What are the guiding principles of homeopathy?
Homeopathy uses substances found in nature that stimulate and regulate the innate natural healing mechanisms of the body. Selection of medicines takes into account not only the symptoms associated with the disease, but also the characteristic way in which these symptoms occur in the sufferer. By stimulating a person’s natural defenses, homeopathy can cure and/or relieve symptoms of acute or chronic disease.
The selection of the appropriate homeopathic medicine is based primarily on the Law of Similars, first described by Hippocrates in the fourth century BC:
A substance capable, in large doses, to trigger health symptoms in a healthy person is able, in small doses to cure similar symptoms in a sick person.
For example, the absorption of large quantities of ipecac, a plant of the Rubiaceae family, triggers nausea and vomiting. Homeopathic ipecac, in which the plant is present in infinitesimal quantities, relieves the same symptoms.
The word homeopathy is derived from the Greek words homoios, “similar,” and pathos, “suffering.”
It is the German physician Samuel Hahnemann (1755-1843) to whom we owe the birth of homeopathy, through his discovery of the other great principle of homeopathy: the Law of Infinitesimals.
According to this principle, successive dilutions and succussions (impacts) of a substance to achieve extremely high dilutions not only prevents the substance from producing side effects, but also releases the full action or effectiveness of the substance–so long as this substance closely matches the symptoms exhibited by the patient as per the Law of Similars.