Hahnemann on Homeopathic Philosophy

To-day we will leave Kent out of the question altogether, and go back to Hahnemann, and try to show that by obeying his dicta, similar results to his own can still be got by anyone, in any place….

Having said one’s say so often on homoeopathic philosophy, and having already presented a paper to the Society on the subject, it becomes somewhat difficult to present it in a new form.

But when I was told that owing to its importance it cannot be too frequently repeated, that it is what prescribers need more than anything else, one did not like to refuse.

Many people have an idea that homoeopathic philosophy originates with Kent. Kent merely restated it, in his forcible way, and made it live again. Kent said that he “had added nothing. and discovered nothing.” To-day we will leave Kent out of the question altogether, and go back to Hahnemann, and try to show that by obeying his dicta, similar results to his own can still be got by anyone, in any place, who will faithfully obey the laws of cure which he set forth after such long and patient experiment, observation, and experience. ——————

N.B.-With the exception of two short paragraphs from Hering’s Preface to the “Chronic Diseases,” all the quotations which form the bulk of this paper are from:-

Hahnemann’s “Organon,” Wesselhoeft’s Translation (“Org.”)

Hahnemann’s “Chronic Diseases” (“Chr. Dis.”)

Hahnemann’s “Materia Medica Pura.” (“M.M.P”)

In regard to old school medicine and homoeopathy, Hahnemann says:

“Do old antiquated untruths become anything better- do they become truths-by reason of their hoary antiquity?”

“Is not truth eternal, though it may have been discovered only an hour ago? Does the novelty of its discovery render it an untruth? Was there ever a discovery or a truth that was not at first novel? (M.M.P., vol. ii, p. 39.) Homoeopathy the missing link

First; wherein does homoeopathy differ from allopathy? Allopathy studies disease, and describes them with great care and minuteness. It lays its greatest stress on diagnosis and prognosis.

Allopathy also studies drugs; makes great experiments in regard to their action; notes carefully their effects on the different organs and tissues- especially on animals.

(Note, Hahnemann’s experiments are far more conclusive, since they were all made on healthy human beings.)

“The accurate knowledge of the pure, peculiar, morbific effects of individual drugs on the healthy human subject can alone teach us in an infallible manner in what morbid states, even if they have never previously been seen, a medicine, accurately selected according to similarity of symptoms, can be employed as an unfailing remedy that shall overpower and permanently extinguish them.” (M.M.P., vol. ii, p. 131.) Relation between drug and disease

But for all its studies in disease and in drugs, allopathy has nothing to guide it, as to the curative relation between the two; and it is Hahnemann only who has supplied the missing link.

As he says, “It was high time that God mercifully permitted homoeopathy to be discovered.” (Org., p.42.)

Wanting this, allopathic therapeutics have had to run on the lines of purgation, diaphoresis, salivation, stimulation, analgesia,.. until lately, when vaccine therapy came along to give new stimulus to medical ideas. And, as Dr. Bach has lately expressed it, in his brilliant little paper to the Society, “Science is now proving Hahnemann in detail,” and “to him should fall all the honour for having anticipated science by more than a century.”

Vital reaction

For Hahnemann, in his “Law of Cure,” established for ever the relation between drug and disease; and made materia medica scientific.

He recognized first of all that cure can only come by the stimulation of vital reaction against disease.

He talks of medicines “administered in simple form at long intervals, in doses so fine as to be just sufficient, without causing pain or debility, to obliterate the natural disease, through the reaction of the vital energy.” (Org., Preface.)

And says that “curative effects are speedy and certain in proportion to the energy of the vital force of the patient.” (Ibid).

He was, the first, by nearly a hundred years, to insist upon- The “like” remedy.

The single drug.

The single dose.

Initial aggravation.

Non-interference with reaction.


Law of cure

To him, “the only natural law of cure, similia similibus curantur” (Org., p. 42) was no mere “rule,” but THE GREAT LAW OF HEALING.

“Every hypothesis,” he says, “no matter how skilfully worded, will lead to the most palpable inconsistencies when it is not founded on truth.” (Org., p. 52.) The “like” remedy

“Through observation, thought, and experience, I learnt that, contrary to old allopathy, the best way to cure is to be found by following the proposition. In order to cure gently, quickly, unfailingly and permanently, select for every case of disease a medicine capable of calling forth by itself an affection to that which it is intended to cure.” (Org., p. 43.)

“Genuine, gentle cures are accomplished only by the principle of homoeopathy… This principle… furnishes the only method enabling human skill to cure diseases with great certainty, rapidity and permanency, because this curative method rests upon and eternal, infallible law of Nature. (Org., p.91.) A drug “can only cure by virtue of its symptoms being similar to those of the case of disease, and that it could not fail to cure it in accordance with the eternal homoeopathic law of nature.” (M.M.P., vol. ii, p. 638.)

“There is no agent, no power in nature capable of morbidly affecting the healthy individual, which does not at the same time possess the faculty of curing certain morbid states.” (M.M.P. vol. i, p. 9.)

“Medicinal substances in producing morbid changes of the healthy human body, act in obedience to fixed and eternal laws of laws of nature, by virtue of which laws they generate certain definite morbid symptoms; and each drug produces particular symptoms, according to its peculiarity.” (Org., p. 122.)

Again he says, “Homoeopathy is a simple art of healing, unvarying in its principles and in its methods of applying them.” (Org., Preface.)

“Since this natural law of cure has been verified… by every pure experiment and genuine experience, and has thus become an established a scientific explanation of its mode of action is of little importance.” (Org., p. 74.)

The need for the “like” remedy is proved even in vaccines. As Dr. Bach puts it: “In vaccine therapy, as in homoeopathy, the remedy must be `like’ It would be useless to use a streptococcus to cure typhoid, or a staphylococcus for dysentery. ”

As Hahnemann puts it, “In the permanent cure of disease… Nature seems never to act otherwise than in accordance with these her manifest laws, and then indeed she acts- if we may use the expression- with mathematical certainly.” (M.M.P., vol. i, p. 17.)

“… by the homoeopathic method… we select a drug which should possess the power… in a higher degree than any other… of producing an artificial morbid condition most similar to that of the natural disease.” (Org., p. 73.)

“The morbid disturbances, called forth by drugs in the healthy body must be accepted as the only possible revelation of their inherent curative power. Through them only we are able to discover what capacity of producing disease -and hence what capacity of curing disease – is possessed by each individual drug.” (Org., p.71.)

“We only require a series of pure experiments to decide what medical symptoms will always rapidly and permanently cure and remove certain symptoms of disease, in order to know beforehand, which of all the different medicines, known and thoroughly tested as to their peculiar symptoms, must be the most certain remedy in every case of disease.” (M.M.P., vol. i, p. 9.)

“Drugs manifest no other curative power except their tendency to produce morbid symptoms in healthy persons, and to remove them from the sick.” (Org., p. 72.)

As to the range of homoeopathic drugs… “There is no agent, no power in Nature capable of morbidly affecting the healthy individual, which does not at the same time possess the faculty of curing morbid states.” (M.M.P., vol., p. 9.) The single drug

“The day will dawn, when physicians will employ for the extinction and cure of disease, whose symptoms they have investigated, one single medicinal substance, whose positive effects they have ascertained, which can show among these effects a group of symptoms very similar to those presented by the case of disease.” (M.M.P., vol. i, p.2.) Provings

“Medicines should be distinguished from each other with scrupulous accuracy, and proved by pure and careful experiments with regard to their powers and true effects upon the healthy body. For upon the accuracy of this proving depend life and death, sickness and health of human being… for the unerring selection of remedies is the only condition for the speedy and permanent return of health of body and soul, the highest gift bestowed on man.” (Org., p. 125.)

Potencies for provings.

“…..Crude medicinal substances, if taken by an experimenter for the purpose of ascertaining their peculiar effects, will not disclose the same wealth of latent powers, as when they are taken in a highly attenuated state, potentiated by means of trituration and succussion. Through this simple process the powers hidden and dormant, as it were, in the crude drug are developed and called into activity in an incredible degree.” (Org., p. 128.)

“For the provings of medicines on healthy individuals, dilutions and dynamizations are to be employed as high as are used for the treatment of disease”…. (M.M.P., vol. i. p. 20.) Dynamized doses get in

“The very small doses” (of homoeopathy) “produce the uncommon effects they do, just because they are not so large as to render it necessary for the organism to get rid of them by the revolutionary process of evacuations.” (M.M.P., vol. i, p. 3.)

“Some symptoms are frequently produced in many healthy persons who try them, others are produced in but a few, others again are extremely rare.” (Org., p. 124.)

“Drugs should be tried only upon healthy, but sensitive and susceptible persons.” (Org., p. 126.)

“A materia medica.. should exclude every supposition, every mere assertion and fiction. Its entire contents should be the pure language of Nature, uttered in response to careful and faithful inquiry.” (Org., p. 134.) The ideal

“The physician’s highest and only calling is to restore health to the sick, which is called healing.” (Org., p. 65.)

“The highest aim of healing is the speedy, gentle, and permanent restitution of health, or alleviation and obliteration of disease in its entire extent, in the shortest, most reliable, and safest manner, according to clearly intelligible reasons.” (Org., p. 65. )


“The physician observes deviations from the previous healthy condition of the patient, felt by him, recognized upon him by his attendants, and observed upon him by the physician. All of these observable signs together represent the disease in its full extent…” (Org., p. 66.)

“In a disease presenting no manifest exciting or maintaining cause, for removal, nothing is to be discerned but symptoms. These alone (with due regard to the possible existence of some miasm…) must constitute the medium through which the disease demands and points out its curative agent. Hence the totality of the symptoms…must be the chief or only means of the disease to make known the remedy necessary for its cure…” (Org., p. 67.)

“… the least remains of a germ may eventually reproduce the full disease.” (Chr. Dis., p. 172.)

Totality of the symptoms

“Besides the totality of symptoms, it is impossible to discover any other manifestation by which diseases could express their need of relief.” (Org., p. 70.)

“Distinct, sensible manifestations of disease, plainly appealing to us through symptoms, are contemptuously rejected as unworthy objects of cure. Does a cure remove anything besides these?” (Org. p. 188.)

“When a physician has succeeded in entirely removing all the symptoms, he will certainly have cancelled the internal and obscure cause of disease.” (ORg. p. 188.)

Taking the case In taking a case, “Write down everything in precisely the same expressions used by the patient and his attendants.” (Org., p.112.) (This has saved homoeopathy. If provings and materia medica had been done in the language of the medical science of Hahnemann’s day, homoeopathy would have died out half a century ago. But the simple language of Nature stands for all time.)

Never ask a question that the patient can answer by `yes’ or `no.” (Org. p. 113.)

Observe and discount the “temperament of your patient…” “Some,” he says, “particularly hypochondriacs, and other sensitive and intolerant persons, are apt to represent their complaints in too strong a light….hoping thereby to induce the physician to redouble his efforts. (Org., p. 116.)

But the shy, the modest, or timid and bashful will state their case in obscure terms; or may consider many of their symptoms too insignificant to mention. (Org., p.116.)

Working out a case

“…… We merely require to jot down when after each symptom all the medicines which can produce such a symptom with tolerable accuracy… and also to bear in mind the circumstances under which they occur, that have a determining influence on our choice (modalities) and proceed in the same way with all the other symptoms, noting by what medicine each is excited. From the list so prepared we shall be able to perceive which among the medicines covers most of the symptoms present, especially the most peculiar and characteristic ones…. and this is the remedy sought for.” (M.M.P., vol.i, p. 23.)

” Homoeopathy is absolutely inconceivable without the most precise individualization.” (Org., p.47.) Grading of symptoms

” The state of the patient’s mind and temperament is often of most decisive importance in the homoeopathic selection that should least of all escape the accurate observation of the physician.” (Org.p. 158.)

” One of the chief symptoms in disease is the state of the disposition.” (M.M.P., vol.i, p.21)

” Particular attention should be paid to the symptoms of the disposition, so that they should be very similar.” (M.M.P.M., vol. i, p, 26.)

“….each medicinal substance affects the mind in a different manner.” (Org., p. 158.)

Regarding the grading of symptoms, Hahnemann says: “The more prominent, uncommon, and peculiar characteristic features of the case are especially, and almost exclusively, considered and noted; for these in particular should bear the closest similitude to the symptoms of the desired medicine, if that is to accomplish the cure.

“The more general and indefinite symptoms, want of appetite, headache, weakness, restless sleep, distress,, unless more clearly defined, deserve but little notice on account of their vagueness, and because generalities of this kind are common to every disease and to almost every drug.” (Kent’s Common Symptoms) (Org., p. 137.)

He says that where disease and remedy present “prominent, uncommon, and characteristic symptoms, a disease of recent date will be usually cancelled and extinguished without additional discomfort, by the first dose of the remedy.” (Org., p. 138.)

“A true physician will know how to avoid the habit of considering certain remedies as favourites, merely because he happened to find them frequently adapted to diseases, and followed by favourable results…” (Org., p. 175.)

The single drug

“He will remember that of all medicines that one only deserve attention and preference which bears accurate similitude to the totality of the characteristic symptoms of the case; and that paltry prejudices should never be allowed to interfere with the serious deliberation demanded by the choice of a remedy.” (Ibid.)

Administration of remedy

“The best time for taking an antipsoric remedy is in the morning before breakfast.

“The powder may be taken dry upon the tongue (in this case the medicine acts less powerfully) and it is kept upon the tongue until dissolved. Or else it may be mixed with two or three drops of water, and taken in this fashion.

“The patient should wait an hour or at least half an hour before eating or drinking anything.” (Chr. Dis., p. 174.) To increase the effect of the remedy

“To increase the effect of a remedy it may be dissolved in a larger quantity of water…” and he suggests it should be in some cases given in divided dose: stirring up again, to increase the potency. (Chr. Dis., p. 174.) one considers this matter, of dissolving the remedy in a larger, quantity of water, it amounts to this that the patient receives with every dose, a couple of drachms, or whatever it may be, of the remedy in a slightly raised potency, instead of the amount that coats a few pellets. In acute cases especially, where rapid action is desired, most experienced physicians follow Hahnemann’s method, and dissolve the remedy in a few ounces of water, for several doses. Repetition in acute disease.

“In acute diseases the remedies may be repeated at much shorter intervals; for instance, twenty-four, twelve, eight or four hours, and in the most acute diseases at intervals varying from an hour to five minutes.” (Org., p. 172.)

“In acute diseases the time for the repetition of the proper remedy is regulated by the rate at which the disease runs its course; here it may often be necessary to repeat the medicine in twenty-four, sixteen, twelve, eight, four hours, and less, while the medicine, without originating new complaints, continues to produce uninterrupted improvement; but where this improvement is not sufficiently marked, considering the dangerous rapidity of the acute disease, the interval must be still further lessened. Thus, in cases of cholera, the most rapidly fatal disease known to us, it is necessary in the beginning to give one or two drops of a weak solution of camphor every five minutes to insure speedy and certain relief, while in the more developed stages, we may be called upon to employ doses of cup, verat, phos.,, every two or three hours, or to give ars., carbo-veg., at similar intervals.” (Org., p. 217.)

“In pure syphilitic diseases, I have commonly found one dose of merc. 30 to be sufficient…. but not infrequently two or three doses at intervals of six or eight days were necessary, whenever the least complication with psora was visible.” (Org., p. 217.)

To augment effect of dose

“The effect of a homoeopathic dose is augmented by increasing the quantity of fluid in which the medicine is dissolved preparatory to its administration, while the actual quantity of medicinal substance remains the same…. In using a solution of this kind, a much greater surface supplied with sensitive nerves, susceptible of medicinal influence, is brought in contact with the medicine. Although theorists may suppose that the dilution of a dose with a greater quantity of fluid would lessen the effect,…..experience proves exactly the opposite.” (Org., p. 185.)

Curing individual symptoms

“The patient sometimes desires his physician to cure a certain troublesome symptom first of all. This cannot be done, though the ignorant patient may be excused for having made such a foolish request.”(Chr. Dis., p. 172.)

Length of treatment in chronic diseases. “As regards the short duration of the treatment of inveterate chronic diseases, this is made impossible by the nature of the malady.”

“A great chronic disease may be cured in the space of one or two years, provided it has not been mismanaged by allopathic treatment to the extent of having become incurable. One or two years ought to be considered a short treatment.” (Chr. Dis., p. 173.)

“No one but an ignorant quack can promise to cure an inveterate chronic disease in four or six weeks….” (Chr. Dis., p. 173.)

Homoeopathic aggravation

“A slight homoeopathic aggravation during the first hours is quite in order, and in cases of acute disease, generally serves as an excellent indication that it will yield to the first dose.” (Org., p. 140.)

“Experience proves that the dose of a homoeopathically selected remedy cannot be reduced so far as to be inferior in strength to the natural disease, and to lose its power of extinguishing and curing at least a portion of the same, provided that this dose, immediately after having been taken, is capable of causing a slight intensification of symptoms of the similar natural disease (slight homoeopathic aggravation).” (Org., p. 182.)

“… This furnishes a standard according to which the doses of homoeopathic medicine are invariably to be reduced so far, that even after having been taken, they will merely produce an almost imperceptible homoeopathic aggravation.” (Org., p. 182.)

“This so-called homoeopathic aggravation is a proof that the cure is not only probable but may even be anticipated with certainty.” (Chr. Dis., p. 151.)

Diseased parts very susceptible to “like” remedy

“The smallest possible dose of homoeopathic medicine, just strong enough to create the slightest homoeopathic aggravation, will operate chiefly upon the diseased parts of the body, which have become extremely susceptible to a stimulus so similar to their own disease.” (Org., p. 183.)

(Of course we have all experienced that that is so. Wrong medicine after wrong medicine leaves the patient untouched. It is only the right medicine that has the power of stimulating, or overstimulating.) Amelioration (early signs of)

“If the antipsoric treatment be properly conducted, the strength of the patient ought to increase from the very beginning of the treatment. This increase of strength will continue during the whole treatment, until the organism is freed from the enemy, and unfolds anew its regenerative life.”(Chr. Dis., p. 174.)

(When we hear a patient say,”No, there is really not much change, but I feel ever so much better,” we know that we are on the right road.)

“The condition of the mind and the general behaviour of the patient are among the most certain signs of incipient improvement, or of aggravation, in all diseases, especially in acute ones.

“Incipient improvement, however slight, is indicated by increased sense of comfort; greater tranquillity and freedom of mind; heightened courage and a return of naturalness in the feelings of patient.

John Weir
Sir John Weir (1879 – 1971), FFHom 1943. John Weir was the first modern homeopath by Royal appointment, from 1918 onwards. John Weir was Consultant Physician at the London Homeopathic Hospital in 1910, and he was appointed the Compton Burnett Professor of Materia Medica in 1911. He was President of the Faculty of Homeopathy in 1923.
Weir received his medical education first at Glasgow University MB ChB 1907, and then on a sabbatical year in Chicago under the tutelage of Dr James Tyler Kent of Hering Medical College during 1908-9. Weir reputedly first learned of homeopathy through his contact with Dr Robert Gibson Miller.
John Weir wrote- Some of the Outstanding Homeopathic Remedies for Acute Conditions with Margaret Tyler, Homeopathy and its Importance in Treatment of Chronic Disease, The Trend of Modern Medicine, The Science and Art of Homeopathy, Brit Homeo Jnl, The Present Day Attitude of the Medical Profession Towards Homeopathy, Brit Homeo Jnl XVI, 1926, p.212ff, Homeopathy: a System of Therapeutics, The Hahnemann Convalescent Home, Bournemouth, Brit Homeo Jnl 20, 1931, 200-201, Homeopathy an Explanation of its Principles, British Homeopathy During the Last 100 Years, Brit Homeo Jnl 23, 1932: etc