Medicine is as old as Man, because Sickness came with Life. Sickness is the other side of Health. Health and Sickness are alternating states. We are at ease or at dis-ease.
“ ....the experimental and clinical evidence of Homœopathy makes it quite evident that what we call health and disease are mutually inclusive of one another. They are changing faces of one and the same entity, two sides of the same coin; the individual constitutional state, or archetypal form pattern. The same dynamic fields inherent in the various substances call forth illness as well as health.” (Edward C. WHITMONT)1
According to records the history of Western Medicine - of over 2000 years Western Medicine is believed to begin from Hippocrates (4 B.C), that is about 2000 years ago.
“Over the hundreds of years since AESCULAPIUS physicians have been trying to discover the hidden causes of diseases instead of carefully observing as HIPPOCRATES did. And so they began to speculate.” (HAHNEMANN)2
And so HAHNEMANN set about to ‘investigate’ the Medicine in vogue then - whether it was a ‘conjectural art’ or had any scientific base. In the process of such investigation he “found the way to the truth, very far from the common highway of medical routine.” (HAHNEMANN)3. The “results of my investigations, none of which” he accepted “unless confirmed by experience.” (HAHNEMANN)4
As a result of his investigations HAHNEMANN came to the conclusion that the Western Medicine of over 2000 years was “a conjectural art”, “built up of opinions,” “maintained by opinions” (HAHNEMANN)4. This conclusion published by HAHNEMANN shook the Medical world in its entirety - that is, in understanding what is health/disease, identification of medicinal source, the preparation of the particular, specific medicines, and application of the specific medicine to a particular ‘disease’, i.e. pharmacology and therapeutics - a total revolution was brought about in all these aspects when Samuel HAHNEMANN (1755-1843) published in 1796 in the ‘Journal der practischen Heilkunde’ of HUFELAND (1762-1836), his “Essay on a New Principle for ascertaining the Curative Powers of Drugs5, with a few glances at those hitherto employed.”
Until this time Medicine was merely empirical and was based on:
(i) Chemical experiments
(ii) Animal experiments
(iii) Assumptions on the basis of the shape, smell, taste etc. of the drugs.
(iv) their Botanical relationships.
HAHNEMANN points out that all these are uncertain and of insufficient result and will not tell us with certainty the medicine’s nature. What can then be done? “Nothing remains for us but to experiment on human body”. But “what kind of experiment? accidental or methodical?” (HAHNEMANN)5 (Yet today much experiments in the name of Homœopathy is going on in the “uncertain” manner in the garb of “Scientific”!)
For this purpose, two ways are open:
(i) Application of the drug on sick person.
(ii) Proving of medicines on the healthy
The First is the Uncertain Way:
This method will give only an approximate, uncertain information. “When I talk of the methodical discovery of the medicinal powers still required by us, I do not refer to those empirical trials usually made in hospitals, where in a difficult, often not accurately noted case, in which those already known do no good, recourse is had to some new drug, hitherto untried altogether, or untried in this particular affection, which drug is fixed upon either from caprice and obscure notion for which the experimenter can give no plausible reason either to himself or to others. Such empirical chance trials are, to call them by the mildest application, but foolish risks, if not something worse.” (HAHNEMANN)4
The Second is the Methodical, Certain Way:
(ii) Through Proving of medicines on the Healthy.
Regarding methodical investigation HAHNEMANN thought, as he inquired whether it was not possible to find “any method, any easy, sure, trustworthy method, wherein they may see diseases in their proper point of views and whereby they may interrogate medicines as to their special uses, as to what are really, surely and positively serviceable for?” HAHNEMANN6.
And so: ‘Proving’ of the Medicine as the fundamental experiment: ‘Drug Proving’ is a word peculiar to Homœopathy. The purpose of this experiment - Proving - is to ascertain the symptoms which a particular substance is capabale of producing in a healthy person. This information is a ‘sure’, ‘certain’ one and there is no arbitrariness or speculation. It is therefore sure, certain to cure a disease with similar symptoms. There is certainty.
Although there were eminent persons before HAHNEMANN, like Anton VON STOERCK (1731 - 1803) and Albrescht VON HALLER (1708 - 1777) who have done experiments on humans to ascertain the medicinal qualities of the drugs so tested, it was only HAHNEMANN who linked directly the medicine’s power to arouse symptoms in a healthy person with the symptoms presented by a sick person - symptoms felt by patient him/her-self and the symptoms observed by others, observation of the physician’s - the totality of these alone and not so called disease names - for purposes of prescription of a sure and certain curative remedy. “.....it rebounds to my honor that I am the only one in recent times who has subjected it to a serious honest investigation and has communicated to the world the results of his convictions in writings published some with, some without my name” (HAHNEMANN)3. Medicinal Proving is therefore fundamental to Homœopathy.
With the recorded pure symptoms elicited through the ‘proving’ one can treat a disease with similar symptoms with certainty. Any other method cannot claim such certainty.
With what care and circumspection HAHNEMANN scrutinised the Medicine of his times and undertook upon himself to find a new therapeutics and how he went about his search, may be learnt form his writings!
‘‘In this investigation I found the way to the truth, but I had to tread it alone, very far from the common highway of medical routine. The farther I advanced from truth to truth, the more my conclusions (none of which I accepted unless confirmed by experience) led me away from the old edifice, which, being built up of opinions, was only maintained by opinions.” (HAHNEMANN)3.
“..... I had conscientious scruples about treating unknown morbid states in my suffering fellow creatures with these unknown medicines, which being powerful substances, may if they were not exactly suitable (and how could the physician know whether they were suitable or not seeing that their peculiar special actions were not yet elucidated) easily changes life into death, or produce severe affections and chronic ailments which are often much more difficult to remove than the original disease. To become in this way a murderer, or aggravator of the sufferings of my brethren of mankind, was to me a fearful thought, - so fearful and distressing was it, that shortly after my marriage I completely abandoned practice and scarcely treated any one for fear of doing harm and - as you know - occupied myself solely with chemistry and literary labours.
“ But children were born to me, several children, and in course of time serious diseases occurred, which, because they afflicted and endangered the lives of my children - my flesh and blood - caused my conscience to reproach me still more loudly, that I had no means on which I could rely for affording them relief.
“But where could I obtain aid, certain, positive aid, ..... where shall I look for aid, sure aid .....?
“.... there must be a way .... whereby diseases may be seen in the right point of view, and cured with certainty, a way not hidden in endless abstractions and fantastic speculations!” (HAHNEMANN)6
And so instead of speculations, a ‘certain’ healing:
HAHNEMANN did not just sit and reflect. But he did something. With his self experiment with the Peruvian bark in 1790, HAHNEMANN could conclude with certainty that the method by which one can apriori know which medicine would cure which disease state has been found at last. This is a truly great discovery in the history of Medicine. (STAPF)7
Some questions on the Basics:
Homœopathy cannot be experimented with in the manner of the so-called ‘Scientific medicine’. Homœopathy is a ‘science’ in itself and therefore has to be experimented and applied only according to the rules applicable to it and judged. “This doctrine appeals not only chiefly but solely to the verdict of experience, “repeat the experiments” it cries out loud, repeat them carefully and accurately, and you will find the doctrine confirmed at every step - and it does what no medical doctrine, no system of physic, no so called therapeutics ever did or could do, it insists upon being “judged by the results.” (HAHNEMANN)8
And Homœopathy is an aprioric certainty of Healing. HAHNEMANN clarified that Homœopathy “teaches that it is only by the response given by nature when questioned that we can with sure prescience change diseases into health rapidly, gently, and permanently.” (HAHNEMANN)9
Scientific Medicine - Homœopathy - Curative of Sick Persons:
What is Homœopathy? It is a scientific medicinal therapy for curable patients. For this purpose, and to have an apriori knowledge of curability certain requirements must be fulfilled. These conditions are not however, in line with the conventional old school Medicine.
Requirements for a Homœopathic Cure: It is not the clinical knowledge for purposes of a pathological diagnosis in the allopathic Medicine sense that is required.
One must recognize the healthy person so as to know the sick. Health is the natural existence of men unhindered and unimpaired by the environment while the opposite is the sick. Sickness is the individual being disabled to attain fulfillment. The sick is not free. The sick person therefore seeks to be made free again.
The First Pre-requisite - the Phenomenon of Morbid:
And so how to recognize the ‘disease’? The unprejudiced observer can learn nothing else but the perceptible sick phenomenon. These therefore are indicative of the ‘disease’. The sick patient tells of the peculiar symptoms which bother him (from being free and use his innate potentialities to reach his/her fulfillment); these are carefully listened to and written down by the homœopathic healer. The healer observes the patient’s expressions, tone, gestures, bearing, etc. and notes them down too. Next, those around the patient - the near and dear - complain about their observations in the patient. These too are noted down. When all these have been written down in full detail, the totality of the disease has been perceived, in short, the disease phenomenon, that which has to be ‘cured’.
The Second pre-requisite - the knowledge of the Medicines required for Cure:
The homœopathic healer must possess full knowledge about the remedies required for the cure.
HAHNEMANN’s “Essay on a New Principle for ascertaining the Curative Powers of Drugs.....”5 (1796) - the culmination of HAHNEMANN’s six years of research, demands that we seek the powers of Medicines not on sick persons but on the healthy ones. The experiments for ascertaining the curative powers of medicinal substances are to be carried out on the healthy; the healthy person’s faculties are clear and right and hence can observe well and properly, and communicate; while the ‘sick’ persons with their altered state - altered to the extent that they seek a healer to be healed - cannot correctly observe and report exactly the action of the substances.
HAHNEMANN, during his long life, experimented and noted down the medicinal powers of over 100 drugs - these are rightly called ‘Provings of Medicinal Powers’. These ‘Provings’ were carried out on himself, members of his family and then his students. The first substance ‘proved’ in 1790 (which ‘enlightened’ him) was the Cinchona bark - ‘China’ as it is known in homœopathic therapeutics.
The experiment with the Peruvian Bark - HAHNEMANN wrote:
“I took for several days, as an experiment, four drams of good China twice daily; my feet and fingertips, etc. first became cold, I became languid and drowsy; then my heart began to palpitate; my pulse became hard and quick; an intolerable anxiety and trembling (but without a rigor); prostration in all the limbs; then pulsation in the head, redness of the cheeks, thirst, briefly all the symptoms to me otherwise usually associated with intermittent fever appeared in succession yet without the actual rigor. To sum up: all those symptoms which were usual and particularly characteristic to me, like the stupefaction of the senses, the kind of stiffness in all joints, but particularly the numb, unpleasant sensation which seemed to have its seat in the periosteum of all the bones in the whole body - all made their appearance. This paroxysm lasted two to three hours everytime, and recurred when I repeated the doses, not otherwise. I discontinued and I was in good health” (HAHNEMANN10 , Richard HAEHL11).
We understand from this that a specific disease phenomenon is evoked by China in the prover. Likewise the case with all other medicinally operative substances. If one were to take one of these in appropriate dose one can observe in oneself and could even in others, symptoms which medicinal substances arouse.
From the Medicinal Provings to the Homœopathic Materia Medica:
The proposed medicinal Proving must be undertaken according to certain precautions.
The Prover must be healthy to the most possible extent and during the proving his life style must be free from excitement and stimulating food and other habits, so that only the pure medicinal action is available for recording. The Proving supervisor examines the daily written record of the prover and discusses with the prover to ensure that only the pure effects of the proving substance without any other influences, are noted for record.
The symptoms collected from the provers are then carefully gone through and listed in an order, from Head to Foot, then Mental, Emotional and General. The Homœopathic Materia Medica is structured from these data.
The Knowledge of the exact symptoms - phenomenon aroused by the single medicinal substance is of first importance in the homœopathic therapeutics.
The Third Pre-requisite - application in accordance with the Similie Principle:
The first pre-requisite is the understanding of what disease is.
The second pre-requisite is the medicinal substance proving on healthy humans according to prescribed methodologies and thus ascertaining the alterations. The proving drug is capable of making in the healthy person, in terms of feelings and functions and record these faithfully.
Now the third pre-requisite for curing with certainty HAHNEMANN advices that the remedy must be administered according to the Similie principle. He says, in this regard, as follows: “In my additions to Cullen’s Materia Medica, I have already observed that bark given in large doses to sensitive, yet healthy individual, produces a true attack of fever, very similar to the intermittent fever, and for this reason, in all probably it overpowers, and thus cures the latter. Now after mature experience, I add not only in all probably but quite certainly”. (HAHNEMANN)5
He gives the directions clearly about “Simila Similbus Curentur” in his Introduction to the Organon I Edition, 18103. On one side we trace the disease phenomenon of the patient and on the other side the proving phenomenon of many medicinal substances. Now, it is only required to match the disease symptoms with the most possible similar proving symptoms. In other words the medicinal substance that has the most similar symptoms of the disease is the curative remedy.
The Fourth pre-requisite - the appropriate dosage:
The fourth pre-requisite to be borne in mind is the suitable dosage of the homœopathic medicine. The “dose” in Homœopathy is also so exactly opposite of the conventional Medicine and ‘irrational’ in their view - the very small amount of medicine - the size of a poppy seed which also is sometimes dissolved in a glass of water and one spoonful of this is reckoned a dose - unlike in conventional medicine where the medicine is in large and strong measures.
In the beginning HAHNEMANN gave very small but material dose. “So I gave her the straight homœopathic dose, a full drop of the undiluted juice of Bryonia root to be taken immediately”12. However, the further experience with Homœopathy taught that in many cases this was too strong a dose and in the same essay HAHNEMANN writes “According to the most recent development of our new system the ingestion of a single minutest globule, moistened with the decillionth development of power would have been quite adequate to effect an equally rapid and complete recovery; indeed equally certain would have been the mere olfaction of a globule of the size of a mustard seed, moistened with the same dynamization, so that the drop of crude juice given by me in the above case to a robust person should not be imitated.” (HAHNEMANN)3
Later HAHNEMANN developed the ‘millesimal potency’ which gives aggravation - free, quick and gentle cure.
The farther the ‘material’ is removed, the greater the ‘energy’ available for healing.
There are separate, detailed teachings by Masters like BOENNINGHAUSEN, KENT et al about repetition of the dosage wherever required.
The Fifth pre-requisite - removal of obstacles to cure:
Next, a remedy must be allowed to do its curative work without hindrance. The homœopath must be able to identify the hindrances - as for example, the diet, the life style etc. of the patient and advice to keep off these, for a speedy restoration of health. In Aphorism 4 of Organon (VI edition) HAHNEMANN says: “He is likewise a sustainer of health if he knows the things that disturb health, that engender and maintain disease, and is aware of how to remove them from healthy people.”
Summing up the foregoing pre-requisites for a ‘Sure Cure Homœopathically’ we will again quote HAHNEMANN:
i. What the disease is must be clearly discovered in every single case (disease indication).
ii. What is curative in each single medicine, must be clearly perceived (knowledge of medicinal provers).
iii. Application of the individual medicine to the individual sickness according to the above knowledge, in the exact dose.
iv. Removal of the obstacles to recovery, in each case.
Unless one acquires full knowledge of the above, one cannot be a homœopathic healer (Organon)13, only then aprioric and sure cure is possible.
It is worth repeating that a clear perception of the individual disease state (symptoms, the disease indicates) and a clear and thorough knowledge of the individual medicine powers (Materia Medica) are the first two pre-requisites. Then comes the technique of juxtaposing these two to find out the most suitable medicine for the individual disease.
In this manner alone the homœopathic law - ‘Similia Similibus Curentur’ - acts. (Organon)14.
1. Edward C. WHITMONT, Foreword in Portraits of Homœopathic Medicines by Catherine R. COULTER, 1986.
2. HAHNEMANN, Aesculapius in the Balance, 1805.
3. HAHNEMANN, Preface Organon I Edition, 1810.
4. HAHNEMANN, op. cit.
5. HAHNEMANN, Essay on a New Principle for ascertaining the Curative Powers of Drugs, 1796.
6. HAHNEMANN, Extract from a letter to a Physician of High Standing on the Great Necessity of a Regeneration of Medicine, 1808.
7. STAPF, E. Footnote to HAHNEMANN’s Essay on a New Principle for ascertaining the Curative Powers of Drugs, in STAPF’s collection of Lesser writings of Hahnemann, 1829.
8. HAHNEMANN, Nota Bene for my Reviewers, 1825.
9. HAHNEMANN, on ‘China’ in Materia Medica Pura, 1810; translation by R.E DUDGEON
10. HAHNEMANN’s Footnote to his translation (1790) of William CULLEN’s Materia Medica, 1790, Vol II, quoted in George BAYR: Hahnemanns Selbstversuch mit der Chinarinde im Jahre 1790, Haug, 1989, p,25.
11. Richard HAEHL, Vol.I., p.37.
12. ‘Preamble’, Vol.II of Materia Medica Pura 1833.
13. Aphorism 3, Organon, VI edition.
14. Aphorism 24, 25 - Organon, VI edition.