General questions regarding Homeopathy like how it works, laws and principles to practise Homeopathy, drug pathogenesis, proving, remedy selection, physiologic action of drugs and miasm had been answered in short by W.A.Dewey….


What is Homoeopathy?

Homoeopathy [from the Greek omoio, meaning similar affections] is the science of therapeutics based upon Nature’s law of cure-Similia Similibus Curantur. *The question as to whether Curentur or Curantur should be employed remains as yet an open one. Dr. Dudgeon, who was authority on the works of Hahnemann, asserted that Hahnemann always wrote Curentur. Nevertheless, Curantur has been almost universally adopted by the homoeopathic school in the belief and conviction that it is a law of nature,-likes are cured by likes, rather than Curentur,-let likes be treated by likes. The medallion found on Hahnemann’s remains, at the time of their recent removal to the Pere-Lachaise Cemetery, has it Curantur. The American Institute of Homoeopathy has officially recommended the use of Curentur.

What is meant by this?

A drug producing disturbances in a comparatively healthy body is capable of relieving or entirely obliterating similar disturbances when found in the sick person.

Who formulated the law of cure?

Samuel Hahnemann, a German physician, at the beginning of the last century discovered the law, and immediately set to work ascertaining drug action upon the healthy, thus creating a Materia Medica for its practical application.

Was anything known of this law before the time of Hahnemann?

Hahnemann himself, in his Organon, mentions seven medical authors who had presentiments of the law of similars.

It had been intimated or conjectured by Hippocrates, Paracelsus, Stoerck and others; abandoned by them, however, it remained for Hahnemann to demonstrate its truth; hence, in a general sense, it may be said he discovered the law.

What are the chief works of Hahnemann appertaining to Homoeopathy?

First and foremost “The Organon;” “The Materia Medica Pura;” “The Chronic Diseases,” and “The Lesser Writings.”

Name the fundamental principles of Homoeopathy.

1. Disease is manifested by symptoms

2. Knowledge of drug action must be obtained by experimentation on the healthy human body.

3. The curative relation between these two sets of phenomena is by virtue of the law of similars, or Similia Similibus Curantur.

4. The selected remedy should be administered singly, uncombined with any other, hence the doctrine of the single remedy.

5. It should be given in the smallest doses that will cure, hence the minimum dose.

What are the three essentials of a homoeopathic prescription?

I. Prescribing according to the law of similars.

2. Administering the smallest dose that will cure.

3. Repetition of the dose should cease when marked improvement sets in, especially in chronic affections.

What is the only indication for the selection of a remedy?

The totality of the symptoms found in a given case.

What do we mean by the totality of the symptoms?

All the symptoms observed in a patient-both subjective and objective. It is the outwardly reflected image of the diseased state, and is the only Condition to be recognized for removal and consequent restoration to health.

In the totality of symptoms are they all of like importance?

They are not. The most prominent, uncommon and peculiar (characteristic) symptoms of the case should bear the closest similitude to the symptoms of the drug. The more general symptoms require less notice, as generalities are common to every disease and to most drugs.

As a general rule, which symptoms take precedence in the selection of a remedy and in determining improvement?

The mental symptoms and those that have appeared last. Incipient improvement is indicated by increased comfort, greater tranquility and ease of mind, and also disappearance, first, of the more recently developed symptoms.

How do we discover the action of remedies?

By provings on the healthy human body and observation of cases of poisoning.

What is a proving, and what is meant by the proving of drugs?

A proving is an experiment on the healthy body with a drug in varying doses sufficient to produce symptoms. It is the testing of drugs for their true and unequivocal effects.

What is the relative value of the records of poisoning and proving of a drug?

For purposes of prescribing, the proving is indispensable and far more important. It gives the finer distinction of the action of a drug, whereas the poisoning gives the coarser action. Usually the fatal effects of poison prevent the development of the finer symtomatology which alone guides the Homoeopathist to the choice of a remedy.

What is meant by the pathogenesis of a drug?

The record of all the symptoms, subjective and objective, produced by testing drugs on the human body in varying doses, on different individuals and both sexes. It includes toxicology.

What is meant by a homoeopathic aggravation and what is its significance?

A temporary increase in the severity of the symptoms of a case after administering the similimum. Its significance is favorable since in stopping further medication a cure will follow as a rule.

What is Materia Medica?

Materia Medica is the study of drugs-medical materials for the cure of the sick.

What is a drug?

A substance which alters the function or nutrition of a part or parts of the body.

What are the sources of the remedies used in Homoeopathy?

They are obtained from the three kingdoms of nature-the Animal, Mineral and Vegetable.

What are nosodes?

The homoeopathic designation for the morbid product of disease, when employed as remedies.

Name some of the principal nosodes.

Psorinum, Syphilinum and Tuberculinum. Ambra grisea, though not classed by pharmacists as a nosode, is a diseased animal product.

Define therapeutics.

Therapeutics is the application of drugs to diseases for their relief or cure; besides this, it includes all that relates to the science and art of healing by other remedial measures.

What does it embrace further?

Dietetics, climate, clothing, bathing, nursing, application of heat, cold, electricity, etc.

How are the methods of combating disease divided?

Into the preventive, palliative and curative methods.

What is understood by preventive medicine?

It includes everything that physiology, sanitary science, hygiene, bacteriology and antiseptic medication teaches to lessen the development of disease; the use of homoeopathic remedies in preventing development of epidemic and hereditary diseases is also included.

What is palliative medicine?

The use of drugs in physiological doses for their direct effect. This is practically allopathy. Brilliant palliative results are obtained from the homoeopathic remedy in incurable cases.

What is curative medicine?

This field is exclusively occupied by Homoeopathy.

What is meant by empiricism?

That practice based upon mere experience without regard to any scientific deduction or investigation. Medical routinism.

What is a symptom?

A symptom is the expression of disturbances in a healthy body produced by a drug or some morbid agent.

How may we divide the symptoms of the Materia Medica?

First, into pathogenetic and clinical; second, into generic and characteristic.

What are pathognomonic symptoms?

Pathognomonic symptoms are characteristic symptoms of disease and belong to the diagnostician.

What is a pathogenetic symptom?

One obtained from provings on the healthy or from toxicological observations.

What is a clinical symptom?

One that is observed on the sick and has not been obtained from a proving. A patient under treatment is given a remedy for certain conditions; if a certain marked symptom not found in the proving of that remedy disappears, it is credited to the action of that remedy and called a clinical symptom.

Are they of equal importance to pathogenetic symptoms?

They are not. They must be used with great caution.

But it is often that some clinical symptoms observed by trained men have been very valuable additions to the Materia Medica. They are possible pathogenetic symptoms.

What are generic symptoms?

Generic symptoms are symptoms common to a number of drugs. Such symptoms are: Loss of appetite, weakness, distress, headache, etc. They are of little value to the prescriber.

What is meant by a characteristic symptom?

It is the individualizing symptom of a drug. In its complete expression it should belong to one drug alone.

How else are they sometimes denominated?

Key-note symptoms. Guiding symptoms.

What is a subjective symptom?

A symptom which either the prover or the patient experiences and can express in language.

What are objective symptoms?

Objective symptoms are those which appeal directly to the sense of the physician.

What are the three essential features of every complete symptom?

Location, sensation, and condition of aggravation or amelioration.

Which of these features is most important?

The conditions of aggravation and amelioration.

Are these three essentials to be found in every symptom?

They are not. Our provings have been made without due regard to these three essential features, but it should be the aim in prescribing to complete them as far as possible.

What is the difference between symptomatology in the “Materia Medica Pura” and that of the “Chronic Diseases?” The former contains only the pathogenetic symptoms-such as are observed on the healthy-whereas the “Chronic Diseases” contains many clinical symptoms besides.

What is meant by the Hahnemannian schema?

The arrangement of the symptoms in anatomical order, beginning with head, then nose, eyes, face, etc.

What is the relation of Homoeopathy to all forms of local treatment?

The ideal Homoeopathist does not recognize that local treatment has any important value. Indeed all such accessory treatment is held as harmful to the action of a remedy. But practically and clinically it has been found that in many cases a mild local treatment is not only harmless but beneficial. But the homoeopathicity of the remedy employed should be recognized here as when given internally.

What is the relation of Homoeopathy to surgery?

There are many conditions in which the knife alone is indicated, but Homoeopathy possesses remedies and measures that frequently make its use unnecessary. Tumors are sometimes permanently cured by a course of homoeopathic remedies. Shock is also prevented by the timely administration of the similar remedy.

What is isopathy and wherein does it differ from Homoeopathy?

Isopathy is giving a product of a disease for the disease itself, thus administering the same thing in an attenuated form, whereas Homoeopathy is the administering of similar wholly foreign agents to diseased conditions.

Give example of isopathy.

Tuberculinum as a remedy for tuberculosis.

Syphilinum as a remedy for syphilis.

Hydrophobinum for rabies.

can these isopathic remedies be used legitimately as homoeopathic remedies?

Only when they are properly proven. For instance, Psorinum has been proven and found to be a valuable homoeopathic remedy.

When was isopathic medication introduced into Homoeopathy?

By Dr. Lux, in 1823. Drs. Lux and Hering taught that the toxins formed in the body, properly attenuated, are capable of curing the very diseases that give rise to them.

When were these teachings revived?

Half a century later, by Pasteur and Koch.

What is meant by Serum Therapy?

Medication by curative or protective serums or antitoxins obtained from men or animals sick with a similar disease. They are dynamic in action and in accord with the laws of similars.

What is meant by a prophylactic? Give an example of a prophylactic remedy?

A preventive or preservative remedy. Belladonna as a preventive of Scarlet Fever has achieved considerable reputation.

What is a placebo?

From the Latin-to please. An inert preparation, usually sugar of milk, given the patient while watching a case for the development of symptoms, or while permitting a previously administered drug to act undisturbed. It is also sometimes necessary in impatient cases coming from allopathic hands.

What is a palliative?

A remedy that is given for a single symptom or condition; usually an antipathic remedy given in a physiological dose.

What is the relation of Homoeopathy to palliation?

Palliation of prominent symptoms ought to be discarded, for it provides only in part for a single symptoms; it may bring partial relief, but this is usually soon followed by a perceptible aggravation of the entire disease.

Mention some of the palliatives very generally employed.

Morphine, for relief of pain and to stupefy. Quinine, in febrile conditions, and the modern coal tar preparations like Phenacetine, Antipyrine, Sulphonal, etc.

Mention some palliatives that are in harmony with homoeopathic medication.

All non-medicinal palliatives such as heat, cold, demulcents, and food-like principles.

What is the accepted definition of a homoeopathic physician?

One who adds to his knowledge of medicine a special knowledge of homoeopathic therapeutics and observes the law of similia. All that pertains to the great field of medicinal learning is his by tradition, by inheritance, by right.

What relation do drugs bear to each other?

Antidotal, concordant, complementary, inimical and family.

What is an antidote?

It is a substance which modifies or opposes the effects of a remedy.

What are concordant remedies?

Drugs whose actions are similar, but of dissimilar origin, are said to be concordant, and they follow each other well.

Give examples of concordant remedies.

China and Calcarea. Pulsatilla and Sepia. Nitric acid and Thuja. Belladonna and Mercurius.

What are inimical remedies?

Drugs which have a relation of enmity towards each other and therefore do not follow each other well.

Give three examples of inimical relation?

Apis and Rhus. Phosphorus and Causticum. Silicea and Mercurius.

What is meant by family relation?

The relation existing between drugs whose origin is similar

Give examples of family relation.

The Halogens: Bromine, Chlorine and Iodine. Lachesis and Crot.. Ignatia and Nux vomica. The Ranunculaceae family.

Give examples of antidotal relation.

Nux vomica and Coffea. Belladonna and Opium. Bryonia and Rhus. Hepar and Mercurius.

What is meant by complementary relation?

A relative wherein one drug completes the cure which was commenced by another drug.

Give examples of complementary relations.

Belladonna and Calcarea. Sulphur and Nux vomica. Apis and Natrum muriaticum.

What is meant by a polychrest?

[From the Greek words iio v 5 many and Xpnoio 5 uses.] A drug that is very frequently used; one whose range of applicability is extensive; an every day remedy?

What is meant by the differentiation of remedies?

It is the pointing out of differences in the action of related remedies.

What is meant by alternation of remedies?

The administration of two or more remedies successively, first one then the other, which appear to correspond with the morbid state.

Give five reasons why the alternation of remedies is a reprehensible practice.

1. The totality of the symptoms which should form the basis of every homoeopathic prescription cannot be found under more than one remedy at a time.

2. It leads to polypharmacy, a slovenly mode of practice, and does not advance accurate and definite knowledge of drug action.

3. Prescribing a second remedy before the action of the first is exhausted will interfere with its action. By such mismanagement remedies seem to lose their power.

4. Remedies which antidote each other or hold inimical relation to each other may be alternated.

5. Statistics prove that diseases treated with the single remedy recover more rapidly.

What is meant by the elective affinity of drugs? Give examples.

It is the affinity that certain drugs have for certain parts or organs of the body. Podophyllum is especially a liver remedy. Cantharis elects the urinary organs for its action, Strychnia, the spinal cord, Tellurium, the tympanum, Ergot, the uterus, etc. A more modern term that is sometimes used is tissue proclivity and it is probably more exact.

What is Hahnemann’s doctrine of chronic diseases?

It is based upon the theory that there are three times distinct miasms underlying all forms of chronic disease, namely: the psoric, the syphilitic and the sycotic. They may exist alone or combined in the system, and are characterized by distinct groups of symptoms, for which Hahnemann had distinct groups of corresponding remedies.

Is Hahnemann’s doctrine of the three miasms accepted by the entire homoeopathic school?

It is not. In regard to syphilis there is no difference of opinion, and the chronic miasm due to this poison, as pointed out by Hahnemann, is literally true. But there is much difference of opinion in regard to psora and sycosis.

What is psora?

In Hahnemann’s pathology psora is the miasm that is developed from the suppression of the itch, some cutaneous or other external manifestations of disease. In modern pathology the term tubercular is analogous to the term psoric used by Hahnemann.

Is there any basis for this belief to be observed in practice?

It is a fact that frequently a rapid disappearance of a skin disease, whether spontaneous or brought about by injudicious external medication, is followed by grave symptoms, due probably to its changing from an external to an internal and more vital location.

What is an antipsoric remedy?

A remedy especially adapted to the treatment of chronic diseases, so called because Hahnemann considered them special remedies for psora.

The following is Hahnemann’s list of antipsoric remedies:

Agaricus, Conium, Muriatic acid,

Alumina, Cuprum met., Natrum carb.,

Ammonium carb., Digitalis purpurea, Natrum mur.,

Ammonium mur Dulcamara, Nitric acid,

Anacardium, Euphorbium, Petroleum,

Antimonium crud., Graphites, Phosphorus,

Arsenic, Guaiacum, Phosphoric acid,

Aurum met., Hepar sulph., Platina,

Baryta carb., Iodine, Sarsaparilla,

Borax, Kali carb., Sepia,

Calcarea carb., Kali nitricum, Silicea,

Carbo anim., Lycopodium, Stannum,

Carbo veg., Magnesia carb., Sulphur,

Causticum, Magnesia mur., Sulphuric acid,

Clematis, Manganese, Zincum.

Colocynth, Mezereum,

What is the value of antipsoric remedies?

They have the greatest value especially in the treatment of chronic disease; and their great clinical success prove more of the essential correctness of Hahnemann’s doctrine of chronic diseases than theoretical speculation.

Why is it that psoric and sycotic miasms are not recognized by the old school?

One reason, undoubtedly, is the fact that they are characterized by groups of symptoms and conditions that are not valued greatly by that school. They do not recognize them as having any connection with the ordinary diseases they treat.

Name some so-called psoric symptoms.

Various forms of skin diseases appearing periodically; itching; small pimples, especially near the wrist; cracks in the skin; irregular or unusually protracted course of acute illness.

Mention some sycotic symptoms.

Great muscular debility; morbid fears; rheumatic affections; distorted fingers nails; dry condition of the hair, as if burnt; warts, etc.

What are pharmacology and pharmacodynamics?

Pharmacology is that divison of Materia Medica which treats of the action of drugs upon the living body, and pharmacodynamics is the division of pharmacology which considers the effects and uses of medicines.

Why is Homoeopathy superior to practice according to some pathological theory?

Because ideas on pathology are constantly changing, this leads to an unstable and changing system of therapeutics.

What is meant by the physiological action of drugs?

It is the actual effect produced upon the healthy organism as a result of their administration.

What is meant by a physiological dose?

A dose large enough to produce symptoms.

Give examples of drugs prescribed according to the physiological method.

Laxatives given for constipation, astringents for diarrhoea, antipyretics for fever, and carminatives for flatulence, are examples of this kind.

Why is Homoeopathy superior to this method?

Homoeopathy prescribes for the patient as a whole and not for certain isolated symptoms, thereby striking at the root of diseases.

Give an example of the physiological method of prescribing in typhoid fever?

The high temperature is brought down by antipyretics; the delirium is met by sedatives or soporifics; the diarrhoea is checked by astringents and opiates; the debility is met by “tonics.” The alimentary canal is flushed with bactericides. If the heart’s action be weak cardiac stimulants are prescribed, and so on symptom by symptom and infinitum.

Compare this with the homoeopathic method of prescribing for the same disease.

The homoeopathic physician prescribes for the patient plus the disease. He takes into consideration the entire diseased picture as represented by the symptoms of fever, delirium, diarrhoea, debility, cardiac weakness and all other symptoms even to the pathological condition of Peyer’s patches and all slight and even apparently insignificant symptoms peculiar to the individual; then, guided by the therapeutic law and his knowledge of drug action, the remedy is selected which corresponds to the totality of the symptoms and a cure is effected in the speediest possible manner.

Mention some of the advantages of Homoeopathy over allopathy.

1. It cures disease in the safest, quickest and pleasantest manner.

2. Dangerous drugging and debilitating measures are no part of it.

3. Expensive druggist’s bills and the uncertain elements of prescription filling are avoided.

4. Diseases beyond the reach of allopathic medication are cured by Homoeopathy.

5. The knife and other surgical measures are rendered less often necessary, and surgical cases treated homoeopathically have superior chances of well doing.

6. The development of diseases and malignant growths is prevented in their incipiency.

7. Relapses are prevented, as it removes the tendency to disease.

8. Drug diseases are avoided.

What are some of the imitations, caricatures and offshoots of Homoeopathy?

The use of parvules, granules, dosimetric tablets, electro- homoeopathic remedies. The modern serum therapy has for its genesis the law of similars. The so-called “combination tablets” belong to the same class and are foreign to Homoeopathy.

Why are combination tablets non-homoeopathic?

Because, being composed of two or more drugs whose combination has never been proved, they cannot be applied homoeopathically. Further, no two drugs combined in this way can ever be indicated at the same time.

W.A. Dewey
Dewey, Willis A. (Willis Alonzo), 1858-1938.
Professor of Materia Medica in the University of Michigan Homeopathic Medical College. Member of American Institute of Homeopathy. In addition to his editoral work he authored or collaborated on: Boericke and Dewey's Twelve Tissue Remedies, Essentials of Homeopathic Materia Medica, Essentials of Homeopathic Therapeutics and Practical Homeopathic Therapeutics.