Homoeopathy was discovered by a German Physician, Dr. Christian Friedrich Samuel Hahnemann (1755-1843), in the late eighteenth century. It is a therapeutic system of medicine premised on the principle, “Similia Similibus Curentur” or ‘let likes be treated by likes'. It is a method of treatment for curing the patient by medicines that possess the power of producing similar symptoms in a healthy human being simulating the natural disease, which it can cure in the diseased person. It treats the patients not only through holistic approach but also considers individualistic characteristics of the person. This concept of ‘law of similars' was also enunciated by Hippocrates and Paracelsus, but Dr. Hahnemann established it on a scientific footing despite the fact that he lived in an age when modern laboratory methods were almost unknown.
Homoeopathic medicines are prepared from traces of animal, plant, mineral and other natural substances, by a standard method called dynamisation or potentisation, which comprises of successive dilutions and succussions to raise the inherent curative power of the drugs to maximum. The medicines thus prepared through ‘potentisation', attain their potential enhanced enormously to combat ailments while at the same time absence of toxicity is assured. The medicines are usually proved in healthy human beings, to ascertain their curative properties. The system believes in the existence of a self- regulating force in the organism, which plays a vital role during health, disease and cure. The symptoms are considered as the body's natural reaction to the illness and help to find a remedy against the illness. The remedies work by stimulating the body's defense mechanism to correct itself naturally. This therapy adopts an individualistic and holistic approach towards the sick individual. A homoeopathic doctor does not treat in the name of disease, rather the treatment is targeted against the “patient” who is suffering from a particular disease. The physician perceives all the derangements at physical and mental levels of the patient, brings about conceptual image of the patient through totality of symptoms and selects the medicine, which is most similar to the symptomatic totality of the patient.
Homoeopathic medicines are cost effective, palatable, have no adverse side effects and can be administered easily. In some cases, the medicines can be prescribed on the basis of symptoms of the patients, without depending upon the cumbersome and costly diagnostic modalities. Homoeopathy has been useful in treatment of psychosomatic disorders, autoimmune diseases, geriatric and pediatric disorders, ailments during pregnancy, obstinate skin diseases, life style disorders and allergies, etc. It also has a positive role in improving the quality of life in incurable chronic diseases like cancer, HIV/AIDS, terminally ill patients and incapacitating diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, etc. Its popularity is gaining momentum, all over the world.