Homeopathic Medicine


homeopathy (hōmēŏp´əthē), system of medicine whose fundamental principle is the law of similars—that like is cured by like. It was first given practical application by Samuel Hahnemann of Leipzig, Germany, in the early 19th cent. and was designated homeopathy to distinguish it from the established school of medicine which he called allopathy. The American Institute of Homeopathy was founded in 1844, and the practice of homeopathy was popularized in the United States by the physician and senator Royal S. Copeland (1868–1938). It had been observed that quinine given to a healthy person causes the same symptoms that malaria does in a person suffering from that disease; therefore quinine became the preferred treatment in malaria. When a drug was found to produce the same symptoms as did a certain disease, it was then used in very small doses in the treatment of that disease. U.S. medical schools do not presently emphasize the homeopathic approach, although it has become popular among some physicians in European and Asian nations and is widely used by the public in over-the-counter medications.

See N. Robins, Copeland's Cure: Homeopathy and the War between Conventional and Alternative Medicine (2005).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Homeopathic Medicine: Selected full-text books and articles

Nature Cures: The History of Alternative Medicine in America
James C. Whorton.
Oxford University Press, 2004
Homeopathic Method: Implications for Clinical Practice and Medical Science
Jeremy Swayne; Conrad M. Harris.
Churchill Livingstone, 1998
Classical Homeopathy
Marc S. Micozzi; Michael Carlston.
Churchill Livingstone, 2003
A Vital Force: Women in American Homeopathy
Anne Taylor Kirschmann.
Rutgers University Press, 2004
Manifesto for a New Medicine: Your Guide to Healing Partnerships and the Wise Use of Alternative Therapies
James S. Gordon.
Perseus Publishing, 1996
Voodoo Science: The Road from Foolishness to Fraud
Robert L. Park.
Oxford University Press, 2000
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 3 "Placebos Have Side Effects: In Which People Turn to "Natural" Medicine"
Beyond Flexner: Medical Education in the Twentieth Century
Barbara Barzansky; Norman Gevitz.
Greenwood Press, 1992
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 6 "The Fate of Sectarian Medical Education"
Medical Protestants: The Eclectics in American Medicine, 1825-1939
John S. Haller Jr.
Southern Illinois University Press, 1994
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