HOMOEOPATHY IN GERMANY DURING THE LAST TEN YEARS


Always and everywhere the order to keep away was consistently followed, indeed, there are no single recorded cases in which this most cases even the requirements of good breeding were not observed. The followers of the teachings of Hahnemann were branded by every opponent of the sect as preposterous and ridiculous, often as dangerous to public welfare.


The standing of German homoeopathy in relation to the entire field of medicine has, with a few unimportant exceptions, changed but little during the last century. Whatever changes and variations have taken place are to be found for the most part within the homoeopathic movement itself. Whenever representatives of the allopathic school, the prevailing method, came into contact with a homoeopathic physician, whether in medical discussion or in personal relation, they followed the accepted custom, and used only the conventional forms, which fact did not help to bridge over the deep gulf between the open or secret opponents.

Always and everywhere the order to keep away was consistently followed, indeed, there are no single recorded cases in which this most cases even the requirements of good breeding were not observed. The followers of the teachings of Hahnemann were branded by every opponent of the sect as preposterous and ridiculous, often as dangerous to public welfare. How far homoeopathy, as a steadfast minority during this conflict of over a century, allowed itself to be drawn into indiscretions and practical errors, which increased her isolation, her meagre history has suggested.

Perhaps her future history will show more clearly the way and reason of the official ostracism which used the spoken word, writing and deeds to protect the sacred dogma of the prevailing scientific opinion in period of purely mechanical materials and to save it from attacks and eventually destruction. However all these things may be whatever may be the factors which influence its development, today we stand before the accepted fact that mechanical thinking in medicine is wavering.

In vain the exact scientific school of thinking tries to hold back the mightily advancing thought of a vital art of healing, which is in no way disposed to deny its fundamental principle, but aims to show them its place and keep them within their own limitation.

It is not to be wondered at that at such a time, one comes across questions and experiences in connection with sick humanity which often consciously (also often unconsciously) approach the problem with an open-mindedness little known before, and consider the subject in the same vitalistic way as the homoeopathy of Hahnemann suggests. Without any question homoeopathy was played an active part in this entire development, especially in the last century. One might even maintain that it has been the principle factor in bringing medicine to its present status.

The essential question is not whether in this or that case the homoeopathic treatment, Hahnemann and his distinguished followers, were right in their views and assertions. It is true these are interesting questions and worthy of consideration, but the important thing is to consider how professional recognition in the medical field may be secured. The inheritance from Hahnemann and his school was not entirely unused during the last hundred years but it was not fully used especially in its therapeutic value.

Scientific medicine since the time of Hahnemanns life has had his ideals and his experiments at its disposal, and has had full opportunity to examine their validity, to profit by them, and to perfect them; but very few attempts were made and many of them were lost by the destructive attacks made upon them. His propositions and principles were called errors and again the objection to his teaching both in theory and practice was reached.

Today these conditions have changed in many ways, and that change has been to the advantage of homoeopathy even in officials places. Distinguished scientific scholars took exception to the prevailing method of examining the teachings of Hahnemann and the consequent superficial manner of judgment, and approached the problems in a more impersonal and practical way. This method of procedure Dr. Hugh Schulz introduced to a large extent in Greifswald, while he has professor of pharmacology in the university at the place.

Schulz, the Greifswald homoeopath, as the critics soon christened him, upheld in his lectures, in numerous articles and magazines, that which he had recognized as true in his own experiments and experiences. Among these writings are his classical treatises on the action of Sulphur, Silica, Iron, Chin., Veratrum, and Nux v. upon the healthy man. The Arndt-Schulz biological fundamental principle, Schulzs explanation of the proposition similia similibus curantur, his discussion of the potency and of the dose, his teachings of the use of medicine, both organic and inorganic, his publications in regard to the significance of Hahnemanns teaching received little scientific attention.

They were either laughed at or pushed aside they were not even seriously considered by his opponents. For many students this new kind of first contact with homoeopathy. Schulz himself, who on account of his great age has retired, experienced great surprise about forty years after his first attempts with the homoeopathic method of dosing when Prof. Dr.Augut Bier, the prominent surgeon of Berlin University, came before the public with his experience with homoeopathy. Bier, who had been with Schulz in Greifswald, got many suggestions from him, as he says himself, in his publication of the year 1925, which was since become well-known (A. Bier, What Shall Be Our Attitude Toward Homoeopathy? repr. from the Munich Medical Weekly).

Prof. Bier has secured positive results through his experiments with homoeopathic medicine. He feels that Hahnemann has gone to the roots of things. He finds an astonishing attitude toward homoeopathic thought which he has come to recognize after a comprehensive study of its sources. he judges homoeopathy as on one has done since the time of Schulz, and he doesnt forget the critics. From Birers clinic come theses on the wonderful healing art (Zreizkorpertherapie) written by his assistant, A. Zimmer.

This work aroused the attention of scientific circles, because Zimmer went far beyond the old conclusions, and it was not difficult to find a parallel between his theories and the practical experiences of homoeopathic physicians. Also the reports from Biers skin clinic, under Dr. Richter, support Biers first experiments with Sulphur iodatum, and uphold his conclusions in regard to homoeopathy.

If we stop here a minute in the year 1925 and cast a backward glance to the situation of homoeopathy in the time directly after the war, we notice no visible sign of its later development. If we are to draw any conclusions from the number of it s hospitals and clinics, the outlook is very discouraging.

The homoeopathic hospital founded in Berlin, in 1904, (Grosslichterfelde) could not pay its expenses after the war, and was given up entirely at the period of the inflation. The small military hospitals in Berlin and Stuttgart, whose work had been made possible through the generosity of a few people, were closed after the war. Since 1883 Munich has has a small homoeopathic hospital for which it was indebted to an organization.

It was build over in 1912. After the war it was given over to other purposes, but after a few years it came back to its original use. There were polyclinic consultations held in Leipzig, Berlin, Munich, STuttgart, Breslau and a few other towns; but even these small activities were interrupted from time to time and their continuation was in danger.

The new homoeopathic hospital in Stuttgart (over 100 beds), which had been guaranteed by private individuals, and plans for which had been decided upon in the year 1914, was worked at during the first years of the war, but the work soon came to a standstill. The organization of the Stuttgart Homoeopathic Hospital which was financing this new building lost the money it had at hand at the time of the fall in value of the money it had at hand at the time of the fall in value of the German mark. Germany was without a homoeopathic hospital. More than 400 homoeopathic physicians and a few million of lay people, who were used to homoeopathic treatment, could do nothing but wait and see how the catastrophe was going to end.

In those days there were not very many new publications in homoeopathic literature. Generally physicians were referred to the publications that had appeared before the that 1914. The two publications for physicians (the Allgemeine Homoeopathische Zeitung an the Berliner Homoeopathische Zeitschrift) appeared in smaller editions, and they and difficulty in existing through these uncertain years. For the homoeopathic laity there appeared, under the same difficulties, several publications: The Leipzige Populare Zeitschrift fur Homoeopathic (Publication Schwabe, Leipzig); the Homoeopathischen Monatsblatter (publication Hahnemannian, Stuttgart): the Homoeopathische Rundschau (Homop. Zentrl Verlag, Berlin).

The relation of homoeopathy to medicine in general and to science has been mentioned briefly. Only a few homoeopathic physicians had succeeded in getting articles into medical magazines. To the “outsider” the medical professional press was, with a few exceptions, entirely closed. The grounds for considering disease according to the method of the homoeopathic school became gradually more favorable, as a change took place in the ideas in regard to sickness and health, and the over-worked laboratory no longer was looked to for the only verdict. Constitutional conditions, personality, internal secretions, pathological physiology, and psychology made one breach after another in the wall of the mechanical composition of disease.

the chains which had been placed on homoeopathy gradually loosened. The respect paid to dogmatic methods experienced many shocks, the worst of which did not come from the homoeopathic medical fraternity. The work of great physicians, forgotten for a long time, came again into recognition, Hippocrates became modern, Paracelsus appeared again in literature, the medical art of the ancients was again examined and its teachings were put into up- to-date form. Prof. Hans Much, of Hamburg, was one of the first of these new scientists (of the Schulz school) who began to examine homoeopathy.

The technique of Much is far removed from the method of Hahnemanns teaching. In many respects the questions that Much asked of homoeopathy were justified, and he was one of the scientific men who made the word “homoeopathy” acceptable in university circles. “I know that with these observations I am getting into a wasp nest”, wrote Bier toward the end of the work we have already mentioned, in which he brought his own experiences with homoeopathic therapy together; and that was the case.

In the following period there arose a bitter struggle which is not et ended. It appears in lectures, magazines and the entire literature of medicine and science, even in the daily newspapers. People take sides for or against Bier, for or against homoeopathy; historians, interns, pharmacologists, chemists, in short all professional people, in the course of the years, have taken part in this debate, which still continues, although in a somewhat quieter way.

A large amount of literature has grown out of these discussion. The number of scholars who come to examine Hahnemann and homoeopathy in a critical objective way has regard is Prof. Honigmann from the University of Giessen. Relying on historical works, he reaches a critical and a just judgment in regard to homoeopathy. Prof. A.A. Friedlander, Freiburg, who gave a lecture at the International Homoeopathic Congress in London on homoeopathy and medicine, expressed his opinion unmistakably in regard to what Bier had to say in regard to the relation of homoeopathy to scientific medicine.

He dedicated many articles to this problem, in which he does not reach conclusions against the homoeopathic school, but rather tries to discuss the situation frankly, to test it, and to make use of it in the art of healing. The internist, Prof. O. Muller at the University of Tubingen, has been working for years with the homoeopathic attitude from the clinic standpoint, and discusses controversial questions in a way what commands respect but does not reach any definite conclusion. The well-known Dr.B. Aschner, of Vienna, considers the homoeopathic viewpoint with a great deal of understanding.

He has been working for some time at humoral pathology and the work that is about to appear represents more definitely his feeling in regard to homoeopathy. Among the leaders in science to whom homoeopathy is indebted for important suggestions and still more important deeds, Prof. Wm. Ostwald and his son Prof. Woofg. Ostwald will render very important service to the theoretical questions of the future.

The discussion in regard to potency has not led to a general agreement, but these differences in opinion retreat more and more into the background since the efficacy of high potencies is becoming daily more demonstrable and has been recognized as official, through the investigations of Ergosterin, and its biological effects; and through the discussion of artificial vitamins (Prof. Windaus, Gottingen), and the effects of the smallest X-ray doses. In this connection all the new teaching in regard to food has been of great value. Medical chemists (Prof. Bergell) consider the chemical side of the questions raised.

Colloided chemistry brings forth new and surprising possibilities which seem to be especially fitted to support the homoeopathic findings (Prof. I. Traube, Charlottenburg; Prof. Krawkow; Dr.Saxl; Dr.Felix Muller and others). This appears by far the most practical way to demonstrate the power of the high homoeopathic dilutions. Prof. Stock, of Karlsruhe, aroused a great deal of interest by his treatise in regard to the influence of the smallest bits of quicksilver in the fillings of teeth. The discussion of this matter has not yet closed. At the same time, a considerable number of old opponents of homoeopathy again became interested, aroused by the large number of other interested scientists, many of whom looked favorably upon it.

These opponents criticized it more sharply than ever. Without going farther into detail we may say that we do not pretend to any complete description of the opinions of the critics or the supporters of homoeopathy. All that we are trying to do is to cover the short span of time between the end of the war and today, during which homoeopathy was begun to live, to be taken earnestly, and to be freed from her severe isolation. The truth in the teaching of Hahnemann must be recognized.

Sooner or later it must establish itself and permeate and enrich the art of healing. “For truth is of the same eternal origin as the all-wise goodness of God. Men may not recognize it until the time comes when its being in accordance with the will of Providence breaks through the fog of prejudice, and appears to illumine the way of mankind”. (Hahnemann, in the introduction to his Organon, 6th ed.,. pub. by Dr.Richard Haehl, Leipzig, 1921, p. 51, footnote).

The homoeopathic school developed a decided literary activity as soon as its economic condition permitted. The homoeopathic laity founded organizations, but in spite of the large number of followers of homoeopathy a final agreement of all the different groups has not been brought about as yet. The lack of practical opportunities for investigation is responsible for the fact that the literary productions of the last ten years became excessive, and the market for homoeopathic books relatively small. As a result the publisher became much more careful in publishing new works as was to be expected, believing homoeopathic physicians came into touch with the active scientific physicians.

All the scholars who have already been named are in contact with their homoeopathic colleagues. More and more there developed between these opponents the necessity for an exchange of ideas, an the act fact that they worked together, this consideration of their common problem, helped on both sides and so we find also in homoeopathy very earnest attempts to listen to the criticism of the opposition and to use it to its won advantage. This critical consideration concerns itself in large measure with materia medica, a matte which is very much in need of being cleared up and better understood.

In other controversial matter on finds the desire for sharper precision and order. In this connection we must speak of the most important publications of these years and what part they have played in these recent years of the development of homoeopathy. The medical publications which we have mentioned still exist, but the magazine which appeared for forty years under the name the Berliner Homoop. Zeitschrift has been changed to the Deutsche Zeitschrift fur Homoopathie. It is published by the German Central Union of Homoeopathic Physicians. It is now in its seventh year, and appears monthly from the German Homoeopathic Central Publication Society in Berlin. Its editors are E. Bastanier, M.D., and O. Leeser, M.D.

The Allgemeine Homoopathische Zeitung, published by Dr.W.Schwabe of Leipzig, dates back to the year 1830, that is, to the time of Hahnemann. Its editors are Dr.H. Walper,. Dr.K.Kiefer, Dr.R.Heppe, Dr.E.Scheidegger. It appears irregularly, several numbers each year. The Biologische Heilkunst, edited by Dr.Fenner, formerly published by Madaus and now appearing in Berlin by Lattman & Meyer, is a new undertaking. It stands for open discussion of all biological questions and often publishes articles on homoeopathy. The Neue Homopathische Zeitung, published by Madaus, in Radeburg, has come to join the lay periodicals which we have already mentioned.

Dr. Heinrich Meng publishes a list of writings (Hahnemannia, Stuttgart) in which works have appeared by Dr.A. Stiegele, Die Stellung der Homoopathie in iherm Verhaltinis zurInnren Medizin. We shall notice here also by Dr.Stigele the article, Grundlagen Ziele der Homoop. Heilmethode, a lecture which was listened to in Stuttgart, 1922, at a public meeting of physicians, with great interest by the opponents.

Then there is a symposium on sciatica and its treatment by several German authors; a volume on influenza and its homoeopathic treatment written by American and German homoeopathic physicians; a double volume, entitled Homoopathie Angriff und Abwehr, with articles and discussions covering the last hundred years, 1822 to 1926. The entire collection appears under the title Wissenschiftiliche Abhandlungen zum Studium der Homoopathie, der Konstitutionslehre and ihrer Grenzgebiete. This collection contains contributions by C. Hering, G. Jager, Imbert- Gourbeyne, Heinrich Meng, O. Muller, G. Rapp, E. Schlegel, A Stiegele, c. a. Wunderlich and J. von Zlatarovich. Before the appearance of this work Dr. R.Planer had published and excellent collection (Hugel, Leipzig, 1926) Dr kampf um die Homoopathie, pro et contra. The articles that followed Biers publications up to 1925 are collected here.

After his larger works, Dr.Karl Stauffer published in the year 1922 a Lietfaden zur Homoopathischen Arzneimittellehre (Hahnemannia, Stuttgart, 1922). The second edition appearing in 1926 comprised 1,034 pages and was entitled, Klinische Homoopathische Arzneimittellehre, (Sonnatag, Regensburg). Homootherapie by Staufe was published in the year 1924 by the same concern. Das Homoopathische Taschenbuch by the same author is published by Madaus, Radeburg. Dr.R.Helhls edition of Hahnemanns Organon, 6th, ed., (Schwabe, Leipzig) had been long needed and was enthusiastically received.

It contained a remarkable introduction, extensive explanations and a well-worked out and comprehensive index. Dr.R. Haehl, the most significant biographer of Hahnemann, had his two volume biography of Hahnemann translated into English. It appeared under the title of Samuel Hahnemann, Sein Leben und Schaffen. Each volume contains over 500 pages and numerous illustrations (Scwabe, Leipzig).

The overwhelming amount of material that Haehl, after the painstaking work of a decade, has brought together here, received large consideration even in the field of scientific medicine. This work was studied here by Prof. Bier and several others and was highly recommended by them for the study of Hahnemann and the entire subject of homoeopathy.

Historians, opponents and supporters of homoeopathy placed this word of Haehls as a masterpiece. Haehl is very productive in the literary field. He published the Homoopathischen Hausarzt by Hering-Haehl. In addition to this he is the author of numerous smaller treatises, among them Wechseligahre der Frau, Keuchhusten, etc. His most recent work, Die Unfruchtbarkeit der frau (Hahnemannia, Stuttgart, 1927) considers exhaustively the matter of sterility from the diagnostic and the homoeopathic therapeutic viewpoints.

The dean of the German homoeopathic physicians, Emil Schlegel, tubingen and zlindau the noted scholar of Paracelsus, published Die kerbskrankhiet, ihre Natur und ihre Heilmittel, (Hippokrates, Stuttgart, 1927). He also published Samuel Hahnemanns Ordnung der Heilkunde (Sonnatag, Regensburg, 1925), and Das Heliproblem in two editions, (Scwabe, Leipzig). In addition to the above, Innee Heilkunst bei Sogenannten Chirurgischen Krankheiten mit Heilmittlellhre fur Sogenannten Chirurgischen Krankheiten mit Heilmittleebere fur Krebsbehandlung (1921), paracelsus, His Significance for Our Times (Tubingen, 1922), The Region of Medicine (Schwabe, 1922). We cannot here mention the many and valuable smaller works of Schlegel.

In the beginning of 1928 Dr.Paul Dahlke of Berlin, one of the foremost and most richly mentally endowed of the homoeopathic physicians, died, entirely too early. His work for homoeopathy and the art of healing are deservedly praised in the June number of the Deutsche Zeitschrift fur Homoopathie. His death was a great loss to the homoeopathic medical fraternity. His Geschite Arzneimittellehre appeared in a new edition (Hahnemannia, Stuttgart, 1928). His Repertory followed immediately. Heilkunde und Weltanschang (Hippokrates Stuttgart, 1928) discusses exhaustively the problem of the relation of homoeopathy to medicine.

From quite another direction comes the book of another author, Die Brucke zur Homoopathie, by Dr.A. Sperling, Berlin (Schwabe, Leipzig.) Here also the question of the introduction of homoeopathy into the domain of scientific medicine is largely discussed, and the attempt is made to bring the homoeopathic method of thinking into the general consideration of modern medicine, and he tries to find a way for the unification of the theories f medicine, as the sub-title of the work suggests.

Homoeopathy, as it has now become scientifically recognized, was discussed by Dr. Leeser of Frankfurt in his work, Text-Book for Homoeopathy (Hippokrates, Stuttgart). This book had a wide circulation. The publishing house of Hippokrates already frequently mentioned in Stuttgart, Leipzig and Zurich, independent of scholastic opinion and undisturbed by opposition, took upon itself the task of publishing works which could find no other publisher, among them works of homoeopathic authors, Dr.H.Meng bought out, with the collaboration of Dr.K.Fiessler, Dr.P. Federn and forty-five professors, physicians and pedagogues, the Aerztliche Volksbuch, a large work in the form of a lexicon with about 1,700 pages, over 100 tables and many illustrations.

Herman Neng