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May 26, 2010 at 3:06 PMComments: 1 Faves: 0

The Laws of Homeopathy

By Erin Froehlich More Blogs by This Author

With increasing distrust and disgust with conventional medicine which can cause more problems than it helps, many people are turning to alternative and complementary forms of medicine. In this realm, a wide variety of treatment options are available, and among the most popular is homeopathy. These days, most people have at least heard of homeopathy. Yet, even those who use homeopathic medicine may know little more about it than the fact that it is natural and safe. However, there is more to homeopathy than its use of natural substances. Homeopaths have their own unique views on illness, symptoms, and the proper approach to healing. Furthermore, homeopaths follow their own laws and principles based on these views by which remedies are made and administered.� Revolutionary yet simple, homeopathy can be summarized by three basic laws � �The Law of Similars�, �The Law of Infinitesimals�, and �The Laws of Cure�.

The Law of Similars

This law, �The Law of Similars�, is the basis of homeopathy itself. In fact, the name �homeopathy� is derived from the Greek words "homeo" meaning �same� and "pathy" meaning �suffering�. Written by modern homeopathy founder Samuel Hahnemann, M.D., �The Law of Similars� simply states that the homeopath should give their patient a remedy which would cause symptom patterns similar to their own illness in a healthy person. As is the case with many great discoveries, �The Law of Similars� was found by happy accident. In the 1790�s German physician, Hahnemann, was in the process of testing natural substances for their medicinal qualities. �Largely skeptical of the medicine of his time, and feeling it often did more harm than good he stated, �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 most 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.� So, when he heard that the bark of the South American cinchona tree (the source of quinine still used for Malaria) would cure Malaria, he decided to try it for himself. After ingesting the bark, Hahnemann began feeling ill. He was parched and thirsty, his head throbbed, and he was struck with fever. Immediately, he recognized these as symptoms of the Malaria it cured in sick patients. Intrigued, Hahnemann began compiling research, documenting the effects of hundreds of natural substances, which would become the basis for homeopathy.

Law of Infinitesimals

Another key component of homeopathy is Hahnemann�s �Law of Infinitesimals�. In his age, many people would die not from a disease, but from the medicine meant to cure it! Perhaps the driving force behind this law, it basically states that a homeopath should dilute with water or alcohol to eliminate the negative side effects a substance may have, and use succussions or vigorous shaking to retain and even increase the curative properties. The goal of homeopathic medicine is to act as a catalyst, rather than as a cure itself. It should spark the body�s natural healing powers into action. An analogy compares homeopathic medicine to a CD and the body, to a computer. Though chemically speaking, a CD is simply plastic, it is imprinted with information which a computer can understand. A CD meant for another type of computer will not cause the computer harm, but it won�t be understood properly either. In the same way, the correct homeopathic medicine (as determined by the individual�s symptoms and complete health story) will teach the body to remove blocks that cause imbalance. Because of the processes of dilution and succussion, the wrong homeopathic medicine will not be harmful - as Hahnemann had always intended.

The Father of American Homeopathy

Fast forward thirty years from the time Hahnemann discovered the �The Law of Similars� and �The Law of Infinitesimals� to the University of Liepzig. �There, you�ll find the �Father of American Homeopathy�, Constantine Hering, MD, working as a student assistant for Dr. Robbi. �It was at this time that Hering was first introduced to homeopathy - when the doctor received a request for a book denouncing the homeopathic �heresy�, but was too busy to pen it himself! Dr. Robbi, instead passed this task to his student assistant, unaware of the effect it would have on the boy. Amusingly, it was through his research for this book, studying Hahnemann and conducting his own trials of the experiments Hahnemann described, that Hering became convinced of homeopathy�s effectiveness � and it was during these studies that Hering found a chance to test its effectiveness for his self. When a routine dissection left him with an inflamed and infected wound on his hand he was told would require amputation, Hering was understandably eager to test the power of homeopathy. To his great relief it worked! He recovered completely and appropriately quit his job writing the negative review. By the time he wrote his doctoral thesis in 1826, �On the Medicine of the Future�, Hering proudly declared his status as a homeopath. Hering continued his studies of homeopathy until his death in 1880, and his contributions earned him the title �Father of American Homeopathy� when he brought his knowledge to the states. During his life, he trained 3,500 homeopaths, treated 50,000 patients a year with their help, wrote the still classic �Guiding Symptoms of Materia Medica�, and discovered the use of nitroglycerine for heart problems. However, despite these great accomplishments, it could easily be said that Constantine Hering�s most important contributions were three simple, yet important observations he noted, observations which have become known as �The Laws of Cure�.

The Laws of Cure

To fully understand �The Laws of Cure�, you must first understand the homeopathic perspective of cure. Within homeopathy, it is understood that the way to cure illness is to get at the root cause of it. Though conventional views may dictate that suppressed symptoms are proof of a cure, homeopaths know that symptoms are not the root cause of illness, but instead they are the body's attempt to rid itself of the disease that causes the symptoms. Hering�s biggest contributions to homeopathy are three patterns he observed by which the body attempts to rid itself of toxins as a remedy takes effect. These observations are not only used to understand the healing process, but to determine whether effects are truly signs of a cure,� and not a placebo or suppression effect. The following observations may seem simple, but their impact and usefulness in medicine are revolutionary and continue to serve as a guide for homeopaths today.

  • A remedy works from the top of the body downward.

A true cure will begin at the top of the body and progress toward the bottom. For example, arthritic joints will tend to improve first in the arms and hands, and later in the hips, knees, and ankles.

  • A remedy works from within the body outward � from major to minor organs.

As it fights of disease, the body will attempt to remove toxins from vital internal organs to more superficial external levels. For example, a person suffering respiratory problems like allergies may develop a skin rash as toxins are pushed outward and respiratory problems begin to ease.

  • Symptoms clear in reverse order of appearance.

The first symptoms of a disease are the last to go, while the latest symptoms to appear are the first relieved. For example, a sore throat, usually the first sign of an upper respiratory virus, is usually the last symptoms to go away.


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