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Homeopathy is a medical treatment used by thousands of practitioners around the world for about 200 years. It has been used to treat many acute and chronic conditions, from skin rashes and earaches to infections and cancer. Most reports on the efficacy of homeopathy are anecdotal. Few studies of homeopathic methods have been done following current scientific standards. However, many scientists conclude that homeopathy may be of value in the treatment and prevention of diseases in humans, animals, and even crops.
Dr. Samuel Hahnemann, the founder of homeopathy, collected information from a range of symptoms he experienced when he and his colleagues took various substances one at a time. Today, we have about 2,500 different substances listed in the Homeopathic Pharmacopeia of the United States, the official compendium of homeopathic remedies recognized by the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act of 1938.
We don’t really know how homeopathy works. It has been suggested that homeopathic remedies have the ability to stimulate the body’s own regulating systems towards recovery. A homeopath will select a substance (mineral, vegetable, or animal) capable of causing the same symptoms in a healthy person as the symptoms of the disease to be treated. For example, a substance like coffee can be used to treat insomnia or the onion to treat a cold or hay fever; this is called the “law of similars.” Today, researchers are engaged in scientific studies to learn more about how homeopathy works and what conditions are best treated with it.