drug becomes much more apparent and these substances, whether food or poison can be used to treat conditions ranging from simple sore throats and piles to typhoid fevers, convulsions and even manias.
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Disclaimer: A detailed history followed by constitutional treatment by good and qualified homeopathic specialists is necessary to treat the complaints that appear during any disease. It is not advisable to resort to self-medication for any disease. The above-mentioned drugs are just a few of the remedies and are mentioned solely to create awareness about the efficacy of homeopathic medicines.