Homeopathy: Classical & clinical

An important homeopathic principle is: Like is cured by like; a substance that evokes certain symptoms can also cure them – as a medicine. Homeopathic remedies are natural medicines made from plants, minerals or animal products (often used as self-medication). Homeopathy is quite well known; but what, for example, potencies are or the difference between classical and clinical homeopathy is less known.

Homeopathy holistic view of man

Homeopathy is a holistic approach and sees man as an inseparable unity of body and mind. The ‘guidelines’ for Homeopathic treatment are physical, emotional and mental.

Homeopathy life force

Homeopathy assumes that every person contains life force: formative power, self-healing capacity, which is naturally present in every person. That life force can sometimes have difficulty manifesting itself. The homeopath tries to mobilize the existing life force, activate it and encourage it to (self)healing reactions. A homeopathic medicine provides a stimulus to the life force, which stimulates the self-healing capacity

Homeopathic principle

The most important principle of homeopathy is: a substance that is capable of evoking certain symptoms is – as a medicine – also capable of curing such symptoms. A disease is therefore treated with drugs that would cause symptoms similar to the disease in a healthy person.

Like is healed with like

Like is healed with like is called the Similia principle or Similarity principle. In Latin: Similia Similibus Curentur .
An example: Coffee can make it more difficult for you to fall asleep. If used excessively and in sensitive people, it can even lead to insomnia. In the form of the Homeopathic Medicine : Coffea, coffee can actually remedy certain forms of insomnia.

Homeopathy Similia Principle

The concept of Homeopathy comes from the Greek Homoios (similar) and Pathos (suffering). The disease condition is cured by means that produce symptoms that resemble the disease (Similia principle).
The term for the counterpart of this is: Allop athie (allos is different). The complaints of a sick person are cured by means with an opposite effect (Contraria principle).
An example to explain the difference: the treatment of a burn. Allopathy says: respond with cold. Homeopathy says: respond with as warm as possible. Although the most immediate relief may come from cold, the body, according to Homeopathy, responds better in the long term to as warm as possible.
Note: the Similia principle is sometimes also used in regular medicine, such as with the flu shot, where a diluted micro-organism is administered to ward off the original micro-organism.

Homeopathy founder Hahnemann

The founder of Homeopathy is the German Physician Samuel Hahnemann (1755-1843). By experimenting on himself and others he discovered the principles of Homeopathy. Hahnemann discovered in 1790 when he took a small amount of Cinchona bark (raw form of Quinine) that he got all the symptoms of Malaria, while Quinine was known as a good medicine against Malaria. Hahnemann investigated around 80 medicines during his lifetime by taking them himself and keeping track of exactly which symptoms occurred. In 1810 he published a Manual (Organon der Heilkunst) for physicians, with an explanation of homeopathic basic principles.
Experiments and research of remedies have continued and developed from this time. Homeopathy now has a few thousand medicines. Research and development still continues today.

Homeopathic medicines

Homeopathic medicines are purely natural: derived from plants, minerals or animal products. Over time, all products have been tested on humans – in safe doses. No animal testing has been done as it is not necessary. As already mentioned, Homeopathy assumes that a Homeopathic medicine provides a stimulus to the Life Force in the right way, thereby stimulating the self-healing capacity.

Homeopathic potencies

Potentials were ‘discovered’ by Hahnemann. Since a normal dose of certain substances could be dangerous, but also from an important Homeopathic principle, Hahnemann wanted to look for the lowest possible dose to give the body a little boost. An incentive to try to regain balance yourself, to initiate the self-healing process. The lowest possible dose meant: a whole series of dilutions of each raw material. In his experiments, Hahnemann diluted 100-fold at each step.
Hahnemann started to potentiate his medicines by diluting and shaking them . In practice, it turned out that potentiation caused the harmful side effects to disappear and the healing effect actually increased. The dilution appeared to work better when it was shaken beforehand. From this the Homeopathic principle of gradual dilution and simultaneous shaking was developed. The dilution that is ultimately used is called Potency . (E.g. D3 means that the base substance has been diluted 3 steps of 1 to 10 each, see further explanation below).
Shaking and diluting are very important in Homeopathy. Research has shown that when the same substance is diluted in a different way, the effect partially or completely disappears.

Low and high potencies

Homeopathic medicines speak of low and high potencies. The terms low and high can be confusing due to the numbers used. For the record:

  • Low potency (potency with a low figure, for example D3: is only diluted a few times (potentiated): it therefore contains a lot of active substance. Dilutions below D6 are called low potencies.
  • High potency (potency with a high number, for example 100: has been shaken and diluted (potentiated) more often: this therefore contains considerably less active substance. Dilutions above D23 are called high potencies

Dilution and shaking is done in steps of:

  • 1 in 10: the D potencies : standard series: D1 to D4, D6, D12, D30, D60, D100, D200, D400, D500 and D1000.
  • 1 in 100: the C or K potentials . standard series: C6, C12, C30, C60, C100, C200, C500 and C1000
  • 1 in 50,000 the LM or Q potentials

The D potencies are the most commonly used potencies in the Netherlands.
Before potentiation can begin, the required active substance must first be extracted from the raw material. This can be done in 2 different ways and results in:

  • Mother tincture
  • Friction


Mother tincture

If the raw material consists of plant material, it is first determined which plant it concerns and then the health of the plant is examined. Then all inactive parts are removed. The plant is then ground and mixed with alcohol. This plant pulp plus alcohol is left to work for approximately 2 weeks, after which it is squeezed out and filtered. The result is a liquid or mother tincture. The potencies (the dilutions) are made from this mother tincture.


The raw materials that are not soluble in alcohol or water are rubbed with milk sugar accurately and for a long time. This is done in a so-called mortar mill. The purpose of rubbing is to finely fine the substance for further processing, but also to ensure proper absorption of the substance by the stomach lining of the body. The duration of the abrasion procedure can sometimes take up to 40 to 50 hours. Rubs are the raw materials of homeopathic tablets (also lozenges). Potencies are also made from these frictions: the diluent consists of milk sugar. As with liquid potencies, the mixture is mixed in a ratio of 1:10, only now with milk sugar instead of alcohol. This involves vigorous rubbing instead of shaking. The rubbing takes place automatically (a rubbing takes at least an hour).

Homeopathic remedies

Homeopathic remedies (internal administration) exist in different forms.

  • Drops (Dilution): mother tinctures that are potentiated. The alcohol used in the preparation also ensures that the product spoils less quickly. The alcohol content can vary from 30% to 90%.
  • Granules (Globuli or Granules): sugar granules based on the sweetener sucrose that easily absorb liquids. The globuli are immersed in the desired liquid (ratio 100 parts granules to 1 part solution). This dipping is done in rotating balls/cups that continue to rotate until the liquid has been sufficiently and evenly absorbed. This means that each grain absorbs an equal amount of liquid.
  • Tablets: tablets (100 or 250 mg) are made from rubbing milk sugar

External Homeopathic treatment is done through tinctures, ointments, emulsions and jellies. The external treatment only works at the site of the condition. In order to apply the product externally, the mother tincture is processed into an ointment, emulsion or jelly mass. An ointment releases the active ingredients slowly and over a long period of time and can be applied under a bandage or compress. A jelly is absorbed more quickly and can therefore be applied more often.

Homeopathy Classical Clinical Simplex Complex

Classical Homeopathy

Classical Homeopaths work according to Hahnemann’s guidelines. This means that we not only focus on the complaint or illness that people present with, but also look at the deeper causes, both physical and mental. So it is not just a matter of looking or searching for a suitable medicine in case of a complaint. In Classical Homeopathy, the Medicine must suit the entire person.
With Classical Homeopathy, an extensive (anamnesis) interview initially takes place. All complaints and physical and mental functioning in the past and present are discussed in detail (questions such as: how you feel, what you do/have already done to feel better, when the complaints worsen or improve, data about nutrition , sleep, dreams, mental functioning, etc.). Once the (individual) medical history is identified, this will result in a treatment plan and the most appropriate homeopathic medicine will be given at that time. In principle, the Classical Homeopath gives one remedy: a Simplex . However, it may also happen that work has to be done at multiple levels to provide an effective incentive to heal. In that case, it may be necessary to alternately take different substances, but never two (or more) at the same time. According to Classical Homeopathy, administering a Simplex is sufficient if this remedy exactly matches the patient’s clinical picture. The choice for a particular Simplex therefore requires an accurate and personal investigation into the patient’s complaints.

Clinical homeopathy

This Homeopathic approach does not individualize to the extent that the classical approach does. In Clinical Homeopathy, proven Homeopathic Medicines are mainly prescribed based on the complaints alone. Based on the clinical diagnosis of the disease, a remedy can be given (e.g. hay fever).

Complex homeopathy

There is also an approach called Complex Homeopathy . Complex Homeopathy prescribes various homeopathic remedies in a standardized mix.
Compound homeopathic products are called complex remedies . They contain ‘a complex of’ different ingredients per product. Complex agents are usually composed of low potencies. The different components of the complex remedy, as it were, tackle the disease from different sides, resulting in a greater chance of success. Because the various components also influence each other’s effect, the drug still has its own unique effect. This form of Homeopathy seems to be mainly used by general practitioners, doctors or therapists who use Homeopathy in addition to other treatment methods or medicine.
Both Simplex and Complex remedies can have an effect. In general, Complexes: compound remedies, are more often used within Self-care or Self-medication and Simplex: single remedies are more commonly prescribed by Homeopathic doctors. When choosing a complex product, less attention needs to be paid to the patient’s individual characteristics.
Homeopathic remedies for self-medication are available at drugstores or pharmacies and come in different brands. Well-known brands include: VSM , A.Vogel and Bloem .

Homeopathic doctors homeopaths

There are more than 600 doctors in the Netherlands who practice homeopathy. The doctors who are members of the VHAN : Doctors’ Association for Homeopathy, have generally studied (Classical) Homeopathy after or during their medical studies
(approximately 100 of them are also general practitioners or specialists; approximately 300 of them have completely devoted themselves to homeopathy). There are approximately 400 (classical) homeopaths. The majority are not doctors (have not studied Medicine/Medicine). If they are members of the NVKH or NOKH , they usually have medical knowledge in addition to (classical) Homeopathy, but not at university level.
Homeopathic consultations are sometimes (fully or partially) reimbursed by the Health Insurer – supplementary insurance policies . Homeopath membership in one of the professional associations: VHAN, NVKH or NOKH is usually a condition for reimbursement. Homeopathic remedies are sometimes also reimbursed. This usually happens if it is prescribed by a doctor and if the drug is registered.

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