History of Homoeopathy

Homoeopathy became popular in the United States and Europe in the 1800s when blood letting and leaching were the most popular treatments available. European royalty, American entrepreneurs, literary giants, and religious leaders were some of the strong supporters of Homoeopathy.

The history of homoeopathy begins with the discoveries of Samuel Hahnemann, a German physician. In 1789, when Hahnemann was translating a book by Cullen, a leading physician of the era, he read about the usefulness of Peruvian Bark (Cinchona) in treating malaria due to its bitter and astringent properties. Hahnemann, not convinced, started consuming the herb and thereafter he developed fever with chills and joint pains. (symptoms similar to malaria). He then concluded that the herb was useful because it produced symptoms similar to the disease it was treating. Thereafter Hahnemann did a lot of drug provings on himself, his family and friends and published his work in various famous journals. He also coined the word 'HOMOEOPATHY' from the Greek word 'Homoios' meaning 'similar' and 'pathos' meaning 'suffering' ; which refers to the Law of Similars.

In 1810, Hahnemann came out with a book called "MateriaMedicaPura". Since Hahnemann believed that large doses of drugs would aggravate the illness, he advocated dilution to the extent that the therapeutic properties of the material are preserved while removing its harmful effects. He also gathered and published a complete overview of his new medical system in a book named "The Organon of the Healing Art" whose 6th edition was published in 1921 and is still used as a guiding force even today.

In India, homoeopathy originated in early 19th century when Honigberger visited India. He was called by Maharaja Ranjit Singh who was suffering from paralysis of vocal cords. Honingberger treated him with Dulcamara in low potency and he got cured. Maharaja Ranjit Singh was impressed and he appointed him the chief physician of his court. Later, Honigberger shifted to Calcutta, where he became popular as 'Cholera Doctor'. Gradually, homoeopathy spread all across the country. In the beginning the system was extensively practiced by the amateurs in the civil and military services. Later, Mahender Lal Sircar became the first Indian to become a Homoeopathic physician. In 1881, Calcutta Homoeopathic College was established. In 1973, the Government of India recognized homoeopathy. Now only qualified and registered homoeopathic doctors can practice. Currently Homoeopathy is as popular system of medicine as Allopathy and Ayurveda globally.