Our Pioneers in Homoeopathy

hahnemann (2)Dr Achamma Lenu Thomas

Hahneman life history – Clarke
Samuel Frederick Christian Hahnemann was born at Meissen, in Saxony, on the 10th of April in the year 1755 as the third child of his parents. His father, Mr. Christian Godfried Hahnemann was a porcelain painter in a factory at Meissen. Johanna Christeana Speiss, who became the second wife of Godfried Hahnemann was his mother.

At the age of 20 he commenced his medical studies at Leipzig, and earned his living by translating into German foreign scientific works at the same time that he pursued his studies. After two years at Leipzig he removed to Vienna, to gain practical knowledge in the great hospitals there. He took his M. D. degree a Erlangen in 1779.

Hahnemann was an excellent linguist, being perfectly familiar with English, Italian, French, Greek, Latin, and Arabic.

Early years
Whilst yet a student he translated from English into German, among other works, Nugent’s Essay on Hydrophobia, Stedman’s Physiological Essays, and Ball’s Modern Practice of Physic. From 4779 onwards he contributed to periodical literature, and in 1784, at the age of 29, he published his first original work, On the Treatment of Chronic Ulcers. In this work he expressed pretty much the same sentiment as that I have quoted from Sir Andrew Clark as to the want of principle in medicine. He lamented “the absence of any principle for discovering the curative powers of medicines”.

After 1788 Hahnemann seems to have given up practice in disgust. In a letter to Hufeland, the Nestor of medicine of his day (to whose journal – Hufeland’s Journal – Hahnemann was a constant contributor), he says his withdrawal was chiefly occasioned by his disgust at the uncertainties of medical practice, owing to the want of any principle for the administration of drugs in disease. During this time he occupied himself with chemical researches and the translation of works on chemistry, agriculture, and medicine, from the English, French, and Italian.

Cinchona experiment
It was whilst engage in translating Cullen’s Materia Medica in 1790 that he made the classical observation which has proved to be to the science of drug study what the falling apple observed by the boy Newton has been to physical science. As his mind was always occupied with the search for some guiding principle for the selection of medicines in disease, he was struck with the unsatisfactory nature of Cullen’s explanation of the action of Cinchona bark in the cure of ague. That it did cure many cases of ague Hahnemann could not deny; and it occurred to him that if he took some of the drug when quite well he might obtain some clue to an explanation of its curative action. He took it in considerable quantities, and produced in himself all the symptoms of an ordinary attack of intermittent fever. The account of the experiment will be found in a footnote to page 108 of vol. II. of his translation of Cullen’s Materia Medica. Here Hahnemann was in possession of two related facts : Cinchona bark cured ague, and it also caused, in a sensitive, healthy person, symptoms indistinguishable from an attack of ague.

Five years later, in 1796, being then 41 years of age, he published in Hufeland’s Journal his essay on a New Principle for Discovering the Curative Powers of Drugs. In this essay he referred to his early note on Cullen, and said after mature experience he could day that not only probably, but quite certainly, bark cured ague because it had the power to produce fever. He quotes examples of well-known drug actions to support his proposition, and sketched in a masterly way the characteristic features of a number of drugs.

In 1805 – Hahnemann being now 50 years old – appeared two works of great importance : first, his Aesculapius in the Balance, which takes a general survey of traditional medicine and pronounces on it the verdict “weighed in the balances and found wanting” – a verdict which has since received very ample endorsement. Second, in two vols. in Latin, His Fragmenta de viribus medicamentorum positivis sive in sano corpore observatis (Fragments on the Positive Powers of Drugs, – that is to say, their effects observed in the healthy body). This contained the first effort towards the reconstruction of the Materia Medica on a rational basis of pure experiment on the healthy human body.

In 1806 appeared his Medicine of Experience, in which is contained the first complete exposition of the homoeopathic method now thoroughly thought out by him after sixteen years of unremitting work – observation, experiment, and research. This was published in Hufeland’s Journal – that is to say, in the leading professional journal of this time. The same year Hahnemann published the last work he translated – Haller’s Materia Medica, Haller being one of Hahnemann’s forerunners in recommending the testing of drugs on the healthy body; but Haller did nothing towards carrying his recommendation into effect.
In 1807 Hahnemann first used the word “Homoeopathic”
in the title of a work – an article also contributed to Hufeland’s Journal – on “Indications of the Homoeopathic Employment of Medicines in Ordinary Practice;”

The year 1810 may be said to be the birth-year of Homeopathy, for in that year appeared the first edition of the Organon, which is and expansion of the Medicine of Experience, and a complete statement of the Homoeopathic method. The publication of Hahnemann’s Organon marks an epoch in the history of therapeutics. It constitutes a complete, practical, and philosophical statement of the art of cure. Four other editions of the work followed the first; the fifth edition appearing in 1833.

Chronic disease
By this time Hahnemann’s fame as a practitioner had spread far and wide. The result was that invalids flocked to the little town of Coethen in search of his aid. The majority of these were affected with ailments of long standing, and thus it came about that Hahnemann had abundant opportunity of observing the symptoms and course of chronic diseases, and in amplifying and perfecting the homoeopathic means of curing them. In Coethen there was comparatively little in the way of acute illness to distract him from this special line of work. It was during this period that Hahnemann’s first work on Chronic Diseases was written and the first edition was published. In 1828 the first three volumes appeared, nine years after his arrival in Coethen. The fourth volume was published in 1830, and the fifth not till after the Coethen period, when Hahnemann had removed to Paris.

In 1831 cholera invaded Germany from the East. On its approach, on the basis of the therapeutic rules, Hahnemann fixed up on the remedies specific for it and printed direction to be circulated all over the country. As a prophylactic and remedy for the first stage of cholera, he recommended camphor and in advanced cases, 2nd and 3rd stages Cuprum, Veratrum. Bryonia and Rhus tox. The treatment recommended by Hahnemann soon proved to be successful and even medical boards recommended his procedure.

On March 31, 1830, Hahnemann had the misfortune to lose his first wife, he being then near the completion of his seventy-fifth year. She had been the stay and companion of his stormy life, and had borne him eleven children, two sons and nine daughters.
Second wife – life in paris

Nearly five years after this event there came to Coethen among the number of those who sought the aid of the modern Aesculapius, the brilliant and talented Mélanie d’Hervilly Gohier. As all the world knows, the acquaintance ended in the second marriage of Hahnemann, he then being in his eightieth year, and his bride thirty-five. But it was anything but an ill-assorted match, for all that. The second Madame Hahnemann perceived that her husband might fill a much larger sphere of usefulness of he left Coethen and made his home in Paris. Thither she induced him to travel, and through her influence with the Government of the time she obtained for Hahnemann a license to practise in the French capital.

A student of science, an artist, and something of an anatomist as well, under her husband’s tuition, she rapidly developed no little skill in the practice of medicine and homoeopathy. She became practically his assistant, as it was impossible for Hahnemann to attend to all who came to see him. Madame Hahnemann acted as his protector, and would not allow more to have access to him than he could attend to. For eight years the Hahnemann’s led in Paris a life of great activity and unclouded happiness, the centre of a brilliant circle. Hahnemann’s presence in Paris gave a great impetus to the study and practice of homoeopathy, and the influence of his work in that city remains to this day. On Sunday, July 2, 1843, at the age of eighty nine , he breathed his last. He was buried in the cemetery of Montmartre.

COMPARISON of fifth and sixth editions of Organon: In sixth,

  1. Aphorism.11 undergone alterations .Footnote answering “What is dynamic influence and what is dynamic power? 
  2. Aphs .52-56 entirely re-modelled.
  3. 56-57 –Palliative treatment of individual symptoms.
  4. Aphs .60 & 74– in footnotes explains his attitude towards Broussas cure.
  5. Aphs.148- diseases are always cured by a spirit like, hostile agency.So we should administer an artificial potency as similarly harmful to life as possible.
  6. 246-248—Abandons single dose and wait method and recommends to give medicines daily till the completion of cure from lower degrees of potencies to higher in chronic diseases .Chronic diseases yield more quickly under the effect of different gradations of potencies than with repeated doses of the same dilution.
  7. 248—How the individual doses are to be applied,diluted with water for daily use in chronic diseases.
  8. 265- Physicians should prepare and dispense medicines themselves –
  9. 269– Footnote–seeks to explain dynamisation with reference to other processes in the nature.
  10. 270- -50 millesimal – footnote – Techniques of preparations of triturations and dilutions ,according to centesimal system & globules preparations.
  11. 271-272 –Preparations of potencies further described.
  12. 273- Use of double remedies-absolutely inadmissible.
  13. 276–Danger of too large or too frequently repeated doses is described.
  14. 280 – 282 -Enlarge upon 247.
  15. 282-Footnote-Requires large doses of medicines in the treatment of psora,syphilis doses of their specific remedy is to be taken daily,and. in case of need, several times a day and the degree of dynamism should continually ascend.
  16. 284-Foot note importance of giving medicine for pregnant women or during the suckling period in preventing the chronic disease in infants, by inheritance

Baron Clemens Maria Franz Von Boenninghausen  (1785-1864)
Clemens Maria Franz Baron von Boenninghausen was one of the closest follower and friend of Hahnemann. He was born in Netherlands on 12 March 1785, on the ancestral estate of Heringhaven in Oberyssel. He was the son of Ludwig Ernest von Boenninghausen and Theresia. He was a Baron by inheritance, a lawyer by profession and an agriculturist by inclination.
In 1824 he became Director of the Botanical Gardens of Munster, retaining this position for several years. He came to be known as “Sage of Munster”.

In autumn of 1827 he suffered from pulmonary purulent tuberculosis. His health continued to decline until the spring of 1828, when all hope of his recovery was given up. At this time he wrote a letter to his close friend, Dr. August Weihe, who was the first homoeopathic physician in the province of Rhineland and Westphalia, though Boenninghausen was ignorant of this fact. Weihe was deeply moved by the news and replied to Boenninghausen’s letter immediately, requesting a detailed account of his symptoms and expressing the hope that he might be able to save a friend whom he valued so highly. In response to the reply that Boenninghausen sent to this letter, Weihe prescribed ‘Pulsatilla’, which Boenninghausen took, following also the course of advice that Weihe gave him regarding hygienic measures. Boenninghausen’s recovery was gradual but constant, so that by the end of the summer he was considered as cured.

This event transformed Boenninghausen into a firm believer in Homœopathy
From 1830 Boenninghausen was in close touch with Hahnemann, until the end of Hahnemann’s life. His literary work was hampered by the permission to practice freely, and he did not publish his books as frequently after that event, although he spent much time at that labor.

Of his seven sons the two eldest chose homoeopathy as their profession, which was a great joy to him. The elder of these sons later went to Paris where he married the adopted daughter of Hahnemann’s widow. He lived with Madame Hahnemann and her daughter, and had access to Hahnemann’s library and manuscripts.


  •  The Cure of Cholera and Its Preventatives, 1831
  • Repertory of the Antipsoric Medicines, with a preface by Hahnemann, 1932
  • Summary View of the Chief Sphere of Operation of the Antipsoric Remedies and of their Characteristic Peculiarities, as an Appendix to their Repertory, 1833
  • An Attempt at a Homoeopathic Therapy of Intermittent Fever, 1833
  • Contributions to a Knowledge of the Peculiarities of Homoeopathic Remedies, 1833
  • Homoeopathic Diet and a Complete Image of a Disease, 1833
  • Homoeopathy, a Manual for the Non-Medical Public, 1834
  • Repertory of the Medicines which are not Antipsoric, 1935
  • Attempt at Showing the Relative Kinship of Homoeopathic Medicines, 1836
  • Therapeutic Manual for Homoeopathic Physicians, for use at the sickbed and in the study of the Materia Medica Pura, 1846
  • Brief Instructions for Non-Physicians as to the Prevention and Cure of Cholera, 1849
  • The Two Sides of the Human Body and Relationships. Homoeopathic Studies, 1853
  • The Homoeopathic Domestic Physician in Brief, Therapeutic Diagnoses – An Attempt, 1853
  • The Homoeopathic Treatment of Whooping Cough in its Various Forms, 1860
  • The Aphorisms of Hippocrates, with Notes by a Homoeopath, 1863
  • Attempt at a Homœopathic Therapy of Intermittent and Other Fevers, especially for would be homoeopaths – Second augmented and revised edition. Part 1. The Pyrexy, 1864

Boenninghausen’s Classics include his Classification of characteristic symptoms and the compilation of the repertory of antipsoric remedies. He classified characteristic symptoms into Quis, Quid, Ubi, Quibus auxilus, Cur, Quomodo and Quando.

Constantine Hering (1800-1880)
Dr. Constantine Hering, the “father” of homoeopathy in America, was born on the midnight of January 1, 1800 in the town of Oschatz in Saxony (now in Eastern Germany). He grew up in a religious household.

Conversion to Homoeopathy
In 1817 he attended the Surgical Academy of Dresden for three years and from 1820 he studied medicine at Leipzig University. While at Leipzig he was the student-assistant of Dr. Henrich Robbi, an antagonist of homoeopathy. Dr. Robbi was a critic of Hahnemann and like other physicians ridiculed Homoeopathy and Hahnemann.

In the winter of 1824, Hering received a dissecting wound. The forefinger of his right hand was cut that became inflamed, infected and gangrenous. He was advised to have his hand amputated. Kummer, a disciple of Hahnemann prescribed Arsenic album and he recovered completely. Hering was surprised and his interest in homoeopathy grew. He contacted Hahnemann for further instructions and light on homoeopathy.

Instead of writing the negative review, he immediately quit the job and left the University to become one of the most influential proponents of homeopathy of all time. Hering graduated from the University of Leipzig in 1826. In his doctoral thesis titled, “De Medicina Futura”, Hering declared himself to be a homoeopath.

In the years of 1827-1833, Hering was sent to Paramaribo, Surinam by the King where he conducted Zoological and Botanical research for his government. Soon after, the King attempted to prevent Hering from publishing his homeopathic findings, but instead, Hering resigned the post and became the Physician-in-Attendance for the governor of Surinam’s capitol, Paramaribo.

Hering and Lachesis
Hering accidentally proved the remedy Lachesis while he was triturating the Bushmaster’s venom in his home-laboratory in Paramaribo. He was attempting to find an improved substitute for the cowpox inoculation that Jenner was developing in Britain, which Hering felt was extremely dangerous and very heavy-handed for homeopathy. His interest and experience with snake venom led him to surmise that the saliva of a rabid dog, or powdered smallpox scabs, or any other disease products, viruses, or venom’s, might be prepared in the new Hahnemannian way to give a fail-safe method of curing disease. He unwittingly paralyzed his right side from further self-testing of higher and higher attenuations of Lachesis. Hering stayed in Paramaribo for six years and then emigrated to America and settled in Philadelphia in 1833.

Hering and Homoeopathy
In 1848 he chartered the Hahnemann Medical College at Allentown, Pennsylvania, which was considered to be one of greatest homeopathic teaching institutions of all time and devised the Homoeopathic Domestic Kit. Hering and his students treated over 50,000 patients a year and trained a total of 3500 homeopaths.

Hering began organizing his voluminous notes into his classic “The Guiding Symptoms of Our Materia Medica” the year before he died, in 1879, and it was completed by his students and published posthumously in 1891.Hering was the first to use nitroglycerine in medicine for headaches and heart problems (30 years before its first use in orthodox medicine). He suddenly died one evening of a heart attack after returning from a house call to a patient on 23 June 1880.
Hering is popularly known as “Father of American Homeopathy”. His influence extended across the USA with the result that homoeopathy flourished in that country for about 70 years. He believed that “The force of gentleness is great.”


  • A Concise View of the Rise and Progress of Homoeopathic Medicine, 1833
  • The Homoeopathist, or Domestic Physician, 2 volumes, 1835
  • Hahnemann’s Three Rules Concerning the Rank of Symptoms
  • Analytical Therapeutics
  • The Guiding Symptoms of Our Materia Medica, 10 volumes, 1879 – 1891
  • He was the Chief Editor of ‘North American Homoeopathic Journal’, ‘The Homoeopathic News’, ‘The American Journal of Homoeopathic Materia Medica’.
  • Hering proved 72 drugs, including Cantharis, Colchicum, Iodium, Mezereum, Sabadilla, Sabina, Psorinum, Nux moschata, Lachesis, Crotalus, Apis, Hydrophobinum, Phytolacca, Platina, Glonoine, Gelsemium, Kalmia, Ferrum met, Fluoric acid, Phosphoric acid, etc

James Tyler Kent (1849-1916)
Dr. James Tyler Kent was born in Woodhull, New York, on 31 March 1849. After completing two undergraduate degrees by the age of 21, Kent undertook two postgraduate courses at the Eclectic Medical Institute of Cincinnati, Ohio. At 26 years of age he set up practice as an eclectic physician in St Louis, Missouri and soon became a distinguished member of the Eclectic National Medical Association.

In 1928, Kent’s second wife, Lucy, became ill. In spite of Lucy’s symptoms of “nervous weakness, insomnia, and anaemia” being treated by both orthodox and eclectic physicians, her condition continued to deteriorate and she was bedridden for months. Under ridicule and opposition from Kent, the homoeopathic physician, Dr Richard Phelan was called in to see Lucy. Following his prescription, she made a dramatic recovery. As a result, Kent elected to study with Phelan and changed his allegiance from eclecticism to homoeopathy. He considered homoeopathy to be the only therapy that was guided by laws and principles and the only one to address the fundamental cause of illness.

He then became a student of Hahnemann’s Organon and other works of the new school, that resulted in his complete conversion to homoeopathy, his resignation from the Eclectic Medical Association in 1879 and his appointment to the chair of Anatomy in the Homoeopathic Medical College of Missouri, which he held from 1881 until 1883, was appointed professor of Materia Medica at the Homoeopathic Medical College of St Louis, Missouri, from 1883 until 1888, became professor of Materia Medica and Dean of the Post-Graduates’ School of Homœopathy at the Hahnemann Medical College (Philadelphia) and occupied the chair of professor of Materia Medica at the Hering Medical College and Hospital, Chicago. During this period, Kent’s second wife died.

Both Lectures on Homoeopathic Philosophy and Lectures on Homoeopathic Materia Medica were compiled by Kent’s students from notes they had taken during class lectures. In 1916, his students insisted he take a holiday. Kent agreed, deciding he would write a “proper” book. Not long after commencing his vacation, his catarrhal bronchitis developed into Bright’s disease (glomerulonephritis) and he died 2 weeks later, on 6 June 1916 at Stevensville, Montana.


  • Repertory of the Homoeopathic Materia Medica (1897) – Initially compiled by him for his own use. Other homoeopaths began asking for their own copies. Revised by his widow Clara (and others) up to 1961. Forms the basis of many of the more recent repertories.
  • What the Doctor Needs to Know in Order to Make a Successful Prescription (1900)
  • Lectures on Homoeopathic Philosophy (1900)
  • Lectures on Homoeopathic Materia Medica (1904). Drawn from his lectures on remedies from Hering’s Guiding Symptoms of our Materia Medica.
  • New Remedies, Clinical Cases, Lesser Writings, Aphorisms and Precepts (1926).
  • High potency prescription (200C and above for chronic cases)
  • Single remedy prescribing
  • Emphasis on “Mentals” and “Generals”
  • “Wait and Watch” methodology from the 4th Edition Organon (the dry dose medicine was not repeated until all improvement from the previous dose had ceased)
  • Kent discovered that just as there are octaves of musical tones, so there are octaves in the simple substance, through which it is possible to correspond with the various planes of the interior organism of the animal cells. These planes correspond to similar remedy in 30th, 200th, 1M, 10M, 50M, CM, DM and MM potencies. He found that when the action of 30th is completed the patient needs the 200th potency to keep him under the remedial action for a time, but when the action of 200th potency is exhausted, the patient requires 1M potency of the same remedy and so on.
  • Kent proved drugs like Alumina phos, Alumina silicata, Aurum ars, Aurum iod, Calcarea silicata, etc.

Cyrus Maxwell Boger (1861-1935)
Dr. Cyrus Maxwell Boger was born on May 13, 1861 in western Pennsylvania, the son of Cyrus and Isabelle Maxwell Boger.

He graduated in pharmacy from the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and later in medicine from Hahnemann Medical College of Philadelphia.He settled in Parkersburg in 1888 and engaged himself in the practice of medicine, patients consulting him from neighboring states and from distant states and countries.

He devoted all his time to teaching and writing but never gave up his practice. However, he frequently lectured before scientific audiences at the Pulte Medical College in Cincinnati and was a teacher of philosophy, Materia Medica, and repertory study in the American Foundation for Homoeopathy Postgraduate School from 1924 until his death.


  • He was a devoted follower of the Boenninghausen method of a repertory study.
  • Boger, a German scholar, brought Boenninghausen’s Characteristics and Repertory into the English Language in 1905 – Boger Boenninghausen’s Characteristics and Repertory
  • Edition of Boenninghausen’s Therapeutic Pocket Book
  • Boenninghausen’s Antipsorics
  • Studies in the Philosophy of Healing
  • Study of Materia Medica and Case Taking
  • Boger’s Diphtheria, The Homoeopathic Therapeutics of
  • A Synoptic Key of the Materia Medica
  • General Analysis with Card Index
  • Samarskite-A Proving
  • The Times of the Remedies and Moon Phases – which characterize the Appearance and Aggravation of the Symptoms and their Remedies
  • Alphabetic Repertory of Homoeopathic Remedies
  • Editor of Homoeopathic Recorder

He died on September 2, 1935, aged 74, from food poisoning after eating a tin of home-preserved tomatoes.

Dr. John Martin Honigberger
The history of homoeopathy in India is linked with the French Physician Dr. Honigberger.
Dr. Honigberger arrived at Lahore in 1829-30. His first patient at Lahore was the adopted son of General Allard. His fame spread only when he cured some soldiers who had been bitten by a mad jackal and were beginning to signs of hydrophobia.

Maharaja Ranjit Singh was impressed by him when he treated his favorite horse of its bad ulcers of the leg. He was later invited to treat Maharaja Ranjit Singh of Punjab who was seriously ill.

Being homesick, Honigberger returned back in 1834. Next year he went to Paris and met Dr. Hahnemann. In 1836, he went to Vienna and suffered from an infection of cholera and was treated by Ipecac. He then set up his practice in Constantinople. On learning that Maharaja Ranjit Singh wanted him back, he reached Lahore in 1839. Later he stayed on in Lahore even after the death of the Maharaja and wrote a book about his experiences – ‘Thirty five Years in the East’.

It can be said that Dr. Honigberger was the first man to introduce the name of Dr. Hahnemann and his healing art to India.

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