Homeopathy is a term often used in the natural health industry. But just because we use the term doesn't mean that we fully understand what it means and how it works. For a modern-day example, consider the term wi-fi — do you know what it means and how it works? Sometimes wi-fi is used interchangeably for internet just like homeopathy is sometimes used interchangeably for natural health — neither one is totally accurate.
Homeopathy is a part of natural health — which includes other topics such as herbology, iridology, etc. Homeopathic remedies have been used since the late 1700s. They are considered to be safe practices and have been regulated by the FDA since the late 1980s.
The principle behind homeopathy is the phrase "like cures like." This principle implies that substances that cause symptoms in a healthy person will trigger the cure of a sick person with those same symptoms. Homeopathic remedies will activate the body's self-healing powers. Our body has amazing capabilities to heal itself but sometimes negative symptoms will effectively "block the memory" of what needs to happen to achieve proper health. Homeopathic remedies can provide the information the body needs to get back on track.
These remedies are available in different strengths as indicated by some numbers and letters following the name of each product (for example, Arnica Montana 30C). The "C" indicates the active ingredient was prepared in a 1:1000 dilution. The "30" indicates that dilution was done 30 times. So a potency of 1C would be one drop of active ingredient mixed with 1000 drops of dilutant (usually a mix of water and alcohol). To make a 2C, one drop from the 1C mixture is added to 1000 drops of dilutant. That process continues 28 more times until a 30C is achieved.
If you consider that process through the perspective of traditional medicine, you might think "there won't be any of the original active ingredient in the final product - how can that be effective at all?" However, homeopathy works on the principle that less is more. For most of traditional (and natural) medicine, we are measuring how much of the active ingredient is being used to determine potency (for example, how many milligrams of Vitamin C are in your daily supplement?). Homeopathic remedies are different because they work on a molecular level and the result is the more they are diluted, the stronger they become.
Think about this analogy to help illustrate this point. Consider a slide projector with an infinite brightness bulb. If the projector was placed one inch from a screen, the picture would be very small and impossible to identify all the details of the picture. However, as you move the projector further away from the screen, the picture becomes much larger and details that were once too small to identify are now revealed. Such is the case with homeopathy and dilution — the more it is diluted, the easier it is for your body to understand the information that is being communicated and the easier it will be for the body to trigger its self-healing powers.
This article only scratches the surface of homeopathy. There is so much more to study to fully understand their amazing capabilities. But if you can grasp the concept of the two main principles ("like cures like" and "less is more"), you will be quickly on your way to achieving homeopathy mastery.