A crucial term in Classical Homoeopathy is vital force. According to Samuel Hahnemann, the father of homoeopathy, vital force has to generate an inner balance so that we can behave normally. If this works, we are healthy and happy. If not, our body reacts with symptoms of disease or mental disorder. Consequently, it must be the aim of a homoeopathic treatment to support vital force in order to regain inner balance.
Underlying substances for homoeopathic remedies can be of plant, animal, mineral, or metal origin. The preparation of homoeopathic remedies is based on a process called potentiation. Soluble substances are gradually diluted in alcohol and shaken after each dilution. Solid and insoluble substances are successively diluted by grinding them with lactose. At the end of this process, the underlying substances are no longer measurable. Homoeopathic remedies are available as alcohol-based drops, tablets or globules.
Samuel Hahnemann was born on the 10th of April 1755 in Meissen, Germany. After finishing his medical studies, he worked as a doctor for some time. Soon, by working, he was disillusioned about the medical practice at that time. Brutal methods killed people. Drugs made of lead, qucksilver or arsenic poisoned patients. Soon he gave up his medical practice and, from then on, worked as a translator of medical publications.
When translating a book by Dr. Cullen (1790), he doubted the statement that cinchona bark had a strengthening effect on the stomach when applied to treat malaria. He then took in cinchona bark until he developed the typical symptoms of malaria, namely fever and chills. Hahnemann concluded that cinchona bark did not cure malaria by its strengthening effect on the stomach, but by the fact that it produced symptoms of malaria with a healthy person. With this, Hahnemann had discovered the principle of homoeopathy, the law of similars.
He deduced the term "homoeopathy" as follows:
homoios = similar, pathos = suffering
He formulated the basic homoeopathic principle:
similia similibus curentur, or likes are cured by likes.
In the following years Hahnemann experimented with various substances in order to verify his theory. Though it was a threat for the medical establishment, homoeopathy developed.
In 1810 he realised his main work, the "Organon of the Medical Art", wherein he recorded the principles of homoeopathy.
From 1828 to 1830 his extensive work "The Chronic Diseases" was published.
On the 2nd of July 1843 Samuel Hahnemann died in Paris at the age of 88 years. His gravestone on the cemetery Père Lachaise bears the inscription "non inutilis vixi" (I have not lived in vain).
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