Welcome to Our Healing Roots, a blog exploring natural medicine that returns us to the roots of health and wellbeing. Our Healing Roots, LLC, is a private natural healthcare practice and experiential learning center that advocates the safe use of integrated, natural medicine. Many healing ways have gone by the wayside with the advent of conventional medicine. While it is important to receive professional medical advice for serious conditions, there are many things we can do at home to prevent disease and maintain our health. The Latin word for doctor is docere, which means to be a teacher. Our Healing Roots wholehearted embraces the importance of teaching in healthcare, so that people feel empowered about their health and wellbeing. More information about this business can be found at www.ourhealingroots.net.

Friday, March 22, 2013

A Similar State of Mind: Poision Ivy

Perhaps, it is too early in the year to be discussing poison ivy. Yet, on this cold, wet spring morning it seems to be an appropriate medicine to explore and discuss. Amazingly, poison ivy does provide some therapeutic benefit in this world, that is, in a homeopathic preparation.

Enter the world of homeopathy and expect every rule you know to be different. In this world, less medicine is more effective than more medicine. In this world, we don't give the opposite to fix a problem (i.e. an antidiarrheal for diarrhea), but we give something similar (i.e. something that would cause diarrhea to help treat diarrhea). Can you suspend your disbelief? 

Homeopathic preparations are made of substances from the natural world, such as plants and minerals. In homeopathy, the substance is highly diluted, even sometimes to the point that a molecule of the original substances likely doesn't exist within the medicine. Then, this homeopathic preparation is used to treat conditions that are similar to the conditions they would cause at high doses.

So, consider poison ivy. For many people, exposure to the plant oil will cause a toxic reaction--blistering of this skin, redness, extreme itching, restlessness, and stiffness, which all feel better with hot applications. The homeopathic (dilute) preparation of poison ivy, however, could potentially alleviate all of these symptoms and bring relief. This is known as the homeopathic Law of Similars--"Like Treats Like."

Selection of a homeopathic remedy is highly individualized. Studying each remedy is like getting to know an individual pattern in people. Let's look at the pattern of the person needing homeopathic poison ivy. 

The botanical name for poison ivy is Rhus toxicodendron. Homeopathic poison ivy is often called "Rhus tox." Clinically, a person needing this homeopathic remedy tends to be restless, especially at night. They might present with a red, blistering rash that is intensely itchy. They blisters would be filled with pus or clear liquid. This might be a rash from poison ivy, chicken pox, or contact dermatitis. Or, their joints might be stiff when they first get out of bed, but they are better as they limber up and move. Movement tends to feel better for these patients. Additionally, they like warmth and heat. A nice hot shower or bath feels good to them. However, they also can be quite sensitive to dampness. This cold, wet spring morning would aggravate their symptoms.

Pub med does have an abstract on an in vivo study for homeopathic Rhus tox. A rat study showed that homeopathic Rhus tox interferes with inflammatory mediators such as histamine and prostaglandins. (PMID: 17437936 or http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17437936) Therefore, this homeopathic remedy might be helpful in inflammatory conditions such as rashes and inflammatory arthritic conditions.

It seems that there is some truth to the old adage--"It is the dose that makes the poison."


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