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Homeopathy is a holistic form of complementary medicine, aiming to treat the whole person rather than just the physical symptoms. It works on the principle that the mind and body are so strongly linked that physical conditions cannot be successfully treated without an understanding of the person’s constitution and character. A therapeutic system founded by the German doctor Samuel Christian F.Hahnemann, Meissen, Germany 1755 – Paris, 1843. In 1790, Samuel Hahnemann observed that the plant Cinchona, containing quinine, administered in high dosage to a healthy individual, provoked an intermittent fever, and that this same remedy, taken in infinitesimal dosages, cured this symptom in an individual suffering from the same type of fever. He proved this principle on himself and other healthy individuals. This accidental experience laid down the stepping-stone of Homeopathy. Whereas in conventional medicine, people diagnosed with the same condition will generally be given the same medicine, in homeopathy the remedy given to a patient may depend on a whole host of other factors, such as temperament, state of mind, and lifestyle. The key to the practice of homeopathy is the ability to understand and interpret the patient’s symptoms—the outward signs of internal disorder—both before and after a remedy is given. This continuing relationship helps to make homeopaths particularly effective at discovering the underlying causes of frequently recurring ailments. Homeopathy’s safe, gentle approach complies with one of the most important rules of medical intervention—namely, that it should do no harm. Many common, everyday ailments may be treated safely and effectively at home using homeopathic remedies; should the common ailment develop into something worse, however—a cold into a chest infection, for instance—then a conventional doctor must be consulted. In general, a conventional doctor should be consulted for any ailment that can be quickly and effectively treated by conventional medicine, or for any condition that requires conventional investigation. Certain serious ailments may also be alleviated using homeopathic remedies, but in the treatment of these conditions, the experience of a qualified homeopathic practitioner is essential from the outset. History of Homeopathy. In the 5th century BCE the Greek physician Hippocrates (460–377 BCE) clearly established the idea that disease was the result of natural forces rather than divine intervention, and that patients’ own powers of healing should be encouraged (see page 19). Contemporary medical theories were based upon the Law of Contraries, which advocated treating an illness by prescribing a substance that produced opposite or contrary symptoms. Diarrhea, for example, could be treated by a substance that caused constipation, such as aluminum hydroxide. In contrast, Hippocrates developed the use of the Law of Similars, based on the principle that “like cures like. This theory proposed that substances capable of causing symptoms of illness in healthy people could also be used to treat similar symptoms during illness. For example, Veratrum album (white hellebore), which was considered effective against cholera, caused violent purging that led to severe dehydration if administered in large doses—symptoms exactly like those of cholera itself. Between the 1st and 5th centuries CE the Romans made further developments in medicine. They introduced more herbs into the pharmacopeias, improved public hygiene, and observed the structure and function of the human body, although this was limited by social taboo, which prevented the dissection of bodies. Existing medical knowledge was codified and rationalized by Galen (130–200 CE), a Roman physician, anatomist, and physiologist. He adopted many ancient Greek principles, including the Aristotelian theory of the “four humors,” which claimed that the human body was made up of four humors—blood, choler (yellow bile), melancholy (black bile), and phlegm— that must be kept in balance to ensure vitality and health. Origin of Homeopathy This was the cultural and scientific milieu in which the German doctor Samuel Christian Hahnemann (1755–1843) began practicing in 1780. He continued in practice for nine years, during which time he became increasingly disillusioned with the harsh medical methods of the day. In articles written to supplement his income, Hahnemann attacked the extreme medical practices of the day, advocating instead good public hygiene, improved housing conditions, better nutrition, fresh air, and exercise. Eventually his convictions led him to cease work as a doctor. He wrote later that it had been agony to work “always in darkness,” with no secure principles in place regarding health and disease. At this time a period of great social and political change evolved in Europe. The Industrial Revolution and the Enlightenment were accompanied by great technological and scientific advances, and increasing freedom of thought and expression this. Although he did not have malaria, he found intellectual climate encouraged important developments in the study of medicine, including the isolation of active ingredients from herbs, such as the extraction of morphine from the opium poppy in 1803. It was in 1790, while translating A Treatise on Materia Medica by a Scottish teacher, physician, and chemist, Dr. William Cullen, that Hahnemann began an investigation which was to prove paramount to the subsequent development of homeopathy. In his treatise Cullen argued that quinine, when isolated from Cinchona officinalis, was a good treatment for malaria because it was an astringent. Hahnemann knew that other, more powerful, astringents had no such effect on malaria. He dosed himself with quinine, recording the results and effectively beginning the first “proving” Although he did not have malaria, he found that he began to develop symptoms of the disease one after the other. With each dose of quinine, the symptoms recurred and lasted for several hours, but if he stopped taking quinine his symptoms began to disappear. Hahnemann went on to test quinine on other people, noting their reactions in great detail. The test subjects were not allowed to eat or drink strong foods such as spices, alcohol, or coffee, which he felt might distort the results. He repeated the proving process on other substances that were in use as medicines, such as arsenic and belladonna, and used the results to build up a “symptom picture” of each remedy’s effects. After conducting provings for six years, Hahnemann extended his research to the sick. Prior to prescription, he gave his patients a thorough physical examination and noted any existing symptoms. He questioned them closely regarding their lifestyles, general health, outlook on life, and other factors that made them feel better or worse. Following the principle of like cures like, Hahnemann then matched individual symptoms as closely as possible to the symptom picture of a remedy, and prescribed accordingly. Homeopathy is a literary work of scientific nature that has been done artistically and collectively by a number of provers ( or company). Hahnemann had a number of provers working with him to scientifically prove medicines on themselves, so that the symptoms produced by one prover were confirmed by many others. The same medicine were give to sick people having the similar symptoms which were then verified by curing , and then finally recorded in Materia Medica as a faithful record. No mind can memorize all the symptoms that were produced by various medicines and recorded in the Materia Medica . Therefore, the scientific research provers has been artistically reproduced from the Materia Medica to the repertory with their characteristic gradation. It has been said with truth that all subjects which arouse men, and cause them to divide into great contending parties, sooner or later crystallize into a word, or a terse apothegm, which contains a great truth. For a century homoeopathy has excited keen interest and been fiercely fought. Its scope is as wide as disease and the cure thereof, yet is all crystallized in Similia Similibus Curantur. Like Cures Like. As with all great truths a child may comprehend, and a wise man study it a lifetime, and then realize that the unexplored fields are vast and the possibilities in them, for the welfare of man and beast, almost limitless. Homoeopathy's work will cease only when disease no longer haunts the earth.