Aphorism 51 to 60


In these aphorisms, Hahnemann discusses the different modes of applying medicines – antipathy, allopathy and homeopathy. He discusses the pros and cons of each approach, suggesting the superiority of the homeopathic approach….


§ 51

This therapeutic law is rendered obvious to all intelligent minds by these instances, and they are amply sufficient for this end. But, on the other hand, see what advantages man has over crude Nature in her happy-go-lucky operations. How many thousands more of homoeopathic morbific agents has not man at his disposal for the relief of his suffering fellow-creatures in the medicinal substances universally distributed throughout creation! In them he has producers of disease of all possible varieties of action, for all the innumerable, for all conceivable and inconceivable natural diseases, to which they can render homoeopathic aid – morbific agents (medicinal substances), whose power, when their remedial employment is completed, being overcome by the vital force, disappears spontaneously without requiring a second course of treatment for its extirpation, like the itch – artificial morbific agents, which the physician can attenuate, subdivide and potentize almost to an infinite extent, and the dose of which he can diminish to such a degree that they shall remain only slightly stronger than the similar natural disease they are employed to cure; so that in this incomparable method of cure, there is no necessity for any violent attack upon the organism for the eradication of even an inveterate disease of old standing; the cure by this method takes place by only a gentle, imperceptible and yet often rapid transition from the tormenting natural disease to the desired state of permanent health.

§ 52 Fifth Edition

Surely no intelligent physician, after these examples as clear as daylight, can still go on in the old ordinary system of medicine, attacking the body, as has hitherto been done, in its least diseased parts with (allopathic) medicines that have no direct pathological (homoeopathic) relation to the disease to be cured, with purgatives, counter-irritants, derivatives, etc.1, and thus at a sacrifice of the patient’s strength, inducing a morbid state quite heterogeneous and dissimilar to the original one, to the ruin of his constitution, by large doses of mixtures of medicines generally of unknown qualities, the employment of which can have no other result, as is demonstrated by the eternal laws of nature in the above and all other cases in the world in which a dissimilar disease is added to the other in the human organism, for a cure is never thereby effected in disease, but an aggravation is the invariable consequence, – therefore it can have no other result than that either (because, according to the process of nature described in I, the older disease in the body repels the  dissimilar one wherewith the patient is assailed) the natural disease remains as it was, under mild allopathic treatment, be it ever so long continued, the patient being thereby weakened; or (because, according to the process of nature described in II, the new and stronger disease merely obscures and suspends for a short time the original weaker  dissimilar one), by the violent attack on the body with strong allopathic drugs, the original disease seems to yield for a time, to return in at least all its former strength; or (because, according to the process of nature described in III, two dissimilar diseases, when both are of a chronic character and of equal strength, take up a position when beside one another in the organism and complicate each other) in those cases in which the physician employs for a long time morbific agents opposite and dissimilar to the natural chronic disease and allopathic medicines in large doses, such allopathic treatment, without ever being able to remove and to cure the original (dissimilar) chronic disease, only develops new artificial diseases beside it; and, as daily experience shows, only renders the patient much worse and more incurable than before.

1 Vide supra in the Introduction: A review of the Therapeutics, etc., and my book, Die Alloopathie, ein Wort der Warnung fur Kranke jeder Art, Leipzig, bei Baumgartner (translated in Hahnemann’s Lesser Writings.)

§ 52 Sixth Edition

There are but two principle methods of cure: the one based only on accurate observation of nature, on careful experimentation and pure experience, the homoeopathic (before we never designedly used) and a second which does not do this, the heteropathic or allopathic. Each opposes the other, and only he who does not know either can hold the delusion that they can ever approach each other or even become united, or to make himself so ridiculous as to practice at one time homoeopathically at another allopathically, according to the pleasure of the patient; a practice which may be called criminal treason against divine homoeopathy.

§ 53 Fifth Edition

True, mild cures take place, as we see, only in a homoeopathic way – a way which, as we have also shown above (§§ 7-25) in a different manner, by experience and deductions, is also the true and only one whereby diseases may be most surely, rapidly and permanently extinguished by art; for this mode of cure is founded on an eternal, infallible law of nature.

§ 53 Sixth Edition

The true mild cures take place only according to the homoeopathic method, which, as we have found (§§ 7-25) by experience and deduction, is unquestionably the proper one by which through art the quickest, most certain and most permanent cures are obtained since this healing art rests upon an eternal infallible law of nature.

The pure homoeopathic healing art is the only correct method, the one possible to human art, the straightest way to cure, as certain as that there is but one straight line between two given points.

§ 54 Fifth Edition

This, the homoeopathic way, must, moreover, as observed above (§§ 43-49) be the only proper one, because, of the three possible modes of employing medicines in diseases, it is the only direct way to a mild, sure, permanent cure without doing injury in another direction, and without weakening the patient. The pure homoeopathic mode of cure is the only proper way, the only direct way, the only way possible to human skill, as certainly as only one straight line can be drawn betwixt two given points.

§ 54 Sixth Edition

The allopathic method of treatment utilized many things against disease, but usually only improper ones (alloea) and ruled for ages in different forms called systems. Every one of these, following each other from time to time and differing greatly each from the other, honored itself with the name of Rational Medicine1.

Every builder of such a system cherished the haughty estimation of himself that he was able to penetrate into the inner nature of life of the healthy as well as of the sick and clearly to recognize it and accordingly gave the prescription which noxious matter2 should be banished from the sick man, and how to banish it in order to restore him to health, all this according to empty assumptions and arbitrary suppositions without honestly questioning nature and listening without prejudice to the voice of experience. Diseases were held to be conditions that reappeared pretty much in the same manner. Most systems gave, therefore, names to their imagined disease pictures and classified them, every system differently. To medicines were ascribed actions which were supposed to cure these abnormal conditions. (Hence the numerous text books on Materia Medica.3)

1 As if the establishment of a science, based only on observation of nature and pure experiment and experience idle speculation and scholastic vaporings could have a place.

2 Up to the most recent times what is curable in sickness was supposed to be material that had to be removed since no one could conceive of a dynamic effect (§ 11 note) of morbific agencies, such as medicines exercise upon the life of the animal organism.

3 To fill the measure of self infatuation to overflowing here were mixed (very learnedly) constantly more, indeed, many different medicines in so-called prescriptions to be administered in frequent and large doses and thereby the precious, easily-destroyed human life was endangered in the hands of these perverted ones. Especially so with seton, venesection, emetics, purgatives, plasters, fontanelles and cauterization.

§ 55 Fifth Edition

The second mode of employing medicines in diseases, the allopathic or homoeopathic, which, without any pathological relation to what is actually diseased in the body, attacks the parts most exempt from the disease, in order to draw away the disease through them and thus to expel it, as is imagined, has hitherto been the most general method. I have treated of it above in the Introduction1, and shall not dwell longer on it.

1 Review of the Therapeutics, etc.

§ 55 Sixth Edition

Soon, however, the public became convinced that the sufferings of the sick increased and heightened with the introduction of every one of these systems and methods of cure if followed exactly. Long ago these allopathic physicians would have been left had it not been for the palliative relief obtained at times from empirically discovered remedies whose almost instantaneous flattering action is apparent to the patient and this to some extent served to keep up their credit.

§ 56 Fifth Edition

The third and only remaining method1 of employing medicines in diseases, which, besides the other two just alluded to, is the only other possible one, is the antipathic (enantiopathic) or palliative method, wherewith the physician could hitherto appear to be most useful, and hoped most certainly to gain his patient’s confidence by deluding him with momentary amelioration. But I shall now proceed to show how inefficacious and how injurious this third and sole remaining way was, in diseases of a not very rapid course. It is certainly the only one of the modes of treatment adopted by the allopaths that had any manifest relation to a portion of the sufferings caused by the natural disease; but what kind of relation? Of a truth the very one (the exact contrary of the right one) that ought most to be avoided if we would not delude and make a mockery of the patient affected with a chronic disease.

1 A fourth mode of employing medicines in diseases has been attempted to be created by means of Isopathy, as it is called – that is to say, a method of curing a given disease by the same contagious particle that produces it. But even granting this could be done, which would certainly be a valuable discovery, yet, after all, seeing that the virus is given to the patient highly potentized, and thereby, consequently, to a certain degree in an altered condition, the cure is effected only by opposing a simillimum to a simillimum.

§ 56 Sixth Edition

By means of this palliative (antipathic, enantiopathic) method, introduced according to Galen’s teaching “Contraria contrariis” for seventeen centuries, the physicians hitherto could hope to win confidence while they deluded with almost instantaneous amelioration. But how fundamentally unhelpful and hurtful this method of treatment is (in diseases not running a rapid course) we shall see in what follows. It is certainly the only one of the modes of treatment adopted by the allopaths that had any manifest relation to a portion of the sufferings caused by the natural disease; but what kind of relation? Of a truth the very one (the exact contrary of the right one) that ought carefully to be avoided if we would not delude and make a mockery of the patient affected with a chronic disease1.

1 A third mode of employing medicines in diseases has been attempted to be created by means of Isopathy, as it is called – that is to say, a method of curing a given disease by the same contagious principle that produces it.  But even granting this could be done, yet, after all, seeing that the virus is given to the patient highly potentized, and consequently, in an altered condition, the cure is effected only by opposing a simillimum to a simillimum.

To attempt to cure by means of the very same morbific potency (per Idem) contradicts all normal human understanding and hence all experience. Those who first brought Isopathy to notice, probably thought of the benefit which mankind received from cowpox vaccination by which the vaccinated individual is protected against future cowpox infection and as it were cured in advance.  But both, cowpox and smallpox are only similar, in no way the same disease. In many respects they differ, namely in the more rapid course and mildness of cowpox and especially in this, that is never contagious to man by more nearness. Universal vaccination put an end to all epidemics of that deadly fearful smallpox to such an extent that the present generation does no longer possess a clear conception of the former frightful smallpox plague.

Moreover, in this way, undoubtedly, certain diseases peculiar to animals may give us remedies and thus happily enlarge our stock of homoeopathic remedies.

But to use a human morbific matter (a Psorin taken from the itch in man) as a remedy for the same itch or for evils arisen therefrom is -?

Nothing can result from this but trouble and aggravation of the disease.

§ 57

In order to carry into practice this antipathic method, the ordinary physician gives, for a single troublesome symptom from among the many other symptoms of the disease which he passes by unheeded, a medicine concerning which it is known that it produces the exact opposite of the morbid symptom sought to be subdued, from which, agreeably to the fifteen – centuries – old traditional rule of the antiquated medical school (contraria contrariis) he can expect the speediest (palliative) relief. He gives large doses of opium for pains of all sorts, because this drug soon benumbs the sensibility, and administers the same remedy for diarrhoeas, because it speedily puts a stop to the peristaltic motion of the intestinal canal and makes it insensible; and also for sleeplessness, because opium rapidly produces a stupefied, comatose sleep; he gives purgatives when the patient has suffered long from constipation and costiveness; he causes the burnt hand to be plunged into cold water, which, from its low degree of temperature, seems instantaneously to remove the burning pain, as if by magic; he puts the patient who complains of chilliness and deficiency of vital heat into warm baths, which warm him immediately; he makes him who is suffering from prolonged debility drink wine, whereby he is instantly enlivened and refreshed; and in like manner he employs other opposite (antipathic) remedial means, but he has very few besides those just mentioned, as it is only of very few substances that some peculiar (primary) action is known to the ordinary medical school.

§ 58

If, in estimating the value of this mode of employing medicines, we should even pass over the circumstance that it is an extremely faulty symptomatic treatment (v. note to § 7), wherein the practitioner devotes his attention in a merely one-sided manner to a single symptom, consequently to only a small part of the whole, whereby relief for the totality of the disease, which is what the patient desires, cannot evidently be expected, – we must, on the other hand, demand of experience if, in one single case where such antipathic employment of medicine was made use of in a chronic or persisting affection, after the transient amelioration there did not ensue an increased aggravation of the symptom which was subdued at first in a palliative manner, an aggravation, indeed, of the whole disease? And every attentive observer will agree that, after such short antipathic amelioration, aggravation follows in every case without exception, although the ordinary physician is in the habit of giving his patient another explanation of this subsequent aggravation, and ascribes it to malignancy of the original disease, now for the first time showing itself, or to the occurrence of quite a new disease1.

1 Little as physicians have hitherto been in the habit of observing accurately, the aggravation that so certainly follows such palliative treatment could not altogether escape their notice. A striking example of this is to be found in J. H. Schulze’s Diss. qua corporis humani momentanearum alterationum specimina quoedam expenduntur, Hale, 1741, § 28. Willis bears testimony to something similar (Pharm. rat., § 7, cap. I, p.298): “Opiata dolores atroscissimos plerumque sedant atque indolentiam – procurant, camque – aliquamdiu et pro stato quodam tempore continuant, quo spatio elapso dolores mox recrusescunt et brevi ad sol itam ferociam augentur.” And also at page 295: “Exactis opii viribus illico redeunt tormina, nec atrocitatem suam remittunt, nisi dum ab eodem pharmaco rursus incantuntur.” In like manner J. Hunter (On the Venereal Disease, p.13) says that wine and cordials given to the weak increase the action without giving real strength, and the powers of the body are afterwards sunk proportionally as they have been raised, by which nothing can be gained, but a great deal may be lost.

§ 59

Important symptoms of persistent diseases have never yet been treated with such palliative, antagonistic remedies, without the opposite state, a relapse – indeed, a palpable aggravation of the malady – occurring a few hours afterwards. For a persistent tendency to sleepiness during the day the physician prescribed coffee, whose primary action is to enliven; and when it had exhausted its action the day – somnolence increased; – for frequent waking at night he gave in the evening, without heeding the other symptoms of the disease, opium, which by virtue of its primary action produced the same night (stupefied, dull) sleep, but the subsequent nights were still more sleepless than before; – to chronic diarrhoeas he opposed, without regarding the other morbid signs, the same opium, whose primary action is to constipate the bowels, and after a transient stoppage of the diarrhoea it subsequently became all the worse; – violent and frequently recurring pains of all kinds he could suppress with opium for but a short time; they then always returned in greater, often intolerable severity, or some much worse affection came in their stead. For nocturnal cough of long standing the ordinary physician knew no better than to administer opium, whose primary action is to suppress every irritation; the cough would then perhaps cease the first night, but during the subsequent nights it would be still more severe, and if it were again and again suppressed by this palliative in increased doses, fever and nocturnal perspiration were added to the disease; – weakness of the bladder, with consequent retention of urine, was sought to be conquered by the antipathic work of cantharides to stimulate the urinary passages whereby evacuation of the urine was certainly at first effected but thereafter the bladder becomes less capable of stimulation and less able to contract, and paralysis of the bladder is imminent; – with large doses of purgative drugs and laxative salts, which excite the bowels to frequent evacuation, it was sought to remove a chronic tendency to constipation, but in the secondary action the bowels became still more confined; – the ordinary physician seeks to remove chronic debility by the administration of wine, which, however, stimulates only in its primary action, and hence the forces sink all the lower in the secondary its primary action, and hence the forces sink all the lower in the secondary action; – by bitter substances and heating condiments he tries to strengthen and warm the chronically weak and cold stomach, but in the secondary action of these palliatives, which are stimulating in their primary action only, the stomach becomes yet more inactive; – long standing deficiency of vital heat and chilly disposition ought surely to yield to prescriptions of warm baths, but still more weak, cold, and chilly do the patients subsequently become; – severely burnt parts feel instantaneous alleviation from the application of cold water, but the burning pain afterwards increases to an incredible degree, and the inflammation spreads and rises to a still greater height;1 – by means of the sternutatory remedies that provoke a secretion of mucus, coryza with stoppage of the nose of long standing is sought to be removed, but it escapes observation that the disease is aggravated all the more by these antagonistic remedies (in their secondary action), and the nose becomes still more stopped; – by electricity and galvanism, with in their primary action greatly stimulate muscular action, chronically weak and almost paralytic limbs were soon excited to more active movements, but the consequence (the secondary action) was complete deadening of all muscular irritability and complete paralysis; – by venesections it was attempted to remove chronic determination of blood to the head, but they were always followed by greater congestion; – ordinary medical practitioners know nothing better with which to treat the paralytic torpor of the corporeal and mental organs, conjoined with unconsciousness, which prevails in many kinds of typhus, than with large doses of valerian, because this is one of the most powerful medicinal agents for causing animation and increasing the motor faculty; in their ignorance, however, they knew not that this action is only a primary action, and that the organism, after that is passed, most certainly falls back, in the secondary (antagonistic) action, into still greater stupor and immobility, that is to say, into paralysis of the mental and corporeal organs (and death); they did not see, that the very diseases they supplied most plentifully with valerian, which is in such cases an oppositely acting, antipathic remedy, most infallibly terminated fatally. The old school physician rejoices2 that he is able to reduce for several hours the velocity of the small rapid pulse in cachectic patients with the very first dose of uncombined purple foxglove (which in its primary action makes the pulse slower); its rapidity, however, soon returns; repeated, and now increased doses effect an ever smaller diminution of its rapidity, and at length none at all – indeed – in the secondary action the pulse becomes uncountable; sleep, appetite and strength depart, and a speedy death is invariably the result, or else insanity ensues. How often, in one word, the disease is aggravated, or something even worse is effected by the secondary action of such antagonistic (antipathic) remedies, the old school with its false theories does not perceive, but experience teaches it in a terrible manner.

Samuel Hahnemann
Samuel Hahnemann