Today Homoeopathy is a rapidly growing system and is being practiced almost all over the world.
It is more than a century and a half now that Homoeopathy is being practiced in India.
It has been recognised as one of the National Systems of Medicine and plays an important role in providing health care.
Its strength lies in its evident effectiveness as it takes a holistic approach towards the sick individual through promotion of inner balance at mental, emotional, spiritual and physical levels.
The word ‘Homoeopathy’ is derived from two Greek words, Homois meaning similar and pathos meaning suffering.
Homoeopathy simply means treating diseases with remedies, prescribed in minute doses, which are capable of producing symptoms similar to the disease when taken by healthy people.
It is based on the natural law of healing- “Similia Similibus Curantur” which means “likes are cured by likes”.
Dr. Samuel Hahnemann (1755-1843) gave it a scientific basis in the early 19th century. It has been serving suffering humanity for over two centuries and has withstood the disturbances of time and has emerged as a time-tested therapy. The scientific principles propounded by Hahnemann are natural and well proven and continue to be followed with success.
The principle of Homoeopathy has been known since the time of Hippocrates from Greece, the founder of medicine, around 450 BC.
More than a thousand years later the Swiss alchemist Paracelsus employed the same system of healing based upon the principle that “like cures like”.
But it was not until the late 18th century that Homoeopathy as it is practiced today was evolved by the great German physician, Dr. Samuel Hahnemann.
Dr. Samuel Hahnemann was horrified by the medical practices of that time and set about to develop a method of healing which would be safe, gentle, and effective.
He believed that human beings have a capacity for healing themselves and that the symptoms of disease reflect the individuals struggle to overcome his illness.
Over two hundred years ago, the German physician Dr. Samuel Hahnemann discovered the principle that what substance could cause in the way of symptoms, it could also cure.
Hahnemann was struck by the effect that certain drugs, when taken by him while quite healthy, produced symptoms that the drug was known to cure in sick. For instance, when he took Cinchona Bark, which contains quinine, he became ill with symptoms that exactly mimicked intermittent fever (now called malaria). He wondered if the reason Cinchona worked against intermittent fever was because it caused symptoms indistinguishable from intermittent fever in a healthy human.
Hahnemann continued to experiment, noting that every substance he took, whether a herb, a mineral, an animal product or a chemical compound, produced definite distinct symptoms in him.
He further noted that no two substances produced exactly the same set of symptoms. Each provoked its own unique pattern of symptoms.
Furthermore the symptoms were not just confined to the physical plane. Every substance tested also affected the mind and the emotions apart from the body.
Eventually, Hahnemann began to treat the sick on the principle ‘let likes be treated by likes’. From the outset he achieved outstanding clinical success.
CONCEPTS AND PRINCIPLES
Homoeopathy is the system of treatment based on demonstrable laws and principles, which are –
The Law of Similars – It is also called the Law of Cure.
This law demonstrates that the selected remedy is able to produce a range of symptoms in a healthy person similar to that observed in the patient, thus leading to the principle of Similia Similibus Curentur i.e. let likes be treated by likes.
To give a simple example the effects of peeling an onion are very similar to the symptoms of acute cold. The remedy prepared from the red onion, Allium cepa, is used to treat the type of cold in which the symptoms resemble those we get from peeling onion. The principle has been verified by millions of Homoeopaths all over the world.
The Law of Single Remedy – This law directs to choose and administer such a single remedy, which is most similar to the symptom complex of the sick person at a time.
The Law of Minimum Dose – The similar remedy selected for a sick should be prescribed in minimum dose, so that when administered there is no toxic effects on the body. It just acts as a triggering and catalytic agent to stimulate and strengthen the existing defence mechanism of the body. It does not need to be repeated frequently.
Holistic as well as Individualistic approach in Medicine through Homoeopathy:
This is a key point and unique to Homoeopathy.
Homoeopathy does not treat diseases.
In other words Homoeopathy does not limit its treatment to painful joints, inflamed bronchi or a malignant growth. Rather, treats all aspects mental, emotional and physical of the person who happens to be suffering with arthritis or bronchitis or cancer.
Homoeopathy regards each patient as a unique individual, e.g. six persons with hepatitis might get a different Homoeopathic remedy, each one aimed at the individual’s totality of symptoms rather than at his liver alone.
The physicians’ interest is not only to alleviate the patients’ present symptoms but also his long-term well being.
Concept of Vital Force
Dr. Hahnemann discovered that the human body is endowed with a force that reacts against the inimical forces, which produce disease.
It becomes deranged during illness and the best-selected Homoeopathic remedies stimulate this failing vital force.
Concept of Miasm
Psora, Syphilis and Sycosis are the three fundamental causes of all chronic diseases that trouble the human race as discovered by Dr. Hahnemann and called them miasms. This word is derived from Greek word miainein meaning ‘to pollute’.
Syphilis and Sycosis are the venereal and contagious chronic diseases, whereas Psora is a non-venereal chronic disease. Psora is present from the beginning to end of life and is the root cause of most of the diseases.
Principle of Drug Proving
To apply drugs for therapeutic use, their curative powers should be known. The proving of the drug is the method employed to know these powers and is unique to Homoeopathy as they are proved on healthy human beings. The symptoms thus known are the true record of the curative properties of a drug or the pathogenesis of a drug.
Drug Dynamisation or Potentisation
Drugs are prepared in such a way that they retain maximum medicinal powers without producing any toxic action on the body.
It was found experimentally by Dr. Hahnemann that when diluted drugs are powerfully succussed they develop lasting medicinal powers.
DEVELOPMENT AND ITS STATUS
HISTORICAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA
Homoeopathy entered India in 1839 when Dr. John Martin Honigberger was called to treat Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the ruler of Punjab, for paralysis of vocal cords and oedema. The Maharaja was relieved of his complaints and in return received valuable rewards and later on was made officer-in-charge of a hospital.
Dr. Honigberger later on went to Calcutta and started practice there. This royal patronage helped the system to have its roots in India. A large number of missionaries, amateurs in Indian civil and military service personals practiced Homoeopathy extensively and spread this system mostly in Bengal and South India.
RECOGNITION BY THE GOVERNMENT:
The Government of India soon after Independence did not lost time to develop Homoeopathic System of Medicine. The setting up of Homoeopathic Enquiry Committee in 1948, the Committee by Planning Commission in 1951 and the Homoeopathic Pharmacopoeia Committee in 1962 testify to this. At the instance of the recommendation of these Committees, the Government of India have accepted Homoeopathy as one of the national System of Medicine and started releasing funds for its development, during the Second five-year Plan. Some of the States also made their own contribution to Homoeopathic Education, the employment of Homoeopathic practitioners in health services and regulating the practice by passing States Acts & Rules, etc.
NATIONAL HEALTH POLICY & HOMOEOPATHY:
The National Health Policy as passed by the Indian Parliament assigns to the Indian Systems of Medicine and Homoeopathy an important role in the delivery of primary health care and visualizes its integration in the over all health care delivery system, specially in the preventive and promotive aspects of health care in the context of the national target of achieving “Health for all by 2000 AD”
GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT IN INDIA
Homoeopathy continued to spread and by the beginning of 20th century most of the important cities in India had Homoeopathic dispensaries. The popularity of the system led to a mushroom growth of quacks practicing Homoeopathy. Seeing this deplorable state of affairs, efforts were made by the Government. It took several steps and in 1948, a Homoeopathic Enquiry Committee was set up to evolve a suitable arrangement to regulate teaching and practice of Homoeopathy. A Homoeopathic Advisory Committee was appointed in 1952 by the Govt. of India and the recommendations of these committees led to passing of a Central Act in 1973 for recognition of this system of medicine. Homoeopathy now has been accepted as one of the National Systems of Medicine in India.
PRESENT SET UP:
Homoeopathy in India enjoys Government support along with the other systems of medicine because Government is of the view that presence of all these complementary alternative systems of therapeutics offers a much wider spectrum of curative medicine than is available in any other country.