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Three Fundamental Principles of Homeopathic Medicine
Homeopathy is a unique, natural, holistic system of medicine which stimulates the body’s healing responses without contraindications or common side effects. Homeopathic practice and manufacture rely on well-defined principles and guidelines. Three fundamental principles define homeopathy and have not changed since its inception in the late 18th century. Homeopathy’s founder, Samuel Hahnemann, established these principles in his book Organon of Medicine, aka, Organon of the Healing Art.
1. The Law of Similars / Similia Similibus Curentur (“Like Cures Like”)
A substance which can cause symptoms in a healthy person can, in homeopathy’s non toxic micro doses, stimulate cure in others suffering with similar symptoms regardless of the cause. This fundamental principle is reflected in the name, ‘Homeo’ being Greek for ‘same’ or ‘similar’ and ‘pathos’ for ‘suffering’, i.e., let like be cured by like or more commonly, like cures like. Similimum is the term for the remedy that best matches a patient’s symptoms, e.g., the honey bee remedy Apis, gives us a powerful remedy for cases with edema, burning stinging pain, respiratory reactions.
A few examples of Like Cures Like:
Arnica montana: The Arnica plant’s extraordinary reputation for easing trauma was established long before homeopathy refined it. Folklore claims mountain goats taught us the powers of this plant when they scrambled to eat Arnica leaves after a fall or injury. However, too much brings out its toxic effects. Hahnemann observed that in large doses, the Arnica plant’s toxins ‘disorganize tissues’ causing bleeding, bruising, swelling, etc. and impeding repair. Applying homeopathy’s Law of Similars, he introduced the essential remedy for injuries and muscle strain – that which can disorganize tissues, can help the body organize tissues after injuries by minimizing bruising, bleeding and swelling and stimulating healing of traumatized tissues. Arnica is now the most tested and respected single remedy in homeopathy.
Aconitum napellus: Just as its fast acting toxin, Aconitine, can shock the body and alter the chemistry of membranes, nerves and electricity, so can Aconite (the remedy from the same source) calm and reset the effects of shock as well as a wide variety of responses to shocks to the system. When stress makes us vulnerable and anxious, the slightest shocks become systemic such that a cold wind can set off a cold; anger, accidents or frights cause fear, pain, hypersensitivity, and restlessness. In short, when the body is overly reactive, Aconite can stimulate its ability to resolve the chemistry and effects of shock. Comparing the habitat or appearance of a remedy’s source to its action, often reveals fascinating connections. In this case the Aconite plant, better known as Monkshood, grows in high altitudes where oxygen is low. The remedy, in turn, is able to help the body regulate oxygen when in anxious states which, by nature, allow less oxygen to process.
Apis mellifica: The honey bee’s venom triggers a range of responses in various individuals such as, swelling, pain and mild or severe allergic responses. Applying like cures like, these symptoms are reflected in its remedy to give us a way to stimulate healing of bites and stings, specific burning stinging pains, puffy swellings, inflamed membranes, urinary irritation and respiratory problems.
2. The Minimum Dose
Hahnemann directed that the smallest amount of substance that would bring about healing be used. Hahnemann’s search for a means to deliver the similimum that would do no harm led to homeopathy’s micro doses. To minimize the side effects, he found a dilution and succussion process (vigorous shaking and striking against a solid surface) he referred to as ‘potentization’ and ‘dynamization’. Contrary to his own expectations, highly diluted concentrations (potencies) provoked stronger healing responses when the ‘similimum’ was chosen. Furthermore, as the potency increased with dilution, the safety profile of the remedy also increased. This is the opposite to conventional medicines which usually exhibit greater toxicity with increased potency.
Through our century-old homeopathic pharmacy, Standard Laboratories, Inc., we supply a wide range of potencies– X, C and M, plus LM & Q on request.
The Process of Manufacturing Homeopathic Remedies:
In the processing of homeopathic single remedies, the base substance is prepared according to the HPUS, Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia of the US, and the tincture or triturate base (for non soluble sources, e.g. mercury) that results is diluted sequentially to reach the desired ‘potency’. This dilution process involves potentization, a process also referred to as ‘dynamization’, at every stage of the dilution. Potentization requires a series of 100 or more vigorous succussive shakes, or succussions, against a hard, but not glass-breaking, surface. Dictionaries define succussion generally as ‘shaking of the body or part of it to elicit a sound’. In homeopathy, this sound or ‘succussion’ is made by abruptly stopping each downward shake against a surface. This process develops the medicinal powers lying hidden in the medicinal substance and discloses these powers more and more.
Once prepared according to the HPUS, the tincture or triturate is potentized according to the system of dilution desired.
The number, e.g., 6, 12, 30, 200 etc., designates the number of times the tincture has been diluted/processed.
The letter, X, C, M, etc., designates the system or scale.
While there is a Hahnemannian method and a Korsakavian method, the scales are very similar:
X potencies- the decimal scale dilutes on a ratio of 1:10.
C potencies- the centesimal scale dilutes on a ratio of 1:100
M potencies- ratio of 1:1000
LM potencies- ratio of 1:50,000 (following initial preparation of 3C)
Thus homeopathic 3C and 6X potencies contain one part source per one million parts diluent.
3. The Totality of Symptoms
Homeopathic treatment is tailored to each individual patient, according to their complete symptom picture. This would include not only physical symptoms, but also their emotional and mental state.
Homeopathy is truly a holistic system of healing. For every remedy and patient, Homeopathy treasures every mental, emotional and physical change in extensive detail including: the sensations, locations, times and qualities of each symptom, plus the modalities for each case and symptom, i.e., influences– what aggravates, ameliorates or causes. In classical homeopathy, the practitioner seeks the remedy that best matches the fundamental elements of the entire case. Yet, even in acute cases, a person’s emotional state or changes in that state may be integral to a physical complaint and vice versa, e.g., restlessness is a key indicator for the stiff joint remedy Rhus tox.