As Hygienist and Dietist


If you are trying to put your health on a sounder footing, any non-medical rules which I can advise you to follow consist in : not undertaking more work than your bodily strength can manage, nor trying to accomplish it too quickly. Anger and sorrow must be expelled from the bosom of a wise man too….


VIGOROUS ATTACKS

SUPPLEMENT 37

DIETETIC RULES, ETC.

Extracts from Bernhard Schuchardt’s “Letters of Hahnemann to a Patient, from the year 1703-1805.” Tubingen, 1886. Publisher, H Laupp. (Page 6I ff; the following letter was written in the year 1800. approx.)

Man (the delicate human machine) is not constituted for overwork. If he does so from ambition, love of gain, or other praiseworthy or blameworthy motive, he sets himself in opposition to the order of nature, and his body suffers injury or destruction. The more so if his body is already in a weakened condition; then what you cannot accomplish in a week, you can do in two weeks. Your customers may not be willing to wait, but they cannot reasonably expect that you will make yourself ill and work yourself to the grave for their sake, leaving your wife a widow and your children orphans. It is not only the greater bodily exertion that injures you, but even more the attendant strain on the mind; the overwrought mind in its turn affects the body injuriously. If you do not assume an attitude of calm indifference, adopting the principle of living first for yourself and only secondly for others, then there is small chance of your recovery. When you are in your grave, men will still be clothed, perhaps not so tastefully, but still tolerably well.

If you are a philosopher you may become healthy, you may even attain to old age.

If anything annoys you, ignore it; if anything is too much for you, have nothing to do with it; if others seek to drive you, go slowly and laugh at the fools who wish to worry you. What you can do comfortably, that do; what you cannot accomplish, do not bother yourself about, for our temporal circumstances are not improved by over-pressure of work. You only spend proportionately more on your domestic affairs, and so nothing is gained. Economy, limitation of superfluities ( of which the hard worker has often very few) place us in a position to live with greater comfort-that is to say, more rationally, more intelligently, more in accordance with nature, more cheerfully, more quietly and more healthily. thus we shall act more commendably, more wisely and more prudently than by working in a breathless hurry, with our nerves constantly overstrung, to the destruction of the most precious treasures of life, a peaceful mind and good health. Be more prudent, consider yourself first, let everything else be only of secondary importance to you; and should they venture to assert that you are in honour bound to do more than is good for your mental and physical powers, even then do not, for God’s sake, allow yourself to be driven to do what is contrary to your own welfare. Remain deaf to the bribery of praise, remain cold and pursue your own course slowly and quietly like a wise and sensible man. To enjoy with tranquil mind and body that is what man is in the world for, and to do only as much work as will procure him the means of enjoyment-certainly not to let himself be harassed and worn out with work.

The everlasting pushing and striving of short-sighted mortals in order to gain so and so much, to secure some honour or other, to do a service to this or that great personage-this is generally fatal to our welfare, this is a common cause of young people ageing and dying before their time.

The calm cool-headed man, who lets things glide softly, attains the same object, lives more tranquilly, and healthily, and reaches a good old age; and this leisurely man sometimes lights upon a lucky idea, the fruit of serious original thought, which will give much more profitable impetus to his temporal affairs than can ever be gained by the overwrought man who can never find time to collect his thoughts.

In order to win the race, speed alone will not suffice. Strive to remain a little indifferent, to be cool and calm, then you will be what I wish you to be. You will see marvellous things; you will see how healthy you will become by following my advice. Then shall your course through your veins calmly and sedately, without effort and without heat. No horrible dreams disturb the sleep of him who lies down to rest with calm nerves, and the man who is free from care wakes in the morning without anxiety about the multifarious occupations of the day. What does he care? The happiness of life concerns him more than anything else. With fresh vigour he sets about his moderate work, and at his meals nothing, no ebullitions of blood, no cares, no solicitude of mind, hinders him from relishing what the beneficent Preserver of Life sets before him; and so one day follows another in quiet until finally advanced age brings him to the termination of a well-spent life, and he rests serenely in another world, as he has calmly lived in this one.

Is not that more rational, more sensible? Let restless self- destroying men act as irrationally, as injuriously towards themselves as they pleas; let them be fools, but do you be wiser. Do not let me preach this wisdom of life in vain. I mean well by you.

Farewell, follow my advice, and when all goes well with you, remember

Dr.S. HAHNEMANN.

P.S.-Even should you be reduced to your last sixpence, remain cheerful and happy. Providence watches over us, and a lucky chance puts things right again. How much do we need in order to live, to restore our powers by food and drink, to shield ourselves from cold and heat? Little more than courage; when we possess that, we can find the minor essentials without much trouble. The wise man needs but little. Conserved strength does not need to be renewed by medicine.

The patient was an educated working man (a tailor) in Gotha, who, in spite of being delicate, reached the age of ninety-two years and did not die until 1851.

HAHNEMANN’S RULES OF HEALTH.

From a letter to Dr. Stapf, of March 24th, 1828 :

If you are trying to put your health on a sounder footing, any non-medical rules which I can advise you to follow consist in : not undertaking more work than your bodily strength can manage, nor trying to accomplish it too quickly.

Combine the two following sayings to the best of your abilities :

“Expende, quid valeant humeri, quid ferre recusent.” (ascertain what your shoulders can bear and recognise their limitations-R.H.), and, “Festina lente” (Hasten with leisure- R.H.).

Thus you will attain your object better. Anger and sorrow must be expelled from the bosom of a wise man, he must not allow them to enter. Aequam memento rebus in asperis servare mentem- moriture. (Take care to maintain your equanimity in difficulties- otherwise you will die- R.H.).

From another letter dated October 16th, 1830: One of the most important rules for recovery is what Confucius called the Golden Mean, and which he described in an excellent book as the ” aurea mediocritas rien de trop.” I should advise you to observe the Golden Mean in regard to such articles of diet as have been permitted. ( He had been previously cautioned to avoid as far as possible wine, coffee, tea, punch, acids, acids, spices, especially vanilla, cinnamon, cloves and perfumes-R.H.] I would like you to walk every day in the open air, never to run, and only to ride or drive a little when necessary; to go to bed by ten o’clock; not to read yourself to sleep in bed; not to undertake any mental labour after eight o’clock in the evening; to take your supper before 8 p.m. and then eat but sparingly, and never of meat or eggs : not to over- exert yourself in any way, and to dismiss calmly all disagreeable subjects from your thoughts like a wise man.

In another place Hahnemann recommends marriage, to someone seeking his advice, which he esteemed of great value from a health point of view.

C. Wiesicke Plauen, November 29th, 1831, thanks Hahnemann:

For the last four months all symptoms have disappeared, the last one, a whitish tongue, went after a dose of Sepia.

At the same time he communicates his engagement to an excellent girl. ” ” who has the qualities which you have recommended to me. ” Also in a letter to the young sculptor Adolph Straub Weimar. Hahnemann advises marriage.

The same advice he wrote on September 12th, 1829, to Dr. Schreter in Lemberg :

Dear Colleague,

I wish you much happiness in your marriage. You have done well. Only a sensible and good marriage makes a man of the youth, makes a girl into a worthy woman. Both perfect each other and love, mutual help, warning and advice help us to bear the burden of life easily, and procure for us a condition as nearly akin to paradise as is possible on earth.

Hahnemann to Boenninghausen :

Cothen. March 16th, 1831.

The instructions on diet want more discussion, since the same things are not equally to everybody; though there are some things which each one must avoid. I am not quite clear myself whether dilution helps the good cause or not; whether it is necessary to potentise at all, whilst (and this I have not yet disclosed) the very high X potencies of medicines given in our small doses of x… accomplish what is required, without hindrance, penetrating with all their power and with incredible completeness, strength and purity, whilst they are not affected by any kind of food ( except perhaps vegetable acids, spirits, coffee and tea.). Foodstuffs really contain no antidotes except those above named (in brackets). From this I deduce that the poor thresher from the country, who is suffering from a serious chronic disease, may be cured in a short time ( especially if he has not been saturated with allopathic drugs ) without my having to prohibit his onions, bacon, sausage, bad bread, horse-radish sauce and so forth. (He is too poor to buy coffee or spirits.) Under such conditions our highly potentised medicines act without hindrance. In regard to clothing too, the poor cannot follow precepts and yet they recover incredibly quickly! Even the perfumes used by the wealthy would not trouble me if the patients did not come into our hands with their health already miserably undermined by heroic allopathic remedies, which had already rendered them impervious to treatment. Such obstacles are frequently fatal to our mild system, which cannot overcome the antagonism of strong and useless drugs.

Letters to von Villers. Leipsic ” Populare Zeitung,” IIth year, 1880, page 45 ff.

Dearest,

I have just read in the Hamburg Correspondent that you are ill in bed. My esteem, my friendship, my love for you, impel me to dare, in spite of the fact that it might look as if I were intruding in an unusual way, to beg, to implore you, if you have a certain number of connections, not to trust your valuable life to the ordinary uncertain medical Art, and if possible not to use medicines home remedies, herbal teas, clysters, or anything of a like nature. Our Seume would still be alive had he not given himself to the doctors ut nunc sunt. All medicines which do not fit a case accurately do harm, and the correct fitting of the medicine, in each respective case of illness, is not to be found in the ordinary medical art; that they sometimes prescribe here and there an approximately fitting remedy, is only a piece of good luck.

It is infinitely safer to use nothing of that kind, but whilst observing great moderation in all requirements of the body and soul, to follow one’s own instinct, which becomes more acute during sickness, and which demands this or that in moderations.

Do what you like with this honest outpouring of my heart; only convince yourself of the warmest sympathy and unselfish friendship of your

SAMUEL HAHNEMANN.

Torgau. 14th January, 1811.

Torgau, 30th January, 1811.

Very good. If the exchange please you so much, amiable friend. You present me with your French letters, and allow me to trouble you with my German ones. I wish to God that in the meantime your prophecy may have been fulfilled, and that you may be restored to health whilst my letters is hastening to you. Do not use any further medical prescription, not even mine. I would sooner know you to be well than be required as your doctor.

In every way you may expect wonders as to your complete recovery, owing to your moderation and other factors in the conduct of your natural life. In fresh air, especially when combined with bodily exercise ( not driving) there is an indispensable means for the recuperation of vitality, for our blood and the aether which may dwell in our nerves;- such an incomparable pabulum vitae- which could not be replaced by any medicine in the world. One cannot sufficiently recommend walking (very justifiably called prendre l’air) not only to all men and every creature that draws breath, but especially to those whose mind is very active. If these latter neglect taking regular walking exercise a wrong connection between the organs that are used for the exertion of the mind and the organs that belong to our growing life-our animal life suffers exceedingly through this neglect, and we become bodily sick while we are trying to live only with our soul, and neglect the tribute we should pay to our body through care and exercise. If God has restored you you sufficiently so that you can go out, never let a day pass without taking a walk in the fresh air. The body and its muscles must be kept at work and exerted ( that is the purpose of muscles) if one wishes to use the mind without injury to health. Only in a strong body can the mind work freely and with energy and endurance. A person who lives shut up in a room cannot do that : neither could you have given to the world such admirable works, if you had not been robust. But even the strongest body must inevitably be ruined by the ordinary mode in which scholars live, who in a one-sided way use only their mind, and the organs belonging to it, while they let the rest of the bodily machine which was given to them for use in a complete life, stand still. Et vitium captium ni moveantur agnae { for the lambs who have no movement are damaged-R.H.) Therefore if you recover if the full use of your limbs, use them for an assiduous daily walk in all weathers. How excellently the fresh air, enjoyed with movement cheers the spirits, lends self-control in sorrow an courage in danger. You must have experienced this yourself. A heart as tender and feeling as yours – the great possible treasures that a man can have – such a precious jewel must be enclosed in a strong case; only in full health of the whole body can a noble heart become charitable towards its fellow men!

Further I must warn you against a substance that has been strongly introduced by scholars, and which they use in order to brighten themselves up when they miss fresh air, and imprison themselves in their study. It is the medicinal substance called coffee. How much the use of this stimulating drink has undermined the tone of the body, how much it has inclined our bodies to painful illness and other evils, I cannot tell you here in a few words. I would ask you to red my little book on the subject, “The Effects of Coffee,” Leipsic, by Steinacker. The continued and frequent use of this powerful house-medicine has frequently damaged the nerves to a considerable extent. Pfeffel and Delisle would not have lost the use of their eyesight had they not used coffee, and Musaeus would not have been torn away from us at such an early age. This is one example, without mentioning thousands of others. On this point I would like to know your decision in your next letter. Those who use it habitually can only leave it off very gradually and carefully, but you can find instruction about this in the little book above mentioned. Generally speaking these stimulants do not seem consistent with health or longevity. Their first effect is to refresh, as if they were strengthening cordials; but with continued and daily use (sic) their true and lasting after- effects become evident, exhaustion, prostration and many other ills come to light. No one perceives that they are positive things which create disease and which only brighten you up as a palliative leaving great and permanent disabilities.

I cannot recommend the frequent use of wine, unless it be mixed with water, as was the custom of the Romans and Greeks.

Leipsic,

26th September, 1811.

One thing more! I should have liked to see you happy, if possible. forgive, therefore, my pressing advice; get married if your circumstances allow it, to a true, good and pure soul, even if her body is not very beautiful. Nothing in the world can replace the heavenly friendship that you miss by the absence of such a tie. We are only half human being without such a noble union.

Hahnemann writes to a young scholar. (The original of this letter is in the possession of Dr. August Korndorfer in Philadelphia.)

First of all the rules of life. Mental exertion and study are in themselves very unnatural occupations for young people whose bodies are not yet fully developed, especially for such as are gifted with sensitive feelings. (This nearly cost me my life between the age of 15 and 20 years.) Strenuous study and profound thought absorb a greater portion of life’s energy than is required to thresh corn in a barn. The latter is only a small thing compared with the former. How then can the body which has to put forth so much power in order to complete its growth (this is the first and most essential endeavour of the organism, which cannot be denied) endure the withdrawal not only of forces withdrawn by study, but also those which are so essential for digestion, especially as the necessary muscular exertion is absent and the requisite enjoyment of fresh air is missing – without there being a violent shattering of the whole life-force, or sickness of those organs which are mostly exhausted by studying – the brain, the nerves and the eyes.

Had I appreciated this as clearly, at your age, as I do now, I should have progressed much farther in my knowledge than I have done, and I should have been able to render greater service to the world.

The development of the body and its forces comes long before the development of the mind. The mind can only accomplish as much as those organs are equal to, which, by their constant use, in his daily avocations, man has developed to perfection. What great work can be accomplished when the instruments for it are weak and inefficient? The mind can only grow in a strong and stable body, and only then can it undertake and carry out important deeds. The immortal work of Conrad Gessner on Natural History would never have appeared, for he would have been unable to produce any of it, and he not duly perceived that his frail body could only carry on, and resist death and dissolution for a short time, owing to his sedentary life study. He immediately adopted an altogether different mode of life, which exercised an strengthened his body, and behold! his health was re-established and he was able to carry out the great works at which we marvel at the present day. He might even have attained old age had not the Levant pest carried him off.

Of these facts the following prescriptions are based, after a few preliminary observations. The more cheerful, firm and healthy the bodily conditions are, the keener will the mental activity become. The time that is devoted to bodily exercise is well repaid by the force and disposition of the mind which follows is, as one can then achieve in half-an-hour what would have taken half a day to accomplish by remaining passively in one’s study. The one process cripples the mind – the other induces an alert mental activity.

Not less than one hour after dinner must you touch a book. In the evening at eight o’ clock reading and writing must cease; the blood must then gradually return to its placid course throughout the body and stop rushing violently to the head (which it was forced to do by thinking );the pulse must remain quiet until you go to bed at ten o’ clock. These two hours can be occupied by a friendly talk that is not too tiring. In the evening you must eat no meat, and only a little white bread, and this rather early than late, at about six or seven o’ clock. The mid-day meal must be strengthening and nourishing, almost without spices, and little salt; pork must not be eaten frequently, and veal but seldom partaken of. No tea, no coffee, no wine, but beer which has only a small quantity of hops in it, or pale or ale for a drink.

You must go out of a walk in the fresh air for an hour daily, whatever be the conditions of weather. Choose the brightest part of the day; if it is not bright you must go out in bad weather. The changing of clothing, shoes, or over-shoes will prevent any ill effects. If you have an opportunity of taking fencing lessons, take half-an-hour’s fencing a day, on account of the movements of the upper part of the body, and in order to strengthen the arms you must learn to fence with both arms. If that cannot be done, you must choose the dry and uninteresting occupation of sawing wood.

Richard Haehl
Richard Haehl was the author of - Life and Work of Samuel Hahnemann