Why the article:
It was the second year of my practice as a homoeopath, a refined looking man came to consult me for his sinus trouble. He was told to get his nose operated as there was some bone deviation / overgrowth. He wanted to avoid surgery and asked, “homoeopathy / homeopathy being a slow mode of treatment how long will it take to relieve the thing?” “Three days”, I said. The man looked most perplexed and suddenly lines of anxiety appeared on his face, with eyes full of suspicion he asked “Dr. do you give steroids?” I had to work hard to convince him that I did not. Medicines were given for ten days and he never returned. About two years later an 11-year-old boy entered my clinic and asked if I had time to see his father who was waiting outside in his car. I told him to bring his father in. The same man who suspected me two years ago entered. Only this time his face was sheepish, apologetic, and his eyes downcast. He wanted the same medicine again.
When Raashi came to me for treatment of her rash she asked me “uncle, what can you give me when my father has already given me the ultimate medicine?” “What is the ultimate medicine?” I asked her. “Steroids”, said she. She was the daughter of late Dr. Bakshi of DLF 2 and was on steroids for the last one year. I told her what Burnett (a great homoeopath) had said about allopaths, and the quotation was, “what they don’t know is not knowledge; what they can’t cure is incurable.” It indeed was the most stubborn case of rash and I nicknamed her Rashy. She took a year approx to get cured of her rash. Has lost some of her extra kilos too. (In such cases neutralizing the ill effects of steroids takes most of our time. A normal case of similar rash, without steroid abuse, never takes more than three to six weeks).
A lady from Garden Estate once asked one of my friends if he could guide her to some good homoeopath in the vicinity. My friend told her about me. She asked him “does your friend give powders also?” “Occasionally,” answered my friend. “Then I will never go to him he must be giving steroids”. Concluded the lady.
A lady who had recently shifted to Gurgaon from Chandigarh had been told by her homoeopath back at Chandigarh to be wary of homoeopaths of Delhi as,“all of them use steroids.” According to the gentleman.
We the gullible of India have shown a special knack for believing the hearsay without ever trying to find out the facts. Rumour mongering has always been our favourite pastime. One thing we never forget is adding a pinch of salt to the rumours before peddling them further. We all know that many generations of Indians kept believing that crossing the oceans would bring misfortune to the person doing so. And none of the Indians ever ventured out into the sea. It took another race to cross the oceans and beat us out of our superstitions. Today Indians are found hiding in cargo containers trying to sneak into their dreamlands overseas. Had ignorance been bliss for these miserable beings I would never have tried to bring them out of it but I see so many people suffering and not trying homoeopathy / homeopathy for things so easily curable with our medicines that I could not help writing this article.
The information used in writing the article is common knowledge freely available on various websites. Here is what most of the sites tell about the side effects of steroids:
The Truth About Steroids:
Steroids affect your heart. Steroid abuse has been associated with cardiovascular disease, including heart attack and stroke. These heart problems can even happen to athletes under the age of 30.
Steroids affect your appearance. In both sexes, steroids can cause male-pattern baldness, cysts, acne, and oily hair and skin. Steroids affect your mood. Steroids can make you angry and hostile for no reason. There are recorded cases of murder attributed to intense anger from steroid use.
For Guys: Baldness. Development of breasts. Impotence. For Girls: Growth of facial hair. Deepened voice. Breast reduction. For Both: Jaundice (yellowing of the skin). Swelling of feet or ankles. Aching joints .Bad breath. Mood swings. Nervousness. Trembling.
According to another website; Side effects depend on how much, and how long the medication is taken. The most common side effect of steroids taken for a short time is an increased appetite. Some people also have more energy, feel a sense of well being, have trouble sleeping. Others feel sad or irritable. Side effects of oral steroids taken daily, for long periods of time, and/or at high doses can be serious and may take a long time to go away once the medication is stopped.
Q. Are steroids addictive?
A. Yes, they can be. Withdrawal symptoms include mood swings, suicidal thoughts and/or attempts, fatigue, restlessness, loss of appetite, and sleeplessness.
Q. How long do steroids stay in your system?
A. The length of time that steroids stay in the body varies from a couple of weeks to more than 18 months.
Q. What can I do to excel in sports if I don’t use steroids?
A. Focus on getting proper diet, rest, and good overall mental and physical health. These things are all factors in how your body is shaped and conditioned. Excelling in sports is achievable and done by millions of athletes without relying on steroids.”
HOW HOMOEOPATHY / HOMEOPATHY DIFFERS:
it is a common knowledge that homoeopathic / homeopathic medicines do not produce any such side effects. But does that mean a homoeopathic / homeopathic medicine does not produce any other effect than the one it was intended to? No is the answer. If we carefully observe a person undergoing constitutional treatment with homoeopathic / homeopathic medicines we can see various interesting changes taking place in his/her body, mind and emotional plane. Can you believe homoeopathic / homeopathic medicines can convert an introvert into an outgoing person, a diffident child into a confident one a jealous and restless lady into a milder and relaxed one? Change the lines on your palm or your handwriting? Alter the hew of your eyes and skin, texture of your hair? Even your features and physique change to a great extent and that too always positively. If you feel generally better after taking a constitutional medicine that does not mean the medicine contains steroids. It happens because usually most of the polycrest (a medicine of many uses) medicines have a broad sphere of action and they affect almost every part of human body including the endocrine system and improved hormonal levels and a generally improved health is what is responsible for feeling of well being; rather it is the first sign that the medicine is working well and is the right medicine for the patient and ideally this feeling should not be temporary like in case of artificial hormones.
Let’s see what the web says about the taste of steroids and how do homoeopathic / homeopathic medicines compare.
McKesson Clinical Reference Systems: Pediatric Advisor 2002.1
How is it taken?
“Oral steroids can be taken as pills or syrup. Steroid medicine has a bitter taste. Swallow the pills quickly and do not hold them in your mouth. The syrup also has a bitter taste or after taste and is best swallowed quickly. After swallowing, quickly take a drink of another liquid to rinse your mouth. It is best not to take this medicine on an empty stomach.
Masking the Taste of Oral Steroids
Not an easy task, no matter how you look at it. Ever taste the stuff yourself? It truly is vile. But during a severe flare, they’re the only thing that kept Ed alive so we HAD to find a way to get them (and keep them) down. Here are our experiences…
Ed promptly gagged and vomited every oral steroid dose they administered in the hospital, which was extremely frustrating, as he couldn’t go home until he proved he could keep it down. We tried mixing it with juice, ice cream; you name it, and still no luck. Finally, our pediatrician suggested Pediapred, a pediatric formulation of prednisone. It worked! It comes in two versions – syrup, which is clear, and a liquid, which is cloudy. We only found success with the clear syrup.
The drawback is that because it is only available in a low (pediatric, hence the name) concentration, the patient has to take a higher quantity, say, two tablespoons as opposed to two teaspoons. But if it means keeping it in the stomach, it’s well worth it. Our local hospital does not carry Pediapred (their on-site pharmacy only stocks Prelone) so I learned to bring it with me whenever we headed off to the ER. Most of the medical staff I encountered were agreeable to me administering (their prescribed dosage of) Pediapred once I explained the situation.”
I give every child the right to sue the person who said that better medicines are always bitter. We frequently get calls from panicked parents that their little kids have eaten all their medicines. We have to work hard to assure them that no harm will come to the little ones. So if the medicines your homoeopath gives you taste sweet you be sure they are steroids free. Moreover a homoeopathic / homeopathic medicine can be taken on an empty stomach and rather we encourage our patients to take the first dose in the morning empty stomached.
The powders we use at times with homoeopathic / homeopathic medicines have often been maligned as steroids. Nothing can be further from truth. The powder used in homoeopathy / homeopathy is a benign thing derived from pure milk usually imported from Holland has a taste somewhat like glucose and is called sugar of milk. It is neutral in nature and has a long shelf life. The only purpose of the powder is to keep the medicine intact and save it from moisture etc. It also increases the efficacy of the dose as it sticks to the tongue and gives the body extra time to react to the medicine given.
Some people say the mother tinctures some homoeopaths give contain steroids. First of all I would like to mention that the use of mother tinctures internally is not recommended in pure/classical homoeopathy / homeopathy. The three basic principles to select the right homoeopathic / homeopathic medicine are: mono (single medicine at a time), mini (minimum / very small quantities of medicinal substances; any homoeopathic / homeopathic medicine above thirtieth potency is diluted to the extent that not even a single atom of the element it was made from is traceable), and simi (that is the medicine should be similar to the patient and it should be capable of producing similar symptoms in a healthy person if given in crude form, like mother tinctures). The mother tinctures do not fulfill the second condition as these are crude extracts of a medicinal substance and to qualify as a proper homoeopathic / homeopathic medicine must first be diluted/potentised.
One thing to be kept in mind is that we regularly get patients with ill effects of steroids where we have to both detoxify the body and cure the patients. A lady who had gained about thirty-two kilos of weight after taking steroids lost it within three four months under our treatment and got relieved of the asthma also for which she was given steroids by doctors at Gangaram hospital. One cannot expect us to treat the side effects of steroids with steroids again.
What homoeopaths can do about it:
First of all homoeopaths should be aware of the strength of their own medicines. They should realized that our medicines are capable of acting much faster and more effectively than steroids in any acute or chronic condition. Any homoeopath wasting his time with steroids should spend his energies on studying & understanding his materia medica. Furthermore, homoeopaths should be more open and willing to tell the names of the medicines given to their patients. We at Panacea, for example, do write the initials of the medicines on the bottles given and if any of the patients is interested to know the prescription we never deny him/her the same. Medicines are prepared in the presence of the patients and if someone is overcautious he/she can even procure the medicines from outside.
For us homoeopaths a case starts where the conventional medicine fails to give a breakthrough. So any improvement a patient feels with homoeopathic / homeopathic medicines remains a mystery for many. Medicine and teaching used to be missions, once we converted these into professions profits and losses became part and parcel of these, like any other profession. Pecuniary considerations became the chief guiding force in decision-making. Modern physician’s obsessive dependence on labs/ costly tests shows the same. One should be aware that by recommending tests worth Rs. 100,000 to his patients in a day a physician earns commission up to at least Rs. 30,000-40,000 daily, Something a young homoeopath can only dream of earning in a month. He or she cannot afford to give you costly steroids in addition to his medicines even if it was intended. The stupendous resurgence of homoeopathy / homeopathy and its growing popularity across all the strata of society is alarming for many. For people of vested interests spreading rumors to sabotage homoeopathy / homeopathy is only natural but before believing them a patient should at least try to know the facts. Knowledge was never so freely available; websites are vying with each other to give you more and more of it. The only test I can suggest for any medicine to be truly homoeopathic / homeopathic is that it should be sweet, it should be swift and above all it should be safe.
Written by – Dr. Shikhar Kaushal. (First published in 2003).