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Homeopathy is a rational system of medical science and therapeutics which has been in existence since 1810 . It uses diluted doses of natural substances to stimulate the body's own healing force, basing on the principle of -Similia Similibus Curentur - which means let 'likes be treated by likes'. This method of therapeutics is discovered and named as Homeopathy by a German physician and pharmacologist - Christian Friedrich Samuel Hahnemann (lived between 1755-1843) by uniting the Greek words -homios (means Similar) and pathos (means sickness or what one feels) which was published first as an article in Hufeland's Journal under the title "Essay on a New Principle for Ascertaining the Curative Powers of Drugs" in 1796 and the doctrines was published as an article " The Medicine of Experience" in 1805. Samuel Hahnemann experimented the action of the therapeutic principle - Similia Similibus Curentur - in the year 1790 and continued his experiments and verifications of truth and facts of sickness and healing , and then formulated the laws of Homeopathy. The practice of this medical science of healing became effective with the publication of Hahnemann's Organon of Medicine in 1810.

What is Similia Similibus Curentur?

The law of Similia Similibus Curentur means 'let likes be treated by likes' - which means that a remedy can cure a disease if it produces symptoms similar to those of the disease in a healthy person. To illustrate - take Allium Cepa - ( onion ) a homeopathic remedy made from onion. If you peal an onion - your eyes burn and become watery and you get a running nose and start sneezings. If you have similar symptoms like cold watery eyes, running nose and sneezings - a diluted homeopathic dose of Allium Cepa will stimulate your body's recovery force which overcomes the cold and its symptoms.

How Hahnemann discovered this law?

Samuel Hahnemann was one of the most distinguished physicians in Germany and also an epochal figure in the history of practice of medicine. He used to tell the profession in several essays on medical subjects that he was deeply convinced of the uncertainty of medical practice, and of the grave harmful effects of many methods in common use among physicians of that day, that he really doubted whether his patients would not, in many cases, have thriven as well, or better, without his aid. He was often convinced about this uncertainty of the medicine and used to call for reformation.

But what did Hahnemann do when he had become convinced of the ineffectiveness and mischievous practice of the then medical methods? Did he continue a routine practice for the sake of making a living? No. Like a noble, honest man, he refused to make a pretence of curing where he believed he did not cure. He relinquished the practice of medicine and devoted himself to the collateral science of chemistry and to literary labors. But his mind was ever at work on the great question of the improvement of the practice of medicine, for he was - sure that the Creator had not left His creatures without a means of relief from the pangs and ravages of disease-.Hahnemann gathered all the instances of specific cures in the medical literature that he could lay his hands on. An incident like - `Newtons's falling apple'- occurred. While translating Cullen's Materia Medica from English to German language, he came upon the eulogizing remarks of Cullen about the ague-curing property of Cinchona-bark and his explanation of the modus operandi of that drug i.e.. by virtue of bitterness the drug cured the ague. This explanation did not satisfy him as there were plenty of bitter drugs but not possessing the ague-curative power. He thought, of testing the positive action of Cinchona-bark on his own body. After taking a few doses of the said decoction of the bark, he came in for symptoms similar to what were described under the disease, called 'march ague'. The coincidence was too striking for a Hahnemannian mind to ignore. He thought whether Cinchona-bark did cure ague by virtue of its power of producing ague-like symptoms in healthy bodies. Following the clue, he started to prove several so-called specific drugs on himself and on some others, and in every case he noticed the similarity of symptoms produced by the drugs to those of the natural diseases to which they were supposed to be specific. He made the induction that the diseases so cured by the medicines were cured by virtue of the same power in the medicines which produced symptoms like those they cured. He then converted the induction to deduction and said - Let likes be treated by likes- Similia Similibus Curentur. Thus, Homeopathy was born when Hahnemann published an article in Hufelands's Journal under the title _ Essay on a New Principle for ascertaining the curative powers of drugs.

Homeopathy a Science:

Homeopathy is a department of science in general medicine which has for its principal objects the observation and the study of action of remedial agents in 'health and disease', and the treatment and cure of diseases by medication, according to a fixed law or general principle. Homeopathy was founded and developed into a scientific system by Hahnemann under the principles of the Inductive Method of Science as developed by Lord Bacon. Its practice is governed by the principle of symptom-similarity, which is the application in medicine of the universal principle of Mutual Action formulated by Sir Isaac Newton in his Third Law of Motion:" Action and reaction are equal and opposite." (Stuart Close).

The fundamental principles of homeopathy are embodied in a system of doctrines, laws and rules of practice. Like an experimental science, homeopathy is established under the principles of the inductive method in science. It consists of two series of phenomena, independently observed, collected and studied, connected by an underlying law or principle of nature. The phenomena of disease constitute its pathology, the experimentally derived phenomena of drugs, its materia medica and the application of its materia medica under the law of its therapeutics. Experimentally, in the construction of homeopathic materia medica, medicines were administered singly, in various doses, to healthy human beings for the purpose of eliciting, observing, recording and comparing their effects. Comparison shows that the symptoms thus produced by drugs are similar to the symptoms of disease.

Disease and Therapeutic Laws of Homeopathy:

Hahnemann says 'the physicians high and only mission is to restore the sick to health'. Which is healing. The highest ideal of cure is rapid, gentle and permanent restoration of the health, or removal and annihilation of the disease in its whole extent, in the shortest, most reliable and most harmless way.

When a person is sick, the vital energy is primarily deranged by the dynamic influence upon it of a morbic agent inimical to life, and the vital energy is deranged to such an abnormal state that can furnish the organism with its disagreeable sensations, and incline it to the irregular process - such state is called as Disease. When a homeopathic medicine (a) similimum) is administered, an artificial morbid affection is brought into contact with the deranged vital energy and against which the instinctive vital energy is then compelled to direct an increased amount of energy which relieves the natural morbid affection in the first instance and finally the vital energy is freed from the artificial or medicinal morbid state and hence, the vital energy is enabled again to carry on the vital operations of the organism in a healthy manner, which amounts to total and permanent healing.

The curative power of medicines depends on their symptoms similar to the disease but superior to it in strength. Then each individual case of disease is most surely, radically, rapidly and permanently annihilated and removed only by a medicine capable of producing ( in the human system) in the most similar and complete manner the totality of its symptoms, which at the same time are stronger than the disease. This is the doctrine of similars and therapeutics . Though it is highly probable explanation, this phenomenon is always corroborated as a truth with the feature of aggravation of disease symptoms after administration of a homeopathic similimum which results in healing.

The Working Principles of Homeopathy:

The principles underlying the system of Homeopathic medicine can be briefly enumerated as below :-

- the totality of the symptoms of the patient is the basis of medical treatment.

- the use of single medicine , the symptoms and sphere of action of which have been predetermined on the basis of controlled experiments upon healthy persons.

- The principle of symptom-similarity as the guide to the choice of the remedy.

- The minimum dose capable of producing a dynamic or functional reaction. Similia Similibus Curentur; Simplex. Simile Mininum.

The Theory of Chronic Diseases:

After discovering the law of Similar and its application , Hahnemann found another discovery in the field of medicine consisting of (1) the discovery of miasms ie. Living beings, as the efficient cause of some of the acute and chronic diseases and (2) in the determination of successive stages in the evolution of diseases, both acute and chronic. He further identified and classified the Drug diseases and Environmental and Occupational diseases. He theorised that all chronic diseases are due to predisposition caused by the inherited or acquired miasms which are named as Psora - Syphilis - Sycosis. As per this theory, unless the miasm is cured or annihilated the chronic disease is difficult to cure and which is subjected to relapses.

In the practice of Homeopathy it is clearly evident that chronic diseases are permanently being cured basing on the miasmatic and individualization treatment.

Difference between Homeopathy and Conventional Medical Systems:

The features of Homeopathy are different from that of Conventional Medical systems: The main differential features are -

-'Treat the patient not the disease' is the chief feature ie. individualization.

-Homeopathy treats each patient as a person suffering under and from particular conditions. In other systems, it is to generalize, to diagnose and to treat the illnesses and their causes .

-Homeopathy tries to find out a specific remedy for each suffering individual - whatever may be the nomenclature for his disease condition. E.g.. Ten cases of tuberculosis may require ten different remedies; whereas ten different disease-conditions bearing different nomenclature labels may require the same drug. In other systems, it tries to find out specific remedies for specific diseases named and classified according to a nosological schema. E.g.. Specific drugs for diseases like tuberculosis, pneumonia, typhoid, diabetes, cough, diarrhea etc.

-Homeopathy looks at the human organism from the point of view of a Biological Whole. In other systems, it tries to study the human organism from a materialistic stand point It tries to explain the vital phenomena in terms of chemico-physical processes and in terms of matter and energy or motion.

-Homeopathy regards that the source of life and energy is not but just based on only materialistic considerations, but also on spiritual aspects. The scope of it lies in treating the actual morbid vital process and not just its causative agents nor its ultimate. In other medical systems, the diseases are regarded as the sum total of structural and functional changes in the body.

Homeopathy accepts only those substances as therapeutic remedies whose positive actions have been ascertained by proving on healthy human beings, and other systems makes use of any thing as a remedial agent derived from any source and accept as remedies after experiments in labs on animals etc.

In Homeopathy the remedies are drawn from natural sources and are prepared in such a way that they are devoid of all chemical toxicity. The remedies are highly diluted and administered in minimal dose only.

The therapeutic scope of homeopathy:

Since Homeopathy is the therapeutics by individualization , it cures both acute and chronic diseases basing on the symptoms of the sick person. The cure is rapid and permanent without paining the patient. It is the medicine for children - pregnant women - and old persons , for all the conditions which sought for medical therapy. Homeopathy offers safest treatment for the mental disorders like - anxiety, depressions, behavioral problems etc., of the patients. Referring the scope of Homeopathy in terms of disease- wise is improper since this system works on the basis of individual sickness irrespective of it disease nosology.

The patients who are under psychotherapy in other systems better respond and or healed from the mental symptoms or diseases by homeopathic treatment. The uniqueness of this system is - it recognizes the quality and positive mental state apart from physiological symptoms for the treatment of a sick person. It offers ocean of symptoms of mind and drugs.

What a homeopathic patient is to know?

The approach and clinical verification and examination by a Homeo-physician is a little different from that of a conventional physician. Homeopathic physician's aim is to see the sickness or disease of the patient by individualization for administering a single homeopathic remedy which shall be the similimum, for which he observes, enquires, questions, and studies about the patient and the condition of the sickness. As such patient has to reveal family and personal health histories, mind picture i.e. Emotions, Behavioral Problems, Anxiety, Depressions, Impulsive state, Imaginations, Illusions, Fixed ideas, and Mental problems after shocks or sad happenings etc., Personal likes and dislikes, food and eating habits, better and worse conditions, Sleep and Dreams, peculiar problems of the sickness etc. etc.

Here patient has to patiently reveal all the information for careful study and analysis of the case in order to find out the similimum. It is important to know that there will not be several medicines or prescriptions for each and every disease nosology. The uniqueness of the homeopathic system is to treat the patient with single remedy of all his revealed diseases. The relation between homeo-physician and patient should be very cordial and free. Here the cure is radical, rapid, and safe. Without any chemical toxity and side-effects of the drugs.

Homeopathy medicine acts as a prophylactic medicine in infectious and epidemic diseases and also annihilates the predisposed condition towards sickness. In India, Homeopathy is being used even as a public health medicine towards the epidemic diseases like Japanese Encephalitis and Malarial fevers. Homeopathy is also a good Veternary Medicine. Homeopathic medicines are the best curative drugs for the diseases of animals and birds, which are being used in India. It is also being experimented in the sectors of prawn-culture , flori-culture and agro-farms for preventing diseases and for better growth management So, Homeopathy is the medicine for all forms of life.

Research in Homeopathy:

Many countries in east and west have recognized the Homeopathy as official Medical System and also many scientific institutions, scientists and researchers are doing a lot of basic and general research in Homeopathy in respect of new drug proving, scientific verification and explanations on the medicinal power and efficacy of homeopathic remedies, remedial effect on the organisms etc., which are being published in many standard journals.

Global recognition and growth:

Homeopathy is being recognized by many countries as a legal medical system and is included in their National Medical Policies. Educational and training institutions, manufacturing and pharmaceutical sectors, research organizations, literature and journalistic publications, economy and trade are rapidly growing in the sector of Homeopathy. The Homeopathy is rapidly popularizing and the growth rate in usage of homeopathic drugs for common and chronic ailments is very fast. The economic conditions of the users are not affected due to its cost-effectiveness in the treatment of diseases. By recognizing Homeopathy as legal medicine and including it in National Health Policy , the Nation's Medical Budget will be trimmed.

In conclusion, it can be said that the' Wonder drugs of today become the discarded rubbish of tomorrow ' and this state of affairs goes by the name of progress and research and development in the other conventional Medical Systems, which is being witnessed and watched by the medical world, whereas the doctrines of Homeopathic therapeutics are based on natural laws which embodied scientifically and these are eternal and spiritual. Homeopathy is the latest fruit of human genius in the field of medicine ,which seems to uphold the supreme authority of the physical and medical science.


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