Amy is relaxing on the sofa when she gets the idea that she’d like some chocolate. As she searches longingly in the cupboards, the thought grows and gains urgency. Now nothing seems more satisfying than the chocolate she craves.

Cravings are an ultimately human experience, and they are not limited to food. People crave knowledge, television, intimacy…the list is endless. Cravings verge on addictions, but not always. They come from within. They are unique to each individual, but are neither rational nor emotional. Because of this, cravings actually help homeopaths choose remedies for people.

Homeopathy is a 200-year-old system of medicine based on the principle that a very small dose of a remedy can cure a sick person if it can produce a similar sickness in a healthy person. Since conventional medicine acts according to the law of opposites, this is different from the way we normally think. In comparison, though, homeopathy not only works more naturally than conventional medicine, in many cases it has more lasting effects than just treating symptoms the conventional way.

Since homeopathic remedies must be similar to the characteristics a sick person exhibits, the highly individual nature of cravings help guide the remedy selection. If someone comes down suddenly with a high fever and develops a craving for lemons and lemonade, a homeopath would feel fairly confident that belladonna would reduce the fever. If children cling tearfully, need constant reassurance and also long for butter, ice cream, and the outdoors, pulsatilla is likely called for. For a patient with a burning stomach ache, an intense thirst for ice cold drinks, and a craving for company, phosphorus will probably help.

To homeopaths, cravings, like other symptoms, are signs that the body is out of balance. Similar to acupuncturists in Chinese medicine, homeopaths believe the body’s vital force or chi, an energy that animates us in life, must always be in balance. If the vital force becomes disturbed (a person becomes chilled), then sickness develops (the person “catches” a viral infection) and symptoms occur (fever). In fact, homeopaths speak of “the innate intelligence of the human organism” because the body always strives to right itself in the least harmful way, whether it produces a symptom of fever, depression, or eczema. Removing the symptom by itself will often bring up other problems, while strengthening the vital force removes the underlying problem.

While remedies cannot magically remove habitual cravings, they can reinforce inner strength and increase overall well-being in addition to improving specific health complaints. This enables people to eliminate bad habits themselves and reduces the need to indulge in unhealthy activity.
So next time you crave, don’t curse. Remember it could help your homeopath help you.