Updated: Mar 18, 2021
If you're looking for the history of homeopathy and how it all began, then there are a plethora of sites online that cover this - some briefly and others in a lot more detail. But if you're looking for a definition of homeopathy in simple terms - then here it is! Homeopathy is a form of energy medicine and is based on the concept that each one of us has a vital force (it can be equated to the Qi in chinese medicine or simply called the life force), which is what determines our state of health.
This vital force speaks to us in this physical world when it needs help rebalancing by presenting with symptoms that can affect a person on a mind, body and spirit level. Ailments are hardly ever just a physical problem because dis-ease starts in the mind and these emotional problems then manifest as physical ailments when they have not been addressed. This is why stress is the most common factor in nearly all cases of acute (short-term illness) and chronic (long-term ailments) health issues. Therefore, symptoms (such as fever) are viewed as a positive sign in homeopathy as it is the sign of a strong vital force and the body trying to heal itself. Symptoms are not looked at something that need to be stopped or suppressed, but as the clues that will lead us to where there is an imbalance (or what is called a susceptibility in homeopathy) so that the root cause can be healed (not just the presenting symptom).
Susceptibility is what makes each one of us unique and why two people exposed to the same germs & viruses will respond differently. Our susceptibility to any given disease is influenced by our unique set of life experiences - both physical and emotional, starting from the moment the egg that will one day become us is created (this goes back to your grandmother and her health when she conceived your mother, as the egg that became you was created in your grandmother's uterus!).
This is why children are sometimes born with certain susceptibilities or a predisposition to certain diseases. However, by working with the vital force (rather than against it), it is possible to bring about optimal health in humans in a gentle, non-suppressive manner using homeopathy.
Using drugs to suppress symptoms (and the vital force) is the same as putting up a screen in front of someone who is trying to get your attention to tell you there is a fire. The fire is still there and will continue to spread to the other parts - but you just won't see the consequences until it spreads beyond the screen that you have put up. At that point the fire is a lot more serious and destructive than if you had recognised and dealt with it in the first instance.
This is also why it doesn't make sense when people with coughs are all treated with the same medicine. One person may have a cough because they were exposed to the cold (healing required on a physical level) while someone else may have a cough because their voice and viewpoints have been suppressed (they need healing on a physical & emotional level). One is a fire that has just started (an acute) whereas the second is a manifesting of a fire that has been burning so long it has now spread beyond the screen of denial (chronic).
Homeopathy allows for this individualization so that the whole person is treated rather than just the presenting symptom. The patient's entire health history including life events and emotional trauma (known as aetiology), personality traits (what we call a person's constitution) and their biochemical nature (response to weather, foods and aversions) are taken into account before prescribing the remedy that suits the individual.
So how do homeopathic remedies work? It is based on a system of like cures like which means that the remedy that is most similar to the presenting symptoms is used to move the disease from within the body to outside it. A good example is Belladonna which is used in the case of fevers. As we've discussed a fever is a positive sign of a healthy vital force that is fighting to get back into balance. Belladonna (or deadly nightshade) is poisonous in its natural form causing many of the physical symptoms associated with fever (hot dry skin, dilated pupils, faster heartbeat) and therefore using its homeopathic form (which has been diluted and succussed) means that the fever process is sped up within the body (not suppressed) so that the fever goes from within the body to then leave the body.
The aim of homeopathy is to always take the disease away from the most vital organs within the body and move it outside of the body, often leaving through the skin as the least vital organ in what is known as the hierarchy of healing in homeopathy.
While I hope the above is a useful insight into the principles of homeopathy, the only way to really understand it is to use homeopathy and see the results for yourself. Homeopathy is a very personal mode of healing that can have profound effects on health in a very gentle yet effective way. There is nothing to lose in trying homeopathy as there are no side effects (although there can be aggravations - which is a sign things are rebalancing).
The next time you have a sore throat, just try taking an aconite 30c and see the miracle of homeopathy in action! That is how I started my journey and I've never turned back.
Feel like homeopathy could help you or have more questions?