Spirit of Homoeopathic Doctrine of Medicine

Review on Spirit of The Homoeopathic Doctrine of Medicine by Dr Samuel Hahnemann

Dr Sulochana
Is one of the Lesser writings of Dr Samuel Hahnemann, this essay appeared in a journal in 1813, again published in 1833 in 2nd edition of Materia medica Pura

  • It is impossible to divine – internal essential nature of disease and their effects in the hidden parts of the body, to frame a system based on hypothetical surmises and assumptions, the medicinal properties of remedies by chemical theories, smell, colour, taste and also inappropriate to apply these substance in the treatment of disease, as they are hurtful when wrongly administered.
  • Physician should perceive – what is curable in disease, how to know curative property of medicine, how they should be applied in the treatment.
  • What is life? – no conception about life can be formed by any metaphysical speculation, or cannot be guessed. Human life is in no respect regulated by purely physical laws, which obtained only among inorganic substances. 
  • The material substance, which human organism composed of are regulated by the law’s peculiar to vitality alone. This vital fundamental power maintains in the whole system a condition of sensibility and activity, which preserves the living whole. 
  • Healthy state of an organism depends solely on the state of the life which animates it, in like manner altered state, which we term disease is a condition altered originally only in its vital sensibilities and functions, irrespective of all chemical or mechanical principles.
  • Exciting cause of the disease acts only in a dynamic manner, very similar to spiritual manner, they first derange the organs of the higher rank and of the vital force, leading to a state of derangement and dynamic alteration of the living whole producing an altered sensation and an altered activity whereby there also occurs secondarily alteration of juices in our vessels and secretion of abnormal matters. 
  • These abnormal matters are products of disease itself, constitute a portion of the morbid signs and symptoms, whereby these can be the object of treatment in every case of disease.
  • Diseases can be removed by means of agents and powers which have the capability of producing dynamic derangement of the human health i.e., cured virtually and dynamically by medicines.
  • Medicines have the power of curing diseases and also morbidly affecting the healthy and their curative property can only be known when they produce morbid signs and symptoms on healthy individuals.
  • Three possible modes of employing medicines:
  1. Medicines capable of producing in the healthy body a different(allopathic) affection from that exhibited by the disease to be cured. 
  2. Medicines capable of exciting in the healthy individual an opposite (enantiopathic, antipathic) state to that of the case to be cured.
  3. Medicines producing a similar (homoeopathic) state to the natural disease.
  • Medicines acting heterogeneously and allopathically rarely cures. Medicines acting antipathically, acts only in palliative manner cannot bring permanent cure. According to Law of nature, employment of every medicines produces at first certain dynamic changes and morbid symptoms in the living human body (primary action) but on the other hand by means of a peculiar antagonism a state the very opposite to the first (secondary action). E.g: narcotic substances produce insensibility in primary action, sensitiveness to pain in the secondary.
  • There remains only a third mode of employing medicines in order to affect a really beneficial result, capable of producing similar(homoeopathic) morbid affection to the disease to be cured.
  • E.g. 1) Burning pain produced by boiling water on skin is overpowered and destroyed by approaching moderately burnt hand to fire or by bathing uninterruptedly with heated alcohol(or turpentine) which causes still more burning, which lasts for few minutes, while the organism homoeopathically freed by them from the inflammation occasioned by the burn, soon restores the injury of the skin and forms a new epidermis through which the spirit can no longer penetrate.
  • 2) Frost bitten limb is restored to normal temperature by applying to it snow or rubbing it with ice cold water.
  • First law of nature – “the living organism is incomparably less capable of being affected by natural diseases, than by medicines”.
  • Individual is so little liable to be affected by injurious agencies, that they can never unconditionally make him ill, and that the human organism is capable of being deranged to disease by them only by means of particular predisposition.
  • Medicines – artificial dynamic agents, acts at all time, all circumstances, on every living animated body and excites the symptoms peculiar to it. Medicinal agents possess an absolute power of deranging health, where as the morbific agents possess only a very conditional power.
  • Second natural law – “a stronger dynamic affection permanently extinguishes the weaker in the living organism, provided the former be similar in kind to latter” – in order cure to take should should fulfill this law.
  • Dose – smallest dose is useful to cure, spiritual power of medicine does not depend on quantity, but on potentiality and quality, larger dose is dangerous and causes complex diseases.

Dr Hahnemann in Organon of medicine mentions following aphorisms

  • Aphorism 3 – he is a true practitioner of healing art, if he knows knowledge of disease, medicinal power and their curative action, choice of remedy, mode of preparation, proper dose and finally obstacles to recovery and how to remove them. 
  • Aphorism 9 – Vital force maintains organism in admirable, harmonious, vital operation as regards both sensation and function.
  • Aphorism 23 – allopathic or antipathic method of treatment, after transient alleviation, they break forth again in increased intensity and leads to aggravation.
  • Aphorism 26 – Nature’s law of cure.
  • Aphorism 30 – human body appears to admit of being much more powerfully affected in its health by medicines than by natural morbid stimuli.
  • Aphorism 31 – the inimical forces, partly physical, partly psychical which are morbific noxious agents, do not possess the power of morbidly deranging the health of man unconditionally. 
  • Aphorism 32 – artificial morbific agents which we term medicines acts unconditionally.
  • Aphorism 53 – the true mild cure take place only according to the homoeopathic method; this healing art rests upon an eternal infallible law of nature.
  • Aphorism 68 – small doses of medicines is just sufficient to overpower and remove the similar natural disease. 

References :

  1. Samuel Hahnemann, The Lesser writings of Samuel Hahnemann. Spirit of the Homoeopathic Doctrine of medicine, 1st edition. New Delhi, B.Jain publisher, 1984;617-631.
  2. Samuel Hahnemann, Organon of medicine, fifth and sixth edition combined, New Delhi; B Jain publishers Ltd, 2011.

Dr. Sulochana K
PG scholar
Dept of Organon of medicine and Homoeopathic Philosophy
GHMC, Bengaluru     

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