Hahnemann on Homeopathic Philosophy

“The signs of aggravation, however slight they may be, are the opposite of the preceding, and consist in an embarrassed, helpless state of mind, while the deportment, attitude, and actions of patient appeal to our sympathy. (Org., p. 174.)

Order of cure

Order of cure (from Hering’s preface to the “Chr. Dis.”) : “The thorough cure of a widely-ramified chronic disease is indicated by the most important organs being first relieved; the affection passes off in the order in which the organs had been affected the more important being relieved first, the less important next, the skin last…..

“An improvement which takes place in a different order can never be relied upon.” (Chr. Dis., p. 7.)

Again Hering

“As acute diseases terminate in an eruption upon the skin, which divides, dries up, and then passes off, so it is with many chronic diseases… The internal disease approaches more and more to the external tissues, until it finally arrives at the skin.

“Every homoeopathic physician must have observed that the improvement in pain takes place from above downward, and in diseases from within outward. This is the reason why chronic diseases, if they are thoroughly cured, always terminate in some cutaneous eruption…” (Chr. Dis., p. 7.)

(This is a hard saying, but when we do get a cutaneous manifestation in the process of cure, are we not apt to regard it as something to be itself “cured”?)

Non-interference with remedies

“Chronic patients.. must avoid domestic remedies…..intermediate medicines of any kind; must abstain carefully from perfumes, scented waters, tooth-powders, ” (Chr. Dis., p. 139.)

(You will find over and over again that a stomach case that has done well, hangs fore; and you will make no further progress till you have discovered that the patient uses kolynos or euthymol, or carbolic tooth powder, and stop it.)

Coffee also, according to Hahnemann, “has pernicious effects upon both body and soul.” While tea “secretly and infallibly weakness the nerves.” He says they ought to be avoided during the treatment of chronic diseases. (Chr. Dis., p. 139.)

“Vinegar and lemon juice (he says) are hurtful in nervous and abdominal complaints; moreover, they either neutralize or increase the effect of certain remedies.” (Ibid., p. 142.)

Emotions especially interfere

Grief, sorrow, vexation, an unhappy marriage, a gnawing conscience, bereavement, are more capable of rousing a latent chronic disease into activity (he says) than excessive fatigue, wounds and injuries, starvation, or unwholesome food…. He notices that “a mother in vacillating health may be attacked with incurable lung trouble, or cancer of the breast, in consequence of the sudden death of her only son.” (Chr. Dis., p. 144.)


“Strict diet is not the curative agent in the treatment of chronic diseases, as is asserted by the opponents of homoeopathy with a view to lessening its merit; the cure depends chiefly upon the medical treatment. This is proved by the fact that many chronic patients have followed for years the strictest diet without being able to obtain relief.” (Chr. Dis., p. 137.)

Every part of body receptive of drugs

“Every part of the body, endowed with sensitive nerves, is capable to receiving the influence of medicines, and of transmitting their power to all other parts.

“Besides the stomach, the tongue and mouth are the parts most susceptible of medicinal impressions; but the lining membrane of the nose possesses this susceptibility in a high degree. Also the rectum, genitals, and all sensitive organs of our body are almost equally susceptible of medicinal effects. For this reason, parts denuded of cuticle, wounded and ulcerated surfaces, will allow the effect of medicines to penetrate quite as readily as if they had been administered by the mouth…” (Org., p. 186.)

(We need not go into the question of olfaction (Org., p. 225). The whole subject is so great, that innumerable points have to be left out, or we should be here all night).

Non-interference with reaction

He says, “The whole cure fails, if the antipsoric remedies prescribed are not permitted to act uninterruptedly to the end. Even if the second antipsoric should have been selected with the greatest care, it cannot replace the loss which the rash haste of the physician has inflicted upon the patient. The benign action of the former remedy, which was about manifesting its most beautiful and most. surprising results, is probably lost to the patient for ever.” (Chr. Dis., p. 156.)

“The fundamental rule (in chronic diseases) is this,. to let the carefully selected homoeopathic antipsoric act as long as it is capable of exercising a curative influence and there is a visible improvement going on in the system….” (Ibid.) Reaction to single dose

“By means of a single dose of a carefully selected remedy, the homoeopathic practitioner often produces an improvement in the state of his patient, which continues even to the restoration of health. This result could not have been obtained if the dose and had been repeated, or if another remedy had been given.” (Chr. Dis., p. 157.) Sac. lac.

“If the patient should wish to take medicine every day, the homoeopathic physician may give him every day a dose of sugar of milk, all these powders being marked with successive numbers.

“Sugar of milk is admirably adapted to this kind of innocent deception.” (Chr. Dis., p. 164.) Three mistakes

“There are three mistakes which a physician cannot too carefully avoid…

“First to suppose that the doses which I have indicated as the proper doses in the treatment of chronic diseases, and which long experience and close observation have induced me to adopt, are too small… Nothing is lost by giving even smaller doses than those which I have indicated. The doses can scarcely be too much reduced, provided the effects of the remedy are not disturbed by improper food…” (Chr. Dis., p. 152.) Second, bad prescribing

“The second great mistake is, the improper use of a remedy… owing to carelessness, laziness, and levity…by physicians who know nothing of the homoeopathic doctrine.

“The physician’s first duty is to inquire into the whole condition of the patient: the cause of the disease, his mode of life, the nature of his mind, the tone and character of his sentiments, his physical constitution, and especially the symptoms of his disease… according to the rules in the Organon.

“…..He then tries to discover the true homoeopathic remedy.” (Chr. Dis., p. 152.)


“He may avail himself of the existing repertories to become approximately acquainted with the true remedy. But as those repertories only contain general indication, it is necessary that the remedies found indicated in those works should be afterwards carefully studied out in the materia medica.” (Chr. Dis., p. 153.)

The quack: the homicidal dabbler

“A physician not willing to take this trouble… and who by means of these general indications dispatches one patient after the other, deserves not the name of a true homoeopathist. He is a mere quack, changing his remedies every moment till the poor patient loses his temper and is obliged to leave this homicidal dabbler. It is by such levity as this that true homoeopathy is injured.” (Chr. Dis., p. 153.)

Third great mistake.. too hasty repetition

“The third great mistake, which cannot be too carefully avoided in the treatment of chronic diseases, is the too hasty repetition of the dose.

“….superficial observers are apt to suppose that a remedy. after having favourably acted for eight or ten days, can act no more… It may take twenty-four or thirty days… To give another remedy before the lapse of this period would be the height of folly..

To hasten the cure

“The surest and safest way of hastening the cure is, to let the medicine act as long as the improvement of the patient continues, even were it far beyond the period which is set down as the probable period of the duration of that action. He who observes this rule with the greatest care will be the most successful homoeopathic practitioner.” (Chr. Dis., p. 153.) One of Hahnemann’s own cases

We have, I believe, very few cases that show Hahnemann’s actual work, but in a note he gives a sepia case of chronic headaches. After the first dose the attacks became less frequent and less violent. A second dose stopped the headaches for 100 days. Then for a slight attack a third dose was given. and the patient was still free of her headaches seven years later. (Chr. Dis.p. 154.)

Again, non-interference

“The physician must be on his guard against interrupting the action of the antipsoric remedy which he has given to the patient. Let him not exhibit an intermediate remedy, on account of a little headache which may perhaps come the day after the remedy was given; or another remedy for a sore throat, or diarrhoea, or a little pain. ”

“Let the remedy act”

“The rule is that the carefully selected homoeopathic remedy should act until it has completed its effect.” (Chr. Dis., p. 150.) MODES OF APPLICATION OF CURATIVE REMEDIES

Do not even repeat

“Perceptible and continued progress of improvement in an acute or chronic disease is a condition which, as long as it lasts, invariably counter indicates the repetition of any medicine whatever, because the beneficial effect which the medicine continues to exert is approaching its perfection. Under these circumstances every new dose of any medicine, even of the last one that proved beneficial, would disturb the process of recovery.” (Org., p. 171.)

Length of action of a dose

“A very fine dose of a well-selected homoeopathic remedy, if uninterrupted in its action, will gradually accomplish all of the curative effect it is capable of producing, in a period varying from 40 to 100 days.” (Org., p. 171.)

“No empirical repetition.” Must prescribe every time

“It is a practice with many homoeopathic physicians to furnish the patient with several doses of the same remedy, advising him to take them at certain intervals according to his discretion. This empiricism. The homoeopathic physician ought to examine the symptoms every time he prescribes; otherwise he cannot know whether the same remedy is indicated a second time; or whether a medicine is at all appropriate.” (Chr. Dis., p. 160.)

Repetition more often needed in acute disease.

“A second dose of the same remedy may be given immediately after the first, when the well-chosen remedy had produced a good effect, but had not acted long enough to cure the disease. This occurs seldom in chronic diseases; but it occurs frequently in acute diseases, and in those chronic that border upon the acute.” When to repeat

“The same remedy may be given a second time when the improvement which the first dose had produced… ceases to continue… when it becomes evident that the medicine has ceased to act, the condition of the mind being the same as before, and no new or troublesome symptoms having made their appearance. All this would show that the same remedy is again indicated.” (Chr. Dis., pp. 160-161.)

“The duration of the action of antisporic remedies is generally proportionate to the chronic character of the disease… even such remedies as…which act for a considerable length of time in the healthy organism have the duration of their action diminished in proportion as the disease is acute and runs speedily through its course.” (Chr. Dis., p. 155.)


“Sulphur, hepar-s, and sepia excepted, the other antipsorics seldom admit of a favourable repetition of the same drug. This repetition is, moreover, unnecessary on account of the great number of antipsorics we possess.

“One antipsoric having fulfilled its object, the modified series of symptoms generally requires a different remedy.” (Chr. Dis., p. 162.)

“Several antipsorics are generally required for the cure of a chronic disease.” (Ibid.)

Here one may observe that Hahnemann had not, of course, our large range of potencies. With these it is often possible to carry a patient on to cure on the one remedy, raising the potency as each one in turn loses its effect.”

Some of us talk about “dilutions”… which we consider more or less delusions. For Hahnemann they were potencies; and here he is supported by the most modern science. Potentization

“To serve the purposes of homoeopathy, the spirit-like medicinal powers of crude substances are developed to an unparalleled degree by means of a process which was never attempted before, and which causes medicines to penetrate the organism, and thus to become more efficacious and remedial. It is applicable even to those substances which, in their crude state, do not evince the least medicinal effect upon the human body.” (Org., p. 178.)

“It also happens that by the succussion or trituration employed, a change is effected in the mixture, which is so incredibly great and so inconceivably curative that this development of the spiritual power of medicines to such a height by means of the multiplied and continued trituration and succussion of a small portion of medicinal substance with ever more and more dry or fluid unmedicinal substances, deserves incontestably to be reckoned among the greatest discoveries of this age.” (M.M.P., vol. ii., p. 43.)

“I was apparently the first who made this great, this extraordinary discovery, that the properties of crude medicinal substances gain, when they are fluid by repeated succussion with unmedicinal fluids, and when they are dry by frequent continued trituration with unmedicinal powders, such an increase of medicinal power, that when these processes are carried very far, even substances in which for centuries no medicinal power has been observed in their crude state, display under this manipulation a power of acting on the health of man that is quite astonishing.” (M.M.P., vol. ii, p.45.)

“Medicinal substances are not dead masses in the ordinary sense of the term, on the contrary, their true essential nature is only dynamically spiritual-is pure force, which may be increased in potency almost to an infinite degree, by that very remarkable process of trituration (and succussion) according to the homoeopathic method.” (M.M.P., vol. ii, p. 46.)

And he describes the process for soluble and insoluble substances. Among the latter we use daily flint, plumbago, Ponderables and imponderables

“If only ponderables were real, and imponderables unreal, then one of these seemingly insignificant doses would, at worst, be without any effect.” (Org., p. 222.)

The great forces entirely imponderable

“Physical sciences teach that there are great forces (potencies) which are entirely imponderable, like heat, light causing a bilious fever, or the weight of afflicting news that can kill an affectionate mother, when she hears of the death of an only son…” (Org., p. 222.)

X-Ray : Radium

(Were Hahnemann alive now, he would see his confirmation in the pathological and therapeutic effects of light, X-rays, radium,, “imponderables.”) Potentization

“It must be remembered that the power of homoeopathic medicine is augmented (potentiated) by friction and succussion at each successive division and comminution. This development of powers, unknown before my time, is so great that in later years…” he recommended “two succussions after each dilution, instead of ten.” (Org., p. 222.)

“The smallest possible quantity of medicine in potentized development is sufficient.” (M.M.P.)

“Quite small doses of medicine are all the less likely to fail to exercise their peculiar action, in as much as their very smallness cannot excite the organism to revolutionary evacuations (what is morbid is altered by the small dose), whereas a large dose, by the antagonism it excites in the system, will often be rapidly expelled and bodily ejected and washed away by vomiting, purging, diuresis, perspiration, &c” (M.M.P., vol. i, p. 415.) Must do provings with potentized drugs

Org.p. 127: “…The most recent experiments have taught that crude medicinal substances, if taken by an experimenter (a prover) for ascertaining their peculiar effects, will not disclose the same wealth of latent powers as when they are taken in a highly attenuated state, potentized 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. In this way the medicinal powers of substances hitherto considered as inert are most effectually developed…” Insoluble substances become soluble after three triturations.

“Chemistry is not acquainted with the fact that all substances after having been triturated up to the millionth degree (up to the 3rd cent. potency) can be dissolved in either alcohol or water.” (Chr. Dis., p. 192.) Effect of potentization marvellous

“The alteration which is effected in the properties of natural substances, especially medicinal substances, either by triturating or shaking them in conjunction with a non-medicinal powder or liquid, is almost marvellous. This discovery is due to homoeopathy.” (Chr. Dis., p. 187.) Insolubles become soluble,

He instances “Sepia” (cuttle-fish juice) “soluble only in water, when triturated, it becomes soluble in alcohol.. ” “Petroleum, insoluble in water and alcohol, by means of trituration is soluble in both…” “Lycopodium (spores of club- moss) floats on alcohol and water, unaffected by either, Trituration makes it soluble in either, and develops such powerful medicinal action in the drug that its use requires great care.” (Chr. Dis., p. 187.)

Potencies no longer subject to chemical laws

“The medicinal chemical substances which have been thus (homoeopathically) prepared, and their medicinal virtues fully, infinitely developed’ are no longer subject to chemical laws.” (Chr. Dis., P. 188.)

“Besides this alteration of their medicinal properties, the homoeopathic mode of preparing medicines produces an alteration in their chemical properties. Whereas in their crude form, they are insoluble either in water or alcohol, they become entirely soluble both in water and alcohol by means of this homoeopathic transformation. This discovery is invaluable to the healing art.” (Chr. Dis., p. 187.)

Or to chemical neutralization

“A remedy which has been elevated to the highest potency and by this means, has become almost spiritualized, is no longer subject to the laws of neutralization.” (Chr. Dis., p. 189.) (He gives instances to prove this.)

Globules retain medicinal powers for years

“Globules, moistened with the 30th potentiated dilution and then dried, retain their full strength undiminished for at least eighteen or twenty years (as far as my experience reaches), even if the vial had been opened a thousand times, provided it had been well protected from heat and sunlight.” (Org., p. 224.) Facts speak

(Hahnemann fully realized the years of doubt and poor work that would precede his triumph.)

“My doctrines in regard to the magnitude and repetition of the doses will be doubted for years, even by the greater number of homoeopathic physicians. Their excuse will be that it is quite difficult to believe that minute homoeopathic doses have at all the power to act upon the disease, but that it is incredible that such small doses should be able to influence an inveterate chronic disease even for two or three, much less for forty or fifty days; years, that after so long a space of time, important results should be obtained from these imperceptible doses…”I do not comprehend it, but facts speak for themselves. The truth of my proposition is demonstrated by experience, in which I have more faith than in my intelligence. Who will undertake to weigh the powers which Nature conceals in her depths? who will doubt of their existence?” (Chr. Dis., pp. 155-156.) Experience the only arbiter

“It would be foolish to refuse to learn to write, because we cannot understand how thought can be embodied in written words…” (Chr. Dis., p. 156.)

“Who ever thought that the medicinal virtues of drugs could be developed in an infinite series of degrees by means of triturating and shaking the raw materials?” (Chr. Dis., p. 156.)

“Dose the physician risk anything by imitating a method which I have adopted from long experience and observation?” (Chr. Dis., p. 156.)

Laws of cure must be obeyed

“Unless the physician imitates my method, he cannot expect to solve the highest problems of medical science, that of curing those important chronic diseases, which have remained uncured until I discovered their true character, and proper treatment.” (Chr. Dis., p. 156.)

“If physicians do not carefully practise what I teach, let them not boast of being my followers, and above all, let them not expect to be successful in their treatment.” (Ibid.)

“This doctrine appeals not only chiefly, but solely to the verdict of experience-repeat the experiments,’ it cries aloud, `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.” (M.M.P., vol. ii, p.2.)

In conclusion I would like to acknowledge the valuable help that Dr. Tyler has given me in the compilation of this paper.

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