Homeopathic Posology

In ordinary usage a physiological dose means a dose of a drug, empirically selected, of sufficient quantity and strength to produce a definite, predetermined effect or group of symptoms. Practically it amounts to the *maximum dose, consistent with safety. A physiological dose of Atropine or Belladonna, for example, is one sufficient to produce dilatation of the pupils, dryness of the mucous membranes and flushing or turgescence of the skin.

The action of the drug is carried to this point irrespective of any accessory symptoms that may be produced, or as to whether it is curative or otherwise. No other kind of action is looked for or expected and, as a rule, it is not recognized if it occurs. The intent is to produce a direct definite drug effect. That other effects not desired nor needed are produced incidentally, does not matter. They are left to take care of themselves, and it is not considered that they complicate or prejudice the case if they occur.

In attempting to predetermine arbitrarily size and strength of the physiological dose, allowance is made only for difference in the age of the patients, who are roughly divided into two classes, infants and adults. If a patient is unable to take the established or usual doses without serious results, it is considered to be a case of idiosyncrasy or hypersensitiveness and some other drug is substituted.

Unlike the homoeopathic physician, the allopathic practitioner is not trained to observe the finer, more delicate action of drugs upon the living organism and he does not, therefore recognize the symptoms expressing such actions when they occur. From this point of view such symptoms, so long as they are not serious, are of no importance and have no use.

In considering the reason why the dose of the medicine chosen homoeopathically is necessarily smaller than the physiological dose of antipathic or allopathic prescription, we meet first the fact of *organic resistance.

Every living organism is endowed with and inherent, automatic power of reaction to stimuli. By means of this power the organism offers resistance to everything which tends to injure or destroy its integrity or disturb its normal functioning. Resistance is manifested by suffering, pain, fever, inflammation, changed secretion and excretions, etc.

This power is displayed when drugs are administered because drugs are inimical to health, in proportion to their power and the size of the dose. In order for a dissimilar drug to produce its so-called physiological effect, therefore, the does must be large enough to overcome first, this bodily resistance; and second, to produce its characteristic symptoms.

When the similar or homoeopathic drug is administered in disease, little or no resistance is encountered, because the sphere of its action has already been invaded and its resistance overcome by the similarly drug is therefore greatly increased.

The homoeopathic drug acts upon the identical tracts involved in the disease process, in a manner similar to the action of the disease producing cause itself. In order that the suffering of the affected organs may not be increased and the patient injured a much smaller dose must be given.

The homoeopathic dose, therefore, is always a sub-physiological or sub-pathogenetic dose; that is, a dose so small as no to produce pathogenetic symptoms; for we desire not to produce more symptoms, but only to remove and obliterate symptoms already existing. It must also be given in a dose so small as not to produce a severe aggravation of the already existing symptoms.

Another reason for the small dose lies in the fact that disease renders the affected parts abnormally sensitive as we see in an inflamed eye, which is painfully sensitive to a degree of light to which it reacts normally in health.

A third reason that the homoeopathic drug is always given singly, so that its action is complete and unmodified by other drugs.

Homoeopathists do not say, vaguely, that medicine in infinitesimal doses cure disease unconditionally. The proposition is that medicines act curatively in infinitesimal quantities, *when given in cases to which they are homoeopathic. And they still further qualify this statement by laying down three necessary requirements for such action :-

1. The development of special virtues in medicine by a peculiar process of preparation, or potentiation.

2. The increased susceptibility to medicinal impression produced by disease.

3. The selection of the symptomatically similar remedy.

They affirm and stand ready to demonstrate that an infinitesimal dose of medicine *has power and that its acts as *a force; but in order that the force should be medicinal, or curative, a condition of application is necessary; namely, that it be applied in accordance with the homoeopathic law.

Force, to be effective, must be supplied not only in proper amount, but in the proper direction and at the proper time.

The proper amount of a drug to be administered in a given case can never be settled by a *priori reasoning, but only by experience; and thus it has been settled. Those who hesitate to try the infinitesimal doses of homoeopathy on the ground of improbability, should be reminded that an infinitesimal quantity is a *quantity. It cannot be thought of as *nothing. Hear Hahnemann’s reply to those who railed at the infinitesimal does as “Nothing,” and “Absurd.”

“How so? The smallest possible portion of a substance, is it not an integral part of the whole? Were it to be divided and redivided even to the limits of infinity, would there not still remain *something- something *substantial, – apart of the whole let it be ever so minute? What man in his sense would deny it?

And it this be in reality an integral part of the divided substance, which no man in his senses can doubt, why should this minute portion, as it is certainly *something, be inactive, while the whole acted with so much violence.?”

Hahnemann’s final views and practice in regard to the dose were arrived at gradually through long years of careful experiment and observation; at first, even for some time after the promulgation of the law of similars and the method of practice based upon it, he used medicine in material doses and in the usual form.His discovery of the principle of potentiation came about gradually as he experimented in the reduction of his doses, in order, to arrive at a point where severe aggravations would not occur. Gradually be experience, he learned that the latent powers of drugs were released or developed by trituration, dilution and succussion. Thus he arrived at his final conclusion that *the proper dose is always the least possible dose which will effect a cure.

Having now a general view of the principles underlying the question of the dose, and a general standard by which to test results, it is desirable to try to formulate some rules, based upon experience, to govern us in the selection of the proper dose for a particular case.

The question seems more complex now than it was in Hahnemann’s day, but really it is not so. The same principle applies now as then. For the greater part of his life Hahnemann had only what we now call the lower potencies; namely from the first to the thirtieth; although in his later years he was enabled to procure and use some of the higher potencies. Boenninghausen wrote that Hahnemann had repeatedly stated to him that he generally used the sixtieth dilution, and that he often used much higher ones with great satisfaction. Boenninghausen also states the Hahnemann in correspondence with him, was much interested in the experiments of Boenninghausen and Gross with the high potencies and heartily approved of the same. It was repeatedly stated that Hahnemann would deal with this subject in the forth coming sixth edition of the Organon., a work which fortunately never saw the light until 1922.

Since Hahnemann’s day the potency makers have been busy and we now have potencies ranging up the millionth centesimal, and even higher. Men with the confidence, courage and seal to experiment with these altitudinous preparation and publish their results have not been lacking. Physicians of unquestioned honesty, ability and experience have testified that they obtained curative results from the use even of the very highest potencies. It is not just for us to question this testimony until we have put the matter to the test. In the light of experience and of recent revelations in other departments of science of the power of the infinitesimal, there is nothing inherently improbable about it, and it is unquestionably to our advantage to have as large and armamentarium as possible.

The great bulk of the work of the profession, however is done with the lower and medium potencies and these, if accurately prescribed and wisely managed, will give satisfactory results in the great majority of case. The third, sixth, twelfth and thirtieth potencies with a set of the two hundredths to “top off with” gives a general working range. When the young practitioner can afford to add to these a set of ***BOERICKE & TAFEL’S hand made five hundredths and one thousandths, he will be well equipped indeed. The rest is “velvet;” but if anybody should offer him a set of Fincke’s, Swan or Skinner’s fifty thousandths and one hundred thousandths, he should not let his modesty nor his prejudices prevent him from accepting and trying them. Hundreds of practitioners, including the writer, have used them with great satisfaction.

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.