Homeopathy, like conventional physiology and pathology, recognizes that symptoms do not simply represent something "wrong" with the person but rather that they are actually the body's defense against infection and/or stress. The body creates symptoms in its effort to defend and heal itself.
Every textbook on pathology recognizes that inflammation is the body's way to heat up, burn out, and isolate infective organisms. Although conventional anti-inflammatory drugs work temporarily to reduce inflammation, they do not influence the underlying cause of the inflammation. Such drugs provide a short-term benefit but often lead to longer-term complications.
The human organism has survived as long as it has because we have an "inner doctor" who helps us fight infection and adapt to stress. Using conventional drugs to inhibit or suppress symptoms tends to push the disease deeper into our bodies, creating more serious chronic physical and mental illness. The homeopathic principle of similars, on the other hand, respects the body's own wisdom and seeks to find the correct, individualized remedy that will mimic and augment this wisdom.
How Do You Know When You're Cured?
Although many people believe that they are cured when either a conventional or natural remedy erases their symptoms, that's not necessarily true. Just because a person's symptoms disappear doesn't mean that she is better off, in fact, it may mean that she is in fact sicker.
For instance, we commonly recognize that people who suppress emotions tend to explode later, usually to some unsuspecting soul. Likewise, many conventional drugs work by inhibiting or actually suppressing the disease, which ultimately pushes the disease deeper into the person, creating more serious and often chronic illnesses that manifest later. This is called "disease suppression." What are often called the "side effects" of a drug are usually the results of this suppression.
Between cure and disease suppression is "palliation," that is, a treatment that provides temporary relief of an illness but does not suppress it. Palliative treatments are given when the person's immune system is reasonably strong. Although the treatment used does not cure the disease, it does provide enough relief to the person that his body is able to avoid disease suppression.
To evaluate whether a cure, palliation, or suppression has occurred, it is useful first to understand Hering's guidelines to cure.