Homeopathy – Origin, History and Odyssey to India 

Homeopathy is the world’s second-largest medical system, as attested by the World Health Organization (WHO). It has equally benefited both the young and senior people across the globe. The history and evolution of homeopathy, developed by German physician Dr Samuel Hahnemann approx. 200 years ago, is remarkable. One wonders how this practice of homeopathy came into being, and what were the reasons for its birth, despite the existence of the conventional medical system? To gain an insight into this, we will be looking into the history and evolution of this alternative medicine.   

Homeopathy Origin 

Dr Samuel Hahnemann was a pitiable ceramic painter born on April 10th (1755) in Meissen, a town located in Germany. Hahnemann did not let his poverty stop him from learning and mastering medicine. He was one of only a handful of people to receive an MD from Leipzig University in Germany. At the time, doctors in traditional medicine employed bleeding and severe scouring to treat ailments because they believed the disease is caused by bad blood in the body. In many, especially senior patients, this took a toll on their health. Hahnemann was so dissatisfied with the status of medical practice at the time that he decided to retire from medicine. 

Dr Hahnemann began trying to translate medical texts into several languages to support his family. He had a little financial clout but a vast understanding of more than a dozen languages. He came upon a remark in William Cullen’s lectures on the Materia Medica that indicated cinchona (quinine) bark had unique febrifugal (fever-relieving) effects because it was one of the most fragrant and bitter compounds. This intrigued his ‘scientific’ interest and piqued his wonder. He believed that despite the existence of bitter and fragrant substances, nothing could treat fevers. He was eager to put the theory to the test, so he drank a cinchona bark infusion and experienced a malaria-like fever accompanied by shivers. This was Dr Hahnemann’s ‘Eureka’ moment, which led to the development of homeopathy. 

Dr Hahnemann explained his homeopathic theory as follows: “What a material is capable of inflicting, it has the potential of treating.” This means that substances that cause certain symptoms in a fit person can treat a sick person with certain symptoms. When you slice onions, for example, you get teary eyes, a drippy nose, sneeze, and cough, all caused by exposure to the tuber’s active components. Teary eyes, drippy nose, sneezing, coughing, or throat irritation, can all be indications of a respiratory tract infection, and the homeopathic medicine Allium Cepa, made from red onion itself, can assist to cure such a condition. This has been tried and tested on a large population and is especially beneficial for senior citizens.. 

Homeopathy Going Global 

The concept of a fresh, humanistic, and mild therapy technique that Hahnemann proposed did not sit well with conventional medical professionals. Hahnemann’s life in Leipzig was made untenable by bullying; he was insulted and chased out of town. His family fell into poverty, and he soon lost his wife and son. He continued to practice homeopathy wherever he went during his exile. After Hahnemann relocated his homeopathic practice to Paris, the city became the world’s largest contributor to homeopathy, followed by Germany. 

Hans Birch Gram, a pupil of Hahnemann, brought homeopathy to the United States in 1825. Hundreds of homoeopathic institutions popped up in the United States during the 19th century, with 22 homoeopathic colleges and 15,000 physicians. People moved away from hazardous treatments like bleeding and scouring as a result of homeopathy’s increasing popularity, and toward more efficient and safe therapy. Many old people sought refuge in Homeopathy as their only mode of treatment.   

Homeopathy’s prominence drew criticism from orthodox physicians, resulting in the dissolution of homeopathic institutions, with the very last training facility shutting in 1920. By 1970, however, homeopathy had made a considerable comeback with the number of homeopathic enterprises having increased tenfold. Homeopathy was quickly accepted in several nations, including the United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, and Switzerland. 

Homeopathy In India 

Dr John Martin Honig Berger, a French traveller who learned homeopathy from Dr Hahnemann, visited India in 1810 and started treating patients with homeopathy. When Maharaja Ranjit Singh, who was then the ruler of Punjab, was suffering from vocal cord paralysis, Martin treated him with the homeopathic medication Dulcamara. The Maharaja was so pleased with the results that he persuaded Dr Martin to keep practicing homeopathy in India. Later on, a huge number of missionaries and officials of the Indian administration, such as the cops and overseas services, began to practice homeopathy to promote its merits to a larger number of people. This is where homeopathy’s journey to legitimacy in India began in 1948. 

Homeopathy now has a market value of more than Rs 26,000 crore and is recognized by more than 50 crore people in over 80 nations around the world. Homeopathy has expanded thrice as fast as mainstream medicine in recent years, with yearly growth rates of 25-30%. Indian data shows that almost one in three seniors prefer Homeopathic treatment over other forms of treatment. There are over 2,000 medically proven homeopathic medications in use now, compared to about 200 in Hahnemann’s day. This is remarkable given that each new medicine in the mainstream medical setting takes at least ten years to gain approval. 

In India, about ten crore people use homeopathy. The country’s regulated homeopathic market is worth Rs 3,600 crore. There are more than 2.25 lakh registered homeopaths, with 20,000 new ones being recruited annually. Since 2003, the Indian government has promoted Ayurveda, Yoga, Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, and Homeopathy. It prepared the ground for the establishment of the Ministry of AYUSH in 2014, assuring the optimal growth and dissemination of healthcare systems. The Indian government has set up a unified healthcare system in which homeopathy is practiced at every All India Institutes of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) centre across the country. 

In Essence 

Homeopathy has evolved from an alternate medicinal system to a complimentary medicinal system that can be used in conjunction with allopathic therapy. Homeopathy departments are already present in some hospitals in India and Dubai. Homeopathy, in addition to demonstrating the remarkable therapeutic potential of a variety of health conditions, also functions on animals and has applications in agriculture. Homeopathy, with its long history of safety and efficacy, is poised to become not only the medication of the coming years but also a valuable preemptive healthcare tool. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is it true that homoeopathic remedies are regulated?

The Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act regulate homoeopathic medications as pharmaceuticals (FDCA).  

Is homeopathy safe to use with my pet?  

When it comes to animals, homeopathy is extremely safe to use. Animals can be massively aided by consulting a veterinarian who is experienced with homoeopathic remedies, specifically if the owner has done a comprehensive evaluation of the symptoms to help the vet in picking the proper treatment.