WHAT IS HOMEOPATHY?
According to the World Health Organization, homeopathy is the second most pop- ular 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 pow- erful. It is not a synonym for holistic medicine; rather, it is its own 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 allo- pathic 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 shak- en, during the dilution process.
To practice homeopathy at its highest level, we need to understand the prin- ciples 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 emergency situations 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. Manyhealth-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 lesscommon and less effective method of homeopathy is to use multiple remedies andmultiple potencies in the same product. You can tell when a homeopathic producthas multiple remedies by looking at the label. It will list several different remedies,often with different potencies.
The problem with giving multiple remedies at thesame time is that the body is given mixed signals about how to go about healing it-self. The end 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 it-self.
Remedies often come as pills, which are hard to give a bird. You can place sev-eral pills in your bird’s drinking water, enabling the bird to receive its dose whendrinking. (You must never place anything else in the same water.) Alternatively, youcan place several pills in a glass dropper bottle filled with spring water and giveyour bird drops in its mouth from the dropper. Giving your bird drops of thehomeopathic remedy is the best method, but it can’t be used with birds that aretoo wild.
You might dose your bird once or twice daily or, if it has severe problems, sev-eral times daily. With higher potencies, it is common to give only one dose daily orperhaps even one dose each week. With emergencies, we often give the remedyseveral times daily, perhaps at hourly intervals until the bird is better or we havegotten the bird to the veterinarian.
There are hundreds of remedies, any one of which might be the best one foryour bird. The problem with homeopathy is that ten different birds, each havingwhat 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 the diarrhea and so on. They enter the body and im- mediately 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 symp- toms 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, homeo- pathic 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 the course of 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, symp- toms 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 pa- tient 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 ANDEMERGENCY REMEDIES
A Materia Medica lists the remedies and how they work. A complete discussion ofany one of the following remedies would take several pages; anyone wishinggreater depth of information should consult a complete Materia Medica. This listwill highlight some of the emergency uses for the remedies listed.
Aconitum is often used in cases of great fear, shock and mental collapse. Althoughit is very good for these conditions, it is equally effective for deep phobic condi-tions. You can use it for birds that have night frights all the time, those that have agreat fear of thunder, and those that thrash around in their cage uncontrollablywhen frightened.
Arnica is perhaps the most commonly used remedy. It is wonderful for trauma ofall kinds. When we see bruising, we think of Arnica, but it is just as good right aftera sprain or fracture. If your bird flies into a window, think of Arnica. If it gets a legcaught in its cage, use Arnica. It is also a good selection right after any other typeof injury. What is less known is that Arnica is just as good a remedy immediatelyfollowing any type of mental or emotional trauma. Give Arnica for two to three daysafter any traumatic episode. We usually recommend a 30C potency two or threetimes daily. Perhaps a 6C or 12X potency could be used hourly, if necessary.