The lymph nodes are tiny bean shaped organs distributed throughout the body and linked by lymphatic vessels. They contain white blood cells forming part of the immune system and act as filters for foreign particles. This makes them an important part of the functioning of the immune system, but also means that they can act as indicators of other condition, becoming swollen in a range of conditions from throat infections to cancer. The shape of the lymph nodes is in fact used for cancer staging and determining a prognosis. Some diseases will affect the lymph nodes in a specific pattern again helping with their diagnosis. The lymph nodes are located in the groin, on the sides of the neck, under the armpits and below the abdomen, so patients suffering from infection or other illnesses should check these areas for swelling.
Swollen lymph nodes then are more of a symptom than a condition in themselves. This makes them a good target for homeopathy which focuses on individual symptoms rather than an infection or illness, as such the homeopathic remedy for lymph nodes is becoming increasingly popular as is homeopathy in general.
Homeopathy is an alternative form of medicine developed by Sammuel Hahnemann in 1796. He originally created the idea upon noticing that the medicine used to treat malaria would create symptoms very similar to malaria when given to healthy patients. From this he surmised that all effective remedies should produce similar effects to the illness itself; the theory being that this would encourage the body to fight both the medicine and the original cause of the symptoms. For this reason, when using a homeopathic remedy for lymph nodes, it’s common to experience a slight worsening of the swelling before the condition begins to improve. Meanwhile homeopaths often advise that to go ‘against’ the symptoms with traditional medication will ‘drive’ the illness into the internal organs and that only homeopathic treatments that work ‘with’ the symptoms can work.
The other distinctive feature of homeopathic remedies is that they are heavily watered down. The reason for this is that worsening the symptoms of most illnesses would be dangerous and unpleasant for the patient. You would not for example seek to increase someone’s fever if it was already high.
Thus homeopathic mixtures are heavily diluted, normally using distilled water (though alcohol, sugar and lactose are often used). In homeopathy it is actually thought that the more a remedy is watered down, the more potent it will be in treating the condition. In most homeopathic remedies the original active ingredient has been watered down to such an extent that not even a single molecule exists in the final medicine. Hahnemann believed that the water retained properties of that original ingredient through its ‘vital force’, and later this has been suggested to work via a memory system within the water.
Homeopaths also treat every case of an illness as unique and look very precisely at the symptoms as well as the individual. All illness is thought to come from an innate susceptibility rather than foreign invasion and for this reason the characteristics of the individual – their personality, preferences and history – will be taken into account when selecting a homeopathic remedy for lymph nodes. However as a general rule a homeopath will likely prescribe Berryllium Metallicum or Calcrea Carbonica.
Homeopathy is slowly gaining momentum and widespread acceptance in the West, to the point where even traditional doctors and nurses recommend the remedies and chemists stock them. This is surprising given that homeopathy is considered a ‘pseudoscience’ and does not subject itself to the rigorous objective testing required to be a mainstream science. At the same time there is no evidence for the existence of a ‘vital force’ nor of a memory function in water (and the molecular makeup of water makes it highly unlikely). Critics then argue that homeopathic remedies are in no way different from plane water or sugar (anatomically at least this is true), and studies testing the effectiveness of homeopathic remedies have found them to be no more useful than placebos. While the experiences of individuals will vary and some find homeopathy helpful, a homeopathic remedy for lymph nodes should not be used in the place of traditional medicine and those suffering should seek the opinion of a health expert.