Hahnemann as a Physician


The strict and conscientious homoeopath cannot attend as many patients daily as the allopath can. The much more detailed examinations of the patient, the taking of notes, and the process of individualising requires a much longer time than the method of the allopathic school, which only follows general indications. …


SUPPLEMENT 191

MEDICINE IN THE TIME OF HAHNEMANN.

Professor Kussmaul writes in his “Recollections of Youth”: In the beginning of the Nineteenth Century violent unrest prevailed. It is an unpleasant theme on which I must enter, but it cannot be circumvented if I am to describe the medical practice of my young days. He who shudders at it may skip the chapter.

And Professor Puchelt, then teacher of Kussmaul, described the whole desultoriness during the first quarter of the Nineteenth Century in the following words:

We are living (1819) at a time when the most varied systems are amalgamated and combined. The evacuating and irritating, the depleting and strengthening as well as many other opposite methods of treatment stand peacefully side by side in general therapy and reciprocally restrict each other; our learned contemporaries make use of all these systems in the various diseases, although each one may have his own preference.

This confession of desultoriness in medical science strikes us all the more if we review the various systems as they follow each other in the general consideration they had achieved.

L. Hoffmann (1721 to 1807) found that most illness arose from degenerate acid humours which must either be eliminated from the body, or ameliorated by suitable” antiseptic” and “sweetening”remedies.

Stoll (1724-1788) taught that diseases were subject to a special constitution which is conditioned ” by the prevailing climate and epidemic fevers” Gastric impurities, and especially bile, were responsible for most diseases which must therefore be eliminated by means of emetics and purgatives. In addition a battle must be waged against “hidden inflammations” which were a great danger in the case of many patients. The reputation that was accorded to Stoll’s teaching can be readily recognised from the remark of Dr. F. F. Hecker’s, the subsequent author of the “Anti-Organon,” He, and with him many of his contemporaries, considered “the fortunate method of Stoll” a brilliant advance in medical science. Another physician designates Stoll as ” the greatest living clinician.”

Joh. Kampf (1726-1787) asserted that most diseases have their seat in the abdomen, and were caused by infarcts. For the elimination of these infarcts clysters were recommended, to which were added decoctions of landlion, chamomile, rye and wheat bran, and other “suitable herbs.” One physician of his day confesses that he had cured patients to whom he had administered 5,000 intestinal clysters before he succeeded in getting rid of the infarcts entirely. “Frequently the work and patience of a Hercules are required,” writes Oberhofrat and first physician-in ordinary, Dr. Kampf, ” in order to clear out the astonishingly large accumulation of years of refuse, and to master the indurated and impacted degenerations of the blood.” Kampf’s teaching also found grateful approval among the physicians. His essay was designated as a work of which ” the Germans might be proud.”

Towards the end of the nineties the system of Brown spread over Germany. Its originator, the Scotch John Brown (1736 to 1788), traced the origin of all diseases back to two causes, to a superabundance of excitability (sthenic) or the lack of excitability (asthenic). The physician’s task was, therefore, much simplified, because in the case of diseases originating from abnormal excitability remedies were employed which were “irritability reducers” as for example venesection, emetics and purgatives, sudorifics, starvation and cold water treatment, vegetable diet, bodily and mental rest. With asthenic diseases which preponderate, the stimulating remedies are used; warmth, alcohol, raw meat, spices, musk, camphor enter, opium, physical and mental exercise, etc. A more accurate diagnosis was unnecessary.

Brown says himself:

The simplicity to which medial science has been reduced is so great that a physician when he comes to the bedside only needs to ascertain three things.

1. Whether the diseases sthenic or asthenic! 2. When general, if sthenic or asthenic; 3. What was the degree of excitability.

When he has satisfied himself on these three points nothing remains for him to do but to decide on his instructions and on his system of treatment and then to carry these out by suitable remedies.

In consequence of this concerting simplicity, Brown’s system received an enthusiastic reception from the medical profession, and for a whole decade Brownish flourished in Germany. In another place we have described how Hahnemann was his decided antagonist and opposed him most violently.

Richard Haehl
Richard M Haehl 1873 - 1932 MD, a German orthodox physician from Stuttgart and Kirchheim who converted to homeopathy, travelled to America to study homeopathy at the Hahnemann College of Philadelphia, to become the biographer of Samuel Hahnemann, and the Secretary of the German Homeopathic Society, the Hahnemannia.

Richard Haehl was also an editor and publisher of the homeopathic journal Allgemcine, and other homeopathic publications.

Haehl was responsible for saving many of the valuable artifacts of Samuel Hahnemann and retrieving the 6th edition of the Organon and publishing it in 1921.
Richard Haehl was the author of - Life and Work of Samuel Hahnemann