by Beth Haley
“By similar things a disease is produced and through the application of the like is cured.” Hippocrates (460-377 BC), ‘Father of Medicine’
In the 5th century B.C.E., the Greek physician Hippocrates, known as the “Father of Medicine,” was first to understand the principle of treating the body with a remedy that produces similar symptoms to the ailment that was suffered. He studied the symptoms, how a person reacted to an ailment and their own ability to heal, to diagnose and then choose a cure. Through his work, he developed his own homeopathic remedies.
However, it was the German physician, Samuel Hahnemann (1755 – 1843), who first developed homeopathy as we know and practice it today. Hahnemann was a physician, author and chemist. He noticed that the methods of treatment at that time were often more debilitating than the disease, and that these practices were not working.
Hahnemann was one of the first physicians to advocate for improved diet, fresh air, and better hygiene. However, he did not generate much support and so he gave up his medical practice and became a translator of medical texts in Leipzig. One text was called, “A Treatise of Materia Medica,” by Dr. William Cullen of London University. Cullen wrote about quinine (an extract of Peruvian bark), and credited its ability to heal malaria to its astringent properties. Hahnemann knew that quinine was an effective remedy for malaria, but didn’t believe that it was because of its astringency. Thus began Hahnemann’s exploration of how quinine helped with malaria.
He began to take doses of quinine, recording his reactions, and found that he developed all the symptoms of malaria (palpitating heart, irregular pulse, sleepiness, and thirst), despite the fact that he did not have malaria. Every time he took a dose of quinine, the symptoms returned. He deduced that it was quinine’s ability to produce malarial symptoms that made it an effective treatment. He also tested doses of quinine on others with the same results.
Thus the idea behind the phrase, “Like cures Like,” was born.
According to homeopathic principle, the symptoms that a substance causes, it can also cure.
Substances causing similar symptoms, stimulate a healing response, giving the body what it needs to do its healing work. This healing reaction is called ‘vital response’.
Substances gathered as ingredients for homeopathic remedies can actually be very harmful as they are. Where do antidotes come from? For example, antidotes can be made from snake venom, which from a bite, can be lethal. But turned into medicine, they can heal the same issue that was caused by the venom originally. They can even heal issues that have similar symptoms such as skin eruptions.
Example: Bees are used to make a remedy called Apis Mellifica which can bee helpful in treating rashes that burn and “sting.”
A friend of mine used to have a terrible time with scabbing and flaking on her scalp. She noticed that when she traveled to different areas and showered in different water, that her scalp would clear up. She said it happened by the coast, and that the water smelled like sulfur. I happened to have some homeopathic Sulfur, and when she took it, her scalp cleared up. She found that taking it a few times a week kept her scalp clear.
A substance that can cause extreme skin discomfort (such as burning hives), in a minute homeopathic amount, caused a healing reaction for her scalp condition.
Photo by Zdenek Machacek