A COMPELLING HISTORY
"The more profound the truth, the more time it takes to overcome the old order. Obstacles present themselves because truth generates hatred. It announces a revolution — a disturbance in existing practice and established interests."
—Samuel Hahnemann, 1815
Samuel Hahnemann, MD
Founder of Homeopathy
Homeopathy was introduced in its modern form over 200 years ago by the brilliant German physician and scientist, Samuel Hahnemann. Appalled by the ineffective and barbaric medical practices of eighteenth-century Europe, Hahnemann developed homeopathy as a humane and curative alternative.
Hahnemann's two principal discoveries were the Law of Similars (like cures like) and the use of potentized micro-doses to avoid toxicity and stimulate the body's natural healing mechanism. For over 200 years, homeopathy has proven effective in treating diseases and disorders for which conventional medicine has little to offer. Though homeopathy has been continually attacked by the medical establishment, it is experiencing a tremendous resurgence today.
The Royal Treatment
A number of physicians and scientists in Hahnemann's time were impressed with his results, especially in treating mental and emotional disorders as well as physical illness, and began learning his new system. However, others were threatened by his success and worked vehemently to oppose him.
After years of persecution in Germany, Hahnemann moved to Paris with his most accomplished student and new wife, Melanie (a French noblewoman), where they established a joint homeopathic practice and became the toast of Parisian society. Well-known intellectuals, musicians, artists, royals and aristocrats from throughout Europe flocked to their clinic for treatment. In fact, homeopathy has been the treatment of choice by the British royal family since the 1830's. In the last ten years of his life (d.1843), Hahnemann finally enjoyed the recognition and respect he deserved for his groundbreaking discoveries.
In the mid-19th and early-20th centuries, homeopathy spread rapidly throughout Europe, the United States and the world, gaining prominence for its effectiveness in treating epidemics like smallpox, cholera, malaria, typhoid, yellow and scarlet fever, and Spanish influenza. In much of western Europe, Greece, India, and South America, homeopathy flourished without opposition and is widely practiced today.
"homoios" + "pathy"=similar (to) disease
from the Greek
Hahnemann first discovered the Law of Similars during experiments to determine why quinine had a curative effect on malaria. He took repeated doses of quinine and found he developed symptoms similar to malaria. From this initial observation, and thousands of additional experiments, along with research into ancient healing practices by Hippocrates, Galen and Paracelsus, Hahnemann repeatedly verified the concept of like curing like. Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine (460-370 BC), wrote: "By similar things a disease is produced and through the application of the like it is cured.
Hahnemann coined the term "homeopathy" from the Greek words "homoios," meaning like or similar, and "pathy," meaning disease or suffering.
A Rocky History—Homeopathy in America
Hahnemann Monument, Washington DC
In the mid-1800's, homeopathy spread rapidly from Germany and France to the United States. The first homeopathic medical school was founded in Pennsylvania in 1836, and by the turn of the century there were more than 100 homeopathic hospitals, over 20 homeopathic medical schools and over a 1000 homeopathic pharmacies in the US. In 1900, President McKinley dedicated the Samuel Hahnemann Monument in Washington DC, acclaiming Hahnemann as the "Leader of the Great Medical Reformation of the Nineteenth Century."
Despite homeopathy's clear clinical successes, especially in infectious disease epidemics, there was strong opposition to homeopathy from orthodox physicians and pharmaceutical companies. Influenced by these interests, the Carnegie Foundation issued the notorious "Flexner Report" in 1910, and discontinued funding to homeopathic medical schools which lead to the steep decline of homeopathy in the U.S. within a few decades. By 1950, all the schools were closed and only a few dedicated practitioners remained.
In the 1970's, homeopathy began to experience a resurgence, fueled by increased public interest in natural health. Today, homeopathy is regaining significant ground in the U.S. as people demand a safe, effective and low-cost healing approach in the face of an increasingly expensive and ineffective traditional medical system.