Hahnemann’s doctrine of Chronic disease

A brief outline of the famous psora-theory of Hahnemann, which was first formally given to the world in 1828, and which was given rise to much controversy among Hahnemann’s disciples….

Individualization a peculiar feature of Hahnemann’s teaching before his invention of the psora theory-His contempt for pathological hypothesis-His psora theory a vast generalization and a pathological hypothesis-His early foreshadowings of the theory-He early ascribes a large number of chronic disease to itch-His account of the discovery of the source of chronic disease-He communicates his discovery to Stapf and Gross- Necessity for a miasmatic origin of chronic diseases-Psora the grand source-Syphilis and sycosis the other sources-Itch a degeneration of the ancient leprosy-Error of considering itch a local disease-Under itch he includes many other distinct skin- diseases-Mode in which infection takes place-Itch to be met with everywhere-The most infectious chronic miasm-Mode of development of itch-disease-danger of suppressing the external eruption-Signs of latent psora-He at first thought the disease might be cured by reproducing an eruption-His Burgundy-pitch-He also believed that a fresh infection with itch would cure the chronic disease- Instances of this adduced by him-He afterwards recants these opinions-His mode of treating fresh itch-Psoric diseases require peculiar medicines, termed antipsorics-Before he thought of psora he considered coffee to be the great source of chronic diseases- Traces of this psora theory in ancient writes-Hoffmann ascribes many diseases to suppressed itch-Autenrieth’s psora theory- Hahnemann’s contempt for Autenrieth’s treatment of itch-Wenzel held a psora theory-Stapf’s laudations of the psora theory-Gross testifies to its truth-Unquestioning adhesion to it of many homoeopathists-Peterson corroborates it with cock- and bull stories-He makes out that cholera is of psoric origin-Rau admits the partial foundation in truth of the theory-Wolf considers it an unfortunate idea-Schron defends prae-antipsoric homoeopathy against Hahnemann’s disparagement of it-Hering carries the psora- theory farther than Hahnemann-He announces a prophylactic for itch-Later allopathic authorities who have held the psora-theory- Beer-Schonlein-Weitenweber- Nathan’s apology for Hahnemann.

BEFORE Hahnemann’s enunciation of his peculiar pathological doctrine of the origin of chronic diseases, commonly termed the psora-theory, the grand distinctive feature of his practical directions consisted in oft-repeated injunctions to individualize to the utmost all diseases, that is to say, to regard each morbid case as an individuality, a disease that stood per se, and might never again occur in the precise form then observed, and which demanded for its cure a remedy selected in accordance with the actual symptoms and utterly irrespective of any presumed essential cause or pathological doctrine whatsoever.

No one eve ridiculed the therapeutic maxim of the dominant school, “tolle causam, “more than Hahnemann. His essay entitled the Medicine of Experience, that On the Value of the Speculative Systems of Medicine, and even the introduction to every successive edition of the Organon, abound in passages ridiculing he notion of any inquiry into the essential nature of disease, and no maxim is more frequently or more dogmatically enunciated by our Master than this (I quote from his Medicine of Experience):-

“The internal essential nature of every malady, of every individual case of disease, as far as it is necessary for us to know it for the purpose of curing it, express itself by the symptoms, as they present themselves to the investigations of the true observer in their whole extent, connection, and succession.”


“When the physician has discovered all the observable symptoms of the disease that exist, he has discovered the disease itself, he has attained the complete conception o it requisite to enable him to effect a cure.”

Passing over his intermediate works, we find precisely the same doctrine inculcated in the opening paragraphs of the Organon, in even its last edition. Thus in Aphorism vi. we find it written:-

The unprejudiced observer, let his powers of penetration be ever so great, takes not of nothing in every individual disease except the changes in the health of the body and of the mind which can be perceived externally by means of he senses, that is to say, he notices only the deviations from the former healthy state of the now disease individual which are felt by the patient himself, remarked by those around him, and observed by the physician. All these perceptible signs represent the disease in its whole extent. that is, together they form the true and only conceivable portrait of he disease.”

R.E. Dudgeon
Robert Ellis Dudgeon 1820 – 1904 Licentiate of the Royal College of Surgeons in Edinburgh in 1839, Robert Ellis Dudgeon studied in Paris and Vienna before graduating as a doctor. Robert Ellis Dudgeon then became the editor of the British Journal of Homeopathy and he held this post for forty years.
Robert Ellis Dudgeon practiced at the London Homeopathic Hospital and specialised in Optics.
Robert Ellis Dudgeon wrote Pathogenetic Cyclopaedia 1839, Cure of Pannus by Innoculation, London and Edinburgh Journal of Medical Science 1844, Hahnemann’s Organon, 1849, Lectures on the Theory & Practice of Homeopathy, 1853, Homeopathic Treatment and Prevention of Asiatic Cholera 1847, Hahnemann’s Therapeutic Hints 1847, On Subaqueous Vision, Philosophical Magazine, 1871, The Influence of Homeopathy on General Medical Practice Since the Death of Hahnemann 1874, Repertory of the Homeopathic Materia Medica, 2 vols 1878-81, The Human Eye Its Optical Construction, 1878, Hahnemann’s Materia Medica Pura, 1880, The Sphygmograph, 1882, Materia Medica: Physiological and Applied 1884, Hahnemann the Founder of Scientific Therapeutics 1882, Hahnemann’s Organon 1893 5th Edition, Prolongation of Life 1900, Hahnemann’s Lesser Writing.