Richard Moskowitz, MD

The Law of Similars

In 1792, Hahnemann demonstrated experimentally that medicines elicit in healthy people the same array of signs and symptoms that they cure in the sick, and that medicines eliciting a picture most like the illness as a whole are most likely to initiate a spontaneous cure. From this "Law of Similars" he reasoned that the manifest symptoms of illness represent the self-healing effort of the organism, and that the similar remedy acts to reinforce that effort by a concerted response of the whole organism.

The Classical Method

Prepared from animals, plants, and minerals, homeopathic remedies are highly diluted to minimize the risk of toxicity and enhance the depth and subtlety of their action. When given to healthy volunteers, each medicine elicits an ensemble of physical and mental symptoms that is characteristic of it and thus distinguishable from every other. In much the same way, sick people seeking treatment are interviewed in detail and matched with the single remedy whose total symptom-picture most closely resembles their own. Because it must fit the unique individuality of the patient as much as the pathological diagnosis, close attention is paid to personal features that the standard medical workup tends to ignore. The minute doses also insure that remedies will have little effect unless they are enough like the illness for the patient to be highly sensitive to them -- a built-in safety feature.

Pros and Cons

Homeopathic remedies are wonderfully effective when properly chosen, and economical, safe, and gentle in their action, with very few unwanted side effects. Curative responses are thorough and long-lasting, need few repetitions of the dose, and pose no risk of chronic drug dependence. The process also encourages patients to assume greater control of and responsibility for their own healing than is possible with more drastic methods. On the other side, homeopathy remains very much an art. Even experienced practitioners may have to try several remedies before a good match is found, while in other cases there may be no benefit at all.

When to Consider Homeopathy

While any patient may respond to it, homeopathy is most often successful or at least worth a try in the following situations:

1) functional complaints with no tissue damage, such as headache, insomnia, anxiety, IBS, PMS, CFS, ADD, etc.;

2)conditions with no specific conventional treatment, e. g., wounds, hepatitis, influenza, emphysema, etc., where much relief is possible, and little harm can be done;

3)before elective surgery, as for fibroids, gallstones, BPH, varicose veins, etc., where immediate action is not required;

4)to prevent drug dependence, e. g., for allergies, asthma, colitis, hypertension, ear infections, etc., where drugs have to be taken long-term; and

5)if conventional treatments fail, or patients refuse to take them, as in incurable or terminal cases, where significant help may still be possible.

Naturally, it is more difficult in advanced cases with extensive scarring or severe tissue damage, or where dependence on potent drugs (steroids, anticonvulsants, antipsychotics, etc.) makes it dangerous or harmful to withdraw them. Nor is it a substitute for trained and experienced professional help, as in suturing lacerations, reducing fractures, physical diagnosis, emergency surgery, or conventional drug treatment, when appropriate.


Developed by Samuel Hahnemann, M. D. (1755-1843), homeopathy is a method of self-healing practiced all over the world. Protected by U. S. Federal law, homeopathic remedies are safe for OTC and domestic use.