Homeopathy is the art and the science of healing the sick by using substances capable of causing the same symptoms, syndromes and conditions when administered to healthy people.
Any substance may be considered a homeopathic medicine if it has known "homeopathic provings" and/or known effects which mimic the symptoms, syndromes or conditions which it is administered to treat, and is manufactured according to the specifications of the Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia of the United States (HPUS). Official homeopathic drugs are those that have been monographed and accepted for inclusion in the HPUS.
Central to all homeopathy is the determination of the effect of substances on healthy volunteers and the use of the developed "drug picture" by the consumer and/or trained health care practitioners according to the homeopathic principle of similia similibus curentur - Let likes be cured by Likes.
Historically, homeopathy has been practiced by medical doctors, and has been used for self-care by the general public. The issuance of The Homeopathic Domestic Physician by Constantine Hering, M.D., (1835) opened this health care modality to the public. Homeopathy is an ideal therapeutic medium for self-medication of symptoms usually associated with self-limiting conditions since the selection of the proper remedy for the case is dependent on the symptoms that the body exhibits in its reaction to the illness. In the use of homeopathy for conditions which are other than self-limiting, the consumer is advised to use the services of a health care provider.