Definition of Homeopathy: What it is and what it is not

By Dr. Nicole Cain ND, MA
Sep 08, 2017
9:54 pm

Section 2: Definition of Homeopathy: What it IS and what it is NOT

Homeopathy was founded by German physician Samuel Hahnemann, and means “same suffering.” It is not a philosophy of medicine, but rather an applied system of medicine and pharmacology that describes how to use medicine. Homeopathy is very unique, and is often mistaken for isopathy, naturopathy, and allopathy.

As described in Section 1 (the previous blog on this topic), we talked about the history of how homeopathy was discovered, the history of Hahnemann’s provings and the scientific method he used in order to understand the symptoms of substance poisonings, and then how he conducted experiments where he gave people lower and lower doses of the substances until they were a-material. We went over how the poisoning symptoms of Cinchona, the plant that the doctors of that time were using to treat Malaria, looked identical to Malaria. Homeopathy is characterized by this process of prescribing: Like cures like.

Homeopathic Medicine Mental Health, Homeopathic Doctor
Homeopathy is effective when used by a highly trained clinician. When it is the correct remedy for the patient nothing works better. When the incorrect remedy is prescribed, nothing happens.

Homeopathy example: You see someone who is hyperactive, excited, restless, can’t sleep, sensitive to light, nose, and odors and are very talkative. They look quite like they have consumed too much caffeine. A person suffering from a manic episode may have symptoms like this. A homeopathic doctor may prescribe Coffea Cruda 30C– which is made from the berries of the coffee plant– to the suffering patient with mania, and if this is the correct prescription, the body will return to balance and the person’s mania symptoms will resolve.


Isopathy refers to using the “same disease” where a practitioner uses the same thing that caused the disease to treat it. An example of this is vaccination, or even homeopathic influenza to treat or prevent the flu.


Allopathy means “different disease,” which refers to a method of treating diseases with medicines that produce effects different from those caused by the disease itself.  This is the type of medicine that was being practiced during Hahnemann’s time with mercury and bloodletting. An example of allopathy is the prescription of heroin to treat pain (see image below). Heroin is such a powerful agent on the body that the original disease is superseded by the new “disease” caused by the heroin and therefore the patient was understood to be “cured.” A modern example of this is prescribing aspirin for a headache.

Allopathy vs Homeopathy

According to Miriam Webster: Allopathy
(practiced by MDs for example) is a system of
medical practice that aims to combat disease
by use of treatments like drugs or surgery
producing effects different from or
incompatible with those produced by the
disease being treated. Opposite of homeopathy.





Naturopathy refers to naturopathic medicine. Naturopathic medicine is a branch of medicine that encompasses the use of homeopathy and other natural therapies like hydrotherapy, botanical medicine, or acupuncture. The philosophy is what sets Naturopathic Doctors aside from other doctors. The focus is prevention, and identification of the root cause for the purpose of creating a treatment plan for restoring the person to health. Different tools may be used to accomplish this goal. It is important to note, however is that though naturopathic doctors often use homeopathic medicines, homeopathy is defined by it’s use, as opposed to being defined by remedies themselves. It is not considered homeopathy if the use of the homeopathic medicines are not in accordance to the concept of “same suffering.”

Naturopathic Medicine, Homeopathy
Naturopathic doctors practice homeopathy, botanical medicine, acupuncture and more.

To summarize:


Next blog: Section 3: Homeopathy Basics and Model of Disease

READ PART 1: Classic Homeopathy: Treatments for bipolar, depression and more

READ PART 4: What is Illness and What is Healing? The Pied Piper of the Vital Force.




This article is for educational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. Whenever considering changing your protocol whether it includes a change of medications, supplements, diet or lifestyle, always speak with your primary care physician first.

Dr. Nicole Cain is an advocate for empowering people around the world to help themselves via her educational free resources, online courses, and membership group. You can receive the tools you need to find the root cause of your symptoms and feel healthy again.