Dr Samuel Hahnemann
In short, he was the founder of Homeopathy.
In 1810 he published the first of six editions of The Organon, the
theory and practice of homeopathy. This remains today the most important
manual for the serious homeopath. Many have tried to say that parts
are no longer valid. This usually means they wish to compromise
the possibility of cure. Much of what Hahnemann wrote demands deep
study and may require several months or years of meditation before
its full purport is understood. So if quick means are desired, parts
of the Organon are discarded.
Later Hahnemann observed that not everyone was cured and so he
turned his energies to understand why certain groups were helped
and others not. He devoted himself to study for eight years and
was able to discover the deep root of humanity’s suffering
and the application necessary to overcome it. The fruits of his
work can be found in Chronic Diseases, Their Peculiar Nature and
Their Homeopathic Cure.
He lived a long and fruitful life, born in 1755 in Meissen, Germany
and ending his life in Paris in 1843.
In The Organon of Medicine Hahnemann expounds fully his system
of medical treatment, including the fundamental principles on which
it is based as well as clear directions and advice on every aspect
of practice. The first edition came out in 1810, and it appeared
in a further five editions, each incorporating minor changes or
adaptations as his study and experience progressed. The sixth edition
was not published until many years after his death. It remains the
cornerstone of homeopathic study and practice.
The Vital Force
The Vital Force is an internal force which exists in a person
and takes care of all the processes of life. Its operation is in
the direction of preserving life; it functions automatically and
with absolute supremacy. In health it takes hold of all vital operations
of the person in a unique way, keeping all the processes of life
and the material being in harmony and order. It is due to its order
of function that it retains the blood in the vessels, the iron in
the spleen, the electricity in the nerves and the air in the lungs.
In the diseased person the vital operation works in the direction
of cure, but without successful results, because its function is
When things are kept in order they are kept separated, everything
in its place; but when things are confused the result will be disorder
which disturbs the harmonic flow of life. This disturbance is the
first phenomenon of disease. As a result of this we may see eruptions
on the skin or a nose bleed. This is disorder. Disorder is the expression
of disease. Death is the extreme point of this disorder. Order is
the expression of health. The vital force is responsible for expressing
the state of health of a person through signs and symptoms.
Adapted from 24 Chapters in Homeopathy by J. Reves
Law of Similars
The full scope of the Law of Similars was first understood by
Samuel Hahnemann although others before him had had some idea of
What Hahnemann found was that the medicine given to a healthy person
produced symptoms both of the mind and body. These symptoms he recorded.
A patient suffering naturally has his case recorded, including symptoms
of mind and body. Hahnemann found that the best medicine was always
the one that had produced symptoms most similar to the patient’s
It is possible to find similarity between one symptom and another,
between one group of symptoms and another, but the true cure can
only occur when the similarity is found between the totality of
the symptoms of the medicine and the totality of the symptoms of
the patient. Homeopathy is the treatment of the totality not the
treatment of separate parts.
The understanding of Chronic Disease demands the study of the
history of the patient as well as the presenting picture. There
are diseases of short duration, usually accompanied by fever. These
are termed acute diseases. Chronic disease lasts the whole life
of the patient and gradually increases over the years. Only through
the study of the patient’s life of suffering and maybe also
his family history, is it possible to understand his chronic disease
in its entirety.
Chronic disease is a result of suppressing an earlier impression.
Hahnemann termed these earlier impressions Psora, Syphilis and Sycosis.
There is both a physical and, perhaps more importantly, psychical
and spiritual aspect to the understanding of these impressions called
miasms. They represent the life of the person who is now suffering
from them. A pure life will manifest as a pure person, a distorted
life will manifest as a distorted person, out of tune with his environment.
Dr Hahnemann studied humanity to understand the development of
disease over the last thousands of years. He wrote his findings
in Chronic Diseases.
The majority of remedies are prescribed in a potentised state
produced by a standardised process of trituration, serial dilution
and succussion known as ‘potentisation’. Potentisation
increases the potential therapeutic action of remedies. A remedy
is homeopathic only by virtue of its ability to produce similar
symptoms in the healthy to that of the patient it is prescribed
Taken from ECCH Constitution p2 section 2.8 http://www.homeopathy-ecch.org
Homeopathy is based upon the principles of similars, totality
of symptoms and the correct selection of medicine, potency and dose.
Homeopaths strive to find the remedy which has in proving been
shown to match the totality of the patients symptoms. They must
also have an understanding of what is the correct potency to provoke
a curative response. Too weak and nothing will happen, too strong
and a lot of the person’s energy will be wasted.
The homeopath works on the person’s case, they only give
a medicine when they are certain it is correct and they know the
potency at which it should be prescribed. At this point the medicine
only appears to be the most similar. It is only when the prescription
has been made and the remedy has been seen to act curatively can
it truly be called the simillimum.
Many medicines can be similar, but there is only one simillimum,
the most similar medicine, at any one time.
"Comparison, individualization, and difference in the nature
of things most similar, are points that must be considered. The
substitution of one remedy for another cannot be thought of or entertained
Dr J T Kent: Lecture XXX
This is a reference book containing background information about
the remedies and their preparation as well as listing all the symptoms
each one produces. The remedies come from many sources: mineral,
vegetable and animal as well as the products of diseased humans
and animals. The Materia Medica can either be arranged chronologically,
listing the symptoms in the order in which they manifested during
the proving, or in sections according to the part affected, e.g.
Mind, Back, Sleep. There are many editions of Materia Medica available,
compiled over the years by different homeopaths.
Totality of symptoms
The homeopath has various tools by which he is able to assimilate
all the extensive and varied information from a consultation with
a patient, and produce a cohesive whole: the totality. From this
he can assess what is fundamentally disordered in that patient,
choose symptoms that reflect this whole picture, and, using a repertory
and relevant Materia Medica, find the remedy that is most similar.
See article: What is Holistic treatment?
by Suzan Dean
The Repertory is an alphabetical index of thousands of symptoms produced
in the provings of medicines, listing all the medicines that produce
each symptom. It is an invaluable tool for the practitioner, enabling
him to find the correct remedy from the vast amount of information
available in the provings. After selecting several symptoms that represent
the whole case, the most similar remedies can be found by cross-referencing
(repertorisation). From these few the most similar can be chosen by
comparing the Materia Medica of each. Although several repertories
have been produced, Kent’s Repertory remains the standard one
used by most practitioners, and has latterly been adapted for use
on a computer.
This is the name given to the system of testing medicines used
in Homeopathy as laid down clearly by Hahnemann. Unlike conventional
drug trials, homeopathic medicines are tested on healthy people,
called provers. It is organised in such a way as to prevent any
prejudice in those taking part. Usually they do not know what substance
is being proved. After taking the medicine, the provers note down
carefully, in detail and in chronological order all the changes
they experience in themselves and in their lives. Afterwards, the
manager collects all these reports and compiles a list of the symptoms
of the alterations in health, with all the different conditions,
relating to all the different parts of the body as well as to the
mind. This is then incorporated into the books of Materia Medica,
as an essential tool for the practitioner.
Homeopathy is based on fundamental principles. One of these is
Hering’s Law. This states that true cure takes place from
within to without (i.e. from more vital internal organs to the skin),
from above to below, and that symptoms disappear in the reverse
order of their appearance. In this way the progress of cure and
the prognosis can be understood. This law was laid down by Constantine
Hering, a nineteenth century German doctor who, having set out to
disprove Homeopathy, became convinced of its efficacy when his infected
hand was saved from amputation as a result of homeopathic treatment.
See article: An Introduction to Hering’s
Law of Cure by Karen Gorman
We chose this name for our organisation in honour of William Leaf
(1791–1873) an English merchant and philanthropist, who, having
been a patient and intimate friend of Hahnemann, made great efforts
to establish and promote homeopathy in England.
"He was one of the most wealthy merchants of the city of London.
After having suffered from a chronic disease for some considerable
time, his friend Arles-Dufour drew his attention to homeopathy.
He then went to Paris to consult Hahnemann, who completely cured
him. Out of gratitude he adopted the cause of the new science with
all the circumspection and vigorous activity typical of an English
merchant. There was at that time only one pupil of Hahnemann in
England. From him he demanded that he should make the teachings
of his master better known by the publication of popular writings.
However, when he failed, Leaf induced, through his friend Arles-Dufour,
Dr Curie of Paris to come to London (1835). Homeopathy became better
known in England through popular writings and scientific works which
Curie compiled in English, and which were published with the help
of Leaf. Leaf instituted in Dr. Curie’s house a small hospital
in which the doctor gave clinical demonstrations to allopathic colleagues.
Soon the great rush of patients rendered it necessary to found a
larger hospital, and thus under the guidance of Leaf and with the
help of other friends of homeopathy the Hahnemann hospital in Bloomsbury
Square was founded. This institution, which was equal to all the
demands made upon it, has trained some of the best English homeopaths.
Unfortunately is shared the same fate as the Leipsic Hospital, entirely
through the discord of the homeopathic doctors who were attached
to it, and it came to an end.
In addition to the London hospital Leaf also organised a dispensary
for the poor of the district near his country house, where Dr Curie
treated numerous patients every Sunday. William Leaf died at his
country seat near London on the 3rd July, 1873, aged 83 years."
Samuel Hahnemann: His Life and Work’ by Richard Haehl.
Volume 2, Page 507.
Dr James Tyler Kent
James Tyler Kent (1849-1916) was the most influential homeopath
after Hahnemann. He began his medical career as a conventional practitioner.
In 1877 his wife fell seriously ill, and after the failure of all
other types of medical treatment, she was successfully cured by
Homeopathy. From then on Kent became a keen student of Hahnemann’s
works and soon adopted his teachings. He became widely known as
a practitioner and teacher of Homeopathy, but it is as a writer
that he has exerted a lasting influence. In his Lectures on Homeopathic
Philosophy, he presents the homeopathic view of life and sickness
in simple clear language, each lecture explaining and amplifying
one of the fundamental principles from Hahnemann’s Organon
of Medicine. He also produced a Repertory, an essential tool used
by homeopaths throughout the world.
Dr Stuart Close
Dr. Close was born in 1860 and came to study homeopathy after the
death of his father in 1879. His mother remarried a homoeopathic
physician who turned Close's interests from law to medicine. His
stepfather helped him study the Organon and he attended medical
school in California for two years and finished his studies at the
New York Homeopathic College in 1885. Setting up practice in Brooklyn,
Dr. Close founded the Brooklyn Homoeopathic Union which devoted
itself to the study of pure Hahnemannian homeopathy. He taught homeopathic
philosophy at New York Homeopathic Medical College and his lectures
formed the basis for his masterpiece on homeopathic philosophy,
The Genius of Homeopathy. His homeopathic library was reputed to
be the one of the best in the country. He died in 1929 after a full
and productive career in homeopathy.
Joseph Reves is a homeopath in Haifa, Israel. He studied alternative
medicine in Munich and then specialized in homeopathy. He worked
in Germany and England before going back to Israel. Today he runs
a practice and school for homeopathy. He has taught abroad in England,
Norway, Italy and the USA.
He has written two books, 24 Chapters in Homeopathy and Explanation
to The Organon, as part of a new edition. Together with colleagues,
he developed a computer program for repertorisation. From this work
he published a corrected version of Kent’s Repertory with
the addition of Materia Medica.
He has the ability to take Hahnemann and Kent’s teachings
and make them relevant in today’s society. His seminars have
inspired many homeopaths and students of homeopathy.
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