Characteristics


The totality of the symptoms is the sole representation of the disease, to the physician; but that totality has to be studied to ascertain what there is, among all the symptoms, that characterize the disease, or marks the symptoms as peculiar….


The third point in the duty of the physician is to employ those medicines whose pure effects have been proved upon a healthy person in the manner best suited to the cure of natural diseases homoeopathically.” We will take this up in our next talk.

This third point in the duty of the physician referred to in Par. 146 really takes up the balance of the Organon.

Par. 147: “Of all these medicines that one whose symptoms bear the greatest resemblance to the totality of those who characterize any particular natural disease ought to be the most appropriate and certain homoeopathic remedy that can be employed; it is the specific remedy in this case of disease.” It is not an uncommon thing in this advanced day of science to read of specific remedies. The old school distinctly affirms that there are only three or four species, but almost every off-shoot who starts at something for himself has to a great extent the idea of specifics in him.

One of the first things the quack physician seems inclined to do is to commence advertising specifics for headache, for diarrhoea, for this or that. This is altogether opposed to Homoeopathy. There are no specifics in Homoeopathy except at the bedside of a patient when the remedy has been wrought out with great endeavor and care. Then it may be said that that medicine which is found to be similar to the symptoms which characterize this disease is specific.

Now, please note that there is an emphatic sense in that word “characterizes.” It is not ordinary expression. We have read in the earlier portions or the Organon that the disease makes itself known to the physician by signs and symptoms, and that the totality of the symptoms is the sole representation of the disease, to the physician; but that totality has to be studied to ascertain what there is, among all the symptoms, that characterize the disease, or marks the symptoms as peculiar.

Now Hahnemann commences to analyze the totality of the symptoms for the purpose of giving it character. It has been said in these lectures that it is necessary to do that, that the information that leads up to characterizing it really the information that makes the homoeopathic physician wise, by which he has the ability to intelligently understand that which he has to treat.

That medicine which is best adapted is the most similar, but you cannot demonstrate beforehand that it is the specific homoeopathic remedy; for you may be deceived in you idea of the nature of the case. But when that remedy has acted, then it maybe seen that that remedy was homoeopathic, or specific, or that it was not homoeopathic. You have no idea as to what remedy will be homoeopathic to the case until you have examined all the symptoms, and then proceed to find out that which characterizes.

Put that word characterizes in large type, in red letters. You cannot dwell sufficiently long upon that, because it grows greater and grander with every study of the case, that idea of the characteristic. What is there in this case which makes it an individual, what is there in it that makes it unlike any that ever existed? In the case of the remedy ascertain that which characterizes it.

When these two occur before the perception, before man’s mind, so that he can think upon them, and he realizes that the remedy is the most similar of all in the Materia Medica, then he is assure that that remedy will cure, and it only requires to be administered to prove that it is the specific. The homoeopathicity is thus sustained, the similitude has been borne out by the medicine having cured.

We cannot have the demonstration that the remedy is homoeopathic until it cures the sick man; we may only presume that it is homoeopathic, or say it appears to us that it is homoeopathic, because that which is characteristic of the disease is most similar of all other things to that which is characteristic of that remedy, or vice versa. We may reasonably assume that that remedy is the specific, but the homoeopathicity can only be demonstrated by cure. So it does not make a remedy homoeopathic simply to be carried in my case. Homoeopathic remedies are not homoeopathic simply because they have been used by a homoeopath. Remedies are not homoeopathic because potentized and attenuated or prepared after the fashion of our school.

James Tyler Kent
James Tyler Kent (1849–1916) was an American physician. Prior to his involvement with homeopathy, Kent had practiced conventional medicine in St. Louis, Missouri. He discovered and "converted" to homeopathy as a result of his wife's recovery from a serious ailment using homeopathic methods.
In 1881, Kent accepted a position as professor of anatomy at the Homeopathic College of Missouri, an institution with which he remained affiliated until 1888. In 1890, Kent moved to Pennsylvania to take a position as Dean of Professors at the Post-Graduate Homeopathic Medical School of Philadelphia. In 1897 Kent published his magnum opus, Repertory of the Homœopathic Materia Medica. Kent moved to Chicago in 1903, where he taught at Hahnemann Medical College.