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American Women's Club of Hamburg

Homeopathic Medicine

Jennifer M discusses the uses of homeopathic medicine for children and pregnant or lactating mothers. Originally published February 2001.

Since moving to Germany, I have had much more exposure to homeopathic medicine than I think I ever would have had in the USA. Although I am not completely convinced that it can "cure" illnesses, due to its mild and natural nature, however, it certainly comes in handy in treating symptoms and bringing relief, especially for children.

The founding father of homeopathic medicine is the German, Dr. Samuel Hahnemann, who worked at the turn of the last century. The ultimate goal of this physician, chemist and pharmacist was to find medications that were free from harmful side-effects. He discovered that if a healthy person took a particular substance which caused specific symptoms in the healty body, then it logically would follow that if a person sick with the same symptoms took the same substance, it would lead to a healty body; hence the theory that "like cures like" or "the hair of the dog that bit you", or for those of you who still know some latin "similia similibus curentur".

Here is a concrete example from The Practical Encyclopedia of Natural Healing. If you went to a homeopathic doctor with a fever, he would prescribe you a herbal or mineral substance which under nornal circumstances would cause such a fever in a healthy person. This medication should then stimulate your body's natural resistance, causing it to rise up not only against the purposefully induced fever, but also against the original fever which sent you to him in the first place.

I know, this is a far reach for those of you who have grown up with traditional Western medicinal practices. It is also true that very little "scientific" evidence has been presented in support of homeopathy; but just listening to the success stories is enough to make one believe that there must be something of truth to the whole matter.

Homeopathic medications are based on very small amounts of the substance in question. A small amount of an herbal, animal, mineral, metallic or pathogenic substance is crushed and diluted with alcohol or lactose at a ratio of 1:100. This basic mixture has the potency level C1 and is the basis for all other potencies. Further potencies are produced as follows: from the C1 mixture, a part is removed which contains 99% of the substance used for dilution; this is C2 potency. From the C2 potency, a part is removed which contains 99% of the substance used for dilution; this is a C3 potency, etc.

Homeopathic medicines come in liquid and solid forms, the most popular in Germany being the Globuli or Streukügelchen (tiny balls about the size of silver cake decorating balls). Anywhere from 1 to 10 are taken at a time and must dissolve slowly in the mouth. An experienced homeopathic doctor will know which potency and which form of medication to prescribe a patient. The advice of Ingeborg Stadelmann in her book Die Hebammensprechstunde is "the more physical the complaint, the lower the potency; the more psychological the complaint, the higher the potency".

I find homeopathic medications especially good for children, and during pregnancy and breastfeeding, due to their natural and mild nature. As the goal of Dr. Hahnemann was to produce medicine without harmful side-effects, homeopathic medications are excellent in cases where Western medicines must be avoided due to potentially harmful complications. Even newborns can be given homeopathic medicines to help relieve symptoms for which other medications are not safe to use.

*  Lists of Medicines

Below is a listing of the most common homeopathic medications used for pregnant women and children:


  • Arnica (Bergwohlverleih): accidents (bumps and bruises), over-doing it (muscle cramps) and infected cuts, etc. Special symptoms: complete exhaustion of entire body and sensitive to touch. In the case of accidents, administed as immediately after the incident as possible. Helps relieve postnatal contractions, as well as supports the healing process in the uterus.

  • Chamomilla (Kamille): fever, stomach cramps, teething, diarrhea, stomach cramps due to anger or rage. Special symptoms: extreme sensitivity to pain, irritation. Children want to be constantly carried around.

  • Nux Vomica (Brechnuß): food poisoning, stomach virus, hemorrhoids, sleeplessness, colds. Special symptoms: to be taken at the beginning of a cold, when the nose runs when you are outside and you are congested mostly during the night. Stomach complaints, especially after eating too much. Constipation and hemorrhoids, mostly caused by sitting around too much. Especially good for those who are stressed out from working too hard.

  • Pulsitilla (Küchenschelle): lower body pain, stomach complaints, arthritis. Special symptoms: stomach problems and naseua after eating too much (similar to nux vomica). Moving arthritis symptoms. Late or supressed periods. No thirst and need for fresh air. Especially helpful with shy, delicate and sensitive people.

Homeopathic medicines also come in combination forms, where certain ingredients have been mixed to treat certain situations. Here are some I can recommend from personal use:


  • Viburcol Zäpfchen from the company Heel. These wonderful suppositories are especially made for newborns and small children to treat a myriad of symptoms including light fever; irritability due to illness, immunization, or other unknown source; inability to fall asleep due to irritation caused by illness, etc. They can be given in unlimited amounts as often as needed and cause absolutely no side-effects. They are life-savers when your baby is so upset that it cannot calm down to go to sleep.

  • Euphrasia Augentropfen from Weleda: These eyedrops are excellent for the treatment of minor eye irritations. They are extremely mild and have no side-effects.

  • Traumeel Heilsalbe from Heel: This is a wonderful first-aide cream for all types of cuts, scrapes and other injuries. Again, no side-effetcs and it can be used as often as necessary to bring about relief. Due to the principal of "like cures like", the cream does burn a bit upon first contact with the affected area.

  • Osanit: This medicine is great for teething babies. Rather than treating the physical "pain" of teething, it treats the "mental" and "psychological" pain the babies experience. You can give up to 8 Globuli every 15 minutes until relief sets in. Remember, no side-effects.

*  Using Homeopathy

Even though homeopathy may seem like child's play, it is to be taken seriously and should not be self-diagnosed without experience. Doctors working with homeopathic substances are specially trained to assess the situation and symptoms in conjunction with the functions of the entire body. This means that just because a substance brought you relief in one instance, it might not necessarily be the right cure for you the next time around.

Another important factor to keep in mind is the antidoting effect. Certain substances work as anitdotes to homeopathic medicines and should be avoided duirng a homeopathic treatment, for example: coffee, mint, camphor, menthol, and eucalyptus.

If you are interested in homeopathic medicines, be sure to ask your general practioner or pediatrician if he or she is trained in this area. If not, maybe he or she can recommend someone who is. If not, then try your yellow pages for a homeopathic doctor in your neighborhood. If you are still skeptical and want to rely mostly on Western medicine, then be sure to look for a medical doctor (M.D.) who also practices homeopathy, and not just a Heilpraktiker who has not been to medical school.

If you are convinced that treating minor illnesses and symptoms of other major diseases via homeopathic means is right for you, then I recommend buying a Homeopathic Hausapotheke, which is a small case (the size of a calender organizer) containing around 50 of the most used homeopathic medicines, including instructions for use and a detailed description of what each substance is good for. You can get a prescription for this from your doctor, which your insurance may or may not reimburse you for, and order it at any pharmacy; they run about DM 150.

*  Website Recommendations

For more information regarding homeopathy, homeopathic remedies, and homeopathic doctors, please visit the following interesting and helpful links:


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