The author suggests that it is not easy to treat cancer with homeopathy, in the classical way. You need isopathic remedies and nosodes too to deal with the cancer problem….

By DR. E. SCHLEGEL, Tubingen. LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,-You have done me the honour of inviting me to give an address on cancer, after the publication of my book on the same subject at the beginning of this year. In this book I have attempted to collect and examine all our present knowledge of cancer and all important efforts to cure it, and, at the same time, to give from the several branches of the problem, and to represent homoeopathic therapeutics as fully justified and comparatively helpful and promising, an opinion, in entertaining which I feel perfectly justified by reason of my studies and the experiences I have made.

From the native land of our countryman, Samuel Hahnemann, still so little really known in all his intellectuality, I come to-day before you with the attempt to give a true appreciation of his great therapeutic idea in connection with that terrible disease. Far more than a century has passed since Hahnemann came forward with his theory and teachings. It is only during the last fifty years that the cancer problem has been seriously tackled in this direction. And here English doctors took the lead, as, for example, Pattison, Cooper, and Burnett. The practical side to the problem was first tackled; the scientific one followed, as a matter of course. But whilst those leading doctors’ ideas developed in touch with life itself, biologically, as, warranted by modern science, we say to-day, the medical schools have, all that time, been making an enormous display of unfruitful scientific learning, and are still continuing to do


Now if we put the question, what standpoint medical science, and practical therapeutics especially, take at all in relation to the cancer problem, the answer must be: Medical science is in no wise bound by any knowledge whatever that we may possess of the nature of cancer, or forced by binding obligations to repel the disease according to some prescribed method. It is free, thanks to the circumstance that no efforts have led to any binding knowledge.

Much detailed knowledge, it is true, has been gained of the operations of cancer and its effects on the affected organism by the arranging of natural and artificial experiments; but none of our knowledge extends to the roots of the process, none is clear and definite as to the conclusions to be drawn therefrom for therapeutics. Nor has anything of fundamental importance been ascertained in the case of plants, where we find analogous growths, or of animals that are liable to carcinoma. When one thought to have secured some positive results, the measures based on such proved nevertheless unreliable and have ended in failure.

Such experiments are being made everywhere still, and it is to be hoped that they will continue to produce new preliminary information. Hitherto, however, they have not succeeded in giving us any binding therapeutics. So practical medicine has scope enough for activity in all directions as regards the cancer problem. Success alone can be decisive here, whether it is found through surgical, dietetic, medicinal, or X-ray treatment. Thus we homoeopaths, too, are at liberty to line up with the others, and have the still greater liberty of criticizing the other schools.

I shall now show in short how, in my opinion, we are to judge of the different methods in therapeutics. The first idea in therapeutics, and one which is perfectly obvious even to the outsider, is that of operation. You see a tumour, and know it does not belong there. To remove it is therefore quite natural. Not all cancers form, as is well known, growths that are accessible for an operation. But even in a case where the tumour can be removed this will not suffice, from the medical point of view. For why should not an organism that has produced such a tumour form a second, if the chance was taken from it to nourish the first? The biological idea is utterly wanting here. And indeed, later there usually grows a second, and even a third tumour, where the first one has been removed by operation.

But anyhow, sometimes such an operation proves a successful cure: no second growth is not only the result of the removal of the tumour, but also of biological change in diet, and probably other factors, affect the patient. The operation is more biological than its mere anatomical conception would warrent us to think. Thus, you see, a reaction can be brought about that really has curative power, and thus a recurrence of a tumour may sometimes be prevented. But be that as it may, an operation is a dangerous and imperfect attempt for the cure of cancer, and frequently it is quite out of the question because of the seat and the stage of the disease.

An exactly opposite standpoint is taken by some doctors, who, very few in number for the present, do not at first take the location of the cancerous disease at all into account, and who do not start with the existence of a visible tumour, but rather from the basis of pathology. They are at the same time physiologists, and probably exclusively vegetarians. The very fact that cancer patients are frequently well-fed people who demonstrably have lived on rich, albuminous food and animal products, and that cancer is, on the whole specially prevalent where wealth and luxury abound, has induced a number of doctors to fight the disease by means of strict dieting.

You will all know, I presume, the name of L. Duncan-Bulkley, the director of the New York Hospital for Skin and Cancer Diseases, who cannot lack numerous opportunities for making observations and much practical knowledge and experience. He has published a book full of important matter, and is also the editor of the journal Cancer, in collaboration with other doctors belonging to his school of thought. In very many cases of cancer, and also of relapses and metastases, they confined themselves to ordering a strictly vegetarian diet, much uncooked food, and great frugality in eating. Even milk is mostly excluded form this diet. And with this treatment Bulkley has obtained so many cures, that he expects of a general introduction of his method, that the so far irresistibly spreading cancer disease would be checked and driven back. But we may not conceal the fact that cancer sometimes breaks out also in people who have long lived on vegetarian food.

I made this observation many years ago already, and it has been confirmed to me by diet-doctors. Dr. Bircher-Benner, of Zurich, however, one of the most experienced and successful reformers in diet, added the remark: “I have not found any case of cancer with persons who have been fed in the right way on uncooked vegetarian food.” In the last years, the book, “Cancer, its Cause and its Sure Prevention.” written by J. Ellis Barker, has also made a great sensation. Barker gives his own history, that of the member of a family who had cases of cancer to register amongst his ancestors and relatives. He himself had come to the threshold of the disease, as he thinks, though it had not been located yet. By a study of the whole question, he had thereupon gained the conviction that cancer was a disease that had its roots in modern methods of living and of civilization, and that one just had to avoid all these evils so as to retain one’s health.

A food treatment in conformity with nature gave back to Barker his full amount of health and vigour, so that he felt justified in standing up for the before-mentioned conception of the malady. He has specially given his attention to the artificial preparation and refining of foodstuffs, to preserves lacking in vitamins, to the preserving of nutritive substances by the addition, of chemicals, and he sees in them the greatest evil of civilization. One can add to these observations that the present day saturation of the air with carbonic gases and the contamination of objects that are in daily use with all sorts of derivates of carbon, form a further striking instance of injury done in the way of predisposing to cancer, a fact which is quite consistent with the direct observation of the generalising of cancer by soot, paraffin, aniline, petrolic residues, and other carbutes.

It is perfectly clear that with the injurious food and the deterioration of the air we breathe, by the enormous amount of motor-gasses continually streaming into it, an increase in the disposition to cancer must be produced. It is quite evident, too, that a flight from all these things must put the organism again in a more favourable condition, must gibe back to it, as it were, its forces of conservation. Now, although the whole movement that starts at this point and that has the aim of keeping clear of the evils of civilization, bears a prophylactic character, we can yet understand how it can also operate therapeutically, viz., if we may take it for granted that also in the case of cancer the human organism retains a biological character, that it defends itself, and that it may also be victorious if the conserving forces of life gain the superiority. And that this is possible Bulkley and others have proved; thus it seems that here a fruitful form of therapeutics is opening up for cancer patients.

John Henry Clarke
John Henry Clarke MD (1853 – November 24, 1931 was a prominent English classical homeopath. Dr. Clarke was a busy practitioner. As a physician he not only had his own clinic in Piccadilly, London, but he also was a consultant at the London Homeopathic Hospital and researched into new remedies — nosodes. For many years, he was the editor of The Homeopathic World. He wrote many books, his best known were Dictionary of Practical Materia Medica and Repertory of Materia Medica