Homeopathy is a medical system that was developed in Germany more than 200 years ago. It’s based on two unconventional theories: 1) “Like cures like”—the notion that a disease can be cured by a substance that produces similar symptoms in healthy people. 2) “Law of minimum dose”—the notion that the lower the dose of the medication, the greater its effectiveness. Many homeopathic products are so diluted that no molecules of the original substance remain. (from NCCIH)

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Naturopath or Homeopathic Pediatrician in Easy Bay

June 2015

Hello, I will be a new mom in a few short months and wondered if the community had any recommendations for a great Naturopathic or Homeopathic Pediatrian in the East Bay? I do have Kaiser as a back up but wanted to also have a Naturopathic/Homeopathic doctor for my baby. Any info would be much appreciated! thanks, East Bay Mom MJ

I love Jill Stevens at Whole Family Wellness Center in Emeryville. I have been taking my son to her for almost four years and she has been
there for me every time I needed help!

Dec 2010

I'm looking for a homeopathic doctor recommendation for my husband. He has been dealing with psoriasis on his leg and elbows for a few years. Dermatologists have prescribed creams and various medicines but nothing has helped. We are searching for alternative treatments in the homeopathic and holistic realm, any recommendations at all would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much! Tiffany

If you are looking for a homeopathic doctor I would highly recommend Iris Ratowsky. Three members of my family, including myself, have seen Iris over the years and she is amazing. My daughter had suffered from repeated throat infections and been prescribed more antibiotics than I felt was good for her - since seeing Iris, she has been so much better. I felt that Iris really got the whole picture of her health and well being. My husband went to her practice a few years ago with mono that had been troubling him on and off for years, and again, the improvement has been so dramatic. She has a great office down on 4th street and takes a good hour or so with her clients in their first meeting. I recommend her without any hesitation. Her phone number is (510) 548-1403 and her website is www.irisratowsky.com. Ros

I have had good success treating my children with homeopathy recommended by my naturopathic doctor, Coleen Murphy/Natural Medicine Works in Berkeley. No experience per say with psoriasis but I have seen homeopathy work miracles so good luck! Andrea

Dr. Elizabeth Korza is a brilliant naturopathic physician who I think would be extremely helpful in holistic solutions to your husband's medical issue. You can check her website here: http://www.berkeleynaturopathic.com/Dr._Elizabeth_Korza__N.html Contact Dr. Korza by phone at 510-845-8600 or email drkorza [at] gmail.com David

I would highly recommend Edi Pfeiffer (http://www.berkeleyhomeopathy.com/) in Albany. She is great! Sessions with her feel like therapy. That, and she prescribes homeopathic remedies, too? It's a two-fer! My wife (for food allergies), my son (for attachment and anxiety issues), and I (for depression) have all been to see her. Each of us has seen profound results. I was considering medication, but after a few sessions, Edi settled on a constitutional remedy that has made the world of difference for me. Check her out! At least visit her website and/or talk to her over the phone and get a sense of how she practices. She is also knowledgeable on a host of other things (diet, flower essences, etc.). Happy Pappy

March 2010

I have been reading about homeopathy remedies and want to try them for my 6 year old son. He has some behavioral issues such as impulsiveness and repetitiveness that seem to be related to anxiety. I would like to work with a compassionate and knowledgeable homeopathy specialist (doctor?) Any recommendations? openminded

I highly recommend Christine Ciavarella. She is wonderful with children and families, completely devoted to her work, insightful, holistic, and compassionate. She is a physician's assistant, which means she can prescribe western medicine when needed as well. Can't sing her praises highly enough! ph: 510 524-3117 at the Hahnemann Medical Clinic in El Cerrito. Anon.

I use Shana Sturm (in the East Bay). She's really, really good! Knowledgeable, personable, precise, professional. We get great results. She treats both our kids. Her phone number is 510-367-4161. Good luck! Rachel

I too recommend Homeopath Shana Sturm. She treats all ages and is wonderful with children. She has treated my 2 children for years and with great results. Shana Sturm, Classical Homeopathy, (510) 367-4161. A Berkeley Parent

Feb 2010

Hi, I am looking for a homeopath that can help my 3 year old with constipation. Anyone out there have a homeopath that they LOVE? anon

I'm a HUGE fan of Lori Nairne, R.N., homeopath. And she makes house calls! Very knowledgeable, a lovely person, and reasonably priced. She has helped me and my two kids over the past year and a half. Lori Nairne: 415-751-1261 Ellen

Hi there. I highly recommend Shana Sturm 510-367-4161. She is professional and kind and specializes with kids! I hope this helps. Anon

Feb 2010

Has anyone heard of, or had experience working with, Shana Sturm? She was recommended to us for homeopathy, and I would like to get more information about her. Thanks! -R

I have worked with Shana Sturm and she is a wonderful homeopath. I have seen amazing results, and not only that but she happens to be one of the most reasonably priced homeopaths out there, which can be very hard to find. I hope this helps. Anon

I have done homeopathic consultation with Shana Sturm and was really happy with the work we did together. She's warm & wise, both emotionally & intellectually, and an excellent listener. She explored fairly extensive background info in a sensitive and non-intrusive way. I felt that I was in very good hands (& heart & mind) with Shana. I've also talked with others who have worked with her and everyone has spoken highly of her. brenna

I have gone to Shana for quite a few years, and highly recommend her. Shana is calm, warm, and a great listener. I feel like we are working as a team to address my health issues, and she very much looks at the whole person - your physical health, mental health, family life, and more. Shana's info.... Shana Sturm Classical Homeopathy (510) 367-4161 shanasturm [at] yahoo.com Jill

Shana is my two-year-old son's homeopathic doctor and I highly recommend her. His health has dramatically improved under her care. She is compassionate and knowledgeable, and is often available by phone off hours, which can be a lifesaver in an emergency. anonymous

Hi, I am actually a client of Shana Sturm and I can highly recommend her practice! She is a warm, loving and calm person that is working for quite a while as an classical homeopath. I met her a while ago, finding someone that is experienced with kids. We had a great and long first appointment, finding out what was going on in the history and finding the right remedy. I could always (always) call her, checking in how things were going. And I am still looking forward to my next appointments with her. Like I said, I can highly recommend Shana. Try her business. Lisa

I highly recommend Shana Sturm's caring approach and thorough evaluation...not to mention the fantastic results! Chronic issue cleared up with no return yet! Specializes in children, teens, emotional and physical ailments. A real gem of a healer. K.Lil Mama

I am responding to the post Feb 13 inquiring about Shana Sturm. Our family loves Shana and her work! We had fanastic success with our son who was experiencing a number of issues, both physical and emotional. Shana is so attentive both with parent and child. Her ability to answer questions helps anyone who may need to get more familiar with how homeopathy works. In our case, the remedy prescribed worked wonders and we have since visited for other issues. I strongly recommend Shana for both pediatric and non-pediatric care. An extremely intelligent, caring and sincere homeopathic practitioner. Angela

Shana Sturm has helped me with two health crises - adult chickenpox and a concussion. Both times she provided such detailed and caring analysis of my condition and provided remedies that were incredibly effective in my healing. I recommend her highly - she is my go-to person for homeopathic care! Her number is 510-467-3161. Healed

2009 Reviews

Sept 2009

my son is 2 yrs old and suffers from severe eczema. he's had it since he was 10 months old. he repeatedly gets staph infections due to it and is almost always on steroid creams and antibiotics. he's been allergy tested, thus we rehomed our pets. no change. we give him bleach baths, constant aquaphor, etc, etc. nothing works. we've also tried chinese herbs and accupressure. so now i am open to homeopathic care. the problem is, the common recommendations are sooooooo expensive! $300 for initial session and then $150-200 thereafter. we cannot afford this. any recs for homeopaths that are actually affordable would be greatly appreciated. the oakland/berkeley area is ideal. thanks so much!

I highly recommend Christine Ciavarella, P.A. in El Cerrito. Although her initial visit is more expensive than follow up visits, visits when you are a patient are far less than what you describe. I would advise to call her office to find out. (510) 524-3117. Whenever I hear of someone who is not getting effective medical care through western means, I refer them to Christine and she finds solutions. She has an amazing array of methods at her disposal, homeopathy, herbs, western if needed, etc. She is a physician's assistant as well as a homeopath. I hope you can find the help you need for your son. Anon.

Apple cider vinegar works on eczema for many people of all ages. Google ''ACV eczema'' and read remarks from people who used it in a range of ways (internal, topical, various recipes) on their toddlers with great success. Lover of Homecare Solutions

My two children both have had eczema in the past, and one of them also suffered from many food and environmental allergies. I have had great success with homeopathic remedies and protocol under the care of Dr. Karuna Sabnani, where others have failed. She is very knowledgeable on the subject and will really go out of her way to get to the source of the problem and treat it. Both my children are eczema free now, not to mention my daughter who's allergies Dr. Sabnani was able to pinpoint and address. I highly recommend her. She is located in Berkeley. Her number is(510)665-4150. sooko

Just as a clarification, Dr. Karuna Sabnani is a naturopathic doctor who incorporates homeopathy as one modality in her practice. www.karunanaturopathic.com sooko

August 2009

My son is going to be 5years old end of August. He was diagnosed with autism before 2. His autism is mild but he is very hyper and I insist there has to be something to help him like homeopathy or natural medicine to be able to get him to be more stable and calm so he can concentrate and focus and be able to sit for a couple of minutes, if not he will have a hard time in kindergarden and won't be able to do homework. He goes to special program. Some people say those kids eventually will get medication, I will like to know if someone knows about a Natural Doctor or homeopath, that might be able to treat this with natural medicine not with drugs. Bibiana

I have seen and have brought my kids to Dr. Tara Levy of Tara Natural Medicine. While I don't have direct experience with her treatment of autism, I have heard her discuss treating the same issues you are dealing with. So worth a try! She is great and has offices in Berkeley and Concord.

May 2009

I am looking for an homeopathic doctor for my son. He has a cough when he wakes up. He is coughing during 5 weeks now.I am interested in natural medicine. I am looking for any advice.

I like Christine Ciavarella. Her number is 524-3117. She's in El Cerrito. anon

March 2009

My daughter is almost 6 months old and has been on Prevacid for four months now. I completely trust my pediatrician but the nagging feeling wont leave me that ''Its just not right'' to have her on any kind of medication (no matter how 'safe'!)for such an extended time. However, a number of consultations with other pediatricians have also reassured me that its safe and it has indeed helpd my child eat and sleep a lot better. She is now ready to start solids and I am feeling concerned about the acid reflux acting up with new foods. I would be so extremely grateful for any advice recommending a good children's homeopath, naturalist, and/or any success stories of the reflux eventually ending! please, no scary tales of how evil western medication is-not because I'm choosing to be ignorant, but I'm anxious enough already. Thanks, Nervous Nelly

My 1 yr old son was on Prevacid from just a few weeks old to about 3 months. I also felt unsure about it, but our pediatrician assured us that it's better for him to not suffer the effects of reflux and that it was totally safe. I was also obsessive about keeping him upright after feedings. Around 3 months we just started lessening the dose, noticed that it made no difference, and soon enough stopped it altogether. He definitely outgrew the reflux, and starting solids at 6 months didn't seem to change anything. You might ask your doc about gradually cutting back the dose. Good luck, and yes, she'll outgrow it! anon

I can very confidently recommend Edi Pfeiffer, who has offices in Albany and Corte Madera. She can be contacted at edi [at] berkeleyhomeopathy.com or (510) 526-5256. Kids respond really well to homeopathy. The pills are all in a lactose base that just melt under the tongue, so it's much easier to administer than other meds. Just remember, they can't have had anything in their mouth (food, toothpaste, etc), except water, for about 20 min. before or after they take the pills. Also, camphor and strong essential oils, like tea tree, will deactivate the homeopathic meds. I know these restrictions sound kinda weird but it works! My daughter was treated very successfully with homeopathy and I myself had some GERD like issues. Turned out I had ''leaky gut'' and was prescribed Nux Vomica as my constitutional remedy and it worked! Good luck! Kristen

I strongly recommend Dr. David Lepp. I was diagnosed with GERD a number of years ago. I don't like taking prescription meds, and attempted to reduce my stress and change my diet. It worked a little bit. But after getting under the care of Dr. Lepp, I have a whole new relationship with my digestive system. :) He did a thorough exam, including bloodwork. We changed my diet and calmed down my gut. He recommended specific supplements to support my body to work properly. He is in Berkeley: 3280 Adeline Street, (408)421-5134 jennie

2008 Reviews

Nov 2008

I'm looking for a classical homeopathist in the East Bay - Berkeley in particular. Any suggestions out there? ThanKs. Alexandra

I can highly recommend Linda Morse - a classical homeopathist with her own practice in Berkeley. Her number is (510) 595-5596. She is a member of the respected British Register of Complementary Practitioners in Homeopathy - and has helped me and my family with a variety of simple and more complex health issues. Great person, gentle approach - smart, etc. Alexandra

June 2008

I'm considering adding a homeopath to the list of folks who provide pediatric care for my 10 month old baby. Does anyone have any experience with Edi Pfeiffer? homeopath newbie

I have used Edi Pfieffer for my child's anxiety and in preparation for camp (mosquitos). Her presence with kids is remarkable and the remedies worked very well on both counts. I understand that kids are a specialty of hers and I will take my child to see her again as needed. lindy

Dear Homeopath Newbie, I too am a newbie to homeopathy and Edi has been my gateway into this world of health care. I was introduced to Edi Pfeiffer through an osteopath (Carmen Hering, who I highly recommend!). I took my then 2 year old daughter to see Edi and at the first session, Edi did a careful interview and observance of my daughter (which took 2 hours). Edi kindly asked me lots of questions and took lots of notes. During the two hours my daughter played with the toys in Edi\x92s office, interacted, ate her snack, acted out and generally was herself. Edi\x92s manner made me and my daughter both feel very comfortable and honest.

The questions that Edi asked me were interesting for me to answer. They made me think about who my daughter is and where she comes from. Questions about how she is in the world, how she responds to different situations, eats, sleeps, etc. and about her time in the womb, her birth, the medical & emotional histories of her parents, grandparents, etc. Edi prescribed a remedy for my daughter and I think that it was very helpful. And I\x92ve been able to give Edi a call when my daughter was sick and get her recommendations for what would be the best treatment for my daughter.

I certainly do recommend Edi. Aside from the fact that she is kind, thoughtful and nice to be around I believe that she is knowledgeable in the work that she is doing and I like that she has years of experience in homeopathy as well as motherhood. And Edi has always been very happy to answer my many questions about homeopathy and to share her wealth of knowledge about general health and good nutrition. Serena

We've seen Edi twice and been pleased with how thorough she has been both visits. She asks us questions that seem to stay with us and create a different and helpful perspective. My son is really comfortable at her office and with her. Jenny

I highly recommend Homeopath Edi Pfeiffer. She is a great listener, a warm and wonderful practitioner and has helped me a lot. She is very experienced. Homeopathy not only helped what I came in for but even helped things I had no idea it could effect. It was very effective for me and worth every penny. Edi is great! Happy with Homeopathy

Edi Pfeiffer saw both of my boys (4 months and 3 years) and we had a very good experience. Both boys were getting sick repeatedly and my 3 year old had become extremely difficult since the birth of my 2nd- he was hitting, biting, kicking, and totally defiant and destructive. We saw Edi in the hopes of determining their constitutional remedies to improve their immune systems and to try and bring my 3 year old back into balance. She was terrific and determined both of their remedies in one visit (each). My 3 year old was back to his old self within hours of taking his remedy. In the last month since seeing Edi, he has not had one temper tantrum and his defiance is regular 3 year old stuff. The cost of a homeopathy consultation is daunting- I've been thinking about doing this for years but wasn't willing to spend the money. But now, after seeing how it has helped both my children, I feel it's worth every penny. I just saw Edi to determine my own constitutional remedy. She's a very warm and kind person in addition to being extremely knowledgeable and thorough. I can't recommend her highly enough. And she offers a family discount! usha

May 2008

I am looking for a recommendation of a classical homeopath in the East Bay. Berkeley or Oakland preferred. Thanks! Anon

Christine Ciavarella,P.A., practices classical homeopathy at the Hahneman Clinic in El Cerrito (next to the El Cerrito Plaza). She is fabulous! She has years of experience and extremely knowledgeable. She is very compassionate. You'll be getting great care with Christine! Her # is 524-3117. Marika

I really Shana, very easy to talk to and really felt heard. Shana Sturm Homeopathy (510) 367-4161

May 2008

Hi I am looking for a MD homeopath in Berkeley Area.any suggesions will be appreciated. Neelu

My husband was sick for over 2 years. He was loosing weight and suffering constant muscle pain. He became severely depressed and inactive due to his condition. We had been to several western and alternative doctors and no one could diagnose or treat him effectively until we found Daniel Donner.

By the time we found Daniel Donner, my husband was very weak and sickly thin. Daniel used eastern, homeopathic, and western medical methods to diagnose and treat my husband. Daniel is a rare breed. Though his practice is primarily based on homeopathic and eastern philosophies, he employs western influences when necessary. To aid in diagnosing my husband, he ran a western laboratory test and was open to working with other doctors no matter what their orientation. He is a true healer - interested in healing his patients by whatever means necessary. Daniel is also an excellent acupuncturist (coming from my husband...who has been too several over the years).

After a few months of treatment, my husband's pain level has drastically decreased and he is gaining weight! His hair and skin look healthy again and he is more active than I have seen him since his illness. Throughout the process, Daniel provided me with updates on my husband's progress and was very supportive. I cannot thank him enough and recommend him highly! Here is his information: Daniel Donner 3927 Piedmont Ave (between Monte Vista Ave & Montell St) Oakland, CA 94611 (510) 655-0555 www.piedmontaveclinic.com Jessica

Feb 2008

I was wondering if anyone had more up to date recommendations on local Berkeley homeopaths. Specifically, can anyone recommend a good homeopath in Berkeley, preferebly North Berkeley, for kids as well as adults? Has homeopathy worked for you? Thank you. Looking for great homeopath

You asked for a homeopath in N. Berkeley. The one we see is excellent but in El Cerrito. To me it is well worth the short drive. Christine Ciavarella at the Hahnemann Medical Clinic is amazing (524-3117). She connects with children and adults so well, can really see who the person is, holistically, and her advice and medications have helped our family immensely, again and again. She is a physician's assistant, which means she can also prescribe western medicine when all else fails, or it is the best option, and our insurance (PPO) reimburses me for 1/2 of her visits. I have referred all my friends to her, and cannot rave about her enough, she is a true healer. Yvonne

I would highly recommend Edi Pfeiffer - she's an experienced homeopath, great with children and adults - very wise and empathetic. And she combines her knowledge of homeopathy with flower essence therapies and attention to nutritional issues as well. I've been going to her for years, as do many of my friends. She's a skilled practitioner and a wonderful lady! www.berkeleyhomeopathy.com Her office is just off of Solano (510) 526-5256 - signed, happy client in Berkeley

If you want a great homeopath in Berkeley, call Edi Pfeiffer. Her office is near Solano Avenue in North Berkeley, and her phone number is 526-5256. She sometimes does presentations at Elephant Pharmacy. David

I highly recommend Edi Pfeiffer who has an office off of Solano Avenue. Her # is 526-5256. She successfully treated my daughter eight years ago for ear infections. Prior to seeing Edi, we went through 3 ear infections and as many antibiotic treatments. After Edi gave her a constitutional remedy, my daughter not only didn\x92t have any more ear infections, she didn\x92t get sick for 7 years! I also see Edi and it took only two tries for her to figure out the best constitutional remedy for me, which has greatly improved my allergy/sinus symptoms (no infection this year!) and has eliminated my menstrual migraines. Please note that children respond to homeopathy quicker than adults do and that you have to be sure not to expose yourself to certain elements while taking homeopathic medicine, e.g. camphor, menthol, and strong essential oils like eucalyptus or tea tree. Good luck! Happy with Homeopathy

Edie Pfifer is fabulous. Lovely, warm, intuitive, smart, calm. Simply yummy. She has been very helpful everytime we have met and I know has helped others with more serious troubles than mine. She listens and acts accordingly, without a lot of bias or agenda. Our whole family has benefited from knowing her! She is off Solano Ave in Berkeley - 526-5256 Sarah

I can recommend a wonderful homeopath in Berkeley. Her name is Edi Pfeiffer and her phone number is 526-5256. She has treated myself, my son, and many folks in our school community. We have been blessed to have Edi to call on for our aches and pains, poison oak, and anxiety ailments. She is thorough and knowledgeable and conveniently located just off Solano Ave. Give Edi a try. You won't be disappointed. sara

2007 Reviews

June 2007

My family and I, two adults and two young children, have been going through one illness after another since last October. We have had little time inbetween illnesses which range from colds and flu bugs to staph and strep infections. We cannot seem to break out of it and we are exhausted. The doctors at Kaiser give us conflicting advice IE: Everyone take antibiotics at once, stop all antibiotics, give only the person who is sick antibiotics etc. And round and round we go. It is very frustrating and I pretty much never want to go to Kaiser again. We need to try something else and I don't know what I am looking for. Homeopath? Naturopath? Whatever it is I need to be able to comprehend it with a foggy brain. I don't have time to read a book. I would greatly appreciate any suggestions for alternative treatments or physicians who can help get us get out of this cycle. sick of being sick

I have taken my family to Christine Ciavarella for homeopathy for many years and she's the best around. 524-3117 The office is at the edge of the El Cerrito Plaza. Besides being great with kids, she has done my GYN care, too. She does not hesitate to advise standard medical treatments if they are indicated, but usually has other tricks up her sleeve to help us feel better right away. Not to mention the miracle of homeopathy... The initial interview is expensive, but if you want to make a change in your life, this is the way to do so...and you don't have to go back very often. However, for the situation you describe, I would probably go to an accunpuncturist and get onto some Chinese herbs, except that your children may not like them! The doctor I recommend is Dr Zhao Su in San Leandro, 346-2688. She is thorough, gentle, effective, and kind. And very reasonable price-wise. Good luck. Bonnie

[Editor: recommendations for Naturopaths were received also.

2006 Reviews

April 2006

Can anyone recommend a psychotherapist who is also a classically trained homeopath? I know about David Anderson in Petaluma, but anyone closer? Thank you!

Ed Schmookler is a psychotherapist who uses homeopathy in his practice and is quite knowledgable about it. He is a very compassionate, excellent therapist. His office is in Albany off Solano Ave. Phone number is (510) 524-3654. Sasha

Feb 2006

I am looking for a homeopathic practictioner, possibly one who uses the biomeridian machine, or one who someone has had a lot of good steady results with children and adults. Thank you. Suzanne

I know of a very good homeopath practitioner who also is a teacher and chiropractor in Emeryville. She has treated very sucessfully children with ADHD and emotional difficuties. Her name is Dr. Jonice Owen 510 652 4532

2005 Reviews

May 2005

Re: Alternative practitioner for prescription medication side effects I highly recommmend Anamika Stoller as an excellent Classical Homeopath. I am not sure how well homeopathy can treat your situation... guess you would have to inquire. Her office is in Berkeley, and website is www.WholeHealing.net

2004 Reviews

Sept 2004

Can anyone recommend a Homeopath? I went to one in SF for about a year and it helped my mysterious itch tremendously, but now about 4 months after my son's birth it is back with a vengeance and I need some relief. Only I was laid off and don't go into SF regularly and would like to find someone here. Thanks. Scratchy

I would recommend Mary Gordon as a wonderful homeopathic practitioner. She works out of the Temescal Acupuncture Center-330 41st St., Oakland. Her number is 510.562.5558. Kim

Christine Ciavarella at the Hannahman clinic in El Cerrito is probably the best homeopathist around. The number is 524-3117. Good luck. june

I have 2 recommendations for homeopaths: Christine Ciavarella in El Cerrito, 524 -3117, and Peggy Mee on Shasta in the Berkeley hills, at 845-5535. My kids and I have been going to Christine if we're sick since my older daughter, now 14, was a baby. She's great with kids, warm, compassionate, and you feel better just sitting and talking with her! She's a PA, so can prescribe conventional drugs if necessary, and she rarely has, but I trust her completely if she recommends them. She's treated both my kids for all the usual childhood illnesses with homeopathy and they've each only had antibiotics once or twice, and they are both very healthy overall.

Peggy Mee only uses homeopathy, and my whole family has seen her with incredible results for deeper rooted issues, such as hives, or difficult emotional issues. She is also very warm and compassionate, but I don't have experience with her working with younger children. They are both expensive, but if you can afford it, well worth the expense. Lucia

2003 Reviews

Nov 2003

Can anyone recommend a homeopath who deals with mental health issues? I'm trying to find an alternative to the use of psychotropic medication! Thanks for your words of wisdom! Anonymous

Homeopathy is incredibly helpful for mental states. I would encourage you to find a skilled practitioner who also uses Bach Flower Remedies or other flower essences. As another approach, amino acid therapy has been helpful (See Julia Ross' THE MOOD CURE or her hearlier THE DIET CURE) for some insights. In my own private nutrition practice, I have seen both amino acid and flower essence options work very well. Nori

I have had a very positive homeopathic experience with Peggy Chipkin in Mill Valley. Homeopathic remedy worked better- and felt more wholistic- in dealing with depression and menopausal mood swings. I tried prescription drugs and can't say enough about how much better homeopathy works. Good luck with it. Healthy and happy

Sept 2003

Re: Pediatrician for child with food allergey
I want to highly recommend Christine Ciavarella, who is a homeopath at the Hahnemann Medical Clinic in El Cerrito. Christine is also a Physician's Assistant, which means that she has knowledge of western medicine as well. I have gone to her for both my children and have found her extraordinary. I spoke to her about possible food allergies of my baby and I know that she has experience in this area. She can be reached at 524-3117 Yvonne

2002 & Earlier

May 2002

I'm expecting my first child this summer and looking for a family doctor/pediatrician that is trained as a homeopath as well as in traditional medicine. I've heard a little about the Hahnemann clinic in Albany (and saw postings from 1997 on UCB Parents), but wanted to get more up-to-date information on the clinic or other similar clinics in the Berkeley area. I was wondering if anyone has personal experience with this clinic and any doctors there in particular. Thanks so much! Kim

I have taken my son to the Hahnemann Clinic. I saw a P.A. named Christine. I have heard wonderful things about her and my two contacts with her have been good. I am just new to homeopathy and am still feeling unsure about it all. I will be taking my son there again. Dana McMahan

I highly recommend Christine Civarella at the Hahnemann Clinic. She has been my daughter's primary health care provider for almost 7 years. Being a Physician's Assistant and a Homeopath enables her to be in touch with two ''contrary'' healing modalities. She is very intuitive with her diagnosis and is great with kids. My daughter loves her! Kristina

Christine Ciavarella at the Hahnemann Clinic at El Cerrito Plaza is the most amazing pediatrician! I recommend her to all of my friends and neighbors who seek alternative medicine for their little ones. Christine's approach to childrens' health is extremely patient, intuitive, genuine and effective. Because of her care, our 18-month old daughter has only had one minor ear irritation (not even an infection yet) that Christine helped cure immediately without antibiotics or other side-effect-producing drugs. She incorporates western medicine practices to work in conjunction with homeopathy in such a great way. I can't say enough great things about Christine! Feel free to call me if you'd like more gushing details. Good luck in your search for a wonderful pediatrician! Nora B

May 2002

Re: Pediatrician who has time for longer appts
Christine Ciavarella at the Hahnemann Medical Clinic at the El Cerrito Plaza - (510) 524-3117 - is the most incredible health care provider. She is a homeopathic pediatrician and she's been in the business for 25 years. Attentive, sensitive, and genuine are three ways to describe her care: she understands the core problem of illness and explores gentle yet highly effective ways of treatment.

As a homeopath, Christine is a strong believer in helping childrens' bodies cure themselves but she also does not hesitate to prescribe western remedies such as antibiotics when she feels it is necessary. We can call her in the morning if our daughter isn't feeling well and she can have us come in within a few hours, spending up to an hour with our little one if need be. She is thorough, dedicated to health care for her patients and is an all-around amazing woman. We love Christine! Nora, a mama of a super-healthy 'n happy girl


Re: Pediatricians who Support Limited Immunizations & Alternative Medicine
I too have switched for pediatric and general family care to the homeopathic practitioner Christine Ciavarella, recomended by another parent and I find her a treasure. It is still helpful to have a pediatrician on the back burner, when it comes to broken bones or hospital stays. Christine used to be connected to Dr. Jeff Gill (who also tolerated nonvacination but in no way supported it), unfortunately he has moved his office to Pleasanton. Christine is extremely well informed about the vacination issues, yet she will recommend tetanus vaccine and will administer some others on a much delayed schedule-but she will never pressure you like some health care practitioners .


Carla Cassler is wonderful. She has many years of experience and works a lot with children (and has 2 of her own). She's treated me, my mother, husband and both of my sons for allergies, arthritis, injuries and general flu/cold symptoms. She uses acupuncture, chinese herbs, homeopathy. She has medical experience/knowledge from working in medical clinics in Israel, as well as a vast knowledge and understanding of the eastern healing system and nutrition. Carla is also a very warm and friendly person. I trust her knowledge completely and can't recommend her more highly.

We now have a wonderful homeopath, Christine Ciavarella, who is a physician's assistant as well. Eventually, we stopped seeing Dr. Winokur just because we preferred the homeopathic approach. Christine treats the whole child and is absolutely wonderful. I can not say enough good about her. When my son was only 7 months old he developed bronchitis, and although we were not yet patients she treated hin without doing the initial visit because of the circumstances, and over the weekend when he took a turn for the worse, had me come to her house with him so that she could check him. Total dedication. Hope that's helpful. Jody

March 1999

I can recommend Skip Roache who practices in Berkeley. He works with adults and children (including infants) and will do phone consulations as well. He's very reasonable and he calls back to find out how the patient is doing. 510-843-4441

I highly recommend Michael Shpak, who helped me with a medical problem when I had been told by an MD that surgery was the only option. Two years later, I am in the best of health. He is in Lafayette, but I would drive gladly drive across the US to see him! 925/ 283-8105 tharlan

July 1999

When my daughter was small she had many many ear infections. After a year of 11 prescriptions, we turned to homeopathy when she was 2-1/2 and finally found that pulsatilla worked best for her. I also bought a cheap earscope and learned to look inside her ears for the swollen reddened ear drum indicating an infection and a trip to the docs; a shiny white bulging drum meant pulsatilla. At 8 she had her tonsils out (I resisted to the last minute, but finally decided after a cold accompanied by sleep apnea). She has had no infections since. PS Check out Somnus website. They offer a radio-frequency technique for reducing tonsil size.

I went to see chiropractor Steve Bretow (Westside Family Chiropractic 843-5700) at the recommendation of the website for my 7 month old's second ear infection. I think he is terrific at treating children with ear infections and also in helping to boost immune systems so that future viruses don't attack. He also lent me the book Childhood Ear Infections: What every parent and physician should know about prevention, home care and alternative treatment by Michael Schmidt which has been very helpful in all the aspects mentioned in the title.

March 1999

I can recommend Skip Roache who practices in Berkeley. He works with adults and children (including infants) and will do phone consulations as well. He's very reasonable and he calls back to find out how the patient is doing. 510-843-4441

I highly recommend Michael Shpak, who helped me with a medical problem when I had been told by an MD that surgery was the only option. Two years later, I am in the best of health. He is in Lafayette, but I would drive gladly drive across the US to see him! 925/ 283-8105 tharlan

July 1999

When my daughter was small she had many many ear infections. After a year of 11 prescriptions, we turned to homeopathy when she was 2-1/2 and finally found that pulsatilla worked best for her. I also bought a cheap earscope and learned to look inside her ears for the swollen reddened ear drum indicating an infection and a trip to the docs; a shiny white bulging drum meant pulsatilla. At 8 she had her tonsils out (I resisted to the last minute, but finally decided after a cold accompanied by sleep apnea). She has had no infections since. PS Check out Somnus website. They offer a radio-frequency technique for reducing tonsil size.

I went to see chiropractor Steve Bretow (Westside Family Chiropractic 843-5700) at the recommendation of the website for my 7 month old's second ear infection. I think he is terrific at treating children with ear infections and also in helping to boost immune systems so that future viruses don't attack. He also lent me the book Childhood Ear Infections: What every parent and physician should know about prevention, home care and alternative treatment by Michael Schmidt which has been very helpful in all the aspects mentioned in the title.

March 1999
I highly recommend Christine Ciavarella at Hahnemann clinic on San Pablo in Albany. She is a Physician's Assistant, and the whole practice is supervised by an MD--about whom I've also heard good things, but I've worked only with Christine. One thing I really like about her is that she is not a purist. She believes in lab tests, and is not necessarily anti- western medicine. I also like her willingness to spend plenty of time to get an intuitive sense of who I am, and her availability on the phone. She takes a genuine interest in my issues, and encourages lots of contact until it is resolved. When it works, it works great! Bets wishes, Meg

March 1999
I'd like to echo the recommendation for homeopath Christine Ciavarella (sp?) at Hahnemann Clinic in Albany. My 22-month-old daughter and I have only been seeing her for about a month, but the results have been almost miraculous for the baby's chronic colds and attendant complications. She is the care providerfor several friends' families, which is why I went to her. Nicole

March 1999
I highly recommend Michael Shpak, who helped me with a medical problem when I had been told by an MD that surgery was the only option. Two years later, I am in the best of health. He is in Lafayette, but I would drive gladly drive across the US to see him! 925/ 283-8105 tharlan

Feb 1999
Our son had several ear infections between 1 year to 1 1/2. I finally took him to a homeopath, Edi Mottershead, in El Cerrito. After taking her one-time remedy, he never had one again. He's now 2 1/2. M.

We have had success with Edie Mottershead in El Cerrito, 446-0582. We went to her after our 1 1/2 year old son had several ear infections, and he hasn't had one since (9 months later). Edie is experienced, thorough, and came recommended from several different sources.

(Oct 2003 editorial note: Edi Mottershead practices in Berkeley now. (510) 206-0582)

Re: ear infections and homeopathy
By all means check out homeopathic alternatives before tubes. When my daughter was 14 months she had a terrible ear infection. I gave in and tried antiobiotics, but she had a reaction to one. Our pediatrician suggested another pediatrician who uses homeopathic remedies (he had sent his own children to her). I highly recommend Dr. Ifeoma Ikenze (415) 258-9600. She is in Kentfield (Marin), is great with children, and is super knowledgeable about different remedies. The homeopathic approach took a bit longer (but who knows given that the antiobiotics didn't really do anything), but I felt much better about the fact that what they were really doing was jump-starting my so)- remedy to strengthen her immune system. It has been over a year and a half and she has had one minor ear infection. I think the homeopathic remedies have helped her weather starting preschool without too many colds, too!

October 1998

I'm responding to the person who was inquiring about homeopathy some time ago. Being originally from France, I (and everyone else in my family in France) have been using homeopathic remedies for decades, even for our babies. They are safe, easy to use, and have NO side effects, which is a big plus for me. In the worst case scenario, if they don't work, they won't harm you either (whereas I almost died once and developed nasty side effects at other times with allopathic medication). I have found that, for most chronic conditions, it is very efficient. My daughter (now 15 year-old) developed allergies when she was 6 or 7 years-old and I have been giving her homeopathic drops. The remedy she uses now is by A. Vogel, a product from Switzerland that I found at Wild Oats market at the corner of University and California streets; it's in a small glass bottle in a tall rectangular box (white, I believe with some red, green and yellow lines!!) and it works very well for Allergy to pollen, Hay Fever, Sneezing and Watery Eyes. Now, I think that this product contains a little bit of alcohol and you have to let it sit for a few seconds under your tongue, so it burns a bit for a short while. But Wild Oats also has homeopathic pellets in a small blue tube for all sorts of conditions, by the French BOIRON laboratories. For those who have tendinitis, I use a pellet combination of ARNICA MONTANA and RUTA GRAVEOLENS 30C for 3-4 days whenever my arm hurts; also, the Arnica-based ointment--also available at Wild Oats--is very effective for bruises and strains, for those of you who have young children who tend to fall. You may want to talk to either one of the Wild Oats nutritionists (they are very knowledgeable and patient!). Good luck!

March 1998

By all means check out homeopathic alternatives before tubes. When my daughter was 14 months she had a terrible ear infection. I gave in and tried antiobiotics, but she had a reaction to one. Our pediatrician suggested another pediatrician who uses homeopathic remedies (he had sent his own children to her). I highly recommend Dr. Ifeoma Ikenze (415) 258-9600. She is in Kentfield (Marin), is great with children, and is super knowledgeable about different remedies. The homeopathic approach took a bit longer (but who knows given that the antiobiotics didn't really do anything), but I felt much better about the fact that what they were really doing was jump-starting my daughter's body into healing itself and into fighting off future infections that could lead to ear trouble. We still use a constitutional weekly (or so)- remedy to strengthen her immune system. It has been over a year and a half and she has had one minor ear infection. I think the homeopathic remedies have helped her weather starting preschool without too many colds, too! Curryville

March 1998

There was talk of tubes for my son when he was suffering from repeated ear infections, but I resisted and am so glad I did. You'll find pediatricians and even pediatric ENTs divided on the issue. I say, don't go there until you've exhausted ALL the possibilities, including Sally Savitz, a wonderful homeopath in the Rockridge area Oakland, whom I took Chris to last Spring (phone: 655-9644). While part of Chris's miraculous recovery my be in part due to growing out of it and also seeing a Cranio-Sacral therapist (she said his temporal bones were jammed--he's very active and falls alot and jammed temporal bones apparently block the drainage of the Eustachian tubes), I am convinced we would still be caught in the vicious cylcle of antibiotics if I hadn't decided to step outside of the usual approach to chronic ear infections. Apparently, chronic ear infections is one of the things for which homeopathy is especially effective, and Sally's assistant gave me some pertinent articles that I found very informative. Good luck, and if you're interested in the Cranio-sacral therapist, her name is Nancy Burke in El Cerrito (phone: 526-0115) and she's great with kids. Chris sees her now once a month for a preventative tune-up.(But I still knock on wood everytime a cold doesn't become an ear infection--when you're a parent even superstition is worth a try). Beth

October 1998

Our daughter (4 1/2 yrs.) had fluid trapped behind her eardrum for several months. My regular doctor suggested we might consider tubes. Anyway I took her to a homeopath who suggested that she chew large wads of gum, drink more water and blow up balloons. Mostly what we did was have her blow up balloons. It took her 2 days before she could blow them up by herself and she was quite excited and proud of this accomplishment. In two days she blew up 17 balloons. That was it. Apparently this helps to equalize pressure in the eustacian tubes so that the fluid can drain. A week later and another visit for a check up and we were told her hears looked great. Fluid gone.

Feb 1998

I heartily recommend Sally Savitz, M.S., L.Ac., who is also a homeopath. She's great with kids as well as adults and thanks to her, we've finally broken the vicious cycle of antibiotics and the side effects (persistent ringworm), and Chris (my six year old son), hasn't had an ear or sinus infection for almost a year! (He was getting one every other month, every time he caught a cold, from 3 to 5 years old). She's located at 5346 College Avenue, a little south of Rockridge, and her phone number is (510) 655-9644. Beth

April 1997
I've heard that the Hahnemann Clinic is a great place to go for Homeopathic treatment, though I don't know how they'd be specifically for Bach remedies. From personal experience, I can recommend Sally Savitz on College as a Homeopathic practitioner and Acupuncturist, though I don't know how she is with kids. And you can get the Bach remedies at the Whole Foods on Telegraph at Ashby, so there's no need to stop the treatments!

Good luck!

Jan. 1997

Two others I can recommend are David Bierman, 843-6042, and Daniel Donner, 655-0555. Both are Licenced Accupuncturists as well as homeopaths. My partner used to see Bierman regularly and he might be a bit cheaper. I went to see Donner when I was pregnant and he was very good, though expensive. Sophie

In case you haven't decided yet, here's one more recommendation for a homeopathic doctor: Sally Savitz, on College Avenue in Oakland. She is also an acupuncturist (who I saw throughout my pregnancy and since), she's a wonderful person and very skilled. She also treats lots of kids, and loves that part of her practice, especially. Has treated our daughter, now 17 months old, for an earache, a persistent cough, and most recently, for her biting compulsion! I have several friends who also send their kids to her, and are satisfied with the results. She's also on call for consultations for kids. Good luck! Sally

We go to the Hahnemann Medical Clinic on San Pablo, near the corner of Solano and have been very happy with them. They have homeopaths, do's and md's there so that it's possible to get insurance coverage. They also have a homeopathic pharmacy in the clinic. My son and I have seen Christine Ciavarella and we do well-baby check-ups with her. Christine saw us through Roseola and an ear infection over the phone when I was visiting my parents back east. They were very impressed at how thorough she was-- certainly better than the pediatrician we saw there who told us we could fly the next day and ignored me as I repeated three times that we weren't going to use any antibiotics. Their phone number is 524-3117 and they also have a sliding scale. Sophie

The place were I take my 3 year, and where several of my friends go, is the Hahnamann Clinic, 828 San Pablo (nr. Solano Ave.), Albany 524-3117. We see Christine Ciavarella, who is good with kids. She is not an MD; however, there are several on staff. Stefanie

Rescue Remedy for my 87-year-old mother?

Nov 2008

Does anyone have experience with Rescue Remedy? It apparently has something to do with Bach flower remedies(?) A social worker at my 87-y-o mother's retirement home has recommended it for her anxiety. I'll run this by my mom's doctor but am wondering if anyone has personal experience with it. Also, any recommendations on form (spray, water, pastilles, etc.)? Thanks. anon

I use Rescue Remedy often in stressful situations (performing) or if there is a ''crisis'' of some sort and I''m just too stressed. Though I don't know a lot about how it works, it seems to work. It's got a calming affect without being drugging or addictive. It's also very benign...ie: no harm in trying. I bet your Dr. will know zero about it and either say ''don't do it'', or say ''go ahead, it can't hurt'', or laugh at it. I hope someone who knows more about Bach Flower Remedies and how they work will respond. anon

I love Rescue Remedy. I have been using it for the past 15 years or so. I have one in the glove box of each family car, one in my purse, one in my medicine chest, one in the earthquake kit... you get the idea. I'm sure you will hear from at least one consistent ''all alternative medicine is dangerous at worst and quackery at best'' person who seems to regularly post here, but I did 5 years of my PhD in medical anthropology at Stanford and am a licensed acupuncturist (a 3-year Master's program) and I am here at attest that it works for me and my family. (The credentials are listed just so those skeptics know that those of us who ''believe'' aren't all dummies.) Here's how I use Rescue Remedy: When I feel panicky about something - a couple of drops under my tongue and a deep breath will more often than not calm my breathing down and take the edge off. When one of my kids falls or hurts themselves to the point of crying hysterically - a couple of drops under their tongue (and mine if I feel I need a little help dealing with the scene) calms them right down - I also use Arnica Montana, a homeopathic remedy for any situation that involves physical injury. When my cats are freaking out during a car ride to the vet or something wigs them out and they are keeping me awake - a couple of drops rubbed into my palms and then wiped on their coat, especially their paws or ears settles them back into their bodies. I also recommend it to my patients who are dealing with anxiety or panic attacks, or even to those who have built up stress around a certain time of night when they worry that they won't be able to fall asleep. I have used all forms - spray, pastilles, and drops - but I think the best value is the drops. Gently shake the bottle, pull up a little bit into the dropper and dispense just a couple of drops UNDER the tongue. This sublingual application ensures both that the strong taste of the alcohol-based tincture won't be so bad tasting, and that it will absorb into the mucosa and therefore the body more readily. Perhaps it's all the placebo effect, but I have a hard time believing that animals and small children are quite as susceptible to that. And personally, I have nothing against the placebo effect. Whatever works! Good luck. Rescue Remedy Fan

Rescue Remedy was invented in the 1930's by a guy who believed that flower juice can heal personality disorders. He selected which flowers according to his own intuition. I think it probably does have a placebo effect and might be helpful for people who believe in faith healing. If it were my mother, I would want her to have actual medically-based treatment for anxiety rather than metaphysical remedies and I would feel dishonest about tricking her into a possible placebo effect. I would also be very annoyed about a health professional recommending it. But that's just me. a mom with an anxious mom

Rescue remedy and other flower essences are recommended fairly widely by alternative and nauralistic/holistic health practitioners to treat anxiety and a wide varietey of ills in both humans and animals. A conventional physician may not be able to give you any advice on it. The oral formulas use an alcohol base with some sort of very dilute flower substance in it. The actual extraction process is a mystery to me. I've used rescue remedy occasionally for my anxious dog--can't say for sure whether it's been effective. I've also used other flower essences myself. Ditto on the effectiveness. However, it's unlikely that it would cause any harm if used according to directions. Might be worth a try. physician who uses flower essences but just don't ask me how they work

Your mother's social worker stepped over the line by prescribing discredited quackery for your mother. Luckily, your mother has a vigilant daughter. The fact that Dr. Edward Bach died at the age of 50 pretty much says it all.

If your mother is feeling anxious, the first thing that your doctor will want to do is determine the reason she's feeling anxious. Maybe she doesn't trust the social worker and doesn't like having quackery foisted upon her.

I would not recommend any form of ''Bach's Flowers'' for my elderly mother. There is no regulation whatsoever, and the pills could even be made in China. Cautious

I used rescue remedy in tincture form when I was newly riding again after a pretty serious motorcycle accident. I didn't want to give up riding, but I was experiencing anxiety each time I anticipated getting back on my bike for a while. Rescue remedy took the edge off enough to enable me to successfully get on the bike and find again the pleasure I used to experience prior to my fall. I highly recommend it. anonymous

Go ahead and try them! I have used Bach remedies for anxiety and they have been helpful. Do not get discouraged by the negative postings on this list from people trying to belittle plant-based remedies. My husband is an European medical doctor with a Ph.D. in virology and I am a Ph.D. student myself, in educational linguistics, and the more we read, the more convinced we are about the benefits of treating a wide spectrum of disorders and diseases with plants and natural remedies. Remember that: 1. in Europe, both doctors and patients use homeopathic and other plant-based medicines for healing a wide spectrum of disorders on a regular basis. A case in point: Germany. It is even covered by the insurance companies; 2. all drugs are based on plants to some extent, but plants have milder effects than many of the artificially-produced drugs out there, which, by the way, all have a long list of warnings and still unknown interactions with other drugs, and 3. medical doctors in the US do not learn about natural remedies or even prevention in medical school, so we can all agree in that they are missing big parts of the picture. Homeopathy is well regarded in many parts of the world, such as Europe, and among educated Europeans. I think you can definitely try it with your mum and see how she feels. Good luck! Anon

I missed your original post but I love rescue remedy and wanted to chime in! I use it primarily during traveling and it truly takes the edge off. When we could travel with our own water bottles on airplanes I would put a few drops in. My kids, husband, and I all felt serene and centered through long lines, frantic crowds of complaining people, and long plane rides, and arrived fresh and alert. I still bring it traveling and add it in water on the plane or drop on our heads/ under tongue for adults (not enough alcohol in 1-3 drops to be ''bad'' for a child but I personally don't want them getting used to the taste of whiskey.) For those who love to attribute the placebo effect, I'll offer that flower essences work just as well and effect babies, pets, children, people who don't know they've taken it as they do for people who go in taking it for a desired result. I haven't studied how/ why they work, but there are Bach (English) flower essence institutes as well as others who have researched extensively- flower essence practioners often train for 4plus years. Just look at how each flower in the world is a different expression energetically and physically- thus each has its own subtle medicine to offer. Allopathic (western) medications also frequently use an isolated or concentrated plant element (or make a chemical replication based on a plant component)- the heart med. digitalis is just one example. But flower essences, like homeopathy, can't harm or offer side- effects. chris

Safety of homeopathic meds

March 2008

I just purchased a bottle of Hyland's Sniffles and Sneezes for kids at Whole Foods, but before I opened it I wanted to research the ingredients. It turns out that the first active ingredient is Aconitum Napellus, which has a long history of being used as a poison! I have used Hyland's teething tablets in the past and know they too have a poisonous substance in them, but read on this network that it was only poisonous in extremely large doses and that the amount in the tablets was thus negligible. I'm VERY weary, however, to purposely give my children a known poison. Why in the world would I do that??!!! Does anyone have any educated advice on these homeopathic meds? leah

I have friends who use over-the-counter homeopathic remedies, and they always tell me: Well, it might work. Anyway, it can't hurt! But I wonder: how do they know it can't hurt? They don't know what's in there. They are putting liquids and tablets into their babies' mouths without having any idea what's in it. They are just taking the word of the businesses that sell this stuff. Of course they are going to tell you it is safe - they want you to buy it. And it costs plenty! These homeopathic remedies are not not regulated, not tested by the FDA. Most people I know who use homeopathy don't even take the trouble to read the label like you did, or google the ingredients. They are taking it on faith that it is safe. I just really don't understand how faith healing can be so popular in a place like Berkeley. I thought I left that behind when I moved here from the Bible Belt.
knows how to use google

Homeopathy works no better than placebo. Just read the entry on wikipedia. skeptic scientist

The doses in homeopathic medecines are not as well controlled as those in non-homeopathic meds. The non-Homeopathic meds are regulated by the FDA. The Homeopathic ones are not. Concentrations in the homeopathic meds can vary dramatically as I think Consumers' Union or the Nutrition Newsletter has shown.

Many substances used to improve our health can be toxic in larger amounts (homeopathic or not). Homeopathic/natural/orgainc/ does not mean it can't hurt you. There are natural pesticides that can cause a lot of environmental damage.

Choose the homeopathic meds if that is what works for you and your family, and use them with your eyes wide open, as you should with any med. - anonymous

I can understand your concern, but it is the manner in which homeopathic remedies are prepared that makes those toxic substances safe. They are diluted (1 part to 99 parts) then shaken or banged (called 'sucussion')then diluted and succussed again, many, many, (many) times, so in reality there isn't much of the original substance left. This process transforms the original substance into an 'energetic' medicine, very gentle and without side effects, that works on the vital force of the individual. In higher dilutions (200C, 1M), they can be very effective on the mental and emotional spheres of being, while in the lower potencies, (6X, 12C)like teething medicine, they work better on the physical plane. I know it sounds like hocus- pocus, but there is a solid medical system behind it all, just one that's very different from western pharmeceuticals. It's about strengthening the host, not killing the germs. I have found homeopathy to be able to help me change my life in ways no other modality could. It is particularly good for children, for treating conditions that western medicine has no answer for, like recurrent ear infections, allergies/asthma/eczema, and temperment/behavioral issues. All the remedies, esp over the counter ones like Hylands, are very safe; you could take the whole bottle and it wouldn't hurt you. For a professional consultation, contact Chrisine Ciavarella, PA and homeopath extraordinaire, at 524-3117. Here's to better health, gently. Bonnie

There is no scientific evidence that any homeopathic remedy works better than a placebo. Moreover, since homeopathic ''remedies'' are not regulated, a batch of homeopathic products could be contaminated, and actually be less safe than a placebo. Why would you want to risk your health and pocketbook by spending money on something with no up-side, only a potential down-side?

The more insidious danger with homeopathic ''remedies'' is that wasting time and money on placebo ''remedies'' will postpone the diagnosis and treatment of a problem that should have been treated immediately.

Here's a link with factual information on homeopathy, including its history: www.quackwatch.com/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/homeo.html . Educated

I am a homeopath and have been practicing in Berkeley since 1983. ALL homeopathic remedies are entirely safe -if they are used the way they are supposed to be. Homeopathic remedies are ''potentized'', which means there is no ''live substance'' in the remedy. It is just the ''energy'' of the remedy which remains. I would be happy to answer any other questions you might have. Carol

My 4 year old daughter was diagnosed by an allergist's skin test as being very allergic to cats causing asthma-like symptoms. As a last ditch effort to solve the problem without getting rid of the cat we tried a homeopathic remedy. Within 24 hours she was experiencing about 90% relief and after taking the remedy off and on as needed for about two months she is no longer allergic! She is now nearly 6 yrs. old and can stick her face in the cat's fur and breath in without the slightest problem!

I think that it's great that you are questioning any modality that you are unfamiliar with and I suggest that you continue to take a closer look. Talk to Homeopaths and their patients about your concerns. Obviously, not all therapies are safe, regardless of how mainstream/alternative they may be. I've found however, that if you dig a little a bit into the motives that belong to the critics you will often find ignorance and/or fear. I just don't want ''Educated'' to turn you off to something that might really benefit you before you've taken the time to fully investigate for yourself. Good luck! Still Learning

What is Homeopathy? Does Homeopathy Really Work?

April 1998

Hi, All this talk of homeopathic remedies, which I would like to believe in, has me wondering two things:

1) Has the meaning of the word homeopathy been changed recently to mean something other than its original meaning, which was:
ho.me.op.a.thy n [G Homoopathie, fr. homoo- homeo- + -pathie -pathy] (1826): a system of medical practice that treats a disease esp. by the administration of minute doses of a remedy that would in healthy persons produce symptoms similar to those of the disease -- ho.meo.path n
It seems to be being used now to mean any herbal, natural, alternative, complementary, etc. treatment.

2) Have there been any clinical trials of these treatments, so that we can know that all these people's experience of their kids not getting ear infections anymore (etc) aren't just due to the kids growing out of it in the same way that they would if they weren't taking these treatments?

I'd be very interested to learn the answer, if anyone here knows.

In response to the questions about homeopathy: no, the definition of homeopathy hasn't changed; people's misunderstanding of the term and misuse of it is just more prevalent I think. It's the same system of medicine that's been around for a couple hundred years.

At http://www.ihr.com/homeopat/research.html there is an article called The Scientific Evidence for Homeopathic Medicines which might answer some of your questions about clinical trials. Certainly the precise way in which homeopathy works is not fully understood, but because we don't yet understand the system by which something works doesn't mean that it isn't effective. Witness the evolution of modern scientific understanding over the past couple of centuries.

I'm pretty adamant about speaking up in defense of homeopathy. I grew up in a homeopathic household and my extended family has experienced remarkable success with it. The successes have involved many ailments that weren't things people grow out of: epileptic seizures, arthritis, Meunier's (sp?) disease.

Here's a little statistical blurb on where homeopathy is used throughout the world:

excerpted: Homeopathy is particularly popular in France, England, Germany, Greece, India, Pakistan, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, and South Africa. Approximately 40% of the French public have used homeopathic medicines, and 39% of the French physicians have prescribed the medicines. About 20% of German physicians occasionally utilize these natural medicines, and 45% of Dutch physicians consider them effective. According to a survey in the British Medical Journal (June 7, 1986), 42% of British physicians survey refer patients to homeopathic physicians, and a New York Times article reported that visits to British homeopaths is growing at a rate of 39% a year.

In response to Joyce's posting about the definition of homeopathy and evidence from clinical trials: I am a researcher in medical ethics (UCSF and Stanford, but my graduate work was at Berkeley, so I hope I'm credible). One of my fields of interest is how people understand risk. (I've done research on physicans assessment of risk in working with HIV+ patients, gay men and HIV risk, and I'm currently working on a study of genetic screening for families with high numbers of breast and ovarian cancer.)

Certain alternative therapies such as herbal medicine and acupuncture have been finding increasing acceptance, even among standard practitioners of Western medicine, and there are clinical studies using placebo and double-blind methods which have supported the efficacy of SOME of these treatments. However, it is difficult to find credible research to support homeopathy.

As Joyce pointed out, there is a lot of confusion about homeopathy because the term is sometimes used interchangeably with natural/herbal/naturopathy, etc., even when these are not the same thing. For instance, arnica, a popular ingredient in homeopathic preparations, is also used in allopathic, naturopathic, and herbal concoctions, but in much much much stronger doses. I don't think we can say that the homeopathic dose (often something like 1:1,000 dilutions or more) and the 5% solution are the same thing...we certainly don't think so when the ingredient is something like belladonna, which also appears in homeopathic dilutions, but I hope you wouldn't dream of using a non-homeopathic dose on your children!

During the flu season I tried to get my husband to take echinacea, as I do. He at first didn't want to, because he associates echinacea with a friend who promotes its use as well as the use of homeopathy. I told my husband that although many people who use homeopathy also use echinacea, the echinacea in question is not being given in homeopathic doses, and furthermore, there are some well-designed studies which support the efficacy of echinacea in bolstering the immune system. (Zinc, on the other hand, is questionnable.) There are also some intriguing studies involving ginseng in prevention of cancer. However, we are not talking about homeopathic dilutions.

In 1995 the National Institutes of Health Office of Alternative Medicine convened a panel to examine the possibility of developing practice guidelines for alternative medicines. The panel found that there were two impediments: One, the lack of data from well-designed clinical trials; and two, the divergent theories about the nature of health and illness even among the alternative disciplines (acupunture, herbal medicine, homeopathy, etc.)

In well-designed clinical studies, in which a homeopathic preparation is given to a randomized sample of patients, and another group is given a placebo, and both the patients and the researchers are blind to who got what (that's the double-blind part), homeopathy is no better than placebo. This has been found in studies of homeopathic preparations for pain, for warts, and for upper respiratory tract infections, etc.

However, I understand why parents might want to consider homeopathy for treatment of ear infections. Many, many parents have reported that their children have done better with homeopathic treatment than they have on a standard course of antibiotics. Here's why (I believe): Studies have found that over 80% of children with acute otitis media will improve if given _placebo_, rather than antibiotic. Furthermore, prophylactic antibiotics are not effective in _preventing recurrent_ otitis media. As we all know, antibiotics are overprescribed in this country, partly because parents and physicians want to do something and partly because IT IS better than nothing for nearly 20% of the cases. So if you use homeopathic treatment rather than antibiotics, you have a better than 80% chance that your kid will be fine. It's up to you as to whether you want to take that chance.

Homeopathy developed during the 19th century, at a time when people were still being cupped, bled, given emetics and all sorts of horrific treatments. It's no wonder that homeopathy was, and in many cases still can be, an attractive alternative to such violent treatments.

Many studies have demonstrated the importance of the placebo effect. One shouldn't simply write off placebos or homeopathy as doing nothing - I think what they do is allow the patient to feel that she or he is DOING something, and is therefore not powerless in the face of disease. Also, it may allow the body/mind system to begin to heal itself, rather than be assaulted by some of the more violent alternatives. But I would like people to consider the possibility that in choosing homeopathy they ARE doing something, and that something is NOTHING. It is laudable to try do something, and it may be appropriate to have that something be a NOTHING, a nostrum, a placebo. I do object to the practioners and purveyors of homeopathic treatments making such profits from their tiny pills. (Not that larger profits from larger pills are any more attractive).

Think twice before asking for an antibiotic for a virus, and think twice before spending money on a homeopathic remedy when a nice warm cup of milk, or tea, or a cuddle, or a good book, might be just as salutory.


To follow up on Natasha's recent very refreshing statement on the subject of homeopathy, I'd like to recommend a book that really clarified for me the entire subject of alternative medicine: The Alternative Medicine Sourcebook: A Realistic Evaluation of Alternative Healing Methods, by Steven Bratman, MD. (It was excerpted in the Utne Reader, and I bought it at Cody's.) My favorite part is the discussion of an illness that I think is quite prevalent these days. I can't remember the name he gives it, but it's a problem that usually begins by identifying food allergies, and ends with an abnormal food obsession that can ruin a person's life. One close relative has become quite ill with this, so imagine my relief to discover a name for it. (No cure in that, I'm just glad to know I'm not alone...) I believe there is a lot of danger in the medical misinformation out there (both alternative & Western) - particularly when we're responsible for our children's health care. We as parents have such strong hopes & fears, it's easy to lose sight of our natural skepticism. And it's very hard to get solid, rational, information! I'm pasting here the statement which the author posted on Amazon.com, as it was the best description I found:

What is unique about the Alternative Medicine Sourcebook? Unlike practically everything else written about alternative medicine, this book tells both sides. It combines sharp criticism with informed appreciation, in about equal measure. For, while alternative medicine has much that is useful to offer, it is a very mixed field, with a very high nonsense and commercialism quotient. This book is also unique in that it tells the story from the street. Rather than idealized depictions of wonderful cures, The Alternative Medicine Sourcebook contains realistic information on how to actually use alternative care in real life. The author is a physician whose practice integrates alternative and conventional medicine. He has also received extensive alternative treatment himself, so he knows the field from both sides.