In 1790, while translating Cullen's Materia Medica, Dr. Hahnemann discovered the fever producing property of cinchona bark (Quinine) which was used to treat malarial fever. He took Cinchona for some days until he developed Malarial symptoms. Then he labeled a new theory "likes cure likes". (Cinchona can treat people with Malaria because it can produce the Malarial symptoms in a healthy person). Referring to this law of similarity, he coined the word "homeopathy" (homoios in Greek means similar, pathos means suffering). Since then, he started experimenting all the drugs on himself, his family and a small, but growing group, of his followers.
Dr. Hahnemann obtained a description of the drug by administering the one drug to a healthy person. (Homeopathic remedies are tested on humans, not on animals). In his new practice, he found that remedies prescribed by using the new law also produced some side effects. Slowly, he started reducing the quantity of remedies administered to the patient. Then he realized that only remedies in minute dosages would bring the desirable change in health without producing any side effects. He formulated basic guidelines for Homeopathic treatment in his book "Organon and philosophy".
To name just a few, Dr. James Tyler Kent, MD (1849-1910), Dr.Constantine Hering, MD (1800-1880), and Dr. Carrol Dunhum, MD (1828-1877) from USA, Dr. Richard Hughes, MD (1836-1902), and Dr. John Henry Clarke, MD (1853-1931) from UK, Dr. Carl Von Boenninghausen, MD( 1785-1864) from Netherlands, Dr. Rajendra Lal Dutt, MD (1818-1889), Dr. Mahendra Lal Sircar, MD (1833-1904), and Dr. Pratap Muzumdar, MD from India, are some of the other eminent homeopaths who have contributed to Homeopathy with their research, new remedies and books. It is surprising to see that most of these doctors were popular allopaths who became homeopaths after they/their family members were cured through the use of Homeopathy after undergoing agony with their health problems.
Despite the significant oppression from the orthodox medical profession, homeopathy has survived and is gradually growing. Homeopathy has attracted support from many of the most respected members of society including Mahatma Gandhi, William cullen Bryant, the famous journalist, and Britain's Royal family since 1830s. The most significant reason why homeopathy has developed immense popularity is its success in treating the various infectious epidemic diseases that raged throughout America and Europe during the 1800s. Statistics indicate that the death rates in homeopathic hospitals from these epidemics were often one-half to as little as one-eighth of those in orthodox medical hospitals.
Homeopathy is very popular in Europe, Asia (especially in India), Sri Lanka and Pakistan. It is also widely practiced in Brazil, Mexico, Greece, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Australia, South Africa, Nigeria and the Soviet Union.