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System of therapeutics founded in 1796 by Samuel Hahnemann on the principle that like cures like. That is, substances that in healthy persons would produce the symptoms from which the patient suffers are used to treat the patient. Hahnemann further stated that the potency of a curative agent increases as the substance is diluted. When it was introduced, homeopathy was a mild, welcome alternative to heavy-handed therapies such as bleeding, but it has since been criticized for focusing on symptoms rather than causes. With the rise of alternative medicine, it has seen a resurgence.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on homeopathy, visit Britannica.com.