Allopathic medicine


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The term allopathic medicine is used by adherents of alternative medicine to refer to any form of mainstream medicine. This phrase is commonly used as a form of disparagement by critics of mainstream medicine.

The term was coined by Samuel Hahnemann, the founder of homeopathy, to differentiate homeopathic practices from conventional medicine, based on the types of treatments used. The term "Allopath" comes from the Greek roots meaning "opposite" and "disease"-- the form "allopathy" being formed by false analogy with other French word pairs. Many critics of conventional medicine use this term in a deprecatory manner, and most conventional medical practitioners take issue with the term.

As used by homeopaths, the term "allopath" has always referred to a principle of curing disease by administering substances that produce the opposite effect of the disease when given to a healthy human. However, in practice no school of medicine has ever operated on such a principle. Rather, this was the way Hahnemann chose to caricature the basis of the practices of his chosen enemies.

In the essay by William Jarvis cited below, he argues that "although many modern therapies can be construed to conform to an allopathic rationale (eg, using a laxative to relieve constipation), standard medicine has never paid allegiance to an allopathic principle" and that the label "allopath" was considered highly derisive by mainstream medicine. The Companion Encyclopedia of the History of Medicine states that "Hahnemann gave an all-embracing name to regular practice, calling it 'allopathy'. This term, however imprecise, was employed by his followers or other unorthodox movements to identify the prevailing methods as constituting nothing more than a competing 'school' of medicine, however dominant in terms of number of practitioner proponents and patients." In the nineteenth century, some pharmacies labelled their products with the terms allopathic or homeopathic. <p>Other terms that have been proposed to describe the conventional Western medical system of practice include: conventional medicine, Western biomedicine, evidence-based medicine, scientific medicine, regular medicine, mainstream medicine, and authoritarian medicine.

History of Allopathy

Hahnemann used the term to refer to what he saw as a system of medicine that combats disease by using remedies that produce effects in a healthy subject that are different (hence Greek root allo- "different") from those of the disease to be treated. He claimed that his theory of homeopathy, which attempts to mimic the symptoms (hence homeo-, "the same"), was a more effective and humane alternative.

Practitioners of alternative medicine have used the term "allopathic medicine" to refer to the practice of conventional medicine in both Europe and the United States since the 19th century. In the U.S., this was also referred to as regular medicine-- that is, medicine that was practiced by the regulars. The practice of "conventional" medicine in both Europe and America during the 19th century is sometimes referred to as the age of 'heroic medicine' (because of the 'heroic' measures such as bleeding and purging).

See also

External links

de:Schulmedizin fr:Allopathie nl:Allopathie



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