Homeopathy originated 200 years ago with a discovery by a German doctor, Samuel Hahnemann. Wondering why quinine was useful for treating malaria, Dr. Hahnemann took the medicine himself. He found that when he took quinine as a healthy person, it temporarily produced the same symptoms found in a sick malaria patient. When he stopped taking the drug, his symptoms went away. In a malaria patient, quinine was curative and returned the patient to a state of health but not without significant “side/toxic” effects.
Exploring this phenomenon of “like cures like,” Dr. Hahnemann coined the term, “homeopathy.” Homeopathy literally means to “treat with a similar disease.” This central principle of “like cures like” contrasts with many conventional medical approaches. Conventional practice is called “allopathic,” which means to “treat with something different than the disease.” For example, a patient with diarrhea may be given a drug that slows the intestinal motility & “stops” the diarrhea. By stopping the intestinal motility, the drug suppresses the symptom, but is not curing the cause of diarrhea. Homeopathic philosophy states that conventional drugs often suppress the illness deeper into the body only to have the same or worse symptoms return at a later date.
Dr. Hahnemann’s goal was to use the principle “like cures like,” while eliminating the unwanted side effects of conventional medicines. He wanted to give the patient a substance that would gently trigger the body’s natural ability to heal and not just suppress symptoms. Hahnemann discovered that by significantly diluting substances, the medicines would gracefully nudge a person in the direction of the “disease,” thus allowing their body to rebound into a state of health. These substances, made from natural products, are called remedies. Homeopathic pharmacists carefully prepare these substances in a time-tested manner that enhances their usefulness while minimizing potential harm. They carefully dilute them to eliminate toxic effects, while at the same time shaking them in a way that produces kinetic energy and increases the potency of the medicine. In the United States, homeopathic medicines are regulated by the FDA, just like conventional medications.
Dr. Hahnemann also realized that every individual responds to illness and disease differently. Homeopathic doctors do not follow set protocols for specific diagnoses or illnesses. Hahnemann uncovered that it is the patient’s unique or characteristic symptoms that guide a homeopath to the curative remedy for each individual person or animal. For example, if two cats are diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease, it is most likely they will receive different remedies.
Homeopathy is a powerful, yet gentle tool for treating many acute and chronic diseases. For chronic illnesses, we have to first remove any “obstacles to cure.” Removing obstacles may include changing diet, carefully eliminating medications, and alleviating environmental or other stresses.
By removing obstacles, we are providing the body with a strong foundation upon which the healing process can build. Homeopathic remedies can then begin to slowly re-establish a state of balance and harmony. Achieving health does not happen overnight. The homeopathic process generally takes a couple months, but can take longer. But in the end, it is a journey worth taking!
Over the past 200 years, the medical practice of homeopathy has continued to grow. Today, it is practiced around the world with the most established homeopathic health-care systems in India and Europe.