A German physician, Dr. Christian Friedrich Samuel Hahnemann in 1796, discovered homeopathy. Hahnemann called his new system of medicine, ‘Homeopathy’, a word taken from the Greek words, homoeos meaning ‘similar’ and pathos, meaning ‘suffering’. It is based on principle ‘similia similibus curentur’; it means ‘let likes be treated by likes’, disease producing power can treat disease. It means the medicine in its proving on healthy people produce symptoms similar to those of which patient complains.
Homeopathy in its unique ways of treatment, considers the man as a whole, not his individual parts. Its gentle healing is safe for all ages, pregnant women, lactating mother, and also for various diseases. It is very simple & easy to take and have no side effects. The aim is to influence auto regulation with the way of drug it reacts in an individual patient.
Course in Homeopathy
The duration of BHMS is 5½ years including internship (practical training) of one year after passing final year examinations. The syllabus of study, duration of course, reference books of B.H.M.S. course is almost similar as under graduation course of M.B.B.S. (mainstream medicines). In addition, homeopathic students have to study homoeopathic subjects also like material medica, organon of medicine, homeopathic pharmacy, repertory. The authority, which controls the education of Homeopathy in India, is the Central council of Homeopathy-CCH. It was established in 1974. As an alternative medicine this course provide basic and in depth knowledge of the Homoeopathic medical system.
Homeopathy has been surviving successfully for the last 175 years (1839-2013) without any major setback. Homeopathy received a legal recognition in many countries across the world and many of the countries are on the edge of receiving the approval from their respective governments.
Today, India is one of the important countries to lead this system of medicine in the world. CCH, NIH, CCRH & AYUSH all together is the depiction of Homeopathic System of Medicine in India. At present, there are about 195 medical colleges of Homeopathy in the country allowed by the Central Council for Homeopathy including 38 post-graduate colleges to teach & promote Homoeopathic System of Medicine.
About Dr. Hahnemann (The Founder of Homeopathy)
Christian Friedrich Samuel Hahnemann was born on 10 April in Meissen, city in Saxony Germany in the year 1755. His father was C.G. Hahnemann and mother was Johanna Christiana. He was from very poor family and his father was a painter of porcelain. He was admitted to the town school on 20 July 1767. When he was only sixteen, he attended the Prince’s school of that town. He wrote “The wonderful construction of human hand” during this time at the school leaving ceremony. He went to Leipzig to study medicine at the age of twenty. From this, he went to Vienna to study advanced school of medicine in Europe. Still a student Dr. Hahnemann became family physician and librarian to the governor of Transylvania. He took his M.D. degree from Erlanger University in 1779. His thesis was ‘A consideration of the etiology and therapeutics of spasmodic affections’. Dr. Hahnemann began his medical practice in Hettstedt in the year1779. In 1782, he became the medical officer of Gommern and marries to Johanna Leopoldine Henriette Kuchler. Dr. Hahnemann was dissatisfied with the state of medicine in his time he claimed that the medicine he had been taught to practice sometimes did the patient more harm than good. Dr. Hahnemann own words were “My sense of duty would not easily allow me to treat the unknown pathological state of my suffering brethren with these unknown medicines. The thought of becoming in this way a murderer or malefactor towards the life of my fellow human beings was more terrible to me, so terrible and disturbing that I wholly gave up my practice in the first years of my married life and occupied myself solely with chemistry and writing”.
Around 1784 Dr. Hahnemann gave up his practice and made his living chiefly as a writer and translator. While translating Cullen’s materia medica he came across the therapeutic indications of the Peruvian (Cinchona) bark and its success in the treatment of intermittent fever. However, Hahnemann was dissatisfied with this explanation and he himself took 4 drams of china twice a day. He found that after taking a dose of quinine, he suffered from the symptoms of an illness similar to those of malarial fever. Thereafter, he concluded that if this could produce symptoms similar to those of malaria, then might be curative for malaria. This principle, like cures like, became the basis for an approach to medicine, which he gave the name Homeopathy. He first used the term Homeopathy in his essay “Indications of the Homeopathic Employment of Medicines in Ordinary Practice”, published in Hufeland’s Journal in 1807. In 1810 first book was published by Dr. Hahnemann ‘Materia Medica Pura’, contains 67 remedies. After two years, Dr. Hahnemann began to treat his patient with his powder and tablets. Due to the opposition, he has to quit the practice. In year 1821, Duke of Ferdinan gave Dr. Hahnemann permission to live and practice Homeopathy in Koethen. In 1828, Hahnemann’s famous classic “Chronic Disease” was published. After giving eleven children in 1830 Hahnemann’s first wife died. In 1831 in a Europe epidemic of cholera was spread. One of follower put the hypothesis to practical application in Leipzig and treated 154 victims homeopathically. At the age of 80 years, Dr. Hahnemann marries second time in 1835 with a French lady, Marie De Hervilly. He took him to France in 1835. He was also permitted to practice in Paris by a Royal decree on 12th August 1836. Here Hahnemann stopped consultation in his house and started visiting patients at their residence. By this time Hahnemann had gained name, fame, recognition, money, after long years of poverty, hardship and struggle. Hahnemann stayed in Paris for another seven years and breathed his last at 5 A.M. on 2 July 1843 at the age of 88 years.
The inscription on his monument at the Pere La Chaise, in Paris says:
“STANDING BETWEEN THE INORGANIC AND THE ORGANIC WORLD UNITING THEM FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE SICK EARNING THEIR GRATITUDE
LOOKING TOWARDS ETERNITY SAMUEL HAHNEMANN, BENEFACTOR OF MANKIND“
Discovery of Homeopathy
In 1790, while translating Cullen’s materia medica he came across the therapeutic indications of the Peruvian (Cinchona) bark and its success in the treatment of intermittent fever. However, Hahnemann was dissatisfied with this explanation and he himself took the juice of Cinchona bark 4 drams twice for a few days. He suffered from malaria like symptoms (his feet at first became cold, feels drowsy, palpitation starts, pulse are noted hard, trembling, and prostration of all limbs). The paroxysm lasted 2-3 hours and if the dose is repeated, it recurred. He conducted similar experiments on other individuals and finally concluded that, medicines cure the diseases because they can produce similar diseases in healthy individuals. Dr. Hahnemann realized that “it is only by their power to make sick, that drugs can cure sickness; and that a medicine can only cure such morbid conditions as it can produce when tested on healthy human persons”. Hahnemann was not the first who noted that the drug selected on the basis of their similarity to the disease to reach to cure. Previous experiences of clinicians like Hippocrates, Paracelsus and Stahl (1738) in whose writings, he found that the most definite statement of Law of Similar. But, none of these proceeded systematically to offer an experimental proof. During 1790 to 1805 Dr. Hahnemann published 5500 printed pages of original works, essays and translations. He formulated his new discovery in these words as “Every powerful medicinal substance produces in the human body a peculiar, marked and violent the disease. He also put forward his new doctrine of SIMILIA SIMILIBUS CURANTUR (LIKE CURES LIKE). Thus 1796 is the year of birth of Homeopathy.
Health, disease, and cure according to Homeopathy
According to WHO, health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well being and not merely an absence of disease. Health is that state of being in which every cell, tissue, part of the body performs its function normally and their thoughts and ideas flow freely and reasoning is clear, emotions react to the environment and to the life as a whole. Thus, complete freedom of body function and no sense of negative awareness of the body physical health is freedom from pain and a state of well-being. On an emotional level, if a person is calm, he can do new and creative work for both himself and others. Thus, emotional health is freedom from passion as a result of dynamic serenity and a state of complete unification of the person with the divine, or with truth. Thus, health is a combination of freedom from pain in the physical body and freedom from selfishness (intensity of the egotism) and promoting total unification with truth.
Health according to Homeopathy
According to different followers of Homeopathy health is:
- Health is the balanced condition of the living organism in which the integral, harmonious performance of vital functions tends to the preservation of the organism and the normal development of the individual (Stuart close).
- A state of ease and comfort of the living body depending on sensations and functions (B.K. Sarkar).
- Perfect functioning of all parts of the body and a sense of general well being is called as health (Herbert A Robert).
According to Dr. Hahnemann disease is the deviation from the normal state of health which manifested by certain signs and symptoms (Outer reflection of the internally deranged vital force). Any deviation from the foregoing standard of health is ill health or the health out of balance. Ill health means change or disturbance of the normal function of an organ or part of the body. The condition of disease is expressed by subjective symptoms (felt by the patient) and objective symptoms (can be seen by others). This disease is thus disturbance of vital powers and functions, which may or may not ultimately in gross tissue changes (no essential part of the disease but only the products of the disease). The disease is alterations in the state of health of healthy individual, which express themselves by perceptible symptoms. For treatment, the totality of perceptible symptoms constitutes the disease. When disease potentiality is stronger than the vital force and both forces come in contact disease is produced. The vital force manifests the deviated functioning of the body under the overcoming influence of disease force. Sign and symptoms manifest deranged vital force.
Disease according to Homeopathy
According to different followers of Homeopathy disease is:
- Disease is an abnormal vital process, a changed condition of life, which is inimical to the true development of the individual and tends to organic dissolution (Stuart close).
- Sense of discomfort at the level of mind and or body (Herbert A Robert).
- Disease is nothing more than alterations in the state of health of the healthy individual, which express themselves by perceptible symptoms. Diseases are not mere mechanical or chemical alterations of material morbific substance but that are primarily qualitative derangements of the vital part of organism. For treatment point of view, the totality of perceptible symptoms constitutes the disease (B.K. Sarkar).
Cure means total eradication of signs and symptoms of man as whole. Cure is process by which dr. Hahnemann meant to restore the sick to health, the total annihilation of the disease by fixed principle. Cure is not to remove the end product of disease (removing tumours, collection of pus) but to remove the morbid functioning which produces these effects. According to Dr. Hahnemann cure should be rapid, gentle, permanent, restoration of health in shortest reliable and harmless way, on easily comprehensible principle. Rapid means the physician should apply his art in such a way that patient should get speedy recovery, but it depends upon what sort of disease patient is suffering from- acute (short duration) and chronic (long duration). Gentle means it should be painless and harmless without increasing suffering of the patient. Restoration of health means sick person is able to gain prior health; he should have all normal sensations and functions related to man as a whole. The cure is reliable when it is based upon the fixed principles. The cure is based upon those principles which are easily understandable, recorded, confirmed and verified.
When homoeopathic medicine is administrated the vital force get it through nerves, it produces similar and stronger artificial disease into the place of natural disease. Now natural disease is cured by medicine and artificial disease becomes weaker due to short action of medicine. Vital force, which is free from natural disease, soon overcomes the artificial disease. Thus, vital force is now free from both natural and artificial disease and cure takes place.
According to different followers of Homeopathy cure is:
It is duty of physician then first to find out what is in man that is disordered. Then to restore him to health and this return to health, which is a perfect cure, is to be accomplished by means that are mild, that are orderly, that are flow like force itself, turning the internal of man into order, with fixed principle as his guide and by the homoeopathic remedy (Dr. Kent).
Drug Proving in Homeopathy
- Drug proving relates to acquiring knowledge of the instruments intended for the cure of natural diseases and investigations of the disease producing power of medicine.
- Medicine are those drug substance, which in dynamic form proved on healthy human being, of both sexes, different age groups, at different locality, and taking into consideration all the different factors, whose effects on mind and physical body are known to us, with its duration on body and relationship with other drug is called as medicine.
- Homoeopathic drugs should be proved on healthy human being as sick person have already in distress and discomfort the symptoms of drug and disease gets mixed and in disease condition the person may be hypersensitive or hyposensitive and so the intensity of the symptoms may be increased or decreased.
- Proving should be done on human being because subjective and mental symptoms cannot be studied on animals, as they cannot express themselves by speaking and effects of some drugs on animals and on human beings are different.
- The quality of drug must be pure; it must be free from all mixture with other drugs, and it must possess all its active properties.
- The prover must be healthy, intelligent, sensitive, delicate, and trustworthy. The healthy, unprejudiced and sensitive physician himself is the best prover. During the course of proving, use of any other medication is restricted. The provers are also instructed not to make any major change in their daily routine and his lifestyle, specifically food habits, sleep, exercise etc. Those who are habitual for tobacco chewing, smoking, tea, coffee, alcohol etc. are advised to minimize the use of such stimulants. The medicine should be treated on both males and females, in all ages and various constitutions.
- Strong medicines even in small doses liable to produce changes in the health even of robust person. Milder medicines must be given in more considerable quantities. Weakest medicines should be proved on healthy, delicate, sensitive persons.
- Medicines must be given to the experimenter, on an empty stomach, daily from 4-6 very small globules of 30th potency, moistened with little water for several days. If the effects of dose are slight, a few more globules may be taken daily, until they become more distinct. The dose should be small and if required the dose should be increased day by day. Once a prover develops any signs and symptoms, administration of drug is stopped immediately and is not re-administered till the signs and symptoms persist. Disappearance of signs and symptoms is followed by the period of 7 days and in case of no recurrence of signs and symptoms, the drug is re-administered.
- In Homoeopathic Drug proving on healthy humans, volunteers (provers) both male and female are selected, and consent is taken from each prover before the drug trial, receive the medicinally active substances over a definite period of time. All striking changes and symptoms affecting the body or mental are then carefully recorded and evaluated and described in detail e.g. intensity of individual symptoms, their variation at different times of day, associated circumstances and modifying influences. All newly occurring symptoms are written by prover as symptom, which systematically collected to form the picture of the drug substances being proved.
- Finally, the data of the drug collected from different provers are gathered. At the conclusion of the proving, all the record books which is in the form of a Diary, the progress and all the details of each proving with all the particulars as to the dose and days when the prover should be examined by any special examiner, and the latter’s report upon his special examination, have to be collected.
Prophylaxis and Homeopathy
To prevent suffering and try to avoid it is prophylaxis. In Homeopathy, prophylactics medicines are used when we get symptoms .These do not make their appearance until a disease is established. Any acute disease after it outbreak can be controlled by homoeopathic medicine by suitable doses and power. The genus epidemicus is homoeopathic medicine given after careful analysis of common symptoms of several patients suffering from the disease at that time.
Homeopathy and nutrition
Homoeopathic medicines functions by stimulating the neuroimmuno endocrine system by correcting malfunctions in absorption, transport, and excretion. Dr. Schuessler’s biochemic theory maintains that human body contains twelve tissue vital element deficiency to this causes disturbs in metabolism. These biochemic medicines are included in homoeopathic remedies. Malnutrition is common in children between age of 3 months and 3 years. According to the survey, Malnutrition is responsible as underlying etiology for 55% of Deaths in Children under 5 years of age. Most common form of malnutrition in India is Iron Deficiency. Homeopathy specially focus on Health & Nutrition in various ways like Antenatal, Prenatal & Postnatal care for mothers, Immunization, Rehabilitation, Supplementary feedings, Therapeutic Nutrition etc.
Homeopathy and family planning
Homeopathy plays important role problems before pregnancy, after pregnancy, malnutrition mental and sexual problems. Sound health both physically and mentally makes a woman healthy mother of a healthy child.
Vital force in Homeopathy
Vital force (energy that governs all organs and parts of body according to Homeopathy): in healthy person, vital force maintains a harmonious vital operation of all parts and organs of the organism, both in sensation and function. Vital force is spiritual (means immaterial, not perceptible to our senses. It is cognizable by its effect when it works through material body), Invisible (immaterial so invisible), autocratic (self-powered, ruling in its own way), automatic (force which animates the whole organism but it is not animated by others), dynamic (qualitative existence and action, this penetrates every cell and parts of human body), instinctive (unborn gross ability which is not guided by reasoning).
Role of vital force in health is to control and animates the material organism without any obstruction. It maintains the harmony of life-preserving sensations and function. Vital force in good health provides a strong immunity against disease and safeguards the health. It maintains the balance between the mind and the body. In healthy condition growth, reproduction, and repairing of the body are maintained by vital force. Role of vital force in disease is it is manifested by signs and symptoms. When disease potentiality is stronger than the vital potentiality and both force in conflict with each other disease is produced. Disharmony in the function of the internally deranged vital force is manifested in the form of signs and symptoms. Thus the signs and symptoms are outward manifestations of internal diseased vital force. After taking important symptoms of disease the physician apply single, stronger medicine in minimum dose. The diseased vital force takes receives the medicinal force through nerves. The diseased vital force takes protection against stronger artificial disease force, which is produced in the place of weaker natural disease force. Thus due to medicinal force the weaker disease force to leave the body. The weak vital force is still engage in fight with the artificial disease force. Medicine is given in low dose, frequently so vital force regains its energy, and medicine loses its effect. Thus vital force is free from disease force and medicinal force.
Benefits of Homeopathy
- From many years homoeopathic medicines are successfully treating various conditions such as anxiety, atopic dermatitis, autism, autoimmune disorders, allergies, behavior disorders, bone fracture healing, conjunctivitis, chicken pox, depression, dysmenorrrhoea, headaches, herpes zoster, influenza, injuries, migraine, menstrual irregularities, pre-menstrual syndrome, psoriasis, pcods, psychosomatic disorders, phobias, renal calculi, stress disorders, upper respiratory tract infection, vitiligo, complaints during pregnancy and lactation, complaints in infants and children, etc. Homeopathy is also used in conditions such as cancers, HIV/AIDS, terminal diseases, etc. for proving symptomatic care and improvement in quality of life.
- Homoeopathic medicines are safe, effective, and based upon natural substances. It is more economical than any other system of medicine. With the use of single simple substance in micro doses, medicines are not associated with any toxicological effect and can be safely used for pregnant women and lactating mothers, infants and children.
- Treatment directed to the patient as a whole through symptoms rather than disease (Individualization of treatment). It goes to root of the problem and aims at setting right the constitutional defect that give rise to disease.
- Medicines direct acts on human system to fight disease process. So no microbial resistance is known to develop against homoeopathic drugs.
- The use of fresh plants, tinctures, and preparations are done by homoeopathic pharmacists. The plant is gathered at specific time and immediately processed, usually the same day.
- The doses are extremely minute and cannot do harm or produce side effects. They restore health most gently. The homoeopathic medicines are palatable, thereby enhancing their acceptability.
- Medicines when prescribe correctly act speedily on body.
- Homoeopathic remedies are not addictive-once relief occurs, the patient can easily stop taking medicine.
- Homeopathy uses the symptoms (totality) as a guide for purpose of cure, to eradicate the complex disease and not just palliate the disease.
- The drugs are proved on healthy human beings to get accurate signs and symptoms and to communicate their subjective symptoms.
- Homeopathy uses the conception of dynamic vital force.
- The general health of patient is improves under homoeopathic treatment, even when treatment is directed toward some particular disease.
- The majority of acute problems in all age groups, including seasonal disorders, can be handled with homeopathic remedies effectively.
- Cases of non-healing ulcers in spite of skin grafting are very well cured by Homeopathy and many an amputation can be avoided.
Scope of Homeopathy
- If dynamic nature of the disease is greater then there is more scope for removal of disease.
- Clinical researches has shown that clinical conditions of patients such as acute otitis media, attention deficit hyperactivity disordered, behavior disorders, benign prostatic hyperplasia, cervical spondylosis, chronic sinusitis, preclinical hypothyroidism, HIV, learning disabilities, menopausal complaints, complaints associates with withdrawal of drug substance, ovarian cysts, scabies, upper respiratory tract infections, warts, etc have self reported response after treatment.
- Medicines act well in chronic disease, having mental manifestation of disease, greater the superficial changes of the disease and lesser are the structural and pathological changes of the disease.
- Homeopathy cures some conditions that are considered surgical cases by other methods.
- There is always hope of curing a case with Homeopathy regardless of prognosis of other system of medicine.
- Even infants and children do not object to taking homoeopathic medicines, as it is palatable.
- Homeopathy overcomes the bad effects of various treatments, such as vaccinations, inoculations, antibiotics, and other crude treatments.
- Homeopathy can remove hereditary tendencies unknown to other methods of treatment.
- It is more economical than any other system of medicine and suits well the needs of our country.
Limitations of Homeopathy
- Homeopathy has its limitations to some disease conditions where vitality is very poor like disease with irreversible and organic changes, presence of foreign body in the system, presence of any large and obstructive pathology, tumour, and cyst. In such cases, it can be used, at best, for palliative treatment.
- Homeopathy has little or no space in many medico-surgical or obstetric-surgical or gynaeco-surgical conditions for examples-3rd degree prolapsed of uterus, appendicular lump, peptic ulcer perforation. In broken bones for example, or other mechanical problems, this problem must be solved by surgery first. But accidents and injuries are a good example for the possibility of the combination of modern medicine and Homeopathy. With surgery the possibility of the bones to grow together again is made, but the healing process itself depends on the self regulation forces of the body itself. Infections or bleeding, slow reunion of the bones with Homeopathy many problems resulting from such injuries can be prevented.
- In accidental conditions (like suffocation, strangulation, drowning), deformities either congenital or acquired (like polycystic kidney, ventricular septal defect), cases which have passed the stage of curability (like advanced cancer, advanced chronic nephritis) Homeopathy has limitations.
- In nutritional disorders, Homeopathy has no role to play. The food that is deficient in essential nutrients should first be filling up with the required nutrients.
Cardinal or Fundamental Principles of Homeopathy
Homeopathy as science has demonstrable cardinal principles as below:
The law of similar
“Similia Similibus Curantur” i.e. “Like Cures Like”, is a nature’s law of cure. It is known by world before Hahnemann. Hahnemann gave a turn to phase and it became “Similia Similibus Curentur” means lets likes be cured by likes. It means after taking the totality of symptoms of the patient he should given a remedy which can produce similar symptoms in healthy humans. The greater the similarity between disease symptoms and drug symptoms cure will be sure. For example if patient is suffering from headache / constipation, he should prescribe a medicine, which can produce headache / constipation in healthy person. The medicine cure those symptoms in sick person what they produce in a healthy person.
The law of Simplex (single remedy)
Homeopathy believes that always use a single medicine at a time. Each drug substance has its peculiar action on human body, although they belong to same chemicals or botanical group. Therefore, medicines should be studied, proved and used in single dose. If two medicines are mixed together, either they form the third substance or their properties are lost. This is known as poly pharmacy. These drugs in crude form together produce harmful effects. Homeopathy prescribes only one drug at a time. This is known as mono pharmacy.
The law of minimum dose
It means smallest dose that can cure. Only the quantity that can arouse an action in the body. It is scientific fact that same drug substance in different quantity produce different type of action. The specific dynamic action which produces different, particular symptoms of the drugs is produce by the minimum quantity of the drugs. So to get curative properties of remedies and to avoid unwanted aggravations the medicines should be given in minimum doses.
The law of drug proving
The science told us that only those medicines are given for cure whose medicinal properties are known to us. To know the properties it should be tested on healthy human beings. The symptoms should be recorded. No other system has this specialty. Mainly other systems go for test on animals. In many respects, we may find similarity in animals and human beings but the qualities like emotions, sensations, expressions, are different in humans & animals. Any knowledge about action of drugs on animals is not sufficient to apply it to humans. Therefore, for treatment of animals, it should be tested on animals and for treatment of human beings the medicines may be tested on human beings.
The doctrine of Drug dynamisation
Homeopathy believes that life force is a dynamic force and that if affected can be cured by the dynamic powers of medicines. By giving medicines in dynamic form, do not produce drug disease. In terms of Homeopathy, health is a dynamic phenomenon where various processes lead to a state of stable equilibrium. Disease is a state of loss of balance resulting from unfavorable internal and external factors. The dynamic power of drug is only released when the drug in crude state undergoes processes of Trituration (grinding to reduce size of particles and expose the surface area thereby releasing medicinal energy) and Succussion (By these processes the dynamic power of drug is released and brings curing power to the medicine). Potentization is the application of inert substances as well as deadly poisonous and toxic substance as an effective remedial agent for the cure and for experiments on human beings. It allows the beneficial action of drugs by avoiding unwanted aggravations. In Homeopathy, use is made of both lower dilutions and higher dilutions.
Principles of Chronic diseases
Dr. Hahnemann, after long experiments and experience led to conclusion that real cause of chronic disease are three miasms that are psora, syphilis, and sycosis. Psora the most destructive chronic disease affects the skin and produces itching and vesicular eruptions with peculiar odour. Sycosis affected through general organs and produces cauliflower like-growth and hypertrophies of tissues. Syphilis appears in the form of chancre on genital organs and responsible for destruction of the tissue.
Principle of Vital Force
Body is governed by life force, which Dr. Hahnemann terms as a vital force. This vital force maintains normal functions and sensations. Hahnemann defines vital force as the force, which animates the material body and runs its all functions in a harmonious way. Any disorder of vital force causes a disease and cure only takes place when deranged vital force (at dynamic level) is brought back to normal.