Basic Principles

Humane and Rational Therapeutics:

It was one thing to arrive at a more or less rational concept of health and disease. It was quite another to discover an equally rational method of therapeutics which would be in accord with that concept.

Coercion by pharmacological force only too obviously carries with it the risk of causing damage to vulnerable tissues and disturbance of delicately poised vital functions.

This was recognised early and clearly by Hahnemann and he sought a way of healing that was more humane and less haphazard, as revealed in his statement :

“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.”

Even when the aim of treatment is directed against the causal agents of disease, it is often impossible to proceed without risk. In cases of infection, for instance, it is possible to lay down a barrage of antibiotics and chemotherapeutic agents.

But when the opposing forces are already locked in mortal combat, the barrage procedure carries with it unpleasant possibilities of non-discriminating damage to the defending as well as to the attacking forces.

How much better, if possible, to concentrate on boosting the natural defences of the body, so helping them to defeat the hostile agents from within.

In the course of his extensive reading he had from time to time come across the dictum of Hippocrates “Like cures like”; that a substance capable of causing symptoms when introduced into the body could also be used to cure diseases manifesting similar symptoms.

He was working on the translation of a work on pharmacology by Cullen and queried in his own mind the validity of a passage relating to CINCHONA (Peruvian Bark), the source of quinine. To put the matter to the test he took a substantial dose of the bark and, to his astonishment and intense interest, found himself developing a typical attack of ague (marsh fever).

At once Similia similibus curentur came to mind, for “the bark” was a popular “cure” for marsh fever at that time. Here was a drug causing symptoms that it was known to cure or, at any rate, influence in the direction of cure.

Alternative to Drastic Drugging:

Here was the answer to his quest for a rational and at the same time safe and satisfactory method of treating disease that would not merely get rid of symptoms but would restore health and well- being, and do so without causing additional pain and distress to the patient.

Once gripped by the idea he set about putting his theory to the test and applied his new pharmacology to clinical practice with encouraging results. In the first two years he had accumulated data on some dozen drugs as to what symptoms they could cause, and was beginning to use these drugs as remedies in accordance with the principle of “similarity”.

But it was only after several years of patient and painstaking experiment that he put forward his claims publicly and in print. The notion that disease could be cured by drugs causing similar symptoms in a healthy person seemed so far-fetched and absurd to his contemporaries that his theory was discounted and his successes were ignored.

Rather unfortunately, he defended his claims with such withering denunciation and biting criticism of his contemporaries, that a fair hearing and a considered judgement were virtually ruled out by the passion and heat engendered in the dispute.

The idea that the body itself might be aided and abetted in its endeavours to cure the disorder and disharmony responsible for disease may have seemed ridiculous and scarcely worthy of attention to the men of Hahnemann’s generation. It is by no means so absurd today with out knowledge of immunology, allergy, molecular biology, even submolecular biology. Time and the advance of science have proved on Hahnemann’s side.

Robert Gibson-Miller
He was born in 1862, and was educated at Blair Lodge and the University of Glasgow, where he graduated in medicine in 1884. Early in his career he was attracted to the study of Homoeopathy, and with the object of testing the claims made for this system of medicine he undertook a visit to America. As a result of his investigations there Dr. Miller was convinced of the soundness of the homoeopathic theory. Dr. Miller did not write much, but we owe him also his Synopsis of Homoeopathic Philosophy and his small book, always at hand for reference, on Relation ship of Remedies.