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Fundamental principles of homoeopathy

Created by the doctor Hahnemann in the 18th century, homoeopathy is a therapeutic method designed to treat human beings by administering minute doses of all-natural remedies. Extremely gentle on the body, this form of alternative medicine makes it possible to treat a multitude of ailments. But in order to better understand what homoeopathy is, it is important to focus on the fundamental principles on which it rests.

Widespread throughout the world, homoeopathy is presently of the most popular and sought-after therapeutic method. Beneficial to the body and mind, this form of alternative medicine is in fact much less aggressive on the body than most allopathic drugs to which we are sometimes too accustomed. Etymologically, the term homoeopathy is derived from the Greek words “homoios” and “pathos” which mean “similar” and “disease”. Indeed, this therapeutic method’s fundamental principle is based on the theory that an illness can be treated with minute doses of substances that have the ability to reproduce, in the body, symptoms similar to those caused by the disease itself.

Homoeopathic medicines are thus made from vegetable, mineral or animal products characterized by their ability to provoke, among healthy persons, symptoms similar to those of the disease being treated. This revolutionary discovery is to be attributed to the German physician Samuel Hahnemann who, in the late 18th century, highlighted the unique properties of cinchona bark. From that moment on, Hahnemann based his theory on the law of similars and dilution to lay the foundations for a totally new method of treatment: homoeopathy.

Birth of homoeopathy

Native to Saxony, Samuel Hahnemann developed, from an early age, a passion  for medical and scientific research. After obtaining his diploma in 1779, the young German practised medicine for ten years before finally giving up in 1790, disappointed with the alarming inefficiency of the treatments administered to patients at that time.

In order to provide for his family, Hahnemann then decides to move on to the translation of medical books and treatises. Soon after, he starts to work on the translation of a treatise written by the Scottish doctor William Cullen, in which the recommended healing substances and remedies of the time are mentioned. But soon enough, Hahnemann comes to the conclusion that Cullen’s medical theories on cinchona bark are radically opposed to his own, which then leads him to engage in a series of experiments to establish what the actual effects of this substance are.

After this experiment, Hahnemann discovers with surprise that cinchona bark has the unique feature of being able to replicate, in a healthy subject, symptoms identical to those caused by intermittent fever. Following this discovery, the German doctor decides to continue his experiments among healthy subjects to observe the effects of a multitude of different substances on their bodies. Thanks to this principle of similarity, Hahnemann develops a new form of medicine that is  much softer and a lot less aggressive on the human body: homoeopathy is born.

Law of similars

Homoeopathy mainly rests on the law of similars, which was first dictated by Hyppocrates in the following terms “similia similibilus curantur”. For the father of medicine, it seemed clear that only it was necessary to let like be cured by like, a theory that inspired Hahnemann and enabled him to lay the foundations of homoeopathy. This principle states that a disease should be treated by using a substance that is able to reproduce, in a healthy body, symptoms similar to those generated by the disease among sick patients.

To corroborate his theory and ensure the effectiveness of his therapeutic method, Hahnemann conducted various experiments on healthy subjects for many years.

After observing the effects caused by the various substances that were tested, the German doctor was able to assert, with certitude, that homoeopathic remedies were able to cure a multitude of diseases. As a matter of fact, the law of similars is highly reminiscent of the vaccination principle since, in both cases, an individual is inoculated with a substance that will allow him or her to fight off the disease and to develop his or her immunity system in order to heal.

By resorting to homoeopathic remedies, the body is immunized in a completely natural manner, which allows it to heal on its own without the need to resort to chemical treatments. Nonetheless, to avoid any danger, it is important to ensure that these drugs are not toxic and that the doses administered are infinitesimal.

Potentisation and dilution

Homoeopathy is also based on the principles of potentisation and dilution, principles that are particularly important when one considers that their purpose is to eliminate any risk of toxicity among the administered drugs. Thus, it is essential to subject the basic substances from which the remedies are developed to successive dilutions until minute doses are obtained.

Hahnemann also found that after each dilution, it was very important to thoroughly shake the new substance obtained in order for the water or alcohol, used as a medium, to be able to soak up the essence of the parent substance. Also known under the term “potentisation”, this fundamental procedure has a direct effect on the effectiveness of the homoeopathic remedy.

Dilutions, which are mostly measured in centesimal Hahnemannian (CH), almost never exceed 30 CH. In addition, know that the more infinitesimal the doses are, the more effective and the safer the drug will be. While many have argued that no active ingredient could remain after the dilutions made??, it is nevertheless clear that the dilution and potentisation processes allow, on the contrary, the transmission of the basic substance’s therapeutic virtues to the final obtained remedy. In other words, it is possible to say that the water used for the serial dilutions in fact retains some traces of the parent compound, traces that grant the obtained remedy all of its therapeutic effectiveness.

Homoeopathy today

If, for many years, homoeopathy had difficulties prevailing in the medical world, today we have to admit that this alternative therapeutic method is one of the most popular means of treatment worldwide. Indeed, many people now prefer to treat themselves in a much softer and more natural manner, especially since homoeopathy is deprived of the risks that are usually associated with allopathic drugs. Consequently, homoeopathic medicine is suitable for adults, children, men, women, the young and the elderly.

Homoeopathy is particularly appropriate and recommended for the prevention and treatment of chronic respiratory diseases, allergies, stomach problems, cardiovascular diseases, bone diseases, stress and anxiety.

Today, it is estimated that homoeopathy is present in over eighty countries and the number of people that resort to this therapeutic method does not stop from growing as years go by. Moreover, more and more health professionals urge their patients to privilege, as much as possible, homoeopathic treatments in order to feel better, both physically and mentally.

In addition, homoeopathy has the unique property of being able to fulfil both curative and preventive purposes, which represents a considerable advantage in terms of good health and well-being.

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Pathology and homeopathy are two fields of scientific research that go hand in hand. As a matter of fact, homeopathic research on a disease is always accompanied by a pathological study of that disease. Pathology is the scientific field that studies diseases, while homeopathy is a gentle method for treating diseases. Homeopathic treatment follows the principles of similarity (Similia similibus curentur or "likes are cured by likes") and comprehensiveness. There is no universal treatment for a given disease; it must be adapted to each patient.