Homeopathy is a holistic form of complementary medicine, aiming to treat the whole person rather than just the physical symptoms. It works on the principle that the mind and body are so strongly linked that physical conditions cannot be successfully treated without an understanding of the person’s constitution and character.
Whereas in conventional medicine, people diagnosed with the same condition will generally be given the same medicine, in homeopathy the remedy given to a patient may depend on a whole host of other factors, such as temperament, state of mind, and lifestyle. The key to the practice of homeopathy is the ability to understand and interpret the patient’s symptoms—the outward signs of internal disorder—both before and after a remedy is given. This continuing relationship helps to make homeopaths particularly effective at discovering the underlying causes of frequently recurring ailments.
Homeopathy’s safe, gentle approach complies with one of the most important rules of medical intervention—namely, that it should do no harm. Many common, everyday ailments may be treated safely and effectively at home using homeopathic remedies; should the common ailment develop into something worse, however—a cold into a chest infection, for instance—then a conventional doctor must be consulted. In general, a conventional doctor should be consulted for any ailment that can be quickly and effectively treated by conventional medicine, or for any condition that requires conventional investigation. Certain serious ailments may also be alleviated using homeopathic remedies, but in the treatment of these conditions, the experience of a qualified homeopathic practitioner is essential from the outset.
My aim in this book has been to give a wide-ranging and comprehensive account of homeopathy that is easy for the layperson to understand and use. With several hundred homeopathic remedies available, choosing the right ones is obviously a complex matter. I have included more than 320 remedies and a great many ailments. Those in the serious ailments section should under no circumstances be considered for self-treatment but always referred to a homeopathic practitioner. With their accompanying case histories, the inclusion of these serious conditions is intended to give the reader a greater insight into the way a homeopathic practitioner might approach particular problems and how consultations can help unlock a case and provide an understanding of how the illness has developed.