Homoeopathic remedies and flower essence remedies are not the same, but they are both diluted substances that contain no measurable amount of the original ingredient.
Scientists are unsure how homoeopathic and flower remedies affect the body. However, because the preparations are usually highly diluted, they do not appear to interact with drugs and are generally considered safe to use with conventional treatments.
Benefits: Homoeopathy and flower essences are said to work by balancing the mind and body, and by addressing emotional or spiritual needs. This positively affects the internal (biochemical) functioning of the body. These therapies are used to treat anxiety, insomnia, irritability or depression, as well as common ailments such as headache and muscle soreness.
Side effects: Homoeopathic and flower remedies tend not to cause side effects because they are extremely diluted. However, if you feel you have experienced a reaction, you should stop taking the remedy and contact your practitioner or doctor for advice.
What it is: A system of health care based on the idea that ‘like cures like’. You are given a substance that causes similar symptoms in a healthy body to the symptoms you are experiencing. This is said to stimulate energy in the body that relieves the symptoms of ill health. Homoeopathic remedies are made from plant, mineral and animal substances that are diluted in water.
Why use it: Homoeopathy is a gentle way to restore vitality and reduce emotional imbalances in the body.
What to expect: A homoeopath takes a case history that considers not only your medical history, but also the kind of person you are and how you respond physically and emotionally to your symptoms. A remedy is chosen and prescribed as liquid drops or tablets, which are taken throughout the day. You may also be given a cream for your skin, if appropriate.
Evidence: Anecdotal evidence shows that homoeopathy may help improve the physical and emotional wellbeing of people with cancer. However, scientific studies have shown mixed results. Some suggest that homoeopathy may help ease menopausal symptoms of women with breast cancer. However, as these studies were relatively small and of low quality, the results can’t be relied on.
What they are: Also known as flower essences, these are highly diluted extracts from the flowers of wild plants. There are many types of flower remedies from around the world. The most well known in Australia are the Original Bach Flower Remedies, developed in the 1930s in England, and Australian Bush Flower Essences®, developed in Australia in the 1980s.
Why use them: Flower remedies are used to balance the mind, body and spirit and help you cope with emotional problems, which can sometimes contribute to poor health.
What to expect: Much like a counselling session, the therapist will ask questions and listen to you talk about yourself, the problems you are experiencing and how you feel about or approach certain situations. This enables the therapist to prepare a remedy – usually a blend of essences – tailored specifically for you, which is taken in water several times a day.
Evidence: Scientific evidence does not support the use of flower remedies for treating diseases. However, anecdotal evidence suggests they are helpful for reducing fear, anxiety or depression.