Adrienne's Blog

The History of Homeopathy

Samuel Hahneman (1755-1843) is the father of homeopathy. He was a German medical doctor, chemist, and brilliant academic. Hahnemann was an extraordinarily determined person who came to dislike the side-effects of the treatments of his day. Orthodox medicine of the time included processes of bloodletting, purging and administrating toxins.

Hahnemann observed that a medicine made from Peruvian Bark that was successfully used in treating malaria, also created the same symptoms in a healthy person.

He took this medicine in repeated doses until it produced fever and chills. The drug symptoms matched exactly those of the malaria.

This was the first homeopathic 'proving' and led Hahnemann to discover and develop the power of homeopathic medicine. Hippocrates, in the 5th century BC, wrote that there were two methods of healing, by contraries and by similars. Hahnemann developed this principle of similars into a complete system of medicine which he called 'homeopathy'.

The name is from Greek origins: 'homoios' meaning similar and 'pathos' meaning suffering or disease. Hahnemann looked for the 'simillimum' in his patients, or the medicine whose symptom picture, based on proving symptoms, most closely matched that of his patient. He met with astonishing results, verifying his theory, but he was dissatisfied with the level of side effects.

Hahnemann began to take the medicines traditionally used and dilute them to lessen the side effects. He found that when he 'succussed' these substances, by vigorously shaking them each time he diluted them, the action of the medicine increased while the side effects decreased.

Hahneman was very successful in treating the cholera epidemic which swept through Europe in 1831. He also stressed that all clothing and bedding should be heated to destroy infectious matters. Hahnemann was the first to talk about sanitation in this way, pre-dating the work in this area done by Pasteur.

The royal family in England has consulted homeopaths successfully through the years. King George the VI, an amateur homeopath, cured seasick sailors on the royal yacht.