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Homeopathy - the alternative
Homeopathy is a healing branch of science which comes under medicine and is concerned with the treatment of disease. It has healing powers of medicine that is based on the principle of similars.......
"Homeopathy is a healing branch of science which comes under medicine and is concerned with the treatment of disease". It has healing powers of medicine that is based on the principle of similars- like cures like - which means a substance that can cause certain symptoms in a healthy person can cure similar symptoms in an unhealthy person. Homeopathy aims to aid and stimulate the body's own defense and immune processes. Homeopathic medicines are derived from a variety of plants, animal materials and minerals. These medicines are prescribed to fit each individual's needs, given in much smaller and less toxic doses than traditional medications, and are used for both prevention and treatment.

Germany is the birth-place of homeopathy. The word 'homeopathy' is derived from 'Homoeo' meaning similar and 'Pathy' or pathos means system of medicine. It is based on "the law of similars", SIMILIA SIMILIBUS CURANTEUR, meaning , 'let likes be treated by likes'. Accordingly, if a medicine has to act as a curative for a disease, it should be able to produce the same symptoms of that disease, when administered to a healthy individual. Homeopathy thus has the distinction of being the only 'pathy' using humans as provers of medicines.

Homeopathy was discovered and developed by a German allopathic physician, Dr. Samuel Hahnemann, between 1792 and 1842. It is recognized by the World Health Organization as the second largest therapeutic system in the world.

Samuel Hahnemann (10th April 1755 - 2nd July 1842)
Samuel Hahnemann was born in 1755 in Meissen - (Saxony, Germany) in the family of a porcelain painter. At the age of twenty, he attended the University of Leipzig, wherein he studied medicine for one year. But, he was not at all satisfied due to lack of hospitals and of courses in clinical medicine and therefore he left Leipzig for Vienna, where he received a basic clinical training under the supervision of Baron Dr. Joseph von Quarin ,who was the famous physician-in-ordinary to the Empress Maria Theresa and the Director of the Medical School at the University of Vienna. Dr. Quarin supported Hahnemann in getting a job of librarian to the Governor of Transylvania, Baron von Bruckenthal, in Hermannstadt when he was in urgent need of money to pursue his studies.

There, he was able to practice medicine to some extent, as no medical license was required in that city. After having served two years as a librarian, Hahnemann returned to Germany and graduated from the University of Erlangen in 1779. Gradually he became bitterly disappointed with contemporary medicine, especially with the lack of understanding of medicines' action. So he stopped his practice.

At the time of his graduation, Scientific advances were beginning to be seen in the fields of chemistry, physics, physiology and anatomy. The clinical practice of medicine, however, was in abundance and with superstition and lack of scientific methods which were old and rigid.

The treatments of the day, such as purgatives, bleeding, blistering plasters, herbal preparations and emetics lacked a rational basis and were more harmful than effective. He was against this practice. Hahnemann analysed this and wrote critically of current practices in several papers on topics such as Arsenic poisoning, hygiene, dietetics and psychiatric treatment.

While translating William Cullen's A treatise of the materia medica into German, Hahnemann was struck by a passage that deal with cinchona bark, which was used to treat malaria. Cullen described its mechanism of action as a function of its stomach-strengthening properties. Hahnemann did not accept this explanation and took "four good drams of Peruvian bark, twice a day for several days" to attempt to characterize the action of the quinine-containing bark. Hahnemann reported that he began to develop symptoms identical to those of malaria. He concluded from this experience that effective drugs must produce symptoms in healthy people that are similar to the diseases they will be expected to treat. Today this principal is known as the "Law of Similars" and is the basis for the use of the term homeopathy ("similar suffering").

Hahnemann and his colleagues began to test various substances to determine the types of symptoms they produced. These results suggested what the drugs would be useful to treat. Hahnemann reasoned that doses of these substances that produced overt symptoms would be inappropriate for treatment of diseases with the same symptoms. Thus he advocated reduction of the dose to infinitesimal levels by multiple serial dilutions of ten or hundred fold. Soluble compounds or liquids were diluted in alcohol; insoluble materials were serially diluted by grinding with lactose. He compiled his results into a treatise called the "Organon of rational therapeutics" which he first published in 1810. The sixth edition, published in 1921, is still used today as homeopathy's basic text. Hahnemann practiced Homeopathic medicine for almost 50 years until his death in 1842.

Dr Constantine Hering (1800 to 1880) :
He is aptly called the 'Father of Homeopathy' in America. He was born at Oschath in Saxony on January 1, 1800. When Hering was only seventeen years old, he became interested in medicine and joined the University of Leipzig, where he became the favourite pupil of Dr. Henrich Robbi, who was an eminent surgeon. He found that Dr. Robbi was a critic of Hahnemann and like many other physicians he used to ridicule Hahnemann and Homeopathy.

In 1821, campaign against Hahnemann was at its peak. C. Baumgartner, the founder of a publishing house in Leipzig, wanted to publish a book against Homeopathy to finish the system. Dr. Robbi was asked to write it, but he declined for want of time and recommended Hering, his young assistant. Hering was very much pleased with this mark of confidence and started work on the project. But while going through the writings of Hahnemann he came across the famous "Not a bene for my reviewers". He found in the preface of the third volume of the 'Materia Medica Pura' which said among other things. "The doctrine appeals not only chiefly, but solely to the verdict of experience" - "repeat the experiments" it cries aloud, "repeat them carefully and accurately and you will find the doctrine confirmed at every step" - "and it does what no medical doctrine, no system of physics, no so-called therapeutics did or could do, it insists upon being judged by the result."

Hering decided to confirm the truth of the above remarks. He repeated the experiments with Cinchona and the results of Hahnemann were confirmed. Further study of homeopathic 'Materia Medica' and his experiments made him more convinced about Hahnemann's ideas. The book against Homeopathy thus never saw the light of the day.

In 1824, an incident occurred which developed in him unshakable faith for Homeopathy. The forefinger of his right hand was cut while making a dissection on a dead body. The wound rapidly became gangrenous. The routine orthodox medical treatment had no effect. Kummer who was a disciple of Hahnemann persuaded him to take homeopathic treatment and gave him Arsenic-alb. After a few doses he felt better and the gangrene was soon cured completely. When Arsenic-alb cured Hering, he was surprised and became greatly interested in Homeopathy.

Hering decided to learn homeopathy and completed his studies and got the degree of M. D. from the University of Wuezburg with highest honours. The theme of his thesis was "De'Medicina Futura" (The medicine of future). Hering left Germany for West Indies and finally arrived at Philadelaphia in Jan, 1833. He established a homeopathic school at Allentown, Pennsylvania, commonly known as "Allentown Academy". Very soon he became popular as a physician.

He wrote many articles, monographs, and books and was the chief editor of the 'North America Homeopathic Journal', 'The Homeopathic News', 'The American Journal of Homeopathic Materia Medica' and the journal of his own college. He proved 72 drugs, out of which the following are most important ones: Lachesis, Cantharis, Colchicum, Iodium, Mezereum, Sabadilla, Sabina, Psorinum, Nux-mosch, Crotalus, Apis, Hydrophobinum, Phytolacca, Platina, Glonine, Gelsemium, Kalmia, Ferrum met, Flouric acid, Phosphoric acid etc. He announced the "Law of Direction of Cure" known popularly as Hering's Law of Cure.

Dr. James Tyler Kent: (1849 - 1916)
He was an American physician and a significant contributor to homeopathic medicine. His work came after Samuel Hahnemann and he proved many new remedies which were not at all considered by Hahnemann.
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