From birth to adolescence, our children go through many complex stages in their physical and psycho-emotional development. They respond to their immediate environment and the larger world according to their genetic endowment and the support they receive from their caregivers. Along the way, children experience adaptive challenges that they express through a wide range of illnesses and behaviors. In this and a previous article, I am offering some guiding principles for parents considering natural approaches to minor illnesses of their children.

If your child is going through a difficult phase, you may be wondering what your options are to help him or her recover that innate sense of wellness, harmony and belonging. You already know that modern medicine does not always provide compelling answers. Treatments with pharmaceutical drugs often cover up or perpetuate the underlying issues rather than solve them. Homeopathy is a natural medicine system that originated in Germany over two hundred years ago and has evolved into one of the most widely practiced health care approaches around the world. If you grew up in Germany, most likely your family doctor or a naturopathic physician (Heilpraktiker) treated you with homeopathic medicines during your childhood.

What is homeopathy?

Homeopathy is based on an understanding of health and healing that is not widely embraced by the medical establishment. In fact, the most prominent association of medical doctors in the United States was instrumental in essentially eliminating homeopathy as a treatment choice in this country in the early 20th Century. In recent years, homeopathy has experienced a renaissance and is again more widely used to treat many health concerns in children and adults.

The biggest challenge homeopathy poses to conventional doctors is that its medicines generally are so highly diluted that they no longer contain a sufficient number of molecules of the original substance to explain a treatment effect chemically. The father of homeopathy, the German physician Samuel Hahnemann, found that a substance that can provoke illness in a healthy individual can also stimulate a healing response in a person who naturally shows signs of that illness, when a highly dilute dose of this substance is given.

How to choose homeopathic medicines?

Our most important task as parents or health care providers is therefore to closely observe our sick child and note all signs and symptoms. Based on this information we paint a detailed picture of our child’s health to identify the proper homeopathic medicine that will guide our child back to wellness. This detective work is quintessential because these medicines are not selected on the basis of diseases or lab tests but according to a description of an individual’s health picture. Often, you as the parent are closest to your child and can gather most of the pertinent information if you look closely. Some guidebooks enable even a layperson to match health pictures with appropriate homeopathic medicines. Often, however, you and your child will benefit from the advice of a knowledgeable homeopathic practitioner to select the correct medicine, dilution and dosage.

Homeopathic medicines are typically available as tinctures or lactose pills for internal administration. Some can also be applied to the skin as gels or ointments. Generally, homeopathic medicines are safe and do not interfere with pharmaceutical drugs or natural treatments such as acupuncture, herbal prescriptions or supplements. Because homeopathy is a very subtle form of medicine, however, it usually works best if you follow the instructions your homeopathic practitioner has given you, such as taking your pills 30 minutes before or after food intake.

© 2024 Christiane Siebert