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.

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.