General Pathology of Homoeopathy

The exceptional work of an individual forerunner, therefore, may easily be overlooked for a time; but eventually the truth discovered by him will be recognized, as it now has been in the case of Hahnemann.

Hahnemann was the first to perceive and teach the *parasitical nature of infectious or contagious diseases, including syphilis, gonorrhoea, leprosy, tuberculosis, cholera, typhus and typhoid fevers; and the *chronic diseases in general, other than occupational diseases and those produced by drugs and unhygienic living, the so-called drug diseases.

Hahnemann held that all chronic diseases are derived from *three primary, infectious, parasitic sources. “All chronic diseases,” he says, “show such a constancy and perseverance * * * as soon as they have developed and have not been healed by the medical art, that they evermore increase with the years and during the whole of man’s lifetime; and they cannot be diminished by the strength (resistance) belonging even to the most robust constitutions. Still less can they be overcome and extinguished. Thus they never pass away by themselves, but increase and are aggravated even until death. They must therefore have for their origin and foundation *constant chronic miasms, whereby their *parasitical existence in the human organism is enabled to continually *rise and *grow.” (*Only living beings grow.)

A misunderstanding of the sense in which Hahnemann uses the word “miasm” has deceived many. It was the word loosely used in his time to express the morbific emanations from putrescent organic matter, animal or vegetable, and sometimes the effluvia arising from the bodies of those affected by certain diseases, some of which were regarded as infectious and others not.

A misleading distinction was also made between miasma and contagion and between contagion and infection.

Parr’s Medical Dictionary, London, 1819, now a very rare book, but the highest authority of that time, article, “Miasma,” says: “In the more strict pathological investigation of modern authors they are distinguished from contagion, which is confined to the effluvia from the human body, when subject to disease; yet the contagion, when it does not proceed immediately from the body, but has been for some time confined in clothes, is sometimes styled *miasma. Another kind of miasma (see contagion) is putrid vegetable matter, and indeed everything of this kind which appears *in the form of air. Miasma, then, strictly speaking, *is an aerial fluid, *combined with atmospheric air, and not dangerous unless the air be loaded with it. * * *

“Each infectious disease had its own variety, *diffused around the person which it has attacked, and liable to convey the disease at different distances, according to the nature of the complaint, or to the predisposition of the object exposed to it.”

Under “Contagion or Infection” the same authority says: “It has been lately attempted to distinguish these two words, though not with a happy discrimination. We should approach more nearly to common language if we employed the adjective ‘infectious’ to *disease communicated by contact; for we infect a lancet and we catch a fever by contagion. * * * Contagion then exists *in the atmosphere, and we know distinctly but one kind, *viz.: Marsh- miasmata, which probably consists of *inflammable air.”

The yellow fever of America, epidemic catarrhs, plague, dysentery, scarlatina, Egyptian ophthalmia, jail, hospital and other fevers, smallpox, measles, ulcerated throat, whooping cough, the itch, venereal diseases and the yaws, are mentioned as examples of miasmatic diseases, some of which are regarded as “infectious,” and others not. “Other complaints supposed to be infectious are apparently so from their being the offspring of *contagion (that is, ‘aerial fluids, combined with atmospheric air’) only.”

“People are very variously susceptible to infection. The slightest breath will sometimes induce the disease, while others will daily breathe the poisonous atmosphere without injury.”

“Infection is indeed more often taken than is supported. * * * It is generally *received with the air in breathing.”

This shows the confused state of medical opinion at the time when Hahnemann was conducting his investigations of the subject, which were to result in his propounding the most startling, revolutionary and far-reaching theory in the history of medicine, namely, the *parasitical nature of infections and chronic diseases.

That Hahnemann, in using the word *miasm, had something more in mind than “an aerial fluid mixed with atmospheric air,” is proven not only by his use of the word “parasitical,” but by his several references to the *”living beings” of which his “miasma” were composed.

In a strong protest (1830), against the current, terribly pernicious atmospheric-telluric theory of the nature of cholera Hahnemann stated the infectious, miasmatic-parasitic nature of cholera and described its rise and growth in the following words: “The most striking examples of infection and rapid spread of cholera take place * * * in this way: On board ships in those confined spaces, filled with mouldy, watery vapors, the cholera miasm finds a favorable element for its multiplication, and grows into an enormously increased *brood of those excessively *minute, *invisible, *living creatures, so inimical to human life, of which the *contagious matter of the cholera most probably consists.”

“* * * This concentrated aggravated miasm kills several members of the crew. The others, however, being frequently exposed to the danger of infection and thus gradually habituated to it, at length become fortified against it (immunized) and no longer liable to be infected. These individuals, apparently in good health, go ashore and are received by the inhabitants without hesitation into their cottages, and ere they have time to give an account of those who have died of the pestilence on board the ship, those who have approached nearest to them are suddenly carried off by the cholera. The cause of this is undoubtedly the invisible cloud that hovers closely around the sailors who have remained free from the disease, composed of probably millions of those miasmatic *animated beings, which, at first developed on the broad, marshy bank of the tepid Ganges, always searching out in preference the human being to his destruction and attaching themselves closely to him, when transferred to distant and even colder regions, become habituated to these also, without any diminution either of their unhappy *fertility or of their fatal destructiveness.”

“This pestiferous, infectious *matter,” he calls it, “which is *carried about in the clothes, hair, beard, soiled hands, instruments, etc., of physicians, nurses and others,” seems to spread the infection and cause epidemics.

Here we have an anticipation by more than fifty years of Koch’s discovery of the comma bacilli of cholera. The names, bacilli, bacteria, microbes, micro-organisms, etc., had not been invented in Hahnemann’s time, nor had the microscope, with which Koch was able to verify the truth of Hahnemann’s idea, been invented. Hahnemann had no microscope, but he had a keen, analytical mind, phenomenal intuition, logic and reasoning powers, and vast erudition. He used the terminology of his day, which he qualified to suit his purpose and thus made it clear that by the word “miasma,” amplified by the descriptive terms “Infectious, contagious, excessively minute, invisible *living creatures” as applied to cholera, he meant precisely what we mean today when we use the terms of bacteriology to express the same idea.

Hahnemann’s elaborate and exhaustive studies of the nature and causes of chronic diseases had previously paved the way for his theory of the nature of cholera. In these studies he extended and applied the principle of *Anamnesis to the critical study of a large number of cases of many different diseases.

First analyzing these diseases into their symptomatic elements, he proceeded to make a new three-fold classification:

“If we accept those diseases which have been created by a perverse medical practice, or by deleterious labors in quicksilver, lead, arsenic, etc. (occupational diseases) which appear in the common pathology under a hundred proper names as supposedly separate and well-defined diseases ( and also those springing from *syphilis, and the still rarer ones springing from sycosis), *all the remaining natural chronic diseases, *whether with names or without them, *find in Psora their real origin, their only source.”

We have thus:

1. Drug and occupational diseases.

2. Infectious venereal diseases.

3. All other natural chronic diseases.

Excluding Classes 1 and 2, he found that all the diseases in Class 3 were related, directly or indirectly, and could be traced to *one primary cause.

After many years of patient historical and clinical investigation he found that cause to be an ancient, almost universally diffused, contagious or infectious principle embodied in a *living parasitical, *micro-organism, with an incredible capacity for multiplication and growth. This organism and the disease produced by it he named Psora (Gr. Psora-itch). He did not invent the name but chose it, first because he found that originally, the disease manifested itself mostly on the skin and external parts; and second, because the cutaneous manifestations of the diseases which spring from this cause were accompanied, in their original form, by intense itching and burning.

Stuart Close
Stuart M. Close (1860-1929)
Dr. Close was born November 24, 1860 and came to study homeopathy after the death of his father in 1879. His mother remarried a homoeopathic physician who turned Close's interests from law to medicine.

His stepfather helped him study the Organon and he attended medical school in California for two years. Finishing his studies at New York Homeopathic College he graduated in 1885. Completing his homeopathic education. Close preceptored with B. Fincke and P. P. Wells.

Setting up practice in Brooklyn, Dr. Close went on to found the Brooklyn Homoeopathic Union in 1897. This group devoted itself to the study of pure Hahnemannian homeopathy.

In 1905 Dr. Close was elected president of the International Hahnemannian Association. He was also the editor of the Department of Homeopathic Philosophy for the Homeopathic Recorder. Dr. Close taught homeopathic philosophy at New York Homeopathic Medical College from 1909-1913.

Dr. Close's lectures at New York Homeopathic were first published in the Homeopathic Recorder and later formed the basis for his masterpiece on homeopathic philosophy, The Genius of Homeopathy.

Dr. Close passed away on June 26, 1929 after a full and productive career in homeopathy.