Homeopathy is a system of medicine, in which a drug and a disease that produce similar symptoms cancel each other out in some way thereby restoring the patients to, health. This principle of "Like can cure Like" forms the basis of Homeopathy. It is named after the Greek words, " Homeo" meaning similar and "Pathos" meaning suffering or treatment by the same. This system of healing was founded by a German doctor, Samuel Christian Hahnemann (1755). In 1810, he set out the principles of Homeopathy in his book " The Organon of Rationale Medicine". Homeopathy though developed abroad, has become an integral part of the Indian way of life. It is popular among the people partly due to its remarkable healing capacity and partly because of the belief that its remedies are so refined that they dont cause any harmful results.
In Homeopathy remedy is chosen based on the symptoms as well the character and temperament of the patient. In short two persons with same illness may be offered different remedies based on their individual nature. Knowledge of medicine in India has been developed with the efforts of many and has been considered as the out-come of the great power of observation, experimentation and analysis with patient labour of hundreds of investigators spread over thousand of years. This knowledge has played a significant role in the development of Indian culture that it has been documented in an integrated form in the Vedas-the ancient most documented Indian wisdom and knowledge.
In 1831, there was a cholera outbreak in central Europe . Hahnemanns treatment with "Camphor" was very successful. Dr Frederick Foster Hervey Quin, follower of Hahnemann was one of many people cured of cholera by "Camphor". This enhanced his respect for Homeopathy that in 1832 he set up a Homeopathic practice in London , where he later started the first Homeopathic hospital in 1849.
Homeopathy was established in the US during the 1820`s and gained a widespread following. Dr. Constantine Hering (1800-80) and Dr. James Tyler Kent (1849-1916) were two important American homeopaths who continued Hahnemann`s work in proving remedies and also introduced new ideas and practices to homeopathy.
The `Laws of cure`, devised by Dr. Hering explains how disease is cured in homeopathy. There are three basic laws of cure: symptoms move from the top of the body downwards; from the inside out and from the most important organs to the least important. Hering also believed that a cure occurred in reverse order to the onset of symptoms. For example, a person generally feels better emotionally before the physical symptoms disappear.
Dr. Kent observed that certain people reacted to certain remedies more strongly than to others. He maintained that people with similar body shapes and personalities tended to suffer from the same types of disease. He grouped people according to `Constitutional types`. For example, Natrum Mur types tended to be pear-shaped, had a dark complexion, were fastidious, kept to themselves, craved salt and suffered from constipation. High potency remedies were prescribed according to the patients` constitutional type and physical symptoms; this came to be known as Classical Homeopathy.
Towards the end of the 19th century, Richard Hughes (1836-1902) an English homeopath questioned the theory of constitutional prescribing by Dr. Kent and insisted that only the physical symptoms of the patients should be taken into account while prescribing a remedy. He also advocated using lower potencies. This led to a split in Homeopathy, between the followers of Dr. Kent, who used high potencies and believed that a persons emotional characteristics and their physical symptoms should be taken into account and the followers of Dr. Hughes. This internal split, suppressed the practice of this system of medicine for sometime. But later Homeopathy experienced resurgence throughout the world and Classical Homeopathy gained widespread recognition.
GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT IN INDIA
Homeopathy continued to spread and by the beginning of 20th century most of the important cities in India had Homoeopathic dispensaries. The popularity of the system led to a mushroom growth of quacks practicing Homoeopathy. Seeing this deplorable state of affairs, efforts were made by the Government. It took several steps and in 1948, a Homoeopathic Enquiry Committee was set up to evolve a suitable arrangement to regulate teaching and practice of Homoeopathy. A Homoeopathic Advisory Committee was appointed in 1952 by the Govt. of India and the recommendations of these committees led to passing of a Central Act in 1973 for recognition of this system of medicine. Homoeopathy now has been accepted as one of the National Systems of Medicine in India .
PRESENT SET UP
Homoeopathy in India enjoys Government support along with the other systems of medicine because Government is of the view that presence of all these complementary alternative systems of therapeutics offers a much wider spectrum of curative medicine than is available in any other country.
In order to promote and popularize the system, Government of India, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare has established Department of A yurveda, Y oga & Naturopathy, U nani, S iddha & H omoeopathy ( AYUSH ), with the following major objectives:---
- To upgrade the educational standards in the Indian Systems of Homoeopathy Medicines and colleges in the country
- To strengthen existing research institutions and ensure a time-bound research programme on identified diseases for which the system has an effective treatment
- To draw up schemes for promotion, cultivation and regeneration of medicinal plants used in the system
- To evolve Pharmacopoeia standards for Indian Systems of Medicine and Homoeopathy drugs
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