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Hahnemann's doctrine

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Homeopathy, a healing doctrine based on the so-called law of similars - Similia similibus curentur – "like cures like.” The word homeopathy comes from Greece: homeo = the same, and pathos = illness or suffering.

In Hahnemann's system this means that the patient should be treated with drugs that produce in healthy persons symptoms similar to those seen in the disease. This is done with drugs that have been diluted to the extent where there are no molecules of the active substance left in the drug. This dilution, or potentiation, as the homeopaths call it, is done in the belief that the active substance leaves its “footprints” in the water, making the drug more potent, the higher the degree of dilution.

Hahnemann first presented his theory of likes in 1796, and his doctrine of dilution, or potentiation, in 1801. His main work on the topic appeared in 1810.


  • S. Hahnemann:
    Versuch über ein neues Prinzip zur Auffindung der heilkräfte der Arzneisubstanzen nebst einigen Blicken auf die bisherigen.
    [Hufeland’s] Journal der practischen Arzneykunde und Wundarzneykunst, 1796.
  • Organon der rationellen Heilkunde. Dresden, 1810.

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