Homeopathy is a complementary medicine used around the world to treat many conditions from acute to chronic.
The founder of homeopathy was Dr Samuel Hahnemann (1755-1843). Homeopathy is distinguished from other means of therapy by its treatment of patients on the principle of “likes cure likes” and with minute doses of a substance to bring about cure as it stimulates the body’s innate ability to heal itself.
The individualisation of treatment is the second principle of homoeopathy. All symptoms produced by the disease picture are utilised to prescribe the correct remedy or ‘simillimum’ remedy for the patient. These symptoms are taken from the patient as a whole picture, and includes physical, mental and emotional manifestations of the disease. The more the characteristic, peculiar or rare the symptoms exhibited by the patient, the more specific the remedy. This gives the practitioner a greater understanding of the body’s reaction to the disease, allowing for greater efficiency in remedy selection.
The minimal dose is another of the core principles of homoeopathy. The process of dynamisation involves the serial dilution and succussion of a solution. This dynamisation reduces the pathological effect of the substance and brings about its curative properties. The dilution of the substance follows along with the theory of the Arndt-Schultz law which states that a substance in large doses kills, in moderate doses inhibits and in small doses stimulates.
In other complementary medicines such as Traditional Chinese Medicine, Ayurveda, Phytotherapy and Naturopathy, the use of medicines is either in crude form or of a dilution that still exerts a physiological action. However, due to homoeopathy having serial dilutions, the substance in potency no longer portrays the same physiological effect. This makes homeopathy relatively safer to use especially for children, pregnancy and vulnerable populations.