The extraordinary science of homeopathy emerged early in the 19thcentury. This well described system of medicine is now the second most used system in the world and its growth throughout the past 200 years has been rather extraordinary, especially in North America.
The founder, Dr. Samuel Hahnemann, began experimenting with the potential of homeopathy shortly after graduating from medical school. At the time (mid 1700s), the common medical practices of purging, bloodletting and administering toxic chemicals left him quite disillusioned and unsettled. His investigations brought forth the fundamental Principle of Similarity “like cures like” which states that a given substance can cure the same symptoms in a diseased person that it produces in a healthy person. For example, in 400 BC Hippocrates prescribed mandrake root to treat mania which incidentally was known to cause mania in a healthy person.
In homeopathy, highly diluted substances are selected to treat health conditions based on the same set of symptoms produced when the crude form of that product is consumed by a healthy person. Take the example of a person presenting with insomnia associated with a racing mind and uncontrollable thoughts. Homeopathic coffea would typically be prescribed. Coffee consumed in excess is well-known to cause these symptoms, yet as a homeopathic preparation these are the symptoms it cures. This concept is not unfamiliar to the medical profession although it is not used in the same capacity. In 1983, a study in the New England Journal of Medicine reported that vitamin B6 can treat nerve damage but can also cause nerve damage in large doses.
Dr. Hahnemann continued to refine his philosophy to establish a highly systematized method of medical therapeutics that provide gentle solutions, by stimulating the body’s own natural healing powers. The success of homeopathy in treating infectious epidemic diseases contributed immensely to its popularity. Today, homeopathic resurgence has become more apparent with nearly all French pharmacies selling homeopathic remedies and medicines. Homeopathy has a particularly strong following in Russia, India, Switzerland, Mexico, Germany, Netherlands, Italy, England and South America. Homeopathy has maintained a consistent tradition throughout the world.
For example, homeopathic hospitals and outpatient clinics are part of England’s national health system. There are over 120 homeopathic medical schools in India with four and five year programs. An article in the World Health Forum stated that “in the Indian subcontinent the legal position of the practitioners of homeopathy has been elevated to a professional level similar to that of a medical practitioner”.
Homeopathy has been experiencing resurgence since the 1970s. The F.D.A. Consumer magazine reported a 1000% increase in homeopathic medical sales from the late 1970s to the early 1980s. The Western Journal of Medicine observed that patients of homeopathy tend to be better educated than the average citizen. Despite the oppression from the medical profession, homeopathy has survived. Mark Twain’s eloquent words in 1890 continue to hold meaning today “The introduction of homeopathy forced the old school doctor to stir around and learn something of a rational nature about his business… You may honestly feel grateful that homeopathy survived the attempts of the allopathists (orthodox physicians) to destroy it”.
Homeopathy is a remarkable therapy. Its non-invasive capability of stimulating the body’s inherent defense and self-regulatory mechanisms is significantly effective. In homeopathy, disease is believed to arise from a weakness in a patient’s defense mechanisms. It is a way in which our regulatory process can express what is happening inside the body, in response to multiple forms of stress. Homeopathics, derived from plants, minerals or chemical substances, attempt to maintain homeostasis. Homeopathy works in cooperation with the body’s regulatory functions.
Homeopathy is a complex system of medicine. At Nature Medicine, we prescribe homeopathics on an individual basis to ensure that the appropriate substance is given. We seek to prescribe those that incorporate all your symptoms and will help your body to repair its defenses.