Homeopathy is a system of medicine that utilizes micro-doses of natural substances -- herbs, bark, seeds, berries, flowers, minerals and animal matter. Unlike powerful pharmaceutical drugs, homeopathic remedies have no side-effects or interactions with other medications. The use of conventional drugs and preparations often means the risk of side effects. In some cases, the "cure" is worse than the problem. An example is steroids to treat skin conditions also destroy the liver.
Although the principles of homeopathy date back to the great Greek physician Hippocrates, and before him to the ancient Hindus, modern homeopathy was founded in 1810 by the German physician Samuel Hahnemann. The system is based on a concept called the law of similars in which remedies containing minute amounts of natural substances stimulate the body's own defenses against specific symptoms and imbalances. These substances, if they were given in large doses to healthy individuals or animals, would produce those same symptoms.
If you were to cut an onion, you would quickly experience watery eyes and a runny nose. In homeopathy, a remedy made from onions (allium cepa) is often applied to relieve the runny nose and watery eyes common in colds and hayfever. A coffee remedy is often used to calm the nerves and help promote sleep. Sulfur, in a large dose, can cause a rash. In homeopathic amounts, it can help heal rashes, scratching and skin problems, and is a popular remedy for those conditions in animals.
The ingredients in homeopathic medicines are so diluted that they carry virtually no trace of the original substance. For this reason they cause no side effects.
The healing power of homeopathy does not come directly from the substances themselves, but rather from the energy released from them during a special refining process of shaking and dilution.