Help & Contact  |  Text Font size A A

History

Homoeopathy came to India as early as 1810 when a Romanian traveler Dr. Honigberger who studied Homoeopathy under Dr. Samuel Hahnemann visited this country and began treating people with Homoeopathic medicine. In the year 1839, he treated successfully the then ruler of Punjab, Maharaja Ranjit Singh for the paralysis of his vocal cords. He was rewarded and was made officer-in-charge of a hospital. This royal patronage helped Homoeopathy take root in India. He later went to Kolkata and started homoeopathic practice there. A large number of missionaries, amateurs in Indian civil and military services practiced Homoeopathy extensively and spread this system mostly in Bengal and South India. Father Augustus Muller was one such missionary who provided homoeopathic treatment at Mangalore. The system continued to flourish under the British rule across the country.

Contrary to the developments in the western world, the Government of India soon after Independence made rigorous efforts to develop all the systems being practiced at that point of time. The setting up of the Homoeopathic Enquiry Committee in 1948, appointment of the Homoeopathic Advisory Committee in 1952 and the Homoeopathic Pharmacopoeia Committee in 1962 were the initial steps. On the recommendation of these Committees, the Government of India accepted homoeopathy as one of the National Systems of Medicine along with other Indian systems of medicine and enacted specific legislation.

In the Indian society, the traditional systems- collectively recognized as AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy), are well established and widely accepted due to their historical and cultural significance. The Indian health care delivery system has a unique feature of medical pluralism wherein AYUSH systems are being given equal status with the Allopathic system of medicine. They also enjoy government patronage. A separate policy has been formulated to encourage these systems vertically in the field of education and research. A large number of hospitals, dispensaries, teaching institutions and registered practitioners are under the AYUSH system. In 2007, there were 3360 hospitals, with 68155 beds, 21765 dispensaries, 485 colleges and 725568 practitioners under AYUSH in the entire country, with considerable regional variations (AYUSH report 2007). Independent research councils and institutions of these systems have been established as autonomous organisations. The clinical practice is being integrated following a cafeteria approach in the Health sector, wherein the patient has an option of choosing a health system according to his conviction. Inter-system referrals are encouraged and adequate knowledge of these systems is provided to allopathic doctors and vice versa for proper co-ordination. It is expected that AYUSH will play a more significant role in the coming years. (www.indianmedicine.nic.in)

Homoeopathic Education

The Homoeopathy Central Council Act that was passed by the Parliament of India in 1973 granted formal recognition of homoeopathic education and allowed the legalised registration of homoeopathic physicians at the Central as well as the State levels. In accordance with the provisions of this Act, the Government constituted the Central Council of Homoeopathy (www.cchindia.com) in the year 1974 to maintain the Central Register of Homoeopaths and to regulate Homoeopathic education in India.

With the approval of the Government of India, the Central Council formulated the Homoeopathy (Degree Course) Regulations, 1983 of 5 ½ years duration including one year compulsory internship; Homoeopathy (Post Graduate Degree Course) Regulations, 1989 and Homoeopathy (Minimum Standards of Education) Regulation, 1983 for setting up norms and standards of homoeopathic education. At present there are 186 homoeopathic colleges (including 36 also providing Post-Graduation) with an intake capacity of about 13,425 students every year. These institutions are affiliated to different Universities and provide uniform homoeopathic education according to these regulations.

Prior to the Central legislation and concurrently, some of the Indian states made their own contribution to homoeopathy by the enactment of State legislations for the registration of homoeopathic doctors and regulation of education. At present there are about 30 State legislations and State Boards/Councils for the control of clinical practice and to address any issue related to homoeopathy.

Drug Control and Drug Safety Legislation

For laying down standards for quality control of homoeopathic medicines, the Govt. of India constituted a Homoeopathic Pharmacopoeia Committee in 1962 and the Homoeopathic Pharmacopoeia Laboratory (HPL) was set up in the year 1975, to undertake work related to laying down standards of homoeopathic drugs, their verification, and for testing the purity and quality of homoeopathic products. HPL is recognized by the Department of Science & Technology, Govt. of India as a scientific, technological and research institution (http://hplism.nic.in/index.htm).

Standards as worked out by the laboratory, after vetting by the Homoeopathy Pharmacopoeia Committee, are published by the Department of AYUSH, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Govt. of India in the form of Homoeopathic Pharmacopoeia of India (HPI), of which so far nine volumes consisting of standards of 916 drugs have been published.

Homoeopathic drugs manufacturing, licensing and all other matters connected therewith are covered under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 and Rules notified in the official Gazette. The system of regulation, monitoring and enforcement is clearly laid down for homoeopathic drugs and is enforced by Drug Control departments of the State Governments. In the year 2006, Govt. of India has notified the standards of Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP guidelines) (http://www.cdsco.nic.in). 

There are more than 600 manufacturers of Homoeopathic drugs. Apart from these considerable amount of drugs are imported from Germany. According to an estimate, in 2010, the size of Homeopathic market in India was about INR 26 billion and the demand is growing at an annual rate of 25-30% (ASSOCHAM 2007).

Popularity and Clinical Practice

Although Homeopathy is not indigenous to India, it is the second most acceptable medical system after Allopathy in a majority of Indian states. Homoeopathy in India has been fully integrated in the public health and its practice is legal. India is a dreamland for those who wish to learn and undertake research in homoeopathy.

Currently, there are 234 hospitals with 10,933 beds and 5,910 Government dispensaries and 217,860 registered practitioners. The Central as well as State Governments are following a policy of co-location (Cafeteria approach) in health sector for providing an option to the public for taking treatment from the system of one’s choice. A study by the Government of Delhi has revealed that homoeopathic dispensaries are very popular and are providing effective and efficient primary health services (www.homeo.delhigovt.nic.in).

Research & Development

In India, the private as well as public sectors are striving hard to undertake organized research in homoeopathy. The Government of India has established an autonomous research council- The Central for Research in Homoeopathy (CCRH), for undertaking this task. At present various researches are being undertaken in India which can have a great impact on the prospects of Homoeopathy all over the world. Please visit CCRH official site at www.ccrhindia.org to know more about research activities in India in Homoeopathy.

Homoeopathic Associations in India

India is one of the biggest countries in whole world to have qualified practitioners and followers of Homoeopathy. There are numerous Homoeopathic associations, practitioners and followers who work in collaboration with each other for the benefit of Homoeopathy. These associations work at different levels of society to make Homoeopathy popular amongst masses. Some of the most active associations are: