The Law of Similar
It is also called the Law of Cure. This law demonstrates that the selected remedy is able to produce a range of symptoms in healthy persons similar to that observed in the patients. Based on his experiments, Hahnemann published this law in an article “Essay on New Principle for Ascertaining the Curative Powers of Drugs” in Huffland’s Journal in 1796. This law is the principle of Similia Similibus Curentur i.e. let likes be treated by likes. Law of Similar teaches that every homoeopathic remedy experimentally observed to have certain properties of producing a set of symptoms on healthy human beings and when these symptoms matches with a natural disease, it act as therapeutic agent and help the body to correct the disorder. As per this concept, the symptoms produced by the substance during the drug proving are the signature of that drug. Therefore, in strict sense, this signature of the drug is the one and only one that qualify into the principle of Similia Similbus Curentur. This is the most important concept in Homoeopathy. In fact there cannot be any concept in homoeopathy without this key concept.
This principle was known in western medicine even before Hahnemann. Hippocrates, the Father of western medicine, (460-377 BC) wrote about two possible principles of treating disease. One is Contraria Contrariis Curantur (Latin) which means opposites are cured by opposites. Accordingly, this principle teaches to treat diseases by using remedies that produce opposite effects. The other principle is the Similia Similibus Curentur (Latin), which means let similar things take care of similar things. Hippocrates was known to have said, "Through the like, disease is produced and through the application of the like, it is cured." Paracelsus (1493-1541) and later others were also aware of these two principles, but seems to have preferred only the opposing method. Dr. Hahnemann, possibly picked up the similia maxim based on his experiments and developed a viable, independent and scientific system of Medicine. He lived his life for this mission.
In the ancient Indian medical system, Ayurveda, there are descriptions of treating diseases on similia principle. One mention is Sarvada Sarva Bhavanam Samanyam Vridhi Karanam. Sushruta, the ancient Indian surgeon, who is credited as the author of the treatise, Sushruta Samhita and considered as the founding father of surgery (1200-600 BC), proclaimed that “Samah samam shamayti” as one approach of treating diseases, which literarily means similar cures similar.Vishasya Vishamaushadam or samam samena santi are also the concepts in Ayurveda similar to the principle of Similia. Another principle similar to Homoeopathic principle of Similia in Ayurveda is “Kasya Aushadhasya Ayam Vyadhi aaturo Va Yogyah ( i.e the patient belongs to which medicine or the symptom complex belongs to which medicine is the point to be known thoroughly well- Vagbhata).
In fact, Ayurveda also advocates two modes of treating natural diseases. The first is called Vipareeta (opposite) and the second is Vipareetanthakari (similar). In Vipareeta approach, the method of treatment is opposite to the cause of manifestation of diseases and in the Vipareetanthakari, the method of treatment is similar to the cause of manifestation of diseases or the similia principle.
In Unani medicine, diseases which occur due to emergence of an abnormal temperament are treated by applying the drugs and non-drug factors of opposite temperament mainly, but sometimes with the same temperament as under:
Ilaj-bil- zid: In this method, usually treatment through drugs having opposite temperament, is the most commonly followed principle.
laj-bil- misl: In this method, usually treatment is given with drugs of same temperament as of disease.
Basil Valentine, a pseudonym of a Benedictine monk, believed to have lived in 1410 BC also wrote : “Like must be cured by means of their likes and not by their contraries, as heat by heat…..”
Later physicians like Boulduc, Detharding, Bertholon, Thoury, Von Stoerk, Stahl (a Danish army physician) have also felt and expressed the truth of the homoeopathic method of cure.
Disease can be cured by medicinal substances given in extremely small doses that produce similar symptoms in healthy people. In simple words, the medicine can cure when given in micro doses what it can cause in large doses. Some such examples of the law of similars are:
a. While peeling onion, it makes your eyes watery and nose burning. If you are having an attack of hay fever with watering eyes and burning nose, the homoeopathic remedy prepared from onion called Allium cepa could relieve it.
b. Poison ivy causes redness, intense itching, burning, blistering and sometimes stiff muscles. Potentised Poison ivy called as Rhus tox has been used for herpes, burns, eczema, allergy, arthritis, etc.
c. When stung by a honeybee, there is burning, stinging pain and swelling. Some relief is gained from applying cold to the area. If you had swollen tonsils with burning and stinging pain relieved by cold, the remedy prepared on homoeopathic principle from the same source called Apis mellificia could cure such symptoms.
d. Coffee keeps people awake and alert. A remedy prepared from coffee seeds called Coffea cruda, in very small doses might be appropriate for helping someone with insomnia with an overly alert mind.
e. Quinine (derived from Cinchona bark) given in daily doses to a healthy person can cause symptoms similar to malaria fever. Indeed, the Cinchona Officinalis, a homoeopathy medicine prepared from cinchona bark, is curative in many patients with similar symptoms.
f. White Hellebore, in large doses, causes violent purging that leads to severe dehydration-symptoms similar to cholera. Veratrum Album, a h medicine prepared from White Hellebore is effective against many cases of cholera.
g. Belladonna, a homoeopathy medicine, used to treat scarlet fever, since the symptoms of belladonna poisoning closely resemble those of scarlet fever.