HISTORY OF HOMEOPATHY
Homeopathy is based on the principle that ‘like cures like’ – in other words, a substance taken in small amounts will cure the same symptoms it causes if it was taken in large amounts.
This idea dates back to Hippocrates more than 2,000 years ago (460-377BC), who also thought that symptoms specific to an individual should be taken into account before making a diagnosis. This is also an important principle of homeopathy, where an individual’s unique symptoms are important in distinguishing the correct medicine.
The idea of 'like curing like' re-emerged when a German physician, Samuel Hahnemann (1755-1843)
devised the system of treatment that we know as homeopathy. Hahnemann first coined the word
"homeopathy" ("homoios" in Greek means similar, "pathos" means suffering) to refer to the
pharmacological principle, the law of similars, that is its basis. The law of similars was utilized by
many cultures, including the Mayans, Chinese, Greeks, Native American Indians, and Asian Indians,
but it was Hahnemann who codified the law of similars into a systematic medical science.
Hahnemann who as well as being an experienced orthodox physician was also a competent chemist,
a good mineralogist and botanist, and a translator of eight different languages. Working as a
doctor in the late 18th century, he was dissatisfied with the conventional medical practices of his day.
Blood-letting, purging and giving patients large doses of toxic materials such as arsenic and lead were
commonplace. Hahnemann disagreed with these harsh methods.
He was investigating the effects of various medicinal substances on himself and other healthy
volunteers when he deduced that an illness could be treated with a very small amount of a substance
that, in larger quantities, could cause that illness.
To avoid harmful effects from normal doses of the substances he diluted each medicine until he reached the greatest dilution that would still produce a response. These experiments were called provings and led him to observe and describe the basic principles of homeopathic medicine.
Dr. Christian Friedrich Samuel Hahnemann, M.D.
1755 - 1843