Medicine: The Art and Science of Natural Healing
is a system of treatment that uses minute amounts of plant, mineral, and animal
substances to stimulate the defensive systems of the body in a very subtle way. It is widely used in Europe, but not as well known in the
United States and Canada. The
theoretical and empirical basis of homeopathy is a concept called the Law of
Similars, often summarized as “like cures like.”
Perhaps more than anything else, what distinguishes the practice of
homeopathy from other approaches to medicine is that instead of focusing on the
specific causes of disease (such as viruses and bacteria), it focuses on the
specifics of the symptoms of disease, as they are experienced by the individual
History of Homeopathy
Hahnemann (1755-1843) of Leipzig, Germany, created the practice of homeopathy.
A medical doctor, Hahnemann did in-depth studies and wrote extensively on
chemistry, pharmacology, and medicine. His
study of arsenic, written in 1796, remains an authoritative text.
In 1790, Dr. Hahnemann began to question the accepted medical theories of
the time. Cinchona officinalis, or Peruvian bark, had been the
treatment of choice for malaria since 1700.
Conventional medical thought attributed its beneficial action to its
bitter and astringent properties. Hahnemann
rejected this explanation. He
observed that other plants and botanicals had even stronger astringency and
greater bitterness, yet did nothing to relieve malaria.
In an attempt to better understand how cinchona worked, he experimented
by taking some himself. After
taking the cinchona compound, Hahnemann promptly developed the symptoms of
This inspired him to further experimentation with many different plants,
chemicals, and minerals. Hahnemann
experimented first on himself, then on his family and friends.
As his work continued, he noted the same remarkable effect again and
again: Derivatives of certain extracts produced symptoms in the body similar to
those produced by certain diseases. Pressing
on with his experimentation, Hahnemann found that minute doses of extract
actually produced the opposite effect. Instead
of causing the symptoms of a particular disease, the well-diluted extract
reversed the course of the disease. This
led Hahnemann to his observation that “like cures like”—that is, a
substance that causes a certain set of symptoms in a healthy person will, in
minute doses, cure a sick person of those same symptoms.
He called this phenomenon the Law of Similars.
Many of Hahnemann’s colleagues argued against his practice of using
himself as a guinea pig, prophesying dire consequences.
But the doctor refused to heed their warning, saying, “He knows with
greatest certainty the things he has experienced in his own person.”
Through his experiments, Hahnemann learned that a minute dose of a
substance would cause illness in a healthy person, but paradoxically effect a
cure in a sick individual. For
example, a remedy that caused fever, chills, and leg cramps in a healthy person
would cure a sick person of similar fever, chills, and leg cramps when given in
Homeopathy is a systematic and precise form of natural medicine that
addresses both physical and emotional symptoms.
This protocol recognizes that each person is unique and will have an
individual disease pattern. The
experimentation, documentation, in-depth testing, and recording of the effects
of homeopathic remedies did not end with Dr. Hahnemann.
Diagnosis of a specific disease is not the primary concern when treating
with homeopathics. Rather, the
correct remedy is chosen according to the specific symptoms and emotions being
Homeopathic remedies stimulate the body’s vital force, enhancing its
ability to heal itself. The
“vital force” described by Hahnemann cannot be precisely identified.
Even today’s most technologically advanced medical detectives do not
really understand the ways in which body and mind work together.
A complex interrelationship between immune factors and regenerative
biological systems, the essential life force locked within body and mind remains
Homeopathic remedies work by, in effect, “turning on a switch” that
affects both body and mind. Homeopathic
compounds somehow send a healing and normalizing message throughout the body.
They spark unbalanced internal systems so that they are better able to
perform their functions.
Homeopathic remedies come in different potencies.
Of all of the issues in homeopathy, Dr. Hahnemann’s concept of potency
is probably the one that has evoked the most questions, because it seems
somewhat paradoxical at first. In
his experiments, Hahnemann noted that symptoms continued to improve with
ever-increasing dilution of a substance. In
other words, as the concentration of the medicinal substance is reduced by
dilution, the remedy becomes increasingly potent.
as yet, there is no satisfactory scientific explanation for this
phenomenon. However, the astounding
effectiveness of homeopathic treatment has been empirically documented around
Commonly available homeopathic remedies come in several forms: the mother
tincture, X potencies and C potencies. In
homeopathic remedies, the X indicates that the mother tincture has been diluted
to one part in ten; and the C indicates a dilution of one in one hundred. Homeopathic remedies are made by sequentially diluting and
shaking each potency. This process
allows the energy of the plant, animal or mineral to remain in the remedy even
though there is little or no probability that a molecule of the substance is
left. The remedy is then added to a
lactose tablet or sucrose pellet. There
are also homeopathic creams, ointments, and salves, made by mixing remedies with
a cream or gel base.
Homeopathic remedies work best when taken at least thirty minutes before
or after eating. Clinical practice has shown that strong flavours (such as
mint), odours (paints, perfumes), foods and beverages that contain caffeine, and
camphor (deep-heating ointments) may interfere with the effectiveness of the
homeopathic remedy. Your
practitioner may advise you to avoid these products during treatment.
For More Information Contact:
Copyright 2002 by Muskoka Naturopathic Family Practice. All rights reserved. Send mail to Webmaster at email@example.com with questions or comments about this web site. Last modified: September 15, 2010.