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An alternative form of medicine that treats the individual rather than the medical problem.

It works on te theory that the body"s natural defences can be stimulated by administering minute doses of a substance - which in large doses would cause symptoms of the illness.

Homoeopathy dated back to the Ancient Greeks, and was written about by Hippocrates - often called the Father of Medicine. The word is in fact derived from a Greek word meaning "similar suffering".

In the 18th century, a German physician, Dr. Samuel Hahnemann, rediscovered the principles. He experimented widely, sometimes on himself, and discovered that the more dilute the poison - the better its healing effect. His ideas are still valid. Homoeopathic treatment is now available on the NHS.

Large cemists such as Boot"s offer a good selection of remedies in various strengths, plus advice. If symptoms persist or are severe you should always consult your doctor.

Information is available from: British Homoeopathic Association and Faculty of Homoeopathy, 15 Clerkenwell Close, London, EC1R 0AA. Tel: 020-7566 7810. See 'Complementary Medicine'; 'Aromatherapy'; 'Herbalism'

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