Hahnemann laid the foundation and covered all the salient points in his writings, from the first essay in 1796 to the sixth edition of The Organon. As intimated above, the keener minds among his successors, men like Jahr, Boenninghausen, Hering, Lippe, Wells, Close, Kent, Boger, Case and Roberts, amplified his instructions and added new suggestions for their application, especially for the use of the very high potencies.

[Read in part before the 97th annual convention of the Ill Hom. Med. Assn., May 13. 1952. Adapted from one of three chapters by the writers for a 500 page book now being edited for publication].

Journal of the Amer. Isti. of Homoeo. November, 1954.

The accurate interpretation of the changes occurring after the remedy has been given is, in some respects, more important than the selection of the right remedy and the repetition of the dose. As Jahr so wisely remarks. “The physicians, be he ever so well acquainted with the remedies at his command, is unable to tell absolutely that his remedy is right. Jahr[1] speaks with authority, for at the time he penned these words, he had practised according to the law of similars for more than forty years. His logical mind and long years of experience had taught him that, no matter how carefully he had chosen his remedy, he could not be sure in the majority of cases how the patient would react to it.

Kent [2] goes even farther when he says, “The whole future of the patient may depend upon the conclusions that the physician arrives at after the remedy has been administered.”

Roberts [3] adds his testimony regarding this phase of the art of prescribing. He says, It is upon the development of the reaction of the vital energy to the remedy, that successful prescribing largely depends.”

The correct evaluation of symptoms is peculiar to the Homoeopathic School. It is an absolute essential for the differentiation of remedies and the selection of the similimum. Nevertheless, it is sadly neglected by many of those physicians who call themselves homoeopathists. For this reason, the instructions given in this paper will mean little to the prescriber who persists in using only low potencies, repeats his doses over a long period of his patients.

The consequence is that normal reactions are interrupted or entirely obliterated by the long series of primary effects thus produced; the advocate of this method seldom sees them or if by chance they are able to manifest themselves, he is usually unaware of their significance. While there can be no doubt but that his results, especially in acute affections, are far better than those obtained by the antibiotics and palliative drugs of the dominant school, he fails to cure many deep-seated, chronic diseases that are amenable to correct homoeopathic prescribing.

During his thirty-three years of experience, from 1796 to 1829, when he published The Chronic Diseases. Hahnemann learned much concerning the reactions following the administration of the remedy and their interpretation. In the several essays he published during this period and in The Organon, he lays the foundation upon which the act of prescribing homoeopathically is based.

Those of his disciples who observed his instructions to the letter were the most successful prescribers in the history of our School, especially in the treatment of chronic diseases, as proved by the vast number of cures they have recorded in our literature of the past century and a half.

So eminently practical were Hahnemanns instructions that they could not be improved upon. All that these physicians could do was to define more clearly their application in the treatment of diseases and add a few rules for the use of the very high potencies. This can be readily understood. Hahnemann [4] published the first exposition of his new system of therapeutics only after six years of painstaking, methodical experimentation and research.

He wrote his famous “Essay on a New Principle for Ascertaining the Curative Powers of Drugs” in 1796. In it he give little more than an outline of the results of his labors. Another ten years elapsed before he felt that he could venture a more complete presentation. This he gives in an essay entitled. “The Medicine of Experience.” [5] which appeared in Hufelands Journal in 1805. The first edition of his crowning work, The Organon of Medicine, was not published until 1810.

This alone should have won the attention of all conscientious physicians who were looking for something better than they had. But prejudice, slavish adherence to tradition and the dicta of so-called authorities prevented any general acceptance of Hahnemanns revolutionary doctrines.

Moreover, since all who were concerted to Homoeopathy at that time came from the old school, it was quite natural that many, who were unable to divest themselves of their preconceived notions and what they were taught in college, would not accept Hahnemanns teachings in their entirety.

Thus it was that, soon after the publication of The Organon, a controversy arose which was to grow more bitter as the years rolled by and to split the ranks of the homoeopathic fraternity into two factions-one composed of those who were not content with differing with the views of the “Master,” but who criticised him for what they called “his despotism and desire to rule the opinions of other,” and condemned many of his teachings as theoretical, superfluous or unscientific; the other made up of those who followed Hahnemann implicity.

It was in the nature of a revolution, which, in 1835, assumed a more definite form in the so-called “Natural Scientific Movement of Homoeopathy in Germany,” originated by Moritz Muller and defined by the eighteen thesis of Paul Wolf. Haehl [6] is of the opinion that the basic conceptions of these thesis is of the greatest historical importance and is acknowledged by many at this day.

This explains why the majority of the early homoeopaths- and indeed those of later years-have little to say on our subject. They observed only a few of the changed resulting from the action of the remedy, such as amelioration, aggravation or not change at all.

In general, the change that are observed after the remedy has been given are:

1. Amelioration of symptoms.

2. Aggravation of symptoms.

3. Changes in the order of the appearance or disappearance of symptoms.

4. The appearance of new symptoms.

5. The return of old symptoms.

6. No change in the symptoms.

Each one of these reactions has a definite meaning to the physician who knows how to interpret it. From these observations he may determine not only the accuracy of his choice of remedy and potency, and of the repetition of the dose, but also something concerning the prognosis of the case.

Only a few of the more advanced thinkers deal with the finer points pertaining to the interpretation of the reactions when the remedy has begun to act. In the general discussion, the “homoeopathic aggravation” seems to have received the most aggravation. While many of the earlier writers admit that it may occur, the majority of them are apt to minimize its importance; some deny that it is a reality.

Among more recent authors, Boyd, in his The Simile in Medicine, presumes to give the history of its development in a chapter of two pages; and in his concluding paragraph says: “In later years the homoeopathic aggravation played a minor role: in general it was appreciated that it might occur, but that it was not essential. The literature indicated that it was most often reported by the high potentists.”

Hahnemann laid the foundation and covered all the salient points in his writings, from the first essay in 1796 to the sixth edition of The Organon. As intimated above, the keener minds among his successors, men like Jahr, Boenninghausen, Hering, Lippe, Wells, Close, Kent, Boger, Case and Roberts, amplified his instructions and added new suggestions for their application, especially for the use of the very high potencies. While much valuable information may be gleaned from their essays and reports of clinical cases, only Kent and Roberts treat the subject with any degree of completeness.

In the Medicine of Experience, Hahnemann says: “If the medicine we have chosen for the positive (curative) treatment excites almost no suffering previously unfelt by the patient, produces no new symptom, it is the appropriate medicament and will certainly cure the original malady, even though the patient and his friends should not admit that any amendment has resulted from the commencing doses.”

“Every aggravation, as it is called, of a disease the occurs during the use of a medicine (in doses repeated before or immediately after the expiration of its term of action) in the form of new symptoms not hitherto proper to the disease, is owing solely to the medicine employed, if there have taken place no important error of regimen, no outbreak of violent passions, no irresistible evolution of the course of nature by the occurrence or cessation of the menstrual function, by puberty, conception or parturition); these symptoms are always the effect of the medicine action which, as an unsuitably chosen positive remedy, either ill selected or given for too long a time, and [in] too large doses, develops them by its peculiar mode of action… The aggravation alluded to,” he says, “bears no resemblance to the increase of the original symptoms of the disease.

However, there is no positive remedy, be it ever so well selected, which may not produce at least one slight, unusual symptom, unusual suffering, during the employment in very irritable, sensitive patients, for it is impossible that the medicine and disease should correspond as accurately in their symptoms as two triangles of equal angles and sides, resembling each other. But this unimportant difference is (in a favorable cases) more than compensated by the inherent energy of the vitality.”

Harvey Farrington
FARRINGTON, HARVEY, Chicago, Illinois, was born June 12, 1872, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, son of Ernest Albert and Elizabeth Aitken Farrington. In 1881 he entered the Academy of the New Church, Philadelphia, and continued there until 1893, when he graduated with the degree of B. A. He then took up the study of medicine at the Hahnemann College of Philadelphia and graduated in 1896 with the M. D. degree. He took post-graduate studies at the Post-Graduate School of Homœopathics, Philadelphia, Pa., and received the degree of H. M. After one year of dispensary work he began practice in Philadelphia, but in 1900 removed to Chicago and has continued there since. He was professor of materia medica in the Hahnemann Medical College of Chicago, and was formerly the same at Dunham Medical College of Chicago. He was a member of the Illinois Homœopathic Association and of the alumni association of Hahnemann Medical College of Philadelphia.