Homeopathy is based on the principle of ‘like cures like’ also called the ‘law of similar’
It was developed by Samuel Hahnemann (1755-1843), a German doctor who became dissatisfied with the medical practices of his time. These included the prescribing of toxic substances like arsenic and lead. While studying the harmful effects of such substances, he discovered that illness could be treated with very small amounts of the substance that, in larger quantities, caused it.
Although the idea that like cures like can be traced back to the Greek physician, Hippocrates (460-377BC), it was Hahnemann who developed it into a system of treatment. Hahnemann spent several years experimenting on himself and a group of volunteers testing a wide range of natural substances, such as plants, minerals and metals. To avoid harmful side effects, he diluted each medicine until he reached the greatest dilution that would still produce a response. These experiments were called provings and are the foundations of homeopathic medicine.
For more information about the history of homeopathy visit the Hahnemann House Trust website and virtual museum.