The story of homeopathy
"The physician's high and only mission is to restore the sick to health ... to cure, as it is called"
The father of homeopathy, Samuel Christian Hahnemann was born in Dresden in 1755. Despite humble beginnings, he went on to train as a physician and became expert in the practices of the day: blood-lettings, purgings and often lethal prescriptions of dubious 'medications'. It was his tentative experiments with quinine (from the bark of the cinchona tree), used by the establishment for the treatment of malaria, that he had his first light-bulb moment. After ingesting a quantity of the substance he started to display symptoms of the disease itself: sweats, debility and fever. What Hahnemann had stumbled upon was the ancient principle of similia similibus curentur, or like cures like.
The word 'homeopathy' comes from two greek words: omio meaning 'same' and pathos meaning 'suffering'. A homeopathic remedy is one which produces the same symptoms as those the sick person complains of, and in doing so sharply provokes the body into throwing them off. 'Like Cures Like' is the basic principle of homeopathic therapeutics.
If you cut an onion, it is likely that you will soon have streaming eyes and nose. The diluted homeopathic preparation of Allium cepa (red onion) will help cure the very same symptoms in a sick person, eg someone suffering from hay fever, or a cold.
Hahnemann went on to publish several editions of his masterwork, "Organon of the Medical Art", which still serves a starting point for any student of classical homeopathy. Other essential tools for homeopaths is our Materia Medica, or the compendium of the action of homeopathic remedies. Materia medicae hold two centuries' worth of knowledge gathered from clinical observation, toxicological findings, and the results of 'provings' (trials where healthy volunteers are given homeopathic medicines and their symptoms recorded); and the Repertory, which enables us to match symptoms with remedies.
Homeopathy is now the most widely used 'alternative' approach to health, second only to conventional medicine. It has been employed by 91 million people worldwide!
It forms an integral part of national healthcare systems in countries such as India and Cuba and across Europe, is used to treat epidemics on a huge scale, and is employed routinely by veterinarians and livestock farmers worldwide to treat animals.