THE SIGNIFICANCE OF PAST HISTORY IN HOMOEOPATHIC PRESCRIBING By Dr. D. M. FOUBISTER.
It is privilege to speak in memory of one of the great Homoeopaths, a man who brought a scholarly mind and immense energy to the practice of Homoeopathy. Richard Hughes greatly admired Hahnemann but never hesitated to disagree when careful assessment of the facts led him to other conclusion. He disbelieved Hahnemann’s theory of chronic disease.
Hughes wrote: “I would again impress this fact upon such of his disciples as represent Homoeopathy to be a complete scheme of medical philosophy; who would make the dynamic origin of all maladies a plank of the platform on which we must stand and call the psora-hypothesis the homoeopathic doctrine of chronic disease. This is an entire mistake.
There are certain views in physiology and pathology which seem more harmonious than others with homoeopathic practice. Hahnemann thus came to hold them and most of use tend in the same direction. But they might all be disproved and abandoned and Homoeopathy would still remain the same. We should still examine patients and prove drugs and administer remedies on the same principles and with the same success.
Hughes practised low potency pathological prescribing which was usual in Britain until shortly before the first world war when Sir John Weir and others brought over the teaching of James Tyler Kent and other great American homoeopaths. Kent’s philosophy, representing his interpretation of Hahnemann’s theory of chronic disease, is the main guide to homoeopathic practice in Britain today.
While the general trend is along Kentian lines, there has, however, been a tendency to look at his philosophy more critically, to regard his teaching as an immensely valuable guide, rather than as representing absolute truth. Tyler, for instance, suggested the possibility that psora might consist of the aftermath of one or more of any infections, acute or chronic, other than sycosis and syphilis, rather than a single infection, which most of us have never seen or at any rate recognized.