Book review on treatise on the effects of coffee by Samuel Hahnemann

Dr Ranjitha J                        

Coffee a medicinal beverage. Understanding the effects of coffee in healthy person and sick person. To abolish the use of coffee as its effects are pernicious. Benefits of coffee as a purely  medicinal substance.

Keywords: coffee, treatise on effects of coffee, primitive effects, secondary effect, medicament, palliative

Reviewing “TREATISE ON THE EFFECTS OF COFFEE “by Dr. Samuel Hahnemann which appeared at Leipzig in the year 1803 to understand the effects of coffee.

We have to take pure nutritive food to enjoy perfect health for long time and avoid the food with medicinal substance. Because medicinal products alter the state of health and produces extraordinary changes .Beverages should be moistening and nutritive and free from medicinal particles. 

Coffee is a medicinal beverage. These medicaments which on one hand produces morbific influences on healthy organisms and other hand annihilates the disease and for transform it into a state of health. When coffee is taken in large quantity it produces disagreeable impressions on the sensibilities.

By continuing the use of coffee the habit, by degrees, dispel the disagreeable sensations .it produces two states on human body – primitive and secondary effects. 

Primitive effects – increases more or less agreeable of vital activity. Secondary effect – after the lapse of several hours , produces disagreeable sentiment of our existence an oppressed activity.

Primitive effect – gives only pleasure 

Primitive effects are

  • Pulse is higher , frequent , softer
  • Cheeks are red 
  • Palms and forehead become humid, feels more heat than before
  • Voluptuous palpitation of heart
  • Veins of the hands swells
  • Person become more attentive
  • Feels everything covered with gay varnish and shines with an infinity agreeable luster when taken greater than usual

If person who unaccustomed to coffee take exclusively large quantity , develop unilateral headache that descends from superior part of parietal bone down to the cavity of the brain.

Real coffee drinkers are almost ignorant of natural hunger and thirst. Coffee accelerates and aid the digestion in an artificial manner, by its primitive effects   increases more rapid peristaltic movements. It excites the sexual instincts and influences on moral and moralities. It banishes the torments of hunger and thirst, remove sleep from fatigued members and produces an artificial wakefulness.

Man in healthy condition, should experience both agreeable and disagreeable sensations alternately.

After the primitive effects the opposite state follows that is secondary effects. 

  • A greater inactivity , the motions of the body become more and difficult, 
  • Mind passes into gloomy, downcast humour, easily vexed
  • Painful  flatulency and slower and more difficult secretions
  • They become chilled and have cold hands and feet
  • Sexual desire feeble and lax
  • Canine hunger 
  • Difficult to recover sleep, on awaking more sleepy and sad , melancholic

Repeated taking of coffee acts as palliative. The injuries caused by the secondary effects of coffee enlarge and take such deep roots that even more frequent and stronger repetition of this palliative can no longer dissipate them, not even for a few hours.

When coffee taken longer, more frequent, of a stronger quality or in a larger quantities causes Headache in female coffee drinkers, often also toothache almost unendurable, redness of the face , swelling of the cheeks and tearing and cutting sensation in different part of the body, pain in the chest, abdomen , stomach  and irregular menstrual cycles, haemorrhoidal difficulties, men become impotent, women sterile

Real coffee bibbers suffer from unilateral and nervous headache especially in the morning soon after waking and increases insensibly. They will be irritable, chilly . Pain is unendurable and if paroxysm is very severe nausea, vomiting of mucus. It last for about 36hours.

Coffee alone is capable of destroying the teeth in a very short time or at least to make them black and yellow. Coffee is most harmful for children .it is one of the reason for excite the real rachitis(rickets) it  accelerate the disease and also produces phthisis and it also affects the eyes to the extent to losing the eyes. If a breastfeeding women consumes large quantity of coffee the effects are seen in the suckling.

Taking coffee is  only to gain new artificial pleasure which cut off life and have equal sufferings as consequences.

Principle means of curing sufferings caused by coffee to 

-discontinue its use and

– exercise and an energetic activity in the open air 

It is very difficult to abolish strong habit of using  coffee so following method help to avoid it .

  1. Every three or four days he should reduce coffee to one cup until he take single one for breakfast for one week
  2. Then he made to give up his last cup, suddenly or he might be permitted to take it for a week alternately from one day to another as circumstance may require.

The whole work will be done in 4 weeks.

  1. If person is very feeble and sensitive, it would be well to substitute a cup of tea for each cup of coffee and at the end of week only he is left with tea(less injurious).
  2. Finally instead of coffee and tea , he will take some cup of warm milk for his breakfast.

To annihilate the injurious effects of coffee effectually fortify his body by daily walks in the open air, to improve his spirits by innocent amusements, and restore his strength with nourishing and suitable aliments.

Medicaments are salutary (curative) things. Coffee is a medicament. 

When medicament (coffee) applying to sickness which have almost a similar symptoms, Which the medicament can alone produce in a healthy body , a radical cure will follow .

When medicament used for disease which produce opposite symptoms of that disease, a cure is only palliative. Here in this case improvement follows almost immediately, but  after a few /several hours have elapsed , the sickness returns in higher degree than it had attained before the use of remedy. This method of curing is very absurd.

When coffee is employed for constipation as primitive effect it helps  to operate an evacuation very quickly. But in the secondary effects it increases the obstructions much more. Now to banish them again in palliative manner with coffee,  it would then already be necessary to cause a greater or stronger portion to be taken . However this is not cured by it rather it aggravates the evil in question and render it more obstinate. So coffee is just palliative relief against certain suffering . continued use of palliative medicine being a very injurious thing and harmful. 

Coffee in relative to its medicinal employment 

  1. Curative application resemble  to primary effects of coffee
  2. Palliative application resemble secondary effects of coffee 

The habit of taking coffee forms a direct and insurmountable obstacle to homoeopathic cures.the doses of homoeopathic remedies, being excessively small, it is indispensable to remove all heterogeneous irritations which might trouble their activity.


  1. Hahnemann S. Treatise on effects of coffee. Dresden. 1803.

Dr Ranjitha J  
PG scholar GHMC&H, Bangalore

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