Homoeopathy is a system of medicine developed by Samuel Hahnemann (1755-1843), based on the principle that "like cures like", namely, a substance which causes symptoms when given to healthy individuals can be used in small doses to treat patients with those same or similar symptoms.
Homoeopathic medicines, often referred to as ‘remedies’, are prepared according to the homoeopathic pharmacopoeia and regulated under therapeutic goods legislation. Homoeopathic medicinal products, by definition, have undergone the manufacturing process known as ‘potentisation’ i.e. serial dilution alternating with succussion (vigorous shaking with impact).
Homoeopathy can be broadly categorised into two main types: individualised homoeopathy and non-individualised homoeopathy.
Individualised homoeopathy involves a consultation with a trained practitioner followed by a personalised prescription, according to the patient’s presenting symptoms. The most common form, known as ‘Classical Homoeopathy’ involves prescription of a single remedy, based on both mental-emotional and physical symptoms.
Non-individualised homoeopathy is any form of homoeopathy (with or without a consultation) in which the same homoeopathic remedy or medicinal product is given to all patients. Non-individualised homoeopathy can involve the use of single homoeopathic remedies or ‘complex remedies’ which contain a fixed combination of multiple homoeopathic ingredients. The most common forms are:
- ‘Clinical homoeopathy’ – one or more homoeopathic remedies are used, based on the conventional medical diagnosis of the patient.
- ‘Isopathy’ – prescription of a homoeopathic remedy made from the causative agent(s) of the disease being treated e.g. an allergen.