HOMOEOPATHY – WHAT IS IT?
We are glad to be able to reproduce this essay which was written by Miss J.F. Marsden, a nurse at the London Homoeopathic Hospital, and gained for her a special prize.
To find out the beginning of the system of medicine known as Homoeopathy we must take our minds back to about 150 years ago. How many sufferers have blessed the name of Christian Samuel Hahnemann, a great German Physician of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, who was the Founder of Homoeopathy!
It was not without reason that he was disgusted with the medical practices of his day, and through his ingenuity and persevering work we now have the inexhaustible benefits of Homoeopathy, as contrasted to Allopathy, and it is the purpose of this short essay to explain briefly the principles upon which he worked, and upon which Homoeopathy is based.
Firstly, it is interesting to know what the word “Homoeopathy” really means. “Homoeo” comes from the Greek root meaning “similar to” and “pathy” comes from the same root as the words “sympathy” and “pathos” and means “suffering”. The word “Homoeopathy” therefore means “similar in suffering.”
The body naturally resents the introduction of anything unnatural to it, and as all nature defends itself, when a drug is introduced the body throws out certain signs and symptoms which, in reality, are the effects of its defence-hence we have a rash with Measles and Scarlet Fever, the signs of burning should Carbolic be taken. In this system of medicine called Homoeopathy or “the similar suffering” it is the endeavour of the Physician to find the drug which produces the same or “similar signs and symptoms as the disease, and it is from this fundamental principle that we take our name – Homoeopathy !
Hahnemann lived in a day when many of the so-called “medical remedies” did not work and he experimented and tested out drugs, working on the law of the “similar” remedy and he found that this system did not work. Surely that is the supreme test – that it works. How can anyone – physician or otherwise – decry Homoeopathy when he has never tried it? – Try it – for it stands the test!
Having then considered this principle of Homoeopathy let us see how the Physician applies it. Does he take the rash of Measles or Scarlet Fever and find a “similar” remedy to these things? Yes, he takes the rash and other clinical signs into account, but he goes further than this-he makes Homoeopathy an individual cure! ! He studies each individual patient – no two are alike.
Illness affects each in a different way. Even with the same illness two patients may manifest their symptoms in a different way – well the physician takes them all into account in order to find the “similar” remedy. There are other things too like temperament and personality, which are often changed during illness, and these all play a part in the most “similar” remedy.
Apart from the homoeopathic treatment, surely there is a psychological factor here! What patient will not have more confidence in a Physician who knows all his idiosyncrasies, and who takes them all into account – to the patient all the little details are big things. Homoeopathy is essentially an individual treatment – the drug must fit the patient – the individual – not necessarily the disease.
Secondly, there is the Homoeopathic principle of doses. It has been said that Homoeopaths give such minute doses that it seems incredible to believe any good can be done. Yes, they do give small doses, and here is another principle. In Allopathy doses are given to counteract or counterbalance the illness, but in Homoeopathy – the principles being different altogether, a small dose is given to release the patients natural defences, to release latent energy which will fight the disease.
That energy once released there is no need to keep on giving large, or many doses. Leave the patient to do his own work of defence -the small dose has added something to enable him to do this and we shall consider more of that “something” in the next paragraph. He may actually appear worse for a time owing to the drugs producing its “similar” symptoms, but this “aggravation” will pass. The amount of the drugs may be minute but it can be potentised to energy and can be appreciated by the body.
Lastly then, this question of potencies. Potency means “power” or “a setting of power free” and the homoeopathic pharmacist has this mighty weapon in his hands. Many of the drugs come from plants, and the plant is taken fresh, preferably in blossoming time; it is chopped and steeped in alcohol until the alcohol has extracted all it can. The solid matter is thrown off and what is left is called “mother tincture.” these “mother tinctures” are very strong and are so called because they are the mother “mothers” of all potencies, and the source of them. They are symbolised by two Greek letters O and O.