This is one of the most beneficial summations of Hahnemanns writings available to the genuine practitioner.
HAHNEMANN would not have been the keen observer we have known him, if he had not noticed in the course of years with ever increasing clearness, that the structure of his therapeutic system lacked the final coping stone. It is true that his homoeopathic system offered, as he himself states, ” far more certain, more convenient and less harmful “ remedies than allopathy for acute diseases, for epidemic diseases,sporadic fevers, and venereal diseases. ” But the number of the tiresome diseases yet in the wide world was incomparably greater,” and in spite of all homoeopathic experiments they were still uncured.
The treatment of such diseases was, “even when carried out strictly in accordance with the theory of the homoeopathic science, as hitherto practised, encouraging in the beginning, less favourable in the continuation and hopeless in the end.”
“the years 1816 and 1817, I have been employed, day and night, with the very serious problem of finding out why all the medicines known to homoeopathy, bring about no real cure in the diseases under discussion and of securing, if possible, a clearer insight into the true state of those thousands of stricken ones, who remain uncured in the face of the unimpeachable truth of the homoeopathic system of healing. Lo ! in this time the Giver of all good things suffered me to solve this sublime riddle for mankind’s good as a result of incessant thought. tireless investigation, accurate observation and the most careful experiments.”
These are Hahnemann’s words in the first part of his last considerable medical work : “Chronic Diseases, their nature and homoeopathic treatment ” (I. Edition, Arnold, Dresden and Leipsic, 1S2S ; II. Edition, 1835 to 1839). And in a footnote he adds :
“Yet of all these indescribable labours I did not so much as breathe a word either to the world in general or to my students. This was not perchance because the ingratitude frequently shown me restrained. . . No, I did not breathe a word of it, because it is improper and even injurious to speak and write of immature things. Only in the last year have I communicated the main facts to two of my students, who have done most meritorious service on behalf of homoeopathy. This was for their good and that of their patients, and that the whole of this scientific knowledge should not be lost to the world in the event of a higher call into eternity before the completion of my book—which was not improbable in my seventy-third year.”
The two students, of whom Hahnemann here speaks, were Dr. Stapf, of Naumburg, the publisher of the ” Archive for the Homoeopathic Science of Healer” and his co-publisher, Dr. Gross, of Juterbogk, Hahnemann’s sponsor. These two, who stood nearest his heart and who had penetrated furthest into his new system of healing, were, in fact, the first doctors to whom he entrusted his new discovery. But some years before (1823) he had told an enthusiastic supporter of his theories, who had been cured of a chronic disease of long standing (the Consul General for Prussia. Dr. Friedrich Baumgartner, of Berlin), how he had endeavoured to cope effectually with chronic diseases. At that time he still hoped to be able to test his theory in a hospital of his own in Kothen (there was none in the town) and to be able to prove its truth to his students by actual fact. For he was doubtful whether he would be able by means of the written word to make generally comprehensible all that he had investigated and ascertained in the course of years concerning the nature of chronic diseases.
His hope of a hospital of his own in Kothen was not fulfilled. His patron, Duke Ferdinand, whom he had approached in the matter, was probably not in a position to satisfy this desire of his Physician-in-ordinary, in view of the continuously precarious financial position of his estates (and particularly in view of the violent resistance of his medical authorities of which he had full cognisance). Consequently Hahnemann kept his new discoveries to himself for several years, making use of them only in his own practice and, according to his own story, achieving eminent and remarkable cures in cases where formerly his own well-chosen remedies had failed . At last, when his intuitions gained by inexhaustible investigation had become certainties to himself, when these new views and ideas seemed to be sufficiently matured. he determined on their communication to others, on their written deposition in a well-ordered form. His old publisher, Arnold of Dresden, undertook the publication of the work. The first edition consists of four parts in all ; the second of five. Part I contains the general theoretical principles of the new theory about chronic diseases ; Parts II and IV and some of Part V contain a detailed presentation of the most important antipsoric remedies.
We shall return later to the fate of the book on the market. Few books have stirred up more excitement in the medical world than Hahnemann’s ” Chronic Diseases.” His conception of these diseases and, in particular, his Psora Theory aroused the criticism of friend and foe to a tremendous extent from the very moment of their publication. At this point many of his adherents and students refused to follow him any further. To his opponents these views of his seemed to be even more idiotic than the high dilution medicines of homoeopathy and for nearly a century they have formed the target of their scornful ridicule. This should therefore justify us in proceeding to treat at some length the contents of this last medical work of considerable size, given by Hahnemann to the world. The modern medical scientific world is once more evincing a sharper sense of the deeper fundamentals of disease than was possible for decades past under the tyrannous prejudice of materialistic-bacteriological views, and we may perhaps succeed in making clear to it what Hahnemann really wished to say.
Perhaps the moderns will recognise the true kernel of enduring value, which, enveloped in much that is incomprehensible, vague, untenable and obsolete, is contained in this work by a more than seventy years old explorer of rare acumen.
The starting point for the main ideas of the book was the observation, that certain chronic diseases of venereal origin and otherwise, could be alleviated by homoeopathic remedies, but not completely cured. Special conditions, such as serious dietary mistakes, cold, wet and stormy weather, temperamental influences, etc., caused the apparently rectified troubles to appear again, frequently with new and stubborn symptoms. New remedies, chosen in the best and most careful way, were again of avail, “but only slightly and imperfectly” for a short time, until the next outbreak was brought on by adverse external influences. On the other hand, under favourable, external conditions, such as a change of climate and home, careful diet, etc., a “remarkable truce “ was observed. Considering all things, however, the chronic malady was never eradicated, but became worse from year to year, often with the most varied external symptoms.
At first it was thought that the reason for failure of the homoeopathic treatment might be found in the insufficient number of remedies proved and that the prospects would change for the better the more accurately proved medicines the physician had at his disposal. But although this proved to be some consolation for the students, the Master could not rest satisfied with. Day and night, he was occupied with the question why the ordinary, carefully selected remedies did not produce a lasting cure. At last he came to the conclusion that, “in chronic diseases one has always to deal with a segregated part of a deeper lying original evil, the large extent of which is shown by new symptoms arising from time to time. . . . But the original evil sought must also be of a miasmatically chronic nature—as was perfectly evident to me from the fact that, once it had developed to a certain degree of intensity, it could not be eradicated by the mere vigour of a robust constitution. Neither could it be overcome by the healthiest diet and order of life, nor annulled by itself, but in the course of years it grew worse, with the addition of other more serious symptoms—right up to the end of life.”
From frequent observations, Hahnemann had discovered that chronic maladies, which would not completely yield to the usual homoeopathic remedies, had some connection with a “previous outbreak of psora.” Itch, a skin disease caused by the itch insect, was then of far greater importance than nowadays. It was extraordinarily widespread among the common people. Although external treatment with salves, etc., often disposed very quickly of the external symptoms, all kinds of obstinate evils would follow in its train, and these often could not be subdued for years. Hahnemann was not alone in his view of the connection between chronic maladies and “expelled itch”. Two decades before the appearance of his ” Chronic Diseases,” Autenrieth, a University Professor of Tubingen,had referred to this (” Tiibinger Blatter fiir Naturwissenschaft und,” Vol. II, 2nd Part).* In quotation of the contents we adhere to the .md Edition of the work ; it is more complete in several passages. Of Autenrieth’s observations Hahnemann says: “When I was compiling my first edition of “Chronic Diseases”, I did not know of Autenrieth’s experiments in practical therapy in the clinics of Tubingen in 1808. But what he says about the diseases after the local expulsion of itch is, as I then saw, merely a confirmation of what I had already found in a hundred other writers. He, also, has noticed many diseases resulting from this external dislodgment of itch—ulcers of the foot, phthisis, hysterical chlorosis, with various menstrual complications, white swelling of the knees, dropsy of the joints, epilepsy, amaurosis with discolouration of the cornea,glaucoma with gutta serena, mental disturbances, paralysis, strokes curvature of the neck, etc. All of these he attributes (quite wrongly) to the salves. But his own slow method of local dislodgment (which he foolishly calls curing) with liver of sulphur and soft soap is not a whit better. The absurdity of thinking that his method is not just as much a local dislodgment of the itch eruption from the skin! He knows as little about really effective help as all the rest of the allopaths, when he writes : ” It is indeed ridiculous to think of curing itch (scabies) by internal remedies.’* No! it is not only ridiculous, it is pitiable not to think of learning a sure and thorough cure by internal remedies of this internal itch malady, which is not to be cured by local expulsion.” As time went on, Hahnemann was more and more convinced, as a result of his observations, that the most diverse diseased conditions of the human body—from warts on the finger to the largest encysted tumours, from mal-formation of the finger-nails to swelling of the bones and curvatures of the spine, “in a word, that thousands of wearisome human troubles, labelled with various names by pathology, are—with few exceptions—solely the true descendants of the polymorphous psora . . . and only partly expressions of the old chronic eruptive and itch miasma “ (sycotic and venereal diseases excepted).And in another place he says :
All chronic diseases of man—even those which are left to them-selves and are not aggravated by wrong treatment—betray great persistence and endurance. Unless they are thoroughly cured by medical science, before or when they are fully developed, they become more and more acute as time goes on and for the whole course of life they cannot be lessened, still less overcome and eradicated by the power of a nature, however robust, or of a manner of life and diet however healthy. They will therefore never pass away of themselves, but will grow and vitiate themselves until death supervenes.Consequently they must, all of them, have as their fundamental origin firmly established chronic miasms, by which means their parasitical existence in the human organism can be continually strengthened and increased.”
According to Hahnemann, there are in Europe only three chronic miasms, the diseases of which are distinguished by local symptoms and from which most, if not all, chronic ailments originate :
Sycosis, or fig-wart disease.
- Syphilis or venereal chancre disease, and
- Psora, which is at the bottom of the itch eruption.in Hahnemann’s opinion an important cause of chronic diseases.
Syphilis and to a greater extent Psora occur far more frequently. Sycosis is not always prevalent in an equal amount, but fluctuates considerably. For example, during the French wars, from 1809 to 1814, it was very widely propagated, but since then it has been much less frequent.Hahnemann then goes on to describe the multi-shaped, wart-like and cauliflower-like excrescences from the urethra on the glands and prepuce in the male or around the genitals in the female, such as are so frequently encountered in gonorrhoeal diseases. He repudiates local removal and external destruction of these growths by ligatures, excisions or corrosions,as well as the senseless internal application of mercury, which does not influence or diminish in the slightest the sycotic miasm.The surest and most thorough cure for this sycotic miasm the gonorrhoea and all its excrescences, and therefore for the whole of the sycosis, is obtained by applying internally the sap of the Tree of Life (Thuja) in 30th potency as indicated homoeopathically. In certain cases to be followed later by Acidum Nitricum. Only in the most advanced and serious stages would it be necessary ” to paint the larger warts once a day with the mild sap, pressed from the green leaves of the Thuja, mixed in half proportion with spirits of wine “
But if the sycosis is complicated with syphilis or even with psora, then, first of all, the worst constituent, namely, the psora, must be treated with anti-psoric remedies. Only after that should the anti-sycotic remedies be used and last of all ” the suitable dose of the best mercury preparation ” should be prescribed for the syphilis. This treatment must be repeated,when necessary, until the cure is complete, in the order named.
But one must be sure to allow each of these three kinds of medicine enough time to complete its own effect.
With remarkable perspicacity Hahnemann realised that gonorrhoea, i.e. sycosis or fig-wart disease, is a separate disease, not connected with syphilis and that it is caused by a specific virus. He thus stood in direct contrast to his famous English contemporary, John Hunter, who, as is well-known, took up the point of view that there was only one venereal poison. According to the constitution and physical nature of the man this poison caused in one subject gonorrhoea, in a second a soft chancre and in a third a hard chancre. Even until sixty years ago, Hunter’s confusing theory of the unit}’ of sexual diseases remained common property of physicians, and homoeopathy’s founder was severely reproached for having dared to set up open defiance of so important an authority as John Hunter.After nearly one hundred years of serious research in the laboratory and at the sick-bed, we know that Hahnemann was quite right, that in reality gonorrhoea and syphilis are totally different diseases and that their bacteria have nothing at all to do with one another. Wliilst gonorrhoea arises from the gonococcus discovered by Neisser, the soft chancre is caused by rod-like bacteria, grouped in chain formation and the virus of the hard chancre,so-called syphilis, is the spirochaeta pallida Schaudinn.
Further, in regard to the method of treating gonorrhoea, modern researches have resulted in valuable confirmations of the accuracy of Hahnemann’s intuitive conceptions. Right up to our own time gonorrhoea was considered by the old school to be a local malady and was therefore treated almost entirely by local measures. In the medicine of to-day it has been acknowledged that gonorrhoea may cause serious deterioration of the bodily fluids and disturbance of the general state of health, and that local treatment may not infrequently be followed by a latent continuation of gonorrhoea, lasting for years and tens of years. It is a logical conclusion from the above which induces the modern medical world to endeavour to supplant purely local measures by a treatment guided more by biological principles. How nearly the old school has gradually approached Hahnemann’s conception of the nature and treatment of gonorrhoea may be shown by the concluding words of a recent essay (January, 1922) on “Gonorrhoea as a Chronic Malady ” (Med. Clinic, 1922, Xo. 3, p. 67), by Dr. E. Langer, a student of the Berlin professor, Dr. Buschke : Our therapeutic armoury, of which only the principal parts are mentioned here, is tremendous, but on the other hand the results achieved are very modest. With gonorrhoea, too, we have to deal in a considerable number of cases with a deep-seated general disease,which we can never or very rarely track to its lair. For the future, the only thing to do is to seek a way of attacking the disease in its point of localisation according to biological laws .According to Hahnemann’s theory of chronic diseases, SYPHILIS is another frequent source of tedious illness. In its importance and frequency it exceeds sycosis considerably. In the following words, Hahnemann states his conception of the nature of syphilis : “In impure coition the specific infection probably takes place instantaneously at the point of contact and friction.When the infection has taken hold, the whole living body is overcome with it. Directly after the moment of infection the formation of venereal disease begins in the whole of the interior. . . . It is only after this penetration of the evil received into all the organs, only when the transformation of the whole man into a venereal subject … is complete . . . that the morbid state tries to ease and to palliate the internal evil by producing a local symptom (called a chancre), which first appears as a blister and then breaks out into a painful sore.
On the basis of this conception Hahnemann repudiates with the greatest severity local treatment and “removal “ of the chancre, and in support he quotes passages from the writings of various celebrated contemporaries, amongst others, John Hunter, and the Frenchman, Fabre. From these utterances it becomes quite clear that they also regarded local treatment and removal of the chancre sore as quite purposeless, since a cure of the venereal disease could never be obtained in this way. On the contrary, “if it is not cured, it becomes worse from year to year to the end of life, and even the most robust constitution cannot destroy it in itself.” The chief remedy is the best mercury preparation in the finest dilution.
This treatment of syphilis with small doses of mercury not to be repeated too often is still to-day regarded as the best by many homoeopathic doctors. From old school medicine partisans, however, complaints are raised declaiming against the enormous quantities of mercury hitherto usual because of the lasting and dangerous after effects. Many physicians make use of the mercury-containing spring of San Anton and laud its effectiveness, although according to Professor Dr. E. Hintz it contains only 0.0000016 gr. o fhydragyrum bichloratum to i Kilo, a quantity amounting to about the 8th decimal potency. Professor Dr. Kionka (Jena), who likewise recommends the use of this mineral spring containing mercury, expresses himself in the following words, which offer a pleasing contrast to the derisive comments of so many physicians concerning the homoeopathic treatment of syphilis : Schade’s researches make it probable that the effect of mercury on syphilis is a catalytic one and such people as are in agreement with this view will be guided in their therapeutic efforts in the disease by the desire to extend the mercury cure over as long a time as possible But in order to produce such a (fermentative) effect, it is sufficient to have the smallest quantity of the substance concerned in the body, provided that it circulates therein in a suitable form. . . . We must also draw attention to discoveries of former times which have apparently fallen into oblivion. According to them, quite small quantities of mercury given over a long period, improve the state of health. Hahnemann’s views about the nature and treatment of syphilis coincide almost perfectly with our modern theories, except that we are a century richer in experience. On the other hand, we know now that the number of diseases directly consequent on syphilis is far greater than Hahnemann and his contemporaries suspected. On the other hand, we have learned from experience that syphilis is a much more obstinate disease than Hahnemann had formerly imagined. Many of his assertions in this respect have been refuted by new observations and experiences and one would scarcely hope to find in these days a homoeopathic doctor who would be content to abide by the following definite statements made by Hahnemann : ” There is no chronic miasm, no chronic disease springing from a miasm, which can be more easily cured than this.Only one single small dose of the best mercury remedy is requiredto cure thoroughly and for ever the whole syphilis and its chancre within a fortnight. . . . The chancre, not treated with external remedies, would never be healed if the internal syphilis had not been first of all completely annihilated and extinguished by the mercury dose.” If Hahnemann had been able to see the convincing after-effects of uncured syphilis, often only appearing after tens of years, he, who was so extraordinarily conscientious a physician, would have expressed himself more cautiously about the healing of venereal disease.
Sycosis and syphilis, however, are very much less significant as a cause of chronic diseases when compared with psora:
Psora it is, that oldest, most universal, most pernicious and yetthat least known chronic miasmatic disease, which has been deform-ing and torturing the nations for thousands of years.” Seven-eights of all the chronic maladies prevalent are ascribed by Hahnemann to Psora, whilst the remaining eighth originates in syphilis and sycosis or a complex combination of these two miasmatic chronic diseases or of all three.
“I will quote here a few of those innumerable experiences which have been left for our guidance, and which I could increase by an equal number of my own observation (were the former not sufficient and to spare !), and thus I will show how ravenously the internal psora rageswhen it is deprived of the local symptom, the skin eruption, which serves as a palliative for the evil dwelling within.”
Then he accompanies his statements with nearly a hundred cases of the disease taken from writers in all centuries. In every case severe bodily or mental suffering followed the removal of a skin eruption by external remedies. In this collection we see the most diverse skin diseases grouped with itch, scald head, various kinds of lichen, leprosy, swollen glands of the neck and facial eruptions. This is certainly sufficient proof of how widely Hahnemann understood the term ” itch ” or ” psora.”
He has been reproached for quoting so many medical writers in favour of his ” psora ” theory without supporting his views by the description of cases which he himself had observed. He repudiates this reproach when he says : “Truly ! if the examples I have here quoted from the older and more modern non-homceopathic writers are not conclusive testimony enough, I should like to know which others could be considered more conclusive (my own not excepted) ! How often (I should say myself,almost always) have not our opponents of the old school denied credence in the observations made by honourable homoeopaths, because they were not completed before their eyes and because the patients’ names were only indicated by a letter.”
PSORA , a common expression that was widely known in Hahnemann’s time, was the general term for a whole series of skin troubles of the most varied kinds, well known from the very earliest times. It was in this wider sense that contemporaries (e.g. Autenrieth, Schonlein, etc.) used the word generally at the end of the eighteenth and in the first three decades of the nineteenth century, although at the same time they applied it in the narrower sense to itch proper. Hahnemann did not therefore coin this expression, but rather by his use of it showed his association with his contemporaries. It is important to establish this with some emphasis. Like them he used the word in a wider sense, in spite of the fact that, like them, he knew the cause of itch—the itch mite (Acams scabiei or Sarcoptes hominis), its destruction by external remedies (embrocation, baths, etc.) and the digging out of the mite from its burrows under the skin. He shared also the view of his contemporaries that the itch eruption could only develop on a favourable fostering ground, called” Internal psora.” The latter, however, was not cured with the destruction or removal of the mites, although of course it was necessary first of all to remove the parasite. Thus far, Hahnemann’s theory coincides exactly with that of the Tubingen Professor Autenrieth and his celebrated student Schonlein of Wurzburg. Psora, ” the internal itch,” was totally different in his opinion from the external ailment, the primary eruption. The latter could be cured quickly and easily, whilst the internal psora, often remaining latent for a long time and only showing secondary symptoms as a result of special factors, was a wearisome disease. In 1S29 he wrote to Dr. Schreter,of Lemberg, entirely in this strain (Neues Archiv (Stapf), 1847, 3fd Vol.,2nd Part, pp. 181 and 183) :
“What the allopaths could not expel by sulphur or mercury ointments was no primary itch eruption at all, for that disappears with such ointments in two days and often in a few hours. No ! that was definitely a secondary eruption, a real case of developed psora, which was showing itself in eruption as in so many cases. Do not be surprised that you could not easily get rid of these psora cases which are often so vicious.” (June 19th, 1829.)
“And :In newly contracted itch (internal psora, which has developedinto chronic diseases and eruptions, is very different from that. in fact,that is the primary state whilst the other is the secondary and worse state !) in a case of this itch, newly infected, you will obtain easy successby treating with a mild sulphur remedy.” (September 12th, 1S29.)
But in another place (and this contrasting attitude must be emphasised) Hahnemann maintains that psora, internal itch, is only brought about by the external disease of itch and the latter’s hasty removal. Psora will remain for life if it is not cured by the physician’s art.
“However slight the internal psora may be at the time of the removal of this itch eruption, appearing only as a few blisters, yet as is shown by the subsequent indispositions and ailments, frequently not too serious, the internal psora remains. Although it may be slight it is the general psoric malady of the whole organism and cannot be eradicated without the help of science. Continually increasing to the end of life, the vigour alone of even the finest and most robust physical constitution cannot overcome it. . . . For years the psora latent in the body may be slumbering and the patients suffering from it may give the impression of being perfectly healthy. . . . Often it does not betray its presence for years by marked symptoms, which might suggest a serious disease. . . . Internal itch is of such a peculiar nature that, under favourable external circumstances, it may remain for a long time, as it were, suppressed and covered over, and the patient appears to the superficial observer to be healthy. . . . This may remain for years, often for many years, until unfavourable circumstances for mind and body or for both occur sometime and this seems to act as a hostile impulse to the latent internal evil to arouse it and bring its germs to development. Then the friends, the doctor and the patient himself cannot understand why his health has so suddenly gone to ruin.
To Hahnemann psora is a disease or disposition to disease, hereditary from generation to generation for thousands of years and it is the fostering soil for every possible diseased condition. At the same time it is the most infectious of all. Contact with the general external skin is quite sufficient for transference of the disease in contrast with sycosis and syphilis, in which cases a certain amount of friction on the tenderest parts of our bodies, where most nerves are congregated and where the cuticle is thinnest, is requisite for infection. But everyone is exposed to psora almost under any circumstances :“The hermit on Montserrat in his rocky abode can escape it as little as the young prince in his cambric swaddling clothes.”
Hereditary transmission for thousands of years has, of course, generated an increasing number of the forms of disease, so that their polymorphous symptoms are nowadays almost innumerable. Hahnemann says that psora, breaking out from its latent state, can be observed in the most variable forms imaginable, according to the bodily constitution, the deficiences of up-bringing, the habits, the mode of occupation and the external conditions of the individual. An unusually large number of diseases, stated in the pathology of the older school to be definitely self-existing, are simply “the characteristic,secondary symptoms of the underlying miasmatic malady now coming to light—namely psora, this thousand headed monster so long undiscovered,so pregnant with misery.” Together with nearly one hundred cases of disease, taken from medical writers of every age in support of his contention (see above), he enumerates on thirty-two pages (pp. 67-98) all the manifold manifestations of psoric diseases. An astonishing number of ailments, apparently having no connection with one another, meets us here; variations of the general state of health and of the temperament, disturbances in the control of thought and in the mnemonic capacity, headaches, marked dryness and brittleness of the skin together with scurf and loss of hair, mutation of complexion, interference with sight and hearing, painful sensibility of certain parts of the body to pressure, small sores on the lips, increasing decay of the teeth, catarrhal ailments of the upper and lower trachea, difficulties in breathing, disturbances of stomach and bowels, rheumatic ailments, feeling of severe cold or extreme sensibility to heat, boils, ulcers, warts and encysted tumours, skin easily disposed to perspire, increased tendency to catch cold, disturbances of sleep with vivid dreams,etc., etc. ” One might almost ask in desperation : ‘ What is there not ? ‘ “as a modern professor, Krehl, of Heidelberg, exclaims in discussing “Arthritis ” and its numerous symptoms. And yet ” Arthritis,” caused by excess of uric acid, is a much narrower conception than that of Hahnemann’s psora! The individual physical constitution is the varying factor, which makes it more or less difficult for the physician to correlate all these symptoms in their proper nature and connection. Hahnemann boasts that he is exceptionally well fitted to discover psora in its many forms because he himself never had a psoric constitution. In a footnote to p. 57 he says : “To me it was more possible than to many hundreds of others todiscover and recognise by careful comparison of the condition of all those affected by it, the signs of psora, whether it were still slumbering and latent in the interior or whether it had been aroused from with into serious chronic maladies. For I, which is very rare, was never psoric and consequently, from my birth to my present eightieth year, I have always remained perfectly immune from all these ailments. This is in spite of the fact that I am very sensible to acute epidemic diseases and that I suffer many mental labours and innumerable temperamental difficulties.” On the same subject he wrote to Dr. Wislicenus, of Eisenach, on the 30th March, 1825: “these extremely enigmatic problems the one circumstance that helped me considerably was the fact that, from my birth onwards,I had always been free from every trace of the psora poison. On that account I could the more certainly detect the difference noticeable between psora and absence of psora. One single small boil is sufficient to mark down a man as psoric. The man uninfected with psora, never bleeds from the nose unless he has had a blow on it.”
And now as to the treatment. In Hahnemann’s opinion psora will cure itself as little as syphilis. The whole skill of the physician is necessary to come to the aid of its polymorphous forms and it is only possible on the basis of the law of similars. Above all there is one remedy, which seems suited to the condition of psora and that is Sulphur. Hahnemann saysthat in drawing up a list of the symptoms observed in psoric patients, their striking coincidence with the medicinal effects of Sulphur had been remarkable. The first therapeutic principle, stated by Hahnemann in his ” ChronicDiseases ” for psora, to which by the way the greater part of the book is devoted, demands that no skin eruption shall be removed by external remedies.This is quite understandable since to him the skin eruption is not a local symptom at all, not a disease in itself but simply a sign of internal unhealthiness or disorder—in fact, a sign of psora. He says :
“If the . physician desires to proceed in a conscientious and intelligent manner, no skin eruption, whatever its nature, should be removed by external remedies. The human skin cannot withoutthe help of the rest of the living body produce from itself an eruption. It will never become diseased in any way unless the general diseased condition, the abnormal state of the whole organism, compels In every case an improper condition of the whole body, of the inner living organism, is at the root of the trouble and therefore this must first be considered and should be removed by internal medicines, which will alter, improve and cure the whole. Thereupon the eruption, depending for existence on the internal disease, will cure itself and disappear—often more speedily than by external remedies. With newly infected adults treatment with internal remedies for several weeks and without any external remedies at all, will be sufficient to destroy the internal and external psora. In the case of a newly infected child, the administration of one or two pellets of the size of a poppy seed moistened with potentised Sulphur in spirits of wine will be quite sufficient to breakup completely and cure the whole of the itch—eruption and inner itch disease (psora) as well, whilst all external remedies are absolutely avoided.”
In the same way as Hahnemann had designated Thuja as the chief remedy for sycosis and Mercurius for syphilis, he here advocates Sulphur as the most effective agent against psora. It is quite true that large doses of this remedy will not attain their object whether applied internally or externally. Large doses of Sulphur either bring about deterioration of the state of health or else they are simply expelled by vomiting or diarrhoea without the body being able to avail itself of its curative power. But in the majority of instances Sulphur is not sufficient by itself to cure thoroughly the psora. Very often several remedies are necessary, and in the worst cases a large number are required in succession, if “this tremendous army of psora symptoms “ is to be dominated and a cure effected. Consequently, the larger part of the work, four volumes of the second edition, concerns itself exclusively with a presentation of the anti-psoric medicines and their effects. But it is quite evident that Hahnemann does not expect a total cure simply from the anti-psoric internal remedies alone, for he precedes everything else by detailed regulations of behaviour and advice on the manner of life and dietetics, necessary during the anti-psoric treatment. As on previous occasions he again forbids the enjoyment of coffee and China tea. His advice touches upon every relevant detail. Temperamental influences caused by trouble, need and such like, or disturbances of the mind and qualms of conscience are just as harmful during anti-psoric treatment as mistakes in eating and drinking :
An innocent man can spend ten years in the Bastille or in the galleys suffering bodily torment with less prejudice to his health than a few months, with every bodily comfort, spent in an unhappy marriage or with a gnawing conscience. . . . With what difficulty and how rarely can in that case the best anti-psoric cure accomplish anything for the good of the unfortunate ! With continuous grief or worry, with the unending presence of trouble and vexation—greatest of all destructive agents to life—no success can be hoped for in the chronically diseased, even with a most masterful guidance in the cure or with the most carefully selected, the most suitable remedies. For continuation of the finest structure is foohsh if the foundation of the building is being daily—though it be only gradually—undermined by lapping waves.”In place of warm and hot cleansing baths, which never cease to disturb the condition of the invalid, those infected with a Chronic malady must restrict themselves during the anti-psoric treatment to ” tepidly cool ablutions ” with soapy water, whereby the purpose is completely achieved without any injurious effect.”
“Anti-psoric remedies (86) are selected according to the usual general principles of homoeopathy and administered one dose at a time, the effect of which is as a rule allowed to pass away completely before being repeated. Often this is only the case after 24, 30 and frequently as much as 40 and 50 days. The fundamental rule is : To allow the dose of the medicine, which has been carefully selected for its homoeopathic suitability according to the symptoms of the particular case of disease, to have its effect without interruption as long as it is visibly helping on the cure and increasing to an appreciable extent the improvement of the malady. Slight ailments and additional symptoms such as headache, stiff neck,slight diarrhoea, etc., which may occur during an anti-psoric cure, should not induce a patient to have instant recourse to other medicines, as the effect of the anti-psoric may easily be thereby disturbed and opposed. Such symptoms are very often only the consequence of the remedy acting homoeopathic aggravation of moderate extent, a sign of the cure beginning which one may hope with tolerable certainty to see achieved.”
Should, however, very obnoxious symptoms make their appearance, an antidote is given, under the assumption that the anti-psoric remedy was ill-chosen. Thereupon the complications generally disappear quite rapidly. Over hasty repetition of anti-psoric remedies is to be avoided as much as the employment of too large doses. As is well known, Hahnemann soon deserted this principle and allowed his chronic patients to use the suitable remedy more frequently—even daily—changing constantly the degree of dilution from higher to lower and lower potencies. (Vide ” Organon,”6th Edition, S 246.)
“But if the invalid incurs during the anti-psoric treatment an acute illness like measles, scarlet fever, influenza, pneumonia, etc., the treatment of the chronic disease must be interrupted. The anti-psoric treatment may only be continued again after the acute illness has been cured with the help of the suitable homoeopathic remedy.The best time for taking a dose of anti-psoric medicine is before breakfast. Female patients must stop taking the medicine shortly before menstruation and during that period. Pregnancy, however, is no hindrance to anti-psoric treatment. On the contrary, ” in this condition, so natural to a woman, the symptoms of internal psora often reveal themselves most clearly because of the increased sensibility and sensitiveness of the woman’s body and mind :anti-psoric medicines therefore have a more definite and appreciable effect.”
In revising the ” Organon,” 1842, Hahnemann refers in a footnote to
- 284 with repeated emphasis to the merit of anti-psoric treatment during pregnancy and suckling, because, hereditary transmission of chronic diseases to the foetus and the suckling can be thus avoided.
In the ” ChronicDiseases ” he recommends :
“Medicine should never be given to the sucklings themselves.The mother or the nurse takes the medicine and through her milk it takes very rapid effect on the child with a mild and powerfully curative value.”
The first volume concludes with detailed instructions for the preparation of homoeopathic remedies and so the whole volume is devoted to the presentation of his new theory of chronic diseases.