A special choice of the agent in maladies of the total organism in contrast to these characteristics seems to be secondary with Rademacher. The selection itself seems to have arisen from his personal purely empiric search. Only in sodium nitrate does he seem to have depended upon the Elixir salis of Paracelsus, for in its method of preparation he would recognize sodium nitrate.

Now it is very plausible that in this search Rademacher has presented a new interpretation of the three basic substances of his predecessor Paracelsus: sulphur, mercury and sal. According to Paracelsus these three basic substances form the physical body. They are not to be placed in any comparison with the conceptions of modern chemistry but with three types or forms into which the composite body is converted by chemical distillation: sulphur is that which, when completely burned, forms a gas, mercury is the mist and smoke which is precipitated unchanged (sublimes) perhaps as water and soot (carbon) and finally sal is that which remains in the retort, non-volatile and incombustible. One need not wonder that in primitive analytic chemistry these three generally recurring results of analysis in three forms were conceived and symbolized as the three substances of the body; the medicinal powers rested on them. Translated into our speech they take on perhaps the following implication: The basic material which is yielded in the elementary analysis of the living organism will also be of especially general medicinal effectiveness; because their concordance conditions (materially) health, and indeed it depends not merely on quantitative relations but also on local and temporal working together, on structure and the form of the substance.

We need to join ourselves with the sulphur, mercury and sal of Paracelsus just as little as to the iron, copper and saltpeter of Rademacher when we search for the essential of the constitutional problem. These drugs were nothing more to Rademacher than especially proven test agents, reagents for unknown (and, as he believed, unrecognizable) states of disease and especially those which involve the total organism. In actuality, Rademacher presents the recognition of a disease as a chemical analysis. Also in qualitative chemical analysis we do not recognize the nature of the substance, but we identify it only by means of known reagents. So he identifies the disease through the curative agent and beyond this the nature of the disease remains unrecognizable to him.

An important and (except in the homoeopathic school) completely neglected principle of recognition is driven to a point by him, even if onesidedly. Any other analysis of disease than that through the test drug is disdained by Rademacher, obviously from the apprehension that further analysis always admixes theories which press the medical treatment in the wrong direction. For this official medicine, the so-called physiologic school gave him ample illustration. But that he undertook the differentiation of the processes of disease through exact detailed observations which were in a position to ensure the union of disease with the medicinal agent without theoretic accessories, signifies a superlative absence of presumptions. Methodically considered, his purely empirical groping procedure is the exaggerated scientific method; but it can avoid complete sterility only in that Rademacher as well as many of his pupils through instinctive comprehension perceived that what was to them orderly observation of details could furnish them with drug indications. Since the path from disease signs to drugs had been broken at that time by homoeopathy, Rademacher is comprehensible only as follows; this self-willed, highly endowed physician in his rural seclusion built a method entirely onesidedly from the findings which he had made among the old alchemists and particularly Paracelsus and which stood in crass contrast to the therapeutics of his time. A theory based on the experiences of a single physician in search of cure and indeed so unsystematically, can also not develop a personal school. But all preconditions for amalgamating with homoeopathy are clear at present. We shall later mention this connection with respect to the constitution theory.


Before doing so it is necessary to take into consideration another important fragment of the Rademachian method: the so- called epidemic status, the genius epidemicus. Today one tends to associate the epidemic appearance of diseases onesidedly with the extension of a living excitant. Before the time of bacteriology another one-sidedness was pardonable, and the current atmospheric-telluric influences were made responsible for the frequency of forms of disease. The general importance of this external condition can in no case be denied. The growth and extension of the excitant as well as man depend upon this atmospheric-telluric constellation. It is apparent that also here Rademacher goes back to the alchemists. In Paracelsus the so-called astronomy signifies not only an analogy of the microcosm (man) and the macrocosm (world), that is, all that occurs in the cosmos has it miniature in man but also the constant transference of powers from the cosmos to man; man is constantly subjected to atmospheric-telluric influences, there exists a concordance between materials and powers in man and those in the cosmos. Alteration in the substantially conceived powers of the cosmos was the equivalent and cause of alteration of substances in man, which signified disease.

Rademacher was moreover correct when he found the constitutio epidemica Sydenhams in the astronomy of Paracelsus. The epidemic influences without further analysis were made responsible for the appearance of epidemic forms of disease at certain times or much more (according to his Paracelsian manner, to recognize the disease from the drug) that diseases frequent in a given region at definite times were subject to the same drugs. With constitution this doctrine of constitutio epidemica seems to have nothing to do and Rademacher did not unite genius epidemicus with constitution. This would also not correspond with his intellectual medicine of experience. But for him constitution must be as unrecognizable and conceptual as disease. But indirectly the dependence of disease on the epidemic status was an important proof of the constitutional factor. Frequency of forms of disease as frequency of drug indications referred on the one side to the prevalence of equal external causes, but on the other side also to similar typical predisposition. This also held for the living excitant as for the atmospheric telluric influences as causes of disease. Because the susceptibility or nonsusceptibility (immunity), for example, against scarlet fever, also contributes to the recognition of the constitution, naturally in much smaller extent than perhaps the relation of an organism to moisture and cold. Grauvogl has correctly seen that what rademacher represented very generally by genius epidemicus, a purely empirical temporary union between form of disease and curative drug, is an important complex, and what is called in homoeopathy the accompanying circumstances. But while Rademacher accepts the totality of external conditions as an indefinite circumstance, homoeopathy attempts to observe the contemporary external conditions and so far as it is possible to split them into single measurable fragments; this is the dependence of man (in his transition from health to disease) on external conditions, the so-called modalities. There can be no doubt: the solution of genius epidemicus into detailed observations of external dependencies is not only scientific but also significantly improves the prospects for the discovering of healing agents. Rademacher goes far too wide in his skepticism when he concludes: because the dependence of diseases upon external conditions is never to be recognized in all details, so in general one can neglect the partially recognizable details obtained through observation. There is the same disregard for detail observations as for disease symptoms: and according to him they are also unsuitable for the determination of the healing remedy because they cannot offer a complete recognition of the disease. This is a prescientific viewpoint which till considers the question according to the nature of the totality. On the other hand, homoeopathy, in agreement with science of the modern age, questions according to the how: with what signs in detail does a man react to external conditions which also can be determined in particulars? It is better to have partial measuring sticks in hand than to have none at all.

The genius epidemicus and its precision through modalities signifies nothing else than susceptibility, sensitivity of definite individuals to generally prevailing atmospheric- telluric conditions. It also makes the constitution conspicuous in the same sense as an intentional drug proving will determine the sensitivity to a medicinal substance. Only in the genius epidemicus, the telluric-atmospheric influences from a natural mass experiment which shows average tendencies, typical dispositions to disease. In so far as constitutional types are sought, this general, naturally given criterium is entirely suitable. The difficulty exists only in gaining typical groups from the diversity of external conditions which correspond to human reaction types.

Otto Leeser
Otto Leeser 1888 – 1964 MD, PHd was a German Jewish homeopath who had to leave Germany due to Nazi persecution during World War II, and he escaped to England via Holland.
Leeser, a Consultant Physician at the Stuttgart Homeopathic Hospital and a member of the German Central Society of Homeopathic Physicians, fled Germany in 1933 after being expelled by the German Medical Association. In England Otto Leeser joined the staff of the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital. He returned to Germany in the 1950s to run the Robert Bosch Homeopathic Hospital in Stuttgart, but died shortly after.
Otto Leeser wrote Textbook of Homeopathic Materia Medica, Leesers Lehrbuch der Homöopathie, Actionsand Medicinal use of Snake Venoms, Solanaceae, The Contribution of Homeopathy to the Development of Medicine, Homeopathy and chemotherapy, and many articles submitted to The British Homeopathic Journal,