Chronic Diseases, Psora

I have spent twelve years in discovering the sources of those incredibly numerous quantities of protracted illness, in exploring this great truth, which was unknown in the past, as well as to our contemporaries, in proving it and at the same time discovering the chief (anti-psoric) remedies which would cope with his thousand-headed monster of disease in all its different manifestations and forms….



A letter a Hahnemann to the royal Prussian Consul-General, Dr. Friederich Gotthelf Baumgrtner (“Allg. hom. Ztg.,” Vol.32, page 42):

Right Honorable Doctor and Consul-General.

Beloved Patron,

I regard it as the work of Divine providence that you, a man of high standing in the world, should have the foresight and courage to try and bring honour to the art of healing, which has been maligned in a thousand ways, has frequently been suppressed and reviled by the great fraternity of physicians, on account of its simplicity, truth, nd astonishingly good results, they who are proud in their comfortable old humdrum ways.

I have read you report to Berlin, and pay you my whole- hearted respect for this great deed. May God give his blessing. I also thank you for the banquet which you gave in honour of this science of mine and I take great interest in this public acknowledgment of the value of our homoeopathy. It must have created quite a sensation among your friends.

I wish to God that the government of Saxony had acted more fairly toward me-for a genuine homoeopathic physician who will practise his system perfectly., and which the necessary conscientiousness, cannot employ an apothecary for the preparation of his medicines, even if the latter were an angel- for then I would not have been oblige to leave my beloved Leipsic, and come to reside out here, sacrificing more than 2,000 thalers.

I rejoice that you have progressed so far on the way to recovery. I do not advise you to insist on having these last discomforts, the dry mouth at night and the numbness of the big toe, removed by means of the homoeopathic instructions at present in existence. It has its disadvantages if you wish to force this, and the desired and will not be obtained.

There will always remain some ailments uncured by homoeopathy, the remains of some deep-seated chronic disease. All that has been published by me, on the homoeopathic healing art is not sufficient for the complete cure of a great family of chronic diseases. Incredibly more is effected by it in these old diseases than by the medicines prescribed by the allopaths. Yet in homoeopathic writings as yet published, there is still lacking the great key notes which binds together all that has been thus far published, so that we may only be able to improve the treatment of chronic diseases, but also able to effect a complete cure.

I have striven night and day for the last four years to discover the missing key notes, and thus find the means of stamping out the old chronic diseases. By thousands of experiments and experiences, as well as by uninterrupted meditation I have at last attained my object. None of my pupils as yet know anything of this invaluable discovery, the worth to mankind exceeds all else that I have ever discovered, and without which all existing homoeopathy remains defective or imperfect. It is still wholly my property, and enables me to cure the worst chronic diseases, which not only the doctors of the old humdrum school have to leave uncured, that would be natural, but also the best among my homoeopathic pupils (since, as I said before, although the homoeopathic art as it has been published by me so far, can accomplish a great deal, yet it is not sufficiently perfected to be able to cure chronic diseases, this has only become possible through this new discovery, and the result of unspeakable efforts).

But this knowledge now finally attained, is of such a kind that I could impart it to young physicians, in a practical way, at the beside of patients, in some clinical establishment, through their own observation. In order that I might do this before my death, I entreated our Duke to establish a hospital for the purpose. It appeared acceptable to him, but I see clearly that notwithstanding his seeming desire to do so, nothing will ever come of it. We have as yet no public hospital in Cothen.

Should nothing be done here in the matter, as I can see it will not, it would be more agreeable to me, to have such an establishment in a large place.

Since this knowledge cannot be communicated by written works, but men must hear, see, and be convinced for themselves, I shall perhaps have to take this treasure with me to the grave, and make use of it myself during my life-time to heal those invalids that no one else can cure-a slight advantage, which should be willingly granted me, who have so willingly communicated to the world everything previously discovered, but have received very little for it even from my own pupils (more likely have had patients frightened away, etc.), and have suffered persecutions from the doctors of the old school, as well as from people in authority, who were only anxious to look after the privileges of the apothecary.

I make you a confidant of this important confession, you will tell no one in Leipsic, and I pray that you, my dear friend, as I am convinced you will, you whose heart is all aglow for the welfare of humanity, will make the very best use of it.

With great esteem, I am, Your devoted, SAMUEL HAHNEMANN.

then, 10 January, 1823.

Similar trends of thought are to be found in the preface to the first edition of “Chronic Disease,” which also appears as the preface to the second improved edition (1835, Dresden and Leipsic, by Arnold). He writes in it as follows:

Did I not know for what reason I have come to this earth-to grow better myself and to do good to others as far as my powers allow it,- I should have to consider myself very little worldly- wise, to give away for the good of others before my death an art, which I alone possessed, and which therefore through its concealment would continue to provide me with comforts.

Whilst I am giving to the world this great discovery, I grieve to have to doubt whether my contemporaries will realise the logical consequences of this doctrine, will carefully follow it and achieve the results which will not fail to appear if this teaching is faithfully and accurately carried out, and suffering humanity will derive great benefit from it-or will they be frightened away by the unheard-of disclosures, and prefer to leave them untested; and, by not following them up, will they leave them untried?

In a footnote to 80 Hahnemann writes in the 6th edition of his “Organon”:

I have spent twelve years in discovering the sources of those incredibly numerous quantities of protracted illness, in exploring this great truth, which was unknown in the past, as well as to our contemporaries, in proving it and at the same time discovering the chief (anti-psoric) remedies which would cope with his thousand-headed monster of disease in all its different manifestations and forms.


then, 6 Sept., 1827.

Dear Doctor,

Your inpatient vehemence is no doubt owing to your praiseworthy desire for knowledge, but it may be considered as a sight mistake on your part, by him whom it concerns. I have only written one clean copy of the symptoms of the anti-psorics, and it is in daily use; it is therefore impossible for me to communicate them to you. You cannot possibly be serious in expecting me to prescribe a treatment for the pathological names you mention. But if you will sometime communicate to me the symptoms of disease, then if my limited time and my remaining vital powers will allow me. I shall be happy to advise you. You have to be thankful to start with, that you need not regard chronic diseases as paradoxes or inexplicable phenomena, the nature of which is hidden in impenetrable obscurity. You possess now the solution of the middle why neither Nux vomica, nor Puls, nor Ignat, etc., will or can do good, whilst the homoeopathic principle remains unaltered. You know the estimable remedies, and possess them, and can employ them empirically at least, for you know in what doses to give them. Just imagine how arduous it has been for me to sacrifice myself in order to carry to the end these investigations, for you benefit and that of the whole medicinal world. I cannot do more until my look appears, and it still demands an amount of work, which is almost too much for my vital powers. Therefore, be reasonable, and do what you can with your antipsorics. Even after I had them I did not at first know what they would do.

You may while using them, make excellent observations on their peculiar effects and gain much knowledge, as also from the splendid cures you may perform with them. You have only six or eight medicines to choose from, and not the whole Materia Medica.

You and Gross are the only ones to whom I have revealed this matter. Just think a start you will have in advance of all the other physicians in the world! At least a year will elapse before the others get my books; they will then require more than six months to recover from the stock and astonishment at the monstrous and unheard of thing, perhaps another six months before they believe in it, at all events before they provide themselves with the medicines, and they will not be able to obtain the right medicines unless they prepare them themselves. Then it is doubtful whether they will accept the smallness of the doses, and wait the long interval they ought to allow for each dose to act. Hence three years from now will elapse before they can do anything useful with it.

Therefore have patients with me, if I cannot yet give my book into your hands, and try and do as much good as you can with what you know and have.

In a previous letter of December 18th, 1826, Hahnemann wrote while treating Stapf’s daughter:

The frequently repeated doses of Spongia, although small, became in your daughter’s case, a wrong and therefore injurious medicine, on account of the repetition.

(I am sorry that I gave it again); especially the Iodine ointment may have affected her, and now the psora develops through all the parts that act, physically and psychologically on the nerves; it is no wonder therefore that this happened to your daughter.

The new symptoms which have arisen belong therefore to Calcarea, as they still occur during the time of its effects. It has not acted quite wrongly, not with obvious disadvantage. You do well to let it work for 36 days, and on the 37th day to give her the enclosed powder (2 globules of IV. Lycopod.), again moistened with 2, or 3 drops of water.

And then on July 19th, 1827, immediately before the letters above communicated, Hahnemann wrote to Dr. Stapf:

In glandular swellings Silicea is probably the chief remedy, but highly diluted at least VI. Next comes Calcarea, in certain cases alternated with O (sign for Acidum Nitricum-R.H.), next to that comes Lycopodium as a great scrofula remedy.

In flooding, a minimum of Calcarea is the chief remedy. By carefully watching the symptoms when using the antipsoric remedies, after 12 to 18 days you can easily see what will happen. If it causes many few discomforts it is perhaps advisable to replace it by another antipsoric remedy, if it excessively aggravates the symptoms homoeopathically that were to be treated, then the cause lay in a too strong dose, this also can be perceived within 12 to 18 days. Another antipsoric remedy has to be given in its place and do not be surprised if even then the aggravation will continue for some time.

The excessive homoeopathic aggravation of the symptoms is to be feared most in Silicea.

I have not yet searched for an antidote (counter remedy- R.H.) to Silicea, nor have I come across one.

In these last two letters Hahnemann has communicated the remedies for Chronic Diseases, which he mentions in the letter published on the previous page (antipsorics) and pointed out at the same time, the period during which they continue to act, making it always a matter of the first consideration to give high dilution.

Also in a letter to Mr. von Gersdorff, of September 4th, 1828 (“Allg. hom. Ztg.,” Vol. 134, page 187), Hahnemann wrote on the question of psora, and the doubts expressed even by his pupils in regard to this teaching :

In your other patient you have a very important case, bungled in Berlin, no doubt by the administration of unsuitable remedies. You will, if you go slowly and carefully to work, certainly improve him. Apart from what the wrong treatment in Berlin has added to his troubles, you can take my word for it, that it is nothing but psora. Do not think that with such a patient it is always possible to trace back to its origin the history of psora.

Of ten chronic patients free from venereal disease, there always two, in whom the psoric miasm cannot be ascertained from the history of the case, although they show all the signs of psora, can and only be cured by antipsorics. If your patient had used nothing wrong in Berlin, and what is more if he had been taken in hand at the beginning when hoarseness appeared, it would have indeed been possible to do very much more for him, and possibly cure him completely. Yet in his case it would be easy to prove the psoric origin from the way in which the symptoms would yield more or less easily to the use of antipsorics even when a history of the case was missing. This can be accomplished even more easily with patients who have not been wrongly treated from the first. I know that people will still doubt for years my axiom, that chronic diseases, which are not of venereal origin, are only the result of psora. (No one after me will have such an opportunity to make these observations as I have had.) Seeing that there are physicians, who doubt it let them find another origin for them, let them prove another miasm-negantis est, probare (who denies must prove-R.H.)-let them teach how such non- venereal chronic diseases may be cured by other than antipsoric medicines, I shall be the first to copy them if they convince me, not otherwise. Situ novisti rectius illis, candidus imperti; si non bis utere mecum. (If you know better than they, communicate it to us openly and honestly; if not, rest all the more firmly on me-R.H.) What risks do those run who copy me, when they can achieve with my precepts what they could do in not other way in this world? My true followers will always have a better time, than those who shake their heads doubtingly and are unable to cure chronic diseases.

I must allow these to leave their patients uncured. I do not ask in my lifetime for recognition of the beneficent truth, Which have imparted disinterestedly; that which I have done, I have done for the world from higher motives.

I think that I am right in presuming that doubters will be fond even among my pupils. Is it envy? It certainly is not because they are sure of the contrary.


In the year 1828, Hahnemann’s “Chronic Diseases” appeared in print. After its publication the author was busy compiling a repertory of the antipsoric remedies contained in this work, which comprised your volumes. He sought for co-operators among hi friends and pupils for this work; and he wrote the following letters to Dr. Schweikert:

Dear Colleague,

Dr. Rummel has given me hope that you might be so kind as to help with the compiling of an alphabetical repertory of the anti- psoric remedies. The honorarium we will then share in a friendly way between ourselves. The book must be printed in the smallest type possible, so that it may not become too voluminous. For the same reason, we must be careful only to choose words which express conception of value, to use as heading for our reversed symptoms; so that whichever way the sentence may be turned by our German syntax, it will still convey the made meaning it originally had and yet every word be omitted which is not necessary.

All symptoms must be written in such a way (on quartfolio and only written on one side) that I can separate every one of them by cutting them up and pasting them in alphabetical order for the purpose of printing. They must also be written so that only the first line projects while the other recede by one syllable. I take the liberty to hand Phosphorus over to you (Calcarea, Sulphur, Silicea, Sepia and Lycopodium have already been dealt with) and to show you the elaboration of Lycopodium have already dealt with) and to show you he elaboration of some symptoms in the enclosed. I hope that this may meet with your approval.

I remain, with kindest intentions, Yours faithfully, SAMUEL HAHNEMANN.

Kothen, July 9th, 1828.

P.S.- The preceding words, which do not follow alphabetically, are written in small letters.

Dear Colleague,

I am sorry that you have been so ailing and hope that you may be better during the remainder of this very hard winter, until the time comes when I may be useful to you.

Your work of registering Phosphorus does not appear at all bad to me; but I retain the right of remembering something more definite about it and to exhort you to further co-operation, when I have received from Arnold, in Dresden, the agreement to publish the repertory. Hartlaub had complied for him only a systematic representation of the anti-psoric remedies exactly like his previous work on the six volumes of Materia Medica Pura and given them to him for publication, which will not interfere with our repertory. Therefore the continuation of our work depends upon Arnold accepting the publication. Although I do not doubt that he will, yet, I must first wait for it in order to be certain, please proceed meanwhile. I am letting Hartlaub co-operate as he offered to do so.

There follows a long explanation about the “half homoeopaths.” Hahnemann thinks that too strong measures would never attain the desired end, but only produce a public uproar, “which we as wise men must avoid.”

There years later his “wisdom” deserted him when he provoked a public uproar and most violent dispute in his own camp by a sharp attack on the “half homoeopaths” of Leipsic (see Vol. I, Chapter 6).

The remainder of letter deals with provings of remedies and reads : It is a very good idea of yours to have Lactuca virosa proved, but the juice must be given to the provers by the physician himself, because he has the required knowledge of botany and will give them the right tincture and not the tincture of Lactuca scariola, etc. You, dear colleague, would be the right man for it. Suggest the matter to your homoeopathic friends.

I have prepared my tincture of Helleborus niger at the present season, when the plant is about to flower, or is just flowering. I consider this the best method. I did the same with the tincture of Cyclamen Europeum; the root has attained perfection at this season. If you require any such prepared tinctures they are at your disposal.

In a very few days the fourth edition of the “Organon” will be on sale. I wish that it may have our approval. Do come to see me soon.

Yours faithfully.


Kothen, February 10th, 1829.

The projected repertory never appeared in print. Dr. Ernst Ferdinand Ruckert, who from September, 1829, until Easter, 1830, was a guest of Hahnemann, utilised Jahr’s. Rummel’s. Schweikert’s. etc., preliminary work and complete the reference book of about 1,500 pages, in an excellent manner and easy to refer to. It is now in possession of Dr. Rich. Haehl. Arnold the editor, however did not dare to publish it, probably on account of his bad experience with “Chronic Diseases.”

Hahnemann had already in 1817 prepared a repertory for use during his consulting hours. The paper strips, each containing one symptom, are so carefully separated by cutting and then stuck together that they have the appearance of pages written all in one.



Adolf Kussmaul (182201902), Professor of Internal medicine at Erlangen, Freiburg and Strassburg, wrote in his “Recollections of Youth,” on the Itch:

One did not even know the life history, and the condition of life of parasitical insects and intestinal parasites, which are visible to the naked eye, let alone microscopic animalculae; a world which was hardly beginning to disclose itself. The change of generation and metagenesis was described by a Dane named Steenstrup, in 1842. The origin of the itch disease (scabies), then so very much feared, and of which people for some incomprehensible reason are still, to-day, very much afraid, produced by a particular kind of parasitical mite, had long been maintained, but had only been established in the thirties. The majority of the physicians, even celebrated clinical teachers, were still clinging fast to the belief that the disease was caused not by a parasite, but by an acidity of the bodily humours. Hahnemann, and a pathologist of Tubingen named Antenrieth, were relating a fable of an invisible psora inherent in the body, which produced the eruption on the skin, and by the inner degeneration of the organs, produced phthisis and dropsy. We assistants used to laugh at the mythical “psora” and used to catch it with a sharp needle, in the shape of a mite of the acarus scabei; these needles we carried through the skin at places easily recognisable where the mite had buried itself, and where it remains quiet when the body is cold, but with increase of warmth it wakes up to an activity which causes its host considerable discomfort. We frequently cured the disease in a few days without any harm to the patient, with soft soap and lather, after it has been treated, for months and even years, homoeopathically. No disease is better known in these days than this one; the natural history of the mite is clear.

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