With the 2002 World Cup a little more than a month away, football star David Beckham suffered a disastrous fracture on his foot that would have almost certainly sidelined him from competition. His treatment for a speedy recovery included homeopathic medicine, allowing him to go on and play for England in the games held in Japan, where he nailed that memorable penalty kick against Argentina.
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Beckham is not alone; many sports stars, including Usain Bolt and world number one tennis player Novak Djokovic, swear by homeopathic medicine, employing it in their health and wellness arsenals to remain in top fighting form. But what exactly is homeopathy, and could it work for you?
Menchit Ongpin is a homeopathic medicine practitioner who has been prescribing cures for friends and family for the past three years. She first encountered it when her daughter Joelle handed her a bottle of nux vom for chronic indigestion: “In a few minutes, my indigestion was gone, totally gone,” she relates. “It was amazing. I said, ‘Wow, this really works!’”
Upon discovering what she thought to be a miracle cure, Ongpin felt compelled to learn and study more. She took a four-month course under Dr. Ivan Piccio, a London- and Egypt-trained physician, but claims she will be an eternal student of this fascinating branch of alternative medicine. “There are 6,000 different remedies, and to master each one will take you more than a lifetime.”
Homeopathy is founded on the principle of like cures, she explains, and it’s recognized by the World Health Organization as the second most widely practiced medical system on the planet. “With homeopathy, you give the remedies that give you similar symptoms—for example, if you take a lot of coffee, it keeps you awake. If you’re suffering from insomnia, one of the remedies that could cure you is coffea, which is made from coffee,” she says. While conventional medicine relies on combatting symptoms to fight off sickness and infection (e.g. anti-bacterial, antibiotics), homeopathy stimulates the body to heal itself and find its own internal balance, using a holistic approach to wellness that doesn’t stop at treating the symptoms alone.
Ongpin readily invites everyone to give homepathic remedies a try, from athletes or sports hobbyists who routinely suffer injuries to anyone dealing with aches and pains brought about by everyday clumsiness and household accidents. The cures she recommends come in the form of a spray bottle derived from tinctures, which may vary in potency. To administer, simply spray it on your tongue twice a day, once in the morning and again at night.
Here are a few of her suggested cures.
For sprains, bruises, trauma, inflammation: Arnica
Made from the arnica flower, Ongpin says this is the most popular remedy in homeopathy. It’s also reportedly among the cures Beckham used for his injured foot. Spray it on your tongue before and after a workout, exercise class, or strenuous activity, and you’ll find a decrease in post-workout soreness the next day. “It’s a really good overall trauma medicine; I use it on my grandchildren when they bump their heads.”
For muscle cramps: Magnesium Phosphate or Cuprum
This is something Ongpin keeps on her bedside table to combat cramping that may occur in the middle of the night. “The relief is immediate. It’s amazing,” she says.
For dislocated bones or fractures: Symphytum
First, take arnica to address the pain and swelling, have the bone set or put in a cast by a doctor, and then try this. “It’s made from a comfrey plant; the common name of it is ‘knitbone’ because traditionally, it’s been used to heal broken bones,” says Ongpin. “People have known this for centuries.” It works so efficiently, in fact, that Ongpin issues this warning: “If you think you’ve broken a bone, don’t take symphytum right away because it might start healing the wrong way. Go to a doctor and make sure it’s set properly, and then take symphytum.”
For torn tendons, muscles, or ligaments: Ruta
Also taken from an herb, this will help promote and speed up healing. If the pain from a sprain persists even after taking arnica, Ongpin recommends this as a follow-up.
For finger sprains, stubbed toes, or injuries in nerve-rich areas: Hypericum
Who knows, Liza Soberano and her stubborn finger injury might have benefited from this. “If you get a cut and you feel it’s affected a nerve, take this.”
For pain that either lessens or increases with movement: Rhus Tox or Bryonia
“They call this kind of injury ‘rusty gait syndrome’—the more you move it, the better it feels,” Ongpin describes it. She recommends rhus tox for the former, and bryonia for the latter, where you find that the pain intensifies with motion.
For maintaining top condition during competition season: Cell Salts
“These are low potency remedies that help keep you in shape. They’re like vitamins,” she says. There are 12 cell salts patterned after the minerals found in the human body—some of these include calcium, magnesium, sodium, and potassium.
For pre-game nerves: Gelsemium
This will help you relax and address jitters or anxiety. “My sister gave this to her granddaughter who is very shy,” Ongpin says. “Before the schoolyear ended, she was already performing in school plays!”
Of course, Ongpin is well aware of naysayers and skeptics who dismiss homeopathy as nothing but placebos and even go as far as labeling it “witchcraft.” For anyone doubting its efficacy or who flat-out refuses to believe in it, she has one challenge: give it a try. “There’s this one homeopath who always says, ‘Don’t let me convince you. Try it for yourself.’ The best way to prove it is to try it. I tell all my friends about it because it’s just too good to keep it a secret.”
And who’s to say the two can’t harmoniously coexist in your medicine cabinet? “The beauty of homeopathy is that it doesn’t interfere with traditional medicine,” she says. “They say it affects the efficacy of the remedies, but it’s not going to make it toxic.” So, the next time you find yourself hobbled by an injury and in a panic because you’ve got a game in a few days, it might be the perfect opportunity to ditch the aspirin and reach for a bottle of arnica instead.
For consultations, recommendations, and other inquiries, contact Menchit Ongpin at [email protected]. Prices start at P500 per bottle, and they will be delivered.