What is the difference between homoeopathy and normal medicine?
The main difference is the kind of choosing the medicament: In normal medicine the remedy is chosen according to the diagnosis (name of the disease). Every patient with the same diagnose has the same origin of the disease and therefore every patient can take the same kind of medicine. For example if the diagnose of the disease is pneumonia every patient with pneumonia can get an antibiotic, because every pneumonia is caused by a bacterium.
In homoeopathy the remedy doesn't depend on the name of the disease, but on the different kind of symptoms each patient have. And each patient has different symptoms, so if patients have the same diagnose, they nevertheless have different remedies, according their different symptoms. The remedy is chosen according to the rule of similarity, which is mentioned above (a medicine is chosen that can produce the same symptoms in healthy persons as the patient has now in the disease).
An example is given: If you cut onions in the kitchen you can get a watery discharge from your nose and burning in the eyes and running of the tears from your eyes. That is like a proving of the drug "onion" in a healthy person. You get an artificial disease during cutting the onions. The same symptoms you can get if you become sick, in a common cold or an allergy. If the symptoms are similar, the remedy "onion" (Allium cepa) can cure that disease. So, Allium cepa cannot cure every kind of running nose, but only that, which is similar to the running nose you get if you cut onions: you get a watery discharge and Allium cepa can only cure a watery discharge from the nose (you can get during an allergy or common cold). Allium cepa will never cure a bloody or yellow or green or sticky discharge, because that kind of discharge it cannot produce in a healthy person.
If you drink a coffee too late in the evening it is possible that you cannot fall asleep, because you are clear in your mind, have many thoughts and you don't feel tired. This is like a remedy proving of the drug "coffee" and if you have the same kind of sleeping problem (many thoughts that prevent falling asleep, clear in the mind, no tired feeling when going to bed) then the drug "Coffea" can give you a sound sleep. Coffea cannot cure every kind of sleeping disorder only that which is similar to drinking too much coffee.
The difference in treating according to symptoms and according to diagnose (normal medicine) we can see in the following example: If you have fever, cough and expectoration you can diagnose pneumonia. For normal treatment these symptoms are enough for diagnose (including X-ray) and you can give antibiotics. Every patient with pneumonia can take antibiotics. For homoeopathic treatment these symptoms are not enough for choosing a homoeopathic remedy (which can cure pneumonia as rapidly as an antibiotic). Here we need the special symptoms of the patient, not only cough, but for example cough aggravated in warm rooms, thirst during the heat, chill at 10 a.m. Especially the conditions of aggravation or amelioration of the symptoms are very important for choosing the remedy. For example cough aggravated in warm rooms, ear pain ameliorated from warmth, back pain ameliorated by lying on left side. (See Questionnaire). The better a patient can observe himself and tell such symptoms the easier and more certain the right remedy can be found.
A further difference is the origin of homoeopathic remedies: About 80% are of plant origin, 15% minerals and 5% of animal origin. The remedies are used in a highly diluted form (see Potency). Therefore there are no bad side effects of the medicines as it is possible in normal medicines.