Homeopathy is a system of medicine which involves treating the individual with highly diluted substances, given mainly in tablet form, with the aim of triggering the body’s natural system of healing. Based on their specific symptoms, a homeopath will match the most appropriate medicine to each patient.
Homeopathy is based on the principle that like with like’, that is, a substance which causes symptoms when taken in large doses, can be used in small amounts to treat those same symptoms. For example, drinking too much coffee can cause sleeplessness and agitation, so according to this principle, when made into a homeopathic medicine, it could be used to treat people with these symptoms. This concept is sometimes used in conventional medicine, for example, the stimulant Ritalin is used to treat patients with ADHD, or small doses of allergens such as pollen are sometimes used to desensitize allergic patients. However, one major difference with homeopathic medicines is that substances are used in ultra-high dilutions, which makes them non-toxic.
Homeopathic medicines (which homeopaths call remedies) are prepared by specialist pharmacies using a careful process of dilution and succussion (a specific form of vigorous shaking).