Homeopathy is a system of medicine that treats a person using substances that have been highly diluted. The more diluted the remedy is, the more potent it is.
The remedies are made from a variety of substances, such as plants, minerals, and animals. Homeopathic remedies are usually given as pellets, and their purpose is to trigger the body's natural ability to heal itself. It is based on the principle that like cures like.
A homeopathic remedy is prescribed based on an individual's specific symptoms. So, two people with the same illness may be given two different remedies based on their total symptom picture.
Homeopathy is used to treat physical as well as mental and emotional ailments, both acute and chronic.
The History of Homeopathy
Homeopathy originated in 1798 with Samuel Hahnemann (1755--1843), a German physician.
Hahnemann was translating a book by a respected contemporary physician, who stated that Cinchona (Peruvian bark) was an effective drug for malaria because of astringent and bitter properties.
In his translation, Hahnemann argued that this could not be the reason Cinchona was effective. By this argument, other herbs that were even more bitter and astringent should be even more effective anti-malarial treatments, but they were not.
To prove his case, Hahnemann proceeded to take Cinchona until he developed the symptoms of malaria, such as chills and fever. He concluded that Cinchona was an effective remedy for malaria because it produced the same symptoms as malaria, based on the principle that like cures like.
From then on, Hahnemann proceeded to experiment with other substances and create new homeopathic remedies.
Homeopathy as a medical practice grew despite opposition from the medical establishment of the day, which practised bloodletting, the prescription of drugs containing lead, arsenic, and mercury, and the use of leeches --- methods that were neither very safe nor effective.
Homeopathy is widely practised in Europe, Asia, and South America because it is both effective and much more affordable than modern pharmaceutical medication.
How Homeopathy Works
Even though homeopathy is an effective treatment method for many people, it is not yet understood how homeopathy works. However, the same is true of many prescription drugs. For example, even though lithium has been used for over 70 years for mood stabilization, researchers are only now beginning to understand how it works.
Homeopaths believe that, unlike prescription drugs, homeopathic remedies work on an energetic rather than on a biochemical level. The energetic or vibrational pattern of the remedy is what stimulates the body's self-healing capacity or vital force.
Other benefits of homeopathic medicine
Because homeopathic remedies are highly diluted, they are safe to use. They have no dangerous side effects and are not addictive.