It was sometime around the year 1841 when the Earl of Shrewsbury felt the need for a physician. But where was a nineteenth century aristocrat to turn, when all the doctors in town utilized bloodletting with leeches, purgatives, emetics, and other invasive, painful, and downright dangerous procedures in their “healing” practices? He asked around, locked into the extensive aristocrat and royal grapevine, so to speak, and ended up with a personal physician recommended by Dr. Hahnemann, the German originator of homeopathy. Thus was homeopathy brought to England, and thus was it spread throughout the upper classes of Europe. Then, as now, when one wanted a good doctor, one asked friends for recommendations.

Homeopathy is a medical system that uses a completely different treatment and diagnostic model than traditional allopathy or “western” medicine. Western medicine focusses on diagnosing an ailment, then providing a drug to either cure the problem or alleviate its symptoms. These drugs override the body’s natural immune responses. Homeopathic doctors believe that the body knows the right way to heal itself, and that a patient’s symptoms are merely the body’s way of dealing with imbalances. Homeopathic medicines do not fight the body’s symptoms, but assist the body in coming into balance more quickly. These remedies are extremely dilute amounts of substances that would, at full strength, actually cause the same symptoms that the remedy hopes to alleviate.

Thanks to the Earl of Shrewsbury’s work in bringing homeopathy to England, this revolutionary healing method thrived among queens, kings, dukes, duchesses, and innumerable other royals and noblemen. As a result, nineteenth and twentieth century Europe saw the science and art of homeopathy thrive. Royal patronage was one of the primary forces that enabled homeopathic physicians to continue to develop the preparations we still use today. Wealthy and educated patrons such as the Dukes of Beaufort and Cambridge; the Marquesses of Anglesey; the Earls of Essex, Donoughmore, Kintore, and Kinnaird; King Edward VII; and King George V helped to promote the benefits of homeopathy simply by employing homeopathic doctors and talking enthusiastically about their successful, and painless, healing experiences.

Today’s Prince Charles, Queen Mother, and the Queen of England herself still continue the traditional allegiance of British royalty with homeopathy that, for centuries, England’s royals sponsored. This support, over generations, is what truly enabled the founders of homeopathy to develop the healing philosophies, homeopathic preparations, and intake techniques they use today.