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Homeopathy was founded by Dr. Samuel Hahnemann who lived between 1755-1843, who was a German physician. He graduated with a medical degree in Erlangen in 1779.
Hahnemann while he was translating a book came across that cinchona cures malaria because of its bitter taste and footnote stating cinchona poisoning leads to malaria-like symptoms.
To this, he was astonished and which made him think about what may be the science and reason behind it.
He started taking the cinchona till it started producing symptoms and to his observation, he developed the intermittent fever of malaria.
He continued his research and came to the conclusion that those medicines which cause disease-like symptoms when proving in healthy individuals are capable to cure diseased individuals with the same kind of symptoms.
Hahnemann published an article in 1796 "Essay on a new principle for ascertaining the curative power of drugs" and later on he came up with his famous work in 1810 "The Organon of the Healing Art".
During this period of time, orthodox medicine was immersed in the belief that advances in understanding disease could only come from a detailed correlation of symptoms and signs of the sick patient on the ward, and the findings at autopsy: a clinicopathological correlation.
Moreover, medical treatment was to a large extent crude and ineffective, consisting largely of potentially dangerous polypharmacy, purging, and profuse blood-letting.
One of the first institutions devoted to homoeopathy was the American Institute of Homeopathy, founded at the end of the nineteenth century.
The Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act of 1939 in the USA allowed homoeopathic medicines to be sold openly on the market. Five homeopathic hospitals were founded in Britain, the two largest having in-patient units in Glasgow.
There seems little doubt there has been a remarkable revival of homeopathy since the 1960s and 1970s in many countries, but especially in the USA where, in 2002, it was estimated that the number of patients using homeopathic remedies had risen by 500% in the previous seven years, mostly by purchasing over-the-counter remedies.
In the USA patients seen by homeopaths tended to be more affluent, more frequently white, present more subjective symptoms, and be younger than patients seen by conventional physicians.
In Britain, a survey by the BBC in 1999 found that 17% of 1204 randomly selected adults had used homeopathy within the past year, and another survey in 1998 estimated that there were 470 000 recent users of homeopathy in the UK.
It is likely that most patients in the UK who use complementary medicine are largely middle-class and middle-aged.
One of the well-known features of homeopathy is that from the nineteenth century to today it has been firmly supported by royalty and the aristocracy.
Edward, Prince of Wales was the patron of the London Homeopathic Hospital, while the Duke of York, later King George VI, gave the title ‘Royal’ to the hospital.
He also named one of his race-horses ‘Hypericum’ after a homoeopathic remedy. He entered it for the Thousand Guinea Stakes at Newmarket in 1946 and it won.
(reference-J R Soc Med. 2006 Dec; 99(12): 607–610.doi: 10.1258/jrsm.99.12.607).
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