Homeopathy, Herbalism, Cell Salts?

Let’s look at the differences.

There are so many natural therapies. Do you find you struggle to understand the difference between Homeopathy, Herbalism and Cell Salts, or to know what these offer you? You are not alone. To the uninitiated it is hard to tell them apart. I have written this blog just to clarify the different options for you, so you can understand which therapy you may wish to use in your situation.

I am a Homeopath and practice “Homeopathy” This does not mean the same as “Natural treatments”, nor is it an an umbrella term that describes a variety of different natural therapies. I am not a Natural Doctor. In homeopathy we do NOT prescribe herbal medicines, teas or supplements. If Homeopathy is not these things, what is the difference between all these approaches?

In homeopathy we use remedies that are made from the same natural substances also used in other modalities. But don’t confuse Homeopathy with; Naturopathy, Herbal medicine, Chinese medicine, or other types of natural therapies, however . It is its own, unique and complete therapeutic system.

Let have a look at what is difference between these.

Natural therapies include Homeopathy

“Natural health therapies” is a term that describes those therapies that use substances from nature. In a form that is as close as possible to their natural state to support healing . These are not ‘man-made’, nor chemically derived . There are many ways in which that is achieved; from massage to essential oils and from herbs to homeopathic remedies. In general; Natural therapies are the counter part of what we know as Conventional Medicine practices or Allopathic Medicine.


Is the practice of the Naturopath. I like to describe the Naturopath as ‘The GP in the field of natural medicine’. A Naturopath has received training in a variety of different natural therapies, nutrition and supplementation and has a broad range of knowledge about these multiple different approaches. They are not a specialist in one specific therapy and will often apply a combination approach to your health issue based on the therapies they have an understanding of. Advice given will often implement lifestyle advice and nutritional/ orthomolecular supplementation. When you see a Naturopath make sure you know what approaches they offer as there can be differences between practitioners.

Herbal medicine is not Homeopathy

Herbalism is practiced by ‘a Herbalist’ who uses plants as nature’s medicines. They are a specialist in this field. Herbalism has been around since time began. Plants, shrubs and trees that hold medicinal properties are employed by Herbalists to help people overcome their health issues. These plants are dried and processed into tinctures, creams or powders. Or they can be used in infusions, teas and poultices when made from the freshly harvested product.

The Herbal medicines, contain actual physical doses of the plant often in high concentration, no matter how they are made. In the lotion, the tincture or the cream there is physical evidence of the original plant material. Because of this; care needs to be taken with Herbal medicines. Caution and guidance are called for as they can interact with other medications, or each other. And they can have side effects or can be ‘overdosed’. Herbal medicines are prescribed therapeutically. This means that, like in conventional medicine, the herbal product will be prescribed for a specific complaint. E.g Dandelion for Liver complaint, Comfrey for Bone healing.

Homeopathy is ….well….Homeopathy

Homeopathy was founded by Dr Samuel Hahnemann who lived from 1755 – 1843. It is a specialist therapy that uses remedies which may be derived from the same substances also used in other modalities. (For instance; Arnica cream is a topical herbal product. But Arnica 30c is a Homeopathic remedy, taken orally)

These remedies are derived from substances found in the vegetable, mineral or animal kingdoms. Or even from chemicals, medications and imponderables (eg sunlight, electricity and x-ray). But the resulting remedy preparations are always ultra highly dilute. They merely hold the energetic imprints or memory of the original substance. They are so dilute that they do not contain any physical evidence of that original substance. This means Homeopathy is an energy medicine. The use of these infinitely small doses sets Homeopathy apart as a therapy.

Homeopathic remedies have the reputation to be; gentle in action, safe to use, without lasting side effects, non toxic and definitely environmentally friendly. Homeopathy is used with Mental/ Emotional/ Physical Health complaints. The remedies may be applied in simple acute, or very chronic situations. Homeopathic remedies can in many situations, be be used in combination with other healing modalities.

Homeopathy is prescribed on the principle “like cures like”. This means that the raw substance of which a remedy is derived, will be known (through testing) to be able to cause symptoms in healthy people that are similar, to those that a person needing this remedy, is experiencing. Homeopathic remedies are instigators of healing. In stead of ‘fighting a symptom’ they ‘speak’ to our innate inner ability to heal and help to initiate change. They stimulate healing from within, and work with the body to restore a healthy balance. As a result of a better balance in health, symptoms subside. To learn more about a homeopathic consult click here

Cell Salts are akin

“The cell salts were developed by Dr. Wilhelm Heinrich Schuessler, a German doctor from the 19th century. The healing-method of the cell salts is based on homoeopathy.

Dr. Schuessler discovered the health-supporting effect of several mineral salts. He developed them homeopathically into very low potency remedies, still being somewhat close to physical doses of the substance. Their use is directed at the cellular level of our body. And the stimulate the healthy assimilation of the main mineral salts that dominate our body make up. E.g. Calcium, Magnesium, Sulphur, Potassium. There are only twelve basic remedies in the Cell Salt series, also known as Schuessler’s Biochemic Cell Salts. Making it a simple and easy to apply system for everyone.

Cell salts stimulate the cells to metabolise these salts more efficiently from the diet, or reserves we hold in our system. They are used more where we would use supplements. In case of a deficiency or increased need due to circumstance or inefficient metabolic efficacy. Their aim is to optimise and rebalance those mineral salts to be taken up by the body more efficiently and therefore enable healthy functioning. They may be used along side supplementation in order to aid the uptake and can be combined with other therapies. Examples of uses of Cell salts are; to stimulate bone and teeth health, or healthy Iron levels etc.

Flower essences focus on the emotional plane.

Flower essences are exactly what it says “the essence of flowers (and trees) captured in a remedy”. This is done by exposing a solution to the physical plant material, e.g. through immersion. Dr Edward Bach developed the first 38 original Bach Flower remedies. Since then many more essences have been developed (e.g. the Australian Bush Flowers series and other more local native plant series world wide).

Flower essences mainly support the mental emotional level of health and work beautifully when negative emotions or thoughts become too overwhelming and stand in the way of effective daily functioning. Whether this is caused by a sudden acute shock , or a long standing trauma.

Flower essences stimulate the transformation from negative to possitive thoughts and emotions. They are a gentle support one can use in combination with many other healing modalities. Of course here also is the understanding; that Mind and body are one and connected. Better physical health often follows, when mental emotional health is restored . Flower essences can be used singly or in combinations. One of the most well known Flower essence Combinations is “Rescue Remedy” which is a combination of 5 flower essences that offer support in stress and trauma.

Essential oils is a form of using herbal preparations

These are more of a herbal product; made by extracting oils from plant materials. Most often essential oils will be used as a topical application where its constituents effect an therapeutic reaction. Or in Aroma therapy where the scent will stimulate a healing effect. Eg. Lavender oil to aid relaxation. Very seldom will Essential oils be taken orally. Due to them being so highly concentrated and potent. And the fact that they are strong physical doses; they need to be taken with great care and under supervision of a well trained practitioner.

Chinese Medicine

Chinese Medicine is also known as Traditional Chinese Medicine or TCM , and originated more than 2,000 years ago. The healing methods consist of five parts: Movement Theory (eg Tai Chi and Qigong), Nutrition Theory, HerbalismTuina Therapy (eg massage ,Cupping, Guasha) and Acupuncture. Please know that this TCM treatments categorization mentioned, is just one of many classifications used.

A main characteristic of TCM is that it’s primarily focused on prevention. The aim is to maintain and promote good health through a moderate and balanced lifestyle in order to achieve Tao (The Way or the Life Goal) during one’s life.

Your Choice

There are many therapists who offer one of the above mentioned natural methods of healing. There are also those who offer more then one modality. Within each of the above methods you can also find different approaches. Practitioners may have a preferred personal work method or special interest fields.. Sometimes within one therapy (Like Homeopathy) there are different schools of thought. My suggestion is to always look for an accredited and qualified practitioner and to schedule a time with them for an introductory chat. Take the opportunity to ask questions about what skills and experience they offer and find if that fits your need. It is an opportunity also to see if you are a ‘good match’ and get a feel for the person they are.

Now that you know what I do as a homeopath, feel free to book a 15 min chat with me today, free of charge, to discuss how I could help you.

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Esther Ritmeester DipHom, R.Hom.Int

Esther's Homeopathy Clinic

Esther Ritmeester DipHom, R.Hom.Int