Defending Homoeopathy from Misrepresentations

Farokh J Master 

Over one hundred years ago Lippe said that “the followers of Hahnemann who have found that his promises of successfully combating disease… were guided by certain fundamental and infallible principles… naturally looked upon every new departure from this strict practice which procured unparalleled success as a step backwards, and when these departures became so many fold, there was really nothing left of the school but the name. To try to gain a hearing, try to defend the master’s teachings which led to success, try to show erring men the baneful consequences of their backward sliding–this can surely not be construed into a persistent effort to divide the school.”

In this conflict one thing is clear: divisions within the homeopathic profession are always initiated by authors and supporters of approaches incompatible with Hahnemann’s specific method of healing, which he called homeopathy, and not by Hahnemannians upon whom it is incumbent to keep denouncing the numerous misrepresentations and departures.

Hahnemann in 1832, in his fight against the “half-homeopaths” of Leipzig, Hahnemann wrote, “Should any false doctrines be taught under the honorable name of homeopathy… may you depend upon it that I shall raise my voice aloud, honestly and to its utmost. In all the public papers far and near I shall warn a world already weary of deceit against such treachery and degeneracy, which deserves to be branded and avoided.”

Hahnemann and his faithful disciples denounced with great vigor every misrepresentation and departure with the objective of preserving the purity of our noble art. There is no reason why the present time should escape the same scrutiny, especially when considering that it will likely be remembered as the most effervescent in the extravagance of its departures.

What are we to think of senior international teachers who show video cases of remedies like Time,Helicopter,Dark Hole,Tyrannosaurus rex !!!!

Doing Jungian analysis of a child who is 6 years old!!! prescribing remedy uranium nitricum only because a child scribles a picture that the child feels it resembles war and atom bombs!!!!!

Please stop this nonsense immediately before Hahnemannian homoeopathy comes to an end in near future.

Do you think there was a cure?? my foot these teachers go as far as falsifying follow-ups to demonstrate the cleverness of their prescribing. I have heard such stories from many quarters and even witnessed such seminar. Some teachers teach as illuminated gurus possessed with mystical knowledge. What a farce they are making of Hahnemann’s homeopathy. Things don’t seem to have changed much since Hering said, “The teaching has becoming a trade by which the profession is degraded, traders are profited and the public injured.” When devoid of the rigor taught to us by Hahnemann and left to speculation, what is left of homeopathy easily turns into its antithesis.

In 1808, in On the Value of the Speculative Systems of Medicine, Hahnemann writes that “although it is certain that the Materia Medica can and must be the daughter of experience, yet even it has given away to arbitrary opinion, ideal and dream hypotheses, and has allowed itself to be molded today into one form and tomorrow into a new form,… What is to become of an art (to which the charge of human life has been committed) if fancy and caprice are to have the upper hand in it?

“How uninquiringly our writers on materia medica have adopted the statements proceeding from these impure sources is evident, among other things, from this, that they enumerate among the virtues of crude medicines such as were originally derived from the mere suppositions of our superstitious forefathers, who had childishly enough asserted certain medicinal substances to be the remedies of certain diseases, merely on account of some external resemblance of those medicines with something appreciable by the senses in those diseases (signature), or whose efficacy rested only on the authority of old women’s tales, or was deduced from certain of their properties that had no essential connection with their fabulous medicinal powers… This is what I call a philosophical and experimental origin of the materia medica!”

In 1813, in Genius of the Homeopathic Healing Art, written for his early students, Hahnemann writes that “it is impossible to guess at the internal nature of disease, and at what is secretly changed by nature in the organism, and it is folly to attempt to base the cure of them on such guesswork and such propositions; it is impossible to divine the healing power of medicines according to a chemical hypothesis or from their colors, smell, or taste; and it is folly to use these substances (so pernicious when abused) for the cure of diseases based on such hypotheses and such propositions. And had such a course been ever so much in vogue and been generally introduced; had it been for thousands of years the only, and ever so much admired course, it would nevertheless remain an irrational and pernicious method thus to be guided by empty guesswork; to fable about the diseased conditions of the internal organism, and to combat them with fictitious virtues of medicines.”

In 1817, in Examination of the Sources of the Common Materia Medica, he writes that “the second source of the virtues of drugs, as ascribed to them in the materia medica, has, it is alleged, a sure foundation, viz., their sensible properties, from which their action may be inferred. We shall see, however, what a turbid source this is.

“I shall spare the ordinary medical school the humiliation of reminding it of the folly of those ancient physicians who, determining the medical powers of crude drugs from their signature… I shall refrain from taunting the physicians of the present day with these absurdities, although traces of them are to be met with in the most modern treatises on materia medica…

From this anyone may easily see how irrational and arbitrary the maxims of the ordinary materia medica are, how near they are to downright falsehoods! And to make falsehoods the basis of our system of treating the sick–what a crime!

“Thus, the life and health of human beings were made dependent on the opinion of a few blockheads, and whatever entered their precious brains went to swell the materia medica… All our senses together, employed with the utmost care, in the examination of a medicinal substance with regard to its external properties, do not give us any, not even the slightest information respecting this most important of all secrets, the internal immaterial power possessed by natural substances to alter the health of human beings; in other words respecting their true medicinal and healing power, which is so extremely different in every active substance, from that of every other, and which can only be observed when it is taken internally, and acts upon the vital functions of the organism! . . .

Hahnemann concludes that “this improved healing art, i.e., the homeopathic, draws not its knowledge from those impure sources of the materia medica hitherto in use, pursues not that antiquated, dreamy, false path we have just pointed out, but follows the way consonant with nature. It administers no medicines to combat the diseases of mankind before testing experimentally their pure effects; that is, observing what changes each can produce in the health of a healthy man–this is pure materia medica.

I am not surprised that so many professed teachers of homeopathy have departed from the teachings of Hahnemann? Not really, as it has been the case in most of our history and the reason has always been from a lack of knowledge of the basic teachings of Hahnemann. It is really remarkable that so few in every generation, and even fewer today, have earnestly sought to understand the true nature of the inductive method of Hahnemann–this is in spite of identifying themselves as “classical” homeopaths, or being graduates from or teachers at “Hahnemann” colleges.

One of the most important pillars of homeopathy is the great care to avoid any speculation in the observation of the sick and in the development of our materia medica. Carroll Dunham summarized well this unique characteristic of homeopathy when he said that the chief duty of the prescriber is to “base the treatment on facts, indisputable, unmistakable, the results of pure observation.” Hering said that Hahnemann “called his materia medica ‘pure,’ in order to indicate its freedom from fiction, experimental cures, preconceived opinions, and abstract ideas. Such impurities are not found in the least degree in the whole eleven volumes [of Hahnemann’s materia medica].” This is not the case with the twenty-one signers, as in adopting their speculative approach they have clearly and blatantly stepped outside the homeopathic method.

They say that the reason for their innovations is their failures in practice, which they relate to the imperfection of our materia medica and repertories. Every experienced practitioner will meet with failure from time to time in curing curable cases with dynamic disease. However, these failures are not a failure of the law of similars but a failure to apply the law correctly, and not a failure of the method of Hahnemann but a failure to comply with it. Instead of mastering and perfecting the method of Hahnemann, the gurus are stepping aside to explore what may be considered new and exciting avenues but are in reality the very old and easily traveled routes of speculative medicine. What they may consider progress is in reality a giant step backward.

Regarding failures in homeopathy, Lippe said, “the law of the similars is a natural law on which rests the whole structure of the homeopathic healing art. The history of the development of that law, and how it can and must be applied for the cure of the sick, was fully described in Hahnemann’s Organon of the Healing Art. A deviation from his methods will necessarily be followed by failures, and weak as well as lazy men will never, hardly ever, blame themselves, but find some plausible excuse.”

He continues by saying that “the logic of experience and reason combined, teach us that we cannot obtain the results claimed for Homeopathy by its founders, if we reject, alter, or modify the fundamental principles on which it is based, or the practical rules known to govern these very principles in the application for curative purposes. Hahnemann left us a new system of medicine, not finished, nor will it ever be finished, as something complete. If we go on developing it, like all sciences and arts are being developed, we will bring it nearer perfection from year to year, we will reach greater results; but if we do not follow the beaten path, the results will become less favorable, and we must again fall into the slothfulness of the previous schools of medicine. The logic of experience and reason taught the writer of this paper that to reject, alter or modify Homeopathy, as taught by Hahnemann, is ‘Homeopathy misapplied.'”

By adopting opposite approaches how could these modern teachers expect the results promised by Hahnemann? Very few practitioners, even among the most popular teachers of today, have demonstrated sufficient knowledge of the teachings of the past masters of homeopathy. If they were familiar with these teachings, it is unlikely that anyone would ever consider departing from them, or try to fix what is not broken. In cutting off our roots, what shall we expect? As Hering reminds us, “a tree without its roots cannot grow or yield its appropriate fruits.” And Dunham asked, “If a student should fall among false or incompetent teachers, could the doctrine and practice he learns be true and successful?” Lippe adds that “in our day, many efforts have been made to introduce various departures, to set aside Hahnemann’s teachings and introduce labor saving methods in the so-called practice of Homeopathy… and how can we now, or at any later period, expect to obtain the same results in practice, which the master and his earlier and later pupils obtained from him, if we do not follow his advice implicitly?”

Homeopathy is a discipline that is relatively easy to practice when properly learned, but is relatively difficult to master.

Dissatisfaction and discouragement are common when dealing with difficult cases or failures, even for the best-trained practitioners. In such time of vulnerability, did the masters of the past look outside Hahnemann’s method for solutions, or did they delve deeper into it? In 1864, Lippe described what Bœnninghausen had done to become the great prescriber he was: “As a friend and pupil of Hahnemann his unbounded admiration increased daily by his intercourse with him, and after the great master’s death he studied all his writings, and by these he became still more penetrated by and convinced of the truth of Hahnemann’s observations and the great work accomplished by him.”

In the 1880’s, Hahnemannians started forming local societies to study the Organon. Their main purpose was to develop a deeper understanding of homeopathy for better dealing with their difficult cases. In Philadelphia it was led first by Lippe and then by Kent, in New York city by Wells, Bayard and Carleton, in Boston by Bell and Wesselhœft, in Rochester by Biegler and in Toronto by John Hall. If these very experienced and successful prescribers felt the constant need to study the Organon to improve their results, why would our modern teachers not follow the same path of success? Edmund Lee, who knew the practices of Hering and Lippe very well, said in reference to them curing many chronic cases which other physicians could not help in the least, that “these men had no secret methods of practice, no secret remedies; they had nothing more than the humblest of us may acquire, a profound knowledge of Hahnemann’s Organon, of his Chronic Diseases, and of the homeopathic Materia Medica. Cannot we all obtain that knowledge also, and having it, cannot we, too, use it to cure these scourges of the human race as they did?”

In 1879, Hering wrote, “A small number for some one or other reason, call themselves homeopathists, but find it far too much trouble to read the Organon, and still greater one to examine the sick according to the master’s advice;… The very worst thing in these doctrines of Hahnemann’s is, that if we do not follow them strictly and accurately–’Machts nach aber machts genau nach!’ [“Do alike, but do it accurately.”] said our master–we fail to heal the sick and the patients do not get well except now and then, accidentally, as it were.”

In 1911, after about thirty years of homeopathic practice, Kent wrote, regarding the study of theOrganon, that “the masters of these living doctrines and the materia medica have been constant readers of this great work. Not one of the great prescribers has ever claimed a discovery not fully set forth in this work, but all in their greatest accomplishments have said that they based their success upon the Organon. It is the first book for the student to read, and the last for the old and busiest physician to ponder over.

When Lippe, Wells and scores of others advocated a continuous reading of this book during their long careers, should we not likewise look upon it with a feeling of profound respect? Should we not crave the hidden truths that have made these faithful followers of law so successful? To whom would a rational man apply for light when desiring to follow law in healing the sick and measuring out uses to man? Naturally to Hahnemann and his faithful adherents, and not to those who smile at what they choose to consider the ravings of an aged man.” Lippe, homeopathy’s most successful prescriber, said in 1883, “it is now over 50 years since I first read the Organon. I just begin to comprehend it.”

Now, how can we expect homeopaths to understand and practice according to Hahnemann’s teachings if their own teachers do not do so? In 1912, Kent wrote that “homeopathy is making wonderful strides in curing chronic miasms but they are upon the lines laid down by Hahnemann. The author has no discovery of his own to introduce to the world. He has learned to be faithful to, and contented with what has been handed down. The Law of Similars will direct to curative remedies for all that are curable and comfort such as are incurable, if we can keep our selfish ends in subjection.”

Contrary to this, in our present era, any newcomer steps aside from the well established path of success, develops his own approach (as if there was a need for it) which he takes license to still call homeopathy, and peddles it as a “new” truth around the globe. In fact nothing of these “progressive” trends is new for homeopathy. In 1886 Lippe wrote, “‘Progressive Homeopathy’ is, in our days, the watchword of the present young generation of pretending-to-be Homeopathists. The historical fact is, that the Old Guard, the early pioneers of our Healing Art, progressively developing Hahnemann’s teachings and methods, contenting against great odds, made great strides in making Homeopathy respected by curing the sick… And now the young generation, not yet born when these early victories were won, unmindful of the last labors of the early pioneers, desiring to reap the benefits of their hard work, blad about ‘Progressive Homeopathy.'” Any claim to progressive homeopathy has to be faithful to Hahnemann’s teachings, which will always remain the foundation of homeopathy.

The key to success in homeopathy taught to us by the masters of the past is the strict adherence to its fundamental principles. Basic to these principles is the strict inductive method of Hahnemann, which consists of drawing the right conclusions only, after having carefully observed all that can be observed without leaving anything out or adding anything that cannot be observed. Induction is not a matter of mere guesswork but a precise instrument of inquiry for arriving at the most plausible and best available answer. This is in sharp contrast with most of the current teachings in homeopathy, which are based as a rule on speculation–opinions, fancies and theories.

Lippe said because the pioneers of homeopathy strictly followed the teachings of Hahnemann they “have met with success–such a success, as to our knowledge, no other mode of practice could ever claim. We desire to show the great necessity of and the advantages derived from the strict adherence to the principles taught by Hahnemann… and how a faithful adherence to these principles will guide us on to an invariable success.

In 1879, Henry N. Guernsey wrote that “the sound of the truth is so repellant to some men’s minds that they cannot endure it and it makes them mad, and then they become mad indeed!

Regarding the tendency our homeopathic institutions have had to tolerate departures from Hahnemann’s teachings, Lippe wrote, which was later proven to be true, “let the curtain drop. Behind the scenes–a grave, both for Homeopathy and the poor sick.” He writes that “we have to correct errors taught and disseminated, and we shall expose these errors which must lead our school astray, without fear or favor.” We hope that our institutions will stand up and perform this unpleasant but vital duty. We must be clear that denouncing misrepresentations and their authors does not in any way, shape or form constitute an affront to any of these authors. Exposing their errors does not carry any implication of malice whatsoever or judgement about the moral character of the people involved.

Hopefully, this article will inspire reflection on the course currently taken and impel many to renew their effort to rediscover Hahnemann and his great work, rather than trodding on the old ways of speculative medicine. The road that Hahnemann led us down may be narrow, rugged and beset with many difficulties, but is worth all our effort as it has proved to be the road of true knowledge and success.

1 Comment

  1. I endorse the views sir, Homoeopathy is the toughest system of medicine, because it seems to be simple, the easiest thing in Homoeopathy is giving the first prescription or selecting the remedy for the first time.
    its the only system which cares for the human voice and understands the feeling of the patients.
    Such a dose is required .

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