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Homeopathy and Crohns Disease - Is it Legit?
Homeopathy is a special branch of alternative medicine in which heavily diluted poisons are used as remedies and symptoms are not the only factors considered during diagnosis. In the treatment of Crohn’s disease, homeopathy therapies are individualized and each patient is given the set of remedies believed to be the most effective given their physical, emotional and psychological states. Therefore, homeopathy remedies for Crohn’s disease will vary. This article discusses the remedies commonly prescribed by homeopaths for their Crohn’s disease patients.
by Brad Chase
Unlike other forms of alternative medicine, there are no predefined remedies in homeopathy. Rather than have a set of remedies for each disease, homeopathy treats each patient individually.
To individualize the treatment of each patient, a proper consultation with a homeopath is required. A homeopath investigates more than the symptoms. He/she needs to also determine the physical, psychological and emotional constitution of each patient in order to prescribe the right “cures”.
The basic principle of homeopathy is “like cures like”. This means that homeopathic remedies are really toxic, harmful compounds.
However, instead of using the large doses that harm the body, homeopaths extract and considerably dilute these toxins. The result then are watered down solutions of these toxins. Such homeopathic remedies contain none of the toxicity of the raw materials and are, therefore, safe.
In addition, the diluted homeopathic remedy carries a minute dose of the active ingredients of the raw material and that small dose is healing rather than toxic.
In the case of Crohn’s disease, homeopaths will prepare remedies made from substances that may trigger the symptoms of the disease in large doses.
In the minute concentrations used in homeopathy, this remedy exerts the opposite effect in the body and will, therefore, contribute to the healing of the damaged gastrointestinal tract.
Studies show that only a small percentage of people living with Crohn’s disease turn to homeopathy.
In addition, there are very few studies done to investigate the efficacies of homeopathic remedies. Although critics may question the benefits of homeopathy, everyone agrees that homeopathic remedies are safe because they are considerably diluted.
Therefore, there is no harm in trying out homeopathy in the treatment of Crohn’s disease. However, homeopathic remedies are not recommended as the primary therapy in the management of Crohn’s disease.
The clinical support for the use of homeopathy in the treatment of Crohn’s disease may be sparse but there are a number of positive results from patients who successfully kept the disease in remission with homeopathy.
When prescribing remedies for Crohn’s disease, the homeopath seeks to
For each of the symptoms listed in the table above, the homeopath further investigates the severity, type and frequency.
For example, the homeopath will have the sufferer describe his abdominal pain (as sharp, shooting, dull, throbbing, gripping, aching, cramp, spasmodic, burning etc.), its location (to the left or right, lower abdomen etc.), duration of occurrence (transient, temporary, persistent etc.) and frequency (when during the day, what triggers it etc.).
Besides abdominal pain, other symptoms of Crohn’s disease considered as very important to the prescribing homeopath include diarrhea, rectal bleeding and fever.
Mercurius corrosivus is the homeopathic remedy made from mercury chloride salt.
Mercury chloride is a toxic compound that is especially corrosive on soft tissues and mucosal surfaces. It was once used in topical antiseptic preparations.
Mercurius corrosivus has a limited application in homeopathy but it is especially recommended for healing different types of ulcers. Therefore, it is useful in the treatment of inflammatory bowel diseases such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease where gastrointestinal ulcers and fissures are common presentations.
Essentially, this homeopathic remedy erodes ulcers in the gut. It is, therefore, effective for treating intestinal bleeding and stopping the passage of blood or mucus in the feces.
This mercury salt is also effective for treating ulcers of the mouth and throat as well as fatigue caused by ulcers. Because Crohn’s disease can affect any part of the digestive tract (from mouth to anus), mercurius corrosivus is highly recommended for treating ulcers caused by the disease.
Recommended for patients who have difficulty with bowel movements attended by cutting pain, who are fatigued after stooling and who have bloody stools with foul-smelling diarrhea. For those with bruised, painful sensations in the lower right abdomen and whose symptoms get worse at night.
Veratrum album is also known as white hellebore. It is a highly regarded homeopathic remedy because it was used to completely demonstrate how homeopathy works and how safe and effective it was.
The fresh root of this toxic plant is used for preparing the homeopathic remedy.
Even before homeopathy was introduced, veratrum album was used to treat a type of cholera characterized by intense vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal cramps (symptoms also seen in Crohn’s disease).
This homeopathic remedy is used to treat osmotic diarrhea especially when it is characterized by watery stool. Therefore, it is effective for preventing dehydration caused by diarrhea.
Other symptoms of Crohn’s disease for which veratrum album is recommended include vomiting, nausea, fatigue, chills and bloating.
Recommended for patients who are prone to exhaustion, fainting and dehydration. It is also to be given to those who tend to crave cold liquids.
Podophyllum peltatum is also known as mayapple. The homeopathic remedy obtained from this woody herb is taken from the rhizome.
Podophyllum is used to treat watery diarrhea. It is useful in the treatment of Crohn’s disease because it acts on the small intestine and rectum.
This remedy can help stop vomiting and colicky pain. However, its specialty is in the stoppage of explosive diarrhea. Patients for whom podophyllum is recommended usually suffer from copious, gushing stools that get worse after eating and drinking. They may also suffer from painful stomach cramps and fatigue after each bowel movement.
The violent nature of the stooling may lead to hemorrhoids. Podophyllum can reduce the swelling of the superficial veins surrounding the anus. Therefore, it can relieve hemorrhoids and painful stooling.
Recommended for patients at the risk of dehydration and hemorrhoids from violent stooling; for those who lose appetite at the sight and smell of food; and those who experience cramps in the lower legs and feet.
The homeopathic remedy known as phosphorus is derived from the mineral, phosphorus.
Phosphorus is one of the essential minerals needed for the normal functioning of the body. It may be used in the management of Crohn’s disease because of its ability to relieve digestive problems. Phosphorus is known to relieve nausea and vomiting triggered by ingested food.
Furthermore, it is an excellent remedy for stomach ulcer and burning pain in the upper gastrointestinal tract.
Recommended for patients with digestive problems caused by food poisoning and bacterial overgrowth in the gut. Those experiencing nausea, vomiting and loss of appetite can also take it.
Silica is the homeopathic remedy derived from silicon dioxide. It is known for its cleansing properties which help flush out foreign substances from the body.
Silica is relevant in the treatment of Crohn’s disease because it is a commonly prescribed remedy for malnourished patients with impaired immune system. In addition, it is used to treat chronic, persistence infections.
Lastly, silica can help improve bone health and prevent complications of Crohn’s disease such as osteomalacia and osteoarthritis.
Recommended for patients who are undernourished, easily fatigued and prone to sweating profusely. Also for those who have cold, painful sensations in the abdominal area especially if this pain is relieved by external heat or after bowel movement.
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