Advocates of homeopathy and other forms of alternative medicine often use the term allopathy or allopathic medicine to refer to mainstream, Western medicine.

The term allopathy was coined by Samuel Hahnemann, the founder of homeopathy, who used it to refer to what he saw was a system of medication which combats disease by using remedies which produce effects that are different (hence Greek root allo- "different") from those of the disease being treated. He claimed his theory of homeopathy, which tries to mimic the symptoms (hence homeo-, "the same") was a more effective and humane alternative.

The term allopathy today is used most frequently in the context of critiques of modern medicine made by practioners of alternative healing.

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