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General Introduction to Homeopathy


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Homeopathy was developed by Dr Samuel Hahnemann (1755-1843) starting with his recognition of the Law of Simila as a general therapeutic law. Dr. Hahnemann who first recognised & applied this therapeutic principle as a general law.

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In the 18th century, the medical science was still very unscientific. The knowledge about human body, diseases and the modalities of treatment were poor and vague. Methods like blood-letting, leeching, purging were the common treatments for most ailments

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. Practically the whole of the 18th century in Europe was marked by a plethora of theories and hypothesis concerning the nature of disease and its causation. Consequently methods of therapeutic practice were as numerous and diverse as the theories propounded. The uncertainty and lack of any fixed principle of healing disappointed Dr. Hahnemann.

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In 1790, when Dr. Hahnemann was engaged in translating William Cullen's (a Scottish physician) materia medica from English to German, his attention was arrested by the remark of the author that cinchona bark cured malaria because of its bitterness & tonic effects on stomach.

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. This explanation appeared unsatisfactory to him. In his youth he had travelled in a particular area of Hungary where Marsh Fever or Malaria had been rife. He had used the herb, Cinchona Bark, but his experience did not support the conclusion of Cullen's paper. He decided to carry out some experiments of his own.

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He took a dose of the herb himself and he found that he developed symptoms very much like Marsh Fever. He realized that the cure of the disease could cause the symptoms of the disease. He tried it on his family, friends and volunteers and they all developed the same sort of symptoms.

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So he developed the principle that a substance which will create the symptoms of a disease in a healthy person will actually cure the symptoms of the disease in a sick person. Hahnemann called this principle "similia similibus curentur" or "let like be cured by like".

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Many of the substances Hahnemann used were highly poisonous, for example arsenic and mercury, and to avoid the toxic effect, he experimented with smaller and smaller doses. By experimentation, he found that successive dilutions of a substance became progressively more medicinally active, and less toxic.

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Homeopathy Principles Homeopathy as a science of medical treatment has a philosophy of its own and its therapeutics is based on certain fundamental principles. These are: Law of Similia Law of Simplex Law of Minimum Doctrine of Drug Proving Theory of Chronic Disease Theory of Vital Force Doctrine of Drug-Dynamisation

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The law of similars The first and most important "natural law" expressed by Hahnemann, the one from which homeopathy derives its name, is similia similibus curentur—let like cure like. This means that the appropriate substance to treat a disease is one which induces similar symptoms in a healthy person.

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The Principle of Dilution Hahnemann developed the system of homeopathic dilution, where one part of the starting material (usually plant extract) is diluted with 99 parts of diluent (usually alcohol and water). The mixture is then "succussed" or "potentised", which is a rhythmical shaking of the liquid which helps to release the energy within the substance. The dilution is called a 1C homeopathic potency. The process of dilution can be repeated with the 1C potency to make a 2C potency, and so on until the desired potency is reached.

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Hahnemann discovered that by administering infinitesimally small doses, he not only cured ailments without undesirable side effects but in fact the cure was more effective than with larger doses. Later two more scales for manufacturing homeopathic medicines were created. The Decimal scale developed by Hering uses the 1:9 ratio for successive dilution, whereas the LM scale given by Dr. Hahnemann uses a dilution scale of 1:50,000.

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In Homeopathy the concept of homeostatic balance on physical levels is expanded to include the mental and emotional realms as well. In other words, one's body, mind and emotions are viewed as always working to maintain a relative degree of homeostasis or balance.

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Because the body, mind and emotions respond in unity to stress, the homeopathic approach to understanding disease is holistic. This means an attempt is made to evaluate any problem in the context of the whole person--physically, mentally and emotionally--and to understand how the person is limited.

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The homeopathic approach does not combat disease symptoms in the same manner as one would in conventional practice. Instead, homeopathic philosophy states that if the organism is brought back into balance, the symptoms of disease (imbalance) will resolve accordingly.

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The homeopathic means to this end is unique to each person; therefore, whereas a conventional diagnosis is based on a defined set of common symptoms, and will be treated conventionally with common treatments, a homeopath looks for a broad and unique picture of imbalance specific to each person.

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Such was Hahnemman's success, particularly with endemic and epidemic diseases, that homeopathy quickly spread throughout Europe and across to America. Dr Fredrick Harvey Foster Quinn introduced homeopathy into Great Britain in the late 1820's and in 1849 he founded the London Homeopathic Hospital.

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Homeopathy is particularly popular in France, England, Germany, Greece, India, Pakistan, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, and South Africa. Approximately 40% of the French public have used homeopathic medicines, and 39% of the French physicians have prescribed the medicines.

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In India, there are nearly 180 homeopathic medical colleges, 7500 government clinics, and 307 hospitals offering homeopathy treatment. Approximately 35 are government colleges, rest are managed by private bodies. Homeopathy is the third most popular method of treatment in India, after Allopathy and Ayurveda. It is estimated that there are about quarter million homeopaths in India. Nearly 10,000 new ones add to this number every year. The legal status of homeopathy in India is very much at par with the conventional medicine.

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