I was very fortunate to have lived in the south of France, close to the city of Carcassonne from 2017 to the start of 2022, during this time I enrolled in the CCHM Classic Homeopathy Distance Education course, which meant that I started paying a lot more attention to homeopathic availability, especially once I started seeing externship patients.
France is the home of Boiron and it shows, they are literally everywhere, with popular remedies like Oscillico often being advertised in the pharmacy display window. Combination remedies such as their Coryzalia and Rhineallergy are also freely available off the shelf and although classical homeopathy very much empathizes the single remedy approach, I do see the value of these for the everyday consumer who wants a natural solution, yet doesn’t know which single remedy to choose and perhaps doesn’t have the time or desire to see a homeopath simply for a fleeting acute situation.
This certainly does not mean that single remedy has fallen by the wayside. On the contrary, you can get any single remedy your heart desires from your local pharmacy and should they not have the remedy or potency in stock, they will order it for delivery within 48 hours. Did I become convenience spoiled in France? Yes I did.
The vast majority of Pharmacists in France are also trained in Homeopathy as a part of their pharmaceutical studies, this means that anyone seeking a homeopathic or simply a more natural treatment for their ailment need only ask and will then be advised an appropriate remedy as an alternative to conventional medication. Although there are some key differences in comparison to strict classical homeopathy, with pharmacist more likely to advise a combination of two or even three remedies to be taken at set intervals, I do feel this is an invaluable service that offers real freedom of healthcare choice to individuals. During my time in France I knew many friends and acquaintances who went to their local pharmacist with complaints ranging from eye styes to heat rash and even their dog’s diarrhea who were advised on appropriate remedies.
Another cool feature offered by French pharmacies is that you can also have your own combination remedy custom made, should you ever have a need to do so. I used this service when pressure to take the Covid vaccination started to become quite severe and like many others I had strong concerns about side effects, in the end I basically ended up copying the ingredients on a vaccination combination remedy by a producer outside of the EU (I will not mention names here for fear of getting myself into copyright trouble) but the short of it was that my local pharmacy was willing to order an exact replica for me that arrived within 3 days despite the custom order. I am also happy to report that neither myself, nor any of my friends and family who used the remedy had any complications from the Covid vaccine – Homeopathy for the win!
I have to note though, that as amazing as access to Homeopathy is in France, not all of it is that simple. France is one of a handful of EU countries where in order to practice as a Homeopath one also needs to be fully qualified as a conventional MD. This means that someone like myself who studied Homeopathy without previous medical background would not be able to practice in France unless they were willing to also do a full medical degree. Another interesting difference was that despite the popularity of homeopathic remedies in general, the 12 Cell Salts seem to have been left out of the equation completely and I could not find them in France for love nor money. In desperation I once ordered some Mag Phos from a producer outside of the EU and it took 4 Months for them to clear customs! By which point I’m not sure they were even functional anymore and thus I gave up on cell salts for the remainder of my time in France.
This notwithstanding, in a world where there seems to be so much, often aggressive skepticism, it was wonderfully refreshing to live in a country where homeopathy was not only easily accessible but considered a normal part of a functioning healthcare system. To illustrate this point, a very good friend of mine recently gave birth to her first child, the little man was so eager to join the world that there wasn’t even time for the epidural they had planned on. After a rough delivery the maternity nurse thrust two remedy tubes into her hand (Arnica & Hypericum) with the following sage advice: “This is homeopathic, take it, it works.”
We have since moved from France to Sweden, and on the day of me writing this have been in Stockholm for just over a month. This means that I have had to start at ground zero again, trying to figure out how the homeopathic approach works here, where and how I can get remedies etc. I am happy to report that so far so good, although it is not available in every regular pharmacy the way it was in France, sourcing remedy from homeopathic specific pharmacies or even online for home delivery is pretty easy. The big plus in Sweden is that I should be able to practice here as a classical homeopath and my CCHM Diploma and course breakdown is currently in for review by the society of Swedish Homeopaths (and I have full confidence that they will find it sufficient).
I sincerely hope that five years from now I will be able to write a love letter to Swedish Homeopathy also.