Cindy Blum has seen the benefits of homeopathic medicine for the past eight years. Now she plans to make homeopathy available to others through her new store at 37 E. Main St. in Westminster.
Radiant Health, scheduled to open Monday, will carry homeopathic and herbal remedies, traditionally used to treat common ailments such as colds, sore throats and skin irritations. Ms. Blum also plans to offer classes on homeopathy at the store.
The practice of homeopathic medicine dates back 200 years. It's based on the theory that certain substances in large quantities cause a certain ailment, but can be used in small doses to treat the same sickness. "It's the principle of 'like cures like,' " Ms. Blum said.
Radiant Health will also carry natural body care products and aromatherapy oils, and will offer several types of massage and aromatherapy treatments.
Ms. Blum became interested in homeopathy and natural medicine because of her severe reactions to prescription drugs and over-the-counter medicines.
She began going to a homeopathic physician in Baltimore, Dr. Peter Hinderberger, and has used homeopathy to treat herself and her family for the past eight years.
Ms. Blum helped to found the Baltimore Homeopathic Study Group and has attended seminars on the subject at the National Center for Homeopathy in Alexandria, Va. But mainly, she has learned by doing.
"A lot of it is just using the treatments until you get the hang of it," said Ms. Blum, 41, who lives on a Westminster farm with her husband, Michael, and children Sarah, 11, and Erik, 9.
With interest in homeopathic medicine growing, she's confident there will be a market for her new business venture.
"Some people like more natural, less intrusive ways of treating common ills," Ms. Blum said. "It's not necessary to pull out the big antibiotic guns every time your nose runs."
Most homeopathic remedies come in the form of sugar pills and are made from plant materials. Some contain minerals such as calcium and phosphorus.
Those who practice homeopathy consult the "Materia Medica" to decide which remedy to use. The book, considered the bible of homeopathy, lists symptoms and the appropriate remedies to treat them.
Ms. Blum said she's successfully used homeopathy to treat her two children since they were toddlers for problems such as pink eye, rashes and bee stings.
For example, when her daughter had pink eye, Ms. Blum treated it with a remedy called pulsatilla. She maintains that through homeopathic treatments, her children have become less susceptible to common ailments. "When you treat homeopathically, you're actually strengthening the body," she said. "My kids had more colds when they were toddlers than they do now. They have become stronger as a result of not suppressing the symptoms."
Although she subscribes to the homeopathic system of medicine, Ms. Blum said she is not against Western medical practices.
If she had a serious medical problem such as high blood pressure, Ms. Blum said, she would go to her homeopathic physician first and seek his advice on how to treat the condition. It's likely that he would refer her to a specialist, she said.
"I have a lot of respect for physicians," Ms. Blum said. "I just feel we are conditioned to believe that everything has to be healed instantly with the biggest guns available. And it's not the best thing for the body."