Within the last several decades, the use of homeopathic remedies has exploded. Millions of people in the United States and millions more abroad depend on homeopathic remedies for treating a host of different disorders, one of which is anxiety.
You may have heard of homeopathic medicine before, but you may not know what it is, where it comes from, and whether or not it is effective as a natural anxiety treatment. This articles seeks to explain all of the different features of homeopathic medicine and whether or not you should consider it as an alternative way to fight anxiety.
How Severe is Your Anxiety?
Natural medicine becomes less effective the more severe your anxiety is. If you haven't yet, make sure you take our free 7 minute anxiety symptoms test so that you can have a better idea of your severity, and the natural cures that can help you stop it.
Introduction to Homeopathic Anxiety Medicine
Homeopathic medicine is a type of medicine available without a prescription. It's believed to be a safer, natural alternative to modern medications, utilizing the strategy of "homeopathy" to essentially rid of the body of the ills that affect it.
It's important to note that because it's available without a prescription, many people use homeopathic remedies before they know if they even have the condition, and before they've tried non-medicinal strategies. Take my free 7 minute anxiety test to find out more about effective strategies that do not require any type of medication.
What is Homeopathy?
Homeopathy is the belief that diseases and illnesses can be cured using elements that in larger doses create the disease that it's trying to cure. The elements are diluted to the degree that they can no longer cause those illnesses, and the body is believed to take in the elements in such a way that the molecules end up helping the body fight off the diseases.
That's why if you look at a list of ingredients in homeopathic remedies, you'll see a lot of ingredients that look frightening at first glance:
- Arsenicum album (arsenic)
- Lachesis muta (snake venom)
- Rhus toxicodendron (poison ivy)
Of course, not all of the ingredients in homeopathic medicines are this toxic. Some include cucumber, the daisy, and even calcium. No matter what is included in these types of medicines, they are diluted with solutions to ensure that they are no longer toxic.
Homeopathic practitioners believe that diluting these substances provide something known as "water memory" - the ability of water to retain a memory of the substances that have been diluted out of it, allowing the water to essentially become a medication itself based on the theories of homeopathic medicine.
Anxiety and Homeopathic Remedies
The origin of the beliefs in homeopathic medicine are not always clear, as not all of the ingredients seem to cause anxiety in higher doses. Nevertheless, the following are some of the more common homeopathic ingredients for anxiety:
- Aconitum napellus - for anxiety panic attacks.
- Argentum nitricum - for anxiety dizziness.
- Arsenicum album - for hypochondriacs, anxiety fear of losing of the self, control and death.
- Gelsemium - for anxiety chills and hot flushes.
- Natrum muriaticum - for anxiety chest pains.
These are only a small sample. There are dozens of different beliefs, and not all homeopathic practitioners argue for the same types of diluted ingredients.
Many homeopathic remedies are designed for specific symptoms of anxiety and the beliefs associated with them. For example, natrum muriaticum is used for people that are shy or avoid social situations, which is a symptom but not a cause of anxiety.
Also, what's interesting about homeopathic remedies is that they are believed to work immediately. That's why most recommend that you take the medicine, wait to see if it makes you feel better, and if it does not, take a second dose. Check dosing requirements for each individual homeopathic supplement to ensure that you meet the qualifications.
Does Homeopathic Anxiety Medicine Work?
Homeopathic medicine is an incredibly interesting field, and one that has had a major impact on the lives of millions of those that have tried these medications.
Unfortunately, there is very little evidence that any homeopathic medications have ever been effective at curing any disease, including anxiety. That makes it nearly impossible to recommend attempting a homeopathic treatment.
Problems With Homeopathic Medicine
Homeopathic medicines run into some serious problems when they're explored more thoroughly. They're founding in numerous natural food stores and all over the internet, but most studies apoear to find that homeopathic medicine is nothing more than water. Even the unit of measurement (parts per million) doesn't exist, even in the homeopathic world. Problems include:
- Dilution Experts argue that diluting the ingredients is what makes it work. Some are so diluted that there is not even a single molecule of the original ingredient left in the water by the time you take it. Unfortunately, there is little evidence that water memory exists, and so a diluted ingredient is unlikely to have any impact on your body and your health. Don't forget - water has been around of billions of years and has often touched every type of element on earth. If water memory existed, every drink of fresh water should be able to cure every disease.
- Safety Most homeopathic companies are unregulated, and in some cases many have used ingredients that have not been diluted enough, causing poisoning. A company called Zicam was sued for millions of dollars for causing a loss of the sense of smell in those that used one of their cold remedy products, and improperly diluted arsenic can be deadly.
- Placebo Finally, the vast majority of studies have shown that the success rate of these remedies is identical to the placebo effect. Replacing homeopathic medicine with water or a sugar pill seems to produce the exact same results in patients that believe they are taking a homeopathic supplement or using some type of homeopathic remedy.
Many homeopathic supporters argue that some studies have shown homeopathic remedies to be effective for anxiety. However, it should be noted that many of these suffered from severe methodological flaws, and even the perfect study is likely to show a result in favor of homeopathic medicine 5% of the time, because most studies use a 95% error margin.
Since journals choose what to publish, many publish only the successful 5% of studies, rather than the unsuccessful additional studies. This leads to a bias that causes many to believe that the remedies work, despite little evidence that they're effective. Furthermore, many studies use incredibly small samples with a subgroup that is prone to the placebo effect. One of the most widely cited studies used only 12 patients, and all 12 of those patients requested homeopathic medicine with no control group. This is now how scientific research is meant to be conducted.
Should You Try Homeopathic Anxiety Remedies?
Homeopathic medicine is an outstanding idea. But unfortunately there is little evidence that it works, or that the logic behind it (diluting products to the point where less than a molecule remains) would have any effect on someone's overall health.
That said, many of you are looking for an alternative to anxiety medications, which are harmful in their own right. You should strongly consider non-medicinal treatments (including natural treatments) anyway, because only by learning to relax and learning coping tools can you hope to prevent anxiety from coming back.
For that reason, if you believe in homeopathic medicine, then by all means you should consider it. There should be no harm if you choose a distributor you trust. Remember, even homeopathic practitioners believe there is no "one size fits all" approach to anxiety homeopathy, so what works for one person may not work for someone else. Find one you believe in and see if it has the effect you want.
But in the meantime, make sure that you are committing to something that doesn't require any medication at all, natural or otherwise. Take my 7 minute anxiety test to use your symptoms to provide you with a comprehensive and medication free anxiety treatment.
Federspil, G., and R. Vettor. The homeopathy problem in contemporary medicine. Ann Ital Med Int 14 (1999): 172-84.
Davidson, J. R. T., et al. Homeopathic treatment of depression and anxiety. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine 3 (1997): 46-50.
Author: Micah Abraham, BSc Psychology, last updated Sep 28, 2017.