Homeopathy is a system of medicine which involves treating the individual with highly diluted substances, given mixed in water or dry under the tongue, with the aim of triggering the body's natural system of healing. Based on their specific symptoms, a homeopath will match the most appropriate medicine to each disease symptom picture.
The principle of treating "like with like" dates back to Hippocrates (460-377BC) but in its current form, homeopathy has been widely used worldwide for more than 200 years.
It was discovered by a German doctor, Samuel Hahnemann in 1796, who looked for a way to reduce the damaging side-effects associated with medical treatment of the day. Homeopathy is based on the principle that you can treat 'like with like', that is, a substance which causes symptoms when taken in large doses, can be used in small amounts to treat those same symptoms. For example, drinking too much coffee can cause sleeplessness and agitation, so according to this principle, when made into a homeopathic medicine, it could be used to treat people with these symptoms. This concept is sometimes used in conventional medicine, for example, using stimulants to treat patients with ADHD, or small doses of allergens such as pollen are sometimes used to de-sensitize allergic patients. However, one major difference with homeopathic medicines is that substances are used in ultra high dilutions, which makes them non-toxic. It is this same property which ensures that it will never interact with a prescription medication or herbs.