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Homeopathic Cat Medicines
About Homeopathic Medicine
Many people these days are seeking alternatives to allopathic (Western) medicine in treating diseases and conditions. One of these alternative disciplines is homeopathic medicine. Strictly defined, homeopathy is the treatment of disease by minute doses of natural substances that in a healthy person (or pet) would produce the symptoms being exhibited.
Homeopathy's OriginsSamuel Hahnemann developed homeopathy in 1796, based on the doctrine of "like cures like" (similia similibus curentur), a principle used at least once by Hippocrates in approximately 400 BC. It was also referred to in the writings of Paracelsus in the 16th century. Hahnemann himself wrote of using homeopathy to treat animals as well as humans, so its use in veterinary medicine dates to the discipline's origins.
Hahnemann believed that some diseases had spiritual causes as well as physical. He published the Materia Medica Pura in 1810, detailing 65 preparations based on tests that involved actual people ingesting certain substances, a process known as "proving." He referred to the causes of diseases as "miasms" that disturbed the body's vital force and believed that suppressing the initial appearances of diseases with topical treatments only drove them further into the body, where they infected the internal organs. Only by removing the more deep-seated chronic, underlying tendency toward the disease could a miasm be purged from the body and wellness restored, he said.
This led to a complex formula of symptoms, both mental and physical, that included patients' likes, dislikes, innate predispositions, and body types. Preparations would be individually concocted to address a specific patient's situation. (Obviously, determining a cat's mental and emtional status is more difficult than doing so for humans, who can verbalize their feelings!)
In Hahnemann's philosophy, the underlying tendency to develop a disease or condition could be inherited. Disease could also be attracted by a negative state of mind. He did not view diseases as separate biological entities, but as a part of the "living whole" of the body. It was he who coined the term "allopathic medicine" as a dismissive reference to Western medicine. In his time, medical practices included bloodletting and purging the body with a wide array of bizarre substances, some of which were often fatal. Hahnemann's 1810 book, The Organon of the Healing Art, is still used today by homeopathic doctors.
The American Institute of Homeopathy was established in 1844, nine years after his student, Hans Birch Gram, introduced the practice to the United States. It always remained more popular in Europe than in the U.S., however. A homeopathic physician serving in the U.S. Senate sponsored a bill that became the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act of 1938 that recognized homeopathic preparations as drugs subject to federal regulation. This is why homeopathic medicines must display numerical FDA identifiers.
Homeopathy faded in popularity until the 1970s, when it made a huge resurgence with the New Age movement and a desire to use more natural cures for ailments. Homeopathic doctors typically spend a long time with each patient, gathering information on not only their physical status, but also their mental and emtional, as well as their life's circumstances. This individualization of treatment is considered to be a key factor in the effectiveness of homeopathic preparations.
How Homeopathic Medicines are ProducedIn preparing his homeopathic formulas, Hahnemann sought to preserve a substance's therapeutic properties while diluting it to sufficiently remove its harmfulness. The substances may originate from animals (e.g., tissue, blood, snake venom), plants (e.g., belladona, echinacea), minerals (e.g., granite, diamond, platinum), or be completely synthetic. Homeopathic medicines are prepared using a process known as homeopathic dilution, where the offending substance is diluted past the molecular level, each time bashing its container against an elastic material in a process known as Schütteln, or "succussion." Modern manufacturing methods accomplish this with machinery.
You often see numbers associated with each ingredient in a homeopathic remedy, and those are often followed by a C. This refers to the centesimal scale (C scale) of dilution by 100 factors. For example 2C would mean that a solution had been diluted to one part in 100, then some of that further diluted by a second factor of 100. A 6C dilution would repeat the 100x dilution six times, a 30C solution thirty times. The remaining portion of the original substance in anything beyond a 12C dilution is typically lower than the molecular level. In essence, the smaller the number preceding the "C," the stronger the solution.
Symptoms treated by these preparations typically go far beyond mere physical to include mental and emotional states, considering the patient as a whole, and making homeopathy one of the holistic methods of treating patients.
Homeopathic SkepticismMany refer to homeopathy as a pseudoscience - something presented as scientific, when it is merely a belief. Some say the effectiveness of its treatments is merely a placebo effect. During the height of its popularity in the 19th century, its critics included Queen Victoria's physician and Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. Some have even called it "quackery."
The World Health Organization actually warns against homeopathy, especially in cases where effective allopathic treatments are available. It has been tested at least four times by renowned organizations:
There are, however, associations of homeopathic veterinarians in the UK, as well as an international one. Regular veterinary organizations do not endorse homeopathy as an accepted method of treatment or a prophylactic, especially warning against the movement to use homeopathic preparations as alternatives to vaccines. While they do not claim that the preparations will cause additional harm to patients, their consensus is that this is because they essentially have no effect whatsoever. The harm would come from not seeking treatment or protection through allopathic medicines.
We make these homeopathic products available to you, as some people still believe in their effectiveness. There are many anecdotal stories stating that homeopathic medicines have improved the conditions of cats, some of which are shown with the individual products to which they apply. Some choose to use homeopathic remedies in conjunction with western medicine. Be aware that Old Maid Cat Lady does not make any scientific claims about the effectiveness of these products, nor are we veterinarians. Some products have a money-back guarantee offered by their manufacturers. We do not make any guarantees that these medicines will or will not work for you, and provide this article as full disclosure about the history, methods, beliefs, and findings regarding homeopathy.
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