Homeopathy is a system of healing, based on the principle of "like cures like", which may assist the natural tendency of the body to heal itself.
The principles of homeopathy were formalised by Samuel Hahnemann, a German physician who lived in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries (1755-1843).
The word homeopathy comes from the Greek omeos, meaning "similar," and pathos, meaning "suffering." Thus homeopathy means to treat with something that can produce an effect similar to the suffering.
Homeopathic treatment is directed at the whole person; mental, emotional and physical aspects. The medicines are made from many different substances — plants, animal products, elements and minerals.
Homeopathic medicines are usually given in a highly diluted form, after going through a process known as "potentization" which is a serial dilution with vigorous shaking. Being in such a dilute form, homeopathic medicines are non-toxic.
Each homeopathic medicine is tested on healthy humans in what is known as a "proving". The symptoms produced in provings form the basis of the homeopathic Materia Medica — the information about the medicines. It is from these symptom pictures that enable the homeopath to choose the most similar medicinal substance matching it to the individual patient's symptoms.