Homeopathic System of Medicine: Homoeopathy is a specialized system of therapeutics, developed by Dr. Samuel Christian Friedrich Hahnemann (1755–1843), a German physician, chemist, and pharmacist, based on the natural law of healing: Similia Similibus Curantur, which means ‘Likes are cured by likes.
Homois means like (similar) and pathos means treatment. Thus, Homoeopathy is a system of treating diseases or suffering by the administration of drugs that possess the power of producing similar suffering (diseases) in healthy human beings. Dr. Hahnemann believed that symptoms are no more than an outward reflection of the body’s inner fight to overcome illness: it is not a manifestation of the illness itself. This law of similar for curing diseases has been in use since the time of Hippocrates, the father of medicine. But it was Dr. Hahnemann who developed it into a complete system of therapeutics enunciating the law and its application in 1810.
Fundamental Principles of Homoeopathy
Every science has certain basic principles that guide the whole system. Homoeopathy as a science of medical treatment has a philosophy of its own, and its therapeutics is based on certain fundamental principles that are quite distinct and different from those of other schools of medical science. These fundamental principles were discussed by Hahnemann in different sections of his medicine and philosophy.
They are as follows:
- Law of Similia.
- Law of Simplex.
- Law of minimum.
- Drug proving.
- Drug dynamization or potentization.
- Vital force.
- Acute and Chronic Diseases.
- The direction of cure.
Law of similia
The therapeutic law on which homoeopathy is based is Simillia Similibus Curentur, which means ‘Let likes be cured by likes. In this art of healing, the medicine administered to a diseased individual is such that if given to a healthy person it produces the same sufferings (diseases) as found in the diseases individual. Thus, the symptoms of the diseased individual are to be matched with the pathogenesis of the medicine, and the most similar medicines, viz. Simillimum is selected and administered with certainty to cure.
Law of simplex
Simple and single drugs should be prescribed at a time. Thus, medicines are proved on healthy human beings singly and in simple form without admixture of any other substance.
Law of minimum
Drugs are administered in a minimum quantity because of hypersensitivity in disease and the action of the drug is always directed towards normal by altered receptivity of tissue to stimuli in disease. The medicines are just required to arouse a reaction in the body. If they are given in large doses, they cause physiological action producing unwanted side effects and organic damage. The minutest quantity of medicine helps it to reach the disease, which is very subtle. The curative action of the drug can only be expected without any unwanted aggravation by using the minimum quantity of medicine.
To apply drugs for therapeutic purposes, their curative power should be known. The curative power of a drug is its ability to produce disease symptoms when employed on a healthy person. The curative power of a drug is known by its pathogenesis and is ascertained by proving the drug singly on a healthy human being. This serves as the only true record of the curative properties of the drug.
Drug dynamization or potentization
The disease is a disturbance or deviation in the normal harmonious flow of life force which is dynamic. Now medicine used to encounter disease should also have dynamic action to act on the dynamic disturbance of life force. Therefore, the drugs are dynamized or potentized liberating their dynamic curative power which lies dormant in them. This dynamization is done by the process of Trituration (in case of insoluble substances) or Succession (in case of soluble substances).
Preparation of potencies
The potency can be prepared by three different scales, like decimal scale, centesimal scale, and millesimal scale.
This scale was introduced by Dr. Constantive Bering. On this scale, the first potency should contain 1/10 part of the original drug. The second potency will contain 1/10 part of the first potency, and so on. The potency in this scale is denoted by suffixing the letter ‘X’ to the number indicating the potency, i.e. the first potency is 1X, the second potency is 2X, and so on.
On this scale, the first potency should contain 1/100 of the original drug and the second potency will contain 1/100 of the first potency, and so on. The potency in this scale is denoted by suffixing the letter ‘C’ to the number indicating the potency. In practice, it is generally denoted by a simple numerical 1C potency equivalent to 2X potency and 2C potency is equivalent to 4X, and so on.
In this scale, the first potency should contain 1/50,000 part of the original drug and the second potency will contain 1/50,000 of the first potency, and so on. Potency in this scale is denoted by I, II, V, X, etc., or 0/1, 0/2, 0/5, 0/10, etc. In this scale potency 0/2 is equivalent to 4C = 8X, 0/4 = 8C = 16X and so on. Preparation of potency through trituration is made by either decimal or centesimal and the preparation of potency through succession is made by decimal, centesimal and millesimal.
The disease is nothing but the disharmonious flow of the vital force giving rise to abnormal sensations and functions (symptoms and signs). To restore health, the disordered vital force is to be brought back to normal. Disease and health are two different quantitative states of this vital force of living being, and cure is to be affected here. The vital force has the following characteristics: spiritual, autocratic, automatic, dynamic, unintelligent, and instinctive.
Acute and chronic diseases
The diseases are classified into these types depending upon their onset, nature of progress, and termination of diseases.
No two individuals are alike in the world, so the diseases affecting individuals can never be the same assuming the unique individual picture in each diseased individual. Thus, medicines can never be prescribed based on the name of the disease without individualizing each case of disease.
Direction of cure
Dr. Hering states that ‘cure takes place within outward from above to downward and the symptoms disappear in the reverse of their appearance’. If the direction is reverse of that stated then it is not cured but suppression which has occurred.
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