Can Homeopathy Be Harmful?

November 1, 2017

Occasionally I get a question from someone who is new to homeopathy and is nervous about embarking upon treatment. For example, I recently got this inquiry:

“I just saw a new doctor (MD) who practices homeopathy almost entirely. I’m trying to learn what it is all about. I’ve read homeopathy can be harmful and can cause problems, and then I’ve read it can heal. I don’t know what to do. I’ve been ill for almost 7 years with crazy symptoms and now they think I have MS (with environmental sensitivities and food allergies, etc). If a homeopathy remedy makes me worse, can my body repair the damage?”

It’s natural that someone suffering from serious problems is anxious about embarking upon a form of treatment that is new to them. Of course, homeopathy is older than any form of conventional medicine being practiced today! Its record of success goes back over 200 years. Nevertheless, there are many complexities that must be addressed in answering this question fairly.

First of all, there is no doubt that conventional medical drugs are far, far more dangerous than any homeopathic remedy. (In the case of MS drugs, for example, they can be very powerful and toxic.) A simple round of antibiotics can leave many people with permanent problems. As anyone who has listened closely to commercials on TV knows, taking a recommended antidepressant or antihistamine can lead to organ failure and even death! Even aspirin has led to irreparable damage.

In so many ways, the tactics used by the media (funded by Big Pharma) to scare people away from homeopathy go way beyond “the pot calling the kettle black.” They are downright ludicrous. For the most part, the warnings of the past about homeopathic treatment have been of the form “It’s a placebo — there’s nothing in those pills,” and “The danger of homeopathy is that the patient might postpone correct treatment.”

Now that patients are more aware of the dangers of conventional medicines, the attacks have escalated, trying to claim that remedies actually DO have something in them that can harm you. Usually, the writers or speakers who make these claims know absolutely nothing about homeopathic remedies. Perhaps they have read a label on a remedy that mentions a toxin like “belladonna” or “arsenic,” but they don’t realize that the remedies are so diluted that, even if you took a whole bottle’s worth (or more), you wouldn’t likely get a single molecule of belladonna or arsenic. The patient wouldn’t be ingesting a dose that, from a material standpoint, could harm even a baby.

It should also be known that many claims about the dangers of homeopathic remedies are actually about herbal medicines. It is unfortunately true that the term “homeopathy” is still used as a synonym for all alternative forms of medicine, especially herbalism. As I write in my book Impossible Cure, there is no real relationship between herbalism and homeopathy. Both may be made from the same plants (though homeopathic remedies can be made from anything — including minerals and animal substances), but herbal tinctures are material doses that contain the actual substance of the originating plants. In contrast, almost every remedy has been diluted to the point that nary a molecule remains.

Nevertheless, I would also be lying if I said that this means homeopathic remedies are harmless nothings. If they were, they would have no effect whatsoever! The truth is, homeopathic remedies can be so much more powerful than any herbal remedy or conventional drug.

I would probably need to rewrite half of Impossible Cure in this article to explain why this is the case, but let me try to allay fears about homeopathy with a few quick points.

I have never heard of anyone who has been permanently harmed by a homeopathic remedy. Yes, remedies can trigger strong symptoms (usually an aggravation of the patient’s pre-existing symptoms), but I have never heard of a remedy causing a disease or permanent change to an organ. Don’t forget, the very definition of the word “homeopathy” is similar suffering. The precise symptoms that a remedy can cause are the ones it can cure. That’s why it might trigger a temporary aggravation of the symptoms the remedy was prescribed for. Thus, for example (and I know of a case exactly like this), a person experiencing an aggravation from a remedy might feel troublesome heart palpitations for a day, but when they run to the doctor to have it checked out, there is nothing wrong with their heart.

If troublesome symptoms arise from taking a remedy, they usually go away after stopping the remedy. It might take a few days or even a few weeks, but eventually they stop. If all else fails, antidoting the remedy with something like a menthol rub often works. If not, then (in my personal experience) giving a new, more correct, remedy ends the problem.

It is very important to understand that, unlike conventional medicines, homeopathic remedies do not operate like chemical agents that force the body to do something. Instead, they act like energetic stimuli that enable the body to repair itself. I have written another short article on this subject.

That said, there are practitioners out there who don’t really appreciate the power of homeopathic remedies. They view them more as supplements or apply them like conventional drugs, giving them too frequently or in too high a potency. The patient will know this is the case, however, if they start feeling consistently worse, not better, and the homeopath does not respond to these symptoms appropriately by modifying dosing or remedy. There is an easy solution to this problem: stop the remedy and find another homeopath!

Similarly, everyone should realize that remedies are not vitamins to be taken on a daily basis (the only exception is the use of LM water dosing that can be done more frequently, but even then, the frequency of dosing must be individualized to the patient’s response.) The result of too frequent dosing will most likely be a “proving” of the remedy — where the person starts developing the symptoms that the remedy can cause. I know someone who experienced this. She was, on her own, taking a remedy nightly for sleep, but could not understand why she was also developing the sensation of bugs crawling on her skin! The answer was easy — she was taking too much of the remedy and developing another symptom that the remedy could cause (and therefore, also a symptom that the remedy had the potential to cure). Stopping the remedy (or taking it much less frequently or in a lower potency) was the answer. Better yet, the answer would have been to seek treatment from a good homeopath instead of treating herself.

I hope this short article allays many fears and clears up many misunderstandings about homeopathic treatment. The best way to understand homeopathy, however, is to read Impossible Cure. It will clear up most fears, answer most questions, and really give the reader a well-rounded knowledge of homeopathic philosophy, science, and experience (except for what remedies to take for what ailments). It is even used as a first year text in many homeopathy schools.

~ Amy Lansky

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11 Responses to Can Homeopathy Be Harmful?

  1. ellie says:

    Dear Amy, I developed symptoms of electrical hyper-sensitivity (EHS) 5 years ago. I’ve spent about $5000 trying to alleviate them. (Homeopathy was not one of them). For the past 8 months I’ve been on a program called Nutritional Balancing. When I first submitted a sample of my hair for analysis, the lab result showed very high copper, 7.8 mg%. 3 months later, after changing my water, food, taking some vitamin/mineral supplements, doing grounding exercises and near infrared sauna, my copper level was 5.8% mg. An average, healthy level is 2.5% mg. I’m doing another retest at the end of November. But I KNOW my copper will be even lower, because I can feel the difference. (Copper toxicity can make a woman feel and behave like she has PMS on steroids!) I believe that everyone with EHS most likely has high copper levels.

    Nutritional Balancing is easy and affordable, and it is working for me. One night, about 2 months ago, I went to bed with a huge grin, as I enjoyed the beautiful sound of silence for the first time in 5 years!!! The vibration/hum and ringing in my ears had stopped!

    This program is not a quick fix, but it is thorough. It completely nourishes the body, so the body naturally detoxes, releasing heavy metals, infections, viruses, fungus, parasites, etc, and healing happens. Here is just one of the 1400 articles on Dr Wilson’s site: http://drlwilson.com/ARTICLES/MS.htm

    Best wishes!

  2. John says:

    Interesting article but I have to ask about the following people:

    Constantine Hering, was he not paralyzed on one side as a result of his testing of Lachesis on himself?

    Clara Lousie Tobey, was her health not negatively affected by the over prescription of Lachesis? Did she not require homeopathic treatment to deal with the negative affects of the Lachesis for the remainder of her life? I realize there is a website that claims James Tyler Kent was able to cure her of the Lachesis symptoms but I do not believe this is true.

    You may wonder why I asked about these people. In the 1990’s I was treated by a homeopath for an uncomfortable and sometimes painful chronic condition. The homeopath prescribed one remedy at a time then “waited and watched” before repeating the remedy or trying a different remedy. I worked with this homeopath for about a year. Over this time period 4 different remedies were tried. I eventually stopped the treatment feeling worse than when I had started. In addition to the chronic condition I had developed other symptoms. Since that time I have worked with other homeopaths but they have not been able to help me. I still have the chronic condition and some of the other symptoms that were triggered by the remedies the first homeopath prescribed.

    My experience with homeopathy has not been pleasant. I am not ready to give up on homeopathy but maybe I should. I sometimes wonder how many others have had an experience with homeopathy like mine.

    • Amy Lansky says:

      John,

      I’m sad to hear about your experience with homeopathy. I’m curious what potencies these homeopaths were using, or if they tried to modify dosing with water to make them more gentle. The truth is, some people are REALLY hypersensitive to remedies. These same people are often usually sensitive to other meds too. As far as the stories about Lachesis, you should know that the use of water-based techniques and LM dosing was not really used in Hering’s time. In fact, he was likely conducting a proving on himself, which is not something a homeopath would do to a patient. (I have heard of homeopaths who participate in provings undergo some difficult experiences… but they have elected to go through it in order to develop the materia medica about the remedy.) I’m not sure what to say as far as you continuing homeopathy, but perhaps you are so sensitive that it’s not for you, or perhaps you need to find another homeopath who knows how to handle the situation. Homeopathy is difficult to practice, and like every other form of medicine, it’s not a panacea in every case.

      • John says:

        Amy:

        Thank you for replying to my comment. I am aware that Hering was conducting a proving on himself and that Clara Louise Tobey (Kent’s 3rd wife) probably contracted an “iatrogenic miasm” from the over prescription of Lachesis. I wanted to bring this to the attention of the readers because homeopathy is not completely safe, has risks and I was wondering what sort of response I would get. I generally recommend people at the very least visit Dr Luc’s website to obtain some basic information on homeopathy and how to find a homeopath. Unfortunately as you have pointed out there are reckless practitioners and those who decide to self prescribe. Finding a qualified and skilled homeopath is not always easy. For me it was a homeopath that prescribed high potency remedies that caused me a lot of grief but I realize low and medium potencies can also create problems if repeated when not indicated especially in the same potency.

        I thought I had done my due diligence before seeking homeopathic treatment. I had read a few books on homeopathy including one by Kent but this was before the internet was a household item and the sources of information available to me were limited. I later consulted a respected and somewhat famous homeopath. I know you have heard of this homeopath but I prefer not to mention the individual’s name or the name of any homeopath I have worked with on a “blog”.

        During the initial consultation I informed the homeopath that I considered myself to be sensitive individual and my concerns about high potency remedies. Just the same the homeopath started me on a 1M remedy. I reacted to the remedy. It caused some other symptoms mainly on my skin. I thought this was a good sign, bringing my illness to the surface. Over time I became discouraged as my chronic condition was not getting better and I was also dealing with additional symptoms. The homeopath believed the remedy had been antidoted and repeated it in 10M potency twice. Later a few other remedies were tried mainly in high potency before I decided to stop the treatment. All of the remedies were given in dry dose.

        When my over all health did not improve I started looking for another homeopath. Most of the people I consulted who claimed to be classical homeopaths were not and I avoided their treatment. Eventually someone recommended a MD who practiced homeopathy. This doctor who has since passed away was probably the most experienced and skilled practitioner of homeopathy I have ever consulted. The doctor recognized my sensitivity and described my skin condition as a burn using the name of the first remedy I was prescribed. I only worked with this doctor briefly as I was not comfortable resuming homeopathic treatment at the time. Also the doctor did not reveal the name of the remedy prescribed another thing I was not comfortable with and for this reason I will never know what the remedy was.

        About a year later I started working with another homeopath who I worked with for a number of years. This homeopath also followed the classical method, prescribing one liquid remedy at a time in medium C potency that was succussed and added to distilled water with a wait and watch approach. I recently resumed treatment with this homeopath. So far I have not experienced any negative effects but I have yet to experience and real improvement. For now I will continue with homeopathy hoping it will be able to undo what the initial homeopathic treatment did and restore my health.

        As long as homeopathy is continued to be promoted as being completely safe I will when I am able continue to comment on this statement.

    • Erica says:

      To be fair, Constantine Hering proved the crude substance of Lachesis – he took the poison straight from the snake – in the making of his potency. His initial proving was of the first trituration. He had a serious reaction making the remedy because he was dealing directly with the poison which was highly toxic. But he was so dedicated to homeopathy he went on to do over 70 more provings.

      Clara Louise Tobey was also a homeopathic doctor and second wife of James Tyler Kent who wrote the best materia medica that exists today. After careful study of Clara’s symptoms, Kent determined she had taken so much Lachesis from previous homeopaths (repeated doses over and over for years), that she had created a chronic “miasm” (proving) of the remedy. She lived to 91 however.

      These are two extreme cases and powerful testaments to why remedies should not be routinely repeated.

      In regards to your case, it is remarkable you aren’t ready to give up on homeopathy yet! If you decide to try again, it is imperative you work with a practitioner who uses LM potencies with multiple dilution glasses, knows which remedies will antidote others, how to read similar and dissimilar aggravations, and how to proceed likewise.

  3. Nancy says:

    I was injured years ago by prescription drugs. Thank God that I realized what was going on and started researching natural remedies and came off of all my prescriptions. That was twenty years ago and I feel better in my 60’s than when I was 40. Now I eat a healthy diet and use only homeopathic treatments and some essential oils. From my research I know not to use both the oils and homeopathic meds at the same time. Looking forward to reading “The Impossible Cure”. God Bless You!!!

  4. Garifalia says:

    My son chewed the whole bottle of chamomilla “doctor lollies” (this is what we call homeopathy sugar pills in our house) when he was about 2 years old. I got really worried and called my homeopath immediately. She said it would be totally fine and it was. She said at worst case scenario he may get the runs. He was completely fine. I would hate to think what would have happened had he chewed on a bottle of mainstream medicine….

  5. Erica says:

    Excellent article Amy! Impossible Cure is the best text for explaining homeopathy. I would like to add, if someone takes the wrong remedy, usually there is just no response, nothing happens as the similarity of their symptoms are not enough to resonate with the remedy. Or, it may be the potency is not correct. These are two reasons people should work with a qualified homeopath for chronic issues. A third is that they could miss out on the incredible healing homeopathy can do.

    This is also the reason I cringe when I see pins on Pinterest promoting protocols or to take XYZ remedy daily for XYZ days for this or that illness. Homeopathy is individualized medicine at its finest. What works for one person may not work for the other.

    I was so scared to take my first homeopathic remedy. I stared at it for days. Which is hilarious to me now as homeopathy is my life. It recovered my son from autism, my daughter from Guillain Barre and changed our entire families’ lives in countless ways. Thank you Amy for continuing to share your knowledge with the world.

    • Victor says:

      Hi Erica, could you please give more details on your son’s recovery from autism? Did he recive Carsinosin? I’m researching about this for my 5 years old son.

      • Erica says:

        Victor, he did receive Carcinosin via breastmilk as that is the remedy I took while nursing him. However, I am a walking picture of that remedy and it is important to know it is not a “one size fits all” remedy for autism.

        It also was not the remedy which cured my son. His remedy is also not a panacea for autism which is why it is important to find a good homeopath to find the one which uniquely fits your son’s picture. This is the best way to reap the most benefit from homeopathy.

        Amy’s book describes many details you may find helpful in your journey. It was instrumental in our journey as it helped me understand and navigate his progress.

  6. Robin Gaura says:

    I always used the homeopathic drops for cutting teeth. It always worked for my children. Being from a science background, I always wondered about the mechanism involved. More recently, I found research that validated `vibrational´ medicine at the archive run by Dr Mae Wan Ho at the Institute for Science in Society. Fascinating stuff!

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