DR. UNDERHILL: I wish to say a word or two about the duration of action of homoeopathic remedies. You know there are such things as timetables, such as a remedy acts so many days and another one so many weeks, and so on and so forth. I do not believe that is a safe guide to go by at all, because it is the remedy plus the individual contending against the individual constitution, and that varies tremendously in different individuals and according to the extent of the pathology and kind of pathology that we are dealing with. So that a given remedy may add to one case a few days, and in another case with the same clinical laboratory diagnosis it might act several weeks or months.

In this table here that the Doctor drew, I would like to say if you will study in Kents philosophy, and also in Bidwells book on How to Use the Repertory, based on Kents Repertory, he outlines eleven things that can happen. The Doctor here shows two of them. If there is no pathology at all in the case, merely a functional derangement, you get this effect here, and then only a little drop, the normal ebb and flow of the vitality and no aggravation whatever. If you have hit your case with the proper potency, you have just matched the plane of potency with the plane of disease.

The next one I would take up is this: Where you get your aggravation first and then your amelioration, there you have your remedy contending against some pathology, but not by any means incurable pathology, and it just magnifies your symptoms, flares them up, and you get this, followed by very satisfactory curative action. In chronic work, that is the nicest kind of action to get from a remedy. I never like to see this, where you get primary improvement and then followed by an aggravation. I always know I have a long, hard, difficult case to contend with. You get a foretaste of what the patient ought to be after he is cured, and then a mean aggravation follows, and ever so slowly you may be able to get him up. Do not repeat when this aggravation comes. There is where many a mistake is made in chronic cases.

I have watched many chronic cases. In fact, I specialize in chronic work, and I have pleasure in watching them, and I do not see that there is any schedule of time that operates at all, other than perhaps the moon and the stars, as Dr. Boger referred to.


The duration of the action as shown by the diagram was compiled by Drs. Adolph Lippe and Walter M. James from observations made during forty years of practice. It is understood that the duration of action of every remedy varies according to the susceptibility of each patient and if an extremely high potency, as high as one hundred thousands (CM) is given a patient suffering from an acute disease may pass through the cycle as diagrammed in few hours.

The diagram represents the average duration of action in its various phases.

Potency Primary Aggravation Secondary Total.

Amelioration Amelioration

30 1 5 1 or 2 4 or 8

200 2 6 3 11

10M 3 or 4 8 or 10 2 or 3 16

100M 5 12 4 21

MM 4 to 6 weeks

While the above diagram describes the usual cycle of a patients reaction to a remedy, there is a certain group of patients who experience an aggravation as soon as the remedy is given, thus causing an omission of the period of primary amelioration; so the following diagram would apply to this class of patients.


Edith M., widow, stenographer. Came first in Feb., 1934.

History of suppressed gonorrhoea. Married at 21 years. Husband sick three years and died from locomotor ataxia. She has used tablets of Merc. chloride as a douche for years.

Melancholia, suicidal. Has small growths on arms, forearms and neck; growths first appeared on clavicle muscles of neck, then shoulder and down arms. Has to sleep with arms extended and on pillows.

Joints crack loudly. Feels groggy after eating. Tongue cracked all her life; increased last several years; has a terrible feeling on her tongue as if she had drunk something hot and it had burned her tongue.

Dreams all the time — wild dreams. Wakens in the morning more tired than when she went to bed. Hasnt slept well as long as she can remember.

Haemorrhoids, but not conscious of them. Blood passes with stools.

Thymus sereph. 1M. and every symptom is greatly relieved. –VIRGINIA M. JOHNSON, M.D.

Eugene Underhill
Dr Eugene Underhill Jr. (1887-1968) was the son of Eugene and Minnie (Lewis) Underhill Sr. He was a graduate of Swarthmore College and the University of Pennsylvania Medical School. A homeopathic physician for over 50 years, he had offices in Philadelphia.

Eugene passed away at his country home on Spring Hill, Tuscarora Township, Bradford County, PA. He had been in ill health for several months. His wife, the former Caroline Davis, whom he had married in Philadelphia in 1910, had passed away in 1961. They spent most of their marriage lives in Swarthmore, PA.

Dr. Underhill was a member of the United Lodge of Theosophy, a member of the Philadelphia County Medical Society, and the Pennsylvania Medical Society. He was also the editor of the Homœopathic Recorder.