A Brief History of Homeopathy

Dr. Samuel Hahnemann (1755-1843), a German physician, is the founder of homeopathy.   While the fundamental principle of homeopathy, “Like cures Likes,” had been used by Hippocrates and others before him, Dr. Hahnemann brought this principle to practical application.

I think it is important that you know a little about this amazing man. Hahnemann was brilliant, as are so many people in the history of scientific discovery and development. He began his medical career at a time when “modern medicine” was using very toxic methods on people.  He gave up the practice of medicine because he claimed that the medicine of his time did as much harm as good:

My sense of duty would not easily allow me to treat the unknown pathological state of my suffering brethren with these unknown medicines. The thought of becoming in this way a murderer or malefactor towards the life of my fellow human beings was most terrible to me, so terrible and disturbing that I wholly gave up my practice in the first years of my married life and occupied myself solely with chemistry and writing.

Hahnemann was proficient in over 11 languages and he made his living translating scientific books.  His inquiry into what is in a substance that would help heal a patient with a particular disease began with his translation of a book about chinchona, the bark of the Peruvian tree.  This is the source of the drug, quinine, which has been used to treat malaria.  So, Hahnemann took the chinchona himself and developed malaria-like symptoms.

This led him to postulate a healing principle: “that which can produce a set of symptoms in a healthy individual, can treat a sick individual who is manifesting a similar set of symptoms.”[3] This principle, like cures like, became the basis for an approach to medicine to which he gave the name homeopathy, which means “similar suffering”.  By the way, Dr. Hahnemann also coined the term “allopathy” to mean different suffering.



In the development of homeopathy, Hahnemann experimented on himself, his family and friends.  This experimentation is what we call provings (our clinical drug trials)…how we find out what a particular substance can cause in healthy people, and what this substance, our homeopathic remedy, can help a person with similar symptoms heal at the whole state of being.  Remember, what we take into our vital energy has an effect on the whole.

As a chemist, Dr. Hahnemann, began diluting the material substance and found that they no longer caused toxic side effects.  He further realized that if he shook the liquid dilution, that the side effects were eliminated.  This shaking is called succession or potentization.  At a certain level, the material substance is diluted out and what is left is the energy of the substance.  Current research now shows that water holds the memory of what comes in contact with it.  It is this energetic essence that then when introduced into the dynamic energy of the sick person can retune, rebalance and bring the whole state of the person’s vital energy back into harmony and homeostasis.  In this state of harmony the symptoms individually expressed by each person are thrown off or healed.  The natural state of the whole state of being of each of us is HARMONY.  And when there is harmony, there can be no distunement or disease.

Homeopathy heals by retuning, establishing harmony, in the vital energy system of the body.  It does it gently, safely and with certainty.

Wanda Bedinghaus, MD

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