In the treatment of insomnia, homeopathy has two great advantages over the use of sleeping tablets. First, it has no side effects and, second, it is holistic - it treats the whole patient. This means that, whereas orthodox drugs simply act on the nervous system to induce sleepiness, a homeopathic remedy will work to raise the patient’s level of health so that the body finds it easier to restore itself to normal functioning.

Although modern homoeopathy was developed in the late 18th century (by a highly respected orthodox physician named Samuel Hahnemann), it is only in the last few decades that it has become widely used, with many people discovering how valuable a therapy it is. The principle on which it is based is that of “like cures like” - in other words, a substance which will produce certain symptoms if it is taken by a healthy person will cure those same symptoms if they occur as the result of a disease. For example, for many years, quinine has been used (by orthodox physicians) to treat malaria. But if you give large doses of quinine to healthy people, they will develop the symptoms of malaria, such as yellowing of the skin, nausea and fever.

To test out his theory, Hahnemann experimented with a number of substances such as quinine and found that “like cures like” worked in every case. But some of these substances were toxic, so he had to dilute them in order to use them. And what he found was that, when the dilution was performed in a particular way (called “potentization”), the resultant remedy became more effective the more dilute it became. Nowadays a wide range of potencies (or dilutions) is available but only the low potencies (that is, the least diluted preparations) are readily available in drugstores and health stores.

Of course, the fact that the most dilute remedies are the most powerful seems to go against classical scientific understanding and skeptics have used this to attack homeopathy, saying that it only works because of the placebo effect – in other words because the patient believes it will. But, in fact, many more patients respond well to homeopathy than can be accounted for by the placebo effect (which is generally said to be around 30 per cent of those treated). In addition, a large number of double blind trials have shown that homeopathy can produce significant benefits. And, perhaps the most telling argument in favour of homoeopathy is the fact that (like other complementary therapies) it works well on animals, small children and people in comas, for whom the placebo effect cannot possibly be an influence.

Because homeopathy works by treating the whole person, the closer the match between the remedy and the patient’s symptoms, the more likely is the prospect of a cure. There are many different types of insomnia and many different symptoms associated with it. So it is very important, if you are thinking of treating yourself, that you choose the remedy which most closely matches your symptoms. A single tablet should be allowed to dissolve under your tongue at bedtime every night for about a week. If after that time it hasn’t helped, you should stop taking it because to continue will run the risk of eventually developing the symptoms associated with that substance (this is known as ‘proving’).

Some of the many remedies that can be used to treat insomnia include Calc. phos. (whose symptoms include aching joints, tense muscles and difficulty waking up in the morning), Chamomilla (being kept awake by anger or pain or as a side effect of medication), Ars. alb. (associated with feeling restless even though exhausted), Lycopodium (one of whose symptoms is feeling that you haven’t slept at all), Aconitum apellus (for insomnia associated with anxiety or panic attacks or with vivid and frightening dreams), Lachesis (helpful for insomnia occurring around the menopause), Gelsemium (useful for pregnant women and also for students who are exhausted from studying and who are worried about the future), and Ignatia (where the insomnia results from distress or depression).

The full description of each of these remedies includes many more symptoms so, although it is possible to self-treat with homeopathy (particularly as a first aid measure), you are more likely to get good results if you consult a qualified homeopath who will be able to achieve a much closer match (based not just on the current problem but also on your past medical history, your likes and dislikes, your habits and your personality). In addition, a qualified homeopath will be able to prescribe higher potencies which may be needed to treat chronic problems.

If you’re embarking on a course of homeopathic treatment, it may take a while for the therapy to work but you should notice some degree of improvement fairly soon and then it’s just a question of persevering until you’re sleeping normally again.

Author's Bio: 

To learn more about how you can treat insomnia successfully using orthodox, complementary or self-help methods, go to The Better Sleep Site.
Dr. Ruth Lever Kidson is a qualified physician, medical hypnotherapist and best-selling author who has trained in a number of complementary therapies.