Discovery of Modern Homeopathy and
The Law of Similars
Homeopathy is based on a natural phenomenon of healing which is now commonly referred to as "like cures like." Classical healers have known this basic principle of like cures like throughout history. Hippocrates (460 - 350B.C.), regarded as the father of medicine, who authored the Hippocratic oath, wrote, By similar things a disease is produced and through the application of the like is cured. Aristotle (384 - 322B.C.) knew the principle as well, and wrote, Often the simile acts upon the simile. Or, as Dr. Samuel Hahnemann said, Like cures like, (or traditionally in Latin, Similia similibus curentur).
This natural law of healing is part of the world around us. "Like cures like," is not the product of a person's discovery but part of life. However, Samuel Hahnemann is rightly credited with the development of this natural law into a profound and unprecedented healing science called Homeopathy.
Samuel Hahnemann (1755 - 1843), the father of modern homeopathy was a medical doctor who became disillusioned with the medical profession of his time. He is quoted as saying he saw more people die from their treatments than from their diseases. His writings clearly showed his disillusionment of the medical practices, which at the time included bloodletting, leeching, and the use of powerful purgatives and emetics. He criticised the use of toxic substances and harsh therapies which would destroy the overall vitality of the individual just to relieve their symptoms temporarily. His views made him very unpopular with the medical community, as well as with the apothecaries.
Dr. Hahnemann practiced less and less the barbaric medical treatments of the day. He translated books to supplement his income. One of these books was A treatise on Materia Medica by Dr. William Cullen. In the book it was mentioned that the drug Cinchona was used to cure Malaria, but that it (Cinchona) would also cause the symptoms similar to Malaria if the drug were taken in overdose. Quinine is extracted from this Peruvian bark Cinchona Officinalis, which is today still used in cases of Malaria.
Dr. Hahnemann then did the first of what homeopaths refer to as the proving of a remedy. He did an experiment by taking an overdose of the drug Cinchona and carefully marking down his ensuing symptoms. The symptoms were indeed particularly similar to the symptoms of Malaria. After experimenting with other drugs in the same manner, and then clinically practicing their results. Hahnemann concluded that the reason that Cinchona cured Malaria was because it could produce similar symptoms to Malaria if given in overdose to a healthy person. This is the basic premise of homeopathy: Like Cures Like, or in Latin, Similia Similibus Curentur.
After rigorous experimentation and clinical practice in 1805 Dr. Hahnemann published the Organon of Rational Medicine which later became the Organon of the Healing Art, simply referred to as the Organon by homeopaths. For practitioners this is still the main book used to learn homeopathy today.
Because of his contributions to healing through Homeopathy, Samuel Hahnemann himself is a great historical figure. Here, in the U.S. in Washington D.C. stands a statue in recognition of his contribution to healing across the world. In-fact there is a western medical college on our east coast, which bears his name today, but was originally a homeopathic medical college.
There were many struggles before homeopathy was accepted worldwide. But when Dr. Hahnemann finally died at the age of 89, his safe, gentle, healing art was firmly established. In 1900 homeopathy was being practiced in more then 60 countries and roughly 400 million people were receiving homeopathic treatment. Homeopathy is the only healing science in the world today based on a specific natural law of healing. "Like cures like." Homeopathy's decline in the United States came about with the advent of the over zealous discovery of antibiotics and the patentable drug industry, but that is another story.