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Understanding Homeopathy

Homeopathy was developed in the nineteenth century by Dr. Samuel Hahnemann. At the time of its development, the medical practices of homeopathy and allopathy walked hand in hand. Approximately twenty-five percent of the physicians in the United States were homeopaths. One might say that ultimately it was the emphasis on disease rather than on health that divided these two practices.[1]

Homeopathy, the medicine of energy, is a medical system based on the belief that the body can cure itself by strengthening its own defense mechanisms by using substances selected for their energy-giving properties. Homeopaths use tiny amounts of natural substances, like plants, herbs, minerals, chemicals, disease products or allopathic drugs which are potentized.[2]

Hahnemann believed in the Law of Similars, in other words, that like cures like. The Law of Similars is based on the belief system that something that brings on symptoms in a healthy person, can, in very small doses, treat an illness with similar symptoms. In its diluted form, the homeopathic remedy is meant to trigger the body’s natural defenses. This is quite different from traditional (allopathic) medicine, in which symptoms are treated with toxic drugs which weaken the body and supress symptoms versus curing them. Homeopaths believe that symptoms, or groups of symptoms, are not the problem, but are signals that the body is not working optimally. Symptoms are an attempt by the body to heal itself, and a small amount of a homeopathic remedy can provide the body with what it needs to complete the healing process.

For example, chopping red onion causes burning, watering eyes, a runny nose and perhaps a tickle in the back of the throat. These same symptoms are produced with a cold or hay fever. The homeopathic preparation of the red onion (Allium cepa) is used in homeopathic remedies for colds or allergies as it is believed that the substance that CAUSES a symptom can also ASSIST in its cure.

In another example, the calendula flower in minute quantities can be used to treat skin irritations and infections. However, in large quantities it will bring on a rash or skin irritation. Similarly, sulphur in large quantities will cause skin irritations, abscesses, skin eruptions, and can cause bronchitis, but as a homeopathic remedy, it has a curative effect and used to treat these same symptoms. Again, like cures like.

The relationship between a homeopath and their patient is one of great trust. The homeopath completes an in-depth interview, or series of interviews, with the patient where the homeopath “takes the case” compiling a great deal of notes. This is one of the most important facets of homeopathic medicine, as in order to properly prescribe a remedy, the homeopath must look at the totality of the symptoms on all three levels of the human being: mental/spiritual, emotional/psychic, and physical.

A homeopath’s job is to look at the evolution of the present pathological state of the patient. [3] Did the patient have any emotional or mental shocks in their life, any major illnesses, medical treatments from the use of drug treatments, antibiotic, birth control, or cortisone use? The homeopath also wants to understand the patient’s family history, quality of sleep, appetite, thirst, food cravings, food aversions, bodily functions, energy levels, mental well-being, tolerance to temperature, weather changes, sun, drafts etc. The homeopath also records a physical description of the patient, including demeanor, gestures, posture, weight, height, and reviews any laboratory or radiological data. As you can see, the science of homeopathy is one where the physician wants to deeply understand the patient in order to find the most appropriate remedy that may lead to a cure.

Today, there is a growing awareness as more and more people turn to health and wholeness. Many are tired of feeling sick and unwell and are embracing ancient and alternative modes of medicine and therapies to help them heal. Although allopathic medicine has done a great job in dealing with acute illness, the current crisis of crippling chronic disease where treatment is limited to palliative rather than curative treatment is why so many are seeking alternatives.  

Wouldn’t it be amazing if medical doctors took into account the natural mechanism of healing, rather than the primary focus being one of disease? George Vithoulkas, in The Science of Homeopathy, states that “the value of allopathic methods will never be lost. Such fields as emergency medicine, surgery, orthopedics, and obstetrics will always be needed, as well as a measure of palliative allopathic treatment, but the context of allopathic medicine would be placed in a more appropriate perspective.”[4] There will always be a place for conventional medicine, but why not also embrace the medicine of homeopathy to help heal our acute and chronic illnesses and disease and alleviate for some, a lifetime of needless pain and suffering?

Hopefully in time, holistic therapies such as homeopathy will continue to be embraced, the ancient remedies that nature herself has provided recognized as a natural way to promote healing. The future would certainly be bright if we lived in an era in which allopathic medicine and homeopathic medicine once again, walked hand in hand.



[1] Tiller, William A., The Science of Homeopathy (Grove Press, NY, 1980) Foreword, pg. xi

[2] Vithoulkkas, G., The Science of Homeopathy (Grove Press NY, 1980), Chapter 10, pg. 145

[3] Vithoulkkas, G., The Science of Homeopathy (Grove Press NY, 1980), Chapter 12, Pg. 175

[4] Vithoulkkas, G., The Science of Homeopathy (Grove Press NY, 1980), Chapter 20, Pg. 272,

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