Homeopathy’s roots emerge from the findings, teachings and writings of Dr. Samuel Hahnemann (1755-1843). Hahnemann graduated from medical school in 1779 and started his own medical practice. He soon began his first homeopathic experiments in 1790, as a result of his disillusionment with such common medical practices of the day as purging, bloodletting, and the use of toxic chemicals.
At one point, he gave up his own daily practice to begin working as a chemist while translating medical texts. It was when Hahnemann began working on a project to translate William Cullen’s Materia Medica into German that he began his quest for a better way of providing healthcare using the principles of “Similars.” While working on this project, he became fascinated with a species of South American tree-bark (cinchona) which was being used to treat malaria-induced fever. Hahnemann ingested the bark and discovered that it caused symptoms similar to malaria. He continued his research into “cures” and the idea of “similar suffering,” and began compiling his findings. Similia similibus curentur, the Latin phrase meaning “let likes be cured by likes,” is the primary principle of homeopathy. A homeopath searches for a substance that produces in a healthy person those same symptoms a patient experiences.