Samuel Hahnemann, the founder of homeopathy, was inspired while he was translating a botanical materia medica by a Scottish physician from English into German. He was intrigued by the use of Peruvian cinchona bark, which causes fever if ingested, to make quinine, a medicine used to treat fever.

Hahnemann went on to establish one of the essential principles of homeopathic medicine: "Like cures like." Known as the Law of Similars, this holds that an ingredient that causes certain symptoms in a healthy person may cure similar symptoms in a sick person, when delivered in specially prepared micro-doses.

"Materia media" are Latin words that mean "materials of medicine," that is, the various medicines used in homeopathy from the plant, mineral, animal, or chemical kingdoms. Homeopathic medicines are listed in Latin so that homeopaths (and patients) can be precise with the exact source of the medicinal substance. Homeopathic Materia Medica is " a collection of real, pure, reliable modes of action of simple medicinal substances.

The sources of reports in Homeopathic Materia Medica are:

  • Noting of signs and symptoms which occur because of drug overdose of medicines.
  • Noting of signs and symptoms which occur in poisoning in a person.
  • Noting of signs and symptoms which occur after administering the medicines in sick people and following the appearance of side effects
  • The books written by the early practitioners of homeopathy have been the base for the further works on the subject.