WHAT IS HOMEOPATHY?
According to the World Health Organization, homeopathy is the second most popular form of health medicine in the world today, surpassing traditional Western medicine. In France, 32 percent of family physicians prescribe homeopathic medicines. In England, 42 percent of medical doctors refer clients to homeopathic physicians.
Homeopathy is popular because it is free of side effects and is remarkably powerful. It is not a synonym for holistic medicine; rather, it is its brand of health care. It is a form of medicine far different from Western medicine. It is based on the principle that “like cures like,” an idea that has been recognized for centuries. Patients are treated with medicines that, when given in large doses, create the same symptom pattern as the disease being treated.
Homeopathy can be defined as a system of medicine in which diseases are treated by drugs capable of producing, in healthy people, symptoms like those of the disease being treated, although the drug is administered in minute doses. In contrast, Western medicine practices allopathic treatment, in which symptoms are treated by drugs that produce different symptoms than those being treated. To prevent adverse side effects, homeopathic remedies are highly diluted. To enhance the remedy, they are “succussed,” or shaken, during the dilution process.
To practice homeopathy at its highest level, we need to understand the principles of how it works, how to select remedies, what potencies of remedies to use, and how frequently to use them. This is beyond the scope of this book. We will, however, cover a few remedies that can be used in emergencies and for certain other common problems.
HOW TO DOSE AND SELECT REMEDIES
Always select low-potency remedies such as 6X, 12X, 6C, or at most 30C. Many health-conscious stores carry these remedies. We believe that, for most situations, it is best to use single-remedy products. This is called “classic homeopathy.”Remedies are supplied as single potencies and with one remedy to a bottle. A less common and less effective method of homeopathy is to use multiple remedies and multiple potencies in the same product. You can tell when a homeopathic product has multiple remedies by looking at the label. It will list several different remedies, often with different potencies.
The problem with giving multiple remedies at the same time is that the body is given mixed signals about how to go about healing itself. The result is, at best, only a superficial level of healing. Single remedies, when correctly selected, give the body a clear and strong signal for how to heal itself.
Remedies often come as pills, which are hard to give a bird. You can place several pills in your bird’s drinking water, enabling the bird to receive its dose when drinking. (You must never place anything else in the same water.) Alternatively, you can place several pills in a glass dropper bottle filled with spring water and give your bird drops in its mouth from the dropper. Giving your bird drops of the homeopathic remedy is the best method, but it can’t be used with birds that are too wild.
You might dose your bird once or twice daily or, if it has severe problems, several times daily. With higher potencies, it is common to give only one dose daily or perhaps even one dose each week. With emergencies, we often give the remedy several times daily, perhaps at hourly intervals until the bird is better or we have gotten the bird to the veterinarian.
There are hundreds of remedies, any one of which might be the best one for your bird. The problem with homeopathy is that ten different birds, each having what appears to be the same disease, might be treated with ten different remedies. This is due to the subtle differences in the pattern of signs with each sick bird. The
psychological and emotional picture that makes up your bird is just as important as the physical signs of illness. Thus, you will find that we commonly mention mental and emotional signs when we talk about the remedies.
It takes years of study to accurately prescribe remedies. For any significant problem, it is always best to consult a veterinarian trained in homeopathy. The list provided covers only a few remedies and provides a very general idea of when to use them.
HOW SOON SHOULD THE REMEDY WORK?
Western allopathic drugs immediately make a change in the body by lowering the fever, relieving pain, stopping diarrhea, and so on. They enter the body and immediately change the way it is functioning. Although this form of medicine might offer immediate relief of symptoms, there often is no healing going on. The symptoms often return when the medication wears off (such as blood pressure medicine you take three times daily, every day).
Homeopathic remedies don’t work that way. Unlike allopathic drugs, homeopathic remedies don’t alter the way the body is functioning. They enter the body and support the way it is trying to heal itself. They don’t make the body do anything different. They gently guide the body to effectively heal itself. This takes time, so homeopathic remedies usually don’t work immediately. They often work over days, weeks, or even months. The speed with which they work is entirely related to the time the body needs to heal itself.
We wouldn’t expect a fractured bone to heal in less than six months, would we? As the body heals itself, symptoms may become worse for a while. After all, the body’s symptoms are often occurring because that is how healing takes place. When a remedy is given, the patient often becomes a little sicker. This is called a homeopathic aggravation. In other words, it is good to see this result as long as the overall appearance of the bird is a little better.
A HOMEOPATHIC MATERIA MEDICA OF COMMONLY USED AND EMERGENCY REMEDIES
A Materia Medica lists the remedies and how they work. A complete discussion of any one of the following remedies would take several pages; anyone wishing greater depth of information should consult a complete Materia Medica. This list will highlight some of the emergency uses for the remedies listed.
Aconitum is often used in cases of great fear, shock, and mental collapse. Although it is very good for these conditions, it is equally effective for deep phobic conditions. You can use it for birds that have night frights all the time, those that have a great fear of thunder, and those that thrash around in their cage uncontrollably when frightened.
Arnica is perhaps the most commonly used remedy. It is wonderful for the trauma of all kinds. When we see bruising, we think of Arnica, but it is just as good right after a sprain or fracture. If your bird flies into a window, think of Arnica. If it gets a leg caught in its cage, use Arnica. It is also a good selection right after any other type of injury. What is less known is that Arnica is just as good a remedy immediately following any type of mental or emotional trauma. Give Arnica for two to three days after any traumatic episode. We usually recommend a 30C potency two or three times daily. Perhaps a 6C or 12X potency could be used hourly, if necessary.
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