Homeopathy is a complete system of medicine within itself, the roots of which go back hundreds of years. This form of medicine is governed by central, unchanging guiding principles. How these principles are applied in the practise of homeopathy may vary from individual to individual as this system of medicine is tailored to the individual in a holistic and personal way. Each person's experience of illness is subjective when compared with another person suffering exactly the same condition. Although there are features common to both, the pathological disturbance differs in individual constitutions. This why in homeopathy there are thousands of remedies, and any two people suffering for example, Multiple Sclerosis will be prescribed different homeopathic medicines rather than the same ones. This fact explains, why some people have few symptoms of cancer until it is diagnosed and death follows within weeks, and why other people have symptoms which indicate cancer but may live 10-20 years after the initial diagnosis. Each person's body is different and responds differently to sickness. The disease is not the same, and so the remedy must be necessarily be different too.
These central principles are:
- The Law of Similars. Similibus Similia Curentur. This means if one administers a substance to a healthy person and the person then develops a particular pattern of illness, then this substance will be likely to cure that pattern as is already shown in a sick person. All homeopathic medicines have been tested on healthy subjects and the experience of illness that ensued was recorded to show which disturbances these medicines would cure in sick people. Cure occurs not by opposing symptoms of illness but by joining forces with the body's own attempts to overthrow disturbance and helping the body to complete its action by giving it extra strength and stimulus.
- The Principle of the Minimum Dose. This principle refers to the fact that the dosage of a medicine exists only to stimulate the body into healing itself. The dose is as small as it is possible to be while also having a therapeutic effect. This is to do with the fact that homeopathic medicines are highly dilute (see below). But this is also to do with professional homeopaths' approach to case management and the avoidance of drug dependence and subsequent weakening of people's immune systems through the toxic effects of drugs.
- Hering's Law or the Principle of Cure. This is the principle by which homeopaths determine whether a cure is actually taking place or not. I will write more on this later.
Homeopathic medicines are prepared from many different substances such as plants and herbs, metals, poisons, animal excretions, and disease materials. The preparation of medicines is unique in the world and people have found it difficult to grasp and comprehend. However, there is progress being made into developing insight and understanding as to how this specific method is effective in being both therapeutic and yet completely non-toxic at the same time. This non-toxicity of effective healing agents has always been a struggle and difficult problem to medicine-men throughout time, as it is well-known that many substances which can cure, can also kill. Hence, within the system of orthodox medicine, there are huge areas of blurred ethics around the capacity of medicines to cause serious side-effects to the body which may complicate illness or at worst kill a patient. This has led to intense regulation and has necessitated many clinical trials, pharmaceutical patents and drug licenses. This has led to the creation of medicine boards. And this has also led to episodes of crisis (the Thalidomide scandal, for example) and class action lawsuits. The fact that homeopathy has solved a problem which leads to suffering, paranoia, clinical danger and expenditure of huge sums of money on drugs rather than resources and health-care for all is a fact which seems to be conveniently ignored by most.