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A homeopathic remedy is an extremely gentle, natural substance that has been diluted many, many times. These micro-doses stimulate the body's own healing mechanisms. In large quantities these substances would cause the same symptoms the patient is trying to cure. However, in extremely small, diluted doses, it is not only safe and free from side effects, but it will trigger the body to heal itself. For example, Allium cepa is a modern remedy that is used for watery eyes and a runny nose. It is created from red onion. If you've ever cut up a red onion, then you know that it will cause the same symptoms. When the body creates a similar "symptom picture" to Allium cepa and you take a dose of the Allium cepa, it activates the body to go about the process of stopping watery eyes and a runny nose.
Even though homeopathic remedies are extremely gentle, natural and safe they can be extremely effective. They are ideal for small children or patients who take a lot of pharmaceutical medications and are worried about herb-drug interactions.
History of Homeopathy
Homeopathy was developed by Dr. Samuel Hahnemann (1755-1834). From Germany, he was an orthodox physician, a competent chemist, a mineralogist, a botanist, and he spoke 8 languages. His research was motivated by dissatisfaction with the standard medical practices at the time. While translating Dr. William Cullen's Materia Medica into German he questioned a medical observation Cullen had made regarding cinchona (an extract of quinine bark). Cullen, a Scottish physician, suggested the success of cinchona in the treatment of swamp fever was due to its value as a stomach tonic. Hahnemann disagreed, and in his research on the matter decided to take a course of the cinchona extract himself. To his surprise, he developed a set of symptoms similar to those of swamp fever. All the symptoms disappeared when he stopped taking the extract, and whenever he administered it to anyone healthy, the cinchona extract always produced the same set of symptoms.
This was a strange phenomenon, uncited in the medical literature of the day - a remedy which was effective in a particular disease would produce a similar set of symptoms in a healthy person when given in sufficient doses. He eventually found mention of this effect in the writings of Hippocrates (460-377 B.C.) regarded by the orthodoxy as the Father of Medicine. Hippocrates had said that likes can be cured by likes: that vomiting can be stopped by being made to vomit, and any illness caused by one means can be treated successfully by a similar means. Thus, the Law of Similars was born - "like cures like."
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Deepak Chopra, MD