Homeopathy is a method of medicine which involves treating the patient with very diluted substances in the form of pills or liquid mixtures, with the aim of triggering the body’s natural system of healing. Homeopathy is based on the principle that you can treat ‘like with like’, that is, a substance which causes symptoms when taken in large doses, can be used in small amounts to treat those same symptoms.
The principle of treating “like with like” dates back to Hippocrates (460-377BC) but in its present form, homeopathy has been extensively used worldwide for more than 200 years, since it was discovered by a German doctor, Samuel Hahnemann, who looked for a way to reduce the damaging side-effects associated with medical treatment. He began experimenting on himself and a group of healthy volunteers, giving smaller and smaller medicinal doses, and found that as well as reducing toxicity, the medicines actually appeared to be more effective the lower the dose. He also observed that symptoms caused by toxic ‘medicines’ such as mercury, were similar to those of the diseases they were being used to treat e.g. syphilis, which lead to the principle he described as ‘like cures like’.
Substances, used in homeopathic medicines are ultra high dilutions, which makes them non-toxic.
Traditionally, people have used homeopathy to preserve health and treat a large range of long-term illnesses, such as allergies, dermatitis, rheumatoid arthritis, and irritable bowel syndrome. They have also used it to treat minor injuries, such as cuts and scrapes and muscle strains or sprains.
Homeopathic treatment is not considered appropriate for illnesses, such as cancer, heart disease, major infections, or emergencies.