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Homeopathy-What it is and how it compares to conventional or 'orthodox' medicine

Updated on March 12, 2013
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An experienced integrative healthcare professional & Member of the International Alliance of Holistic Therapists

Homeopathy is defined as a system of drug therapeutics based on the law of similars where ‘like’ treats’like’ [1]. In homeopathy, the drug that is used is capable of triggering a diseased-state in a healthy person in an exact fashion to that seen in a diseased individual [1]. It is this same drug that is used to act as a curative agent if the disease is still in its curative state [1]. In incurable stages of illness however, the same homeopathic drug can be used as the best palliative treatment [1].

The law of similars is completely dependant upon the concepts of individualization and susceptible constitutions, thus forming the basis behind the principles of homeopathic practice [1].

The concept of individualization factors in the total response of an individual toward unfavourable environments [1]. The total response is observed through a range of sign and symptoms not only in the physical sense but largely reliant on the mental aspects [1]. Signs and symptoms that manifest exist in three planes and they are namely the emotional, intellectual and physical [1].

The concept of susceptible constitutions relate to the consideration of hereditary influences and predispositions of each individual to the arising of different illnesses [1].

The approach in homeopathy disagrees with any and all attempts in suppressing disease manifestations as to do this would be dangerous and detrimental to our bodies and health [1]. The distinct feature of homeopathy relates to its ability for a homeopathic physician to detect the earliest beginnings of the disease process at a stage when structural changes have not yet occurred to any extent at the cell level and can thus plan a definitive curative treatment at a stage that normally is impossible for a diagnosis to be obtained [1].

Another benefit of homeopathic treatment is the way it does not interfere with the body’s immunity [1]. In fact, homeopathy actually stimulates our natural defence mechanisms and promotes the conservation of our body’s energy [1]. It is also believed that if carefully planned homeopathic treatment is utilised from the time of conception and through the early formative years, pernicious hereditary influences that tend to drain our bodies’ energy and cause the development of a variety of constitutional type disorders can be avoided [1].

Diagnosis in homeopathy relies on looking at man as a holistic being, one with body, mind and emotions [2]. For example in homeopathy, bacteria are not seen as the cause of the disease such as in allopathic medicine, on the contrary bacteria are actually results of the disease because the cause of a disease is far more subtle [2]. Crude drugs that are used in allopathic medicine do not heal illnesses because the changes they cause are only apparent and not real [2]. Homeopathic treatment aims to treat man in the same direction disease has manifested; from the man to his organs and not treat the symptoms only and not look at the underlying root or cause of disease [2].

Homeopathy helps rather than hinder the natural forces of recovery [1]. Its methodolody involves case taking, preparing drugs, eliciting drug effects, selecting the therapy to its individual based on the law of similars and observing the various effects that are produced in the diseased [1].

According to Dr Hahnemann, drugs affect the mind, emotions and the body [2]. Its effects are manifested as symptoms and modalities [2]. Dr Hahnemann also found that the drugs in potency can be utilized to “remove Similar sickness that appear in human beings” [2].

Homeopathic philosophy states that the man is prior to the organs and not the other way round [2]. The order of treatment should be from man to his organs because the sick man is prior to his organs [2]. A man becomes sick prior to disease localization and the disease itself can be incurable once it has reached a localization stage [2]. Symptoms that manifest onthe outside reflects the internal nature of our bodies [2]. Tissue changed caused by a disease are not the disease itself hence symptoms are a mere reflection and one should not treat disease merely by treating the symptoms [2].

Homeopathy addresses disease as a totality of symptoms and to find out the nature of disease before the nature of a remedy can be selected [2]. A high priority is to treat man from the will and understanding perspective because the man is his mind and the mind is the man [2]. Homeopathic remedies will produce in a healthy man ‘similar’ symptoms to the disease it is treating, thus acting as a necessary antidote to overcome the sickness, restore the will and understanding to cure the patient [2].


1) Dr Dhawale, M.L,2010, Principles & Practice of Homeopathy, Dr M.L Dhawale Memorial Trust, Mumbai.

2) Dr Kent, James Tyler,2012, Lectures on Homeopathic Philisophy, B.Jain Publishers (P) Ltd, India.


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