Homeopathy is a modality of medicine that is well studied, but commonly misunderstood. It is the most widely used form of medicine in India, and is well known and popular in much of Europe and Latin America. The Queen of England has her own “Royal Homeopath.” Once common in the United States, homeopathy, like many other forms of medicine lost popularity due to politics that favored Allopathic medicine and stopped funding of all non-allopathic medical schools. Often” “homeopathy” is incorrectly used as a generic term to describe all alternative forms of medicine. Based on the theory that like cures like, homeopathy is a form of energy medicine derived by Samuel Hannaman.
In the 1800’s, Samuel Hannaman a German physician was studying Cinchona bark, an Amazonian plant from which Quinine is derived. This had been used to successfully treat malaria. He discovered that when he ingested a tincture made from this bark, even though he was well, he developed intermittent fevers, the primary symptom of malaria. From this discovery he postulated the theory that “like cures like,” or what symptoms a substance causes in a well person, it will cure in a sick person. He went on to test this theory with many other substances and found it to hold true with them as well. From this research homeopathy, meaning literally “same pathogen,” was developed.
He continued his research with this theory and came to a dilemma with toxic substances, such as arsenic. Knowing that arsenic caused vomiting, diarrhea and anxiety suggested that it could be a great remedy for food poisoning. Unfortunately arsenic generally kills people whom take it, so Hannaman could not test it. He decided to try to dilute the substance to see if he could find a level at which it would cure people without killing them. Hannaman took one drop of a tincture and put it in 100 drops of water, he would hit the bottle on a book ten times to mix it well, and this became known as succussion. The resulting mixture was called a 1c potency, meaning that it was diluted 1:100x. From this he would repeat the process taking a drop of his 1c mixture, putting it in 100 drops of water and succussing it ten times, the resulting mixture was called a 2c potency, it was diluted 1:1000. He would continue this process making potencies that were more and more dilute.
When Hannaman tested his potencies he was surprised to find that the more dilute the substance, the stronger its curative properties became. Not only was he able to use toxic substances to create remedies they actually worked better in the very safe high potencies. However when he skipped the step of succussion in the dilutions, the remedies were less effective or completely ineffective. Once a remedy has reached a potency of 23c or higher, it surpasses Avogadro’s number, this means that it is highly unlikely for even one molecule of the original substance to be in the remedy. The most commonly used potencies today are 6c, 12c, 30c, and 200c. Because the higher levels of remedies are stronger in action, everything above a 30c is considered prescription strength, even though these are more dilute remedies.
Homeopathy was baffeling to the concepts of Newtonian physics, and often suggested to work as a placebo effect. This theory was challenged by the fact that infants and even animals respond positively to homeopathic .
Hannaman tested his remedies by doing what are called provings. Hundreds or thousands of people are given the remedy repeatedly. They record the symptoms that they develop as they take the remedy that go away when they stop taking the remedy. The common symptoms become the recorded provings of the remedy. All of these provings through time have been complied into books called the materia medica. The goal is for the practitioner to determine the patient’s symptoms and most closely match them to a remedy. This remedy when given to the patient, should cure these symptoms.
Homeopathy works by increasing the body’s vital force.