What is Homeopathy?

Homeopathy is a medical science developed by Dr. Samuel Hahnemann (1755-1843), a German physician. It is based on the principle that “like cures like”. In simple words, it means that any substance, which can produce symptoms in a healthy person, can cure similar symptoms in a person who is sick. This idea is referred to as the “Law of Similars“, and was understood by Aristotle and Hippocrates and mentioned in ancient Hindu manuscripts. It was Hahnemann, however, who turned it into a science of healing.

History of Homeopathy

After his first experiments in 1790, Hahnemann tried many other substances, learning what symptoms they would produce and therefore, what symptoms they could cure. He taught others his new method of healing and soon homeopathy spread from Germany to the rest of the continent. By 1829, Hahnemann was famous throughout Europe. He produced amazing cures in some of the worst epidemics of the time. During a typhus epidemic in 1813, Hahnemann cured 179 of 180 cases. During epidemics, survival rates in Homeopathic hospitals far surpassed those in conventional ones. Because of its success in healing the most serious diseases without harm to the patient, homeopathy was soon practiced all over the world. The wealthiest families and the royalty of Europe were early patrons of homeopathy.

Homeopathy Today

The World Health Organization estimates that homeopathy is used by 500 million people worldwide, making it the second most widely used medicine in the world. In England, France, Germany and the Netherlands, homeopathy is included in the National Health Service. In France, 18,000 physicians prescribe homeopathic remedies. There are seven medical schools offering post grad degrees in homeopathy and all 23,000 pharmacies carry homeopathic remedies. In England, 42% of British physicians refer patients to homeopaths. The Royal family has used used homeopathy for three generations. There are currently five homeopathic hospitals, and the oldest, the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital, has been there for 100 years. India has over 70,000 board certified homeopathic physicians, hundreds of homeopathic hospitals and clinics and many homeopathic medical schools. In Germany , 20% of Physicians prescribe homeopathic remedies. In the Netherlands, 45% of physicians consider homeopathy effective. Homeopathy is also practiced in Vienna, Scotland, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Russia, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Pakistan, Greece, Belgium.

Homeopathic Principles

Homeopathy has 4 principles that are its foundation. They remain unchanged over the last 200 years as their truth is demonstrated through successful treatment of the sick.

The cornerstone principle is Similia Similbus Curentur, "Let likes cure likes" Homeopathy actually derives its name from the Greek, homoeo='similar', and pathos='suffering'. Through research and practice Hahnemann verified cure through the use of similars. A substance that can produce disease in a healthy person is used to elicit a healing response in someone presenting with a similar disease. Each person shows symptoms of the body/mind/spirit when they are sick. Some of these symptoms are common to that sickness, others are characteristic of that person in their sickness. The homeopathic practitioner matches the symptom picture of the homeopathic remedy to the symptom picture of the person, with particular attention paid to those symptoms which are unique to the individual.

The second principle of homeopathy is The Single Remedy. Only one homeopathic remedy is given at any one time. It would be difficult, if not impossible, to ascertain the action of multiple homeopathic remedies given all at once. The response of the vital force would be unpredictable and ambiguous. Though Hahnemann experimented with this approach he abandoned it as unsatisfactory.

The third principle of homeopathy is The Minimum Dose. This refers to the infinitesimal doses of medicine given as well as to the repetition of dose only when necessary. Drugs given to individuals in material doses frequently cause side effects or adverse reactions. To curtail this problem, the homeopath administers the smallest possible dose so as to maximize beneficial effects and minimize side effects. Repetition of dose is determined by the individual's response to the remedy. Unnecessary repetition may lessen the response, even to the correct remedy. In homeopathy, less is better.

The fourth principle of homeopathy is The Potentized Remedy. Homeopathic remedies, though made from natural substances such as plants, minerals, animals, etc., are manufactured unlike any other medicine. Through a process of serial dilution a very dilute extract is made. With every step of dilution the remedy is vigorously shaken-succussed. This process of succussion is designed to arouse the dynamic nature of the medicine. To affect the vital force, a similarly energetic, homeopathic remedy must be employed.