Tag Archives: homoeopathy

Training open

The IHM has a 5 day training opportunity open between 20th till the 31st of August for those contemplating a spur of the moment Seville Spain Homoeopathic venue. Single or multiple persons.

What we teach:

  • The rationale of homoeopathic medicine and the use of the Therapeutic Pocket Book in every day case work.
  • The examination of the patient according to defined parameters of eliciting prescribing symptoms without the filter of all the variants of non Hahnemann practices as taught by teachers today.
  • An in depth look at the Miasm theory in the light of infection and infectious disease models that are the accepted protocols in modern medicine.
  • Patient management utilising Hahnemannian directives for medicine administration and potency choice, frequency of dose, withdrawal of repetition of medicine on well indicated grounds, observation of medicinal action and when to change the medicine.
  • Use of LM or Q potencies.
  • Chronic and acute prescribing and when to finish prescribing.
  • In depth explanation and use of the Therapeutic Pocket Book. The T.P.B. was devised by Boenninghausen as a synthetic approach approximating Hahnemanns thoughts on case analysis so as to find a close similimum by extracting the correct proving symptoms that match the disease state.
  • How to understand the meaning of rubrics via the patients symptoms.
  • Lots of case examples and analysis by Gary Weaver.
  • Help in re examining some of the students intractable cases.

The teaching is in English only.

Contact education@instituteforhomoeopathicmedicine.com for information.


Indian Government Helping Develop Homeopathy in Ghana

ACCRA: The Indian government is partnering with a Ghanaian company to build capacity of the country’s professionals in providing homeopathic education and treatment and recently sent two experts from the Ministry of Ayush to train doctors and staff at the company’s chain of C4C Hospitals.

“We would be ready to assist through capacity-building — be it in the form of visiting experts or through extra-curricular or sub-technical advice,” Indian High Commissioner Birender Singh Yadav said of the initiative, which could also see the hospital chain expand into other West African nations.

During their stay in Ghana, the two Indian homeopathic experts visited the Presidency where they met Minister of Health Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, who promised that the ministry was ready to collaborate with the Indian government and the C4C Hospitals to promote homeopathic healthcare and education in Ghana.

The team also met the heads of the various departments of the National Professional Board For Techinical Examinations (NABPTEX) to discuss how to incorporate homeopathic education into the curriculum of the Technical Universities in Ghana.

“Officials of NABPTEX expressed their readiness to collaborate so that homeopathy can be taught in all their institutions, starting with a pilot scheme at the Accra Technical University for the award the Higher National Diploma in Homeopathic Medicine for graduates of the C4C Homeopathic Medical College,” C4C Hospitals Director Michael Kojo Kyeremateng told IANS.

The C4C chain has 10 branches in all the 10 regional capitals of the nation and some districts to make homeopathy accessible to all Ghanaians.

Kyeremateng, an Indian-trained Ghanaian alternative medical practitioner, has been recognised by the Indian government and the Ministry of Ayush for his passion and zeal in promoting education and homeopathic treatment in Ghana.

He recently represented Africa at the International Convention On World Homeopathy Day in New Delhi organised by the Ministry of Ayush.

Under the terms of assistance to the C4C Hospitals, “Indian experts would provide training for a continuous professional development programme for C4C staffers to enhance their practice and to lecture to the students of the homeopathic medicine college,” Kyeremateng explained.

He said the C4C Hospitals has signed an signed academic MOUs with two Indian entities –Vadodara’s Parul University and Kolkata’s IBAM Academy — to promoting homeopathic education and alternative system of me alternative system of medicine for Ghanaians through the C4C Homeopathic Medical College.

In line with this, the C4C Homeopathic Medical College will send its students to india for one year after three years of studies in Ghana for academic and practical training, for a joint degree awarded by the Parul University. There is also a programme to provide distance education for those who want to study any alternative system of medicine with the IBAM Academy.

In addition, Kyeremateng said the company is also venturing into the West Africa region by establishing homeopathic hospitals and had taken the lead to introduce a Homeopathic Health Insurance Policy to make homeopathy affordable to all Ghanaians in the region.

Cold aggravations in TPB

Author: Dr. José Guillermo Zamora de la Paz, UAG Surgeon Doctor, Dhom. Med. (Lic.) By the Institute for Homoeopathic Medicine.

As the second part of the Therapeutic Pocket Book title tells us “A Guide to the Materia Medica”, the repertoire is a medical guide. It is a work, a synthesis, to memorize the symptoms of the medical matter, represented for each of the rubrics in the context of a pathogenesis that must have been previously studied and restructured so that the practitioner can know what is And what symptom you should look for. Even in the absence of deep knowledge, this tool can be used for the learning of this MM, and even to make an analysis, although from my point of view with less effectiveness.

Please click on the image to amplify


Thus, if for example we have the context of pathogenesis in perspective, we can find the correspondence associated with the rubric. From the translation of the rubric in German ” Nach Erkältung “, which in English translates as ” Catching Cold ” and in Spanish as “after a cold” (Nach = After, Erkältung = Cold or Cold) , no it is difficult to differentiate between it and the heading ” Aggravation when cooled ” ( Becoming Cold ).

In the writing of the provings and from my own practice I have found that the first rubric ” Aggravation, Cooling ” is used more specifically for factors of causality and aggravation in relation to the fact of becoming sick after beingexposed to a cold climate Could be by “uncoating,” “taking off the hat” or “taking off”) with an effective reaction of assisted or spontaneous thermoregulation, sometimes by the release of heat manifested in immediate or immediate tremor of variable duration; While the second rubric ” Aggravation on Cooling “, being clearer, gives me more for remedies that in their pathogenesis they modify by making contact for a more or less prolonged time with something cold (climate,

Of course, although there is a modification, when we consider the literal translation of German as ” after cold ” ( Catching Cold ), which has a completely different meaning in English, when the letter ” a ” is first placed before the word ” cold ” “, Or” Catching a Cold “, which means” to get sick from the flu “or as we commonly say in Mexico” to have a cold, flu, or to gulp down “, then I have not left out the heading” Cold Aggravation ” Those symptoms that have worsened or appeared since the patient became ill with the flu.

There are some repertoires, which have simply merged (seemingly) similar rubrics like these, although I confess that I would not be brave enough to do something like that. *

OpenRep SYNOPSIS offers this alternative to merge or combine headings momentarily during the analysis.

Examples of Cold Symptoms :

EC = Chronic Diseases

MMP = Pure Materia Medica

  • EC Carb-V 465. Belly pain, as after catching a cold; Is aggravated before eliminating flatus, and continues even afterwards.
  • EF Nat-C 661 Dry cough with coryza obstructed, after cooling.
  • MMP NUX-V , Introduction. Serious disturbances due to the cold are frequently removed by him.
  • MMP NUX-V 460.- Belly pain in the open air, as for cooling.
  • EC Silicea 256 Heat and burning of the face, after washing with cold water; for two hours.
  • EF Petrol 358 Pain in the abdomen, as if from a cold. *

* In English, this symptom of Petroleum appears “as for catching a cold”, that is to say “as for cooling, to have flu, or to be agripado”, and is included both in the rubric “Aggravation by cooled” 1, as in “Aggravation on cooling” with grade 2. The reason why Boenninghausen includes remedies in both rubrics is explained at the end of the article, but in short has to do with his own findings and verification during his clinical practice. However, this should not lead us to choose the appropriate rubric for each case, since we can see that the 1st rubric lacks 25 remedies contained in the 2nd, and the 2nd lacks 18 remedies contained in the 1st; While most remedies that coincide in both rubrics are graduated with different value. “

Examples of symptoms on cooling . (“Beim Kaltwerden” in German, “Becoming cold” in English)

  • EC Aurum S. 422 Very sensitive to cold throughout the body.
  • MMP Moschus S.134 When it is airborne or cold, the air feels cold, and looks for heat from the stove (after 1 ½ hours). [Gss.]
  • EC Zincum 1256 All day, general exhaustion, sleepy, aversion to all noise, and yet deaf, without sleep, as after a night of waking, with shivering and cold chills run over the body, as after cooling after sweating
  • MMP Spig 573 He is very sensitive to cold air
  • MMP Camp 209 It is very sensitive to cold air.
  • EC Graph , introduction. … mucus of the nose; Daily coryza, when it cools …
  • MMP Magnes 220.- While standing in a cold place, there is a tearing pull in the muscles of the arm.
  • MMP NUX-V 928 By the contact of cold air, sudden in the calf, as if the leg were dormant (aft. 2 h.).

We must understand that the contexts of pathogenesis are described in climates that are very different from the climates we manage here in Mexico and some other Latin American latitudes. Perhaps for who is living in Toluca, State of Mexico or in La Rosilla Durango, Mexico, the cold will be something very similar to what is lived and lived in Germany; However, most Mexicans will feel extremely cold there. For this reason, it is that the usefulness and pathogenetic correspondence that I find for the rubric ” Aggravation by Cold Air ” is simply for causalities and aggravation modalities in cold weather (including, by common sense, those cold artificial climates that are created with airs Conditioned).


It is not difficult to establish parameters for the other symptoms in the repertoire, since they offer the specific location for their aggravation when exposed to the cold; In the same way that it is known that Silicea is sick during and after her feet cool, and that in Belladonna the same is done by washing her head with cold water; In cases where the location that is cooled is specific, and whose cooling generates or complicates the symptoms; The heading ” Aggravation when cooling part of the body ” should be taken. For example:

  • MMP Puls 203 Toothache, which begins at 2 am, does not let him lay his head in a cold place in the bed; A sudden escarbante, first in the teeth of the lower jaw, then in the upper jaw, from the root of one tooth to another, that recur at noon when he eats.
  • MMP Hepar 151 When the smallest member cools, coughing occurs immediately, as by a cooling and hypersensitivity of the nervous system.
  • EC Silicea 302 Sudden dizziness, which does not allow you to take anything hot or cold in your mouth.
  • EC Silicea 781 Severe oppressive pain in the right shoulder, extending to the elbow, as soon as the shoulder is bare and becomes cold , mainly at night.

In patients in which both drinking cold water, walking barefoot on the cold floor, exposing themselves to the cold, etc., etc., aggravate or produce their symptoms, ie, they become ill with various factors associated with cold, I would not hesitate To take into account the rubric ” aggravates cold in general “; However, other combinable symptoms can almost always be found which are shared by fewer remedies with respect to this type of thermal modality.

Nor is it difficult to identify, for anyone who has read Hahnemann’s provings, that the rubric ” Aggravation Taking Cold Air ” (I would add ” aspiring “) is for provings in a context like the following:

  • EC Hepar 161 After drinking anything cold, and after opening the mouth, toothache at the moment in all the teeth.
  • MMP NUX-V 244 Inflamed throat; Sore harshness in the jaws, only felt when pulling cold air and when it swallows.
  • MMP NUX-V 95.- External headache; During cold wind, pain as if the head were sore externally; And still the place is not painful when it is touched (aft. 6 h.).
  • MMP NUX-V 928 By the contact of cold air, sudden in the calf, as if the leg were dormant (aft. 2 h.).
  • MMP NUX-V 202 Drawing tooth pain, which at the same time, stitches in a row of teeth, especially when pulling air through the open mouth (after 1/4 h.).
  • MMP NUX-V 206 Breathing deeply (in the open air) pain as if air entered the hollow tooth.
  • MMP Staph 212 Toothache caused by air pulled in the mouth.
  • EC Silicea 286 Odontalgia, particularly when eating hot food and when cold air enters the mouth.

I insist, it is important to take into consideration, to which pathogenetic context each heading refers. If we consider the pathogenetic correspondence that the provings have with the symptom “Aggravation, Temperature Change” ; We will realize that this refers to the change in temperature from the cold to the hot . I exemplify with the following summary case from my clinic:

Facial Neuralgia

A 38-year-old female patient, a cook , appears in January 2012 with a 6-hour evolution that begins about 20 minutes after arriving at work. It has sharp pain on the right side of the face, which includes upper gums, upper jaw, cheekbones, around the eye on the same side. The pain has become increasingly intense and even dizzy. Feel the same side of the face and it becomes numb. The pain increases with the noise, when spoken to, when touching the sore area; Wants to be locked in a single room. He tried to sleep but could not. Patient is restless, desperate, walks, does not want to sit. Pain upon palpation of the described area. There is no paralysis.

The case has a thermal causal factor (infectious / stimulant) that is key in the process and from which the analysis begins, and is accompanied by a symptom component of modality and sensation.


Rx Verbascum Thapsus. 30c (L)

These combined headings cover the patient’s current condition. The MMP of Hahnemann provides us with the necessary information for the confirmation of the homeopathic diagnosis.

  • MMP Verb. Symptom 11 Unusually deep, deep pressure on the right frontal protrusion, moving from the cold to the hot .  [Gss.]
  • MMP Symptom 84 Numbness
  • MPP Symptoms 15, 29, 63, 140,  Tapping
  • MMP 1.2 Vertigo
  • MPP 165 Earrings, tremors, shudders on one side.

In the repertorial analysis of the case you can realize that Arsenicum Album appears with grade 4 for the rubric “Agr. Temperature Change “ , which is true, considering that our knowledge of Materia Medica must lead us to understand that while Arsenicum is a remedy that is generally improved by the heat, it is not so in the case of the headache it produces; Which is “… improved by applying cold water, but removing it is much worse than before” (that is, the headache is improved by the application of cold water , but is aggravated by the change in temperature from cold to warm (temperate) . See symptom 118 for Arsenicum in Chronic Diseases). Note also the exception of Ranunculus Bulbosus that has the highest degree for this modality, but also has it in vice versa; That is, in moving from the hot to the cold; Therefore, this remedy will also be found under the heading of ” Aggravation when entering a Cold Place ” with grade 4. This means that the heading “Aggravation; When it enters a Cold Place , has a specific connotation for the situation and circumstance it describes, unlike the heading for the case presented above. Therefore, this remedy will also be found under the heading of ” Aggravation when entering a Cold Place ” with grade 4. This means that the heading “Aggravation; When it enters a Cold Place ,  has a specific connotation for the situation and circumstance it describes, unlike the heading for the case presented above. Therefore, this remedy will also be found under the heading of ” Aggravation when entering a Cold Place ” with grade 4. This means that the heading “Aggravation; When it enters a Cold Place ,  has a specific connotation for the situation and circumstance it describes, unlike the heading for the case presented above.

To conclude on this topic, we must take into account the following:

The forecast of Bönninghausen and his desire for transparency made him cite the origin of the provings for each of the medicines contained in the First Repertory (EPR) (I refer to SRH, Systematic Alphabetic Repertory of Homeopathic Medicines, in two parts: Repertory of Antipsychotic drugs or SARS of 1832-33 and the Repertory of non-antipsoric drugs or SRN of 1835 ), allowing in this way to compare each entry with the proving of origin. Thus, when it built the TPB from its immediate precursor EPR, Bönninghausen did not consult again the provings (already presented within EPR). It only needed to convert the information contained in EPR to replace it within the new structure of the TPB. This is undoubtedly the reason why he does not give references in his TPB, but the other reason, more importantly, Is that the entries it contains can not be found as they are in the provings – They are rather representations of provings, a distillation. The work constitutes the understanding of the characteristic in each medicine by Boenninghausen, completed by analogy, and validated and weighted by his vast experience. In fact, at that time, Bönninghausen had one of the busiest practices in all of Europe. Therefore, we must invest our time in studying Pure Materia Medica and Chronic Diseases, and see the repertoire as what it is; a guide. The work constitutes the understanding of the characteristic in each medicine by Boenninghausen, completed by analogy, and validated and weighted by his vast experience. In fact, at that time, Bönninghausen had one of the busiest practices in all of Europe. Therefore, we must invest our time in studying Pure Materia Medica and Chronic Diseases, and see the repertoire as what it is; a guide. The work constitutes the understanding of the characteristic in each medicine by Boenninghausen, completed by analogy, and validated and weighted by his vast experience. In fact, at that time, Bönninghausen had one of the busiest practices in all of Europe. Therefore, we must invest our time in studying Pure Materia Medica and Chronic Diseases, and see the repertoire as what it is; a guide.

The Boenninghausen Group in Seville

The local group here meet once a month and spend 3 hours studying rubrics of the Therapeutic Pocket Book.  They do this to gain a clearer understanding of what the rubrics mean. It gets to be interesting especially as the group are Spanish and examine the rubrics in English Spanish and reference from the original German TPB which is contained in the SYNOPSIS repertory.

Within 30 seconds walk of our clinic is a choice of restaurants for coffee and beverages, so we try to get at least 2 coffees in during the time..

For people in other countries, the IHM offers a 5 day intensive training course in the teachings of Hahnemann through the use of the Therapeutic Pocket book. We offer this training in 2 modes, one for practitioners and one for people learning homoeopathy for the first time.

I am particularly looking forward to August as two London based persons are coming for their second and final training session and hopeful registration with the IHM. It has been a pleasure watching them develop from individuals with some knowledge into competent case takers. They have worked extremely hard since last August and have my respect for that. Kudos.


The Principles of Homeopathy. Part 2/2 Peter Morrell

The IHM does not endorse all the views of Peter Morrell as stated in this article. However in respect and fairness we felt it necessary to publish his words as written. We are extremely grateful for Peters work regarding homoeopathy.

Health & Disease

Commencing any assessment of the principles of homeopathy one has to consider the notions of health and disease, not only because they are central to medicine in general, but also because the concepts of health and disease in homeopathy are different from these concepts as they exist in common usage in allopathic medicine. Therefore, it is quite an imperative task to explore and discuss at the outset the specific meanings of these concepts as they exist in homeopathy.

For the homeopath, the state we call health is that natural and dynamic attunement of the whole organism in a harmonious state of smoothly coordinated functioning and balance. Health is thus by definition the state of the whole organism, the whole person, mind, body and spirit, and is not simply the absence of sickness symptoms. By contrast, disease is depicted as any state of disharmony and imbalance in the person manifested by signs and symptoms of disorder, imbalance and malfunction, some coarse or gross and others fine and subtle, some physical, some mental. Sickness is again a state or condition of the whole person and should never be conceived of as being confined solely to certain localised symptoms or to a specific cluster of symptoms that have been given a specific name [so-called disease label] or which are conceived of as an invading entity [named disease] that can, for example, affect whole populations in much the same way. These are entirely allopathic notions, rejected by homeopaths. He dismisses as irrelevant “the name of the disease, sought after so blatantly by his contemporaries.” [Haehl, I, 299] He “despises every useless name of a disease.” [Haehl, I, 299]

Homeopathy eschews broad disease labels, but treats each individual as a unique case of sickness. It regards that there are as many diseases as there are patients. It therefore resists any temptation to clump together cases of a similar type or give them a name or treat them with the same drug, such as has become the standard practice in allopathic medicine.

One ineradicable problem with all taxonomic schemes is that to some degree it is “a system of idealised entities…fictions compounded out of observed uniformities…concepts and categories…conditioned by human aims.” [Berlin, 1997, 301] Because all such systems are “a set of formulas, of imaginary entities and mathematical relationships,” [Berlin, 1997, 302] so to the same degree it is always in part a false and abstract system imposed upon raw reality itself, an “artificial construction of our intellect,” [Berlin, 1997, 302] that is not so much found but made. In reality, “nature is not a perfect machine, nor an exquisite organism, nor a rational system,” [Berlin, 1997, 302] it is rather “a savage jungle: science is the art of dealing with it as best we can.” [Berlin, 1997, 302]

By overlooking “that the disease classification is man-made…they assume…that disease entities somehow have an independent existence,” [Wulff et al, 82] which of course they do not. They are human constructs with no more reality than pipe dreams. The “disease classification is still largely a mixture of disease entities defined in anatomical, physiological and microbiological terms,” [Wulff et al, 77] which is indeed “a man-made classification of individual patients.” [Wulff et al, 77] True and natural disease “classifications are not arbitrary but must be moulded on reality as it is.” [Wulff et al, 88] Thus far, these do not exist.

Sickness in homeopathy is always individualised and idiosyncratic and never a pooled entity based on averages of large numbers of people, a population, as is the regular practice in allopathic medicine. Likewise, in homeopathy there can only be one person with one disease and each person presents a unique combination of symptoms; they do not have several diseases residing in the same person. Everything wrong with one person comprises their ‘disease.’ In homeopathy, there are no ‘diseases’ as such, but just ‘sick persons’ as individuals. In homeopathy, it is not valid to consider disease as external to the patient, or driven by external events, but as resident within the individual and driven mostly by internal processes. This might seem a hairs-splitting difference, but it proves to be both a subtle and also a pivotally insightful distinction between homeopathy and allopathy. It is clear from this why Hahnemann dismissed the very idea of classifying broad categories of so-called ‘diseases,’ and the disease entity model, as ridiculous, unnatural and arbitrarily fabricated human constructs, deriving from a fundamentally false perception of the human organism in health and in sickness.

The body is a dynamic structure constantly being made and being demolished; it is in constant motion just to stand still. It never stops creating and destroying itself at the same time. This means it has a balance of construction activity and destruction activity going on all at the same time. Cells are dying and new cells are being made all the time. Catabolism and anabolism balance each other but are in constant motion. This also gives an insight into the incredible complexity of the organism but also the smoothly coordinated operation of its processes.

Single Drugs

The single drug was really the first emerging axiom of homeopathy. In many respects, Hahnemann’s conviction in the use of single drugs sprang independently and with deeper and more impassioned conviction as compared with all other axioms of homeopathy. He strove even from a very early stage in his medical career to simplify the complex medicine of his day, and was inspired always to obtain simplicity in his treatment of the sick.

“A single simple remedy is always calculated to produce the most beneficial effects without any additional means…it is never requisite to mix two of them together.” [Hahnemann, 1805, 469] “An equally important reason for prescribing only the single remedy was that all the provings were of single substances – not of mixtures.” [Coulter, II, 391] “…we must only give one single simple substance at a time.” [Hahnemann, 1805, 469] “Hahnemann insisted that only one remedy be given at a time and continually belaboured his allopathic colleagues for their multiingredient prescriptions…” [Coulter, II, 390] “Then let us…agree to give but one single, simple remedy at a time, for every single disease…” [Hahnemann, 1797, 320]

One key aspect of this impulse is his simple, possibly naive, notion that the drugs in use in his day were far too complex mixtures for them to bring any predictable benefit to the sick patient. He maintained that no true knowledge of the effects of drugs existed, that it was all based on hearsay, on tradition and speculation. Therefore, it followed from the critical approach he adopted that he decided that any true understanding of the nature and action of drugs should be based upon single drugs first and that the data so generated must be obtained PRIOR to their use on sick persons, rather than the reverse situation, which had pertained for centuries in a completely corrupt and unquestioned tradition. Drugs were simply used in mixtures and in a somewhat entrenched rote manner as based upon unquestioned and centuries-old formulas. This approach he detested, and rejected passionately, as a major obstacle to medical advance.

He rebelled most forcefully and at the earliest stage in his career against the apothecaries and their wonderful mixtures, which Hahnemann declared to be a bogus profession peddling dangerous mixtures that nobody knew the true therapeutic actions of. He was outraged by and rebelled against the whole tradition and privileges of the apothecaries, who he accused of being fools and of enjoying a wholly corrupt and cosy, parasitic relationship with the equally foolish physicians. He never lost his passionate opposition towards apothecaries and what he saw as their vile and murderous trade. He gave them no quarter and was unrelenting in the venom and bile he unleashed on them even to the end of his long life.

Therefore, in this manner, the first aspect of homeopathy to be truly enunciated was that of single drugs, because it was the first and most powerful conviction that Hahnemann had formulated from his very unhappy engagement with Galenic medicine: “homeopathy is more closely related to the medicine of Hippocrates and of Paracelsus than to that of Galen…and [thus] has much in common with two ideographic periods.” [Guttentag, 1178] “Galen’s dogmatisation of the doctrines of Hippocrates had been a sacrosanct, unassailable property of humanity,” [Gumpert, 14]

He became deeply and intuitively convinced that mixed drugs were fundamentally wrong and that single drugs alone spelled the true path for a sane and rational medicine. He condemned the allopathic use of unrecognisable mixtures of drugs by the “commingling of several such unknown substances in one prescription.” [Organon, xxviii] the therapeutic effects of which were inevitably unknown. He “was a most passionate opponent of mixed doses that contained a large number of ingredients.” [Gumpert, 96] Hahnemann “was the first to raise his voice against the compounding of prescriptions, holding that the effects of compounds on disease could never be known precisely.” [Coulter, II, 335] Then “let us…agree to give but one single, simple remedy at a time, for every single disease.” [Hahnemann, 1797, Lesser Writings, 320] He condemned the “employment of the many-mixed, this pell-mell administration of several substances at once…these hotchpotch doses.” [Lesser Writings, 1808, 498] He was very “outspoken in his contempt for every mixture of medicines,” [Haehl, I, 308] revealing his “rejection of compound medicines.” [Haehl, I, 308] On this point he never deviated during his long life and was disposed on only the slightest provocation to pour tremendous scorn on the pharmacy of his day.

How true this is even in our day too! But the simple apothecary is now replaced by huge pharmaceutical enterprises, a billion dollar affair and an immense political, media and social influence. So, in principle here is a serious problem Hahnemann put for the first time…WHO is managing health, the doctor or the big-pharma business?

One later reason for single drug use was also his theory about the vital force. The homeopathic remedy doesn’t act directly but by intermediary action and reaction of Vital Force of the patient. As diseases are viewed as “dynamic derangements,” so a single drug at once is to restore in a unique and coherent way the action and direction of the Vital Force. More than one remedy would create confusion, like an army conducted by more than one commander, which, at the same time tries to act on more than one front spreading and so diluting its forces. However, we have to mention that, for a short period of his life H was attracted by Aegidi to the idea of two simultaneous remedies, but he abandoned the idea because he was convinced by Boeninnghausen and others that accepting two drugs at a time could re-open the Pandora’s box of polypharmacy, which was not a suitable option.

On the other hand, the “single drug” principle doesn’t mean that he did not sometimes use remedies in alternation or in short succession. The change in the aspect of Vital Force—the image of the sickness—demands a change of remedy. On the other hand, as he stated in the 4th Organon, the remedy must be left for enough time to act.


Similars and single drugs really emerged together in Hahnemann’s scathing analysis of allopathy. It is hard to separate them even for convenience. The law of similars was first formulated by Hahnemann through a prolonged literature search which then inspired trial and error, and experiments, gradually revealing to him, and convincing him of, the superiority of similars as a medical maxim over contraries, which was the central axiom of Galenic medicine in which he had formally been trained.

“One should apply in the disease to be healed…that remedy which is able to stimulate another artificially produced disease, as similar as possible; and the former will be healed—similia similibus—likes with likes.” [Haehl, I, 66] “The primary characteristic of homeopathic medicine was the law of similia…” [Rothstein, 165-6] “Hahnemann called the ‘law of similars’ a ‘law of nature’ discovered ‘by the observation of nature and my own experience.” [Defence of the Organon, 1896, USA, 76, in Coulter, II, 362] “Then came the hypothesis—drugs cure disease by causing lesser diseases which the organism can effectively overcome—which is to say, ‘similia similibus curantur’ or ‘like cures like’.” [Cameron, 29] There occurred to him an “association of ideas that led him to suppose that he could cure fever with fever, instead of by the brutal current method of the evacuation of ‘pernicious juices.” [Gumpert, 68] When he published his Essay on a New Principle in 1796, “this work was the successful attempt of a man buried alive to force his way out into the open air.” [Gumpert, 86] Similars was indeed “the doctrine which was to redeem him from the medical nihilism of despair.” [Gumpert, 104]

“Hahnemann considered the production of his ‘mercurial fever’ necessary for the cure of syphilis;” [Ameke, 103] “a kind of artificial fever must be produced by Ipecacuanha, in order to cure certain forms of intermittent fever.” [Ameke, 104] He held “the view that in insidious fevers from unknown causes in which the vital force is sluggish, a new, strengthening and efficaciousfever must be excited.” [Ameke, 104] He “remarks that the mercurial disease resembled that of syphilis.” [Ameke, 104] “By choosing a remedy for a given natural disease that is capable of producing a very similar artificial disease, we shall be able to cure the most severe diseases.” [Ameke, 107]

Because Hahnemann was in a state of profound dissatisfaction with Galenic medicine, so he had in effect been rendered deeply sceptical of the therapeutic legitimacy of its core maxims, viz: mixed drugs in strong dose based on contraries, and its main therapeutic method: bleed and purge. This fact must naturally and inevitably have inclined him sympathetically towards consideration of the potential usefulness of the opposite maxims to Galenism: small doses of single drugs, employed through the more Hippocratic notion of similars.

Hahnemann instinctively detested the use of strong doses of mixed drugs so much in vogue at that time: “the prolonged use of violent, heroic drugs in strong, increasing doses, the abuse of calomel, corrosive sublimate, mercurial ointment, nitrate of silver, iodine and its ointments, opium, valerian, cinchona bark and quinine, foxglove, Prussic acid, sulphur and sulphuric acid, perennial purgatives, bloodletting in torrents, leeches, fontanels, setons, etc.” [Hahnemann, Organon, v.74] It is interesting, if not ironic, that many of these drugs whose over-use he condemns were the first to be proved and incorporated into the homeopathic materia medica!

Therefore, as he set out on his quest for medical enlightenment, it is fair to say that he was already naturally predisposed against the Galenic maxims and leaning more towards those which duly became the core maxims of homeopathy. This was the situation he naturally found himself in even before he set out on his search. Yet, even in spite of this statement of the situation, we must dismiss immediately any notion that he had a predetermined vision of what homeopathy was, before he independently validated each separate axiom of it, and which simply unfolded for him quickly under its own momentum.

This is an incorrect view of the facts. In reality, he still took a very long time to independently verify, through observation and careful experiments, each separate strand of what eventually became homeopathy. He chose to very thoroughly test and validate each axiom over a period from roughly around 1783 to 1801, starting with similars and single drugs and ending with small doses. Such a slow process of unfoldment clearly does not support the notion that he merely followed a simple, predetermined plan, and such a notion must therefore be dismissed out of hand at the start.

Hahnemann had noticed, “a drug imposes its own disease on the patient and wipes out the natural disease.” [Wheeler, 1944, 170] He observed that “the symptoms of Mercury poisoning were very like those of secondary syphilis. That was noticed by John Hunter long before Hahnemann.” [Wheeler, 1944, 170] A similar notion flows from the observation that “the children who did best on tartar emetic in pneumonia were those who had as well gastro-enteritis, i.e. presented more symptoms similar to those of the remedy.” [Wheeler, 1944, 170] Homeopathy then “is exclusively the science and art of the investigation and application of the similia similibus curentur phenomenon.” [Guttentag, 1176]

Similars should also be profound not superficial. This means that the similarities between drug and patient must be deeper and more extensive than just a few broad symptoms. It is also clear from this account that Hahnemann did not construct a theory of medicine first and then find facts to support it, as has been claimed in some less informed quarters [e.g. “Hahnemann had cast homeopathy in substantially the same eighteenth century mold that had given shape to the systems of Cullen, Brown and Rush.” Warner, 1986, 52-3] On the contrary, he distilled each axiom separately and directly from an extensive body of medical literature, from cases, from observation and experience, and thus from considerable reflection upon a large corpus of evidence. Such an approach is certainly an inductive approach a la Bacon, but it was based initially upon a deep dissatisfaction with the medicine of his day, which inspired his search, rather than upon a pure devotion to the methods of experimental science per se as defined by Bacon and Galileo, for example.

Similars must cover specifics and generals, modalities and rare or peculiar symptoms as well as the ideas presented above. This is what Hahnemann discovered. It is not simply a similarity confined to a few symptoms here and there. In other words, some broad and general similarity between patient and drug does not at all form a sufficient basis for a prescription. A much deeper, more detailed, individualised, specific and idiosyncratic level of similarity is required for a “true fit” to be seen to exist between patient and drug. Partial similarity will improve or palliate temporarily, but not cure. The best and most detailed similarity is always correct and curative.

There is a however another corollary of similars that needs some amplification. Similars necessarily embraces case totality both in the drug picture and in the patient. This means that there must exist a deep similarity or resonance between the case in total, as a whole, and the drug picture of the most suitable remedy. Similars does not therefore simply mean the similarity that might exist between a few specific symptoms here and there or based upon some arbitrarily defined named disease entity.

All these points illustrate quite well the interconnectedness of homeopathic ideas as forming a general continuum or whole system of tightly cohesive ideas and notions, which blend neatly into each other. It is a coherent and holistic system and it is thus difficult to separate any one aspect of it and isolate it from all the rest to which it is intimately related and connected.

Provings, Poisonings and Signatures

Having decided that only single drugs were to be employed in a sane and rational medicine, the next task Hahnemann encountered was how to decide what healing properties any drug actually contains hidden within it, and how this information might be obtained. Dismissing at the outset such ideas as the doctrine of signatures, the answer to this problem came to him from consideration of the effects of poisons, in which he had had a long interest and fascination.

In turn, the law of similars springs first from Hahnemann’s studies of poisonings and second from his proving experiments. Another stream of ideas flowed from his deep interest in poisons, which reveal the effects of drugs upon the healthy. For example, his publications: On Arsenical Poisoning, 1786; The Complete Mode of Preparing The Soluble Mercury, 1790; On The Best Method of Preventing Salivation and The Destructive Effects of Mercury, 1791; What Are Poisons? What are Medicines? 1806. There seems little doubt that these studies formed an important prelude to his provings, which are afterall merely mild forms of self-poisoning for experimental purposes. He therefore decided that the only way to accurately determine the detailed ‘sphere of action’ of any single drug was to take some yourself in small doses and accurately explore and record how it can temporarily derange one’s own health.

Heuristically, he found that yes indeed, all drugs are ‘poisons’ that can more or less derange health and induce artificial illness states. The provings were partly inspired by accounts of accidental poisonings—thereby opening up an entirely new pathway to therapeutic knowledge. This meant that many previously “highly poisonous substances,” [Ameke, 131] could now be safely brought into use as harmless healing agents. They could indeed be “converted into…powerful remedial agents in the hands of a skilful physician.” [Ameke, 131] Hahnemann felt that “medicines become poisons simply by imperfect use; in themselves no medicines are poisonous.” [Haehl, I, 75] “He zealously occupied himself…with the collection of cases of poisoning.” [Ameke, 101] His view was that “those substances which we term medicines are unnatural irritants…[that] disturb the health of our body…and excite disagreeable sensations.” [Ameke, 101] “Within the infant rind of this small flower Poison hath residence and medicine power.” [Shakespeare] “Day after day, he tested medicines on himself and others. He collected histories of cases of poisoning. His purpose was to establish a physiological doctrine of medical remedies, free from all suppositions, and based solely on experiments.” [Gumpert, 92] “Hahnemann very carefully argues the question of the new law; he adduces many results of poisonings by drugs, gives his experiences in the uses of medicines…and records the symptoms that certain medicines produced on himself and others.” [Bradford, 58]

The proving was just the start. “Hahnemann having, by his simple and rational experiment with Cinchona bark in 1790, conclusively established the great therapeutic law, that to cure diseases medicines must be used which possess the power of exciting similar diseases, at once perceived that the whole edifice of the old Materia Medica must be rebuilt from the very foundation, as that Materia Medica furnished nothing positive regarding the [true] pathogenetic actions of drugs.” [Dudgeon, 176] Clearly also, “Hahnemann’s dose reduction made possible the systematic use of poisons in medicine. While this had been recommended by von Stoerck and others, it could not be practised as long as large doses were considered necessary…the homeopathic pharmacopoeia later used dozens of the most powerful poisons: Belladonna, Aconite, Arsenic, Strychnine, Rattlesnake.” [Coulter, II, 403-4]

Provings and poisonings reveal Hahnemann’s abiding interest in drugs and their actions and his Pharmaceutical Lexicon was in many respects the forerunner of his Materia Medica Pura, and it is this deep interest in drugs and their effects that reveals and explains the basis of his enormous respect for Albrecht van Haller. What Hahnemann did with this interest was to explore the primary and secondary effects of drugs and poisons—that is where it took him—and from there he went on to observe and distil great principles about the actions of single drugs on healthy people and in turn on the sick. These can all be found in great detail in the Organon.

Homeopathy uses provings of single drugs to determine their precise sphere of action; these provings have been conducted upon healthy human volunteers, and do not employ animal experiments, for example: “his great endeavour was to found a physiological materia medica.” [Ameke, 101] Hahnemann “neatly and conscientiously assembled and numbered his observations of the symptoms excited in himself and his children by the most varied of medicines.” [Gumpert, 114] There followed “a period of twenty years during which Hahnemann worked prodigiously to accumulate data in support of his ‘law of similar’ as it came to be called. An immense Materia Medica was compiled, and he conducted continuous experiments on himself, his friends and those of his colleagues who were curious and willing.” [Cameron, 29]

The proving can be said to arise at the point of convergence of Hahnemann’s detailed knowledge of sickness, poisons and drugs and his uncompromising desire to ground medicine solely in empiricism, that is, observation and experiment. He reserved his greatest respect for “a science of pure experience…knowledge of the disease to be treated and the actions of drugs.” [Ameke, 134] These, he insists can only be deduced “from pure experience and observation.” [Ameke, 134] The proving idea mirrors exactly the incredible information Hahnemann had unearthed in the literature of cases of poisonings, but in provings this is expressed in a muted and more subtle form.

By ingesting a small dose of a substance over a few days one can begin to gain great insights into the nature of a drug, because what is revealed in the proving is the drug’s sphere of action within the body, what organs and systems it affects [resonates with] most strongly and what subtle impacts it has on likes and dislikes, modalities, sleep, dreams and mental states. When compiled together, this information translates into the drug picture [therapeutic image] of the drug in question as recorded in the materia medica. In many respects, this image represents the inner essence of that substance. And it is here perhaps that we can see a subtle connection between the proving and poisoning with the more ancient doctrine of signatures. “According to the doctrine of signatures, widely believed in many cultures, features in the appearance of a plant indicate its utility,” [Steiner, 26] Hahnemann “definitely rejected [the law of signatures]…in his Materia Medica Pura we read under Chelidonium…’the ancients imagined that the yellow colour of the juice of this plant was an indication (signature) of its utility in bilious diseases…the importance of human health does not admit of any such uncertain directions for the of medicines. It would be criminal frivolity to rest contented with such guesswork at the bedside of the sick.’’ [Hahnemann quoted in Hobhouse, 1933, 137-8]

“Paracelsus was also a firm believer in the doctrine of signatures, and in illustration of it explained every single part of St. John’s Wort [Hypericum perforatum] in terms of this belief “…the holes in the leaves mean that this herb helps all inner and outer orifices of the skin…the blooms rot in the form of blood, a sign that it is good for wounds and should be used where flesh has to be treated.” [Griggs, 50]

Arguably, it shows an underlying essence of the substance common to both and which might also be intuitively realised from observation and deep reflection as well as from actual provings. This also connects homeopathy with the various Flower Essence remedies now in quite widespread use.

We can also say that Hahnemann was a pioneer of the “medicine based on fact” or “evidence based medicine.” Hahnemann’s primary aim or ambition was to base medicine solely on solid ground, on facts and therefore he had toxicology and provings as pillars to build a solid data-base of all actions of substances on man.

Toxicology and the so called “side-effects” of drugs represent the involuntary, accidental, uncontrolled side of this topic, and reveal the gross and lesional aspect of the effects a substance can induce. Provings are the voluntary, controlled, conscious and experimental side, and so to say, the more subtle physiological and psychological side of the same phenomenon. Another point that came from provings is the idea of some specific reactions of individual nature, coming from susceptibility and sensitivity of individuals. From these arise the later notion of “sensible typologies,” which denote a complex description of the most reactive individuals to some remedies.

Not only in the case of the provings of drugs, but also with regard to the detailed study of medical similars, there has probably never been in the entire history of the world a single person who has studied the effects of drugs on the human subject more thoroughly than Samuel Hahnemann. In provings and in poisonings, Hahnemann’s pioneering work noted—dissected in detail—both the primary and secondary effects of drugs, and in studying the cures of the past he was able to show that the secondary effects usually mirror the primary and are often curative responses initiated by the vital force, opposite in their nature to the primary effect of the drug on the human system. Nowhere else in the medical literature, outside of his writings, has this information been studied and tabulated in such detail. Nor anywhere else has this data been slowly distilled to engender core therapeutic principles of such awesome predictive power.

Case Totality

This can be seen to derive in part from having no concept of a disease entity acting as the cause of a sickness. It comes from having no disease label and it also springs naturally from the provings, from observation in clinical practice and is thus primarily an empirical idea. It also derives from the conceptual meeting point of his translation work and the provings. It is important to understand why.

While working on translations, Hahnemann found and collected numerous references to specific drugs for specific symptoms, ailments or specific disease labels, and to examples of the effects of poisonings. What exactly did this material mean to him and how did it affect his thinking? Once he came to prove a drug [e.g. Cinchona in 1790], he then saw its effects really comprised a case totality rather than a specific for a named disease or group of symptoms. In other words, in proving a drug he found its action was not to create specific symptom clusters, but to impact more broadly on all mental and physical aspects of organism functioning, and thus creating an image of totality rather than merely being confined to a narrow range of specific actions. Therefore, there was a certain disparity between the references he found to the use of drugs, as found in the literature, which tended to be specific, and their actual effects in the provings. This disparity must have changed his views, probably radically.

His findings therefore meant that in similia such proved drugs were suitable to be employed not for quite narrow specific groups of symptoms [= named diseases], but only for a broader case totality. Then in using these proven drugs in clinical practice, via similia, he accidentally encountered the incredible sensitivity a patient manifests towards their specific similimum. Therefore, he also saw that any new ‘medicine of specifics,’ could not conceivably be a medicine of a specific drug fro a specific disease label, as he had probably imagined, but for a specific drug profile delicately matched and appropriate for a specific individual patient, as a holistic entity. The distinction between these two categories might seem subtle and thunderously hair-splitting, but in reality it is a crucially significant difference, that was to cast asunder the allopathic from the homeopathic systems. This distinction in fact creates a wide gulf between the two both at the conceptual level and at the practical level. Hahnemann saw that there would henceforth be no possibility, no option ever to treat a small group of localised symptoms with homeopathy; it would be case totality or nothing.

Basically, what Hahnemann showed is that all cases of what we term ‘disease’ are ‘totalities’ of symptoms or totalities of health disorder and NOT named diseases as conceived in allopathic practice. He could see the wider picture of each individual case rather than the narrowly fragmented view that naturally follows from the named diseases approach to the sick person. They are different ways of seeing the sick person and hence quite different ways of looking at the very nature of sickness. One is fragmentary and concerned with parts, and the other is holistic and concerned with wholes.

Hahnemann took the view “that physicians assess not only the cause of the illness, but all aspects of the patient,” [Porter, 172] As with Hegel’s philosophy, the “central thought is, then, that only the whole is real; the partial fact is only an abstraction, which needs to be brought into connection with the whole in order to gain validity. ‘The bud disappears in the bursting forth of the blossom, and it may be said that the one is contradicted by the other; by the fruit, again, the blossom is declared to be a false existence in the plant, and the fruit is judged to be its truth in the place of the flower…” [Rogers; 409] He believed that “the disease is reflected in the totality of the symptoms,” [Haehl, I, 292] Hahnemann “was very conscious of the danger,” [Guttentag, 1187] of focusing too narrowly on “one symptom rather than of the whole symptom complex.” [Guttentag, 1187] “not only a single symptom or a single chain of symptoms must be removed,” [Guttentag, 1187] one must remove “the totality of symptoms.” [Guttentag, 1187] For “the whole clinical picture guides the homeopath toward the proper drug…[one that can] produce a similar sum total of signs and symptoms,” [Guttentag, 1187] this is the similimum. Homeopathy “prefers to explore rather than to explain. It emphasises exhaustiveness in observation and stresses the significance of phenomena in terms of the organism as a whole,” [Guttentag, 1176-7] rather than a fragmented view of its parts. It seeks to describe rather than explain. It “considers the single patient as indivisible and unique…as not accessible to the method of measuring,” [Guttentag, 1177] so beloved of the allopaths.

Case totality principle (“Inbegriff des Symptome“) comes also as a direct consequence of the ‘totality of actions’ of remedies as revealed from provings. The differential diagnosis in homeopathy is not based on theoretical nosologic “standards” but on real symptoms, sometime not in a direct connection with the basic affection, that reflects the individual and specific reactional patterns. Because these patterns are external, observable symptoms that reflect in their turn the subtle and unobservable mis-attunement (Unstimmung) of the vital principle. Such semiological notions as modalities, localities, sensations, etc, have all to be carefully observed because they are the expression of the individual vital force reactions. One remarkable point in Hahnemann’s perspective that comes from this is the principle of coherence: disease is not a mere mix of symptoms, but a coherent reaction of the vital force as a consequence of its inner perturbation, of its ‘functional turbulence’ that we call sickness.

Homeopathy looks for the totality of the case because it has significance from the therapeutic point of view. In allopathy, to collect all the symptoms has no real therapeutic meaning; it collects symptoms to eliminate them afterwards because the only symptoms it considers are the common ones, the “disease symptoms.” On the contrary, in homeopathy even the most minor and peculiar symptoms are potentially of greatest importance; they reveal the individuality with its peculiar determination.

Idiosyncrasy individualise

In his work with single drugs Hahnemann soon discovered that the process of matching a drug and a patient requires much greater subtlety and skill than is imagined. In particular this includes the idiosyncratic element of individuality and the rare and peculiar symptoms. Idiosyncrasies reflect also the fact that, from a reactional point of view, humans are not a tabula rasa, they come with inherited traits, they acquire others during the events of life in such a way that every individual is highly personalized and unique. This view stands in the starkest contrast to allopathic view of health and sickness viewed as they are solely through the filter of averages. Propria and communia, what is idiosyncratic and unique to an individual case, and what is common to all cases of a ‘disease;’ this connects with concomitants and ancillary drugs used in the medieval approach.

The inability of scientific medicine to individualise induces a focus not upon “the common symptoms [communia]…” [Coulter, II, 249] those common to many people [the communia]—as in allopathic medicine—but a focus upon “the symptoms peculiar to the individual,” [Coulter, II, 250] case [the propria symptoms]. The latter are much “more reliable criteria…for distinguishing one patient from another,” [Coulter, II, 250] and in most cases “the patient’s habits and mode of life were the most important of the propria.” [Coulter, II, 250] In ancient medicine “they separated the propria from communia with the aim of coming as close as possible to the idiosyncrasy of the patient.” [Coulter, II, 250] It is “that which distinguishes him from all similar patients,” [Coulter, II, 251] and which distinguishes this “patient from all others of his class. Each sick person is unique in his sickness, and the sickness is unknowable in its essence.” [Coulter, II, 251] By relying on “propria over communia they incorporated into their method precisely the characteristics which distinguish the individual patient from all others like him.” [Coulter, II, 498] Allopathy is more properly rooted in an impulse “to note the number of similarities in the behaviour of objects and to construct propositions…” [Berlin, 1996, 21] By contrast, homeopathy is rooted in an opposite principle “to bring out what is specific, unique, in a given character or series of events…respects in which it differs from everything…[and] conveys the unique pattern of experience.” [Berlin, 1996, 22]

All homeopaths become cognisant of “the large amount of individualisation demanded by Hahnemann.” [Haehl, I, 92] Osler when he said that “it is much more important to know what sort of patient has a disease than what sort of disease a patient has.” [Maizes & Caspi] Therefore, we can say that Hahnemann makes a clear and wide deviation from all previous medical systems by insisting that disease is an individual phenomenon and that medicine must primarily base its rational and truly curative treatments upon the unique aspects of each case and not upon the aggregated ‘common symptoms.’ For clearly, what he is saying is that the true nature of any case of sickness lies primarily and fundamentally in its unique individuality and not in the symptoms common across many various cases of a similar type.

Idiosyncrasies form a common basis for the most peculiar symptoms coming from provings and those coming from sick persons. The same principle reveals a mirror-like situation: the most sensitive or susceptible individuals will reveal the most peculiar symptoms in provings, but the most peculiar symptoms in disease are signs that the individual is highly sensitive to a substance.

An interesting rapport between idiosyncrasy, individuality and wholeness is the main core of Hahnemann’s consideration: idiosyncrasy individualise, disrupt the uniformity of reactions, the persons, healthy (in provings) or ill (in therapeutics) are different. But as long as one consider the totality, individuality expresses itself as a wholeness, such that the person is never cut into pieces and all his/her parts remain integrated in a more comprehensive understanding, or fully rounded picture. This is a recuperation of the phenomenological view about humans and therefore homeopathy has less to do with the abstract notion of MAN, but with the more concrete individual man “as such.”

Allopathy, ever since the days of Sydenham, makes the exact opposite claim, and all its treatments are based solidly upon the notion of pooled data, averages, l’homme moyenne and what is common to each so-called “disease entity,” a concept Hahnemann derided as a ludicrous and quite arbitrary human construct, something unnatural, made and not found. Therefore, in this topic we begin to see one of the very strongest contrasts between the conceptual views of the allopaths and homeopaths.

Small Doses

The small doses of homeopathy were the last axiom and were entirely arrived at empirically through the desire to reduce [alleviate, and avoid] the impact that doses of the most similar remedy can have upon the patient. One of “homeopathy’s prime principles…in a nutshell…that drugs increase in potency with their dilution.”[Cameron, 30] Here we have to emphasise the high moral and deontological aspiration of homeopathy, which completely considers as valuable the Hippocratic principle of “primum non nocere“. This is part of the basis of the small dose: a small dose that can induce healing, does the least harm. Hahnemann found that the most similar drug had a uniquely powerful [often astonishing] ability to elicit strong reactions in the patient and for this reason could elicit aggravations of symptoms.

Hahnemann “advocated ever more definitely the administration of small doses.” [Gumpert, 96] “It is in his little work on Scarlet Fever, published in 1801, that we have the first forebodings of an unusual mode of preparing the medicines…the dose of Opium there recommended…is very small compared with the ordinary dose…the object of this dilution was to diminish the power of the medicine chiefly…for patients of very tranquil disposition.” [Dudgeon, 338] “Hahnemann…perplexed by the aggravations resulting from ordinary doses, seeking to find a dose so small that it would not endanger life and desiring to accurately measure his degree of dilution so that he might repeat or retrace his steps, invented or adopted the centesimal scale…” [Close, 218] “His discovery of the principle of potentisation came about gradually as he experimented in the reduction of his doses, in order to arrive at a point where severe aggravations would not occur. Gradually, by experience, he learned that the latent powers of drugs were released or developed by trituration, dilution and succussion.” [Close, 190] “Hahnemann’s final views and practice in regard to the dose were arrived at gradually, through long years of careful experiment and observation.” [Close, 189] “A hint of his growing conviction that remedies should be prescribed in high dilution was given in..(an article)..published in 1788.” [Cook, 51] “Hahnemann’s dose reduction made possible the systematic use of poisons in medicine. While this had been recommended by von Stoerck and others, it could not be practised as long as large doses were considered necessary…the homeopathic pharmacopoeia later used dozens of the most powerful poisons: Belladonna, Aconite, Arsenic, Strychnine, Rattlesnake.” [Coulter, II, 403-4] “In the Organon, however, he stated that trituration and succussion release the ‘spirit-like power’ of the medicine – which is compatible with his assumption that medicines act through their spiritual [geistlich] or dynamic impact upon the organism.” [Coulter, II, 403] “His discovery of the principle of potentisation came about gradually as he experimented in the reduction of his doses, in order to arrive at a point where severe aggravations would not occur. Gradually, by experience, he learned that the latent powers of drugs were released or developed by trituration, dilution and succussion.” [Close, 190]

He was alarmed and amazed to observe the great sensitivity a patient shows towards even small doses of the most homeopathic remedy for their case. Ever smaller doses were conceived by him for the pragmatic purpose of alleviating or avoiding these bad reactions evoked in patients by the most similar remedy. Already naturally inclined in the direction of adopting much smaller doses than his medical peers [e.g. Mercury], he was thus inspired to find ways of reducing dosage progressively and also in a mathematically precise way. This is how and why he first entered the field of dose reduction. The tiny doses of homeopathy can also be said to reveal a link to the more metaphysical ideas like vital force and miasms because they all partake of a subtle and non-molecular dynamic.

In his later views, the dose reduction is a problem of attunement between the subtlety of the target (vital force) and the subtlety of the means [the potentised drug]. Both vital force and potentised remedies are dynamic “spirit-like” entities and to use the second to correct the ailments of the first might be said to proceed as a natural consequence of his spiritualistic view. Actually, the diluted and potentised remedies of homeopathy are the greatest problem of its acceptance by the scientific world, because many of the remedies used are beyond the Avogadro number or, so to say, “ultra-molecular,” beyond the limit a molecular and materialistic paradigm can conceive. The fact that, however, they are therapeutically efficient opens a great problematic field about this paradigm itself, and creates a deep tension between homeopathy and conventional science.

The basis of these small doses was empirical, that is to say, they were arrived at through experience and trial and error; the doses were arrived at by Hahnemann in an attempt both to progressively reduce the toxic action of the drugs, but also to retain the therapeutic action; the result was smaller and smaller doses. “no poison, however strong or powerful, the billionth or decillionth of which would in the least degree affect a man or harm a fly,” [Simpson, 11]

In his ‘Essay On a New Principle’ of 1796, Hahnemann “does not yet talk about diminishing the dose, but insists on the necessity of administering but one medicine at a time…in all these discoveries Hahnemann was guided by experience, to which he trusted solely.” [Dudgeon, 49-50] The small drugs homeopathy employs are produced in a unique way by shaking and diluting in a serial manner in dilute ethanol; the chemical and physical basis of this method—in terms of modern scientific conception—remains a mystery, but was also arrived at empirically, by trial and error. This potentisation method somehow imprints the essence, or energy pattern, of the plant, mineral or animal drug upon the dilution medium, which can then be transferred to lactose pills. “We cannot fail to be struck by the sudden transition from the massive doses he prescribed in 1798 to the unheard of minuteness of his doses only one year later, and we can but guess the causes for this abrupt transition.” [Dudgeon, 395 6] “Hahnemann’s idea at first was simply to reduce the “strength” or material mass of his drug, but his passion for accuracy led him to adopt a scale, that he might always be sure of the degree of reduction and establish a standard for comparison.” [Close, 216] The “principle of the infinitesimal dose [is]…an outrage to human reason,” [Forbes, 17 and Nicholls, 121] and “the doctrines of potentiation and the infinitesimal dose has always been the central point of attack upon homeopathy by its enemies.” [Close, 215] “In the United States, regular physicians…found Hahnemann’s theories absurd and incredible. Reasoning that no one in his right mind could believe such arrant nonsense, they concluded that homeopaths must be either knaves or fools.” [Blake, 86] “His discovery of the principle of potentisation came about gradually as he experimented in the reduction of his doses, in order to arrive at a point where severe aggravations would not occur. Gradually, by experience, he learned that the latent powers of drugs were released or developed by trituration, dilution and succussion.” [Close, 190]


This crucial concept is mostly derived from empirical observation and experience with cases, especially when taking into account longitudinal case studies [through time] which show that suppressed foot sweats can lead to asthma, for example, or suppressed skin rashes, etc can lead to respiratory conditions [tonsil or sinus troubles]. Any set of symptoms removed by a crude drug can be regarded as a form of suppression.

As with chronic miasmata, the conceptual model of suppression probably first arose in Hahnemann’s mind from his extensive knowledge of venerology, where, for example, the suppressed chancre of syphilis leads to further secondary morbid manifestations or morbid alternations; likewise with the suppressed gleet of gonorrhoea. The main problem of this principle is a well balanced primary treatment of the acute diseases. As long as the primary conditions are treated in their natural extensor, as a condition that regards the whole organism itself, then treatment leads to cure. Suppression only arises when the disease is not treated in its whole extent, and instead of treating the complete condition, some local symptoms alone are treated. In this way, the named symptoms are excluded from their deeper context, the disease remains hidden in the interior and develops stronger and deeper forms. Hence, whenever the treatment is aimed at parts, mere symptoms, superficial physiological or pathological manifestation, it is suppressive. This doesn’t mean that homeopathy doesn’t treat acute or partial conditions, but its aim is to treat the integrity, the causes and the profound layers.

Hahnemann took the view that chemical drugs “suppress and hide the morbid symptoms by opposition [contraria contrariis] for a short time [palliatives].” [Organon, xxviii] Old school medicine considers disease as being “purely local and existing there independently, and vainly supposes that it has cured them when it has [merely] driven them away.” [Organon, xxviii] Allopathy turns one disease into another [metastasis] and makes a bad situation even worse by using “corrosive sublimate and other mercurial preparations in large doses,” [Organon, xxix] thereby “continually weakening and tormenting the debilitated patient.” [Organon, xxix] Hahnemann regarded this approach as indeed a “most senseless mode of treatment…[and a] mischievous so-called art.” [Organon, xxix] Homeopaths have always regarded drug-induced changes in cases as fundamentally uncurative acts: any “removal of the tangible products of disease…does not cure the disease, but does the patient a positive injury.” [Close, 73] As Close then adds, “the suppressed case always goes bad,” [Close, 75] to which Kent adds: “all prescriptions that change the image of a case cause suppression.” [Kent, 661] Suppression or palliation of disease “is the removal of the external symptoms of disease by external, mechanical, chemical or topical treatment; or by means of powerful drugs, given internally in massive doses, which have a direct physiological or toxic effect but no true therapeutic or curative action.” [Close, 75- 76] Kent exhorts: “The healthier the patient becomes the more likelihood there is for an eruption upon the skin. The vital energies must be sufficient for this. A cure progresses from within outward.” [Kent, Aphorism 442]

In the example of a skin disease being treated by lotions and creams externally applied, the symptoms are removed from the skin, and the condition alleviated or palliated, but the deeper internal cause of the malady is still present and its true focus is then moved inwards away from the skin. As Hahnemann discovered, and later homeopaths confirmed, the true cure of a skin disease, like any other, lies within, by correcting the deranged vital force, and cannot be cured with material doses of any drug. A view of disease as a “dynamic derangement of the life force,” [see Close, 37-8, 74]

Suppression “or palliation of disease, is the removal of the symptoms of disease by external, mechanical, chemical or topical treatment; or by means of powerful drugs, given internally in massive doses, which have a direct physiological or toxic effect but no true therapeutic or curative action. The suppressed case always goes bad… the abscess and fistula, act as if they were the vent or exhaust of the disease, affording temporary safety to vital organs. Close the exhaust and an explosion follows.” [Close, 74-5] However, “the mere removal of the tangible products of disease by mechanical means as in the case of tumors, or of the external visible signs of disease by topical applications as in the case of eruptions and discharges, not only does not cure the disease, but does the patient a positive injury and renders the case inveterate or more difficult to cure…to the death of the patient from metastasis and the complications which result from such treatments. Disease is only cured by the internally administered similar medicine…” [Close, 73] As an example, “some chronic disease of the liver, kidneys, spleen or lungs [can] be traced back to an initial attack of malarial fever checked by massive doses of quinine or arsenic. The patient has ‘never been well since’…” [Close, 120]

Once this pattern had first been seen and identified, and then became an expected pattern, so it was then found all over the place. Hahnemann soon realized that all changes brought to a case by crude drugs are in fact suppressions because they do not lead to true cure but only to temporary relief followed by relapse, or followed some months later by another disease of a more interior and more serious character or of a more intractable kind. Thus, the idea of suppression goes back to the beginning of homeopathy because it reveals a fundamental problem Hahnemann had identified with Galenic medicine that just removes symptoms [palliates] and then regards that as a cure, when in fact, as he showed, it is merely a suppression. Symptoms are removed or suppressed inwards, but the actual invisible cause of the disease [in the vital dynamism] is still present and dynamically active. It has by no means been cured, but has been forced inwards and upwards to a more sinister and intractable layer of organism functioning.

Hahnemann thus realised later in life that suppression is the very thing which he had instinctively disliked and rebelled against so ferociously in his early days, when he criticised the Galenic ‘purge and bleed’ methods as being both “fundamentally uncurative and harmful” to patients. He realised that his critique showed so-called allopathic cures as merely suppressions of symptoms that only engender first temporary relief, palliation, then relapse and ultimately no deep cure, but just new and more sinister ‘diseases’ breaking out in their train. That is a perfect description of what suppression means and it is precisely the same as the blistering critique of allopathy he launched with such passion at the start of his career.

Direction of Cure

This again is a largely empirical concept derived from close study of cases under homeopathic treatment. Such observations reveal that cures simply tend to move the site of disorder from the inside outwards and from above downwards, and from centre to the periphery. This is called the direction of cure or Hering’s Law. It is not really a law as such, but rather a vague principle that is often found to work out in practice. It also connects with the concept of suppression, of which it is the opposite. While suppression is uncurative and inward-moving, so direction of cure is curative and outward-moving.

Dr Constantine HERING (1800-1880)
C. Hering.

Often called Hering’s Law or direction of cure, “cure takes place in a definite orderly manner and direction…normal vital processes, cellular, organic and systemic, begin at the center and proceed outwardly…life is a centrifugal force, radiating, externalizing, …’from above downward’. In the same sense disease is a centripetal force, opposing, obstructing, penetrating toward the center and tending to disorganization… the progression of all chronic diseases is from the surface toward the center; from less important to more important organs – ‘from below upward’. Curative medicine reinforces the life force, reverses the morbid process and annihilates disease. Symptoms disappear from above downwards, from within outward and in the reverse order of their appearance. When a patient with an obscure rheumatic endocarditis, for example, begins to have signs and symptoms of acute arthritis soon after taking the homeopathic remedy and is relieved of his chest sufferings, we know that cure has commenced.” [Close, 132]

The idea of direction of cure probably became also more precise at the time Hahnemann studied chronic disease more closely, because he observed that chronic diseases are more liable to stem from suppressions and the restoration involves a reverse process. In acute eruptive febrile and infectious disease (such as scarlet fever, measles, rubella, etc.) it is a well known fact that the stronger the exanthema, the less are the consequences and the faster is the convalescence. In chronic diseases, as long as the morbid manifestations are inflammatory, the progression towards affecting the deeper layers, inner organs and the immune systems is less grave.

The direction of cure presumes a hierarchy or layers of different degrees of importance on what regards the inner organisation of man. The core, the most important are deeper, higher and central. Deeper are not only the physical inner organs but also the genetic and inherited aspects. In chronic diseases, deepest are the miasmatic layers, the inherited or acquired miasms that manifest as morbid pre-dispositions. Higher and central are considered not merely in a physical sense but in a hierarchical order of importance for the definition of the individuality. Hence, psyche, or the mental symptoms are higher and more central to the physical ones; a disease that evolves with an amelioration of psyche even with the aggravation of some physical manifestation is therefore regarded as following a good direction of restoration.

From the practical point of view, without understanding the basic idea of restoration (Lat. restauratio = to rebuild, to give back, to repair), the directions of cure applied literally can represent a trap. For example, a lower back pain developing as a sciatic neuralgia with progression down towards the toes (from upward downwards) seems superficially to conform to this principle but in fact is an aggravation of the condition. The progression toward periphery or downwards in this case is usually a consequence of the progression of the disease from a simple contracture to an affectation, inflammation or protrusion of the intervertebral discs: so, in spite the disease have progressed from upward–downward, centre-periphery, it is an aggravation because the disease progressed towards deeper layers of physical and physiological organisation: the muscles are less deep and less important then the skeleton.

In chronic diseases, the restoration (or direction of cure) principle regards the successive layer of affections. The proper cure makes a reverse order development of symptoms, the most recent suppressed symptom can eventually manifest first and the more profound ones come later. Hence, this hierarchical underground order of the human being does not manifest itself only in space terms but also diachronically, in time. Deeper, higher, more central, are also older, inherited or closer to the individual definition.

Vital Force

The vital force in homeopathy plays the same role as the vis medicatrix naturae [the innate self-healing powers] of ancient medicine or archeus, or animus of Stahl or archeus of Paracelsus and van Helmont. He actually he denies this, by saying that the vis medicatrix alone is not capable of accomplishing the aim of cure and no cure without homeopathy is possible. It is a metaphysical concept designed to explain numerous observations of how the organism functions both in health and in sickness. It is necessarily conceived as an abstract, unproven, intangible entity that coordinates the body processes and directs bodily events. It is an immaterial entity that stands behind and beneath the chemistry or the cells and directs their activity invisibly just like the conductor of an orchestra. In health, it smoothly coordinates all activities of the organism. In sickness, it ever strives to correct imbalances. Even “Galen recognised, in agreement with Hippocrates, a natural healing power inherent in the body.” [Haehl, I, 283-4] Ancient physicians generally always took the view of medicine as one of “supporting the patient and trusting the healing power of nature,” [Porter, 260] This “life-force dominated all corporeal processes…[and was] a health-defending property,” [Porter, 208] often termed the innate self-healing powers or “natural healing powers of the body,” [Gevitz, 1637]

Hahnemann starts, “with the conception of Life as a real or substantial entitative power or principle…the Dynamis and the Life Force. This is Hahnemann’s greatest discovery, and the absolute bedrock of his system.” [Close, 30-31] Even Sir John Forbes [1787-1861], consulting physician to Queen Victoria, 1841-61, “accepted the homeopathic cures as the result of the Vis medicatrix naturae…the less the physician does, the better chance the patient has of recovering.” [Rothstein, 243] Such innate self-healing powers, “the self-rectifying powers of the vis medicatrix;” [Simpson, 82] the “natural sanative powers of the constitution,” [Simpson, 81] “the curative powers of nature,” [Simpson, 88] and “the vital dynamism,” [Simpson, 23] are valid forces at work in every one of us and the enhancement of those powers is the primary task of all natural healing.

The organism not a static but a truly dynamic structure permeated by, ruled over and coordinated by the nurturing and sustentative vital power: “the organism is indeed the material instrument of life, but it is not conceivable without the animation imparted to it by the instinctively perceiving and regulating vital force.” [Organon, Aph. 15] Hahnemann believed in the innate “self-healing energy in the patient,” [van Haselen, 123] what he called the “self-regulating vital force, the vis medicatrix naturae.” [van Haselen, 123] And for example, even a modern allopath has stated, “only that nerve energy that runs through you and controls every function and autonomic process of your being every second of your life is capable of healing you. No drugs of doctors can do that. We can only facilitate it,” [Foley] then he clearly echoes the vitalist views of homeopathy and acupuncture.

Hahnemann had essentially the same views on the natural healing powers as an illustrious band of physicians before him. According to Haehl, these include Hippocrates, Galen, Sydenham, Stahl, and the Montpellier School [Haehl, I, 282-6]. Although he believed in the vital force and built homeopathy very much around that concept, he regarded allopathy as using it only in a “crude, unseeing, unintelligent, unreasoned,” [Haehl, I, 287] way, whose methods were not truly enhancing of the vital powers, but in fact depleted them. “Hahnemann’s theory and ideas about vital force and natural healing power…place him close to others, e.g. the striking agreement of his views with Sydenham about natural healing power, with the basic ideas of Stahl’s animism, and with the thought processes of Bordeu and Barthez in their vitalism.” [Haehl, I, 289] They were clinicians prominent in the Montpellier School of France.

Barthez – Montpellier.

Hippocrates conceived of the vital force as “an inborn power regulating…the functions of the organs and the correct relative mixture of the humours.” [Haehl, I, 283] By the same token, “illness is a disturbance of the healthy equilibrium.” [Haehl, I, 283] Galen “agreed with Hippocrates on a natural healing power inherent in the body,” [Haehl, I, 283-4] but made many confusing remarks as well. Stahl’s view was that the symptoms of “diseases were simply the efforts of the organism…to restore the equilibrium of health.” [Haehl, I, 284] Even in the Montpellier school, illness was seen as “an affection of the life power and is expressed by disturbances…[it is] a reaction of the life power.” [Haehl, I, 285] It is roughly in keeping with the views of Hippocrates, Stahl and the Montpellier school, but not with those of Brown or Galen, Boerhaave or Hoffmann, where the effects of the vital force are not always highly regarded or assisted or regarded as curative, or in which therapy tends to run against the natural efforts of the vital force by use of contraries.

The vital force is a “spiritual principle…that rules with unbounded sway.” [Organon, Aph 9] or what might also be called “a spiritual medicinal power,” [Simpson, 141]“Hahnemann minimises the healing power of nature,” [Guttentag, 1175] but “he describes its effects as nowhere to be imitated and as rarely sufficient.” [Guttentag, 1175] Post-Hahnemannian homeopathy “still holds the same respectful view of the healing power of nature as in 1836.” [Guttentag, 1175] Most homeopaths have reiterated the view that the healing power of nature is supreme.

Dr James Tyler KENT (1849-1916) & Dr Clara Louise TOBY KENT (1855-1943)
J. T. Kent.

Kent says that “there is no cell or tissue so small that it does not keep its soul and life force in it,” [Kent, 670] and he expresses the view that “the vital force dominates, rules and coordinates the human body.” [Kent, 677] Also, that the vital force “is again dominated by still another higher substance which is the Soul.” [Kent, 677] In his conception of the organism, “the vital force holds all in harmony, keeps everything in order when in health.” [Kent, 677] In this view, “that which we call disease is but a change in the vital force expressed by the totality of the symptoms.” [Kent, 661] Therefore, “the inner nature of the remedy corresponds with the inner nature of the disease.” [Kent, 685] Disease being a dynamic imbalance, so any “dynamic wrongs are corrected from the interior by dynamic agencies.” [Kent, 643] Thus, “Man cannot be cured or be made sick except by some substance as ethereal in quality as the vital force.” [Kent, 644] Kent wisely called the vital force the “vice-regent of the soul,” [Kent, 660] and it does seem to correspond to the concept of the unconscious or subconscious mind that regulates all the bodily processes through the involuntary nervous system, and the endocrine organs and keeps the breathing and blood going etc. Because of its immaterial nature, the vital force bonds with various other key concepts in homeopathy, such as the small doses and the miasms. Though it is an abstract and insubstantial entity, its reality and truth is confirmed through the powerful logic of its usefulness as a concept underpinning so many aspects of homeopathy.


The vital force stakes another primary claim for a unique status within the conceptual core of homeopathy in that the remedies of homeopathy do not directly impact upon or cure the alleged ‘disease,’ but impact primarily upon the vital force, the innate vital powers, the vital dynamism that controls the organism, and solely through whose dominion and sovereign powers sickness is either created or annulled. Therefore, sickness is removed indirectly rather than directly, not at the local level, but at the level of the whole organism. The sickness itself is conceived as under the control of the vital force, not of itself. It is conceived primarily as an internal matter, not an external one. Accesses to sickness is thus always indirect and only achieved via the holistic powers of the vital force itself, which pervades the entire organism.

Homeopathy treats “the person and not the disease.” [Shaw, 6] It truly is the ‘innate healing power’. We should always “remember that it is our duty to help nature as far as possible do her job.” [Bodman, 225] Medicine involves an attempt “to restore health…an attempt to restore balance,” [Wheeler, 1947, 1] for true “health is simply the balanced life.” [Wheeler, 1947, 4] Homeopathy “is no religion, no sect, no fad, no humbug…remedies do not act directly on disease; they merely stimulate the vital reactions of the patient, and this causes him to cure himself.” [Weir, 200-201] Regarding the remedy, we need to remember, “that the reaction it sets up in the organism is a reaction which goes on working to the ultimate dispersion of the infirmity.” [Cooper, Jan 1893; 14] Reliance upon the “natural healing power leads to interpretation of symptoms as signs of the body’s struggle against disease,” [Coulter, II, 456] and thus symptoms are seen “as beneficial—being the signs of the struggle of the vital force against disease.” [Coulter, II, 487]

He also condemns any medical system that searches out and respects only “the mechanical origin of diseases…[and] which derives diseases from the original form of the parts.” [Ameke, 95] However, Hahnemann—like Bach, Paracelsus and Bailey—regarded sickness as due to “a morbid derangement of the internal dynamis,” [Hahnemann, 1810, Aph. 12] and an affection of the “morbidly deranged spirit-like dynamis.” [Hahnemann, 1810, Aph.15] He regarded “symptoms…[as] the expression of the vital force untuned.” [Handley, 66] He also states that “diseases obviously are not and cannot be mechanical or chemical changes in the material substance of the body…but are an exclusively dynamic, spirit like untunement of life.” [Hahnemann, 1810, Aph.31] Hahnemann expresses his own sentiments in the Organon [Aphorisms 11 [9, 10], 15 and 16]: “let it be granted now…that no disease…is caused by any material substance, but that every one is only and always a peculiar, virtual, dynamic derangement of the health.” [Hahnemann, Organon, Aphorisms 11 [9, 10], 15 and 16] Such is certainly a view of disease as a “dynamic derangement of the life force.” [Close, 37-8, 74]

Remedies “contain a non-material healing energy.” [van Haselen, 123] They mobilise the “self-healing vital force,” [van Haselen, 123] which is recognised as the source of all natural healing. Homeopathic “remedies do not act directly on disease; they merely stimulate the vital reactions of the patient, and this causes him to cure himself.” [Weir, 200-201] They lead to “stimulation of a person’s self-healing strengths.” [Franz, 32] Homeopaths thus conceive that “homeopathic remedies and Bach essences act as a catalyst,” [Franz, 32] to stimulate innate self-healing processes, using “natural healing substances.” [Richardson, 174] Paracelsus believed that “attenuation would release from the crude matter the inner ‘arcanum,’ the essential curative virtue.” [Richardson, 174] They further held that “the overall archeus or vital force and the archeus of each organ could be healed by a corresponding archeus of a medicinally prepared plant or mineral.” [Richardson, 174]

Dr Jean-Baptiste VAN HELMONT (1577-1644 )

Hahnemann “is in tune with Paracelsus’ and van Helmont’s concept of the archeus.” [Richardson, 176] According to them “the dynamis of the corresponding natural life form, medicinally activated by potentisation…restores the individual human dynamis to health…[and represents] the highest immaterial or spiritual extraction of medicines.” [Richardson, 176] Kent’s view that potentised remedies contain “purely energetic medicinal powers imprinted on the water/alcohol medium during preparation,” [Richardson, 176] is entirely consistent with the views of Hahnemann and Bach, and they would probably all further agree with him that such remedies resonate “profoundly with the soul, mind and will.” [Richardson, 176]

Again we see the strong connection to case totality [holism] and to the general inadequacy of the concept of a localised disease. In popular parlance, the remedy stimulates the vital force to cure the disease and the remedy merely stimulates the vital force, whose powers pervade the entire organism; it does not of itself cure ‘the disease’ directly, it stimulates the body to heal itself. The vital force can be seen to be a very cohesive and unifying principle that permeates the whole of homeopathy, linking together many otherwise disparate concepts. What we see then is a medicine “based more upon quality and not a quantity.” [Barnard, 301]


The miasm is a metaphysical concept to try and explain cumulative observations of case histories of sickness within families. As an idea it probably derives from Hahnemann’s studies of venereal diseases, most especially Syphilis, which does have this character of a miasm that is acquired, then goes dormant and then springs out later in various hideous forms as well as being passed on to children as predictable [patterned] inherited syndromes of sickness. When viewed more metaphysically the miasms are defects carried in the vital force that cause sickness by deviations from its perfect and harmonious control. Miasms might be termed ‘internalised relics’ or stains of big diseases that are left in the vital force and which steal its natural self-healing power.

From “frequent observations, Hahnemann had discovered that chronic maladies…had some connection with a previous outbreak of Psora.” [Haehl, I, 138] This ‘miasm theory’ stirred up great controversy among his followers, and seems to have instinctively elicited much more ridicule than it did praise. To Hahnemann, Psora was “a disease or disposition to disease, hereditary from generation to generation for thousands of years, and…the fostering soil for every possible diseased condition.” [Haehl, I, 144] The theory “did not receive unanimous support from his followers, even after Hahnemann’s death.” [Haehl, I, 150] The notion of Psora has many facets; for example, “seven-eighths of all the chronic maladies prevalent are ascribed by Hahnemann to Psora…” [Haehl, I, 142] He did not confine its meaning solely to Scabies; “Psora…was widely known in Hahnemann’s time, as the general term for a whole series of skin troubles of the most varied kinds…” [Haehl, I, 143]

Yet, the miasm theory undoubtedly is an attempt to reach into “the deeper fundamentals of disease.” [Haehl, I, 137] Many called psora, “this thousand-headed monster.” [Haehl, I, 145] Chronic symptoms are regarded by homeopaths as “symptoms of the underlying miasmatic malady.” [Haehl, I, 145] Hahnemann’s “idea of Psora coincides to a large extent with that of inherited predisposition to disease.” [Haehl, I, 151] The initial “starting point for the main ideas [of miasms]…was the observation that certain chronic diseases…could be alleviated by homeopathic remedies, but not completely cured.” [Haehl, I, 138] To Hahnemann, “psora is a disease or disposition, hereditary from generation to generation for thousands of years.” [Haehl, I, 144] It “can be observed in the most variable forms imaginable.” [Haehl, I, 145] Psora as a miasm, therefore, becomes “the fostering soil for every possible diseased condition.” [Haehl, I, 144] The miasm theory can be seen as the logical extension of the vital force concept, and as bringing the vital force to its ultimate point.


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Cornelia Richardson-Boedler, Doctrine of Signatures: a Historical, Philosophical and Scientific View [II], BHJ 89, 2000, 26-28

Guenter B Risse, Kant, Schelling and the early search for a philosophical science of medicine in Germany, Jnl of the History of Medicine 27, 1972, 145-158

Arthur K Rogers, A Student’s History of Philosophy, New York: Macmillan, 1960

William G Rothstein, American Physicians in the 19th Century from Sects to Science, Baltimore: John Hopkins Univ. Press, 1972

William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, act 2, scene 3

Non Shaw, Bach Flower Remedies a Step-by-Step Guide, Shaftsbury: Element Books, 1998

Sir James Young Simpson, Homeopathy: its Tenets and Tendencies, Theoretical, Theological, and Therapeutical, 3rd ed., Edinburgh: Sutherland and Knox; London: Simpkin, Marshall, 1853

R P Steiner, Folk Medicine, American Chemical Society, Washington, 1986

Owsei Temkin, An Essay on the Usefulness of Medical History for Medicine, Bull. Hist. Med. 19.1, 1946, 9-47

R A van Haselen, The Relationship Between homeopathy and the Dr Bach System of Flower Remedies: a Critical Appraisal, BHJ 88, 1999, 121-127

John Harley Warner, The Therapeutic Perspective Medical Practice, Knowledge and Identity in America 1820-1885, Harvard Univ. Press, USA, 1986

Sir John Weir, The Hahnemann Convalescent Home, Bournemouth, BHJ 20, 1931, 200-201

Charles E Wheeler, Reflections & Recollections, Brit. Homeo. Jnl, 33, 1944, 170-171

Charles E Wheeler Obituary, Brit. Homeo. Jnl 37.1, April 1947, 1-11

H. Wulff, A. Pedersen, R. Rosenberg, Philosophy of Medicine, an Introduction, London: Blackwell Scientific Publications, 1986

The Principles of Homeopathy. Part 1/2 Peter Morrell

by Peter Morrel

The Principles of Homeopathy.

Hahnemann’s Essay on a New Principle, “was the successful attempt of a man buried alive to force his way out into the open air.” [Gumpert, 86]


“Then came the hypothesis—drugs cure disease by causing lesser diseases which the organism can effectively overcome—which is to say, ‘similia similibus curantur’ or ‘like cures like’.” [Cameron, 29]

In his Essay On a New Principle, Hahnemann “does not yet talk about diminishing the dose, but insists on the necessity of administering but one medicine at a time…in all these discoveries Hahnemann was guided by experience, to which he trusted solely.” [Dudgeon, 1853, 49-50]

One of “homeopathy’s prime principles…in a nutshell…is that drugs increase in potency with their dilution.” [Cameron, 30]

The “principle of the infinitesimal dose [is]…an outrage to human reason,” [Forbes, 17 and Nicholls, 121]

The vital force is a “spiritual principle…that rules with unbounded sway.” [Organon, Aph 9]

Lists of his publications [Ameke, 145-7] suggest a definite progression or time-line: 1783 – the move to single drugs; 1788 – the adoption of medical similars; 1790 – the 1st proving and hence holism/case totality; 1798 – the first systematic use of ever smaller doses; 1829 – the miasm theory. Each of these points represents a permanent and irreversible shift in his view and approach, and they comprise the exact sequence of events from which homeopathy, as a complete medical system, emerged.

This essay explores the core principles of homeopathy, guided and amplified by and embellished with a plethora of quotes from reputable sources.

Dr Samuel HAHNEMANN (1755-1843)

Hahnemann as Medical Philosopher

People seem to easily run away with the unsubstantiated notion that Hahnemann was just a rebel, a pioneer, a revolutionary deviant, an iconoclast and a medical reformer. And they seem far less able to grasp his main aspirations in life. It is true that in due course he became all those things, but these labels, like medals so easily pinned upon his chest, do not clearly reveal or accurately describe who he was and what he sought, which indeed remains completely obscured beneath these secondary aspects about him. His main aim was to establish, for once and for all, the truth about medicine. He was thus not primarily a reformer at all, but a medical philosopher, a person very centrally grounded in trying to define what medicine is, what it is not, what sickness is and what truly cures sickness: which methods are curative and which are not—and why!

Hahnemann identifies the problem with all prior medical systems as not being “in consonance with nature and experience; they were mere theoretical webs, woven by cunning intellects out of pretended consequences.” [Organon, 1] Such a medical art “pluming itself on its antiquity imagines itself to possess a scientific character,” [Organon, 2] when it plainly doesn’t. But “like all other Empirics before him, therefore, Hahnemann insists that therapeutic theory arises out of therapeutic practice. Practice is always prior to theory.” [Coulter, II, 351] Hahnemann “was committed with all his mind to the observational method…he rejected in its entirety the clap-trap of medieval traditions and he made out an eloquent case for the pharmacological experimental method.” [Cameron, 32] He despised “the splendid juggling of so-called theoretical medicine, in which a priori conceptions and speculative subtleties raised a number of proud schools…the art of medicine, was merely a pseudo-scientific fabrication, remodelled from time to time to meet the prevailing fashion.” [Preface to the 2nd Organon, xv]

As far as Hahnemann was concerned, “physiology…looked only through the spectacles of hypothetical conceits, gross mechanical explanations, and pretensions to systems…little has been added…what are we to think of a science, the operations of which are founded upon perhapses and blind chance?” [Hahnemann, 1805, in Lesser Writings, 423-6] Like Paracelsus before him, he was “driven to innovation by dissatisfaction with the limitations of conventional medicine.” [van Haselen, 121-2] The process is therefore akin to “Paracelsus and van Helmont building their systems impertinently amid the ruins of the Galenic.” [French, 211] He condemned “speculative refinements, arbitrary axioms…dogmatic assumptions…[and the] magnificent conjuring games of so-called theoretical medicine.” [Ameke, 134] The uncurative allopathic approach he condemned merely leads to ‘symptom chasing’ palliation and medical dependency: “the champions of this clumsy doctrine of morbific matters ought to be ashamed that they have so inconsiderately overlooked and failed to appreciate the spiritual nature of life, and the spiritual dynamic power of the exciting causes of diseases.” [Organon, 9]

This is a perspective we always have to consider about him; as formerly Francis Bacon in his Novum Organum Scientiarum revealed the psychological and cultural mindset as possible sources of errors in science: “homœopathy was the logical and legitimate offspring of the Inductive Philosophy and Method of Aristotle and Lord Bacon.” [Close, 15] It was “founded and developed into a scientific system by Samuel Hahnemann (1755-1843) under the principles of the Inductive Method of Science as developed by Lord Bacon.”[Close, 16-17] Hahnemann “seems to have been most influenced by the inductive philosophy of Lord Bacon.” [Close, Ch. 3] “Hahnemann began to blaze his way, guided by the compass of logic encased in the inductive method of Bacon.” [Close, Ch. 16]

Likewise, Hahnemann revealed the errors inherent to the inconsistent medical ideas of his time, while searching for a sound and factually-based grounding for medical practice. He “detaches himself entirely from his contemporaries by his conception of the nature of disease.” [Haehl, I, 291] Nonsense, “is his description of the materia peccans, which was then generally accepted as the cause of disease.” [Haehl, I, 291] He dismissed “mechanical or chemical alterations of the material substance of the body,” [Haehl, I, 291] as being the cause of disease, which he did not believe to be “dependent on a material morbific substance…[but resulting from] merely spirit-like [conceptual] dynamic derangements of the life.” [Haehl, I, 291] It is this “morbidly affected vital energy alone [that] produces disease.” [Haehl, I, 291] He “strenuously…rejected and fought against the theories of disease origin and diagnosis, as known in his time.” [Haehl, I, 290] He “had to do with a confused babble of inferences and unproveable assertions.” [Haehl, I, 290] He dismissed “the crass materialism” [Haehl, I, 290] of his day, and “became disillusioned and dissatisfied with current medical practice. He…began experiments, later called ‘provings’, on himself and other healthy individuals.” [Flinn, 425-7]

Disease “is not to him, as to contemporary therapy, an agent distinct from the living whole, from the organism, and from the life-giving dynamis—a being, inwardly concealed however finely conceived.” [Haehl, I, 291] Diseases, he declares, “are not mechanical or chemical alterations of the material substance of the body and they are not dependent upon a material morbific substance. They are merely spirit-like [conceptual] dynamic derangements of the life;” [Haehl, I, 291] “the morbidly affected vital energy alone produces diseases.” [Aph 12, in Haehl, I, 291] Hahnemann rejected the view of such figures as Sydenham that “diseases were specific entities,” [Porter, 1998, 230]; who cited “mistletoe growing on trees, he emphasised how disease was independent of the sufferer.” [Porter, 1998, 230] For Hahnemann, this was merely false and misleading theorising. As with Paracelsus, Hahnemann took the view that “each individuum was wholly peculiar and…[that] there were as many diseases as patients.” [McLean, 170]

He dismisses all prior medicine as “an utterly irrational and useless art.” [Ameke, 134] He exhorts that “facts and experience must be at the root of all revelations of truth.”[Ameke, 134] He regarded the medicine of his day as having “evolved out of physicians’ heads, out of illusion and caprice,” [Ameke, 134] and of comprising “an infinite kingdom of fantasy and of arbitrary assumptions, the parent of disastrous delusion and of absolute nothingness.” [Ameke, 134] What Hahnemann terms “…’experience’ is equivalent to investigation; ‘sciences of experience’ are the same as what are now called the ‘inductive sciences’…or ’empiricism’…” [Ameke, 133] This refers to where Hahnemann says things like “true medicine is from its very nature a pure science of experience,” [Ameke, 134] that medicine “should rest only upon pure facts,” [Ameke, 134] and that medicine should be rooted in “pure experience and observation…and not venture a single step beyond the sphere of pure, carefully observed experience and experiment.” [Ameke, 134] Hahnemann was, “in all essentials, a flawless experimenter.” [Introduction to the 2nd Organon, xxiv]

These empirical methods are those “in the early days of homeopathy, Hahnemann undoubtedly employed,” [Cooper, Feb 1893, 66] for it is indeed axiomatic that “all great improvements in science are made by men who throw off the trammels of previous teachings and begin by a complete and radical overhauling of the entire subject.” [Cooper, 1894, 389] Hahnemann was an “exponent of the empirical…therapeutic method…in which symptoms and signs of the curative effort of the dynamis…must be interpreted as positive or beneficial phenomena.” [van Haselen, 123] “The era of scientific medical experimentation begins with Hahnemann and nobody else. Scientific to the core, Hahnemann experimented scientifically for scientific observation…” [ibid., xxvii] “The true healing art is in its nature a pure science of experience, and can and must rest upon clear facts and on the sensible phenomena pertaining to their sphere of action.’ and that it ‘…dares not take a single step out of the sphere of pure, well-observed experience and experiment, if it would avoid becoming a nullity, a farce.” [Preface to 2nd Organon, xiv]

Like Harvey, Hahnemann professed to learn “not from books…not from the tenets of Philosophers, but from the fabric of Nature.” [Porter, 215] A good example of Paracelsus’ qualification as a radical empiricist, like Hahnemann, is when he “thought he could learn more medicine by travelling and observing than from any library,” [French, 148] which is certainly a sentiment reminiscent of Edward Bach’s travels in the English countryside, or the very peripatetic life of Hahnemann in his ‘wandering years.’ Knowing that “we owe almost all our knowledge of the pure healing forces of nature to the unembellished lore of the common man,” [Gumpert, 24] so Hahnemann “cast tradition aside, and had recourse only to the medicines he had learned, tested and confirmed.” [Gumpert, 67] In his construction of homeopathy, Hahnemann gives “pure experiment, careful observation and accurate experience alone,” [Gumpert, 144] as the sole determining factors, the sole forces that shaped his new system.

Hahnemann demanded that medicine become more empirical, and roots itself more fully in genuine observations. Medicine as a practical pursuit was largely dominated by an “apparent symptomatic and therapeutic chaos,” [Risse, 146] which is a world of “sometimes baffling bedside appearances.” [Risse, 146] For Hahnemann, in their “dealings with the sick…the objects of experience,” [Risse, 152] clinicians should work solely with “the empirical peculiarities of each individual case through observations at the bedside,” [Risse, 152] and dispense entirely with spurious and half-baked theories of disease. Medical knowledge should be more firmly rooted in this empirical sickness data and should therefore be very largely “based on bedside experience.” [Risse, 152] This is clearly at variance with “formal, abstract thought,” [Risse, 152] or “metaphysical speculations,” [Risse, 152] and illustrates quite well the natural gulf that exists between medicine and philosophy.

Initially, he looked for the most simple, comprehensible and trusted principles in medicine, easy to apply, and without any speculative intrusion or unnecessary recourse to the opinion of so-called “authorities,” whose validity he questioned. Therefore, at the start of his career, we find him juggling with medical ideas, straying from the main path of medical practice, certainly, but experimenting and tinkering about with the medicine he had been given and taught. The reason for all this activity is fairly clear—it is self-explanatory: he was far from happy with the medicine he had been given, first, because it did not cure sickness as it claimed, and second because it often proved very harmful to patients.

Thus, at this very early stage, his confidence in using the Galenic ‘bleed and purge’ approach diminished sharply. He soon became very circumspect and inordinately cautious about using such a blunt and dangerous instrument on sick people; he was sufficiently cautious in fact, to abandon medical practice completely for several years, for fear of harming many patients. We can see his high deontological and moral conception: “primum non nocere” was such an important thing for him that he was disposed to leave medical practice in conditions that could be harmful for his patients. He never was a person of half–way truths.

This then accurately describes Hahnemann’s primary motivation: to establish carefully and with some certainty what medical truths really are; to distinguish between cure as opposed to the suppression or mere palliation of symptoms; to establish the core principles of medicine. There is a deeper Hahnemann who lies underneath all those superficial labels. Hahnemann might be said to have scored his first big hits as a rebel, “the Luther of medicine,” [McLean, 78] and as a dangerous iconoclast.

Of course it is perfectly true that Hahnemann was an iconoclast and he did become a major medical rebel and reformer, “a physician at war with the medical practices of his time,” [Brieger, 241] but we must remember that this was a secondary, not a primary aspect, as it flowed from his situation of being the one who had found the truth, and nobody wanted to listen to it. Hahnemann is often regarded as something of a “medical Luther.” [Temkin, 16; Osler] Medical empiricists like Paracelsus, and Hahnemann were “rejecting sterile rationalism,” [McLean, 27] in favour of personal experiment. Paracelsus was referred to as “the Luther of medicine,” [McLean, 78] primarily because he represented a troublemaking tendency, “an anti-authoritarian stance and insisted…on the importance of inner revelation or ‘lumen naturae.’” [McLean, 78] This knowledge-creating power he respected far more, as a fertile and reliable beacon of hope and revelation, than the thunderous hair-splitting rationalism of philosophers and textbooks. He also held that true knowledge of medicine “was not to be acquired from authority, but existed in the natural objects themselves.” [French, 149]

His whole being rebelled utterly against the use of medical contraries, which he felt run entirely counter to the efforts of Nature: “it is improper to treat constipation with purgatives, the excited circulation of hysterical, cachectic and hypochondriacal patients by venesection, acid eructations by alkalies, chronic pains by Opium, etc.” [Ameke, 105] Once he had realised the terrible state of medicine, rooted, as it was, in mixed drugs, and strong doses employed through contraries, and that all so-called cures were actually suppressions that never held any prospect of cure but simply generated more sickness, then what else could he do found a superior method, a superior system? He had no alternative as a man of conscience but to follow the path he did, even though that rendered him a rebel and heretic.

This background provides us with an accurate and insightful model with which to understand most of the events of his early professional life and the many twists and turns of his medical career. What this account reveals and places at centre stage is Hahnemann’s abiding concern with what works and what doesn’t and why, leading him on a trail to experiments with drugs and endless tinkering with different doses, always devised to substantiate this and invalidate that. Therefore, his early concern lay in a long-winded and methodical process of distilling valid therapeutic maxims from the medical literature, using case histories that illustrate points, for example, about single or mixed drugs, large or small doses, similars or contraries, dose repetition and what “a disease” actually consists of as compared with “a sick person.”

In every case, he adopted a meticulous thorough-going process of amassing case histories and examples, from which he could distil clear medical principles, leading in turn to the experiments which confirmed or denied each point he wished to investigate. Only by proceeding in this slow and methodical manner was he eventually able to decide, for example, in favour of single drugs, similars and small doses. So, the real life of Hahnemann—our seeing him for what he really was—supplies an illustration of a man who was primarily a medical philosopher, a dauntless searcher for medical truth and one who regarded the truth above all else as worth searching for relentlessly, resolutely and tenaciously: aude sapere. This gives a more accurate view of him than the idea that he was simply a medical rebel and reformer.

In some respects Hahnemann resembles Galileo: “…’the leitmotiv of Galileo’s work as I see it was his passionate opposition to belief based on authority.‘…” [Einstein quoted by Pietschmann, 156-7] Even though “Hahnemann was…a great experimental scientist…he observed and collected his observations until gradually a pattern showed itself…[yet] observation alone is not sufficient, it must be coupled with right relating,” [Brieger, 241] yet the idea that he was primarily an empiricist and experimental scientist a la Bacon is only a partial truth. He certainly employed inductive methods, but they were always employed to establish some truth, not blindly, pursued as an end in itself, or just because he enjoyed experiments. One struggles hard to find a single example of any experiment he undertook just for the sake of it. Ideas and truths in medicine were thus easily the most important aspects of the man and his mission, not experimental science per se. He was not an empiric per se, but it was an empiricism tempered by and tethered to a specific mission.


Homoeopathy and personal observations

Medicine is a difficult thing to define. So many branches within the conceptual understanding of the name.

Many practitioners of homoeopathy erroneously think that homeopathy IS “medicine”, and the reality is that homoeopathy is a branch of medicine. The therapy has a well defined role to play in its application of therapeutics, but can only be effective within the boundaries of what it can cure.

Let me be very clear about my positional stance. I firmly accept that the law of CURE is answered in the Like cures like definition. The therapeutic approach of similars as defined by Hahnemann is the medical application of that law utilising substances that can produce symptoms that can be matched to symptoms that appear within disease states. Substances do NOT produce the disease itself. Substances produce SYMPTOMS. Substances have no personality or TYPE or affinity to human traits, they merely produce SYMPTOMS. There is no SULPHUR personality… only symptoms in disease that produce symptoms that require sulphur for a curative effect.

Homoepathy cannot be used in place of surgery. Sometimes the necessity for surgery can be removed by treatment with homoeopathy, but in general, where mechanical intervention  is required, then a procedure will take place. Homoeopathy is useful in helping the post operative recuperation by aiding the immune system to work with focus.

Homoeopathy cannot replace the need for substances like insulin, but can reduce the volume required. I have seen this many times.

In an emergency situation of trauma, where time is of the essence and the immune system is not working, then primary care application of medicine and procedures must take precedence. Hahnemann recognised this:

A small dose of every one of them certainly produces a primary action that is perceptible to a sufficiently attentive; but the living organism employs against it only so much reaction (secondary action) as is necessary for the restoration of the normal condition.§ 67 Fifth EditionThese incontrovertible truths, which spontaneously offer themselves to our notice and experience, explain to us the beneficial action that takes place under homoeopathic treatment; while, on the other hand, they demonstrate the perversity of the antipathic and palliative treatment of diseases with antagonistically acting medicines. Only in the most urgent cases, where danger to life and imminent death allow no time for the action of a homoeopathic remedy – not hours, sometimes not even quarter-hours, and scarcely minutes – in sudden accidents occurring to previously healthy individuals – for example, in asphyxia and suspended animation from lightning, from suffocation, freezing, drowning, etc. – is it admissible and judicious, at all events as a preliminary measure to stimulate the irritability and sensibility (the physical life) with a palliative, as for instance, with gentle electrical shocks, with clysters of strong coffee, with a stimulating odor, gradual application of heat, etc.

With the advent of modern drugs that will stimulate and revive functionality, I have no problem in adding these to the list of times when emergency treatments are required.

As physicians/consultants/health advisors, we the practitioners have but one responsibility to the patient, that is their welfare. My experience and observation is that applying the law of similars is the best we can offer, yet times will arise when the organism will not respond to the application of the proven remedies to immune deficiencies or damage by drugs or other influences.

We must not be so single minded to ignore facts in our search for cure.

Homoeopaths require expressed and observed symptoms to prescribe. Without a single or multiple symptom or disease expression, we have nothing to base a prescription on.  We need individual reaction to an infection. I am singularly frustrated at times when a patient comes to me in apparent good health without a solitary expression of disorder, and yet examination shows a tumour or life threatening change internally that is not reflected externally as a change in health. These type of disorders require a deep examination of the Materia Medica which may or may not yield a remedy to prescribe.

I have been called to situations where a prescriber has failed to aid elderly patients with confusion and weakness with well indicated remedies, and yet failed to to see that all that was required was a multi vitamin shot or to rehydrate the patient…. common problems associated with the aged.

I have seen prescribers show a complete confidence in prescribing low potencies for pathology and high potencies for other reasons, and yet on observation of the patient, I have observed major aggravations and effects of the remedies in the patient, some for long periods of time.

I have seen prescribers work to the “Herings law” in observation, only to wonder why a practitioner would ignore KNOWN pathological progression of an individual disease state ebb and flow and consider it a good sign?.  (Hint: Hering NEVER made a law… yet another fallacy of the homoeopathic community.)

Practititioners ignore sound observed changes in favour of personality traits and emotions that (are NOT part of an altered pathology) and wonder why a patient does not improve…

I see daily repetition of medicines made (Even with LMs) with the practitioner ignoring aggravations and ameliorations in contradiction to Hahnemanns directions. This is especially concerning because too much medicine can cause a sensitivity in a patient and complicate matters.

Turn back to Hahnemann and learn the brilliance of his observations and advice on case taking, observations, applications of medicine and how to manage the case. It is the real homoeopathy. The only homoeopathy that works consistently.

Hahnemann, Kent and the IHM.

One of the questions we get asked a lot by practitioners, is why concentrate solely on the teachings of Hahnemann, the provers Union and Boenninghausen. We have found over the years that it is always better to go to original sources for accuracy.

Homoeopathic historians have started to address the issues caused by influential homoeopaths from the 19th century on and recognise the confusion that is caused in practice. We sidestep all these issues simply by using the Organon, Chronic Diseases, the other writings of Hahnemann, Boenninghausen and approved sources. If your practice is not as successful and you would like, we would encourage you to revisit some of the methodology you employ in casetaking and repertorisation and pharmaceutical practice, or alternatively take a small seminar with us to educate yourself on the original practice methods.


Kent is not a Hahnemannian: Differences Between Kent and Hahnemann

By  S. Hehr, M.B.B.S., D.P.M.

(Originally Published in British Hom. Journal as “Was Kent a Hahnemannian?”, Vol. 73, No. 2, Re- edited by Dr R.S.Mann after consultations with Dr. G. S. Hehr)

Kent has been hailed as a true disciple of Hahnemann.1 There should be a reassessment in light of the following contrast between the view of Kent and Hahnemann:

On “authority” and “experience”


“We must begin by having respect for law … Let us acknowledge the authority.”2

“… and medicine today, outside of homoeopathy, is a medicine of experience…It is necessary that the exact and proper position of experience should be realized  … Experience has … only a confirmatory place. It can only confirmed that which has been discovered by principle…Experience leads to no discoveries … One who has no doctrines…imagines he discoveries by his experience”.3


“Medicine is the science of experience…”
“The true healing art is in its nature a pure science of experience …”5

“…the complete true healing art, can never be the work of self satisfied ratiocination…, but that the requisite for this … are only to be discovered  but due attention to nature by means of our senses, by careful honest observations and by experiments conducted with all possible purity and in no other way…

“I demand no faith at all, and do not demand that anybody should comprehend it. Neither do I comprehend it; it is enough that it is fact and nothing else. Experience alone declares it, and I believe more in experience than in my own intelligence.”

“But what and how much …can be determined by no speculative reason or unreason, but experience alone must determine…and in the domain of facts there is no appeal from experience…”8

On relation of skin symptoms to internal malady

KENT: “But this very scientific ignorant doctor has made a failure: he has driven what was upon the surface and harmless into the innermost precincts of the economy and the patient is going to die as a result of scientific ignorance.”9


“The diseases … springing from such a one-sided destruction of the chief skin symptom (eruption and itching) which acts vicariously and assuages the internal psora (which destruction is erroneously called ‘Driving the itch into the body’)…”10 

“All miasmatic maladies … are always present as internal maladies … before they show their local (skin) symptoms.”11 

“… when the development of the (internal) venereal disease has been completed, only then diseased nature endeavors to mitigate the internal evil and to soothe it,  by producing a local symptom…”12

“…some wretched casuists have considered as resulting from driving back of the poison out of the chancre into the interior body…”13

On psora

KENT: “Psora is the beginning of all physical sickness. Had psora never been established as a miasm on the human race, the other two chronic diseases would have been impossible. All the diseases of man are built upon … it (psora) goes to the very primitive wrong of the human race … that is the spiritual sickness from which … the race progressed into … the true susceptibility to psora…”14


“…the ailments and infirmities of body and soul … (if they do not belong to the two venereal diseases, syphilis and sycosis) are … manifestations of (psora).”15 

“In Europe and also in other continents … only three chronic miasms are known…”16 “….and indeed so many that at least seven eights of all chronic maladies spring from it (psora) … while the remaining eighth spring from syphilis and sycosis, or from a complication of two of these three … chronic diseases, or (which is very rare) from a complication of all the three of them….”17

On vitalism

KENT: “Hahnemann could perceive this immaterial vital principle. It was something he arrived at himself, from his own process of thinking (but all historians mention that it was Joseph Barthez, b.1734, d.1806, who introduced the term “vital principle”18).

There was paucity of individual ideas at that time… but Hahnemann thought much, and by thinking he arrived at the ideas contained in this (i.e. the 9th paragraph of the 5thedition of the Organon), which only appeared in the last (i.e. 5th.edition of 1833).”19

(Allusion to “vital force” appeared in the Chronic Diseases20 published in 1828, and in the fourth edition of the Organon that we shall refer shortly, Kent substitutes “simple substance for “immaterial vital principle” in the paragraphs subsequent to the one sited above – vide reference 19. This new expression appears to be Kent’s own coinage. Imputation of “much thought” to Hahnemann appears to be Kent’s projection of his own thinking, the result of which was the new expression. Hahnemann’s views on reasoning and speculation are clear in reference 8).

KENT: “…simple substance is endowed with formative intelligence…”21


“… the instinctive, irrational, unreasoning vital force (instinktarige, verstandlose. keiner Uberlegung Fahige .. Lebnskraft — this could also be translated: instinctive, unable to reason/understand, without capacity for reflection) 22 (the contrast between Kent and Hahnemann over the attributes of vital force is obvious from these words)…

“…unreasoning, merely animal vital force (die verstandlose, bloss aminal ische Lebenskraft).”23

On bacteriology

KENT: “Hahnemann did not adopt any such theory as bacteriology”.


“… the cholera miasm … grows into an enormously increased brood of those excessively minute, invisible creatures …”24 (How else could one have described bacteria at that time!)

Why was Kent so often wobbling off the pivot? Perhaps it was not for nothing that Jouanny wrote:

“The second trap is to do what certain absent-minded homoeopathic doctors do, namely to consider only the symptoms of the patient in his reaction to his disease, and in particular his psychic signs. This was the attitude of Kent and his spiritualistic school which went so far as to say that the pathognomonic signs of the disease have no importance in the selection of the homoeopathic drug.”

“This is a philosophical attitude which makes homoeopathy into a theology, and considers man to be made only of the soul. There is a great danger here…”

“This attitude has practically destroyed homoeopathy in America where it was at one time a flourishing discipline. It is now practiced by a few esoteric doctors.”

“One can say that this attitude is not in conformity with the methods set out and defined by Hahnemann, because generally the ‘psychic symptoms’ taken into consideration by the followers of Kent, are not experimental changes in the mental behavior of a patient, but the psychological characteristics of susceptible types of individuals. This is the result of the subjective interpretation of the experimenter and the patient. These doctors select the homoeopathic drugs on the basis of psychic symptoms … such a practice can be justifiably criticized …”25

Kent’s homeopathy is not necessarily always Hahnemannian. As Campbell recently put it : “Nevertheless, it does not take a very detailed study of the history of homoeopathy to show that modern practice actually differs in quite significant ways from Hahnemann’s own practice. In both England as well as America, for example, the influence of J.T.Kent, who imported certain ideas derived from Swedenborg, has been paramount since shortly after the turn of the century”.26

Hahnemann’s distinction between the responses of the animate and the inanimate; his view about adaptive responses of the organisms”, 28 his stress on the value of signals in biology;29 his almost foreshadowing of “the law of initial value” of Joseph Wilder,30his near modern views on nutrition31 and his suggestions for psychological exercise32are all missing from Kent’s writings. One feels constrained to ponder how far the words of Inglis (on relation of Galen to Hippocrates) would apply also to the relation of Kentto Hahnemann.

“Ostensibly by the Hippocratic School, he was to subvert its teachings. Hippocrates, Galen admitted, had lead the way … ‘He opened the road, I have made it possible’ … Galen was able to impose his views on how the road should be followed; and as a prolific writer, he saw to it that they were published.33 


  1. Kent was a Swedenborgian, and he can be accused of including the fundamental concept of mystical correspondence between spirit world and humans to Homoeopathy. Which distract the Homoeopathic philosophy from Hahnemann’s “Rationality” to Kent’s “Metaphysical”.
  2. This shift from basic nature of reality of human system compel the Kent to start unrealistic and unbalanced emphasis on “Mind” or “Mental Symptoms” or “Mental Origin” of every disease. Hahnemann is realistic and balanced in his approach in an individual case of sick, he searched for the totality where it actually lies but Kent arranges the “Mind” always on the beginning of a case. Kent pushed the basic methodology of Homoeopathy towards “Irrationalism”.
  3. On Miasm, Hahnemann is certain about three different basic causes of diseases, Psora, Sycosis and Syphilis but for Kent, Psora is only basic cause of all the diseases, including two other miasms too.
  4. Hahnemann always talks about the “gentle restoration” of the sick with only mild aggravations, but Kent admitted his was to cure with severe and long homoeopathic aggravations.
  5. Kent underlined the return of all the past symptoms, eliminations and exteriorization (developing skin lesions etc.)  in a case is a good indication and path towards cure, whereas Hahnemann marked them as organism’s defense or reaction against wrong prescriptions and excess of doses.
  6.  Dr Kent may have been a good, efficient and ardent homoeopath but his concepts and theories vary from Dr Hahnemann on most of the basic understandings of Homoeopathy which makes for differences in approach, methodology for treatment of a patient.
    7.  So accepting Kent as a true disciple of Hahneman, as Kent himself claims, undermines the value of Hahnemannian theory and concepts of Homoeopathy. We need to read and practice Homoeopathy as a Hahnemannian methods and Kentian Methods, with their respective theories, concepts and differences from each other.


1 Kanjilal et al – An Appeal to the Homoeopaths of India to Save Homoeopathy. Hahnemannian Gleanings 1979,XLVI,471

2 Kent J.T. – Lectures on Homoeopathic Philosophy. P.19,Chicago : Ehrhart & Karl,  1954.

3 Ibid – P.43.

4 Dudgeon R.E. – Lesser Writings of Samuel Hahnemann. P.439, New Delhi: Swaran (reprint of New York; Willian Radde, 1852 edition)

5 Hahnemann  S. – Organon der Heilkunst, P.7, Dresden: Arnold, 1819.

6 Ibid – P.15 -16.

7 Dudley P ed. – The Chronic Diseases by Samuel Hahnemann, P.124, f.n. New Delhi, Jain Reprint

8 Ibid –P.325

9 Kent J.T. – Lectures.P.27

10 Dudley P. – The Chronic Diseases, P.17.

11 Ibid – P.32.

12 Ibid – P.36.

13 Ibid – P.36 f.n.

14 Kent J.T. – Lectures.P146.

15 Dudley P. – The Chronic Diseases, P.8.

16 Ibid – P.9.

17 Ibid – P.14.

18  Castiglioni A. – A History of Medicine, P.586, New York: Alfred Knoff, 1958.

19 Kent J.T. – Lectures.P.76-77.

20 Haehl R. – Samuel Hahnemann: His Life and Work. P.136, New Delhi, B.Jain Reprint.

21 Kent J.T. – Lectures.P.79.

22 Hahnemann  S. – Organon der Heilkunst, P.IV, Dresden and Leipzig, Arnold, 1829.

23 Ibid – P.146.

24 Hehr G.S. – Bacteriology and Homoeopathy.Br.Hom.J. 1982, 71,62,64-5.

25 Jouanny J. – Essentials of Homoeopathic Therapeutics, P.39, Laboratories Boiron, 1980.

26  Campbell A.C.H. – Editorial, Br. Hom. J., 1980, 69, 3.

27 Hahnemann  S. – Organon der rationallen Heilkunde, P.5-8, Anm.  Dresden, Arnold, 1810.

28 Dudgeon  R.E. – Lesser Writings of Samuel Hahnemann. P.62, Para 289-290.

29 Hahnemann S. – Fingerzeige auf den homoopathischen Gabrauch der Arzneien in der bisherigen praxis. Neues Journal der practischen Arzneikunde von Hufeland 1807, 43.

30  Dudgeon R.E. – Lesser Writings of Samuel Hahnemann. P.34.

31 Hehr G.S. – Hahnemann and Nutrition. Br. Hom. J. 1981,70,208-12.

32 Hehr G.S. – Self awareness and Homoeopathy, Br. Hom. J. 1983, 72, 90-5.

33 Inglis B. – Natural Medicine, 0.18. London, Collins, 1979.

The compiler expresses his gratitude to “Institut fur Geschichte der Medzin der Bosch Stifung”, Stuttgart, for their generosity in supplying Xerox copies of many paper and microfilms of all editions of Organon, without which the paper could not have been completed.

A Contribution to the Judgement Concerning the Characteristic Value of Symptoms

A Contribution to the Judgement Concerning the Characteristic Value of Symptoms
By Clemens Franz Maria von Boenninghausen

          It is now over three years since the great Homoeopathic Congress was held in Brussels, Germany being, I am sorry to say, but little represented. In the last session of this meeting after several propositions had been read, my resolution was adopted and a prize-question was proposed, to answer which a period of two years was granted. This prize essay, as the Homoeopathic journals have also made known, was intended to call out a “Treatise concerning the greater or lesser (characteristic) value of the symptoms occurring in a disease, to aid as a norm or basis in the therapeutical selection of the remedy.” The answer to this question was not limited to Belgium or to France, but it was handed over to the competition of the whole medical world, and it was thus unanimously acknowledged to be a subject of the greatest importance. Nevertheless, this question, in spite of the daily increase of the homoeopathic literature, has thus far remained unsolved. This silence extending far over the time set, which was computed liberally enough, seems to justify the assumption that the solution of the question has met with considerable difficulties, though every homoeopath must every moment find himself in the position to ask himself this question, and to have to answer it. It might not appear altogether proper for me, the author of the question, to also now enter among the competition for this prize. But the old practitioner will be pardoned for furnishing at least some contribution to the solution, and thereby again calling attention to the question.

          The teaching of the Organon in this matter really contains the proper, true kernel of the answer, and this, of course, deserves to be first premised. It is found in the great Paragraph No. 153 (5th Ed.) and is as follows:

          In seeking for the specific homoeopathic remedy, i.e., in this juxtaposition of the phenomena of the natural disease and the list of symptoms of the medicines, in order to discover a morbid potency corresponding in similitude to the evil to be cured, the more striking, particular, unusual and peculiar (characteristic) signs and symptoms of the case should especially and almost solely be kept in view; for there must especially be some symptoms in the list of the medicine sought for corresponding to this, if the remedy should be the one most suitable to effect the cure. The more general and indefinite symptoms, such as lack of appetite, headache, weariness, disturbed sleep, uncomfortableness, etc., in their generalness and undefinedness deserve but little attention, unless they are more especially pronounced, as something of such a general nature is seen in almost every disease and in almost every medicine.

          It is seen, however, that it is here left to the physician to judge what is understood by the “more striking, particular, unusual and peculiar” symptoms, and it might, indeed, be difficult to furnish a commentary to this definition, which would not be too diffuse and, therefore, easily understood, and on the other hand would be complete enough to be properly applied to all these cases. Whence is it that we are unable to show any such definition in our literature? Even what Hahnemann adduces in §86, and those that follow, only contains some examples which are given without any systematic order, and are therefore but little suited to impress themselves on the memory, a requirement which in all such matters must appear to be of very great importance.

          After looking about in the whole of the medical writings, allopathic as well as homoeopathic, for an aid, I remembered that in the middle ages they were accustomed to bring all such matters into the form of verses, in order that the memory might thus be assisted. The modern learned world knows, e.g., the diet of the Schola salernitana, dating from the beginning of the twelfth century, drawn up in leonine verses, as is supposed, by a certain John of Milan, from which some parts are quoted even to this day. But though I did not find here anything for the present purpose, I yet found something which, as it seemed, might prove useful with writers of quite a different doctrine. There is, namely, a hexameter dating from this same period but from the theologic scholastics; this is, indeed, of a somewhat jolting construction, nevertheless it contains briefly and completely the various momenta according to which a moral disease is to be judged as to its peculiarity and grievousness. The verse is the following: “Quis? quid? ubi? quibus auxiliis? cur? quomodo? quando?

          The seven rubrics designated in this maxim seem to contain all the essential momenta which are required in the list of the complete image of a disease. May I be allowed, therefore, to attach my remarks to this scheme, with the desire that this hexameter, which was formerly used only by theologians, may now be also impressed on the memory of homeopaths and be put to use by them.

 1. Quis?

          As a matter of course the personality, the individuality of the patient, must stand at the head of the image of the disease, for the natural disposition rests on it.

          To this belongs first of all the sex and the age; then the bodily constitution and the temperament; both, if possible, separated, according to his sick and his well days i.e., in so far as an appreciable difference has appeared in them. In all these peculiarities whatever differs little or not at all from the usual natural state needs little attention; but everything that differs in a striking or rare way therefrom deserves a proportionate notice. The greatest and most important variations are here found mostly in the states of the mind and spirit, which must by scanned all the more carefully, if they are not only sharply distinct, but also of rare occurrence and, therefore, correspond to only few remedies. In all such cases we have all the more cause to fathom these states with all possible exactness, as in them frequently the bodily ailments recede to the background, and for this very reason offer but few points for our grasp, so that we may be able to make a sure selection among the remedies which compete.

          Paragraph 104 of the Organon makes it a duty of the homoeopath to make a written scheme of the image of the disease, and whoever has once acquired a certain facility in this will easily know how to satisfy this requirement and gradually acquire a certain specializing penetration, which will prove to him of ever increasing usefulness. For as every man presents an individual nature different from every other one, and as every medicine must be exactly adapted to this individuality, in agreement with the symptoms, which it is able to produce in the total man, so, an once, at this first investigation as to the Quis? A great number of medicines are thrust aside, just because they do not correspond to the personality of the patient.

          The spiritual and dispositional individuality of the patient here gives the most important, often almost the only deciding points for the selection of the remedy, where the disease involved is one of the mind or spirit, and generally the two disturbances present themselves so conjoined into one that the signs of the one only receive their full and definite character from the other. Hahnemann, indeed, recognized the importance of this two momenta from the beginning, but the necessity of weighting the two in their connection with one another he only recognized later on it its full measure; and he then placed the symptoms proper to the two, which in the first provings had been separated, one making the beginning and the other the end, in the “Chronic Diseases” immediately one after the other, an improved arrangement, which we also find in the best works on Materia Medica Pura of later times.

          Many other things belonging to this rubric, but concerning the bodily individuality and presenting, as it were, the chief features in the portrait of the patient, are contained in those books under the heading of “general.” It would be desirable and would greatly facilitate the use if everything not pertaining thereto should be excluded, and the former be brought under a particular rubric denominated either “Individual” or “Personal,” in such a way that the corporeal would present a separate picture, as has been done with respect to the spiritual and mental.

2. Quid?

          Of course this question refers to the disease, i.e., to its nature and peculiarity.

          It may be unquestionably received as an axiom that we must first know an evil accurately before we are able to give any effectual aid against it. That occasionally relief may be given, without having first recognized the nature of the evil, as little refutes this axiom as the fact that an unexpected event occurs frequently which lies outside of our computation, and which either leads to good or evil, while neither the good will, nor the knowledge of the physician have the least to do with it.

          But this axiom must be associated with another, which is no less true and no less important, namely this: That we must also know and possess the means which are able to relieve the evil when it is recognized. Where these are lacking, the former are of course of no avail.

          Since the times of Hippocrates, thus since more than two thousand years, very much has been done with respect to the first point, and we have especially enjoyed a great progress and enlightenment within the last century and up to modern times. The path of pure observation and experience, which for a time had been pretty much forsaken, and on which that ancient Father of the healing art had gathered his valuable material, has again been entered upon. At the same time our contemporaries possess and use the great advantage enuring to them from the fact that they stand on the shoulders of their predecessors, and can thus view a greater circle of vision and, more especially, that astonishing progress has been made in all the subsidiary sciences, especially in chemistry and anatomy; so also they have had the advantage offered them by many physical instruments, which it must be confessed they have used with industry and care. By these means the modern physiological school, and, at the same time, the diagnostics of diseases, have reached an excellence not attained in earlier times.

          The only thing of which every Homoeopath has to complain in this matter, is that things are conducted in too general a manner for his doctrine, and that almost universally diseases are described and treated of under the same name, which differ essentially in their nature, and require for their cure very different medicines.

          An immediate result of this failing is, that Homoeopaths can make only a very limited use of the great advance made by the dominant school in diagnostics, since their generality excludes every special direction as to the suitable remedy.

          Now since the modern Materia Medica of allopathy, as well as the older one, moves in the same generality, the conclusion follows almost inevitably that even the most cultivated allopath often stands undecided when he is to make a choice of remedies, so that almost every one of them will order something different, and that he is usually compelled to mix many thins together in order to cover the various indications.

          More about this will be found in the course of this short treatise in a more suitable place, where the other questions are also discussed. Here I can only say so much about it.

          a. That the most penetrating and most indubitable diagnostic as offered by the best allopathic manuals is rarely of ever sufficient for the Homoeopath, so as to enable him to make a sure selection of the remedy, and that

          b. Such a diagnostic at most, and even then not always, may serve to exclude all those remedies from the competition which do not correspond with the common genius of the disease, but seem to act chiefly on other parts of the organism.

 3. Ubi?

          The seat of the disease really makes a part of the former question, but it nevertheless deserves to be more particularly emphasized, as it frequently furnishes a characteristic symptom, since almost every medicine acts more and also more decidedly on certain particular parts of the living organism.

          These differences not only enter into consideration in certain so-called local diseases, but also in those diseases which are called by more general names, as affecting the whole body, e.g., gout and rheumatism. For it is probably never or very rarely the case that all parts of the body are affected in the same degree; even if it should be merely the case that the right side is more affected than the left or the reverse. But the examination of the parts affected is most necessary and most required when the whole to which they belong is larger, and is described merely in that general way which allopaths seem to delight in. Such names as headache, eyeache, toothache, colic and the like can in no way contribute to a rational choice of a remedy, not even when also the kind of pain is indicated.

          Of course, the exact individualization of the ubi is most necessary in local ailments. Every Homoeopath knows from experience how necessary it is, e.g., in treating toothache, to select a remedy which in accordance with its provings on healthy persons has shown its action on the especial tooth to be treated. Among the most striking and decisive phenomena in this respect we should especially number the sores on the upper side of the joints of fingers and toes, which under allopathic treatment frequently prove very obstinate, and not infrequently become malignant, and necessitate an amputation, and, as I had an opportunity of witnessing here in two cases, may even have a fatal result. Every Homoeopath knows the efficacy of Sepia in these ulcers of the joints, which have no otherwise distinguishable features when this remedy is taken internally; without any external medication it will have a sure effect. Medicines which correspond to similar ulcers on other parts of the body in such cases are utterly useless.

          If the practice of auscultation and percussion, as well as the use of the stethoscope, the plessimeter, etc., had been as well known to Hahnemann and his pupils as to our young physicians, they would no doubt have made the most extended use of the same for gaining a more exact knowledge and delimitation of interior ailments. They would have found out in lung troubles, e.g., definite local signs pointing to the use of certain remedies, and would have indicated them more accurately, and would not have limited themselves to defining them as being on the left or on the right side or at the top or below. To bring up to date and to specify more closely might be one of the chief duties for those who make additional provings at the present time, and might serve to an important and essential enrichment and completion of our Materia Medica more than a whole mass of confirmations of older symptoms or the finding out of new ones, which mostly have a lack of individuality.

          At the same time it will be conceded from the allopathic side that the closer delimitation of the part affected, even though it may be of moment in the completion of the diagnosis, will be of no use to allopathic therapy, because this school is unacquainted with the peculiarities of the various medicines. No allopathic Materia Medica gives any information that the one remedy, e.g., corresponds more to the anterior or the posterior lobe of the liver, more to the upper or the lower part of the lungs, on the right or the left side, according to which the choice of the remedy may be made. Even if we Homoeopaths do not as yet know this as to all remedies, we do know it with respect to many of them, and for what is lacking we find a substitute in other signs, since, as is well known, all of these correspond to the remedy to be selected, at least they must not be opposed to it. Thence it may be seen that these new inventions, the value of which I am not in any way inclined to undervalue, have far less value in a therapeutic direction than in prognosis, where they show the extent and the dangerous nature of the malady.

          Finally, we must yet consider in this question that neither the internal changes, which can be determined by these instruments, nor the material external changes, which manifest themselves openly to our notice, never present the dynamic disease itself, but are only its products, and are only developed in the course of the disease. When, therefore, these first beginnings are checked by the suitable remedy before those disorganizations take place, then these latter would not come to be developed, and it would be an inexcusable procedure to allow these sufferings to advance to a point where these material changes can be recognized in an artificial manner. It was necessary to mention this, in passing, in order that it may be shown how Homoeopathy proceeds, and to deny most decidedly the objection sometimes made that Homoeopathy is merely an expectative method, which allows the disease to develop without hindrance until it is too late to help. On the contrary, Homoeopathy knows and uses in infections diseases sure prophylactic remedies, which are always and exclusively such as have the power to heal the disease itself, and they never omit their use for the protection of those around the patient.

 4. Quibus Auxiliis?

          If the hexameter which we are following had been originally written for our doctrine, probably a more suitable expression would have been used in this instance, e.g., quibus sociis or quibus comitibus? Still the name does not matter, and it is manifest that it must refer to the accompanying symptoms.

          Now since in Homoeopathy the chief aim consists in ascertaining the remedy which most completely corresponds to the totality of the symptoms, it is evident that this point is of the greatest importance and deserves the most careful consideration.

          For every disease presents in its recognizable phenomena a more or less numerous group of symptoms, and it is only their totality which presents its complete image. This image may be compared to a portrait, which can only then claim to be a striking likeness when all the features of the original are faithfully presented in it. It is not sufficient that mouth, nose, eyes, ears, etc., should be presented in such a manner as characterizes man, and distinguishes him from the monkey and other animals but as every human physiognomy possesses its peculiarities and is distinguished from every other, so also here the more or less strongly pronounced abnormalities must most carefully and with the greatest faithfulness and truthfulness be presented and given their prominence. If therefore, retaining our former comparison, the nose should have a most peculiar form, color or size, it would not be sufficient to present this alone, though it should be most lifelike, and to add all the rest according to fancy, but also the secondary parts, which, as it were, form the background, must present a whole, such as it exists in reality, in order to give a perfect likeness.

          It is from this point of view that the concomitant ailments are to be regarded when we select a remedy according to the motto: Similia similibus. Thence it is evident that the rare, striking and peculiar symptoms which present themselves demand a more prominent place than the common ones, because on them chiefly though not exclusively the similitude depends.

          From this it naturally follows that the value of such concomitant symptoms for the purpose intended varies widely. But it would too far transcend the purpose of this contribution if I should adduce and explain all the many categories of value. I shall therefore limit myself to the presentation of a few of the most important points here involved:

          First of all, those symptoms which are found in almost all diseases may be left out of our count, unless they manifest themselves in a striking manner.

          The same obtains as to those ailments which are wont to appear as constant concomitants or at least as usual in the disease under consideration, unless they should be distinguished by some rare peculiarity and in this respect offer something characteristic.

          On the other hand, all those attendant symptoms should be carefully noted which (a) rarely appear in connection with the leading disease, and are, therefore, also found rarely among the provings; (b) those which belong to another sphere of disease than the chief ailment, and (c) lastly, those which have more or less of the characteristic signs of one of the medicines, even in case they have not before been noticed in the present juxtaposition.

          Now if besides this among the last mentioned concomitant symptoms there should be one or another in which the genius of one of the remedies should be plainly and definitely portrayed, so that it would be plainly pointed out, this one symptom thereby would acquire such an importance that it would even outweigh those of the chief ailment, and many then be at once considered as the most suitable. Such a symptom would be included among those which Hahnemann calls “striking, strange, unusual and peculiar (characteristic) signs,” and which are then “almost alone to be considered” because they preeminently give to the whole disease its individual character.

          One circumstance deserves to be particularly mentioned here which particularly shows the importance and value of concomitant symptoms, namely, that several very efficient and in part specific remedies in certain diseases were discovered almost exclusively through them, the other symptoms indicating the main disease not having pointed in that direction, nor indeed could they have given such an indication, because the noticeable proximate signs could not sufficiently indicate the real peculiarity of the disease. This same system of concomitant symptoms also gives to Homoeopathy a much greater sureness in the treatment of diseases as compared with Allopathy, which first constructs for itself a frequently deceptive diagnosis of the disease, which at most only points out the genus of this disease, and where there are important attendant symptoms it endeavors to help itself by adding to the leading remedy given for the genus of the disease one or another remedy to cover the concomitant ailments.

 5. Cur?

          Why? The causes of the disease play a prominent part in pathological books, and justly. But a large part of this amounts only to guesses and attempts at explanation, which mostly have only a very subordinate value or none at all in the proper therapy of the disease, and which are too remote for our doctrine which is directed merely to the practical.

          The causes of diseases are most generally and, indeed, very properly divided into external and internal.

          The internal causes properly refer only to the general natural disposition, which in some cases amounts to a peculiar supersensitiveness (idiosyncrasy). The external causes or occasional causes embrace everything which, where there is such an internal disposition to disease, may produce disease.

          The general natural disposition which is also called the proximate cause, really belongs to the first question (Quis?) which respects the individuality of the patient. It only belongs here in so far as the consequences of a former disease may have modified the original natural disposition, and thus it deserves mention.

          The occasional cause, however, is the matter with which the present question occupies itself and which deserves to be more closely considered. As to the natural disposition notified through previous diseases, this either depends on the miasmatic-chronic nature of those diseases as yet unexterminated, among which in agreement with the teachings of Hahnemann many homoeopaths even at this day count psora, syphilis and sycosis, or it is derived from the remains and after-effects of acute diseases, which when they do not belong to the former, as is frequently the case, constitute the numerous class of medicinal diseases or poisonings. Not infrequently, however, we meet with cases where both these momenta have cooperated to undermine the natural health, thus producing a monster of a disease which is even more deeply in-rooted and more difficult to combat.

          As to the recognition and treatment of the first mentioned miasmatic diseases and their complications, Hahnemann himself in his masterly work on the Chronic Diseases left us the most complete directions, founded on many years’ experience. The much disputed division of medicines into antipsorics and non-antipsorics need not be considered here. It is enough to know that the former far excel the latter in their effectiveness in chronic diseases, and that their originator has nowhere excluded them from use in acute diseases. Later experience has also taught us that additional medicines from our medical treasury should be numbered in this category which have not been thus treated of in that excellent work. I am only sorry that Hahnemann has not been able to fulfill the promise which he gave me in writing, that he would treat as thoroughly and completely the images of syphilis and sycosis with his accustomed mastership as he had done in the above mentioned work (Vol. 1, p. 58 f. of the Second Ed.) with respect to latent and re-awakened psora. Whether we may believe in what many somewhat derisively call Hahnemann’s Psora-theory, or reject the same, the attentive practitioner must frequently have found cases where even the remedy chosen with perfect correctness, in some acute disease, did not unfold its proper and decided effect before one of the so much criticized antipsorics – frequently Sulphur – had first been used, when psora had been involved, or an antisyphilitic or antisycotic when syphilis or sycosis had been present before and had remained uncured. It must, however, be confessed to be one of the most difficult tasks of the physician to always make the most suitable choice among the antipsoric remedies, as most of them have almost the same symptoms and very few truly characteristic symptoms are found with the different remedies. The more necessary is it for the homoeopath to study with continuous industry these lists of symptoms and to compare them with each other in order that he may pick up the scattered grains of gold for his use.

          Poisonings and medicinal diseases are in one line and it makes no difference by whose hand any one has been deprived of his health by means of a substance injurious to his organism; among these substances medicines as well as poisons find their place. Of course, it is always of the greatest importance to know in every case the medicines or poisons, in order that they may be met by the proper well-known antidotes. The simple poisons may be pretty easily and surely recognized by their effects! It would have required but one case of poisoning occurring before the eyes of a Homoeopath for him bo have recognized the effects of Arsenic, which yet remained unknown to all the allopathic physicians, in the case of the thirty murders of Gessina Timme in Bremen, until the facts were obtained. In the medicinal diseases this is much more difficult, because seldom or never is one medicine given by itself, but always mixed with others; it can not, therefore, yield a clear and definite image. With these, therefore, it is necessary, as in the other case it is desirable, and it facilitates the treatment, if we can have a reliable account of what has preceded, and to be able to look over the prescriptions. Since this may be of use even later on, as the treatment proceeds, the journals of many Homoeopaths have a special rubric reserved for this subject. We must consider these symptoms, called anamnestic, as being of special importance in this question. Although the ordinary consequences of such morbiferous circumstances and events are mostly already contained in the lists of symptoms of the medicines proved on healthy people, yet homoeopathic practice has long ago shortened and made sure the tedious and troublesome path of such investigations, and indicated for most of these cases the remedies which are foremost in their usefulness in such cases. This is e.g., very much simplified in cases of contusions, sprains, burns and the like. In other cases, e.g., in colds, the matter is already somewhat more complicated, since the kind of a cold and the part of the body affected offer differences which again point to different remedies. Thus there is a great difference in this respect as to whether the person has been simply exposed to the cold, or whether this took place while the body was in a perspiration, or if he at the same time got wet through. So also it is well known that different remedies are indicated when internal parts (stomach, abdomen, chest) have been exposed, or merely external parts (head, feet, back), and this must be carefully weighed in every case. All this, as before said, is found among the symptoms in the Materia Medica; but when once it is known that a cold in the head from exposure to cold air, after previously being in a heated room, or after having the hair cut, points to Belladonna or Sepia; after taking cold in the feet, to Baryta or Silicea, and when at the same time there has been a wetting, to certain other remedies, then the attention will first of all be directed to these, and only comparison be made with others which are also occasionally indicated when the first are not sufficiently suitable.

          Finally we must yet add a word under this question about infectious diseases, about which in pathological manuals we read so much that is contradictory and unreliable; the influence of which teachings is, however, much more far reaching than is generally supposed. To meet these diseases, which often spread until they become a real calamity, Homoeopathy has the most sure and approved prophylactics, and these, indeed, are the very same which have the power of healing those diseases when they have developed. Therefore, when we find in a family a case of infectious typhoid fever, there the same remedy, which has been given the patient in accordance with his symptoms, will also be sure to protect those in the house from infection, as it destroys the natural disposition thereto, and it will even in the shortest time restore those with whom there may have already been apparent the beginning of the disease. This last fact is the more important, as these first beginnings are usually so poor in symptoms that no certain choice can be founded on them; but the known occasional cause fully makes up for what is lacking. Of course, such a cure is not so brilliant as when the patient has been at the verge of the grave, but the gain for him and the consciousness of the physician is his sufficient reward.

 6. Quomodo?

          From his etymology, this preposition excellently describes the essence and the scope of the question before us. For the word Modus in the old classics not only refers to the manner and mode in general, but also to all the modifications which can take place in anything, thus the measure, the rule, the aim, the relations, changes, etc.; thus whatever, with the exception of time, which is included in our last question (Quando), possesses the ability to produce a modification, aggravation or improvement with the patient, naturally belongs, according to the usage of the language, to this rubric. This question has a double importance to Homoeopathy, first, because it was first discovered and developed by Homoeopaths, and is, therefore, their indisputable and exclusive property, and secondly, because all the results of provings and experience, without exception, belong to the more or less characteristic signs, of which no one is a matter of indifference, not even those of a negative kind.

          Allopathy has never given any general attention, which might have been of use to therapy, to this momenta. At least its manuals on Pathology, Therapy and Materia Medica contain nothing of importance on this subject. Homoeopathy, on the other hand, soon after its discovery, recognized its great therapeutic value, and we find the first but already clear traces of it in Hahnemann’s “Fragmenta de viribus medicamentorum positivis,” which appeared in the year 1805. But during the progressive development of our science its importance appeared more manifest, and it was soon declared to be indispensable, so that in the later provings the attention was more and more directed upon it. On this account the latter provings are the more complete, with the exception of those made by Hahnemann in the Materia Medica Pura, which were elaborated with especial industry and on account of their constant use accompanied with copious notes.

          If we compare the lists of symptoms of the medicines which have been proved somewhat fully, even a superficial survey will show that we find in almost every one of them the general indications of almost every disease; headache, colic, pain in the chest, diarrhoea, constipation, as well as dyspnoea, pains in the limbs, fever and cutaneous ailments, etc., are in no case quite absent. But if we study these indications somewhat more closely, with respect to the special parts of the body and the different sensations, then, indeed, differences will appear, and we frequently discover symptoms which appear more or less frequently in one remedy and are totally lacking in another. But the number continues too large to bring the decision to a sure and indubitable point, and we soon feel the need of securing additional points in order that we may find the true and suitable simile among the competing medicines. But the Quomodo with the Quando generally solves the riddle in the most satisfactory manner, and not only removes every doubt, but also furnishes the proof for the solution which we may have before supposed to be the right one. That in such investigations and comparisons we must also, as in what precedes, occupy the especial standpoint, is a matter of course. It is not sufficient, e.g., to merely consider motion in general in contrast with rest in the body, or in the part affected, we must also consider incipient and continuous motion, as well as the different kinds and degrees of motion. The same applies to lying down, we must not only consider the kind of position (on the back, on the side, doubled up, horizontal, etc.), but also aggravation or improvement in the parts affected by lying on the painful part, or the part not painful; all this is to be found out accurately and adapted to the remedy.

          Quite a prominent part in this rubric is occupied by the partaking of food and drink, and this not only in diseases of the digestive organs, but also in fevers and other internal and external affections. Here it is not so much the amount of appetite, or thirst, to which also allopathy in some cases gives a proper importance, but especially the dislike or the desire for particular kinds of food and drink, and more especially also the change of condition after partaking of one or another article of food that often gives the most important hints as to the medicine to be selected. All experienced Homoeopaths have therefore always given the greatest attention to this subject, and it is very much to be desired that whatever different persons have discovered in this direction should be collected and published.

          It was mentioned above, in passing, that even negative signs, so far as they belong to this rubric, should not be neglected. An example will show best what is meant by this: when a patient, for whose condition Pulsatilla seems suitable according to the five preceding questions, feels best while at rest in a warm room, while he feels uncomfortable in the open cool air, and also is fond of fat foods and bears them well, or offers other peculiarities which are in conflict with the characteristics of Pulsatilla, this would give an urgent cause to doubt the applicability of it to his case and to look for another remedy which also in these points corresponds with the symptoms.

          I am sorry that the space for these contributions, which anyways may seem to have been already greatly exceeded, does not permit me to enter more in detail on one and another matter belonging to this division, as I may openly confess that I consider the indications obtained from this and the following question as the most important, indubitable, and therefore the decisive ones for therapeutical purposes. Even the numerous class of reflex actions, almost all of which fall into these two rubrics, do not by their internal contradictions diminish this importance, as soon as we know their mutual value, and are, therefore, enabled to estimate properly the worth of each.

 7. Quando?

          This last question concerns the time of the appearance, of the aggravation or the improvement of the ailments, and follows in natural order after the preceding, and is hardly of less importance in therapy than the last one.

          From the time of Hippocrates and his commentators up to our times great attention has been bestowed on the periods of time in the various phases and stadia of the disease. The endeavor has been made to fix the period and continuance of the beginning, of the increase, the acme, the decrease and of the end of the disease. This would, indeed, make a useful contribution to the recognition and the characterization of the disease. But only in case it should be left altogether to itself and not be modified by medical interference. But on the other hand it can not be denied that this cannot give the least aid in the selection of the remedy, if only owing to the fact that the medicines cause disturbances in the natural course of the disease, which frequently lie altogether outside of all computation. Least of all can they be of any advantage to allopathic therapy, because it lacks all criteria from which to indicate the one or the other. I hope that I may not here hear the objection that, e.g., the periodical return of a fever points to an actual or a disguised intermittent fever and therefore indicates Quinine in its various preparations; for we are not likely to find a homoeopath who has not in his practice had to treat numerous victims of this error.

          Homoeopathy intends something quite different in this question, having nothing in common with what precedes. But it is concerned with two momenta which have an immediate effect on the choice of the remedies, namely (a), the periodical return of morbid symptoms after a longer or shorter cessation, and (b), the aggravations and alleviations depending on the time of the day. These two will require but a few words.

          The periodical return of morbid phenomena often coincides with periods of time which carry with them particular occasional causes. Among these are to be numbered the menstrual ailments, as well as those which are conditioned by the seasons, the weather, etc. Where such definite secondary causes cannot be discovered, and where as is mostly the case, the attacks are not closely bound to any sharply defined periods, they have no therapeutic value for homoeopaths as they lack the quality of a useful indication.

          But of the greater importance are the aggravations and alleviations at particular times of the day, and this with respect to those which refer to single symptoms as well as those that refer to the general health. In this respect Homoeopathy possesses a great and valuable treasury of well proven experiences which are being more and more enlarged by careful observations. For there is hardly any disease, from the malignant internal fevers down to local ailments, in which during the different times of the day there does not manifest itself a more or less decided and distinct aggravation or alleviation. Now since homoeopaths have learned these peculiarities also in the various medicines during their provings on healthy persons, they are enabled to make extensive and blessed use of this peculiarity in their therapeutics, and they are obliged to do this in order that they may satisfy the rule Similia similibus also in this respect.

          To demonstrate the preceding with some special facts, I will only adduce here the importance which the time of the day has on coughs with respect to the expectoration, as well with respect to the greater ease with which it is discharged, as also the consistence and the taste. Something similar we know about the stools, and although most of the remedies have diarrhoea among their indications, we so far know only of two (Conium and Kali carb.) where this takes place only by day and not by night.

          With respect to the ailments which have a typical return, independent of other causes, we have a considerable series of remedies corresponding to this, without on that account excluding others, when they are indubitably indicated by their symptoms. Only in cases where this return is sharply and definitely pronounced, as for example in the evening from 4 to 8 o’clock (Helleborus and Lycopodium), or exactly at the same hour (Antimon. crud., Ignatia and Sabadilla), we should give it a special importance and only be careful that there may be no contraindications.

          I conclude these contributions, which I have only hastily sketched down, with the hope that I may have succeeded in putting into the true light the difference between Allopathy and Homoeopathy and to incite my colleagues on their part to treat these important themes more at length, even if this be done only with respect to some one of the questions indicated at a time.

An acute fever and cough

I was awakened by a neighbour at 2:30 am who knew that medical practitioners lived in the back of the clinic. She was very concerned about her elderly father who was experiencing difficulties with a fever and a cough.

I also had another problem in as much as the woman who called me was Chinese and did not speak much Spanish or English.

In going into the sick room , I was confronted with an old Chinese male bent over coughing. Fortunately at this time, the womans young 10 year old son came into the room and he spoke both English and Spanish.

When faced with sickness, I always use my senses to collect information. The first thing I observed was that the room had a very musty smell to it.  As I approached the patient, it became clear that the patient was perspiring a little and that the odour was coming from him.

In talking to the woman through the son, she told me that her father had a fever for one day and it broke in the early evening. Then a short while later he began coughing and was bringing up a lot of gray mucus. The old man had requested her to make him green tea as he complained of a strong metallic taste with the cough.

We could not find out a reason for the fever so I looked at the symptoms before me.

  • The cough started AFTER the fever broke.
  • the expectoration was a grey mucous
  • a taste of metal
  • the offensive mold smell from his perspiration.

His daughter helped him to the bathroom and told me that his urine was extremely dark.

Based on these symptoms:

I gave Nux Vomica LM 0/1 in 3 doses every 20 minutes. By the third dose his cough had stopped and he fell peacefully asleep. In the morning he felt a little weak but was well on the mend.