Homoeopathy; Its History and some Explanation.
(See also a complete lay man's guide, some basic facts and FAQ's on homeopathy)

The History
The Basic Principles

Given below is a brief but condensed history of the system of Homoeopathy.

Homoeopathy is a system of therapeutics with so many peculiarities. Thatís also the main reason why Homoeopathy helps you to conquer more diseases than any other system of treatment. The history of this magnanimous system actually dates back to ancient times, as the major working principle behind it "Simila Simibus Curentur" was known to man as early as ancient Hindu mythology. Even Hippocrates the father of medicine described about it in Fifth century B.C. It was up to Dr.Christian Friedrich Samuel Hahnemann, the Father of Homoeopathy to understand it fully, the capability and scope of that law in the late eighteenth century and refine it to such a fine therapeutic tool, that within no time Homoeopathy gained international acclaim. Let us try to understand what is Homoeopathy in a simple way but without omitting any important points. 

The system, developed by Dr. Christian Friedrich Samuel Hahnemann, is based as said earlier on the natural law of healing "Simila Simibus Curentur", which means "Let likes be treated by likes".  Homios in Greek means similar, and pathos means suffering or pain. Here the drugs used to treat illnesses can and will produce almost similar diseases if given to a healthy human being. It is one of the many laws of nature and the best one as Master Hahnemann found out over the then existing 'allopathy', meaning 'opposite suffering'. He also refined this law to suit best to the needs of patients. Two other major peculiarity of homoeopathic drugs are the unique method of their preparation and the minuteness of their dose of administration. (see below for explanations). Finally perhaps the most important point as far as homoeopathy is concerned is that it looks at the patient as a whole -not as a particular disease or any degenerated organ- and also treats the patient as a whole. To say it in other words the system has a well defined philosophical background as good and as well worked out as its scientific base. In fact this one peculiarity is the reason for the system being effective for a variety of illness where other systems fall short. 

Dr. Hahnemann have compiled the essence of Homoeopathy into a small but not the least simple book 'The Organon of Medicine', which can aptly be dubbed as the Bible of Homoeopathy. We will give you the full text (down loadable) of this magnum opus very soon . 

The early history of Homoeopathy is so interrelated with it's founder that it is almost inseparable. So for that you can directly go to the section on Hahnemann.

Homoeopathy did spread to almost all corners of the world and every where it became a success. This is because of its ability to understand the real human being behind the diseased person, its compassion and empathy for the sick. Also it offered cheaper and cost effective treatment option to many ailments, which is thought to be incurable and/or terminal. An important point to remember is that this success was despite the many hurdles it has to pass with its stigma of being a modern treatment option but without any scientific base. In fact the system has got a sound and definite explanation but the contemporary science never had the courage or the equipment to conceive it. Each day more and more  evidences are pouring in to confirm the efficacy of the system and its therapeutic agents. But sadly what is still lacking and what is more important than all this -at least to modern scientific world- is the knowledge about the exact mechanism of its action. There are many postulations, some very excellent. The science is also advancing fast. Let's hope the mystery will be unraveled soon.  

Presently the system is very much active in all the four continents. Even in the Middle East countries, where its alcoholic nature arouse skepticism, it is getting official blessings. In some countries like India the education and standardisation of the system is under the direct control of the Government. In such places homoeopathic professionals (like graduate homoeopaths) enjoy the full honours and privileges of a basic doctor. In some other countries the system is being monitored by professional bodies of Classical Homoeopaths (like CCHC, JPHMA etc.).

For more explanations about the system and answers to some very frequently asked queries see our FAQ section. Because what follows is a more technical and somewhat complex details regarding it, which the ordinary people may find a bit difficult to digest. For more philosophically oriented, who can endure a little technicality it is always better read on from below.
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The Principles behind Homoeopathy

The following are the twelve basic principles of Homoeopathy which are the pillars on which the system remains.

1. The law of similia.
2. The law of single medicine
3. The law of minimum dose
4. The doctrine of vital force.
5. The doctrine of drug proving
6. The doctrine of potentisation or drug dynamisation

7. The doctrine of Chronic Miasms
8. The doctrine of The totality of symptoms
9. The doctrine of Individualisation
10. The law of direction of cure
11. The law of repetition of the dose 
12. The law of drug relationship

The first three are known as cardinal principles of Homoeopathy. Some of this principles are to some extent beyond the acceptance of modern scientific thought, but these will also be cleared when true disciples of Homoeopathy are born in the future.

1. The law of similia.

The law of similia forms the corner stone of Homoeopathy.  this has been explained previously. Here  in a disease condition the administration of a remedy, depends up on its ability of producing similar (not necessarily be identical) symptoms if given to a healthy subject.  For examples Belladonna produces high dry fever attended even with delirium if given to a healthy human being. So for treating high fever especially those attended with delirium can be treated with Belladonna. 
            This in fact is one of the laws of nature itself.
The merit of this law is that it serves you in two ways. One, as already stated it gives an easy guide for the physician to the correct remedy. Two, even before that it gives a fool proof way to ascertain the therapeutic property of a drug substance with hundred percent accuracy. The latter is explained in detail under the 'drug proving' below. Even though "similia" the basic idea of Homoeopathy originated long ago, it was the genius of Hahnemann that made it into an effective therapeutic tool, who tested it in thousand ways before adapting it to the every day use of suffering humanity. 
 
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2. The law of single medicine

In Homoeopathy usually a single remedy is administered at a time. Hahnemann was against mixing up of two or more remedies at a time for any disease. He said and proved that only the most similar (called the similimum) drug is all that is needed for a cure. He sates that "I have no hesitation in asserting that whenever two medicines are mingled together, they almost never produce each its own action on the system but one almost always different from the action of both separately- an intermediate action, a neutral action or an entirely separate action. The more complex our recipe more obscure will it be in medicine." This he have explained in great detail in his great book Organon of Medicine. This law becomes particularly important as here medicines are proved on healthy human beings (ascertaining their therapeutic value) only singly and in simple form without admixture of any other substance. So a single, simple remedy will always  produce the most beneficial effects without any additional means provided the selection and administration (dose, repetition etc.)  is most appropriate.     
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3. The law of minimum dose

Equally important is the fact that here drugs are given in a minute quantity only. You can it is in sub-physiological doses. This mainly rests on two facts. One, as stated earlier the drugs substances which can cause disease in a human being. So the least quantity you use the least will be the drug effects (the disturbance caused by the drugs in the system, which indeed every drug will produce). Secondly homoeopathic drugs are prepared in a peculiar way of diluting called dynamisation (will be discussed in detail below) so that they develop a unique power to penetrate deep into the substance man as well as the disease (or disease causing pathogens). So a larger quantity may actually damage the system instead of doing good. Also remember that homoeopathic drugs are not simple dilutions but are called potency. The potency rises with each step of dilution. To sum it up let's say that whenever possible the size of the dose of Homoeopathic medicine, should be sub-physiological, i.e. a dose that is so small that it is not capable of producing disease symptoms, when used therapeutically.    
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4. The doctrine of vital force.

Next comes the most unique at the same time bizarre theory in Homoeopathy. Hahnemann defines vital force in aphorism 9 of 'Organon of Medicine'
             "In the healthy condition of man, the spiritual vital force (Autocracy), the dynamic that animates the material body (organism), rules with unbounded sway, and retains all parts of the organism in admirable, harmonious, vital operations, as regards both sensations and functions, so that our indwelling, reason-gifted mind can freely employ this living, healthy instrument for the higher purposes of our existence." 
            In short there is a force, a power capable of sustaining on it's own, which exists within every living organism. That power is the driving force as well as sustaining reason of its life. Which is invisible and intangible and that's why it is occasionally called the simple substance. It manifests in disease as well as health and rules the material body in which it occupies. All the actions and functions of the material body is under its control and occurs due to its being there. Any alteration of its composition will reflect in the material body too. Diseases are nothing but the alteration in the state of health of the individual produced in turn by any alterations in his vital force, which express themselves by the so called signs and symptoms.
 
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5. The doctrine of drug proving

This is another unique method of the system. This is a systematic procedure of testing drugs on healthy subjects in order to find out their therapeutic or healing power. The therapeutic application of Homoeopathic drugs is based exclusively on this. As said earlier this is based on the law of similia. Here the pathogenesis or curative power of each drug is ascertained by administering drugs on normal healthy individuals and noting the changes produced by these drugs in their health. The healthy human volunteers are called 'provers' of the drugs. The resulting symptom pictures are 'provings' of the drug. The effects of drugs are noted not only on the organs or structure of the body but also on the mind and personality of the prover. The record of provings of the drugs constitutes 'Materia Medica' of Homoeopathy. For a single drug proving is conducted on a number of provers of different age sex and body make up and also with different potencies or strength of the same drug. By this means not only its healing power is known, but also its affinity to the body make up, mentality, sex, age etc. are also known. These data on one hand makes Homoeopathic medicines highly individual specific and because of this on the other hand effectively eradicates the disease. In short in this system two individuals with same disease are two separate, often different diseases. That is, the essence of the disease has  to be combined with the individuality of the patient to make the picture complete. As different individuals are having essentially different individuality  the picture should also be different Then this picture is matched with the drug pictures given in Materia Medica according to 'similia' to find out the correct remedy called the similimum
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6. The doctrine of potentisation or drug dynamisation

As the drugs are capable of producing similar symptoms there was one problem with their usage. They caused sever increase or aggravation in the sickness during treatment as the disease symptoms got added to that produced by the drugs! So Dr.Hahnemann tried diluting the drugs in order to minimize these unwanted effects. During these experiments he made a crucial observation, that 'the more the medicinal substance is diluted and shaken, the greater will be its therapeutic effect'. Provided you are doing that in a systemic method! After refining it He called this process potentisation or dynamisation.  This is a process of serially diluting the crud drug in a neutral liquid (alcohol/water) adding more and more of the liquid and shaking in a specific way in each stage. According to him Homoeopathic dynamisations are processes by which the medicinal properties which are latent in natural substances (while in their crude state) become aroused and then become enabled to act in an almost spiritual manner on our life-principle. The product of dynamisation is called potency. The amazing fact is that when drugs are potentised in this way their curative property increase in geometric progression with their dilution! Higher potencies (actually more diluted ones!) are used with extreme care in the system and are capable of more penetration into the self and are especially useful in treating long standing, chronic cases.
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7. The doctrine of Chronic Miasms

This is a very important point in the philosophy of Homoeopathy. Some thing which makes the system a very different one from the prevailing modern systems. The word miasm is derived form a Greek word 'miasma' which means stain, pollution etc. The working principle behind the theory of miasm is this. Although the acute diseases were rapidly and completely cured by well selected Homoeopathic medicines, chronic diseases always had a tendency to reappear in a more or less varied form with new symptoms.  This apparent failure after practicing Homoeopathy for about 30 years (1790 - 1820) led Hahnemann to the discovery of some underlying cause yet undiscovered in the formation and maintenance of chronic diseases, which he termed miasms. They are  psycho-physiological states complemented to en extent by the environment which acts as a base for diseases. They not only serves as a fertile soil for the diseases but even seeds the process of illness.  Hahnemann recognized that there are three miasms as the underlying fundamental causes of all the true chronic diseases. Each one is having itís own symptoms and mode of action as far as initiation and maintenance of a disease in a healthy organism is concerned. 

The three chronic miasms are
1. Syphilitic- The venereal chancre disease.
2. Sycotic- The fig wart disease.
3. Psoric- The itch eruption disease.

The first two are collectively known as venereal miasms and the third one non-venereal miasm.  According to Hahnemann psora accounts for 7/8th of all the chronic diseases where as syphilis and sycosis are responsible for only 1/8th of them. Also psora inevitably joins the other two miasms in time to complicate the disease process and picture even further. According to him psora is the most infections and dangerous of all the three miasms and the most difficult to cure too.  

In the development of chronic disease we can see that there are three stages.  1.Time of infection 2. Stage of internal development and 3. Stage of external manifestations. Miasm helps in all the three stages and flourishes the illness even when we do not notice any abnormality externally in the initial stages.

Actually the theory  of chronic miasms is a complicated one and a bit difficult to digest. But it explains the process of chronic diseases beautifully. More and complete explanation of the theory of chronic miasms are given in  the remarkable book entitled "The Chronic Diseases, Their Peculiar Nature and Homoeopathic Treatment"  published in 1828 by Dr.Hahnemann.  In this book in 5 volumes, Hahnemann clearly and completely explains the doctrine of miasms and their treatment with medicines specially adapted to do so.  
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8. The doctrine of The totality of symptoms

Another remarkable point. The totality of symptoms is an expression peculiar to Homoeopathy.  This is intimately related with the law of similia. According to similia the before beginning the treatment the physician has to determine the drug which is capable of producing changes similar to the symptoms presented by the patient. Each drug is capable of  producing many symptoms in the healthy humans and they are known by proving. These provings can be termed as drug pictures as they are the portrait of the diseases, which the drug is capable of producing and thereby curing.  Then by carefully studying the symptoms of the patient a symptom picture of the patient is created which then is matched  with that of the drug pictures. Thus the drug showing greatest similarity between these two  is chosen. This symptom picture of the patient is called the totality of symptoms. In other words it is the total symptoms of him. It is not a mere numerical summation of the symptoms. But includes the peculiar mental characteristics of the patient, the environmental peculiarities, the unique features of the disease (the peculiar, uncommon, singular and/or striking symptoms in Homoeopathic terminology) and all.

The totality of symptoms is the true and only basis of every homoeopathic prescription.  The concept of totality is based on the following fundamentals put forward by Hahnemann.
1. Nothing can be known about disease expect through symptoms, as they are the only true expressions of the illness.
2. It is the patient -the individual being, not even the physical being- who is ill and not his parts or organs, so that we have to take into account the mental disturbance and individual characteristics also in all the diseases.

4. The similimum is indicated by the more striking, singular, uncommon and peculiar (characteristic) signs and symptoms and not by common symptoms. Because for example rise in temperature is only a common symptom of all the infections. But its peculiar timings, other modalities, accompanying sensations all make it clear which particular infection is it. So all theses symptoms mentioned here becomes the uncommon ones.

Hahnemann defined totality of symptoms as the 'outwardly reflected picture of the internal essence of the disease, that is of the affection of the vital force'.

According to Stuart Close "Totality of symptoms means all the symptoms of the case which are capable of being logically combined into a harmonious and consistent whole, having form, coherency and individuality.  The totality must express an idea.  It is the numerical aggregate plus an idea or plan which unites them in a special manner to give them its characteristic form.  

Thus totality of symptoms expresses the holistic approach to the medicine practiced in Homoeopathy.  
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  9. The doctrine of Individualisation

This in fact is the elaboration of the law of similars and the totality of symptoms, as a successful application of law of similars depends entirely on the concept of individualisation. All the practical processes of Homoeopathy from drug proving to fixing of auxiliary treatment are governed by the principle of individualisation.  We are aware that no two individual  are exactly alike except uniovular twins. Even in them also there may be some differences in individuality if they are brought up ion a separate environment. From this it logically follows that the reaction of two individuals to identical disease producing causes will differ in certain details (although retaining some common features which enable the nosological classification of diseases).  But it is these differences, which give the case its individuality and which enable the Homoeopathic physician to separate two cases of same disease from one another.

The concept of individualisation takes into consideration the totality of symptoms manifested through all the three planes, i.e. mental, emotional and physical. These are the three fundamental planes through which life forces manifest. When we study an individual, we not only study the bodily configuration, not even the mental characteristics but also the spiritual and emotional attributes as revealed through his reactions to the environment.  Thus the characteristics in the spiritual, mental, emotional and physical spheres reveal the individual to us.

The basis of individualisation is a properly taken case. According to Hahnemann "this individualised examination of a case of disease demands on the part of physician nothing but freedom from prejudice, sound senses, attention in observing and fidelity in tracing the picture of disease." Hahnemann's first rule in individualisation is that the characteristics of the case must correspond with the characteristic of the drug. For this the more striking, singular, uncommon, peculiar (characteristic) signs and symptoms of the case of disease are chiefly and almost solely to be kept in view.  For it is more particularly these that when matched to the similar ones in the list of symptoms of the selected medicine effects a cure.  
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10. The law of direction of cure

This is an important principle in the system. As it was first described by Dr.Constantine Hering it is also known as Hering's law of cure. According to this law the "cure takes place from within outwards, from above downwards, from the more important organs to the less important organs, and symptoms disappear in the reverse order of their appearance". To explain, in the cure (means actual removal of the disease in its entirety from the subject)  of an illness, the first symptoms to disappear being the last to appear and also they disappear in  typical fashion. They usually go from the more important, deep seated, vital organs at first and from the less important more superficial parts they go only at the last.

This arises from the fact that all diseases flow from the centre to the circumference, from the innermost to the outer most. In other words the disease first affects the inner being and then only, when after it flourishes in the inner sanctum of the subject, do it manifest externally. So a simple disappearance of symptoms is by no means an indication of a cure. Hering noted that a certain and lasting recovery occurs in the direction mentioned above. When these directions are followed we can sit back and predict the successful outcome. On the other hand if symptoms disappear in the wrong sequence and if the process moves from without inwards, treatment needs to be rethinked.  
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11. The law of repetition of the dose 

Homoeopathically selected medicine because of its appropriateness and the minuteness of the dose, gently remove the disease similar to it without producing any untoward, undesired, discomforting symptoms.  But when the dose is not sufficiently small, it produces a kind of aggravation -even though mild- for some time after the beginning of the treatment.  When the dose is somewhat large, this aggravation will last for a considerable time ranging from a few hours to even months depending upon the nature of the disease, the drug and the dose.  This aggravation has much resemblance to the original disease and it appears to the patient to be an aggravation of his own disease.  But to be true this is nothing but an extremely similar medicinal disease. This apparent increase  in the illness is due to the primary action of the Homoeopathic medicine, as it is capable of producing a similar condition to that of the disease. This  is called 'Homoeopathic aggravation'.  A slight Homoeopathic aggravation is a very good prognostic sign in acute diseases, as it indicates the correct remedy as well as the proper action of the same. If the dose of the Homoeopathic medicine is very small this aggravation will be slight and of short duration to be almost imperceptible but by a very experienced and expert Homoeopath. In short it is always recommended that the lowest possible dose is to be used in every case.

To Hahnemann the repetition of dose was a subject of constant revision. For avoiding the so called aggravation he in his later periods even introduced a new potentisation method where the drugs are simplified infinitely so that one can administer a micro minute dose affecting a cure at the same time avoiding the aggravation altogether. 
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12. The law of drug relationship.

As in any other system of pharmacy it has been observed in the system of Homoeopathy also that a relationship exists between certain medicines, or medicine groups. This is evident from proving as well as in clinical application . Some drugs have got particular affinity towards some others so that they work well after such medicines. In some other cases certain drugs have got an adverse relationship so that if administered after a drug, will completely remove the curative action of the first drug. Some may even react violently within the body so that severe complications may arise. This relationship is because the particular drugs originate from a similar source or belong to the same botanical family or chemical group. It  can be seen that certain features are common to many drugs belonging to the same group or family.  

It was Dr. Boenninghauesen, who perceived after a comparative study of material medica, that drugs can be grouped and evaluated according to degrees of similarity or differences. The concept of drug relationship is a unique contribution made by Dr. Boenninghausen in the scientific Homoeopathic practice.  The different types of clinical relationships are as follows.
1. Complementary remedies, which complements the action of each other.
2. Remedies that follow well. As said they follow the other remedy very well when indicated.
3. Compatible remedies. They can be given one after the other without any adverse effects.
4. Inimical remedies. These should not be prescribed after each other as they interact and produce harmful effects as described earlier.
5. Antidotes. These drugs when given will neutralise any effects produced by the earlier drugs, but will not produce harmful symptoms
6. Collaterals etc.
 
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