I just read an article on a website, titled: "What does
it mean:homeopathy treats the patient but not the disease? It is a foolish
concept. How do you treat a patient without treating the disease?"
It is an old statement, I think, originating from Margery Blacky, but it indeed sounds a bit foolish. Of course, homeopathy treats the disease. That is
what the patient is coming for; he wants to get rid of his complaints.
The confusion arises from the word disease. In conventional medicine, eczema is
a disease, asthma is a disease, and so on. Seen from the homeopathic point of
view, however, those are symptoms or syndromes but not diseases as such. It is
like fever; in medieval times, fever was considered a disease, a diagnosis. In
our times, it is clear that fever is a symptom and not a disease as such.
Broadly speaking, one can say that diagnoses in conventional medicine are not
real diagnoses, just descriptions of symptoms. The real diagnosis is the
homeopathic remedy. I have discussed this in my article "Diagnosis Yellow
flower" (Diagnosis Yellow-flower). The regular diagnosis can be compared to the plant identification
"yellow flower", where all plants with yellow flowers are identified
as such. There are however, many different plants with yellow flowers, like
sunflower, dandelion, buttercup, and so on; these can be compared with the
So, why did the statement "homeopathy treats the patient not the
disease" arise? I think it is from the realization that regular diagnoses
are not the diseases, and consequently, that is not what we are treating in
homeopathy. This statement, nevertheless, is confusing because we are
definitely not treating the patient, the person; we are only treating his/her problem,
These considerations have led me not to use the above statement. It is
confusing and even wrong, leading to unnecessary criticism. It
is much clearer to state that in homeopathy disease is seen as something
different than in conventional medicine, and I have noticed that the comparison
with plant identification is often very clarifying.
Keywords: homeopathy, patient, disease
This article was originally published in www.interhomeopathy.org