Homeopathy is a distinct medical specialty being practiced across the world. It is a recognized medical system in India through the Homeopathy Central Council Act, 1973. The system has blended well into the ethos and traditions of the country that it has been recognized as one of the national systems of medicine.
Ancient medical wisdom as well as Hippocratic writings speaks of two diverse principles of treating diseases. One is Contraria Contrariis Curantur (Latin) which means opposites are cured by opposites. This principle teaches to treat disease by using remedies that produce opposite effects. The other principle is the Similia Similibus Curentur (Latin), which means let similar things take care of similar things. Hippocrates was known to have said, "Through the like, disease is produced and through the application of the like it is cured."
The word ‘Homeopathy’ is derived from two Greek words hómoios (similar) and páthos (suffering). This means in Homeopathy natural diseases are treated with substances that produce effects similar to the suffering. The key principle of this medical approach is similia similibus curentur. Homeopaths generally refer this as Like be treated with likes.
The system was propounded by a German physician Dr. Christian Friedrich Samuel Hahnemann (10th April, 1755 – 2nd July, 1843). The main principle of Homeopathy is similia. Another principle, namely, Indivilidualisation speaks of holistic approach in health, disease and treatment by taking into consideration of the sick individual at physical, mental, social and spiritual levels. This concept is now emerging even in biomedicine as personalized medicine (theranostics) as an important factor of diagnostics and therapy of long term diseases. The concept of prescribing medicines having exceedingly low quantity of original medicinal substances is called theory of minimum dose. This is emerging as Nano pharmacology. Another major contribution of Hahnemann is his teaching on using only those medicines whose therapeutic efficacy has been verified on human beings safely. He named this as Drug Proving. This is gaining wider acceptability in the scientific fraternity and is now called Human Pathogenitic Trial. (HPT) Thus, the scientific validity of the principles postulated by Hahnemann in early 18th century are getting validation with the advancement of science. Therefore, it is said that Hahnemann was ahead of his time in terms of knowledge and wisdom.
Homeopathy can be defined as a “dynamic, holistic and vitalistic system of individualistic drug therapeutics, based on the law of similars, potentially capable to cure diseases that are curable and relieves symptoms of incurable nature”. The key principle of the system is Similia Similibus Curentur, while the crucial principles are doctrine of Drug-proving, doctrine of drug- dynamisation, theory of chronic diseases, totality of symptoms, direction of cure and the important supporting principles are vital force / dynamism, Single remedy, and Susceptibility / individualization.
Homeopathic remedies are used by the public for viral diseases, different forms of allergic conditions, skin disorders, behavioral problems and several chronic long term diseases.Its strength also lies in its effectiveness on certain clinical conditions for which there is less treatment in other medical systems. This medicine is used as a standalone treatment for various women and children diseases, hormonal disorders, pain and palliative care, infertility and so on. Similarly it is used as an adjunct/ adjuvant in Cancer, COPD, Diabetes and its complications. In preventive care, Homeopathic medicines are used on a unique concept of Genus epidemicus. The strength of Homeopathy in promotive health is its constitutional and anti-miasmatic approach
How Does It Work?
A basic belief behind homeopathy is “like cures like.” In other words, something that brings on symptoms in a healthy person can -- in a very small dose -- treat an illness with similar symptoms. This is meant to trigger the body’s natural defenses. For example, red onion makes your eyes water. That’s why it’s used in homeopathic remedies for allergies. Treatments for other ailments are made from poison ivy, white arsenic, crushed whole bees, and an herb called arnica. Homeopathic doctors (who also are called “homeopaths”) weaken these ingredients by adding water or alcohol. Then they shake the mixture as part of a process called “potentization.” They believe this step transfers the healing essence. Homeopaths also believe that the lower the dose, the more powerful the medicine. In fact, many of these remedies no longer contain any molecules of the original substance. They come in a variety of forms, like sugar pellets, liquid drops, creams, gels, and tablets.