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glossary

of homeopathic terms

aggravation – a noticeable intensification of the disease symptoms previously observed. Often associated with the action of the correct homeopathic remedy.

cell salts (biochemic remedies, tissue salts) – a homeopathic physician, W.H. Schuessler, developed the Biochemic system using 12 different ‘cell salts’. Schuessler felt these were fundamental to the proper function of the human body.

characteristic symptom – a symptom that is ‘striking, strange, unusual, peculiar’ in the case.


common symptoms – symptoms that are common to a specific disease, for example, stiff joints in arthritis, or yellow skin in jaundice.


complete symptom – etiology, location (including radiation or extension of sensation), sensation, modalities, and concomitants all together give a complete symptom.

concomitant – occurring simultaneously. Refers to symptoms that happen at the same time as the chief complaint.

etiology – the cause of disease.
homeopathy – system of natural medicine developed by Samuel Hahnemann. Based on the Law of Similars.

keynote – a unique feature or fundamental aspect of a remedy.

materia medica – “materials of medicine” in Latin. A reference that lists the curative indications and therapeutic actions of homeopathic medicines. This information is derived from provings and clinical experience.
modality – a condition that makes a person or their symptom better or worse. For example, better in a hot bath, abdominal pain better bending over, worse rainy weather, etc.

potency – the strength of a homeopathic remedy. Determined by how many times the remedy has been succussed and diluted during preparation. A number and a letter are associated with the remedy name to indicate which potency scale has been used. An example of the decimal scale would be Arnica 6x. An example of the centesimal scale would be Arnica 30c.

proving – the most accurate method of ascertaining the action of medicines on human health. Medicines(usually potentized) are administered to healthy people to discover the symptoms they are capable of producing and thereby able to cure.

remedy – medicine, as in homeopathic remedy.

Homeopathic Remedies
are initially created from material substances (mother tinctures of plants, minerals, animal kingdom).These substances are then diluted and potentised until they have become immeasurable. (See Vital Force.)


repertorize – to repertorize a case one looks up symptoms in a repertory.


repertory – an index of the homeopathic materia medica by symptom. A list of remedies is indicated for each symptom.

succussion – the process of forcefully striking a homeopathic remedy against a firm surface.
vital force – the energy that maintains life in the individual.

According to the homeopathic way of thinking, a disease originates from a disturbance of the patient’s “vital force.” This is the life force energy that sustains life. As the origin of disease occurs on this energetic level, the homeopathic remedy has also to be on this level.

Such an energetic medicine is made by diluting the remedy and succussing (shaking) it. All homeopathic medicines are “potentized”, i.e., diluted and succussed. This method of preparation imparts considerable energy to each substance.

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