Chronic Miasms


Dr. J.H.Allen elaborated the theory given by Hahnemann in regards to chronic diseases, role played by miasm as an obstacle to cure and different varieties of miasm with their representation as a symptom….


The question is often asked, is it necessary to know anything about the chronic miasms, in order to successfully treat those numberless chronic maladies that we meet in our every day practice? Let us see what relationship they bear to Homoeopathic Therapeutics. Hahnemann has said, “The physician is like wise the guardian of health, when he knows what are the objects that disturb it, what produces and keeps up the disease., and what will remove it,” etc. Secale4, Organic. The reverse of this would read like this, he who does not know what objects disturb to vital force or keep up the disease, is not a true the vital force or keep up the disease, is not a true guardian of health. In order to cure disease intelligently we must regard the fundamental cause. I think I hear many say, are not the totality of the symptoms all there is to disease? Yes, but to me it is necessary to know something of what is behind that grouping of the totality. If you do know this you are prescribing for a jack- in-the-box. You cannot follow the evolution of the curative processes; you cannot even prescribe intelligently the proper diet for a patient, unless you know the basic miasm. Of course, the diseases that are present will help you to some extent, but you have no surety unless you know the underlying basic disturbed of he disordered life.

A psoric patient requires a diet altogether different from that of a tubercular patient, and the same thing may be said of those affected with Syphilis and Sycosis. A uric and diathesis never lies behind a tubercular, syphilitic or psoric taint. So to know the basic miasm in each case helps us in many ways, besides that of being a therapeutic aid. It may form a basis not only of the patient diet, but of occupation, mode mode of life, habits, social relations, sexual functions, and numerous other things.. We cannot see the spiritual essence of disease, and it is not necessary that we should do so. But it is necessary to know what is behind each set of phenomena, and not to know, is ignorance. If you wish to says the patient took could, or he over-worked, or became unduly tired, or it was indigestion and a thousand other worm-out, threadbare excuses that are rare from being scientific, you may follow out your old beaten path. That is just what men were doing before Hahnemann’s time, and what they are don’t today. The Allopathic school make but one bite of the proverbial cherry, when they write down germs as the cause of nearly every expression so sickness. We do not deal so with the acute miasms. No! We are very careful, and very diligent to find out with great certainty, the existing disturbing element, such as scarlet fevers, measles, smallpox, etc.

It becomes an offense to the state, if we do not know these things. Yet we may pass over a thousand cases of latent syphilis, tuberculosis, or sycosis, without offence, yet the state suffers more from out overlooking them, than from all the acute miasms put together. Not only does the state suffer but society suffers, our race suffers, humanity suffers untold agony, pain and distress; our jails and penal institutions are filled, and our insane hospitals increase in numbers all over he land.

“Totality of the symptoms is this image of the immediate essence of the malady, inflected externally.” Secale 7, Organon.

What do the symptoms represent? The essence of the malady; and what is the essence of the malady? The chronic miasm. Do you see why it is necessary to understand the phenomena of disease, and why certain symptoms persist and persist with no cessation? Organon II. “In disease this spontaneous and immaterial vital principle, pervading the physical; organism, is primarily deranged by the dynamic influence of a morbific agent, which is inimical to life.” Again in the 12th paragraph, the Organon says, “it is the morbidly disturbed vital principle which brings forth disease.” What does Hahnemann mean by the dynamic influence of a morbific agent? He means that which causes all the morbid phenomena of disease to exist, he means Psora, Syphilis and Sycosis, or any intermingling or blending of the great triune. It is this morbific, dynamic influence which gives to the organism and life force its own nature, is own abnormal sensations, motions, mental and physical disturbances of all kinds and of very character, which as call disease. But in paragraph 18 says, “that beyond the totality of the symptoms, there is nothing discoverable in disease.” That is a great truth and we fully beliefs in it. It is not an understanding of the totality, that we are talking about, but an inellihernty conception for the cause of the phenomena or totality.

We make no attack upon the law; no cure can be made outside of the law, for all law is fixed,.external and unchangeable. But we do believe it s necessary to know whether the phenomena presented in a given case are of sycotic, syphilitic or tubercular origin;for the totality grouping must be about the symptoms of the active miasm. This is one reason why the peculiar or characteristic symptoms, when taken into consideration in making your prescriptions, gives us such wonderful results. Those brilliant cures that are occasionally made with the single remedy, occur where a single miasm lies behind the phenomena, but where the mixed miasms are present, brilliant cures are not so made, and it is in those cases that it is so necessary to understand the order of the their evolution.

This evolution, Hahnemann his portrayed clearly in the Organic, Secale 38. when he says, “if the disease, which is dissimilar to the old, be more powerful than the later it will then cause its suppression, until the new disease has either performed its own course, it it cured (removed by the indicated remedy, but then the old or former disease reappears.” In this way the chronic miasms act; one is usually active, and holds the other in abeyance. For instance, Sycosis if present in any form or in any stage, usually takes the precedence. Suppose a case in which there is a marked pseudo-psoric condition, where perhaps a great many Calcarea symptoms are to be found. Now Calcarea symptoms are to be found. Now Calcarea is a basic remedy, and in it we find a perfect picture of the tubercular diathesis, but Calcarea will not meet the new order of things, even if it has the greater number of symptoms as far as may are able to enumerate them, But you cannot enumerate them, hence totality (if numbers alone count) does not fulfil the law of at give disturbing miasm that fulfills the demands of he law.

When the remedy of he first section ceases to act or is found no loner to be curative, then a remedy may be selected from the grouping about the older miasm, the pseudo-psoric presentation, and the cure is complete. I have noticed many times men of good standing in the profession, prescribing Psorinum or sulphur for the cure of an acute miasm, like Cuban Itch Impetigo, and Scabies, when Sepia, Rhus tox., Rumex crispus, or some remedy that covered the acute miasm fully was all that was needed. True they found some symptoms calling for the remedies they selected, but these were found to greatly aggravated the case, much to their disappointment, by stirring up latent chronic miasms, and leaving the case worse than when they began. I have seen this kind of prescribing in case that are incurable, such as organic heart trouble, tuberculosis, etc. In these cases it is a dangerous practice to prescribe deep acting antimiasmatic remedies. It is a bad practice. We must follow not only the law of therapeutics, but the metamorphosis of disease, and understand the law governing it. Not infrequently in these cases of mixed miasms, were are compelled to make on selection of the remedy from three to five symptoms, ignoring all others, and when this first remedy has brought the system to the proper condition, when all those symptoms that were rejected condition, then all those symptoms that were rejected may be taken into consideration, and a second prescription made. This is especially true where suppression are present, or where secondary processes develop from suppressions or from bad treatment, Organon, Secale 50. “Even nature herself has no other Homoeopathic agents at her command than miasmatic disease.” The more we study disease and the better we become acquainted with the law of cure, the more frequently we employ the nosodes or diseased substances.

Our Allopathic friends are following closely along the same lines, although their methods of preparing them are unscientific and in the end, harmful to the race. It is simply the application of natural diseases, as the Homoeopathic treatment of today, like the regular school, is palliative in its nature, even with the single remedy and the potency. One reason for this, is a lack 9of knowledge of the chronic miasms, that lie behind the morbid phenomena with which we have to deal. Many of us know how to select a remedy, but we do no know how long to wait upon its action; in other words we do not understand and retrocession of each miasm, whether it be Syphilis Psora or Sycosis. We have yet to learn their secondary and tertiary presentations, and the phenomena which attend each new setting of the disease. Again we have so little knowledge of them and are at sea when we find them blacketed and veiled by suppressive or palliative treatment.

Hahnemann makes but two classes of disease, and under this general head he classifies all forms and conditions of disease. “The first” he says, “are rapid operations of the vital power, departed from its natural condition, which terminates in a shorter or longer period of time, but are always of a moderate duration. These are the acute diseases.” “The others,” he says, “are less distinct, and often imperceptible on their first appearance.” these diseases develop very slowly, and that force known as the vital power, cannot resist them It is not strong enough, until they destroy the organism. These are known as chronic diseases and are produced by infection of a chronic miasm.” We see by section 72, that Hahnemann had a clear and extensive knowledge of the chronic miasms and we also know he wished his followers to become acquainted with them, and for that reason he wrote the first volume of Chronic Disease, which is Wholly given over to the study of the chronic miasms, Psora, Syphilis and Sycosis.

We have ever reason to believe that after twelve silent years of study (as we see in Vol I. of Chronic Diseases), for he gave no knowledge of it to the world in all that time, he must have become very familiar with them. The sixty-four carefully written pages in volume one of chronic diseases, testify to that fact. In these pages he goes in to detail and illustrates the subject by the many goes into detail and illustrates the subject by the many cases therein referred to. Not long ago a prominent physician said to me, “Hahnemann wrote the Organon after he wrote the Chronic Diseases.” Yes, and he filled the Organon as well as the wonderful introduction to that valuable and indispensable book full of it. Besides, men like Charges J. Hemple, who translated The Chronic Diseases, and wrote its preface, believed and followed its teachings and we have no less a light than Constantine Hering, who also wrote a preface found in Vol I.

In this work Hahnemann not only gives us the character and nature of the chronic miasms, Syphilis. Psora, and Sycosis, but he tells us about the movements, the internal workings and the law that governs their action, even that which the life force in the lawn of cure. Speaking of Psora, he ways it is the fountain head of chronic ailments and is mother all those numberless ailments and is mother of all those numberless ailments which we find enumerated in our pathological work, such as epistaxis varices, hemorrhoids, hematemesis, menorrhagia, night-sweats, constipation, and all the host of names catalogued in our momental acuter. Again, he tells us of their disastrous results upon the whole human family throughout the age of plagues, and pestilences of which they were the father; the millions, whose lives went out like the cutting off of the current from an electric bulb.

It is a fearful picture so dramatically drawn out in the first thirty or forty pages of Vol. I of Chronic Diseases, and Hahnemann meant the lesion for each of us to study carefully. He meant that we should become familiar with his etiology of disease, which in truth is the only true cause of disease worthy of our study. This brings all disease under a sin process, under transgression of law, “whose wages are death”. He devotes pages to the history and date of many cases of suppression of chronic and acute miasm, giving the awful consequences and disastrous result of such suppression. In the ninety-seven cases to which the calls our attention, he presents a graphic picture of miasmatic suppressions with all their fatal endings, death processes and malignant ultimations. He pointed out these result as coming from the unscientific treatment that were unhomoeopathic in each case.

Hahnemann again speaking of the lack of study, and attention given to the chronic miasms says, on the 50 in the old edition for Chronic Diseases, “that the circumstances relative to the cause of chronic diseases, deserve so much more to be noticed, as the common physicians, especially the modern, have from sheer blindness, overlooked it, although it was evidently the cause of all chronic diseases.” On the same page he gives three relays we should follow in investigating the three chronic miasms. First, the period when infections took place; second, the period when the whole organism began to be tainted with the miasmatic poison, the third, the manifestations of the external expression, by means if which Nature indicates the complete development of the miasmatic disease of the internal organs.

From these lines we learn that we are to become familiar with all the chronic miasms during their initial stages, their periods of invasion of the organism, and also when the secondary expressions appear upon the skin, which show was the completion of the miasmatic involvement. The third period is when Nature relieves the internal stress upon he organs, and a comparative equilibrium is established in the life force. This third treatment for the patient. You have all seen Sulphur or Psorinum, or perhaps some other remedy bring about these secondary expressions in the form of eruptions upon the skin, or perhaps by some discharge being re established or some former suffering renewed often the mental sphere is relieved and the physical grows worse or vice versa. One fact that Hahnemann brought to view very clearly in this connection, is, that the miasmatic infection becomes fully developed in the organism, before these eruptions appear upon the skin.

This true of all the miasms; they all produce eruptions upon the skin in their secondary and tertiary stags. In Psora we have the papules, in Syphilis the polymorphic lesions, m and in Sycosis, the great family of warts, moles and blotches that have already been mentioned in his work, “It is the same,” Hahnemann says, “in the chronic miasmas as in the acute, for after the internal disease is completed, the eruptions appear.” It is a pathological law, that while the acute goes through its evolution within a few days or weeks, the chronic often takes tears. Not infrequently we lose sight of syphilis for many years when to our surprise it again appears as an eruption, upon the skin, or as some destructive ulceration. The acute disappears with a succession of rapid movements, often of a violent febrile nature, and the organism disposes of then quickly and forever, but we find it not so in the chronic miasms. their evolution is slow, with pauses and rests, yet they are always present. Latent for years, they may give forth eruptive expressions of themselves in any of their cycles, which relieves the organism from great internal suffering.

The life force has no power to disengage itself from chronic miasms, as they bare not so self-limited as are th acute. This thought is splendidly illustrated by Hahnemann is page fifty-four of Chronic Diseases, Vol. I. In speaking of Syphilis, the says, “not till the internal disease is completely developed, does Nature try to alleviate or hush its sufferings, by forming a spot where the infection takes places, a local symptom as a substitute for an internal disease.” The contagiousness of the disease comes with his expression, and the power to convey, comes with and through the local manifestations, which did not appear until the while organism was thoroughly imbued with the miasmatic poison. “Only the vicarious chancre has the power of communicating to other persons the same miasms, which is the internal disease.” All the chronic miasms, Psora, Syphilis, and Sycosis, take about the same period of time in the development of their first stages, which is from ten to seventeen days. “Psora,” says Hahnemann, “takes from ten to fourteen days; the disease in all three makes its appearance at the point of infection and then develops secondary and tertiary processes.”

Psora develops the itch vehicles or the itching papule, Syphilis, the virulent open ulcer, and Sycosis, the specific catarrhal discharge. All have a slight febrile disturbance and show signs and symptoms just before secondary infection. They all have malaise, functional disturbances and manifestations of specific poisons following the infection, and a little previous to the secondary expression of the disease. In acute disease such as scarlet fever and measles we prescribe, as a rule, for the totality of the symptoms covering the malady, and why not so understand the chronic miasms, that we can do likewise? Paragraph 258 of the Organon, in speaking of this phase of the subject says: “We are to be careful not to entertain a prejudices against those remedies from which we may have experienced some check, because we had made a bad selection; and we should never lose slight of this great truth that of all the known remedies there is but one, that merits of preference before all others, namely, the one whose symptoms bear the closest resemblance to those which characterize the malady.”

This malady I have found in every case to be the active miasms, and that active miasms is as frequently sycosis on anything else, and the curative remedy will very often revolve about its symptomatology. In the same case, any prescriber could find psoric grouping or perhaps a pseudo-psoric grouping, that appeared to be (to the student not acquainted with miasmatics) of great value. It is here I claim that majority of our failures occur in selecting the true simillimum. Thus a knowledge of the active miasm that lies behind the malady, assists us in grouping our remedies, whether they be anti-psoric, anti-syphilitic, or anti-sycotic. The second selection of the remedy will now, as a rule, cover that grouping that the first remedy covered by mistake. Then we conclude that the first selection of the remedy should culminate about the active miasms, and the second selection should cover the latent miasms, now disturbed or brought into action by active miasms on which we based or first prescription.

To illustrate this, suppose we select Belladonna for scarlet fever, covering a splendid and positive totality., Behind this acute miasm (scarlet fever), we will say, lies a latent tubercular element (pseudo-psora), which becomes violently disturbed by the acute active miasm. Soon we notice the Belladonna group waning and the chronic miasmatic element advancing in all its fury, with an abscess perhaps of the middle ear, calling for Hepar, Mercury, or Arsenic. As this is the order things in the acute, so is it chronic. The difference is this, in the case of scarlet fever, is it easy to understand, for the but in the chronic blending, the symptoms are not prominent, not clear, and it requires much study and close observation to distinguish in the secondary or tertiary stages of chronic miasms, what is behind the existing malady, as referred to in paragraph 258 of the Organon.

Until I saw clearly that La Grippe was a sycotic disease, I often found it difficult to select a curative remedy that would wipe it out, without the necessity of a second or third selection; but now knowing what is behind the malady, I have seldom any trouble in securing such a remedy. As you study the disease, you will find the genus-epidemicus will in over ninety per cent. of the cases, be an anti-sycotic one. We select our nosods in that way and from just such knowledge. Yet I have seen Psorinum prescribed in an acute sycotic eruption, that was covered fully by Sepia, entirely on the symptom of itching. The genus epidemicus is but another proof of this truth. The genus epidemicus is the remedy that covers the totality of the existing malady, not all the symptoms of which are to be found in any one patient. Thus it is true of every other case. The disease force combining with the life forces, produce or bring forth an inhibitation, and about that inhibitation is to be found a grouping of symptoms, that represent the similia of the existing malady, which is the phenomena of of miasmatic action in every case. If your do not find this, your treatment is palliative and does not fulfil the law.

John Henry Allen
Dr. John Henry Allen, MD (1854-1925)
J.H. Allen was a student of H.C. Allen. He was the president of the IHA in 1900. Dr. Allen taught at the Hering Medical College in Chicago. Dr. Allen died August 1, 1925
Books by John Henry Allen:
Diseases and Therapeutics of the Skin 1902
The Chronic Miasms: Psora and Pseudo Psora 1908
The Chronic Miasms: Sycosis 1908