History of Homeopathy

Christian Friedrich Samuel Hahnemann (1755 - 1843)

Homeopathy was created by German medical practitioner Christian Friedrich Samuel Hahnemann - a doctor so disillusioned with orthodox medicine that he called it "homicidal." Maligned, hounded out of practice and persecuted by the orthodox medical hierarchy, he was publicly disgraced - but later revered - because of his views.

His philosophy was simple - cure like with like, use medicines from animal, vegetable and mineral kingdoms and treat the inner disease, which would in turn heal the outward manifestations.

Born third in a family of five, Hahnemann studied medicine but early in his career became increasingly dissatisfied with its doctrines. He turned to chemistry to analyse the effects of natural drugs on the body, treating himself for malaria with Cinchona bark, which produced similar symptoms. His writings were vilified by the medical profession, but undeterred, he collected herbs and experimented with the curative effects of silver, mercury, sulphur and phosphorous. In "provings" with patients he found that by administering substances which mimicked the disease, the disease would disappear. He wrote of his success in treating 180 typhus sufferers with his medicine - provoking the fury of the orthodox medical hierarchy which took legal action against him, revoking his powers as a doctor. Hahnemann continued his homeopathic research, however, his name was so blackened that no one applied for his post graduate homeopathic course.

Hahnemann had the gift of listening to patients. He said a patient's subjective description of his or her illness was the best thing to listen to. He noted that the appearance of disease represented an inner illness. His research showed that by treating the inner cause, the disease could be cured. He studied syphilis, gonorrhoea, measles and other illnesses which caused skin eruptions, concluding that changes in health were caused by "a disturbance of the life force." He spent his life searching for substances which could mimic disease symptoms and eradicate the disease, analysing data and later conducting experiments to show that diluted medicine often had far greater effect.

Vilification of Hahnemann by the medical hierachy ceased in the 1830s after two homeopathic societies were established in France in his honour. Hahnemann became renowned and gained a clientele of English and European patients. He was reinstated as a medical practitioner and cured a number of the crowned heads of Europe with serious illnesses using homeopathic medicine.

Hahnemann died peacefully at the age of 88. His tombstone bears the Latin inscription Non inutilis vixi (I have not lived in vain).

Thanks to Hahnemann, homeopathy is now practised world wide. There are many homeopathic colleges and the interchange of homeopathic knowledge between countries grows constantly. Unlike modern medicine, homeopathy does not change. The remedies prescribed in the nineteenth century are just as appropriate as they were then, and will continue to be so.

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