What is Homeopathy?
“Homeopathy is a group one therapy, along with osteopathy, chiropractic, acupuncture, and herbal medicine, which means it has its own diagnostic approach and treatment method,” according to the House of Lords Select Committee, Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2000. “It is a gentle system of medicine which involves treating the individual with highly diluted substances from plants, animals, minerals and salts, given mainly in tablet form, with the aim of triggering the body’s own healing system,” says Pamela Stevens from the Society of Homeopaths.
It is based on the principle of “like cures like” so a substance that creates symptoms in a healthy person can be used to treat the same symptoms in someone who is ill. It can help to resolve emotional and physical problems and restore health and wellbeing. “The remedies used [in homeopathy] are non-toxic and therefore do not have side effects and can be used safely alongside allopathic medicine,” say Antonia Chitty and Victoria Dawson, the authors of “Complementary Therapies – The Essential Guide”.
A Brief History of Homeopathy
Hippocrates talked about homeopathy 2,500 years ago but its role as a complementary therapy has evolved over the past 200 years in the UK. The word ‘homeopathy’ is of Greek origin and means of ‘similar suffering or disease’. In the 18th century a German physician called Samuel Hahnemann became interested in alternative therapies and experimented with the South American practice of using tree bark to treat malaria. After taking a daily dose of the bark he developed the same symptoms to a person with malaria and concluded that if a drug was to be effective it must produce the same symptoms to those present in the disease it wants to treat. He went on to develop the system that we call homeopathy.