Homeopathic Cures and the Law of Similars

By Val Silver

Homeopathic cures is a hotly debated therapy, even though homeopathy is widely practiced throughout the world and the idea behind the law of similars is thousands of years old. As a medical system, homeopathy is second in popular use only to conventional allopathic medicine. Homeopathic remedies are registered and legally manufactured over-the-counter drugs in the U.S. in accordance with the  Homeopathic Pharmacopeia.

The principles of homeopathy have been foundational in Indian medicine for over four thousand years. They were also recorded in Greek medical literature. Paracelsus, a 16th century physician and alchemist, stated that small doses of “what makes a man ill also cures him".

A brief look at the development and history of homeopathy will help explain why this accepted medical model is now viewed with such skepticism.

The History of Homeopathy

Samuel Hahnemann, an 18th century German physician, is the father of homeopathy as we know it today. He developed this system because he was distressed by the harmful medical treatments of his day. He wanted to find a better way to treat his patients.

Since treating disease with opposites did not appear to be working, he decided to explore working with remedies called similars. This type of treatment was commonly used in German folk medicine during his lifetime, so he was already familiar with it.

Dr. Hahnemann named his system homeopathy, which means 'similar suffering'. He organized it into a structured approach and introduced the concept of provings.

Hahnemann noted that the toxic symptoms of some remedies were remarkably similar to the symptoms they were used for. For example, the symptoms of malaria were like those of quinine poisoning. Quinine is the cure for malaria.

To 'prove' the remedies, Hahnemann or his volunteers took the substances in sub-toxic doses and recorded any symptoms they experienced. When a remedy was administered that induced the same symptoms as the illness, symptoms would worsen, as expected. Mental and emotional symptoms were considered just as important as physical symptoms.

Dr. Hahnemann believed that diseases represent a disturbance in the body's life force and its ability to heal itself. He believed that only a small stimulus is needed to begin the healing process. You have to first remove the cause before a healing can occur.

To counter this effect he began to precisely dilute the remedies, pounding the bottle thoroughly each time. This is called succussing or potentising the remedy. As expected, symptoms improved. What surprised Dr. Hahnemann was that the therapeutic benefits increased with each dilution.

This led him to use very small doses, sometimes just one drop of the undiluted substance, to prevent additional suffering from using a similar remedy. This tiny dose still stimulated a healing response in the body. This became known as Minimum Dose.

Eventually Dr. Hahnemann started introducing even greater dilutions, called infinitesimal doses, so that no actual substance was left in the water, just the energetic imprint. Homeopaths believe that the greater the dilution, the more healing potential a remedy has. It is believed that the repeated potentizing transfers the subtle energetic properties of the substance to the water.

Dr. Hahnemann's system of homeopathic cures is now classified as a form of alternative medicine.

The Law of Similars 

The law of similars, or 'like cures like', means that symptoms of disease can be alleviated by administering very small amounts of substances that produce similar symptoms in healthy people when administered in large amounts. Why would this work? Because when you create an 'artificial illness' in the body, it stimulates the body's own defenses to take action

This is the same idea behind modern day vaccines, which use a small amount of dead virus to stimulate the immune system, or allergy shots and sublingual (under the tongue) immunotherapy which desensitize your immune system to an allergen over time. Speaking of allergies - stubborn environmental allergies may respond to isotherapy, a homeopathic treatment that uses very dilute allergens to desensitize your immune system.

The law of similars and minimum dose are two unwavering principles of homeopathic prescribing.

There has been some confusion that homeopathic cures are about dilutions, the more the better. Although this has become a big part of how homeopathy is practiced, it is not the foundation of the system.

Again, the word homeopathy means 'similar suffering'. The idea of using tiny doses was to reduce additional symptoms caused by using similars to the absolute minimum while still obtaining the desired therapeutic response.

About Homeopathic Remedies

Traditional homeopathic practitioners believe that you need to match one remedy to each individual based on a careful recording of symptoms, mental states, emotions and other information. Homeopathic treatments are based on the information gathered about these symptoms. The remedy for one person's headache could be very different than that of another based on all information taken as a whole.

Homeopathic prescribing is not just about treating symptoms, it is about treating the whole person. Very high dilutions are often used, (one thousand serial dilutions or more) and often only one dose is given. It is given time to work before deciding if another dose is needed or perhaps another remedy.

From a vibrational energy healing perspective, homeopathic cures are carefully chosen so that the frequency of the substance is matched with the frequency of the illness. The energy is then transferred to the bioenergetic system.

The remedies are believed to primarily interact with the physical and biomagnetic fields of the body. They are drainage remedies. As they are assimilated, toxicity is removed and the illness is neutralized.

Obviously it is often difficult for an untrained person to determine the most appropriate remedy needed. To make homeopathic cures accessible to everyone, manufacturers have introduced combination remedies. These are available in lower dilutions and are suitable for general symptoms of an illness or injury.

Combination and single remedies available to the general public range from 3X to 30C dilutions. 3x means a remedy was diluted 90% three times. There is still a tiny amount of substance present at this dilution.

Homeobotanical remedies are potentized at 1.5x dilution so that both the homeopathic and physical benefits of these herbal formulas are accessible for healing.

Do Homeopathic Cures Work?

As you may imagine, homeopathic cures gives rise to much criticism and skeptism. Although the law of similars is valid, the idea of not so much as one molecule of substance being in a medicine that is only an 'energetic imprint' is difficult for conventional medicine practitioners to accept. Homeopathic remedies are deemed as quackery by some, and the placebo effect at best.

There are a few small studies that support homeopathy, and larger ones that don't. 

According to the chemist, Avogadro, once a remedy is diluted to 24x or 12c, there is only a 60% chance of one molecule of substance being present in a dose. Although Dr. Hahnemann did use a single drop of undiluted remedy on occasion, he eventually favored using 60x or 30c dilutions.

Proponents of homeopathy note that even at high dilutions, there appears to be changes in hydrogen bonding in the water when the remedies are succussed or potentised. When dried, the crystal patterns appear significantly altered.

With the exception of one low dilution combination nasal spray for seasonal allergies, my own limited experience with homeopathic cures has not proven successful. I did not notice any change in symptoms from using single remedies. Perhaps there were changes in my energy field that I was not aware of. It is also possible that my self-prescribing may not have been the best choice. However, I have had positive experiences with homeobotanicals, which are at a lower dilution.

Whether and how homeopathic cures do or do not work, and at what dilutions,  remains in the hands of researchers. What is most important to remember is the goal of the father of homeopathy as he developed this system. His was a holistic approach to healing with the goal of restoring balance to the whole person, to first find the cause and do no harm.  He showed that very small doses of similars can be very effective healers. There is much to be said for that alone.

Modern medicine, which is more about opposites, body as parts, and for the most part suppressing symptoms instead of curing, would do well to follow his example. 

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