Homeopathy's roots emerge from the findings, teachings and writings of German Doctor Samuel Hahnemann (1755-1843). Hahnemann graduated from medical school in 1779 and started his own medical practice.
In 1790, as a result of his disillusionment with such common medical practices of the day (allopathy) such as purging, bloodletting, and the use of toxic chemicals, he gave up his own daily practice to begin working as a chemist while translating medical texts.
It was when Hahnemann began working on a project to translate William Cullen's Materia Medica into German that he began his quest for a better and gentler form of treating disease using the principles of "Similars." While working on this project, he became fascinated with a species of South American tree-bark (cinchona) which was being used to treat malaria-induced fever. Hahnemann ingested the bark and discovered that it caused symptoms similar to malaria. He continued his research into "cures" and the idea of "similar suffering," and began compiling his findings. Similia similibus curentur, the Latin phrase meaning "like can be cured with like" is one of the many principles of homeopathy. A homeopath searches for a substance that produces in a healthy person those same symptoms a patient experiences.