Homeopathic Glossary


AGGRAVATION – In homeopathy, an aggravation is an intensification of symptoms experienced after the remedy is taken. A healing aggravation, in which current symptoms temporarily intensify or old symptoms temporarily reappear is often a positive sign that a curative process has begun. This phenomenon is also known as a ‘healing crisis’.

ANTIDOTE – Something that blocks, reduces or eliminates the action of a remedy. This can be a substance that is ingested or applied topically, as well as an experience or situation such as a trauma, dramatic change in life circumstances or medical procedure. A homeopathic remedy can act as an antidote of previously taken remedy.

BACH FLOWER REMEDIES – A group of energetic essences derived from various flowers by the British physician and homeopath Edward Bach in the early 20th century. Though somewhat similar in nature to homeopathic remedies, they are not created by potentization and are prescribed exclusively on the basis of emotional states.

BOTANICAL MEDICINE – The use of plants for medicinal purposes, generally in the form of tinctures or powders. Also called ‘herbal medicine’.

CELL SALTS – A set of 12 mineral salts created by a German homeopath, W.H. Schuessler, in the late 19th century. Although produced homeopathically and incorporated into the homeopathic pharmacopeia, they were originally meant to be used as agents to restore the body’s biochemical balance.

CENTESIMAL DILUTION – A homeopathic remedy that is produced by a series of dilution of one part substance to 99 parts water or alcohol. Also known as a ‘C potency’.

CHARACTERISTIC SYMPTOM – A recognizable manifestation of disease which is peculiar to the individual nature of the person who experiences it. For example, a headache that recurs daily at 4 pm is characteristic symptom. This is in contrast to a ‘common symptom’.

COMBINATION REMEDIES – Preparations made by combining two or more homeopathic remedies.

COMMON SYMPTOM – A recognizable manifestation of disease which is generally experienced by most people with that disease. For example, itching is a common symptom of poison ivy. This is in contrast to a ‘characteristic symptom’.


CONCOMITANT – A symptom or other phenomenon that occurs at the same time as another symptom or phenomenon.

CONSTITUTIONAL HOMEOPATHY – The practice of homeopathy founded on the selection of remedies based on a comprehensive understanding of the state and nature of the patient, and not merely on the basis of a single symptom.

DIATHESIS – A state or disposition of the body, most often present from birth, to be susceptible to certain types of disease

DECIMAL DILUTION – A homeopathic remedy that is produced by a series of dilution of one part substance to 9 parts water or alcohol. Also known as a ‘X’ or ‘D’ potency.

DOCTRINE OF SIGNATURES – The concept that something is marked with a sign which indicates its purpose. For centuries this has been used in herbal medicine to draw a correspondence between a particular plant and its medicinal use.

EAV – Electro Acupuncture according to Voll. Originally, a system of stimulating and balancing the energies of the body invented by the German physician Reinhold Voll in the 1950’s. It has evolved into a diagnostic and treatment modality that measures the presence of toxins, deficiencies, allergies and other imbalances along with the efficacy and compatibility of medicinal agents.

EMPIRICISM – A school of thought that proposes that all theory and knowledge should be based on observation. This is in contrast to ‘rationalism’, which proposes that reasoning is the basis.

GENUS EPIDEMICUS – The group of symptoms which characterizes an epidemic. This ‘symptom complex’ is then used to select a particular homeopathic remedy which can be used both curatively and prophylactically during the epidemic.

HAHNEMANN, SAMUEL – (1755-1843) The German physician who founded and brought to prominence homeopathy.

HEALING CRISIS – A temporary intensification of symptoms that occurs as part of the healing process. It occurs as the body detoxifies and rebalances.


HOMEOPATHY – A medical science on the stimulation of the inherent vital energy of the body by energetically potentized remedies. The selection of the remedies is based on the Law of Similars (see below). It was formalized in the late 18th century by Samuel Hahnemann.

HERING’S LAW – One of the guiding principles of homeopathy which delineates patterns in the change of symptoms that indicate a curative process is occurring. The four patterns of cure are: symptoms moving from the top of the body downward, symptoms moving from inner or central parts of the body outward or toward the peripheral parts, symptoms shifting from essential parts or organs to less essential, and symptoms appearing in reverse chronological order.

ISOPATHY – A system which undertakes to cure a disease by means of the agent which causes the disease. While in certain aspects similar to homeopathy and often using homeopathically prepared substances, Isopathy does base the selection of remedies on the ‘Law of Similars’.

KENT , J.T.– James Tyler Kent was a major force in homeopathy. He practiced in the mid to late 19 th century. He was one of the first to really understand the importance of the mind symptoms in homeopathy. He also championed the use of higher potencies.

KEYNOTE– A keynote symptom is one which has been shown over time to appear in many different individuals who need the same certain remedy. Such a symptom then becomes associated with that remedy. When it appears strongly in an individual case, that remedy would be more strongly considered.

LAW OF SIMILARS – The principle tenet of homeopathy stating that a substance which is capable of inducing a symptom or set of symptoms in a healthy individual has the curative power to eliminate similar symptoms when they manifest in an individual as part of a disease state.


LM DILUTION – A homeopathic remedy that is made by diluting the original substance at a ratio of 50,0000 to 1. LM potencies are not in general different remedies from centesimal potencies (dilutions of 1 part to 100), just a different method of preparation. This method of dilution was developed by Hahnemann at the very end of his life and remained undiscovered for some 80 years after his death.

MATERIA MEDICA – In homeopathy the material medica refers to the written descriptions of the effects of homeopathic medicines. Literally meaning “medical material”, it comprises thousands of volumes of remedy descriptions.

MATERIALISM – Materialism is the philosophical belief that the world is comprised of small units of “material” These small substances are what comprise the body. The theory postulates that the body is like a machine made up of various parts. If we understand the parts well enough, we can “fix” the broken ones and restore the body to health. This is in contrast to the vitalistic belief of homeopathy which postulates an immaterial vital force or dynamic energy as the basis of all life.

MIASM – This term is used in homeopathy to describe an underlying pattern of energy. These patterns of energy are similar in nature to specific diseases. Thus, they are named after these diseases. There are many theories about miasms. Hahnemann originally described them as inherited tendencies passed down from generation to generation. For example, if a grandfather had Tuberculosis, the grandson might have asthma. Although asthma is a different “disease”, it would never the less be energetically connected to the grandfather’s T.B.

MODALITY – Modalities are modifiers of symptoms. They are descriptions of conditions, times, localities etc. that make a symptom or set of symptoms feel better or worse. In the example “wet weather makes my headache worse”, the headache is the symptom, and the wet weather the modality. Modalities may also be general, and apply to the state of the whole person. An example would be ” Wet weather bothers me”

NATUROPATHY – Naturopathy is a medical approach to natural healing that uses many different modalities. Naturopaths may use homeopathic remedies in addition to other methods. The initials N.D. stand for Doctor of Naturopathy.

NOSODE – Homeopathic remedies that are made from diseased tissues are termed ‘nosodes’. An example is Tuberculinum,, which is made from a minute sample of tissue affected with the tubercular bacteria.

NUTRITIONAL MEDICINE – Nutritional medicine is based on the belief that when the body is supplied with the correct balance of foods, vitamins, and nutrients, it will be healthy. When disease is present, an attempt is made to fortify the affected organs or organ systems through supplemental targeted nutrition.

ORGANON – The Organon of Medicine is the title of Samuel Hahnemann’s book outlining the principles of homeopathy. Hahneman was the “discoverer” of modern homeopathy and his book was written in six additions over a thirty two year period. The final addition was finished in 1842.

POTENCY – This refers to the “strength” of the homeopathic remedy. The higher the potency the less original substance is in the remedy. The process of potentization involves dilution and sucussion(shaking) of the original substance.

PROVING – A homeopathic proving is an experiment undertaken by a group of healthy individuals in order to test the medicinal effects of a particular substance. After taking one or more doses of the remedy , the symptoms produced are recorded, collated and organized into a comprehensive description of the action of the remedy.   Provings can also happen during the therapeutic process if the homeopath has not properly taken into account the healing path of the vital force, and repeats an incorrect remedy too often. Proving symptoms usually disappear of their own accord with a little time.

PSORA – According to Hahnemann, Psora is the original miasm or inherited disposition that is shared by most of humanity. It is represented by intense itching and is often correlated with scabies. In psychological terms, it is seen by hardworking, continued struggle to reach a goal.

REPERTORY – A homeopathic repertory is one of the chief tools of the professional homeopath. It is an exhaustive list of symptoms, each of which is followed by a list of remedies that have either produced the symptom during a proving or cured it clinically.

RUBRIC – A rubric is a symptom in the repertory. Under this symptom may be listed any number of remedies which have produced and/or cured this symptoms. An example would be “VERTIGO, Relaxation after”. The two remedies are Calcarea carbonica and Lachesis

SARCODE – A sarcode is a homeopathic remedy made from a minute portion of tissue taken from a healthy organ. This is in contrast to a nosode, taken from diseased tissue.

SENSATION – A sensation in homeopathy is an internal feeling. It can be as simple as describing a pain or as subtle as describing the feeling of being lonely. It is not an emotion such as sadness or anger, but rather how one would experience such sadness or anger. Sensations have always been very important in finding the correct homeopathic remedies, because they express more directly the particular nature of an individual’s vital force

SIMILLIMUM – The concept of the simillimum refers to a homeopathic remedy that perfectly matches the state of an individual for whom it is prescribed. This one remedy will heal in a profound and long lasting way.

SOURCE – The source refers to the substance from which a homeopathic remedy is made.

STRANGE, RARE & PECULIAR – Strange, Rare, and Peculiar is a homeopathic term referring to symptoms that are unique to the individual. They refer to symptoms that sound odd or out of context. An example might be if someone describes their headache “as if my head were made of glass and could shatter at any second”. Most people would not say this.

SUCCUSSION – This is one half of the process of making a homeopathic remedy. It involves striking the bottle of homeopathic medicine firmly against an object such as a thick book. The C potency is succussed 100 times per dilution. In the 3C potency, the original substance is diluted 1part to 100, and then shaken 100 times. This process is repeated 3 times.

TOTALITY OF SYMPTOMS – The totality of symptoms is a somewhat scientific and somewhat artistic method of determining which symptoms represent the entire state of the vital disturbance of the patient. It does not simply mean taking all the symptoms and adding them together. It means taking all the important symptoms without including too much or too little.

TRITURATION/TRITURATE – This is a method for beginning to prepare a homeopathic remedy. The crude substance is mixed with milk sugar and ground together in a mortar and pestle for 20 minutes.

VITAL FORCE – The concept of the Vital force is central to homeopathic philosophy. The Vital Force is the life energy that keeps us alive and breathing. It is the energy that helps us grow and evolve. In homeopathy, we become sick when the Vital Force become “mistuned” or misdirected. The correct homeopathic remedy will “retune” us.

VITAL SENSATION – The concept of the Vital Sensation is of a basic sensation that is linked directly to the vital force. This sensation is a verbal expression of the individual’s unique energy pattern. It is expressed in a manner that transcends the “human” language. It is spoken in the language of the substance of the remedy.