Developed in Germany over 200 years ago, homeopathic medicine—or homeopathy as we often call it—is a safe and natural system of healing that is based on two principles: 1) Like cures like (or the Law of Similars) and 2) the Law of Minimum Dose.


A German physician, Dr. Samuel Christian Hahnemann, founded homeopathy in the 18th century when he discovered that a substance that produces the same characteristics of an illness can cure that same illness. In other words, if large amounts of a particular ingredient will produce symptoms of illness in a healthy person, then small amounts of that same ingredient can be used to stimulate the healing powers of one’s body.


This concept is commonly referred to as “like cures like.” Homeopathic products use natural sources like plants, minerals, herbs, and animal products to inspire healing in your body.


Before any ingredient is used in a homeopathic remedy, it must undergo an extensive dilution process. This dilution process, which embodies the second of the two principles of homeopathy, is based on the Law of Minimum Dose.


What Dr. Hahnemann discovered is that the more some of the active ingredients in a remedy were diluted—either in water or alcohol—the more effective they became. This is now called potentisation, and remains an important part of homeopathy. Dr. Hahnemann discovered it, almost on accident, as he knew he needed to dilute some of his ingredients in order for them to be safe for ingestion. But, since his discovery, homeopaths have discovered that diluting ingredients makes them stronger, which in many cases, makes them more effective.


A key part of the dilution process is succussion—which involves shaking remedies vigorously in order to activate the diluted substance. Once these processes are complete, only a few molecules of the original substance remain. 


The dilution process can make the labels on homeopathic products seem confusing. But, once you understand he principle of diluting an active ingredient, over and again, to improve its potency, the numbers make more sense. 


When reading the labels on homeopathic remedies, you can find out more about the dilution process and succussion of each of the ingredients. For example, if a plant substance has been diluted at a 1:10 ratio and succussed 12 times will be labeled 12X. Potencies are available as 1:10 ratio (labeled X), 1:100 ratio (labeled C), or a 1:50,000 ratio (labeled LM). There are a few other labels, such as “K” and “CK” which indicate that a special manufacturing process called the Korsakovian Method was used to dilute the ingredients.


Most homeopathic remedies are available without a prescription because the dilution and succussion process limits the potency of any toxic substances in the active ingredients. But, don’t let that fool you into thinking homeopathic products aren’t effective. According to the National Institutes of Health, over 6 million people in the United States use homeopathic products because they offer safe, natural, and effective ways to aid symptoms and offer some relief for common ailments. Homeopathic remedies are regulated by the FDA and generally, have no side effects.


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