The German physician and chemist Samuel Hahnemann (1755-1843) found the medicine of his time unsatisfactory and started to look for less harmful and more patient-friendly ways to cure the sick.
At that time malaria was treated with Peruvian bark, which Hahnemann decided to test upon himself. He took an excessive dose of the substance and found he developed the same type of feverish symptoms as those produced by malaria. As soon as he stopped taking the bark, however, he regained his normal healthy state. He experimented similarly with several other substances that were used at the time in conventional medicine and these experiences were cristallized in his proverbial slogan Similia Similibus Curentur – like cures like, meaning that the substance bringing about symptoms in a healthy person will cure those same symptoms in a sick person. Hahnemann named this new mode of cure ”homeopathy”, a word that derives from the Greek equivalents for homoios “like” and pathos “suffering”.
Hippocrates (460-375 BC), the father of Western medicine, writes about the principle of similars, but it took more than two thousand years before Hahnemann worked the idea further into a science.