January 26, 2012
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Homeopathy is a form of alternative medicine in which practitioners claim to treat patients using highly diluted preparations that are believed to cause healthy people to exhibit symptoms that are similar to those exhibited by the patient. In the context of homeopathy, the term remedy is used to refer to a substance which has been prepared with a particular procedure and intended for patient use.
The basic principle of homeopathy, known as the “law of similars”, is “let like be cured by like.” This was first stated by German physician Samuel Hahnemann in 1796, and is not a true law of nature.
Homeopathic remedies are prepared by serial dilution with shaking by forceful striking on an elastic body, which homeopaths term succussion. Each dilution followed by succussion is assumed to increase the effectiveness. Homeopaths call this process potentization. Dilution often continues until none of the original substance remains. Depending on the dilution, homeopathic remedies may not contain any pharmacologically active molecules, and for such remedies to have pharmacological effect would violate fundamental principles of science. Modern homeopaths have proposed that water has a memory that allows homeopathic preparations to work without any of the original substance; however, there are no verified observations nor scientifically plausible physical mechanisms for such a phenomenon.
Oral homeopathic remedies are safe at the high dilutions recommended by Hahnemann, since they likely contain no molecules of the original substance, but they may not be safe at lower dilutions
Hahnemann observed from his experiments with cinchona bark, used as a treatment for malaria, that the effects he experienced from ingesting the bark were similar to the symptoms of malaria. He therefore decided that cure proceeds through similarity, and that treatments must be able to produce symptoms in healthy individuals similar to those of the disease being treated. Through further experiments with other substances, Hahnemann conceived of the law of similars, otherwise known as “let like be cured by like” as a fundamental healing principle. He believed that by using drugs to induce symptoms, the artificial symptoms would stimulate the vital force, causing it to neutralize and expel the original disease and that this artificial disturbance would naturally subside when the dosing ceased. It is based on the belief that a substance that in large doses will produce symptoms of a specific disease will, in extremely small doses, cure it.
From wiki on Homeopathy