Dr. George Loukas
Homeopathy is a scientific therapeutic method which is based on specific laws and principles. There is often ignorance among the public as well as in the scientific community, as to what homeopathy is. As a result, some see it as magic or occult science and others as charlatanism.
The basic law of homeopathy, to which it owes its name, is the Law of Similars. Since ancient times Hippocrates claimed that “like cures like”, but the person who raised this axiom to a complete scientific therapeutic method is the German Samuel Hahnemann (1755-1843). Although he was a successful doctor in his time, Hahnemann stopped practicing conventional medicine because he was disappointed by the methods that were used at the time by his colleagues. He and his family used to live on the money he was earning from the translation of medical books. One day as he was translating a pharmacology book and reading about the Cinchona Officinalis plant, which was given for the treatment of malaria, he thought of trying it and started taking daily doses of the plant’s infusion. He then noticed that his own body exhibited symptoms similar to those of malaria.
It was this observation that led Hahnemann to discover the Law of Similars, according to which, in order to cure a disease a suffering body must be given a substance that will cause the same symptoms when given to a healthy body. This law is based on the belief that God’s creation of man is not random and the function of the human body is conditioned by unchanging principles of the universe, and that man is gifted with therapeutic remedial forces which start functioning when the body is on alert to confront situations that jeopardize its health.
Therefore it can be claimed that our body has an internal doctor who is responsible for the health of the body itself. Each body reacts in its own unique manner.
In order to clarify the above, we will present the following example: let us assume that there is a flu epidemic. A doctor that does not apply homeopathy will prescribe an antipyretic medicine, some decongestant for the nasal cavities, some anacathartic if there is an intense cough and some vitamins to strengthen the body’s resistance. However, a homeopathic doctor must individualize every case, which means that he may have ten different patients with flu and he will prescribe ten different medicines according to the symptoms of each person.
For example, in cases where he prescribes the medicine Euphrasia, symptoms will be as follows: the patient has intense but mild catarrh, his eyes are constantly wet and his tear ducts are irritated. His face is warm but he feels cold and has chills. He feels worse during the afternoon hours in the house, although it is warm. In cases where the doctor prescribes Allium Cepa, symptoms will be as follows: the patient constantly sneezes, especially when entering a warm room. He has plenty of serous and irritating nasal secretions. His eyes are wet and watery, but the tears are mild. He feels better in the cool air and in a cold room.
Therefore in homeopathy, the correct diagnosis is not to name the disease but to find the medicine that has caused similar symptoms to a healthy subject, and whose prescription will lead to a cure. It is noted that according to the patient’s history, not only local symptoms are taken into account by the homeopathic doctor -as is the case in a conventional medical examination- but also the various reactions of the patient to the cold or heat, to various weather conditions, different postures of the body etc. The psycho-intellectual state of the person is also examined.
The person is treated as a whole and the medicine that will be prescribed will cure not only local symptoms but all other symptoms as well. Patients are often surprised when, along with curing a headache or constipation, stress, excessive sensitivity or even irritability are also cured. For this reason homeopathy is referred to as a total or holistic therapeutic method.
Hahnemann gradually started making the first remedies, initially using medicine deriving from the vegetable kingdom. However, he noticed that very often, before the cure took effect, an intense aggravation of the clinical situation occurred. He therefore concluded that this initial aggravation was caused by the large dosage. He then started to dilute the substance using an inactive substance such as lactose or alcohol. Every dilution was followed by a thorough shaking.
Hahnemann repeated this process many times. He dissolved substance from the first dilution in alcohol and made the second dilution, which was followed again by shaking. After the second dilution, he diluted a certain quantity in alcohol and made the third dilution. He named this process potentization. He then discovered that the liquid preparation that is carefully prepared in this way preserves all the pharmaceutical properties of the initial medicine.
In this way he developed a radically different and new pharmaceutical process, through which he could use inactive substances such as salt or toxic substances such as arsenic as the raw materials for the preparation of medicines. The process of potentization makes homeopathy a “non-drug” method as there are no chemical products prescribed and there are therefore no side effects. Homeopathic medicine is not simply sugar, as some claim, and it is not a self-suggestion method since it can be applied to infants as well as animals.
According to the theory of homeopathy, the causes of an illness can be either internal or external. External causes include different, sudden environmental changes such as exposure to chemical substances, nuclear power, intense cold or heat, wounds etc. These external influences may cause irreparable damage to the body, but if the damage is not fatal, the body will find some sort of balance as soon as it gets back to normal conditions.
However, the real causes of a disease are the internal ones, that is, the psychological causes. Socrates used to say “… as we should not try to cure the eyes without the head, nor the head without the body, we should not try to cure the body without the soul. This is the reason why most diseases are not obvious to doctors that cure Greeks because they ignore the whole that they should take care of. If this is not well then the part can not be well either. Because everything starts from the soul, good and bad, for the body and for everything that concerns the humans, and rushes from there as from the head to the eyes…” “SOCRATES TO CHARMIDES” (or “ABOUT PRUDENCE” § 156e) PLATO
Of course heredity is an important factor in the appearance of a disease. Hahnemann was puzzled about the contagion of disease through generations. Thus, in order to explain the “contagion” of disease through generations he formulated the theory of miasms. According to Hahnemann, the term miasm identifies the predisposition of the body towards a disease. This includes, apart from the hereditary disposition of a person, sensitivity which is acquired by the body from the moment of its conception onwards.
Homeopathic doctors accept that the organs and functions of the human body are subject to a certain hierarchy. The brain is the most important and sensitive organ of the body, while skin is the least important. Therefore a treatment is considered to be going well when the disease moves away from important organs and appears in organs that are lower on the hierarchy scale.
For example, if a patient with bronchial asthma has an exanthema, then his treatment is going well. The same happens when a patient with schizophrenia develops tuberculosis or a patient with heart problems develops arthritis. This law is known as Hering's law of cure, which is stated metaphorically as follows: “The disease moves away from the body as follows: from above downwards, from inside to outside, from more important to less important organs and in the reverse order of its appearance.
Therefore, in the case of a chronic disease a homeopathic doctor can interpret every reaction of the patient’s system and knows if his condition evolves for the better or for the worse.
As mentioned above, homeopathic treatment is conducted with use of homeopathic remedies. Homeopathic remedies come from the vegetable, animal and mineral kingdom. Through the process of their potentization, even the use of toxic substances is possible without causing side effects. Nowadays over 5,000 remedies are used in homeopathy and are made in various potencies.
A large percentage of those remedies (80-85%) are of vegetable origin and the raw material used for their preparation is the tincture (i.e. the alcoholic extract) of the herbs from which they derive. The remaining 15% of homeopathic remedies are of chemical, inorganic or animal origin and the raw material used for their preparation must have a high degree of purity.
 Plato, Charmides or on Temperance: tentative, v. III, p. 21, transl. by W.R.M. Lamb, M.A., Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, William Heinemann Ltd.