Homeopathy (a compound from the Greek ὅμοιος hómoios, “-like” and πάθος páthos, “suffering”) is a so-called alternative cure outlined by Samuel Hahnemann from 1796 onward. The cure is based on Hahnemann’s theory that “like cures like”. Accordingly, the substance that causes certain symptoms of the illness in the healthy can cure the ill in adequate dilution. Many scientists and intellectuals maintain that homeopathy is a pseudo-science. In their view, the principles explaining the effects of homeopathy cannot be reconciled with the known laws of physics and chemistry and there has been no single, original proof acceptable for them that could justify the effectivity of homeopathic cures. Despite this, many employ them in human and veterinary medicine and are satisfied with the results.
According to practitioners, the illnesses can be treated with so-called “potentized” substances, which trigger symptoms in the healthy similar to those of the illness. Potentization takes place through serial dilution and “dynamization” between each dilution (e.g., trituration, succession, and fluxion). It is said that the toxic effects of the substance can be eliminated in this way, while the vehicle substance (mostly water, alcohol, or sugar) takes over certain characteristics of the substance. The end-product is often diluted enough not to be differentiated from the pure vehicle substance.