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History of Homeopathy

Between the years of 470 and 400BC Hippocrates identified two methods of healing: Contraries and Similars. Contraries being the Law of Opposites, on which modern day pharmaceutical medicine is based and Similars being the Law of Similars, which is homeopathy. The word homeopathy is from the Greek word homoios (similar) and pathos (suffering).


Between the years of 1493 and 1541 Paracelsus (a natural philosopher) utilised experimentation to understand physiological processes and as a method to develop medicines. He believed in harmony of the whole universe and turned to German folk medicine, which was based on the premise that Like Cures Like or the Law of Similars.


Born in 1755 the noted chemist and medical physician Samuel Hahnemann had become disillusioned with the medical practices of the day, e.g. using crude doses of substances such as mercury and the use of leeches for blood letting, and gave up his practice. During this time he studied, wrote and worked as a translator. It was while translating Cullen’s Treatise on Materia Medica that he came across a description of Peruvian bark (Cinchona officinalis), from which quinine is derived for the treatment of malaria.


As an experiment he took doses of Cinchona and discovered that it caused the symptoms of malaria – languor, drowsiness, palpitation, anxiety, trembling, prostration, intermittent fevers, etc. Cinchona produced the symptoms in a healthy person like the very disease it was known to cure, thus demonstrating the Law of Similars. He surmised that a substance that has the ability to create symptoms in a healthy person also had the ability to cure similar symptoms when exhibited in the sick.


Over the years Hahnemann conducted many provings – systematic experiments that were used to ascertain the healing powers of the diluted medicines. He eventually returned to medical practice, using homeopathy. Although his colleagues ridiculed him, patients continued to come to him and the astonishing and effective results he achieved verified his theory.