When you notice a symptom, you always have that doubt: allopathy or homeopathy? Both approaches work, but the lack of clarification about them makes many people end up staying the same: going to the doctor and treating themselves with the allopathic medicine, distrusting those who bet on homeopathy.
Well, the difference between homeopathy and allopathy is how it works: allopathy seeks to eliminate a symptom, while homeopathy uses substances that aggravate it slightly, causing the body to strengthen itself to fight it.
However, the differences do not end there! The way in which these approaches see and treat patients is quite different. Want to know more? Keep reading!
What is allopathy?
Also known as traditional medicine, allopathy is characterized by the treatment of symptoms with drugs that have an opposite effect to the symptom itself. If a patient has a fever , the allopathic doctor will prescribe a medication that lowers body temperature, that is, an antipyretic.
In this perspective, the disease originates mechanically , in some part of the body, as a result of the effects of an infectious agent, a biochemical or cellular alteration, among others. Thus, treatment is based on eliminating or neutralizing the cause: it promotes healing by killing microorganisms, lowering body temperature, anesthetizing pain, etc.
Allopathic drugs are produced on a large scale by the pharmaceutical industries, in predetermined doses. When you go to a pharmacy, you can be sure that most medicines there are allopathic.
However, these drugs can also be produced in compounding pharmacies: when a patient needs a dose that does not exist in large-scale production, he turns to these pharmacies in order to have a medication in the right dosage.
The biggest criticism in relation to allopathy is the fact that such drugs can promote several side effects, in addition to having certain levels of toxicity when poorly administered.
What is homeopathy and what is it for?
Homeo means equal. The name itself makes clear the philosophy of this technique: using, in small quantities, substances that cause symptoms similar to those that the patient presents so that the body potentiates its curative capacity and is able to fight them by itself. While allopathy seeks to solve the problem by reversing the symptom, homeopathy does just the opposite.
This philosophy is known as the “Law of Similarity”: what causes evil can also be used to heal it.
For homeopaths, doctors specialized in homeopathy, the disease does not have a mechanical cause, being defined as an imbalance of the organism as a whole. Such an imbalance causes symptoms that, in turn, can be combated if the body simply responds properly. For this, substances that cause the same symptoms are used, promoting an organism response, making it stronger.
Drugs from this perspective are not as aggressive as allopathic drugs. They act preferentially in the body’s own healing and restorative capacity, making it stronger to face what is hurting it. The medication then acts only on the body, not on the mechanisms of the disease itself.
In homeopathy, the medications are individual : the prescription is unique for each patient, with the appropriate dosage for each one. Although another patient has the same condition and must use the same substance, there are other factors – physical and emotional – that influence the dosage of the medication.
As each case requires a different medicine, homeopathic medicines are manipulated , that is, made “manually” by a pharmacist. They are not produced on a large scale, in predetermined dosages, as is the case with allopathic medicines.
Homeopathy is also widely used in disease prevention, especially because it is believed to stimulate the body to respond to certain symptoms. Thus, the organism is strengthened in relation to these symptoms, preventing the disease from manifesting itself.
Do not think that homeopathy is only for acute diseases and easy to solve! According to Sergio Eiji Furuta, director of Associação Paulista de Medicina, homeopathic treatment in the case of chronic diseases can be time-consuming. However, he points out that the treatment of chronic diseases is also time-consuming in allopathy, and that the differential of homeopathy is precisely the treatment of the cause, preventing the disease from returning after the interruption of treatment.
Finally, in the homeopathic consultation, the doctor assesses the patient in its entirety, and the consultations can last for more than an hour. The same substance is not always effective on the same symptom in different people, precisely because of the physical and emotional differences of each patient. Assessing these characteristics of each individual, the homeopath can draw up an exclusive and individual treatment plan.
Preparation of medicines
As stated earlier, the production of allopathic and homeopathic medicines is quite different. However, this is not the only divergence in relation to the preparation of the compounds.
Another difference in these processes is the concentration of the active substance: while in allopathic medicines it tends to be quite high, in homeopathy the active ingredients are highly diluted in other substances, for example, alcohol.
This is because, in order to have the necessary effect, the medication must slightly aggravate the symptom , helping the body to learn how to fight it.
It is also worth remembering that allopathic medicines contain synthetic materials in their compositions, which can bring several side effects for the user. In the homeopathic medicine, on the other hand, due to its lower concentration and 100% natural active ingredients, these effects are not seen as often.
Homeopathic medicines are not usually age-restricted: they can be used by both healthy adults and babies and the elderly. However, this should only be done with the accompaniment of a homeopathic doctor, since only he is able to identify the substance and dosage that the patient needs at that moment.
Homeopathy is not herbal medicine
Phytotherapy is a technique that uses plants to treat problems. Who has never heard that you should have a boldo tea when you feel sick? The problem is that many people confuse Grandma’s homemade recipes with homeopathy, which has its differences.
As much as homeopathy is also based on natural products, its effects are quite different. At first, the main difference is that herbal medicine does not use the law of similarity, that is, it does not use substances that cause the same symptoms to help the body deal with them.
Remember the example of boldo tea ? So, it works against nausea precisely because it works by helping the digestive system, not because it causes nausea too (although, let’s face it, the taste of this tea is not the best).
Then, the difference becomes even clearer: phytotherapy uses only substances of plant origin (plants), while homeopathy uses substances of plant, animal and even mineral origin.
Homeopathy and allopathy can be complementary
Homeopaths do not rule out the use of allopathic medicines. On the contrary, they encourage the use of homeopathy to be complementary to traditional allopathic treatment, especially since several diseases are not cured by treating only their symptoms.
One of the biggest criticisms regarding homeopathy is the lack of a scientific method that can prove the effectiveness of medicines. Meanwhile, allopathy suffers from a limited view of the human being, without taking into account the global aspect of the individual: it treats only the symptoms, not the organism as a whole.
Precisely for this reason, it is not uncommon to hear about “integrative medicine” today. This type of medicine focuses on a treatment that takes care of all parts of the human being: his body and his mind. For this reason, she admits that the famous “alternative” treatments can be valid, especially in the case of psychosomatic illnesses, as long as they are associated with traditional treatment.
Although there is a lot of prejudice, homeopathy is well researched and there is scientific evidence that it is able to help in the treatment of diseases. However, few people understand the differences between the two methods and end up only in allopathy, while the integration of the two could benefit the treatment.
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