Medicine today is a compartmentalized system, it recognizes the inter-connectedness of the human body and its different organ systems, however, treatment does not incorporate the totality of the individual. Each disease state is treated as an separate entity and often medications are taken to lessen symptoms and ease suffering. Medicine is about disease management.
Homeopathy uses symptoms as helpful indicators and guides to treating the individual in "their disease". Instead of merely removing the symptoms, it looks to root out the cause and help the body restore its balance.
Homeopathy is founded on three principles: like cures like, the minimum dose, and the single remedy.
The first principle, 'like cures like', states that a substance that can produce symptoms in a healthy person can cure symptoms similar to those of a sick person. Let's assume that the body knows what it is doing, and that the symptoms produced in illness are the body's way of acting to restore health. This healing response is automatic. The 'similar' medicine acts as a stimulus to the body's natural response, giving it the information it needs to complete its healing work. The initial action of the body plus the action of the medicine increase the strength of the symptoms to bring about rapid, gentle, and permanent relief. For example, a person suffering from hay fever might take a remedy prepared from the onion because a healthy persons response to chopping an onion usually experiences watering and burning of the eyes and nose.
The second principle is that of the minimum dose. This is based on the understanding that the healing process comes from the vitality within each of us. Only enough medicine is taken to initiate the healing process, which then carries on, driven by its own internal healing mission. Homeopathic medicines given in minimum doses, while they do stimulate the body's vital response, do not produce the gross side effects that are so often the pit-fall of conventional treatment.
Lastly, a single remedy is sought that best matches your most comprehensive state of health and disease.