Chronic Diseases—Psora

Kent believes that Psora is the beginning of all physical sickness. Had psora never been established as a miasm upon the human race, the other two chronic diseases would have been impossible, and susceptibility to acute diseases would have been impossible. …

Psora is the beginning of all physical sickness. Had psora never been established as a miasm upon the human race, the other two chronic diseases would have been impossible, and susceptibility to acute diseases would have been impossible. All the diseases of man are built upon psora; hence it is the foundation of sickness; all other sickness came afterwards.

Psora is the underlying cause, and is the primitive or primary disorder of the human race. It is a disordered state of the internal economy of the human race. This state expresses itself in the forms of the varying chronic diseases, or chronic manifestations. If the human race had remained in a state of perfect order, psora could not have existed. The susceptibility to psora opens out a question altogether too broad to study among the sciences in a medical college.

It is altogether too extensive, for it goes to the very primitive wrong of the human race, the very first sickness of the human race, that is the spiritual sickness, from which first state the race progressed into what may be called the true susceptibility to psora, which in turn laid the foundation for other diseases.

If we regard psora as synonymous with itch, we fail to understand, and fail to express thereby, anything like the original intention of Hahnemann. The itch is commonly supposed to be a limited thing, something superficial, caused by a little tiny bit of a mite that is supposed to have life, and when the little itch mite is destroyed the cause of itch is said to have been removed. What a folly!

From a small beginning with wonderful progress, psora spreads out into its underlying states and manifests itself in the large portion of the chronic diseases upon the human race. It embraces epilepsy, insanity, the malignant diseases, tumors, ulcers, catarrhs, and a great proportion of the eruptions. It progresses from simple states to the very highest degree of complexity, not always alone and by itself, but often by the villainous aid of drugging during generation after generation; for the physician has endeavored with all his power to drive it from the surface, and has thereby caused it to root itself deeper, to become more dense and invisible, until the human race is almost threatened with extinction.

Look at the number of the population upon the face of the earth, and notice how few arrive at the age of maturity. It is appalling to think of the number of infants that die, and these largely from the outgrowths, or out-coming of psora. We see little ones born who have not sufficient vitality to live. The congenital debility, and marasmus, and varying diseases of a chronic character that carry off the little ones have for their underlying cause the chronic miasms. The principal underlying cause is psora, next syphilis and next sycosis.

It required twelve years for Hahnemann to discover and gather together the evidence upon which he came to his conclusions. When a patient came to him who manifested chronic disease in any way he took pains to write down carefully in detail all the symptoms, from beginning to end, with the history of the father and mother, until he had collected a great number of appearances of disease, not knowing yet what the outcome would be; but after this careful writing out of the symptoms of hundreds of patients, little and great, and comparing them and then gathering them together in one grand group, there appeared in the totality of this collection a picture of psora in all of its forms.

Up to this time the world had been looking upon each one of these varying forms as distinct in itself, e.g., all the striking features of epilepsy would be gathered together, and epilepsy was then called a disease; but epilepsy is only one of the results of disease, and never appears twice alike. Every person who has epilepsy differs from every other epileptic on earth. But epilepsy, insanity, diabetes, cancer, Bright’s disease, and every other case of so-called disease have all had a beginning and one beginning.

They are not distinct, but operate in each person in accordance with that individual. Hahnemann says that before he began that collection of symptoms he was struck somewhat with wonder that Nux Vomica and Ignatia and such short acting medicines were able to cure only a single manifestation of disease, a group of symptoms, or they would relieve for a time and then the symptoms would come back, although he had followed up the treatment to the best of his knowledge. At the end of a case, he could discover that there had been a continuous progress in spite of the fact that he had relieved his patient of suffering a good many times.

So it is, while acute acting remedies are used, and you will use them if you do not know the psoric doctrine. The short acting medicines are the ones that contain the counterparts of the acute manifestations of psora, and hence when these acute manifestations appear in groups of symptoms you will naturally select acute remedies, and you will palliate them from time to time, but at the end of years you will look upon every individual case, and will notice that the case has been steadily progressing. You will find that you have not struck at the root of the trouble, that there is an underlying something present and prevailing and that the disease is steadily growing worse.

Hahnemann saw this and it was a mystery to him because he had acquired a perfect mastery over the acute diseases with the acute remedies. Such psorics had been at this time very well proved, Belladonna, Aconite, Bryonia, Arnica, China, Nux Vomica, etc., etc., and these had been found to be perfectly suitable for the acute manifestations of psora and for the acute miasms. Hahnemann had not yet learned that the acute miasms were utterly and strictly acute miasms; and could not, therefore, compare acute miasms with chronic miasms, or vice versa. He had not seen them yet as miasms.

One will not understand the acute miasms clearly until able to compare them with chronic miasms. They side up one with another, and make it wonderfully manifest. The acute miasms come on either with sufficient violence to cause death to patients, or with less violence, wherein there is a period of progress and a tendency to recover. They cannot be prolonged in the patient, and must subside.

The acute miasms are not governed in accordance with fixed time in order to be acute miasms, because they have times of their own. Neither is there a time after the lapse of which the chronic miasm is said to be chronic. According to the old school, diseases have been divided into acute, sub-acute and chronic. If any sickness ran longer than six weeks, it would be placed among the sub-acute; if it ran on indefinitely, it was called chronic. But a chronic miasm is chronic from its beginning, and an acute miasm is acute from its beginning. It is from its nature, from its capabilities, from what it will do to the human race, that we must name the miasm.

So Hahnemann tells us frankly that he was astonished to find at the end of a certain length of time no progress had been made with his remedies in chronic diseases. The symptoms appeared with their own regularity, much stronger than before, which showed they were progressing. Hahnemann enters not only a difficult study, but with all sorts of difficulties, and after studying for twelve years he developed the fact that in all cases observed there was an underlying chronic disease, a chronic miasm, which had a tendency to progress and to end only with the life of the patient. Then he bent himself to the provings of medicines, in order to discover from them a likeness to the chronic miasms. Had he never come to this conclusion, he would not have noticed such things.

When he had brought all the symptoms before the mind in one grand collective view, he began to observe and reflect as to what was the first, and what was the second, and later appearances in the line of progress in this deep-seated chronic miasm. Thus it was that he observed amongst those who were dying with phthisis that in their younger days they had a vesicular disease between the fingers and upon the body, which had been suppressed by the ointments in vogue at that time.

Then the question naturally arose, what had this suppression to do with that which came after wards? As to how Hahnemann figured out the answer to that question you can read in his “Chronic Diseases,” but he does not tell it all; although he gives many pages of experiences and observations. You will more clearly understand and be better prepared to take up Hahnemann’s line of thinking, if you enter into the use of appropriate medicines and apply principle to the progress of disease–that is, you will see a demonstration of his teaching in the curative treatment of a very large number of cases of sickness by applying principles; that diseases get well in the reverse order of their coming, that the latest symptoms will be the first to go away, and that the older symptoms will come and go in reverse order in which they appeared; old symptoms, in the form of eruptions, come back, old chills, which have been suppressed, come back, and many other chronic manifestations come back again in a sort of successive order.

If we observe these things we must come to the conclusion that when we have driven these oldest and deepest troubles back to their original manifestations, which was perhaps a vesicular eruption, and if we see nothing more simple than this eruption, we must conclude that the suppression of such an eruption was the beginning of trouble.

If you practice accurately, you will observe these things; if you are not a success in practice, you will not observe these things. Many patients are so badly off that this is never observed, and then we have the onward progress; that is, we have the patient declining, instead of the disease declining. If that patient is only better as to symptoms, and his old symptoms do not come back, we know that he is only being palliated, that the disease processes are only being restrained, but that it is not a case of cure.

There is one thing that you should know and it is sometimes best to say it to the patient, and that is that they should not take too much courage, because a patient that takes too much courage may take too much discouragement when reverses come. So when a woman walks into your office and says beautiful things by way of gratitude for what you have done for her, because you have mitigated the deep-seated trouble, perhaps chronic sick headache, or epilepsy, but she cannot tell you of an eruption returning or you have observed no backward progress of that disease, no reverse order of the symptoms, it is often well to say to that patient, that notwithstanding the fact that she appears to be much improved the trouble is not over for all that.

On the other hand, it is sometimes wise to say: “If an eruption should come out, do not on your life meddle with it,” because they will probably use what they say relieved it in the first place, some Sulphur ointment, or some other miserable stuff. The physician should bear in mind to caution the patient against removing any of the symptoms in the case. When the patient comes and reports such wonderful tales of progress, take down your record and look it over. If you have in the record failed to get the earlier history of the case, endeavour then, if possible, to find out something about the previous symptoms, the earlier symptoms, and then it is sometimes well with an intelligent person to say: “Do not be surprised, do not be alarmed, if such and such symptoms return,” cautioning the patient to report to the physician and apply nothing.

Now, it is from these circumstances that we observe finally, where the patient is so well instructed not to do anything, to take no drugs, to keep the life as pure as possible, to keep the physical forces untrammeled by violence, it is under such circumstances that we shall observe the coming back of symptoms that have long been suppressed. Long after the treatment has ceased, a patient will come back and say: “This old trouble has come back on me; can you do anything for it?” You have now to look over the record, and you see that sure enough this is like what came out in the beginning of this trouble; that psora existed in its simplest form of a vesicular eruption upon the child, and that it was suppressed.

These are the simplest cases of psora, because these can be counted collectively in one person; but the complicated forms of psora are those that are inherited. Amongst the simple forms of psora, after the eruptions disappear, catarrhal troubles come on, with their varying manifestations. You prescribe for all these symptoms, and presently the eruptions of childhood come back, especially in a younger person. It it is in a more complicated state, we do not get the patient back to the original form of psora, because the parent had the simple form of psora, and the child gets a complex form from those which were present when the patient came to you. You will seldom see the vesicular form or simple form brought back except in those who have had the simple form, but forms approximating the simple will return if the vital energy of the economy is being turned into order.

Since this, then, is the natural form of economy, we see we are gradually travelling back towards the beginning of psora or its earlier forms. If you are treating a vicious form of scaly eruptions, dry hard horny scales, you will, under accurate prescribing, notice these scaly formations disappear, but after the vital force has become strong enough you need not be surprised to see vesicular eruptions develop, for the original so-called disease had changed from its vicious squamous form to the milder vesicular form. Different names have been given to the skin diseases, but we see that names are of very little value.

The different eruptions change into varying forms but they are all from one cause, and will come back in their successive stages under true homoeopathic treatment. This is seen quite often enough to demonstrate what I am talking about, and from this alone we can ascertain that psora begins with the simple isolated vesicular form of eruption. At times you will be treating the more advanced and complicated forms of psora, where there are organic changes; after the patient gets the homoeopathic remedy for a while he comes to a standstill, seems to be doing nothing, but in the course of time vicious ugly eruptions come out upon the body. This is a good sign in so far as the disease manifests itself upon the skin, or in catarrhal discharges, the internal organs are safe, but when these outward manifestations are stopped the internal parts suffer.

If this be true, what conclusion must we come to as to the good or injury done to patients when every catarrhal discharge is stopped and every eruption upon the skin is driven away by out- ward applications? What are we to conclude when we see that the idea of the medical world of today is to stop everything that appears upon the surface? When we know the truth in regard to psora, we see what a wonderful damage it is to the patient to have these outward signs stopped in this way, what a tremendous shock it is to the economy and how it is that psora is pushed on and made worse, made more complex from year to year, from generation to generation, until it is the fundamental disease of the human economy and the basis of all the trouble in man.

At the present day, as you are now prepared to hear, we can really learn more about psora by watching it in its backward progress than by watching it in its onward progress in any particular case. It is the cause of the chronic manifestations of disease that are not syphilitic or sycotic. We are able to group together in the mind all those vicious constitutional states (not syphilitic or sycotic) that are called organic disease, as the results of psora. Then the five forms of Bright’s disease are not diseases, but the result of psora operating upon the economy and attacking the kidney. The common chronic diseases of the liver are not diseases, but the localization of psora in the liver; the lung diseases and heart diseases and brain diseases are not diseases, because they have one single origin, and from this origin we follow their progress and thus study them from their beginnings to their ends, from cause to ultimates. Only in this way will we have a clear knowledge of their internal cause and beginnings.

In the work on “Chronic Diseases” Hahnemann refers to psora as the oldest, most universal and most pernicious chronic miasmatic disease, yet it has been misappropriated more than any other. “Psora is the oldest miasmatic chronic disease known. The oldest history of the oldest nation does not reach its origin. Psora is just as tedious as syphilis and sycosis, and is moreover, hydra-headed. Unless it is thoroughly cured, it lasts until the last breath of the longest life. Not even the most robust constitution, by its own unaided efforts, is able to annihilate and extinguish psora.”

The three chronic miasms, psora, syphilis and sycosis, are all contagious. In each instance there is something prior to the manifestations which we call disease. We speak of the signs and symptoms of a disease, we speak of the outcropping of the symptoms when we speak of syphilis, but remember there is a state prior to syphilis or syphilis would not exist. It could not come upon man except for a condition suitable to its development. In like manner psora could not exist except for a condition in mankind suitable for its development.

Psora being the first and the two coming later, it is proper for us to inquire into that state of the human race that would be suitable for the development of psora. There must have been a state of the human race suitable to the development of psora; it could not have come upon a perfectly healthy race, and it would not exist in a perfectly race. There must have been some sickness prior to this state, which we recognize as the chronic miasm psora; some state of disorder, some state that it would be perfectly rational and proper for man to undertake to solve as to its cause, as to its history, and as to its very nature.

Some will say, but if we undertake to do this will have to accept the world of God as historical, as relating to the beginning, because there is no other going so far back. There is no harm in reasoning from that and I hope you will so accept it, not only as history, but as divine revelation, not that I wish to quote from or refer to it, because I never do so in my teaching. If we look upon syphilis we will see that man’s own act leads him to the place where he comes in contact with syphilis; it is the result of action.

Syphilis is that disease which corresponds to the effect impure coition, of going where syphilis is, of coming in contact with those who have it. It is an action; it is not so with psora. Man does not seek it, he does not go where it is, he does not associate with those necessarily that have it. He may be exposed; but syphilis is the result of his own action, which is an impure formication or adulteration which he knows better than to seek, and knows enough from his intelligence to avoid. Syphilis, then. is a result of action, although after once ultimated it may be perpetuated by accident. There is always a state and condition of man that precedes his action, and if syphilis corresponds to man’s action; and there is a state prior to it, a diseased condition that precedes, that state must correspond to the which precedes action, which is thinking and willing.

Thinking and willing established a state in man that identifies the condition he is in. As long as man continued to think that which was true and held that which was good to the neighbor, that which was uprightness and justice, so long man remained upon the earth free from the susceptibility to disease, because that was the state in which he was created. So long as he remained in that state and preserved his integrity he was not susceptible to disease and he gave forth no aura that could cause contagion; but when man began to will the things that were the outcome of his false thinking then he entered a state which was the perfect correspondence of his interior. As are will and understanding, so will be the external of man.

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.