IN a series of papers published in the Hahnemannian Monthly of Philadelphia, R.T.Cooper sketched out a system for the better investigation of medicinal substances, and particularly of plant- Arborivital Medicine….


Arborivital Medicine: its meaning. The necessity for investigating action of Single Doses. Remedies act over a long period of time. Special preparation of plant-remedies not absolutely necessary. Medical Education not in accordance with Nature. The Cancers easily acted on; explanation. Illustrative Case. Cancer contrasted with Chronic Deafness and other Chronic Disease. Case of Hodgkin’s Disease: lessons to be learned from


IN a series of papers published in the Hahnemannian Monthly of Philadelphia, I sketched out a system for the better investigation of medicinal substances, and particularly of plant- remedies, to which I gave the name Arborivital Medicine.

The idea underlying the proposal is, that if it is required to discover the actions of plant-remedies and their influence upon chronic forms of disease, it is absolutely necessary that we start de novo, and investigate the actions not alone of single remedies, as Hahnemann had done, but still more of single doses of these remedies; and I further set out that in investigating the effects of these single doses I had found that there existed in plant-remedies a force which Hahnemann had strangely left unacknowledged, and which acted by virtue of a power in all respects similar to a germinating power in the human body.

Hahnemann, it is well known, claimed for his special preparations of remedies, mineral as well as vegetable substances, a property of lingering in the human body and continuing to act for a much longer time than had previously been suspected. Such a power he claimed for his dilutions and triturations, but he did not claim, or if he did, none of his followers have since his time claimed, that substances possess any such power apart from these artificial preparations.

Hahnemann’s own wording on the subject is, I admit, not very clear, and a lengthy discussion on the subject would be undesirable.

My contention, in a word, is this, that in the living plants we get a force which, if applied in accordance with the laws of Life to disease, will arrest its progress, and even cause its dispersal. Further, that while artificial preparations, dilutions, and triturations are required for the better demonstration of such a force in mineral substances, they are not required for proving the existence of a like force in plant- remedies. To this force I gave the name arborivital, and the action that results therefrom Arborivital Action.

I do not hesitate to affirm that the whole state of medical education is in every way unnatural, and that this accounts for the fact that little or nothing is known of the action of our commonest plants by men supposed to be our foremost medical practitioners; and I further state that some of the most easily acted upon forms of chronic disease, such as are the cancers, have for this reason remained, at this enlightened age, upon the list of uncured and incurable diseases. The curriculum of education adopted for the practitioner of medicine is more absurd than the public imagines.

In former days the young student had some chance of familiarising himself at staring with the practical work of his profession, for he became an apprentice of assistant to an experienced practitioner and had an opportunity of seeing what were the every day duties of a working member of the craft.

Now this is all changed; the student is debarred by the Medical Council from doing any kind of work until he is qualified.

In order to be qualified he has to keep studying anatomy and materia medica for two years before he is allowed to feel a pulse, look at a tongue, or give a dose of medicine.

At the end of these two years, and before he has yet looked at a patient, he is examined in what? in materia medica; in other words, in the actions and doses of medicines.

Doses did I say? yes, the doses, i.e., the largest amount of medicine that can be given short of poisoning the patient.

If the diligent youngster dares to suggest anything above or below this standard, he is forthwith relegated to his studies; to the enrichment of the Conjoint Board, and the abolition in himself of all sense of the fitness of things.

A still worse fate, however, attends the aspirant to a knowledge of Homoeopathy. Having devoted five or six years of the best portion of the thirty years of his probable professional life to an indoctrination into the mysteries of allopathy and having been declared by august qualifying bodies to be endowed with knowledge sufficient to deal with the responsibilities necessarily attendant upon the treatment of disease, not a single case of which he has ever treated, he can then, but not till then, avail himself of private judgment and make inquiry into advanced medicine.

Robert Thomas Cooper
Dr. Robert Thomas Cooper (1844-1903) was an Irish homeopath. In 1866, he "settled in private practice at Southampton," [Obit, 459], moving to London in 1874. He had two busy London medical practices, one at Notting Hill and the other in Hanover Square. He was a key member of the Cooper Club named after him [Blackie, 1976, p.158]. He published Cancer & Cancer Symptoms 1900; and Lectures on Diseases of the Ears, 2nd Edition 1880. Apart from numerous articles in the Homeopathic World, mostly about materia medica, he also published a series of articles in the Dublin Medical Review.