The basic principle of homeopathy, known as the “law of similars”, is “let like be cured by like.” This was first stated by German physician Samuel Hahnemann in 1796.
In 1790 while Hahnemann was studying the action of quinine, as a treatment of malaria, he experimented on himself by taking quinine even though he had no symptoms of malaria. This caused him to start exhibiting the classic symptoms of malaria even though he knew he was healthy. From this, he deducted that cinchona bark (the source of the quinine) could be useful in treating not only malaria, but other diseases that manifested similar symptoms. Following on from this discovery, Hahnemann went on to carry out further experiments further other common substances on his family and friends (ethics were different in those days). He discovered that by administering small doses of any substance whether it was of animal, plant or mineral origin, to a healthy person that it would cause symptoms that were discrete to the substance. Over time, he recorded his results and created a catalogue of remedies that would cause similar symptoms to many ailments.
Three main principles of homoeopathy are the law of similars, the infinitesimal dose, and the treatment of the whole person (holistic).
The Law Of Similars
Using the law of similar, homoeopathy uses substances that are capable of inducing similar (like) symptoms in a healthy person to treat those symptoms exhibited by the patient.
In the Organon, Hahnemann stated.. “All carefully conducted experimentation end research proved to us that persistent disease symptoms, far from being destroyed by opposite medicinal symptoms (in the conventional method), return instead with renewed intensity, after seeming for a short time to have improved”. (Organon, paragraph 23)
“Homoeopathy, by contrast, chooses from among ell the remedies whose actions upon the healthy have been established (proved), that one which has the power end propensity to produce all artificial disease conditions most similar to the natural one being treated”: (Organon, paragraph 24). This is the law of similars, being Similia Similibus Curentur, or “Let like be cured by like”.
The Infinitesimal Dose
“The highest ideal of therapy is to restore health … in the least harmful way”. (Organon, paragraph 2). When carrying out his initial testing, Hahnemann ‘s original experiments were designed to reduce the dose of the substance being given, while maintaining its therapeutic efficacy. What he discovered was that even infinitesimally small doses of the homoeopathic remedies were therapeutically effective. Additionally, at these minuscule doses they were completely safe and carried no risk of harmful side effects. Hahnemann
discovered that the potentised remedies not only retained the therapeutic effectiveness but were actually enhanced.
“When indicated, the smallest dose of a properly potentised medicine – in which calculation shows that there is only an infinitesimal amount of material substance left – exerts far more healing power than strong material doses of medicine”.
“This specific, invisible medicinal force of these highly potentised (homoeopathic) remedies does not depend on their material atoms, or on their physical surfaces, but depends on the invisible energy of the substance released and freed to the highest possible extent by progressive potentisation (dynamisation).” (Organon, paragraph 11)
The Whole Person
In treating a person homoeopathically, it is necessary to treat the person as a whole, rather than the disease that the person has.
Hahnemann stated: “In bringing about a cure the physician should consider the evident physical constitution of the patient (especially in chronic affections), his affective and intellectual character, his activities, his way of life, his habits, his social position, his family relationships, his age, his sexual life, etc”.
Conventional medicine is aimed at treating illnesses, but homoeopathy is holistic, and aims to treat the person rather than the symptoms. It is for this reason that homoeopathic treatment may require different medicines for different people suffering from the same disease.
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