Homeopathy - Like Cures Like
Homeopathy, from Greek homoeo (meaning similar) and pathos (meaning suffering) is a system of medicine based on treating like with like. The same principle is widespread in mainstream medicine, the most notable examples being antidotes and vaccines. However, Homeopathy takes this premise a step further: if my symptoms produce an effect on me similar to a tarantula's bite, then tarantula venom would be my homeopathic treatment, even though I've not actually been bitten by a tarantula.
The theory that like can be treated with like can be traced back as far Hypocrites (468 -377 BC), but it wasn't until the work of Samuel Hahnemann (1755-1843) that the theory developed into a usable practice.
Hahneman's provings consisted in giving doses of various substances to both himself and his healthy volunteers, and noting the effects in detail. For safety reasons, the substances taken were very dilute, and it is here that Hahnemann chanced upon one of the more puzzling aspects of Homeopathy. The more dilute a homeopathic medicine is, the more effective it is in treating illness.
Hahneman's work was continued by James Tyler Kent in 1877-78. Kent's interest in Homoeopathic medicine was prompted by his wife's serious illness, which failed to respond to any other form of medicine available at the time. Kent's position as Professor of Anatomy (at the American Medical College, St. Louis) placed him perfectly to observe the effects of substances in precise detail. Kent's research into Homeopathy became his life's work, and he conducted provings on some 650 materials, observing over 64,000 symptoms. Even today, Kent's is still the most widely used repertory in Homeopathy.
The repertory used in this site's remedy finder is based on Kent's, with no additions, but some changes have been necessary in order to make its use easier for the modern day layman, including plain English Terminology, and categorizing symptoms where possible.
Classical Homeopathy - Treating the Whole Person
Classical Homeopathy is a holistic medicine; in other words it aims to treat the whole person. It may seem unusual to those used to allopathic (conventional) medicine, where one medicine is taken for a skin complaint, another for a headache, and yet another for sleeplessness.
If you use the remedy finder frequently, you may find that one particular remedy comes up time and time again for your complaints - however diverse they appear to be. For example, in testing the online remedy finder, on my own symptoms ranging from insomnia, headaches, to stomach complaints, Phosphor was frequently the suggested remedy. There is something in my nature, underneath any passing symptoms, which is akin to Phosphor.
A common cold, for example, is one virus which produces a myriad of effects, subtly different in different people. Different people with a cold caused by the same virus may exhibit different symptoms. It is for this reason that each case should be assessed by close and careful analysis of all the relevant symptoms.
Classical Homeopathy - Finding the Simillium
The Similium is the single substance which if given to a healthy person would produce exactly the same symptoms as exhibited by the patient.
In addition to the range of symptoms which must be included in a case to find the right homeopathic remedy, precision is also important. For example there are nearly 5,000 headaches in our symptom database; a different remedy may be prescribed depending on when symptoms occur, the type of pain, where in the head it is, what may have bought it on, what other symptoms are experienced, etc.
To find the similium manually would involve looking up each symptom, in detail, and producing a grid of remedies and their correlating symptoms, and from there, seeing which remedies occur most frequently and which are stronger for a given symptom. This is the working practice followed by ABC homeopathy's remedy finder, quietly and effortlessly behind the scenes. For help using the online remedy finder, see the Using the remedy finder section.