February 7, 2013

Text and images by Gabrielle.

Pharmacies, and specifically pharmacists, play a different role here in France than they do in the U.S.

From what I can tell, for non-emergency medical issues or questions, like colds, rashes, or congestion, pharmacists are the first stop. They’re incredibly knowledgable and they come out from behind the counter to discuss the options and recommend products. Plus they keep samples of pretty much everything they stock on hand and offer them up generously so you can find the product that’s going to work for you before you spend your money.

Something else you’ll find integrated into every French pharmacy is homeopathic medicine. It seems to be as common as aspirin here! And I should note, not just at pharmacies. It’s also common for any doctor to recommend homeopathie as an option. (Where as in my experience in the U.S., typically only “alternative” practitioners might recommend it.)

Essentially, homeopathie is not considered strange, alternative, quack-y or odd at all. It’s simply an additional option. And it’s readily available at even the smallest corner pharmacy.

As you know, while we’re living here, we like the idea of adopting as much of the French lifestyle as we can manage. So, while I hadn’t had much interest in homeopathic remedies when I lived in the States, since I’m here, I thought: why not give it shot? With guidance from our dear friend Caroline and our helpful pharmacist, so far we’ve tried 4. First is Arnica. It’s for pain and it works like magic with our little kids. If they have a big bump and burst into tears, Arnica will calm them in seconds! Count me a believer on this one.

When I was stressed out during Alt Summit week, I tried Gelsemium. I took it off and on (pretty much whenever I would remember) during the conference, and I think I was calmer than usual — but it’s hard for me to judge. It’s not the sort of week where I can sit calmly and evaluate my mental status. : )

For runny, red noses we’ve used Allium Cepa and all agreed we saw relief. But only when we took it consistently.

Lastly, Caroline recommended Ignatia Amara as an option when you have something you can’t stop thinking about. I’ve had a couple of bummer emails this week and found myself getting obsessed with them; not being able to let them go. So I’ve been trying the Ignatia Amara. Again, this is a hard one for me to tell if it’s working or not. If I’m not thinking of those emails, is it the medicine? Or would I have been able to distract myself on my own?

I’m curious. What are your thoughts on homeopathie? Do you roll your eyes at the thought? Are you curious about it? Have you been using it for years?

P.S. — The homeopathic remedies we’ve tried come in the bright little containers pictured. They’re the size of a lip balm stick and they’re filled with tiny white balls. The balls taste sweet and you hold them under your tongue till they dissolve.

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1 Eliza February 7, 2013 at 9:12 am

I think sometimes homeopathic medicine really works and sometimes is just a placebo – but who cares? If my brain is “pretending” it works and my then tells my body it works, and I feel better, then it is effective and I’m happy to use it.

Amber teething necklaces – I haven’t actually noticed it working that well on my son, but if it makes me feel less stressed by having him wear it, then I’m a happier, more empathetic mum and better able to deal with a cranky teething baby with patience and love.

2 Sandra Gonzales February 7, 2013 at 9:15 am

My grandma in Mexico would boil the arnica plants in water and then apply it to scrapes, bumps, …pretty anything that hurts. It’s been passed on from generation to generation and it does work.

3 Design Mom February 8, 2013 at 3:49 am

What a neat memory of your grandmother, Sandra.

4 Martha February 7, 2013 at 9:17 am

My midwife in Canada recommended Arnica for healing after my first baby. I really appreciated that, I am American and I love seeing how midwives in Canada complement with herbal medicine and homeopathy!

5 Toni February 7, 2013 at 9:24 am

My favorite little thing is brewing mint leaves whenever I have an upset stomach. Drain the leaves out for a minty hot water and add a bit of sugar. It’s extremely soothing, a little less harsh than a stronger brewed mint tea, and tends to have the same effects as if I were to take Pepto or something.

6 terri February 7, 2013 at 9:27 am

Yes! We have those same ones in the states. I find them at the health food stores and they come in the same packaging. We have used them with great results. I use them mainly when we have colds. I have also used the ones for stress at different times and although it doesn’t “cure” the stress, it seems to take the edge off.

7 Heidi February 7, 2013 at 9:28 am

I could write a book about how many times homeopathy worked for us, but my experience is that no matter how convincing the story (like a newborn who breathes clearly about 2 seconds after ingesting the pills) that the skeptics won’t believe you, so I’ve stopped trying to convince anyone and just happily use it on my family. (who, by coincidence, are very healthy and hardly ever sick) That being said, they are sick today!

8 Deborah February 7, 2013 at 9:29 am

I’m a huge homeopathic fan, and wish it was more common here in the States. Another great thing for sore muscles, pain is arnica gel, they make it so you can rub it on sore tired muscles and the relief is wonderful!

Sorry for your bummer emails :(

9 Design Mom February 8, 2013 at 3:51 am

We picked up some arnica gel, too. But so far, we haven’t worked it in to regular use. I keep forgetting we have it. : )

10 Pamela Balabuszko-Reay February 8, 2013 at 7:58 am

I used Arnica Gel to help with all of my injection sites when we were doing
invitro. It did help with the soreness.

11 D Heartsong February 28, 2013 at 6:44 am

Great on bruises too!

12 Molly February 7, 2013 at 9:29 am

Our family uses homeopathy and traditional medicine both. We have had a lot of success with essential oils and some other homeopathic remedies. I think in time they will become more mainstream here in the US, especially with the astronomical cost of health care.

13 Sophie February 7, 2013 at 9:39 am

Definitely in the eye-rolling camp.
My mother used homeopathic pills when I had scrapes and bruises as a child as well, because they made me stop crying. That was pretty much their only effect though, because they’re just sugar pills, and that was fine. I believed they made it better, and it was more effective than her telling me to think about something else.

The following article goes some way to explaining why I stopped believing they have anything other than a use as placebos: http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2007/nov/16/sciencenews.g

14 agneslamexicaine February 7, 2013 at 12:28 pm

I have to say I’ve always been a “believer” but the article you’ve linked is quiete clear; I’m just amazed at the power of the mind… Thank you.

15 Sarah G February 8, 2013 at 2:41 am

Wow, great article!

16 Design Mom February 8, 2013 at 3:58 am

Really enjoyed the article — I’ve never read much about homeopathie and found it fascinating.

But I can’t say I accept the author or the findings as authoritative. I tend to have a hard time with any source that assumes the western medical community, or any human community, has a rock-solid knowledge of the human body and how it works.

I realize we know 1000 times more than we knew 100 years ago, but at the same time, we still know so little. Reading the huge variety of comments on this post remind me of that. And so does talking with anyone dealing with unexplained infertility — there’s just so much we don’t know.

So I’m definitely able to leave room in my brain and my home for both standardized medicine and homeopathie (and acupuncture, herbs, etc). I see and trust my doctors, but I don’t assume they have all knowledge. They are the doing the best they can with what they know.

17 Pamela Balabuszko-Reay February 8, 2013 at 8:00 am

Quite well said.

18 Nadine March 16, 2013 at 7:01 pm

Ben Goldacre’s position is not that the western medical community has a rock-solid knowledge of how the body works, but rather that science, rigorously applied through tests and trials, gives us the best knowledge available.

19 Regina February 7, 2013 at 9:42 am

Delurking to say that I am pretty much the biggest skeptic you may meet, BUT I was suffering from poison ivy and desperate. I tried Rhus toxicodendron and it is the only thing that gives me relief, besides scrubbing the rash with St Ives apricot scrub, which is temporary.

20 Cheltz February 7, 2013 at 9:44 am

I’m generally a skeptic, and would rather not take anything at all, but my midwife gave me blue and black cohosh to induce labor (long story), and it was awesome! Labor started within the hour and progressed exactly as my past labors had.

21 allysha February 7, 2013 at 9:52 am

We are arnica fans around here. I especially love the gel. I rub it on bruises and sore muscles.

22 K February 7, 2013 at 10:03 am

I took three that my midwife recommended prior to having my daughter (starting at 36 weeks). Caulophyllum – a natural source of oxytocin and can be used to initiate or enhance labor (but won’t induce you), Cimicifuga – to ease the fear of giving birth & Arnica – to avoid the physical trauma of giving birth.

My main reason for taking these was that I really, really didn’t want to be induced. My daughter was born 5 days late (and I did acupuncture the three days leading up to her birth). I couldn’t tell you if any of the homeopaths worked (although, I very little fear of birth). I’d do it again if I was going to have another baby.

23 Robin @ our semi organic life February 7, 2013 at 10:03 am

I love this! Somehow in a slightly different setting (like France) it seems much more normal and exciting! I wonder what would be the settings to buy and the actual products here in the US? Pills? Oils? Teas?

24 Design Mom February 8, 2013 at 4:02 am

I know so little about homeopathie in the U.S., but I hear you can find the same little vials we use at health food stores. I think the trick would be finding a trusted person to tell you which ones to try and how to handle the dosage.

25 Jane February 7, 2013 at 10:06 am

I took a full course of homeopathic remedies when I was a kid and suffering from constant colds. I would miss weeks (and a couple of times, full months) of school because of how sickly I was. It seemed to have worked as I became much healthier soon after.

26 Andy February 7, 2013 at 10:08 am

The French do love their pills. They swallow more than anyone else in Europe. Homeopathy is an easy way of fulfilling a need for a pill when none is required. They have no effect. Those little pillules are just plain sugar – any ingredient has been diluted so much that it is impossible any makes it into the pill. As you say, “works like magic”. Magic is the only way they could possibly work.

Just a child will respond to the mere act of ‘treatment’, so people appear to be susceptible to so-called placebo effects. These effects do not alter the course of an injury or illness – a bruise will not clear up faster with homeopathic arnica – but they may give comfort that treatment is taking place. As long as they are not actually taken when you need real medicine, there is little harm.


27 Jerri February 11, 2013 at 10:52 am

Then why did homeopathics work on my newborn son almost immediately when he had a strange ailment? A new baby does not know the difference between placebo and real. It is not magic either.

28 Sonya February 7, 2013 at 10:10 am

Hmmm, I need to try that Ignatia Amara, it would be nice if something natural helped me stop thinking about a few things. I have used homeopathic remedies for colds and prevention of colds and I believe they work.

29 Design Mom February 8, 2013 at 4:04 am

If you give it a try, I hope you’ll let us know if it works for you.

30 Ashleigh February 7, 2013 at 10:11 am

I’m a believer!
When my oldest son was about 5 months old (now 6yrs old) he started developing a rash reaction to everything including my husband. We went to doctor after doctor with no success. Finally, when I started feeding him his first solids (rice cereal) he had the worst reaction; his throat started to close up. After our trip to the emergency room I decided there has got to be something else that will help.

I then remembered a lady (Lisa Livingston certfied homeopath) from my hometown in southern Utah who saved my brothers leg when he was a child (dry ice bomb accident at fathers and sons camp out) form being amputated by homeopathy. I immediately made the trip home to meet with her. We worked together for a better part of a year . My son has not had an allergic reaction since being a baby. Nor does he have any food allergies.
I believe it’s more than just sugar pills/placebo. I know it worked for us. In fact we use some of the same brand of remedies you have posted in the picture.

I must admit I’m jealous of that luxury of alternative medicine right in your pharmacy. I battle trying to find a doctor who will accept my children who aren’t immunized.

31 Design Mom February 8, 2013 at 4:09 am

I’m glad to hear you’ve had such a history of success with it, Ashleigh!

Interestingly, here in France, since homeopathie is not considered “altnernative” it doesn’t seem to be associated with the non-immunizing crowd. In fact, there may be one, but I haven’t heard of a non-immunizing crowd here. There are so many countries and people so close together here in Europe that they seem to take their immunizations very seriously.

At least, I know we keep a careful record of our children’s shots, and our own shots, because we were requested to show that record when we registered for school and to get our visas (permission) to live in the country. In fact, we had to get additional shots once we arrived here to get our official permissions.

32 Adina | Gluten Free Travelette February 7, 2013 at 10:16 am

I’ve used homeopathy for a few years now for stress relieving purposes and I’ve found it to be a big help. I also recently started seeing a Naturalpathic Doctor for a couple of issues including migraines – things which western medicine wasn’t having much luck with in my case – and a few natural supplements seem to have taken care of everything and with no weird side effects :-). So I’m a big supporter if you find it’s something that works for you!

33 Erin February 7, 2013 at 10:29 am

I like the idea of the pharmacist being such a large help. I am also happy that I’m not the only one who would obsess over a bad email! Aside from that, I’ve been giving my 4 year old a natural syrup for his sore throat. It’s mostly honey. After he drinks it, he yells, “I’m all better!!” I’m sure it works a little but a big part of it is probably mental. He sometimes says that after taking a Flintstone vitamin, too.

34 Meaghan February 8, 2013 at 10:07 am

As an adult, I still take that cough/throat medicine! It still soothes my itchy throat in a way nothing else can, and I always notice my cough diminishes after I have a dose. Plus the taste is hard to beat :)

35 Ann February 7, 2013 at 10:46 am

Thanks for the reminder about arnica! I used it for postpartum recovery for #2 and need to throw some in my hospital bag for #3 who’ll be coming any day now!!!

36 Helena February 7, 2013 at 2:15 pm

Congrats on the new baby!

37 Design Mom February 8, 2013 at 4:10 am

Yes, congrats!

38 Darci February 7, 2013 at 10:49 am

We are huge supporters of Arnica as my girls were both very active soccer players. The bruises were numerous and the sore muscles were often. They continue to use it in college as they play inter-mural. I was complaining the other day to my youngest about some soreness after a vigorous workout and she immediately suggested the Arnica gel, even told me where it was in her bathroom.

39 Prêt à Voyager / Anne February 7, 2013 at 11:05 am

I nannied for a French family one summer + after I ran my face into a door (hey, it was dark and the hall lights didn’t work), all the moms rushed to me to dig out their Arnica “too keep it from swelling/bruising too much” to dissolve under my tongue. Ever since I’ve been a fan! All the expat moms I know here also are into the homeopathie.

40 Design Mom February 8, 2013 at 4:11 am

So interesting! Arnica definitely seems to have the most fans.

41 rebekah February 7, 2013 at 11:06 am

We love homeopathic medicine. We started learning about it after our children were born and we were looking for an alternative to western medicines and their long lists of possible side effects. We use Boiron, too – you can find it at Whole Foods and other natural food stores. (And, Arnica was very helpful for pain and swelling after childbirth!)

42 Lauren February 7, 2013 at 11:30 am

Totally curious! Especially for stress relief :)

43 Lisa February 7, 2013 at 11:37 am

I had to have some extensive nasal surgery to improve my breathing. The surgeon recommended arnica to help with the bruising. With over 3 hours of surgery, I experienced very little discoloration under my eyes. I was thrilled!

44 Melissa Sánchez Manrique February 7, 2013 at 11:59 am

I am a huge believer since I have been able to control my allergy to the sun light… yes sun light! After seeing several dermatologist and hearing always how rare my condition was and how I should avoid being exposed to natural light, so no beach, no walks on daytime, nothing! I finally end up hearing my dear friend’s advice to try homeophatie and it worked like a miracle!! now I can take walks, go to the beach and do my normal life without looking like a monster or/and itching to death afterwards and the best thing, it’s natural so no side effects!!!

45 angela s February 7, 2013 at 12:03 pm

Nux Vomica was a life saver for me. I do the liquid drops. Phenagren for neasea was worthless, it made me high but I was still always sick to my stomach and wanted to vomit. When I couldnt’ get it anymore my alt. Med Dr recommended Nux Vomica and it changed my whole world. I wasn’t high anymore and I had relief when needed. We do quite a bit of homeopathics now.

46 Celina February 7, 2013 at 12:19 pm

My daughter suffered from terrible eczema as a baby and I refused to put any cortisone cream on her. I went to see a homeopathe and he recommended some remedies. 3 years later her eczema is under control. I believe that homeopathy works wonderfully for certain conditions. I think Canada fits somewhere between France and the US when it comes to homeopathy!

47 Lisa S February 7, 2013 at 12:55 pm

I would love to hear these remedies for eczema Celina – please share!

48 Lexie February 7, 2013 at 12:32 pm


I am a confident long time user of homeopathic medicine. My mother has a “wonderbox” of tiny little glass tubes. There must be 50 or so in the metal box that she keeps on her nightstand. Each tube is filled with the little white sugar balls you described. And each one is labeled in beautiful script – Stress, Nausea, Fever, etc. And they ALL WORK!

With some of the more vague ones for example Arsenicum album for stage fright, I’ve often wondered if the effect was simply placebo. But who cares if it really works or if it’s just enough to convince me that it’s working? Either way I get up on stage with dry palms.

But I can say for certain that some of the more significant remedies (to bring down fever, cure sinus infections) have worked for me 100%. We were raised on very strict organic diets and my mother employed the use of modern medicine only in the direst of circumstances. We survived many bouts of flu, sinus infections, and bad colds only with the aid of those magical little sugar balls.

To each his own, I suppose. But I do recommend that you keep experimenting! Maybe one day you’ll have a wonderbox of your own :)

49 Design Mom February 8, 2013 at 4:15 am

I like the concept of a wonderbox. : )

Right now, I would say my wonderbox contains a mix of things. Bandaids, homeoplasmine, lip balm, neosporin, arnica, children’s tylenol, and ibuprofen.

50 Meaghan February 8, 2013 at 10:12 am

My mom also had a ‘wonderbox!’ She and my father were pioneers of alternative medicines in my father’s doctor clinic in Northern New York. He mixed western medicine and alternative medicine and had patients from hundreds of miles away, even, who would come for his special mix of treatments. I grew up thinking that homeopathy, acupuncture, massage, all of those ‘alternatives’ were REALLY part of western medicine, and I was shocked and disappointed when I realized I lived in a little bubble!

51 Bridget February 7, 2013 at 12:33 pm

I’ve tried a number of things and I don’t think they all work. Arnica gel, however, is a must-have for me. As someone who bruises easily and tends to be a klutz, the gel is a lifesaver. If I put it on quickly, frequently I don’t even get a bruise. Amazing!

52 Andy February 8, 2013 at 4:53 am

The most likely explanation for not getting a bruise is that you were not bruised. Homeopathic arnica has no active ingredient – it has no arnica in it. So even if arnica could heal bruising, homeopathic arnica most definitely cannot.

53 Bridget February 8, 2013 at 8:13 am

Andy -
As someone who bruises easily and has for my entire life, and I’m 40 — so this isn’t new, I can say with absolute certainty Arnica gel reduces the severity of my bruising and helps me heal quicker. It isn’t that I wasn’t bruised, where the bruise is, time or anything else…I know with certainty it works. In fact, my Western doctor is one of the people that recommend I try it. He has seen my bruising and has also ruled out any medical concerns around such bruising and has seen first hand arnica gel work for many of his patients.

I have also tried Oscillococcium and that does not work at all for me — a waste of money. But Arnica gel is extremely effective.

You are entitled to post your opinion on this blog like anyone else here. To go through each comment and dismiss people’ s personal experience is not helpful — it is rude and arrogant.

54 Laurel February 7, 2013 at 12:46 pm

I think there is some confusion here. Herbal and “natural” remedies are one thing and homeopathy another.

I have taken raspberry leaf tea and evening primrose oil at the advice of midwives in preparation for childbirth and I know plenty of people who use arnica and other herbal remedies. Herbal remedies have some amount, concentrated or not, of compounds extracted from plants in them.

Homeopathic remedies on the other hand, are literally placebos. The theory of homeopathy (I am no expert, but I’ve had lots of people try to explain it to me) somehow relies on the “memory” of water or some other medium to retain the healing properties of something that it was exposed to prior to distillation or some other purification process. It’s just baffling.

55 KellliO February 7, 2013 at 1:03 pm

Hmmm, glad you distinguished that. That’s what makes sense to me. Acknowledging that plants, herbs, supplements naturally have helpful substances is just fine. But I had a roommate who had to tap the water 10 times, exactly, before drinking to lower a fever. That was a little too much magic for me. The family I married into is much more herbal than my own. I’m not sold yet, but I’m willing to try it out. As long as I don’t have to dumb my bottle of ibuprofen yet.

56 Stacey February 7, 2013 at 1:59 pm

Homeopathic remedies are not placebos. Perhaps an explanation from an actual expert would be more informative. They work- many times better than anything a doctor would prescribe. And are completely safe and side-effect free. I had the worst toothache for several days. I couldn’t sleep and was in constant pain. After just one dose of the remedy I began experiencing relief and after a week I had zero pain. Definitely not in my head. And I avoided the much too over prescribed antibiotics. This is just one example. I use them with my children too to avoid all the unsafe over the counter drugs. It may be hard to understand the process but it is legitimate.

57 Michele February 7, 2013 at 7:55 pm

Yes, they are placebos, and no, they don’t work any more than the placebo effect does.

58 Design Mom February 8, 2013 at 4:18 am

I don’t pretend to know how herbal and homeopathic remedies overlap or are separate, but the names of the homeopathic products we’ve tried (like arnica) seem to suggest a relationship.

59 Andy February 8, 2013 at 5:04 am

There is a vast world of difference between herbalism and homeopathy.

Take the homeopathic flu remedy that you will see in every French pharmacie window during the winter – Oscillococcinum. (The adverts have the man with the red scarf and sniffles.)

Oscillo works on the principle of ‘like-cures-like’. Since flu can come from birds like ducks, they take the heart and liver of one duck – mash it up, take one drop and dilute it in 100 drops of water. They then bang this mixture ten times. Then they repeat.

They repeat this 1 in 100 dilution and then banging 10 times 200 times. This is equivalent to creating a dilution of one drop in a sphere of water bigger than the observable universe. One drop of this final dilution is then used to make all the homeopathic remedies sold that year. They make 100′s of millions of Euros from that one poor duck. The most expensive foie gras ever.

The French buy this stuff thinking it prevents flu or reduces symptoms. Of course it does not because all you are taking are the sugar powders that the magical drop was dropped onto. It is just sugar.

A group of UK homeopaths tried to make a summary of the best evidence for Oscillo using the strict guidelines of the independent Cochrane Collaboration. The results were resoundingly negative. Of course.


60 Design Mom February 8, 2013 at 5:29 am

I’ve got to ask, Andy. You seem really passionate about speaking out against homeopathie — you’re not a regular commenter on this blog, but you’ve commented on this post 3 times. So what’s your story? If there are people that are seeing healing results and they attribute it to homeopathie, why does that bother you?

I ask with no snark. I really am curious about how you came upon this post. And since I didn’t know there were actively-anti-homeopathic people out there, I’m kind of fascinated by your comments.

As for myself, the world of homeopathie is new to me, and I still consider myself skeptical, but dismissing it out of hand seems to me unrealistic and unhelpful.

61 Andy February 8, 2013 at 5:56 am

Hi there, saw your tweet and came to see, especially as my wife is from France and we spend much time there.

First of all, I do not dismiss homeopathy out of hand. I have a very good understanding of what homeopathy is, the lack of a scientific rationale and the evidence base that shows it is ineffective. That is why I dismiss it. The danger is not in dismissing out of hand but in uncritical acceptance.

I hope by posting how homeopathy is made, it allows people to make more informed choices.

There are dangers in homeopathy. Belief that it can cure colds or heal bruises is one thing, but homeopaths then believe they can treat dangerous illnesses such as cancer and HIV. Belief that this is true kills people. That is why careful thought is so important.

Many people believe homeopathy works after they have tried it for minor or self-limiting illnesses, such as childhood rashes, earaches, hayfever or bruises. But all they are seeing is the natural progression of the illness and attributing better health to the remedy.

As an example, if I have a bad back, I might see the doctor, who will do nothing for me. I may see a chiropractor who does not help me. I may try acupuncture without success, but when I try homeopathy my back gets better. Should I conclude homeopathy works? Of course not. Bad backs get better over several weeks. It is just that I was taking the homeopathy at the same time.

Same goes for bruises – they clear up quickly for most people. Colds last a few days. Childhood illnesses get better. But people have such a strong desire to be agents of their own healing that many people make the mistake of assuming that their actions were the cause of their improvements rather than the normal magic our bodies and immune systems doing it on their own.

So, I do believe such things are important. Ultimately, lives are at risk. And that is why I think it vital for people to have good accurate information so they can make their own informed choices rather than uninformed choices.

Happy to engage more if you wish, other wise enjoy la belle vie.

62 Andy February 8, 2013 at 6:01 am

You may be interested in this rather comprehensive article that explains in detail the issues with homeopathy.


63 Design Mom February 8, 2013 at 6:21 am

Thanks for the response, Andy. The same article was linked to above and I’ve read it and responded.

“Ultimately, lives are at risk.” seems overly dramatic to me. The comment thread deals mainly in rashes, colds, and bruises. I haven’t seen anyone claim to cure cancer or hiv. Perhaps you’re arguing in this comment thread against something you’ve read somewhere else.

Please be aware, most commenters on this thread are sharing their real-life experiences. Maybe homeopathie worked for them. Maybe it didn’t. But your comments come off like a lecture — like you believe you know more about the subject than everyone else here. If you’d like to share your own personal experience with homeopathie and let others form their own opinions, that would be great. But this crowd is not in need of lecture.

64 jessicamaybe February 9, 2013 at 8:41 pm

I think Andy is trying to be as scientifically truthful as possible here, and he may be worried people being lead astray by homeopathie. I, too, think that homeopathie can be dangerous, in that people can trust it to cure things that are simply not possible for it to cure, as it has no active ingredients. I lived in northern California for a few years and had many friends who swore by homeopathie, but after reading the available scientific literature on it, I just don’t buy it. More than that, anything that’s not FDA regulated can be dangerous – there was a big upset a few years back because some popular homeopathic teething pills for babies were found to have actual belladonna in them, which is poisonous. I do know many people who swear by homeopathy, and I myself use natural medicines at times (I use Yogi teas quite often, in fact), but after researching homeopathy, it seems like the placebo effect is in fact at work. However, the placebo effect is extremely useful at times, and can be very powerful. So perhaps it’s okay in some circumstances, but I certainly wouldn’t take homeopathic remedies for anything that can’t be fixed by Tylenol, bandages, or plain old time.

65 KC March 14, 2013 at 9:51 am

I’m also not a regular reader, but am:
1) firmly convinced that some herbs/etc. can produce physical effects (c’mon, even aspirin is now a synthesized compound that we used to get from the bark from a tree which I now don’t remember), but
2) firmly convinced that the field of naturopathy is cluttered and marred by fake remedies (which I’d include homeopathy of the “tiny amount of substance repeatedly diluted until there is none left in the liquid” variety in; many of the remedies people are talking about in this thread as homeopathy really aren’t, but are naturopathy or herbal remedies (like using arnica leaf mash externally for bruises)).

When these terms get muddled, it’s easy for people who just don’t buy that “water can remember the shape of a molecule that used to be in it” to also dismiss all naturopathy (and anything that is not chemically synthesized and put in a plastic bottle and labeled), which is a pity, because some of those natural items have massive (negative) interactions with traditional western medicine (see grapefruit juice and licorice with heart medication) and some have really positive effects that people are ignoring in favor of something that’s not as good for them.

And those of us who do use some herbal remedies (ginger for nausea, for instance), many of which do have double-blind clinical trials finally supporting them, get lumped together with those who believe in remedies which double-blind trials have indicated have no medical benefit. That conflation tends to cause people who prefer empirical evidence to dismiss all of it (and us), rather than just the “water will remember molecules” part of it.

So, I have a strong interest in arguing against the conflation of homeopathy-with-no-active-compounds (homeopathy of the super-diluted-stuff sense) with naturopathy/herbal remedies. If hibiscus tea can lower blood pressure, I suspect it’s a better option for many borderline-hypertensive people than synthesized drugs (cheaper, no known side-effects).

I’m not sure if the terms are used differently in France, though (as home medicine might result in a similar word as the like-cures-like stuff, and it does all get muddled up), so I have no idea whether what you’ve been taking has active ingredients. Hope all goes well!

66 Shannon { A Mom's Year } February 7, 2013 at 12:50 pm

We use a lot of arnica gel and tea tree oil (for scrapes and mosquito bites and steaming out a cold). Aren’t western medicines derived from plants, too? At least originally? Or are they made from synthetic materials? You’ve got me thinking now. :)

67 Crystal C February 7, 2013 at 1:01 pm

Totally a believer…. we use it all the time at my house. It has saved me countless hours and $$ that would have been spent on doctors. In one word, it’s amazing. My kids have never had antibiotics; even though they have had their share of ear infections, pink eye, etc. They are so much healthier for my using homeopathy :) And the flu? Who’s scared of the flu? This momma’s got a hand on her family with homeopathy!

68 Danielle DtotheB February 7, 2013 at 1:05 pm

We’ve got a homeopathic pediatrician and LOVE her. My kids (6 & 8) have been on antibiotics once in their lives – when we were out of town and had to go to emergent care. Otherwise, we treat homeopathically, the Boiron aisle at Whole Foods is our friend. I keep Arnica in the car – helps reduce bruising as well as calming effect. We’ve tried a number of things as well as the influzium (sp?), as an alternative to the flu mist or to treat adult flu symptoms.

69 Sarah February 7, 2013 at 1:08 pm

My mom’s ‘homeopathic’ remedies (for things other than colds, flus, and strep) were “You’re sick because your body is telling you something. Figure out what it is, and then act accordingly.” So lots of water and sleep for headaches, and, for a monthlong ‘upset stomach’ when I was in the third grade, lots of talking about stress and anxiety in school. Which hasn’t changed much :) Don’t medicate what you don’t need to! She was too suspicious of wasting money on herbal remedies, and understandably so. So my first experience with homeopathy was, unsurprisingly, in France! Little réglisse and propolisse candies from my host parents soothed my sore throat IMMEDIATELY. And I had to Google it to figure out what they were, but I was astonished at how well they worked. I only wish they were more commonplace in the States!

70 Meaghan February 8, 2013 at 10:19 am

I rather like your mom’s response! Maybe a little harsh, but the idea of being in-tune with your body makes sense to me! I am going to consider this from now on when I get sick (and still take my homeopathic remedies I know and love)

71 Val kost February 7, 2013 at 1:58 pm

I live in Brooklyn NY. My local pharmacy is Russian owned and operated. They carry an extensive line of herbs, teas, and natural remedies. I always talk to them n barely turn to a dr. For anything.

72 Maria C. February 7, 2013 at 2:01 pm

What I am curious to find out is what is the price for Boiron pills in France? In the USA they run from $4-$7 depending on where you buy them. In Serbia, we do not have any major brand, but homeopethic doctor will make a remedie for you

73 Melanie February 7, 2013 at 2:07 pm

We have used Boiron’s Camilia teething drops with absolute success on both of our children. How does a five-month-old baby understand the notion of placebo? We are believers in our house.

74 Iren February 7, 2013 at 2:07 pm

Yes – homeopathy and herbal medicine is not the same! And it is important to know how to use it. For example, if you use homeopathic remedies, you better don’t drink mint tea or coffee during the whole period you take them. Also other herbs can be contra productive like menthol (toothpaste!), chamomille, camphor, salvia,… So it is not always easy to understand, why homeopathy didn’t work.
The same with herbal teas: if you don’t put a lid on the top of the mug for the first 5 minutes, all the “goodies” are evaporating… so a chamomille tea is no more relaxing, because the essential oil is gone by the damp/vapour and you just drink flavoured water.

But to answer the question of Gabrielle: yes, I do use homeopathy and herbal medizine for me and my children. And during labor, it helped me a lot!

Best, iren

75 Design Mom February 8, 2013 at 4:20 am

Interesting. I’m still using toothepaste. : )

76 Helena February 7, 2013 at 2:09 pm

I’m a believer in Arnica! I get it at Whole Foods in the states.

77 Maike February 7, 2013 at 2:09 pm

More than anything it works for kids. And that is so helpful. With them, you can even use Arnica (as you said) as some kind of a painkiller.
I find myself, when I am in urgent pain or I am really annoyed with a disease that I don’t have the capacity to trust in homeopathics. I am just not patient enough and I don’t want small effects, I want a big one. Now.
I sometimes found it helpful as a menthal stabilizer or for the process of dealing with difficult things.
But with kids: Magic.

78 Fiona February 7, 2013 at 2:21 pm

In South Africa the pharmacists are also helpful and a first port of call for non urgent medical questions. Not every pharmacy carries homeopathic remedies but it is not uncommon. But as for arnica – I don’t even think of that as homeopathic remedy, it’s just essential. I have two young boys and it was one of my first purchases for the baby medicine cabinet, hardly a week goes by without using it. I always give it to new mothers of boys.
I have also always used Bach flower Rescue remedy for anxiety – maybe it is psychological but it does calm.

79 Colleen February 7, 2013 at 2:24 pm

My go to are essential oils. Find you instinctively know, more often than not, which one will do the job. Sometimes have made mixtures for friends and family as gifts. Interesting results – young grandson (aged 4) who got bad eczema on his legs when visiting rural areas asked his mom to ask nan to bring a bottle of her oil when she visits for his legs, my brother-in-law asked for another bottle of the sress-relief mixture I gave him earlier.

But buy the good quality oils, not synthetic mixtures.


80 Eva February 7, 2013 at 2:55 pm

There are some wonderful homeopathic products that are a staple in my home medical list. Top of the list is Arnica for all bumps & bruises, & even more useful is Lycas Pawpaw ointment which literally works miracles with burns, nappy rash & dry lips. Both permanently in my kitchen draw & I have Lucas pawpaw in my bag & on the change table. I also use aloe Vera for after sun soothing. Not that we get burnt much anymore with all the sunblock we put on.

81 eva February 7, 2013 at 4:17 pm

I’m fascinated by homeopathy and am kind of new to the idea myself.

They might just be on the West Coast, but there is a newish company called Pharmaca that models itself off of European pharmacies. It’s my first stop when there is an ailment in the family. They have trained naturopaths on staff that will answer all your questions. Love it and am glad that the European pharmacy idea is starting to spread in the States.

82 Design Mom February 8, 2013 at 5:35 am

I’ve never heard of Pharmaca. Sounds like a neat concept.

83 Christie February 7, 2013 at 4:24 pm

These posts you’ve had on beauty/pharmacies, etc… are some of my favorites. I have long turned toward all natural and alternative remedies. I wouldn’t say that I’m hippy or crunchy, but there is something about avoiding chemicals and unnatural substances that really speaks to me, and even more so now that I’m a mom. When I lived in Europe, I noticed that even your average person (people I wouldn’t have expected) seemed more informed about and focused on natural remedies and eating organic or natural foods. Here, I feel like I have to go out of my way and spend lots of money to live that sort of life (but I do, and I think it’s worth it).

84 Jodi February 7, 2013 at 4:29 pm

I love that! I think it’s great that they have options. And how nice to be able to just make a simple visit to the pharmacist rather than go through the whole hoopla and paying to visit the doctor, and then paying for a prescription after that!

85 Brooke February 7, 2013 at 6:32 pm

I refer to Arnica is a “miracle worker”. I use it frequently! I am also an advocate of Ignatia Amara. I use it during stressful times in my life when I just can’t seem to let things go! Glad you tried these homeopathic remedies out. Hope you continue!

86 Jessica February 7, 2013 at 7:16 pm

love homeopathy! we don’t even buy aspirin or tylenol anymore because we can treat our fevers with belladonna and our aches and pains with arnica!

87 Cdotha February 7, 2013 at 7:36 pm

This makes me incredibly upset that you posted this. Homeopathy is nothing more than a placebo, there have been numerous studies confirming this. Case in point, if homeopathy did what it claims to do, the way it claims to do it, everything we know about modern science would be wrong, but we know it’s not because we’re able to do many things, like make planes fly and build computers. Which, no one here would be able to do by simply “believing”.

Spreading misinformation like this is incredibly irresponsible and dangerous. There are some people who use homeopathic vaccinations and what then when their child becomes infected with a disease that could potentially kill them like whooping cough? Learn the facts and don’t use something just because it “feels good”.

Did you ever stop to think about how much money the companies that make homeopathic medicine are making from an ingredient that is basically a tic tac?

You just lost a reader.

88 Design Mom February 8, 2013 at 4:26 am

Yikes. That’s an intense response. I don’t think telling readers that homeopathie is common in France is “spreading misinformation”.

And I have no idea what a “homeopathic vaccination” is. The French use the same standard vaccinations that are used in the U.S., and I vaccinate my children as well.

89 Azra February 7, 2013 at 7:55 pm

We use homeopathy at our home. Coughing syrups were very helpful this winter. Also fever reducer. Homeopathy is becoming popular (or at least in my circle of people) and I buy it at the Whole Foods. Not sure whether a pharmacy carries it.

90 Michele February 7, 2013 at 7:58 pm

Wow, a post about actual quackery. So, allium cepa, basically a single molecule from an onion tossed into a swimming pool of sugar water. I’ll stick with facts, science, and actual intelligence.

91 Mara Kofoed, A BLOG ABOUT LOVE February 7, 2013 at 9:30 pm

I love homeopathy! I’ve used it for years for various things. My primary care doctor in Brooklyn keeps various vials in the pockets of her medical white coat and hands them to me instead of giving prescriptions. That’s nearly unheard of, so I’m glad I found her.

92 Rachel February 7, 2013 at 10:07 pm

Ha ha, wow, you really got a lot of responses to this post! I love homeopathy and use it for my kids as well as myself. I would agree that it’s not worth trying to convince skeptics.

I do find it interesting though that “conventional medicine” wasn’t able to do anything for my infant daughter’s chronic rash, while “sugar placebos” made it go away . . . . But then, perhaps it’s all in her 6 month mind, lol!

93 Ginger February 7, 2013 at 11:13 pm

I chug a gulp of apple cider vinegar, out of the bottle, just about every morning….Especially when I feel a little tingle in my throat…..It works. I hardly ever get sick when my kids are sick.

94 Design Mom February 8, 2013 at 4:28 am

I’ve heard so many good things about ACV. We’ve had luck with it for wart removal, but the smell is so intense, I can barely stand it. I don’t think I am brave enough to drink it daily. : )

95 Rach February 8, 2013 at 12:15 am

Sorry to hear you have had a few bad emails this week Gabrielle – especially after the highs of Alt! Go for a big long walk in the fresh air and you’ll sleep soundly all night :) Also, my doctor has told me the back of your knees needs sunshine every day a this is where your sensitive Vitamin D receptors are! Homeopathy like camomile tea is great too. Hope you have a better weekend.

96 Corinne February 8, 2013 at 12:47 am

thank you for posting this. I’m amazed that more people aren’t tuned into natural medicine – it is the root of many conventional medicines after all. In South Africa we have a great product called Traumeel which contains arnica. We also use Rescue Remedy a lot – to calm nerves, help with shock and mild anxiety. I combine conventional medicine with homeopathic and natural medicine according to the symptoms. Both have their place. Gabrielle – hope your weekend is fabulous – remember you can’t please all of the people all of the time. :)

97 Design Mom February 8, 2013 at 4:30 am

“remember you can’t please all of the people all of the time”

Very true! And I believe it. I’m sure with practice, I’ll get better at letting things go. Thank you for the kind words, Corinne!

98 caroline February 8, 2013 at 1:07 am

Please Gaby, stay 5 more years and I’ll teach you all the others “remèdes homéopatiques” that I know ! Trust me there is one for EVERYTHING ! and as said my grandmother :”If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t hurt !” ;) but it works…

99 Barb February 8, 2013 at 6:39 am

I had a wonderful experience with pharmacy medicine in France. I was terribly constipated (unusual for me) and walked into a little pharmacy – not really expecting much – and just said “Constipation”! The clerk took me to the pharmacist, who asked me questions – in English! – after which he consulted with an older pharmacist and then suggested Olivalax – basically senna in olive oil. It worked exactly as he predicted. In contrast, after my daughter’s second child (Colorado), she was in extreme pain from constipation and first, could not get in touch with her doctor, then waited for the on-call doctor to respond, then used whatever he suggested which didn’t work at all. For some reason, Olivalax is not sold in the US.

100 clare February 8, 2013 at 6:58 am

Homeopathy is more common here in the UK too although not as common as France. Some doctors are qualified homeopaths as well as medical doctors, others just support alternative therapies. I’ve had great results with Bella Donna for bringing down a horrendous temperature that I had with Viral Bronchitis.
In my artsy, liberal little town (Whitstable on the Kent Coast) our cup brimmeth over with homeopaths, osteopaths, acupuncturists and alternative therapies of every kind. It is lovely!
Clare xx

101 Liliana Aviles February 8, 2013 at 7:14 am

It amazes me to see how many people are against natural medicine and want to “stick” to “science”. To imply that those of us who are believers of homeopathy or natural remedies are ignorant is a backfire on them. I am from Mexico and there are countless herbs and natural remedies that have been “proven” for centuries. As one of your readers commented, many of todays medicines have been developed from natural ingredients. Arnica is great for pain and my family has used it in many forms before with a 100% success rate. It is the pharmaceutical companies who have a lot to loose if we start using more natural medicines and not the other way around. I am not saying to stop using medicine, I am saying to stop judging others who have “found” there are other alternatives that have no chemicals or “side effects”. Sorry, I’ve been reading your blog for only about two months and I never comment but this time I just had to. I think it’s great for you to be more open about trying new things and the results will speak for themselves. Good luck :)

102 Design Mom February 8, 2013 at 10:56 am

I imagine there is a strong pull for most people to stick with whatever they grew up with. For people in the U.S. that often means treating cold symptoms with things like orange juice and chicken noodle soup — though both are more culturally based than science based. I love learning how different cultures respond to the same symptoms.

103 Karyl February 8, 2013 at 7:24 am

I love homeopathic treatments! I believe a lot of it works. My dad has always been into homeopathy since I was a little kid, and so have I. Let’s see, in the U.S., I love the prices of http://www.swansonvitamins.com I love how I find a lot of products through them cheaper than regular stores, and it’s delivered to my doorstep. My personal favorites are:

5HTP– even taken once a week, helps with mood, and I’ve taken it for post partum depression, I could really tell the difference when I would go off it.
Arnica–Like you, we use Bumps and Bruises type tablets and Boiron or other arnica cream for the kids or us when we’re sore or hurt.
Swansons Thyroid essentials–seems to help with my weight, and my family has had thyroid problems.
Cider vinegar tablets–helps me with digestion, fighting colds and weight management, I have noticed at my thinnest, I drank cider vinegar and water all the time. Tablets are better form, I think.
Flu–Umcka–if I take it when I feel a flu or cold coming in, I don’t get sick, or flu doesn’t take as long to heal. Hyland’s Flu care for kids helps my kids.
Colds–I use Swanson Homeopathy Cold and Sore throat relief, on top of Umcka too–does help. For kids, I use Hyland’s Sniffles and Sneezes for kids. All their other playmates are sick but at first sign of colds I give this, seems to help fight or shorten colds.
Sleep aid–Swansons Sleep Essentials or Melatonin.
Cold sore–Umcka helps, as does Swanson Cold Sore Relief….
Coughs–Hyland’s Cold and Cough for kids and also Buckley’s for adults and kids…

I have taken all this for a while now and they do seem to help. Will have to try the ones you mentioned then and will read all comments for new ones to try :-).

Thanks for posting about this, so highly informative!

104 Karyl February 8, 2013 at 7:53 am

Oh! After reading other posts, I just remembered, I did give my kids Hyland’s teething tablets and they helped, we take Belladonna for fevers and stress type tablets. I also take Swansons motion sickness tablets when traveling mountain passes.

I mix both doctors (and do get immunizations–I have childhood friends who have suffered polio and diphteria deaths because they were not immunized) and homeopathic treatments. I have deep respect for treatments we don’t know about. Chinese medicine/treatments go farther/longer than modern western medicine. Just saying….

105 Pamela Balabuszko-Reay February 8, 2013 at 8:22 am

I’m sorry that you are sad or worried about e-mails you received this week. It is interesting how that one line stuck out to me in your post about homeopathic medicine. I know how it feels to get stuck on one thought and have it swirling around in a way that is bad for me. I too would like some relief. I think that we have barely scratched the surface when it comes to knowing what heals us. There is no one answer or approach. I think there is arrogance in thinking there is. One thing I know for sure is that feeling the care of others is healing. So, sending you my care and best wishes for calm in your storm.

106 Julie February 8, 2013 at 9:04 am

Wow. I don’t really get some of the intensely negative responses this post has evoked….disproportionately so. It’s like someone who eats meat getting really upset because you liked a vegan dish. Weird. I mean, you are just sharing a new experience and asking others what their experiences are. What’s the big deal? New experiences and learning is what life is all about right? Personally, I haven’t tried homeopathie a great deal, but I’m open to it. I prefer more natural remedies. In our house, we run a cold-mist humidifier with tea tree oil in the water for colds and it will unblock a blocked nose within minutes and kiddos are sleeping peacefully. I do plan to run to our local health food store and see what I can find for my 4 year old’s icky cough. And homeopathie might be the go…who knows. (and for the record, we’ve been to the doctor and he just has an average cold/virus).

107 Zoe February 8, 2013 at 9:33 am

I’ve been using homeopathy on and off for many years. I’ve had miracle-like cures for a few serious things and other times it hasn’t worked at all. I find it’s more effective when I work with an experienced practitioner. So, I’m a fan.

My husband, on the other hand, thinks it’s all placebo. He worked for a company that researched alternative therapies and products (the company was pro all that stuff) and he claims that all the scientific research done has shown there there’s no way it can work and there are no studies that support it. While I haven’t examined the whole thing myself, I’m reserving judgement as I think it works and I’m using it anyway. Placebo is a huge part of the effectiveness of pharmaceuticals, too, so that’s okay by me.

108 agneslamexicaine February 8, 2013 at 10:35 am

I find the whole conversation quite interesting; but especially the fact that very few homeopathy “believers” actually know how it works; I’ve been a believer of homeopathy but reserached after what Andy posted. I feel a little stupid now, because yes how could it work if it so diluted in water that lab test can’t detect the substance? I think it is about being curious, honest and rationnal; homeopathy is not acupunture or naturopathy; each medicine has specificity. Why should questioning and rationnalizing be viewed as an aggressive behaviour? Placebo effect is something important to be considered. I find it fascinating!

109 Dianna February 8, 2013 at 10:19 am

I have tried some herbal remedies with success for small things and some others were a dismal and dangerous failure. I’m not sure I agree with everyone chastizing all the commentators here who have negative feelings towards natural remedies. Perhaps you were not aware that you were touching on a hot button issue, but you are and all sides should be allowed to be presented here. I relied heavily on natural remedies during my first pregnancy with much success, and tried to do the same with my second. Without getting into too many details, my reliance on herbal remedies recommended by my chiropractor for a particular ailment during my second pregnancy was foolishly misplaced and I was treating the symptoms of what turned out to be a very serious and life-threatening condition with various oils and supplements instead of going straight to my OB. I don’t blame homepathy or herbal remedies, I blame myself for not recognizing the severity of the situation. Happily, all ended well after a few very scary weeks with our beautiful baby who was able to be safely delivered (albeit very early) and came through it all like a champ. That being said, while this thread is largely about minor cuts and bruises, you may want to keep in mind that there may be people out there who have sufferred their own failure with homeopathy/natural remedies (or that of a loved one) with a more tragic outcome and it might be helpful to the discussion if people could be more sensitive to that when calling out the non-believers. I would also add that, despite my experience, I am still very open to using such remedies for me and my kids, but with a healthy dose of caution.

110 Design Mom February 8, 2013 at 11:04 am

I hear you Dianna, and I agree that all sides should be represented here. And I think they have been! There is a wide variety of opinions in these comments. And happily, there’s only one commenter that I can see who has been chastised. That would be Adam. But even then, he still had plenty of opportunities to make his opinions known.

I’m actually delighted with how the comments have proceeded. For the most part, everyone has been very respectful and calm. Like you, they share their stories and let others form their own opinions.

111 heather February 8, 2013 at 11:01 am

I was interested in giving it a try a few years back so I went to a homeopathy doctor for on going back pain. I was examined and sent off with those round pills for inflamation. He wanted to do a few more things on a regular basis but I couldn’t continue because insurance didn’t participate with him.

112 Tam February 8, 2013 at 12:38 pm

The magnesium really seems to help with stress and migraines for me. I ended up going to a higher dose in a supplement form but used the little sugar pills for a while. My mid-wife also used the blue and black cohosh to get things going in labor and it was really effective. Now that I’m finished having children (we stopped at _only_ four), I often remark how I wish that I could find a mid-wife practicing as a GP or pediatrician because their approach was so pragmatic and they don’t reach for antibiotics and steroids all the time like our MDs do.

113 C Davis February 8, 2013 at 1:25 pm

What I like best about my Naturopath physician is that he tries to find the root of the problem. I had sinus issues and headaches for years. After seeing him he recommended a food sensitivity test. Once I omitted the foods from my diet that I tested sensitive too, sinus issues cleared and headaches stopped. I had a list of prescriptions a mile long from other doctors. Turns out, it was what I was eating personal to only me. He also recommends homeopathic remedies on a regular basis, when sleeping enough, drinking enough water and being active aren’t the answer (always the first thing he asks at an appointment). I was a sceptic and questioned many things in the beginning, so saying that they are always placebos, I don’t believe is accurate.
One of our best examples, my son had the croup while traveling (the barking seal type) and after giving him the suggested remedy, it stopped. Within a few hours. Call that what you want, a fellow traveler’s son had had it in the weeks prior and she said the only thing that treats it is steroids. Ours was treated with continued homeopath remedy that caused no harm, I’ll take that solution any time.
My parents are of the take a pill generation and trust all doctors like God. They have more problems caused by side effects of prescriptions than original health issues. Recently they have been open to other ideas, (mainly because they’re doctors were out of options) like chiropractors and natural remedies, and omitting processed foods, etc. Their health has slowly improved. While not a cure all for every aliment, looking for a solution that is not just “take this prescription blindly and call me if there is a problem so I can give you another one,” is a good thing. We keep our “wonder box” close on hand and it is the first place we go along with essential oils for issues that arise. We also see regular md’s when needed, but try to look at the big picture of cause and not a quick fix. It has been a long process, but one we have benefitted from. While we have purchased the homeopathic remedies on our own (at health food stores, etc.) we have found the most success with the guidance of our Naturopath.
Thank you for posting about other options for health and wellness, learning from “new to us” places and cultures is never a bad thing.

114 Laura February 8, 2013 at 1:45 pm

What I found most interesting about your original post was the role of pharmacists in France. The US will surely have to move in this direction eventually. We are thankfully seeing more and more nurse practitioners seeing patients in doctors’ practices. But it is absurd that in the US you should have to make an appointment at a doctors office to be seen for less than 5 minutes and told what you already knew, that your child has pink eye, and then off to the pharmacy for ointment. It seems a waste. I know almost nothing about homeopathy but your European readers should understand that in the US, MD’s rule. Their object is to make a profit and they routinely over-treat their patients. I have dozens of examples of this in my personal experience but the US rates of c-section and their variance from state to state are a very good example of profit motive taking precedence over patients. This is also why there is so little support for natural remedies—no patent, no huge profits. When my then 2nd grader was diagnosed with ADHD we were told the ONLY remedy was narcotics. A little Internet research told us about L glutamine. The difference in her was instant. She’s 13 now and a straight A student. And she still takes Glutamine. As things stand, we have to be our own best advocates and get over our belief that doctors are omniscient.

115 MorticiA February 9, 2013 at 6:50 am

I think some of it can be useful, but I also worry about the lack of oversight for homeopathy. While manufacturers of medications must prove their efficacy and safety through randomized controlled trials, and list possible contraindications and side effects and drug interactions, this is not true for natural remedies. We take them with caution after careful consideration of information available. If I can, I research the product on PubMed to establish its efficacy and safety. I’m also cautious of any product that claims it can cure just about anything. That being said, I do believe that some natural remedies are very effective, and have proven to be such. However, just because something is natural, does not mean it can not be harmful in large doses or when taken in concert with conventional medication. In the USA it is possible to find a practitioner of integrative medicine (conventional + homeopathic), which is what I would love to find here in Canada. I’ve never taken drugs to stop thinking about something – for me the natural remedy would be a nice heavy stint of cardio or weights to transfer my thoughts to my aching body :)

116 jen February 9, 2013 at 11:41 am

when we were in france this summer our landlord recommended me some homeopathic sleep aids sold in these same sexy bottles. i ran out and bought it, excited to try something natural (and thus “safe”). i went home and did some research on my purchase before trying it, and found that even the slightest overdose was a potent poison and my little bottle was enough to kill a person. i could think of nothing else but my children somehow getting a hold of the stuff and gobbling up those “yummy little white balls.” those sexy bottles went straight to the garbage. . .

117 Suzanna February 9, 2013 at 12:28 pm

I have had success and failures with Homeopathy. I LOVE Hylands Cold and Cough for kids (I take it too, amazing stuff). I haven’t had too much success with Borion’s Cold calm, it is super expensive too. My husband takes some for his allergies and loves it as it doesn’t give him the side affects of the OTC allergy medicine.

118 Vita S February 9, 2013 at 4:14 pm

I have been using homeopathic medicine for years and I love it. I even found a family doctor in regular practice with homeopathic certificate. It cures and prevents future sicknesses. I wish I lived in France!!!

119 Asma February 9, 2013 at 8:05 pm

My son who is now 8 has had migraines since the age of 6. I decided to try homeopathic meds for a 3 month course. It didn’t seem to be helping so I quit giving it to him but after 3 months on it his migraines reduced from having them every week to having them once every 3 months. I’m inclined to believe the homeopathic meds helped but am sceptical at the same time

120 jessicamaybe February 9, 2013 at 8:55 pm

What actually bothers me more than either side getting upset about this is the ridiculously high confusion rate between natural medicines (cures derived from nature) and homeopathy. I regularly take peppermint or ginger tea for indigestion/upset stomach. When my GERD acts up, I choke down Bragg’s unpasteurized apple cider vinegar, because it works better for me than Prilosec and Nexium. I took Yogi’s “Women’s Energy Tea” with Dong Quai to regulate my period, and I now take Yogi’s “Mother-to-be” tea to help with my pregnancy and strengthen my uterus.

Homeopathy is not using whole herbs/plants/etc to treat symptoms/problems. It’s the belief that diluting a material in water until it cannot be detected, then adding sugar and selling it to consumers, will somehow help them. It’s the belief that water has a memory. Seeing as birth control pills and other medicines are found in most American drinking water, I’m very glad that water apparently doesn’t remember all that well. I can just imagine the amount of infertility that would be rampant here!

I think there are plenty of people like me that are willing to embrace natural medicines but believe homeopathy to be a cure that doesn’t live up to its promise, and doesn’t hold up to any scientific inquiry.

I truly hope you aren’t upset by these comments, Gabby. You’re just sharing a bit of French culture with your readers, and that’s great. Homeopathy is just one of those things that causes strong feelings, I think. I’d compare it to discussing the anti-vaccine movement, another subject that is bound to bring up strong opinions.

121 Sylvie February 10, 2013 at 6:16 pm

As always, Homeopathy is a rather heated discussion with varying opinions and I only hope to clarify some points, if these have already been covered and I missed reading the post sorry :)

Firstly there is a vast difference between Herbal/Natural remedies and Homeopathy.
Herbal remedies – a plant or plant part or an extract or mixture of these used to prevent, alleviate, or cure disease—called also herbal, herbal medicine. Such as Herb teas, tinctures, Arnica gel/cream, Vitamin C tablets ect
Homeopathy is, in short; A system for the treatment of disease by minute doses of natural substances that in a healthy person would produce symptoms of disease.

As a student of Homeopathy, I am completing a Bachelor of Health Science majoring in Homeopathy (in Australia) I would suggest that Gabrielle’s readers contact on of the many Homeopathic Colleges for further information and clarification regarding Homeopathy and how it works.
http://www.amcofh.org/ – American Medical College of Homeopathy
http://www.endeavour.edu.au/ – Endeavour College of Natural Health (Australia)
http://www.homeoint.org/hds/ehhds/default.htm -Ecole d’Homéopathie Hahnemannienne DauphinéSavoie.

The International Council for Homeopathy has a very informative article about Homeopathy, here; http://www.homeopathy-ich.org/public-services.html

As Gabrielle has said in the article she had a close friend, obviously with Homeopathic experience and knowledge, help her make informed choices about how and when to take the Homeopathic remedies. When taking any kind of medicine/remedy you should always speak with a qualified practitoner or pharamacist.

122 Caroline February 10, 2013 at 8:29 pm

I have been using it for years. I feel like it works, sometimes it’s so subtle you don’t know. And sometimes it can take time for a remedy to work. I have been doing homeopathic immunization to replace many of the vaccines that are now given to children. And my homeopath offered me a remedy to help with the effects of vaccines in general for the few we did give our daughter.

123 sarah k February 11, 2013 at 9:25 am

I’ve used a variety of homeopathic remedies (under the guidance of a homeopathic practitioner) both for my children and for me. I’m a firm believer that they really help. I think both alternative and traditional western medicine have their uses–sometimes you need one, sometimes you need the other, and sometimes both work together.

I don’t buy the argument that homeopathic remedies are just sugar pills, especially since I’ve seen how regularly they are prescribed by traditional doctors in Germany (we lived there when I was a child and I’ve been there often since). The pills certainly are based in sugar, but the remedy is sprayed onto the sugar pill in the very small doses that are typical of homeopathy (and that make it so safe for children and even babies). This is why you should never touch the pills with your hands before ingesting them, because the remedy will come off on your hands and then you really are just taking a sugar pill.

As a side note, I think at least some MDs in the states may be becoming more open to homeopathy. My pediatrician is perfectly fine with me using the remedies on my kids–especially because another pediatrician in the practice has taken courses and become certified in homeopathy and now incorporates it into her practice.

124 Emily February 11, 2013 at 10:59 pm

So here’s the deal: If you get the right remedy, homeopathics work great! But it’s tricky to figure out which one is right. I’ve had much more success using the ones my doctor has recommended than self-prescribing. We see Dr. Neustaedter in the SF Bay Area and he’s an amazing natural pediatrician. Most of my Mormon friends think it’s a hoax, but it’s their loss. It works using energy. And just because we don’t understand everything about homeopathics yet doesn’t mean it isn’t real. I’ve had enough experiences with homeopathy that I know it works, even if it sounds strange. I’d say most people in the U.S. don’t even know what homeopathics are though.

125 Alice February 13, 2013 at 3:52 am

My dentist recommended Arnica for bruising and soreness after having all my wisdom teeth taken out, but other than Arnica I’ve heard that most homeopathic products have the same ingredients and they’re basically placebos. Would you say that’s true?

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