In 1796 a German doctor, Samuel Hahnemann, discovered a different approach to healing which he called homeopathy, from the Greek words meaning ‘similar suffering’. Like Hippocrates, two thousand years ago, he realised that there were two ways of treating health, the way of opposites and the way of similars. The way of similars is the homeopathic way.
Homeopathy uses minute doses of substances on the basis of ‘like curing like’. This means that a substance which causes certain symptoms in a healthy person can heal someone who is ill and showing similar symptoms.
For example, a case of insomnia would be treated in conventional medicine by the way of opposites by giving a drug to bring on artificial sleep. Large or regular doses of drugs can sometimes cause side effects or addiction. Homeopathy however, uses the way of similars. In some cases of insomnia a minute dose of a substance such as coffee would be given, which in large doses might cause sleeplessness in a healthy person.
Hygeia health goddess - Beirut National Museum
© Nicholas Chalhoub