homeopathy

/hoh'mee op"euh thee/, n.
the method of treating disease by drugs, given in minute doses, that would produce in a healthy person symptoms similar to those of the disease (opposed to allopathy).
[1820-30; HOMEO- + -PATHY]

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System of therapeutics founded in 1796 by Samuel Hahnemann on the principle that "like cures like.

" That is, substances that in healthy persons would produce the symptoms from which the patient suffers are used to treat the patient. Hahnemann further stated that the potency of a curative agent increases as the substance is diluted. When it was introduced, homeopathy was a mild, welcome alternative to heavy-handed therapies such as bleeding, but it has since been criticized for focusing on symptoms rather than causes. With the rise of alternative medicine, it has seen a resurgence.

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also spelled  Homoeopathy, 

      a system of therapeutics, notably popular in the 19th century, which was founded on the stated principle that “like cures like,” similia similibus curantur, and which prescribed for patients drugs or other treatments that would produce in healthy persons symptoms of the diseases being treated.

      This system of therapeutics based upon the “law of similars” was introduced in 1796 by the German physician Samuel Hahnemann (Hahnemann, Samuel) (q.v.). He claimed that a large dose of quinine, which had been widely used for the successful treatment of malaria, produced in him effects similar to the symptoms of malaria patients. He thus concluded that all diseases were best treated by drugs that produced in healthy persons effects similar to the symptoms of those diseases. He also undertook experiments with a variety of drugs in an effort to prove this. Hahnemann believed that large doses of drugs aggravate illness and that the efficacy of medicines thus increases with dilution. Accordingly, most homeopathists believed in the action of minute doses of medicine.

      To many patients and some physicians, homeopathy was a mild, welcome alternative to bleeding, purging, polypharmacy, and other heavy-handed therapies of the day. In the 20th century, however, homeopathy has been viewed with little favour and has been criticized for focusing on the symptoms rather than on the underlying causes of disease. Homeopathy still has some adherents, and there are a number of national and international societies, including the International Homoeopathic Medical League, headquartered in Bloemendaal, Neth.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Homeopathy — Ho*me*op a*thy, n. [Gr. ? likeness of condition or feeling; ? like (fr. ? same; cf. {Same}) + ? to suffer: cf. F. hom[ e]opathie. See {Pathos}.] (Med.) The art of curing, founded on resemblances; the theory and its practice that disease is cured… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • homeopathy — 1830, from Ger. Homöopathie, coined 1824 by German physician Samuel Friedrich Hahnemann (1755 1843) from Gk. homoios like, similar, of the same kind (see HOMEO (Cf. homeo )) + patheia (see PATHY (Cf. pathy)) …   Etymology dictionary

  • homeopathy — (also homoeopathy) ► NOUN ▪ a system of complementary medicine in which disease is treated by minute doses of natural substances that in large quantities would produce symptoms of the disease. DERIVATIVES homeopathic adjective. ORIGIN from Greek… …   English terms dictionary

  • homeopathy — [hō΄mē äp′ə thē] n. [Ger homöopathie, lit., likeness of feeling (see HOMEO & PATHY): coined ( c. 1800) by HAHNEMANN (Christian Friedrich) Samuel] a system of medical treatment based on the theory that certain diseases can be cured by giving very… …   English World dictionary

  • Homeopathy — Homeopathy: coined in German from Greek hómoios ὅμοιος like + páthos πάθος suffering Oxford English Dictionary …   Wikipedia

  • Homeopathy — A system of therapy founded in the 19th century based on the concept that disease can be treated with drugs (in minute doses) thought capable of producing the same symptoms in healthy people as the disease itself. * * * A system of therapy… …   Medical dictionary

  • homeopathy — ho|me|op|a|thy [ ,houmi apəθi ] noun uncount a way of treating illness by giving small amounts of natural substances that in large amounts would cause the illness. It is a form of COMPLEMENTARY medicine. A person who treats people using… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • homeopathy — [[t]ho͟ʊmiɒ̱pəθi[/t]] N UNCOUNT Homeopathy is a way of treating an illness in which the patient is given very small amounts of a drug that produces signs of the illness in healthy people. (in BRIT, also use homoeopathy) …   English dictionary

  • homeopathy — homoeopathy; n. a complementary therapy based on the theory that like cures like . It involves treating a condition with a tiny dose of a substance that in larger doses would normally cause or aggravate that condition. The dose is made smaller by …   The new mediacal dictionary

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