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Homeopathy

Homeopathy is a branch of medicine that originated in Germany in the late 1700s.  Dr. Samuel Hahnemann was a medical doctor who practiced for approximately 5 years before his concern with many of the medical interventions of the day caused him to give up his practice.  As he was fluent in German, English, French, Italian, Greek and Latin he turned to medical translations as both a means of income, and as a path to resolve the dangers and errors that he saw in medicine.

While translating symptoms from an overdose of cinchona or Peruvian bark, a key herb in the treatment of malaria, he noted the similarity between the symptoms of malaria and the symptoms produced from ingesting excess amounts of the herb.  This caused him to explore the idea that that which can produce a set of symptoms in a healthy individual, can treat a sick individual who is manifesting a similar set of symptoms.  Thus the name “Homeopathy”:  “Homeo” means same, “Pathy” refers to disease.  In a modern sense, the use of stimulant drugs for the treatment of ADD/ADHD could be viewed as a type of homeopathy, although this is not how the branch of homeopathic medicine is generally seen.

As many of the medicines had the potential to be toxic to the body, in time a system of diluting the substances and “potentizing” their solutions were included into the development of homeopathic medicines.  Substances from plants, animals, and minerals are introduced to the body in doses that cause subtle, yet often profound, shifts in the physical, mental and emotional health of the patient.

Homeopathic medicine depends very much on the individuality of the patient.  How the disease expresses itself is more useful for finding the correct remedy, than the name or type of disease.  An entire family may be afflicted with the same cold or flu, yet the remedies prescribed will be determined by how the individual is experiencing the illness.  One family member may wish to be bundled up in a closed room and sip hot beverages, while another feels restless with a desire for cold drinks and an open window.  In this way Homeopathics reinforce the idea from Hippocrates that “It is more important what type of person has a disease than the type of disease a person has.”.