Errors in Homeopathic Practice

Advise on the selection of crude substance for preparation of medicine. Some precautions that to be noted in drug proving….


The problem is extremely vast. On the one hand it has a general point of view and on the other hand there is a particular point of view. It is evident that there are first of all some general rules which we must know well in order to avoid the errors in homoeopathic practice. I will deliberately leave aside this general point of view. What is of more particular interest to us is all that is of clearly practical order and I will deal in five chapters what we must not do in homoeopathy from the particular point of view regarding :

1. The remedies.

2. The diseases.


The results obtained in homoeopathic therapeutics are extremely variable according to the method of application of remedies. The medical science is an art with two principles: The principle of prescription and the principle of practice. The same is the case with homoeopathy as well as with other sciences of medicine. We know that the results may be excellent or on the contrary negative or even replaced by violent aggravations if we make mistakes about the following :

1. The drug sources.

2. The dose.

3. The repetition of dose.

4. Time of the application of the dose.

5. Finally some particular cases for some particular remedies.


The part played by a homoeopathic doctor does not consist only in treating the patients. He should at the same time control the quality of the preparation of medicines supplied to him by the pharmacists from different laboratories. One error that one commits in this regard is the result of ignorance of the origin of a remedy and this is very important. It is therefore, necessary that we must know how the homoeopathic medicines should be manufactured. Hahnemann gave a solution of the problem in a very simple manner during his time. He completely ignored the part which a pharmacist can play in the preparation of medicines. He himself used to prepare his medicines and even now there are number of homoeopaths in different countries who, faithful to the principle of their master, prepare their medicines themselves and directly apply these medicines to their patients. This is not only illegal but also not progressive. We must call it a regression because it is not possible for us to have all the up- to-date machines and the necessary personnel employed for the preparation of two or three thousands of medicines.

It is however necessary that we should know how the homoeopathic medicines are prepared. If not, we may be victims of a wrong preparation. It is for this reason that the homoeopaths in France have in the beginning decided that the homoeopathic medicines are to be prepared by the specialised homoeopathic pharmacists. But the doctors as well as the specialised homoeopathic pharmacists ought to know how to prepare the Homoeopathic medicines.

(At present homoeopathic medicines are prepared in France by some pharmacists authorised by the Government, according to a pharmacopoea prepared under the control of the Government by a group of homoeopathic doctors. Homoeopathic medicines up to the 6th dilution, i.e. up to the 22x which is physical dilution limit, can only be obtained in France. Preparation of Isopathic remedies is completely stopped.)


As regards the mineral kingdom the control is easy. A mineral substance should be taken as a remedy. You may say that is should be taken pure and well prepared. But this is not all and neither it is true. When Hahnemann and other obtained a pathogenesis using a substance, it is necessary that we should use the identical substance even if it is in an unpurified state, while the pharmacist, obsessed by the principles of modern chemistry, tries for purifying in an absolute manner the substances of mineral origin, though some times they find that the resulting substances are less active.

A classic example : Hahnemann prepared Calcarea Carbonica from the shell of the egg of ostrich (Calcarea Ostrum), from the portion which is found in-between the external and the internal surfaces of the egg shell. It is no doubt carbonate of lime but it also contains traces of other minerals and marine substances. Therefore, it is not necessary to use the absolutely pure Carbonate of lime but the egg-shell of ostrich itself for the preparation of Calcarea Carbonica. This may be considered as a general rule for all substances of mineral origin. It is preferable to use the mineral substances in their natural state. The mineral substances are valuable medicines in the form as they are found in the natural state. They act generally better on the living organism. On the contrary, the synthetic chemical substances are of secondary importance. Why? This requires no explanation. If we use some dilutions of Pyramidon or Arsenobenzol we will find that they are rarely useful. But there are exceptions. As for example the Arsenic compound of Bayer 205, has been very successfully used in dilutions of 200 and 1000 in Azotemia, at least in some cases of Azotemia. (Dilutions of Penicillin are also now used in France with very interesting results).

It should therefore be a principle that we must not have our mind haunted by the idea of absolute purity. There are some homoeopaths who go further and say that when water is used, it should be used as it is in the place of distilled or bi-distilled water. It should also be decided whether for some products, the water from the source containing Carbonate of Calcium should be used instead of bi-distilled water. Some researches are to be made in this regard.

From the point of view of the mineral kingdom we have yet another rule which requires elucidation. It is the frequent necessity of replacing the pure metal by its oxide. It seems that Cuprum oxide is more useful than Cuprum itself, both having the same indications. The former is more active. The case is the same with the Bromides.

Prof A. Berne E.P.C.I. has shown that when we use a metal for the preparation of some medicines, we cannot be absolutely sure whether the substance will remain pure in the course of the preparation. Thus Zincum metallicum will transform itself in Zinc Oxide in the process of preparation. The same may be said of Aluminium, Iron, and of all the metals (except Gold and Platinum).

Besides, except for the very heavy metals, there is hardly any difference between the metal oxide and metal pure. For this reason it is better to oxidise the metal before preparing a medicine from it. In practice, for example, when you use a remedy having for its origin Cuprum metallicum, which has not given expected results, you must try Cuprum Oxide, which may prove to be more active, having the same indications as that of Cuprum metallicum.

Sometimes it is necessary to prefer some salts to others. This is not a rule in homoeopathy; this is a rule in chemotherapy. In homoeopathy we have two such examples. A classical example: Argentum nitricum, the Nitrate of silver, a remedy having an action though different from that of silver metal, yet deeper and much more important. For this reason this remedy is very frequently used. There is another example which I have very often pointed out, is that of Plumbum aceticum. Since two or three years I have replaced my prescription of plumbum metallicum by Plumbum aceticum which is much more active. Lead is a metal whose action is very well known to us because since long time, the pathogenesis of lead and of all its salts have been enriched by symptoms of poisoning. On the other hand we also know extremely well the morbid anatomy and pathology of the lesions caused by lead. But when we apply our knowledge to homoeopathy we very often meet with some failures even when Plumbum is indicated, while Plumbum aceticum has at least a much more interesting action in muscular atrophies, neuritis and polyneuritis. Plumbum metallicum does not act well in these cases. The acetate of the metal can provoke some pains and other acute phenomena which its metal cannot. Can we explain this fact by the help of chemical reaction? This is also a case of research.

On the other hand simple acides are not the remedies of first importance in homoeopathy. They are less important than the metalloids. Phospheric acid is not as valuable as Phosphorus. Sulphuric acid has very much less value than Sulphur, and its indications are not so extensive. The acids have for themselves some common indications which are primary to all acids. As for example the general symptom of Debility, thus some cases of debility and burning sensation may be covered by Muriatic acid as well as by Sulphuric acid. Thus you will get amelioration of pains resulting from hyperacidity by prescribing Muriatic acid, Sulphuric acid and Nitric acid, Sulphuric acid acts longer but it should be remembered that you may apply the one or the other but their action is secondary and functional which will ameliorate hyperacidity but will not cure it.

It is necessary that we must have close contact with the chemists. The difficulty is that Chemistry is a practical science having no general consideration. Take any book on chemistry you will find that is is experience pure and simple and the chemists act according to a tentative procedure.

Mauritius Fortier-Bernoville
Mauritius (Maurice) Fortier Bernoville 1896 – 1939 MD was a French orthodox physician who converted to homeopathy to become the Chief editor of L’Homeopathie Moderne (founded in 1932; ceased publication in 1940), one of the founders of the Laboratoire Homeopathiques Modernes, and the founder of the Institut National Homeopathique Francais.

Bernoville was a major lecturer in homeopathy, and he was active in Liga Medicorum Homeopathica Internationalis, and a founder of the le Syndicat national des médecins homœopathes français in 1932, and a member of the French Society of Homeopathy, and the Society of Homeopathy in the Rhone.

Fortier-Bernoville wrote several books, including Une etude sur Phosphorus (1930), L'Homoeopathie en Medecine Infantile (1931), his best known Comment guerir par l'Homoeopathie (1929, 1937), and an interesting work on iridology, Introduction a l'etude de l'Iridologie (1932).

With Louis-Alcime Rousseau, he wrote several booklets, including Diseases of Respiratory and Digestive Systems of Children, Diabetes Mellitus, Chronic Rheumatism, treatment of hay fever (1929), The importance of chemistry and toxicology in the indications of Phosphorus (1931), and Homeopathic Medicine for Children (1931). He also wrote several short pamphlets, including What We Must Not Do in Homoeopathy, which discusses the logistics of drainage and how to avoid aggravations.

He was an opponent of Kentian homeopathy and a proponent of drainage and artificial phylectenular autotherapy as well.