What is Homeopathy?

Homeopathy is unique – not so much because of the sources of the medicines prescribed, but because of the way they are prescribed.

A patient's whole state of health – that is physical and emotional – is assessed and a medicine is then chosen which is known to have induced a similar physical and emotional state in healthy volunteers (known as provings).

For reasons that are as yet unclear if the medicine is given in a form known as a potency – or serially diluted and vigorously shaken aqueous preparation – it has the power to transform the state of ill health into one of health. A simple example might be one in which a potentized preparation of common onion (causing irritated, watery eyes and sneezing) is given for certain types of allergic rhinitis. Another might be giving potentized preparations of coffee for simple insomnia.

Because homeopathic preparations are potentized many sources can be used which would be poisonous if given in normal dosages. For instance, belladonna is commonly given homeopathically for high fevers in childhood with no ill effects. Potentization means any substance can safely be used as a homeopathic medicine. However, to be effectively used the medicine must first be proved.

Homeopathy as a system of medicine was first formulated by the German physician Samuel Hahnemann in the late 18th and early 19th centuries but its origins go back much further (see Origins and History of Homeopathy).

For further information regarding Homeopathy, please visit the frequently asked questions section.

Crataegus oxycanthoides ( Hawthorn )

Crataegus oxycanthoides (Hawthorn).

Urtica (Nettle)

Urtica (nettle)

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