Hahnemann defines symptoms broadly as, “any manifestation of a deviation from a former state of health, perceptible by the patient, the individuals around him, or the physician.” We have here the basis of the common division of symptoms into two general classes- Subjective and Objective….

The Homoeopathic Materia Medica.- The Materia Medica of Hahnemann is an enduring monument to the genius of its author, original in its conception and design and unique in its form and contents. Its foundation is on the bedrock of natural law. It is constructed of the cut stones of accurately observed facts, laid up in the cement of irrefrangible logic. Over its portals are graven the words, *Similia Similibus Curantur; Simplex, Simile, Minimum.

Hahnemann, on apprehending a new general principle in therapeutics, was confronted with the problem of creating an entirely new materia medica by means of which the principle might be applied in practice. If diseases were to be treated according to the principle of symptom-similarity it was necessary to know what symptoms drugs would produce in healthy persons, since these would be the only symptoms which could possibly resemble the symptoms of sick persons.

There was no materia medica in existence which contained the facts or phenomena of the action of drugs upon the healthy. The existent materia medicas contained only the incidental observations, theories and opinions of drug action of men who gave drugs to the sick or treated cases of poisoning upon purely empirical and speculative assumptions; and these were given, not singly, but in such combination and mixtures as to render impossible any intelligent conception of what the action of a single drug might be.

Undismayed by the magnitude of the task, Hahnemann set about creating a materia medica which should embody the facts of drug action upon the healthy. He instituted “provings” of drugs upon himself, members of his family, friends, students and fellow practitioners, keeping all under the most rigid scrutiny and control, and carefully recording every fact and the conditions under which it was elicited. This work was continued for many years, parts of it being published from time to time, until the mass of material had reached enormous proportions.

Adopting the plan of arranging the drug symptoms thus derived according to the anatomical parts and regions of the body in which they occurred, as the most rational and simple method of classification for the purpose of comparison with disease symptoms, Hahnemann constructed and published, first, the Materia Medica Pura, and later, The Chronic Diseases, the greater part of which is composed of provings of drugs. Covering nearly three thousand royal octavo pages, they constitute one of the most stupendous works of original experimentation and research ever attempted and carried out by one man. To this original work of Hahnemann many and large additions have been made by later workers.

The vast collection of symptoms of which the materia medica of Homoeopathy is composed is incomprehensible without an understanding of the principles upon which it is based. In a good working homoeopathic library there are about two hundred volumes, by many authors, upon the subject of materia medica, including special collections and classifications, repertories, charts and indexes of symptoms. Confronted by such a mass of material it is no wonder that the student is at first confused and discouraged. But when the basic principle has been explained to him and he has learned the meaning of symptoms, their method of classification and interpretation, and when he has seen the means if ready reference provided, his bewilderment gives way to admiration.

The task of mastering the materia medica, vast and even impossible as it seems, is comparatively simple. The compass that points the way through the seeming wilderness of symptoms is the principle of *Similia – the remedial law of homoeopathy.

When the drug symptoms recorded in the homoeopathic materia medica are seen to be exact counterparts of the symptoms of disease, and it is explained that medicines cure disease by virtue of this similarity of symptoms, the reason for the existence of the materia medica in its characteristic form is evident. *The arrangement of symptoms according to an anatomical scheme is for the purpose of comparison – symptoms of drugs with the symptoms of disease. Given the basic principle and its corollaries, the rest is merely a matter of mastering the logical classification and interpretation of symptoms and the use of the manuals, indexes and repertories provided.

Symptomatology.- The first requisite to a correct understanding of the subject of symptomatology is to know the full meaning of the world “symptoms” and all that it involves.

Knowledge of the true nature and constitution of a symptom is necessary in proving or testing medicines; in the examination of a patient; in the study of the materia medica and in the selection and management of the indicated remedy. It is a standard by which to judge the reliability of a proving, a clinical case, an examination record, or the professions of a new coming *confrere.

Ignorance of the nature and constitution of symptoms on the part of provers, directors of provings and physicians has resulted in the production of certain provings and books on materia medica which are practically worthless, and the publication of reports of cases which have served no better purpose than to float their authors’ names on the sea of printer’s ink. Such productions, consisting largely of commonplace generalities, indefinite pathological names and pseudo-scientific instrumental and laboratory findings, reveal the ignorance of their authors of all that goes into the making of reliable cures and provings conducted under classic homoeopathic principles. The result is useless to the prescriber because it does not contain the elements upon which a homoeopathic prescription can be based.

It is not intended to belittle or ridicule laboratory and instrumental findings. Such observations are useful and necessary for certain scientific, particularly diagnostic and pathological purposes; but they are only a part, and a very small part of homoeopathic provings, or of clinical symptom-records designed for the use of the prescriber. They cannot take the place of the more important things which have been left out. What those things are will appear as the definition of symptoms proceeds.

Symptoms Defined. – In general, a symptom is any evidence of disease, or change from a state of health. In materia medica no relevant fact is too insignificant to be overlooked. There is a place and use for every fact, for science has learned that “Nature never trifles.” A symptom which appears trifling to the careless or superficial examiner may become, in the hands of the expert, the key which unlocks a difficult problem in therapeutics.

Hahnemann defines symptoms broadly as, “any manifestation of a deviation from a former state of health, perceptible by the patient, the individuals around him, or the physician.” We have here the basis of the common division of symptoms into two general classes- Subjective and Objective.

Hahnemann further defines symptoms as “evidences of the operation of the influences which disturb the harmonious play of the functions, the vital principle as a spiritual-dynamis.” (Substantial, entitative source of vital power and activity.)

Subjective Symptoms.- Subjective Symptoms are symptoms which are discoverable by the patient alone, such as pain and other morbid sensations of body or mind, presenting no external indications. With Hahnemann’s announcement of the doctrine of the Totality of the Symptoms as the basis of the homoeopathic prescription, it became possible for the first time in the history of medicine to utilize all the phenomena of disease. Prior to Hahnemann’s time two of the most frequently occurring and important groups of symptoms were practically ignored-the mental symptoms and the subjective symptoms. The “regular” practitioner of medicine even today is interested very little in subjective symptoms. They play but a very small part in governing the practical treatment of his case. To him they are merely inarticulate cries of suffering, serving only to suggest the direction in which investigations are to be made by physical and laboratory methods for discovering the supposed tangible cause of the disease, and the location and character of its lesions.

Under the new system of therapeutics devised by Hahnemann subjective symptoms naturally took their proper place in the study of the case. As expressions of the interior states of the organism, and particularly of the psychic and mental states, they take the highest rank. Nothing can supersede them. They constitute the only direct avenue of approach to that inner sphere which must otherwise remain closed to our investigation, except as it is indirectly revealed in certain automatic or involuntary objective symptoms from which more or less accurate deductions can sometimes be made. They enable the physician to view disease from the standpoint of the patient. How great an advantage they afford to the prescriber can be appreciated only when we are deprived of them, as in the case of infants and animals, and find how much more difficult is our task under such circumstances.

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.