Dr Avinash Kaur
Several stalwarts appeared in homoeopathy after Dr. Christian Friedrich Samuel Hahnemann, one of them was Dr. Richard Hughes. He practiced in the 19th century and he stood out from other homoeopaths because of his different philosophical approach. He was a strong supporter as well as a critic of Hahnemann. Dr. Richard Hughes incorporated the scientific developments of that time in his homoeopathic practice, making his philosophy unique.
The understanding and teachings of Dr. Hughes regarding homoeopathy is considered pragmatic, transparent and simple by many. He criticized the baseless explanations of homoeopathic theories and interpreted it in the light of scientific development.
KEY WORDS : Homoeopathy, Philosophy, Organon of Medicine, Pathology, Animal proving
For a better idea of homoeopathy we need to study the philosophies and viewpoints of different stalwarts of homoeopathy. After discovery of homoeopathy it rapidly started spreading in the world. Physicians across the world started using homoeopathic approach in their practice and this further contributed in the development of homoeopathy as a system. During this time there were two kinds of physicians, one who completely endorsed Hahnemann’s doctrines and the other ones who tried to explain and practice homoeopathy according to their own understanding and contemporary scientific developments. Dr. Hughes belonged to this second type of homoeopaths. He was a contemporary of noted homoeopaths like Constantine Hering, Samuel Lilienthal, Henry n. Guernsey, R.E. dudgeon, etc.
Richard Hughes was born in London in 1836. His father, Philip Hughes was a retired war office clerk. Dr. Hughes received the title of MD in 1860 from the American college. He lived in Brighton with his wife and six children. He switched from allopathy to homoeopathy and worked as a physician in Brighton Homoeopathic dispensary. He was editor of British journal of Homoeopathy and permanent secretory of the organization of International Congress of Homoeopathic Physicians. He was also appointed as a lecturer in Materia Medica by British Homoeopathic cociety. Dr. Hughes was very much concerned about the due respect to be given to noble soul of Dr. Hahnemann and he supervised the reburial of Hahnemann’s body. Dr. Hughes passed away in 1902.
His important works are as follows:
- A Manual of Pharmacodynamics (1867)
- Manual of Therapeutics(1869)
- Hahnemann as a Medical Philosopher (1881)
- A Course of Lectures on the Knowledge of The Physician (1884)
- A Cyclopedia of drug Pathogenesy (4 volumes) (1887)
- The Principle and Practice of Homoeopathy (1902)
Dr. Hughes intention was that apart from Hahnemann’s writings, all the reliable information present during his time should also be included in his works.
He also assisted Dr. T.F.Allen in preparing “Encyclopedia of Drug Pathogenesy” and Dr. R.E. Dudgeon in translating Dr. Samuel Hahnemann’s “The Materia Medica Pura” into English.
HUGHESIAN PHILOSOPHY OR HUGHESIAN HOMOEOPATHY
After going through the work and writings of Dr. Hughes, we can find the following characteristic features about his philosophy:
- HUSGHESIAN PHILOSPHY IS PRAGMATIC AND ANTI-MYSTICAL
Dr. Hughes approach was not based on any kind of empty speculations and he followed a very practical and scientific approach. He strongly supported the Similia principle. According to him, knowledge of disease = the symptoms+ available pathology. Similarly knowledge of medicine comprises of the symptoms produced by the medicine during drug proving. He only matched the medicinal symptoms with the disease symptoms.
- MORE STRESS ON PATHOLOGY
Dr. Hughes was very much influenced by the latest medical and scientific developments of his time. His belief in dynamic cause of disease was very weak and he opposed the miasmatic theory. According to him a physician must select a medicine that covers the disease pathology. Due to this belief he was later called as a “Pathological Prescriber”. He said that “it is necessary to understand the pathology created by remedies on the organic level and it is pathology level which has to be treated”. While compiling the cyclopedia Dr. Hughes decided to eliminate all proving symptoms gained from the drugs at potencies above 6c.
- OPPOSITION TO CLINICAL SYMPTOMS
Dr. Hughes used and accepted only the symptoms of medicines which were developed during drug proving. In his book Cyclopedia of Drug, he added only the proved symptoms. According to him the proved symptoms have more value than other symptoms as other symptoms may be speculative and thus not genuine. He filtered materia medica by collecting only proved symptoms and discarding other symptoms like clinical symptoms.
- HOMOEOPATHY IS A THERAPEUTC METHOD
According to Dr. Hughes homoeopathy is a method of therapeutics based on symptom similarity and Hahnemann has introduced his own method of achieving this symptom similarity. Dr. Hughes believed that being practitioner we should focus on the method rather than any individual. So we should follow the system i.e. homoeopathy instead of any individual.
- VIEWS ON ORGANON OF MEDICINE
Dr. Hughes respected the Organon of Medicine and considered it as a master piece.
But in contrast to his contemporary homoeopaths, Dr. Hughes said that Organon was only useful till the 4th edition.
He did not believed in the theory of vital force, drug dynamisation, theory of chronic disease and theory of miasm.
Dr. Hughes wanted to substantiate Organon of Medicine with scientific explanation prevalent during his time.
- ADVOCATED ANIMAL PROVING
Dr. Hughes admired the drug proving process given by Dr. Hahnemann. Dr. Hughes referred Dr. Hahnemann as “Father of Experimental Pharmacology”. According to Dr. Hughes the symptoms produced in animal proving have the same value as those produced on human beings. He himself proved different drugs on animals, for e.g. he proved drosera on cats where tuberculosis type symptoms were produced.
- CRITICISM OF VITAL FORCE
Dr. Hughes criticized the concept of vital force which was introduced in 5th edition of Organon of Medicine.
- CRITICISM OF PSORA THEORY
Dr. Hughes logically established that the theory of miasm is equivalent to germ theory of modern science, at least in infectious diseases. According to him Hahnemann has held the invisible living creatures as the cause of cholera miasm. Naturally minute organisms have been referred to as miasm.
- CRITICISM OF DRUG DYANMAISATION
Dr. Hughes criticizes this doctrine. He says “I request you to reject these preparations not so much upon the ground of science and reasons as upon those of pharmacy. They are simple impossibilities, it has been calculated that to make the millionth potency as a single medicine according to Hahnemann’s instructions would require 2,000 gallons of alcohol and would occupy more than a year in the process which is practically impossible”
- RECONCILIATION BETWEEN ORTHODOX SYSTEM AND HOMOEOPATHY
Having a background from orthodox system Dr. Hughes imposed many limitations on his practice and concept of homoeopathy. He only believed in matching the disease symptoms with proved symptoms of medicine. He discarded some of the most important theories introduced by Dr. Hahnemann after 4th edition of Organon of Medicine.
He developed and practiced his own form of homoeopathy. He wanted that there should be some sort of reconciliation between the two systems for the sake of humanity and stated that the patient should receive a treatment that can help him in a better way.
- LOW POTENCY PRESCRIBER
Dr. Hughes mainly prescribed low potencies (3x, 6x up to 30c). He believed that high potencies have no scientific evidence to support them. He was known as a 3xer since he primarily used the 3x potency.
- EMPHASIS ON FURTHER RESEARCH IN HOMOEOPATHY
Dr. Hughes continuously criticized some theories of Dr. Hahnemann because he felt that they lacked the scientific validation. He compelled his followers to become research oriented and do further research rather than relying on labor of others.
- VIEWS OF ORTHODOX SYSTEM
Dr. Hughes believed that the orthodox system was more of applied science and lacked art, which was it weakness. He felt that system had deviated from the motto of serving humanity. He stated that maladies are studied with the eye of a naturalist rather than of the artist. According to him students of orthodox system are turned out thoroughly equipped with art of diagnosis but helpless in their treatment.
- Selection of similar medicine
Dr. Hughes had the opinion that while selecting the medicine there should be similarity between the generic, specific and individual action of drug and disease.
- Generic similarity: The drug should be capable of altering state of health and alteration should be in the same intensity as that of sickness.
- Specific similarity: Specific similarity can be found out by comparing the common ailments in disease and drug action like seat of action, kind of action, nature and etiology of modifying cause, character of pain and other sensations, concomitants. If these five points are found in drug then it is called a pathological simmilimum.
- Individual similarity: It includes the physical constitution, mental and moral state of patient, condition of aggravation and amelioration, sides of the body and times of the day at which symptoms occur.
Homoeopathy is a rational system of medicine, which encompasses science, art and philosophy. Different stalwarts worked an explored homoeopathy by following the path shown by Dr. Hahnemann. Some stressed on scientific aspect, where as some stressed more on philosophical aspect.
Dr. Hughes tried to explain homoeopathy in the light of contemporary modern science. He practiced homoeopathy in his own style.
It is up to you to understand the real motive of Dr. Hughes and accept his concepts as per your own judgment.
Dr Avinash Kaur
MD (scholar),Organon of Medicine
Sri Guru Nanak Dev Homoeopathic College and Hospital, Ludhiana, Punjab