Role of diet and mode of living in chronic disease according to Dr Samuel Hahnemann

Dr Monica Moses Lobo

INTRODUCTION
As to the diet and mode of living of a patient to be followed in the treatment of chronic disease, Dr Samuel Hahnemann gives general remarks (for all chronic disease), leaving the special application in any particular case to the judgement of the homoeopathic practitioner.

A strict homoeopathic diet and mode of living does not cure the patient, but the main cause that is medical treatment is essential. Therefore, along with medical intervention, the dietary restrictions and regimen should be followed for the cure to ensue.1

Dr Samuel Hahnemann also mentions about diet and regimen in the aphorisms 259 to 263. According to Dr Hahnemann, for the small doses to act, considering its minuteness- all the things must be removed from the diet and regimen which can have a medicinal action. Therefore, careful investigation into these obstacles is required.2    

INSTRUCTIONS: 

MODE OF LIVING:

  1. Daily labourers: if his strength permits, he can continue his work.

Artist: can continue his handiworks.

Farmer: his field work can be carried on.

Mother: her domestic works according to her strength. 

Therefore only those labours which would interfere with the health must be avoided.

  1. Men with sedentary works: should walk in open air by setting their work aside.
  2. Higher class men: should walk more than they usually do.                                                 To this class, Dr Hahnemann gives the following instructions- 

Allowed-only innocent amusement in moderation is allowed like dancing, amusements in the country but with strict diet, social meeting in which conversations is the main amusement, enjoying harmless music and can listen to lectures which are not tiring.

Not allowed- playing cards, intercourse that can be morally, psychically, physically injurious, flirtations, empty excitation between 2 sexes, reading indelicate novels, poems and superstitious enthusiastic books. Use of perfumes, scented water as, tooth powders and other medicines for teeth must be forbidden. 

For intercourse exception is married ones as they cannot or may never obey it.

  1. Scholars: moderate exercise in open air is recommended, in case of bad weather can do light mechanical work indoors. But during the medical treatment, the mental work should be limited. Straining the head by reading is not allowed. Else if the reading is necessary then the quantity and quality of what is to read should be defined. And if it’s the case of mental disorders then reading is strictly not allowed.
  2. Domestic medicines: all classes of chronic patients should be forbidden from the use of domestic medicines or any kind of medicine. 
  3. Clothing: for people who are accustomed to wear woollen under clothing, suddenly to make a change is difficult, but as the disease diminishes the woollen under-garments to be changed to cotton and then to linen in warm weather. Fontanels can be stopped in chronic disease of any moment only when the internal cure has already made progress, especially with patients of older age.
  4. Baths: customary home baths to be avoided rather quick ablutions as much as cleanliness may be allowed.
  5. No venesection or cupping is permitted.1  

DIETARY INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Men who are sufferers of a lingering disease can have some limitations, if the chronic disease does not have any abdominal complaint. 

Lower classes- no very strict restrictions, especially if the patient is able to do his daily work, thus giving motion to his body

Poor man’s diet- he can recover with a diet of salt and bread, moderate use of potatoes, flour- porridge, fresh cheese with the limited use of condiments of onions and pepper with his meagre diet.

  1. Drinks: most difficult for a homoeopathic physician is the decision as to drinks. 

Coffee – (‘Effects of coffee’ in 1803, Leipzig, Germany). It is to be avoided. Young people (20-30yrs) who are used to drinking coffee can suddenly deprive of it, without any particular disadvantage. But with persons above 30yrs of age, where they are used to consume coffee since childhood, then it is better to discontinue gradually. Older people who are unwilling to do without, small quantity of intake can be advised. Rye or wheat roasted in a drum like coffee and the boiled and prepared can be used, instead of coffee. It smells and tastes like coffee.

Chinese tea- it inevitably infests and weakens the nerves. Harmless warm drinks can be replaced for the same.

Wine- in the context of consumption of wine, the physician can be lenient. Because for chronic patients it is hard to completely forbid it. They cannot suddenly stop it. And if they do so, then there will be sudden sinking of their strength and an obstruction to their cure. Therefore, they can be allowed during the 1st week – wine mixed with equal parts of water and gradually increase it to 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 parts of water with little sugar. The latter can be taken as beverage by all chronic patients. 

Whisky and brandy- these are to be given up completely. There should be gradual reduction in the quantity followed by complete cessation. Instead of whisky, wine can be allowed with several parts of water. 

Beer- it has additions of vegetable substances to the extract of malt, it undermines the health when used daily. So the consumption of beer, white (thin) beer and porter is not allowed. 

  1. Dishes containing vinegar or citric acid and very acidic fruits- to be avoided by those people who are suffering with nervous and abdominal ailments as it antagonizes the effect of medicine. Sweet fruits can be allowed in moderation. 

Baked prunes- patients use these as a palliative for constipation. This is to be avoided.

Veal which is too young- is to be avoided by people who suffer with weak digestion.

Young chicken, eggs, spice of vanilla, truffles- is to be avoided by people with low sexual power.

Saffron, cinnamon- women who have scanty menses should avoid them. 

Cinnamon, cloves, amomum, pepper, ginger, bitter substances- should be avoided with people with weak stomach. 

Vegetables which cause flatulence- avoided in cases of abdominal troubles, constipation and costiveness. 

  1. Allowed- beef, good wheat bread or rye bread, cow’s milk, moderate use of fresh butter, little salt. This is the most harmless food for men and chronic patients. 

Next to beef in wholesomeness is mutton, venison, grown chicken, young pigeons.

The flesh and fat of geese and ducks is less permitted than pork.

  1. Pickled smoked meat – it should be rarely used and in small quantities.
  2. Fish- of better quality should be used. It is to be prepared by boiling, using sauces sparingly and not the spices. Fish dried in air should not be consumed and smoked salted fish (herring and sardines) should be used rarely and sparingly.
  3. Herbs- sprinkling chopped raw herbs on soups, putting pot herbs into vegetables to be avoided. 
  4. Old rancid cheese- should be avoided.
  5. Tobacco smoking- smoking in some cases may be permitted, when the patient is accustomed to the use of it and it he does not expectorate. Otherwise, smoking should be limited. Especially if mental activity, digestion or evacuation is defective. And if the smoking is causing evacuations regularly, then smoking should be completely stopped. Further the same result is to be obtained by administering appropriate antipsoric remedy. 

Snuff- it causes great hindrance in the cure of chronic disease as it acts as a palliative. The snuff has medicinal liquors which almost touches the nerves of the inner nose and leads to injuries just a foreign medicine was taken. Therefore the use of snuff must be completely stopped.1  

  1. Further in the footnote 140 of aphorism 260,

Diet- Dr Hahnemann advises that highly spiced dishes, sauces, spiced cakes, ices, roots and stalks which have medicinal properties, asparagus with long tips, hops and meat in the state of decomposition to be avoided.

Mode of living- frequent indulgence in mere passive exercise( riding, driving, swimming), prolonged suckling, taking a long siesta in a recumbent position in bed, sitting up long at night, suppressed intercourse to prevent conception, over exertion of mind and body especially after meals, dwelling in marshy districts, damp rooms, penurious living is to be avoided.2 

“Moderation in all things, even in harmless ones, is the chief duty of chronic patients”1

CERTAIN WORD MEANINGS: 

  1. Amusement- the feeling caused buy something that makes you laugh.
  2. Ablution- the act of washing yourself clean.
  3. Linger (lingering disease) – to stay somewhere or to do something for longer than usual. 
  4. Meagre (meagre diet) – too small in amount.
  5. Porter- a dark style of beer.
  6. Truffles- a strong smelling underground fungus. Also a soft sweet made of chocolate mixture.
  7. Costiveness- constipation.
  8. Venison- a meat of deer.
  9. Siesta- a short sleep or rest that people take in the afternoon.3

CONCLUSION
The above mentioned are the general instructions given by Dr Hahnemann, which is applied for all chronic patients. But in specific, each disease will have its own obstacles to cure. As the homoeopathic medicines are administered in small dose, it is the duty of us as homoeopaths to advise our patients to avoid all these things which can hinder the action of the remedy. Therefore, we should have the knowledge of diet and mode of living so that we can advise them to our patients.  

REFERENCES

  1. Hahnemann S. The chronic disease their peculiar nature and their homoeopathic cure. B Jain Publishers 2011; 123-130.
  2. Hahnemann, S. and Boericke, W. (2002). Organon of medicine. 6th ed. B Jain Publishers; pp.281-282.
  3.  Dictionary.cambridge.org. (2020). Cambridge Dictionary | English Dictionary, Translations & Thesaurus. [online] Available at: https://dictionary.cambridge.org/ [Accessed 4 Mar. 2020].

Dr. Monica Moses Lobo
PG scholar Organon of medicine and homoeopathic philosophy
GHMC & H, Bengaluru.

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