The central philosophy of homeopathy is that some poisons can be beneficial if taken in very small doses.

In the fourth century before Christ, Hippocrates observed that some poisons caused the same symptoms as some diseases.  He postulated that very small doses of these poisons might immunize the body against the illnesses which had similar symptoms. In the 1790's Samuel Hahnemann, a German doctor, revived the ancient teachings of Hippocrates.  Proclaiming "let like be cured by like,” he described a new form practice which he called homeopathy.  The name homeopathy is derived from the Greek word "homios" (which means "like") and the word "pathos" (meaning "suffering").  Homeopathy, therefore, means treating like with like.

Homeopathy considers the body as a whole and encourages self healing. It can be used to treat both acute and chronic illnesses. Homeopathic doctors evaluate at each patient’s symptoms, their likes and their dislikes.  A unique “symptom picture” is developed and is used to design a remedy or treatment plan. The more the doctor knows about the patient, the more likely the cure will be successful.

Homeopathy has a lot in common with our present system of immunizations. For example, to prevent us from catching small pox, a vaccine is prepared from a mild form of the virus in a low dose. This small amount of virus helps the body to build defenses.  If the actual virus shows up, the body will have enough barriers to prevent the small pox virus from causing an infection. However, there are also significant differences between the concepts used in allopathic medicine and those of homeopathy.

Homeopathic remedies are made from naturally occurring plant, animal, or mineral substances.  They are recognized and regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  They are manufactured by established pharmaceutical companies under strict guidelines. Over 2000 homeopathic remedies are available.  These are derived from such exotic sources as bee stings, snake venoms, arsenic, gold and silica, and even compounds from diseased tissue.  Homeopaths also prescribe tissue salts which are prepared from mineral sources. Homeopathic remedies are diluted to such an extent that there can be no possible side effects.  The dilution process is known as “potentiation” Taken in this ultra diluted form, Homeopathic remedies have no side effects and are perfectly safe, non-toxic and non-addictive.  Homeopathic drugs are referenced by their abbreviated names. For example, “Arg nit” stands for Argentum nitricum.

How Homeopathic Medicines are Prepared

Two abbreviations are used to describe a medicine's strength or potency. In the United States, the decimal, or x, system is more popular. In Europe, homeopaths use the centesimal, or c, system.

In both systems, potency is expressed as a number followed by an x or c, such as 3x or 6c. A potency of 1 x means a 1: 10 dilution of the original substance, or one- tenth strength.  Dilutions of 1 to 100,000 or 1 to 1,000,000 are not uncommon.  Homeopathic medicines are not simply diluted. They are also shaken vigorously, or "potentized." Finally, these drops are added to tiny lactose (milk sugar tablets, granules, or powder and stored in dark colored bottle.

Names of Homeopathic Medicines

Most of the Homeopathic medicines are referred to by their Latin names. The table below shows some of the common Homeopathic medicines and their Latin names.

Table: Latin Name and Common Names of Homeopathic Medicines

Latin Name

Common Name

Allium cepa



Crushed bee


Mountain daisy


Deadly nightshade

Bellis perennis





Wild hops

Calcarea carbonica

Calcium carbonate




Spanish fly


Blue cohosh




Black snakeroot


Bitter cucumber

Cuprum metallicum




Ferrum phos

Iron phosphate


Yellow jasmine

Hepar sulph

Hahnemann's calcium sulphide


Venom of the bushmaster snake


Marsh tea

Magnesia phosphorica (Mag phos)

Magnesium phosphate



Natrum mur


Nux vomica

Poison nut


Duck heart and liver



Rhus tox

Poison ivy


Wild licorice





Urtica urens

Stinging nettle



Principles of Homeopathy

In conventional medicine, the symptoms are considered to be a manifestation of the disease. The drugs are given to kill the bacteria or to lessen symptoms. Homeopaths, on the other hand, see the symptoms as the body's attempt to heal itself. They see the symptom as a positive sign that the body's defense mechanism is trying to fight the underlying cause.  Using this reasoning, they insist that the symptoms should not be suppressed. 

Homeopathic Medicine vs.
Conventional Medicine

Homeopathic Medicine

Conventional Medicine


Is an individual expression of imbalance and has important meaning


Occurs in well-defined groups based on pathology, and meaning of illness is irrelevant


Are evidence of disharmony and the person's attempt to restore order

Are analyzed to follow progress of treatment


Are bad

Successful treatment makes them go away


The understanding of the phenomenon of the illness

The whole person is taken into account


The search for the structural cause



Individualized and based on the entire expression of symptoms

Self-care (what the client does) is emphasized

Based on like cures like and potentized microdoses of medicines


Based on the pathologic diagnosis


What the doctor does is emphasized

Based on opposing and suppressing symptoms, and high doses of medicine

The Law of Similars

The principle that like shall be cured by like has been recognized by physicians and philosophers since ancient times and became the basis of Hahnemann's formulation of the homeopathic doctrine: the proper remedy for a patient's disease is that substance that is capable of producing, in a healthy person, symptoms similar to those from which the patient suffers.

The Principle of Minimum Dose

This principle states that extreme dilution enhances the curative properties of a substance, while eliminating any possible side effects. This is just the reverse of conventional drug philosophy where a minimum dose is required for effect.

Whole Person Prescribing

A homeopath studies the whole person. Characteristics such as their temperament, personality, emotional and physical responses when prescribing a remedy, etc. are studied. So, a homeopath may treat different persons exhibiting the same symptom differently. (For example, two persons exhibiting flu like symptoms may get two different medications from the homeopath based on the appraisal of the mind body constitution.)

Laws of Cure

There are three laws of cure, they are:

  1. Remedies starts at the top of the body and works downward;
  2. Treatments work from within the body outward, and from major to minor organs; and,
  3. Symptoms clear in reverse order of appearance.

Application of the three principles of cure means that you will feel better emotionally before you will feel better physically.






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Last modified: 07/31/08