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A vipera is a poisonous snake that inhabits Europe and Asia. Diluted poison from vipera is used to treat swollen, painful veins as part of homeopathic medicine. Those who practice homeopathic medicine often take particles from animals, plants, or minerals and crush these substances in alcohol or lactose. This mixture is then further diluted before use treating various ailments. The theory is that the minute amount of particles in the homeopathic treatment will stimulate the body to heal itself.
Several different types of vipera are used in homeopathic medicine, such as Vipera berus, or the common European addler, and Vipera torva, the German addler. The preferred food of these snakes include lizards and small mammals. When an adder bites a human being, the bites are painful, but typically do not result in death.
A person who is ill has symptoms of the illness. For example, a person who has varicose veins has painful, swollen veins. The theory behind homeopathy is that when a substance that is “taken” by human beings results in certain physical reactions, that same substance taken in minute amounts will help the body cure the problem. In this case, one of the results of a vipera bite is large, painful, swollen veins. According to homeopathic medicine theory, taking the poison in a very small amount will stimulate the body to correct the varicose veins.
Homeopathy was founded by German physician Samuel Hahnemann (1755-1843). A school specializing in homeopathic medicine opened in the United States for the first time during the late 19th century. This type medicine was used to treat diseases such as scarlet fever, cholera, and yellow fever and was popular until the 1920s. After conflicts with the American Medical Association and with the advent of modern drug manufacturing companies, the practice of homeopathic medicine went into decline. Today, homeopathy is enjoying a renewed popularity as more people become interested in alternative medicine.
Unlike other natural or herbal remedies, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates homeopathic medicine. The government requires homeopathic medicine to meet strength, quality, and purity standards. In addition, the FDA requires labels that include what type of illness the remedy addresses, instructions for usage, and the dilution level of the product. These are the same requirements that manufacturers of over-the-counter drugs must fulfill. This does not mean that the FDA says that homeopathic medications work.