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I believe this is a major question that must be answered.
If HWC as a community can come up with a concise definition and use it on our blogs, posts, tweets, discussions, websites then we will have a consensus.

The more people read the same definition over and over and over the more it will stick in their minds and provide some insight and understanding. I know it is really not easy to explain. Let's give it a try. Especially at a time when people are using the buzz word "HOMEOPATHY" to sell drugs, mattresses and who knows what else?

Here is an article that says Coka-cola is putting "Homeopathic" Cocaine in sodas for people to 'get high'. Yet in the same breath they claim Homeopathics are diluted so much as to have no effect. Very humorous.

Here is something in the news: NATURAL HOLISTIC HEALTH BLOG


REVISITING THIS QUESTION | Vinton McCabe has inspired us to try this one again. [July 21, 2010]

Creating Our Universal Definition of Homeopath
This is a group effort. Can we agree to agree? Is that possible?
Once we word smith this, then everyone can post it in blogs, website, books, pamphlets, flyers and where ever the eye can see.
Can we agree upon our mission as members of HWC?
HWC Mission: To make "Homeopathy A Household Word." Promoting and advocating homeopathy through education and awareness using technology, individuals writing, presentations and collaboration with other organizations.

Unifying the Spirit of Homeopathy and Accepting that everyone is on the journey to truth and understanding. Creating the BOND THAT TIES US TOGETHER.
NCH | The National Center for Homeopathy defines it this way: Homeopathy is a system of medicine that is based on the Law of Similars. The truth of this law has been verified experimentally and clinically for the last 200 years.

I Love India | Homeopathy is made up of two Greek words, 'Homeo' meaning similar and 'Pathos' meaning suffering. Therefore, it simply treats with remedies in minute doses, which produce symptoms similar to the disease, when taken by healthy people. Moreover, it is based on the natural law of healing- "Similia Similibus Curantur", which means "likes cure likes". The method was given a scientific thought by Dr. Samuel Hahnemann (1755-1843), in the early 19th century. 

CCRHINDIA | Central Council for Research in Homeopathy | (Gr. Homoiopatheia, from homoiopathes having like feelings or affections; hamoios, like, similar and pathos, feelings, sufferings). The theory or system of curing diseases with very minute doses of medicine which in a healthy person and in large doses would produce a condition like that of the disease treated.

Webster's Dictionary 

As per the primary principle of Homoeopathy, "Similia Similibus Curentur" or the "Law of Similars" which is the "natural law of healing", diseases are treated by medicines, which are capable of producing in healthy persons, symptoms similar to those of the disease, which it can treat in a sick person.The term "homoeopathy" was coined by Christian Friedrich Samuel Hahnemann and first appeared in print in 1807.

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Hi, Vinton, and my deepest apologies for the name slip. I plead absence of mind!

By and large, I enjoyed what you've just written here; and I have to say that I agree wholeheartedly with nearly all of it.

The only part that concerns me is the notion that it is desirable to "honor the practitioner who, having put in the same time and effort came to different conclusions as to what homeopathy is" on any basis that "there are many limbs on the tree of homeopathy, and each grew out of true belief. And you must, in time, come to a willingness to "agree to disagree", to use a cliche, if we are any of us to survive".

I understand your position of the importance of tolerance, and I understand also the position that Hahnemann's views, and especially our interpretations of those views, are merely that: views. And with both those positions, I couldn't agree more.

But I think that you're mistaken on one point of the second, and that it's glossing over this point that has enabled the allopaths in our ranks to get away for so long with calling anything and everything homoeopathy. And that point is its relevance.

The fact is that not all of Hahnemann's writing on the subject of homoeopathy concerned good practice; not all of it consisted of recommendation, exhortation, or reports of the findings and thought that his exhortations and recommendations are based on.

One part of his writing on homoeopathy consists of something else entirely, and it is in fact this part that is the only part that is crucial to this conversation!

It also happens to be the only part not subject to new findings or old, not subject to personal experience, not subject to belief, and not subject to updating.

If that sounds unlikely, consider an analogy in physics.

You're undoubtedly aware that in the times of the ancient Greeks, matter was assumed to be divisible only down to a certain point, beyond which one would be attempting to divide its basic building blocks; and that they named that minimum quantity by adding the prefix "a" -- not -- to the word "tom", divide: indivisible. From that epoch to this, natural philosophers' understanding of the atom has changed beyond recognition several times. Uncertainties exist still as to the nature of the atom's constituent parts and their relationships and properties. But one thing no physicist need worry about marketing or arguing for at all, ever, is acceptance of what he means by an atom.

Why is that? It's because physicists are, in their work at least, rational people who understand that the word "atom" has a meaning, a definition; they have no vested interest in attempting either to weaken that definition or to confine it to certain species of atoms; and neither do their competitors.

How best to view an atom, to take it apart, to put it back together, to understand it, to use it, to benefit by it, and to guard against its properties are matters that are open to disagreement and evidence. But the matter of what an atom is is not. It was determined long ago by the simple act of defining it. And nobody in his right mind attempts to persuade anybody else to call a molecule, an electron, or a quark an atom, because the attempt would be futile; an atom is what it is; and the person attempting it would look like a madman.

This is the point that escapes our brethren in potency medicine. Ironically, it doesn't appear to escape homoeopathy's overt critics, who well understand the function of definition. But those same critics use against those of us who don't understand what a definition does our own capacity to be swayed into completely irrational acceptance of the relevance of their arguments.

To complete the analogy by stating the obvious: the one part of Hahnemann's writings on homoeopathy that is not subject to correction on any basis is, of course, his definition of homoeopathy, the medical concept he invented. Yes, we can argue about how best to practise it, and such argument could and would be intelligent if it did not slide endlessly into waters muddied by our repeated failure to remain conscious of what homoeopathy is. It is we who keep falling asleep at the wheel of discussion; we cannot blame the media and our critics for following where we drive while asleep.

A second ironic point about this is that the simple definition that Hahnemann gave the word, a definition expressed in a hundred different ways all conveying the same meaning, is one that none of us disagrees with! Every homoeopathic student hears it at one point or another; even the most devoted follower of Sankaran will acknowledge it. We all agree that the one requirement of homoeopathic practice that we can all agree on is prescription on the basis of pathogenetic similarity to the illness.

In other words, we already have the point of agreement that nobody is prepared to contest.

Given that understanding; given that we all understand the existence of that understanding between us; given that those who truly understand homoeopathy understand that it has no second requirement -- that correctness of potency, follow-up, etc. are good, but do not create a boundary between homoeopathic and non-homoeopathic practice -- given that we already know that we have in common this simplest understanding of what homoeopathy is: for what good purpose can we ask that those who have a different belief be granted the right to affect homoeopathy's meaning? This is, to me, the one weak point in your argument.

We can aim to make homoeopathy a household word at the expense of all understanding of what it is, or we can aim to clear the clutter, get our own house in order, and express that fundamental agreement that no rational person who would be known as a homoeopath (I have come across one truly irrational one, but they are rare) would contest: that homoeopathy requires -- and only requires -- pathogenetic symptom similarity to the patient's illness.

I have every sympathy with what you're aiming to do, and I appreciate very much your quiet and very considered approach to achieving it, which makes a pleasant counterpoint to what I think you were referring to as my foot-stamping. But what I think your line of argument may be doing is simply overlooking the obvious step that makes all this very straightforward: the step of explicitly calling on explicit acknowledgement of homoeopathy's single requirement. I've found repeatedly that asking whether cloudwalkers (e.g. those who would prescribe on the basis of Jan Scholten's interpolations and call that homoeopathy) would disagree that homoeopathy does require symptom similarity brings them down to earth and helps them to see that mere surmise as to how best to practise homoeopathy requires -- if that surmise is to mean anything -- accurate use of the term homoeopathy.

I've had conversations too with many who wish to make homoeopathy more complicated. They'd properly require symptom similarity, but they'd also require correct potency, correct follow-up, correct manner, and all kinds of safeguards -- or some mix of these things. And of course the potential for disagreement over these is limitless.

The thinking of those aiming to restrict the meaning of homoeopathy by confining it to its best possible practice introduces a different kind of problem from the rootless thinking of the eclectic who would discard symptom similarity. This thinking is not rootless; it is firmly rooted in the law of similars; but, rather than be able to follow the trunk of homoeopathy and reach along its branches of practice and return to its trunk, these thinkers find themselves among a mass of trunks. Each person attempting this redefinition imagines that he has the duty to embrace the right mix of trunks and to wrestle them together into a united whole.

But it is not so. Homoeopathy was, very fortunately, left to us in the simplest possible form -- for very good reason, I suspect. We need, for professional unity, do no more that ask both those who overcomplicate its requirements (provings, case-taking, and matching one to the other) and those who would avoid them altogether to agree that the law of similars is the one thing that they can agree on and to recognise that it is the one thing built into what Hahnemann called homoeopathy, and that the rest is merely practice, good and bad.

From there it's a short step (I can tell you from experience) to having those same people from opposite ends of the continuum of homoeopathic rigorousness come to agree that what a word was coined to mean is not something that is subject to anybody's preferences, views, or evidence, but simply is so. It does not require work; it does not require reworking; it does not require rebadging. All that it requires is our recognition.

It seems to me that once we ourselves are clear-minded about this, the marketing job we're scurrying around attempting in our ten thousand ways is more than half complete. The skeptics and the paid disinformants are not the problem; we are the problem. When we are clear-minded enough to be able to smite a skeptic on the basis of his misconception of his very topic, then our marketing job will be extremely straightforward. It is the endless falling into the skeptics' semantic traps that is our problem. And those traps consist in confusing homoeopathy with related practical matters such as potency.

I can tell you that this works in practice. I've taken on the fiercest of so-called skeptics in their own blogs, where they are surrounded by the likes of Richard Dawkins (who has his own blog site for them), and after a mere couple of exchanges I've silenced most of them, because they simply cannot argue their case when they must do so on a basis of correct definition. Potency is and will always be subject to evidence and its rejection, and it will remain for a long time yet a favourite butt of disdain and repetitive humour. Homoeopathy, though, is something none of these people has any reason even to quibble with. Our argument is won before we start -- until we follow our opponents into mistaking potency for the subject under discussion. Homoeopathy does not necessitate potency, and potency does not necessitate homoeopathy; they are entirely separate matters; and merely pointing that out to our pseudoskeptical brethren has a transformative effect on the discussion. One might almost call it marketing. But it is in fact simply calling something by its correct name and insisting upon the primacy of the dictionary over anybody's delusions.

I must acknowledge that there is more to overcoming putative skepticism than pedantry over definition. One thing that these so-called skeptics are not so hot on is the nature of skepticism: recognition that, rather than intransigence and adherence to a canon of knowledge, it is fundamentally a readiness to change one's mind, implying a willingness to investigate the facts to approximate the truth ever more closely. The scientific process, much as they like to quote it, is something they don't understand. So treating them to a discussion about serious science also helps scare them away, as they don't understand it.

I've delivered yet another long lecture. Yet we have an ocean of confusion to look over, acknowledge, and drain away.

Cheers --

Dear John
Thank you for this long discourse which makes me feel that somehow we CAN all get along and when we join forces we will be undefeatable [oh dear! I just watch LORD OF THE RINGS last night]

To hone this down to one line is the key. I feel you have done that by saying, keep it simple, bring it all down to basics " the one PRINCIPLE behind the definition of homeopathy."

"Our argument is won before we start . . ." really brings us hope, if we can all learn how to use our knowledge and debating skills.

This is my favorite line, " agree that the law of similars is the one thing that they can agree on and to recognize that it is the one thing built into what Hahnemann called homoeopathy, and that the rest is merely practice, good and bad."
Well, John, it appears we are on our way to finding the Universal Definition of the word Homeopathy.

Now that we have both elaborated on our views around that subject, and have both demonstrated that we can write in-depth viewpoints, can we now perhaps demonstrate that we are equally effective in narrowing down our words to the potent few? May I ask you how you would, word for word, define the term Homeopathy in a manner that would be acceptable to all homeopaths and comprehensible to all persons who are presently ignorant of the term and its precise meaning?

If we can jump to that, to your definition and then gather a few more specific definitions, then perhaps we can actually achieve our goal here and shape the one and final definition. That would be quite an accomplishment.

I read you posting with great interest and, let me note, my interest grew as I found that we were in agreement far more than disagreement. Let me also clarify to you that, as to the areas of your posting in which you feel that I am in error, in some of them (trees v limbs) I am choosing to be in error. I myself has grave issues whenever polypharmacy comes into play, for instance, but I am choosing to keep my mouth shut on that specific topic (against which practice Hahnemann railed on and on, not just for the sake of the homeopaths in the audience, but for the allopaths as well) in hopes of getting to the Universal Definition. Because I know that polypharmacy is a "killing point" when it comes to the definition, I chose to be silent on it. Ditto Vitalism. And on and on. In the spirit of compromise, we are all going to have to winnow down and down to the nub, the center, which is, of course, Similars. There is no where else to go. That, paired with the idea of dilution, which is central not to homeopathic philosophy, but to the creation of the remedies that supply the healing spark, gives the whole story, I think.

If we agree on this, then we need only concern ourselves with the actual wording, which is hard to find, but not impossible.

What do you think? Are we ready to define?


Apt for the 20th century. Lets toil together.

According to me :
Homeopathy is a therapeutic process of, selection of homeopathic remedy depending upon the Law "Likes cure likes" It aims at permanently curing a sick individual by administering a thus selected dose.
Thank you so much for this succinct definition. I appreciate your contribution. Do you think we need the word "medical" in the sentence? I also have a question about the wording 'permanently cure' After reading recent discussion on Definition of Health -- there is no 'permanent cure.' Only ability of system to 'return to healthy state' as dynamic individuals

Homeopathy is a therapeutic process of, selection of homeopathic remedy depending upon the Law "Likes cure likes" It aims at permanently curing a sick individual by administering a thus selected dose.
Thanks a lot Debby for such a quick response.Since the word medicine is contained in therapeutic, therefore I refrained to add the word medicine.Also I wrote it aims at permanent cure.So we have an aim at least..Hope it clarify.
Okay. I will look forward to other's responses. Do you like the word "depending upon" instead of "based upon" ?
Yes, very close call. My personal feeling: based upon is more materialistic.It is like Base is applied chiefly to material objects: the wide base of the pyramid.While depend upon " Put trust in with confidence"
definition of the word BASED
2 a conceptual structure or entity on which something draws or depends

4 a main or important element or ingredient to which other things are added

1 (often be based) have as the foundation for (something); use as a point from which (something) can develop

1 ( depend on/upon) be controlled or determined by

2 ( depend on/upon) rely on

USAGE In informal use, it is quite common for the on to be dropped in sentences such as : it all depends how you look at it (rather than : it all depends on how you look at it), but in well-formed written English, the on should always be retained. In more formal writing, and sometimes for sound, rhythm, or other rhetorical effect, upon is the preferred preposition: : You may depend upon it.

I see that 'depend' could infer 'dependable' - trustworthy and reliable.
1. On a universal definition of Homeopathy

I am hugely impressed by the deep Philosophical nature and gentle willingness to explore matters. However it could be said for a truly universal definition one will need

- A conglomeration of eastern and western professionals of Homeopathy with a wide acceptance of methodologies going back no less than 2,000 years to really pin this down.

- Do not forget Homeopathic principles such as dilution and succusion existed many thousands of years before Hahnemann. Hahnemann invented the system of dilution and the provings - for the first time. There are older defintions and worlds which also have great meanings for this art such as alchemy. These should not be ignored.

- For a truly empowered Terminology I would recommend a thorough understanding based of Hahnemanns definition - compiled with the Greek/Latin ancient usages of the world Homeopathy and a synthesis of the Sanskrit (oldest language?) versions of alchemy/homeopathy existing before Hahnemann.

2. Even if we get the definition

Everything is subjective and people will always write their own "view" in the end. This is proved with personality in Psychology - even the top Psychologists differ and often it is a reflection of them - their psychological modalities.


Based is not a good word because it implies something is settled or supported. It implies impermanence.
Depend upon is a better word but even greater is contingent which implies a more logical and calculated element to the law of similars.

Homeopathy is an art and a science - the definition should include elements of this in the usage of its words.

4. Will a terminological definition really create a house hold name?

What has made businesses household names in the past?
Branding. (IBM) (SONY) (FED EX)
Unique selling propositions."Federal Express: When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight." Pizza delivered in 30 minutes or it's free." (Dominos Pizza)
(This USP is worth $1 BILLION to Dominos Pizza)
Nicely said, Alex. Thank you.


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