Homoeopathy is a science and art of preventing and treating disease. It may be defined as the therapeutic method of system-similarity based on the Law of Similars and uses therapeutic substances in diluted doses. The term ‘Homoeopathy’ was coined by Dr Samuel Hahnemann (1755 – 1843) from the Greek words, ‘homoeos’ meaning ‘similar’ and ‘pathos’ meaning ‘suffering’. Homoeopathy aims to cure by treating the whole person as an individual rather than merely concentrating on a set of symptoms.
History of Homoeopathy
Homoeopathy’s roots emerge from the findings, teachings and writings of Dr. Samuel Hahnemann (1755-1843) founder of Homeopathy. Hahnemann graduated from medical school in 1779 and started his own medical practice. He soon began his first homoeopathic experiments in 1790, as a result of his disillusionment with such common medical practices of the day as purging, bloodletting, and the use of toxic chemicals.
In 1790, when Hahnemann was engaged in translating Cullen’s materia medica from English to German, his attention was arrested by the remark of the author that cinchona bark cured malaria because of its bitterness and tonic effects of stomach. This explanation appeared unsatisfactory to him. In an attempt its true mode of action, Hahnemann himself ingested 4 drams of cinchona juice twice daily for a few days. To his great astonishment, he was attacked by symptoms very similar to malarial fever.
He continued his research into “cures” and the idea of “similar suffering,” and began compiling his findings. Similia similibus curentur, the Latin phrase meaning “let likes be cured by likes,” is the primary principle of homeopathy. A homeopath searches for a substance that produces in a healthy person those same symptoms a patient experiences.
Homeopathy had a large impact on the practice of medicine. The first homeopathic hospital opened in 1832 and homeopathic medical schools opened all over Europe. Homeopathic hospitals and practitioners often had better outcomes compared to their allopathic counterparts. These improved outcomes were undoubtedly due to the harmful nature of allopathic remedies of the time compared to the non-toxic nature of homeopathic remedies. Thus the general public began to tout the benefits of homeopathy and demand better treatment from all physicians.