In the late 1700s, Samuel Hahnemann, a German physician, became frustrated with use of traditional medicine. It was in 1796 when he proposed homeopathy, which in simple terms is a form of alternative medicine that believes substances that cause illnesses in a person who is healthy can treat the same conditions in another patient by first making sure the substances are highly diluted.

In the early 1800s the United States began taking interest in this new form of medicine. American doctors learned about homeopathy when their colleagues came back from studying in Europe. Homeopathy spread all throughout Europe and Asia. More recently in the late 1990s more people began to gain renewed interest as alternative medicine became more popular. The remedies used in homeopathic medicine are made from natural forms, instead of synthetic material. Elements come from plants, animals and minerals.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulate these remedies, and if they are used to treat a serious illness or condition, then they are sold as prescriptions. However for minor illnesses such as hay fever or cold, the remedies are sold over the counter. Mostly, homeopathic is used to treat colds, flu, allergies, asthma and arthritis. These products are widely available at natural and health food stores around the world.

Female doctor with stethoscope holding tablet and medicine bottle

With homeopathy, the focus just isn’t on the body, but it focuses on the mind-body-spirit connection. It takes a holistic approach that treats the person, versus the symptom or condition. Homeopathic treatments don’t work to control or suppress the symptoms but rather they work to heal the body. Practitioners of homeopathy create personalized treatments going by the individual’s body type, family and personal health history. They also include the person’s mental symptoms if any exist. Many people receive homeopathy treatments as form of complementary therapy, meaning that it is outside the realm of conventional medicine.

Many people have claimed to have seen great success with homeopathic medicine. As stated, the medicine treats common conditions such as colds and flu, asthma, arthritis and allergies. But many proponents of homeopathy believe that the medicine, treatment and therapy can cure many more illnesses as well. Yet homeopathic practitioners leave serious conditions such as cancer, heart disease or diabetes to medical physicians.

Believers of homeopathy state that the medicines actually stimulate a person’s natural defenses. Samuel Hahnemann said that when replacing an illness that is lesser but similar to the one that the patient is afflicted with, it can eventually deteriorate the illness of its “vital force.”  The phrase vital force originates from a concept in medical philosophy called vitalism which means the root of the illness is due to an imbalance that resides in the vital energies of a person.

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