IN MOST countries, homeopathy has come and gone in major waves. Currently, we are witnessing its renaissance both in the United States and Europe.1 In 1994, Americans spent $165 million on homeopathic remedies and sales are rising more than 20% yearly (Time. September 25, 1995:47-48; Business Week. October 23, 1995:58-59). Of 150 new cold remedies launched in the United States in 1994, for instance, 34 were homeopathic compared with 17 of 92 in 1992 (Wall Street Journal. February 23, 1995:1). Physicians therefore increasingly feel the need for more information. This article is aimed at revisiting homeopathy from a historical perspective.
Homeopathy was developed by the German physician Samuel Hahnemann (1755-1843). He noticed in 1789 that when he took the malaria remedy quinine, it produced most of the symptoms of malaria in himself. Hahnemann went on to conduct similar "provings" on himself, friends, and patients and postulated that "like cures