Page:Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.djvu/2135

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The Principles, Practice and Advantages of Homœopathy, with Prescriptions for the Homœopathic Treatment of Disease

Homœopathy Defined.—In a work in which it is sought to give information on every branch of Household Management, and in which even the treatment of diseases and their prevention and cure must of necessity be briefly discussed, it is manifest that the important mode and means of medical treatment known as Homœopathy must not be ignored. In order to arrive at a correct idea of what Homœopathy is, it is necessary first of all to ascertain the meaning of the word itself, and to understand why it is used to designate that form of medical practice to which it was applied by the founder of this system of medicine, Dr. Samuel Hahnemann, who first announced his discovery to the medical world in 1796. Theory, generally speaking, forms the basis of practice in art and science, and in no science is this more perceptible than in the science of medicine. Thus in medical practice it has arisen that there are two great and opposing schools of medicine, each of which is based on a widely different theory; that of the ordinary medical practitioner being Contraria contrariis curantur, which means "Opposites are cured by opposites"; and that of the homœopathic practitioner, Similia similibus curantur, which means "Likes are cured by likes." Going a little deeper into the matter the first of these sentences implies that in the treatment of any disease, be it what it may, drugs should be used which will produce in the body of the patient a condition opposite to that induced by the disease to be cured, or in other words that it is needful to counteract the disease and arrest its progress by the administration of medicines that will produce effects different from those resulting from the disease itself. The second, on the contrary, implies that in the treatment of any disease, be it what it may, drugs should be used which would produce in a healthy person symptoms resembling or like to those occasioned by the disease by which the patient is affected. Hence Hahnemann was led to apply to the generally accepted mode of medical treatment the term Allopathy from two Greek words, allos, another, and pathos, suffering; and to his own method the term Homœopathy also from two Greek words, homoios, similar or like, and pathos, suffering.