Posts Tagged ‘Classical Homeopathy’

02 Aug

What is Homeopathy?

Homeopathic medicine is a system of medicine invented by Samuel Hahnemann in the mid-18th century. It is based on the Law of Similars, Like Cures Like, and is practiced internationally. Hahnemann named the science he developed homeopathy, from the Greek words “homoios,” meaning similar, and “pathos,” meaning suffering.

Dr. Samuel Hahnemann (1755-1843) was a German medical doctor, disenfranchised with the treatments prevalent in his day. He wrote emphatically about the treatments, such as bloodletting, and the use of arsenic, mercury, and other toxic metals. He also wrote extensively on many topics, such as the misuse of coffee, and the need for hygiene. Many of his medical ideas were well accepted in his time. Goethe himself is quoted as saying he was following the directives of “the good doctor Hahnemann.”

Rather than use the conventional methods of his time, Hahnemann refused to practice medicine. He supported his wife and eleven children by translating medical texts. He was skilled in 13 languages, including Greek, Roman, and Aramaic, and translated numerous ancient medical works.

When he finally discovered homeopathy, he began to practice, and continued to practice until late into his 88th year, only weeks before his death.

Like Cures Like
In the course of his translation work, Hahnemann happened upon the key to healing that he had been searching for. While translating Cullen’s Materia Medica, Hahnemann read about the use of the herb cinchona, quinine, in treating malaria. Hahnemann noticed the affects of the herb were similar to that produced by the disease malaria and proceeded to experiment on himself. He took a large dose of cinchona and developed symptoms similar to those of malaria. Because the herb could create the disease symptoms in healthy people, he hypothesized that the herb was curative to the disease in sick people. This was the basis of curing like diseases with like medicines. Hahnemann used the Latin phrase “Similia similibus curentur” (Let like be cured by like).

Like cures like can be pictured like this…
Coffee acts first a stimulant, then a depressant. Coffee, homeopathically prepared, can be used to cure the abuse of coffee. The same example can be used for bee stings, for which homeopathy uses a medicine made from bees. This remedy is not only used for bee stings. This remedy from bees, Apis mellifica, is also used for other pathologies that involve swelling similar to that of a bee sting. Hahnemann’s work was first published in 1811 in a book called Organon of the Medical Art.

“The highest ideal of cure is the rapid, gently and permanent restoration of health; that is, the lifting and annihilation of the disease in its entire extent in the shortest, most reliable, and least disadvantageous way, according to clearly realizable principles.”
Organon of the Medical Art (Hahnemann, O’Reilly ed.)

Minimum Doses
Hahnemann discovered, through experimentation, that he could use very small doses. He developed a system of succussion and dilution, which potentized substances so he could use smaller and smaller amounts of medicine to exact a cure.

Homeopathic Medicines
Homeopathic remedies are made from plants, minerals, and animal sources. They are produced by homeopathic pharmacies. In the Unites States, this process is protected by the Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia of the United States. The pharmacopoeia is the official manufacturing authority recognized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Recent research has provided us with further insights into the function and cures available with homeopathy. Articles published in medical journals demonstrate homeopathy’s effectiveness in treating fibromyalgia, asthma, diarrhea, otitis media, diabetes retinitis, and many other conditions. Articles have appeared in many medical journals, including Lancet, American Journal of Psychiatry, Pediatrics, and the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Homeopathy Around the World
Homeopathy is practiced extensively in many countries around the world, including England, France, Germany, Greece, India, Pakistan, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, and South Africa. In France, over 40% of the population has used homeopathic medicines, and 40% of French doctors have prescribed homeopathy to their patients. In the Netherlands, this number is over 45%. A survey in the British Medical Journal (June 7, 1986), stated that 42% of British physicians survey refer patients to homeopathic physicians, and, as stated in an article in the New York Times, visits to British homeopaths is growing at a rate of 39% a year.

In closing this discussion on what is homeopathy, let me quote the great American homeopath, J.T. Kent. “Then as to the question, what is homeopathy? I must answer, no man knows. God only knows the length and breadth of the intricate unfathomable mystery. The knowable part of this science, if I may use the word, consists in observing the sick-making phenomena of drugs and the phenomena of sickness, gathering and grouping the similars, selecting with the likeness in view and waiting for results.”

Homeopathy has a glorious past and a glorious future. Modern technology will be able to further demonstrate the effects and benefits of homeopathic medicine. As Hahnemann himself dedicated his work, I also encourage you, “Aude sapere.” Dare to know.