Brief Explanation of Homeopathy
Homeopathy started about 200 years ago with a discovery by a German doctor, Samuel Hahnemann. Wondering why quinine was useful in malaria, he took the medicine himself and found that when given to a healthy person, it temporarily produced the symptoms found in malaria. While the term “homeopathy” literally means to “treat with a similar disease”, the term “allopathy” means to “treat with other than the disease” and is used to denote the standard medical approach of today, which attempts to counteract symptoms. For example, a patient with diarrhea may be given a drug that slows intestinal motility.
To better understand how homeopathy works, let us consider two aspects of a disease. First, there is the immediate cause, such as a bacteria, virus, toxin or internal immunological activity. Second, there is the patient’s response – his/her reaction and defenses, such as fever, inflammation and discharge. These are the body’s attempts to eliminate pathogens and toxins and to heal the tissue. While homeopaths do not ignore immediate causes, such as infection, their primary focus is on the patient’s attempts to respond and heal. Their aim is to strengthen the patient’s defenses for recovery.
Dr. Hahnemann found that substances could be used to stimulate healing by applying the principle of “like cures like” in very specific ways. He would give the patient a substance that would gently nudge their system in the direction of the “disease”, reproducing the same (or almost the same) syndrome or a whole set of particular symptoms in a mild form. He found this to be a very effective way to stimulate their natural defenses.
Most homeopathic pharmacists carefully prepare these many substances in a time-tested manner that enhances their usefulness while minimizing potential harm. They carefully dilute them to eliminate toxic effects, at the same time shaking or grinding them in a way that energizes their helpful effect. In summary, homeopathy stimulates the healing process by temporarily establishing an artificial disturbance of health with medicines.
While simple, in theory, this process requires skill and experience, particularly in chronic conditions. A homeopathic doctor carefully evaluates the changes that occur after the use of each homeopathic medicine; in this way, the patient can be guided to the recovery of their health over the weeks or months necessary for the body to repel the disease and regrow damaged tissues.