Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Homeopathy for food allergies: Treatment for Peanut Allergies Shows Promise

A March 15 article in the New York Times, " Treatment for Peanut Allergies Shows Promise," talks about the practical applications of homeopathy. Although the article does not use the term homeopathy specifically, it does describe a study in which the treatment for a peanut allergy "uses doses of peanuts that start as small as one-thousandth of a peanut and eventually increase to about 15 peanuts a day."

The article then goes on to describe how in a pilot study at Duke University and Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock, "33 children with documented peanut allergy have received the daily therapy, which is given as a powder sprinkled on food. Most of the children are tolerating the therapy without developing allergic reactions, and five stopped the treatment after two and a half years because they could now tolerate peanuts in their regular diet. But four children dropped out because they could not tolerate the treatment."

The article cautions that this specific treatment for peanut (and other food-related allergies) is not ready for home use, yet homeopathics have been in the U.S. since the 19th century, according to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

Homeopathy is based on the principle of "like cures like," and involves, "giving extremely small doses of substances that produce characteristic symptoms of illness in healthy people when given in larger doses," (NCCAM).

Three main concepts of homeopathy include:

1. Homeopathy stimulates the body's defense mechanisms and processes to prevent/treat illness.

2. Treatment involves giving very small doses of substances called remedies that, according to homeopathy, would produce the same or similar symptoms of illness in healthy people if they were given in larger doses.

3. Treatment in homeopathy is individualized (tailored to each person). Homeopathic practitioners select remedies according to a total picture of the patient, including not only symptoms but lifestyle, emotional and mental states, and other factors.

Homeopathy training is often completed as part of a naturopathic training, and individual courses can be taken to adjunct to another holistic health practice, such as holistic health practitioner or nutritionist. In addition, with accredited holistic health training, there is growing opportunity to work in the complementary alternative medicine field, to provide whole person care.

For more information about homeopathy training, go to: http://www.achs.edu/course-desc.aspx?pid=24&id=4

For more information about studies involving peanut treatments for peanut food allergies, go to: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/16/health/16peanuts.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=peanut&st=cse

To read more about homeopathy, visit the NCCAM website at: http://nccam.nih.gov/health/homeopathy/

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