Homeopathic remedies are made by homeopathic pharmacies in accordance with the processes described in the Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia of the United States, the official manufacturing manual recognized by the FDA. The substances may be made from plants such as aconite, dandelion, plantain; from minerals such as iron phosphate, arsenic oxide, sodium chloride; from animals such as the venom of a number of poisonous snakes, or the ink of the cuttlefish. These substances are diluted carefully until little of the original remains. A plant substance, for example, is mixed in alcohol to obtain a tincture. One drop of the tincture is mixed with 99 drops of alcohol (to achieve a ratio of 1:100) and the mixture is strongly shaken. This shaking process is known as succussion. The final bottle is labeled as “1C”. One drop of this 1C is then mixed with 100 drops of alcohol and the process is repeated to make a 2C. By the time the 3C is reached, the dilution is 1 part in 1 million tiny globules made from sugar are then saturated with the liquid dilution. These globules constitute the homeopathic medicine.
Although such infinitesimal quantities are considered by some to be no more than placebos, the clinical experience of homeopathy shows that the infinitesimal dose is effective: it works upon unconscious people and infants, and it even works on animals. It is important to remember, however, that a medicine is homeopathic only if it is taken based upon the similar nature of the medicine to the illness. A medicine labeled as “homeopathic” will work only if it is homeopathic to the symptoms presented.
How are the remedies prescribed? The selection of any homeopathic remedy is made on the totality of the symptoms presented by the patient. Any remedy may be used for any condition if the symptoms generated by the remedy match the symptoms experienced by the patient. There are several homeopathic remedies that may be considered in cases of colds and flu: Aconite or Wolf’s bane, is thought of in any case in which the symptoms come on suddlenly-especially if exposure to cold might be a causative factor. There could be a cough or sneezing, but the main guiding point is the suddenness of the onset. Mentally, the person is fearful-afraid he will die- he is overcome by the suddenness of the attack. A child, out playing in the snow, awakens screaming at 2 a.m. (a common time reference for this remedy) with a cough and high fever or a a man, out shoveling snow, suddenly comes down with a very high fever and is fearful he will die. Both cases call for Aconite.
Another remedy characterized by suddenness of onset is Belladonna, the deadly nightshade. The symptoms are characterized by redness and heat. The fever is high, the face is red, the pulse can be seen in the veins of the neck. The eyes are dilated. The person is very sensitive to slight movement and noise. Many old time doctors, when seeing a suspected case for Belladonna, would bump against the bed to see if the patient was sensitive to this slight movement. The patient is sometimes almost delirious and sees monsters. The throat is usually swollen, the glands are swollen, and the ear might be involved. For most children’s earaches Belladonna would be the first remedy of which one would think – especially if the ache is throbbing and one the right side.