written by Dr William.E.Thomas MD
The whole homeopathic doctrine could be divided into the following segments:
PRACTICE OF HOMEOPATHY:
- SIMILIA SIMILIBUS CURENTUR
THEORY OF HOMEOPATHY:
- VITAL FORCE
- SMALL DOSES
- POTENTIZATION - DYNAMIZATION
- COMPLEX REMEDIES
- CONSTITUTIONAL PRESCRIBING
Complexes of symptoms are at the heart of homeopathy. Symptoms are the working units of the doctrine.
Hahnemann stated in 'Organon' , #18: "We can categorically declare that the totality of symptoms ... in each individual case is the one and only indication that can guide us to the choice of the remedy."
Because symptoms - real, imaginary, or distorted - originate with the patient, they give the individual power to manipulate the healer.
This is in striking contrast to orthodox medicine where objective findings, results of X-rays, ultrasounds, CT scans, laboratory findings and other tests, will determine further management of the patient.
SIMILIA SIMILIBUS CURENTUR
Whole libraries of books - called Repertories - have been written by homeopaths. These books describe symptoms, real, imaginary or distorted, that have occurred when healthy individuals ingested homeopathically diluted material in small amounts, a process called 'proving of medicines.'
An American homeopath Constantine Hering published his work 'The Guiding Symptoms of Our Materia Medica' in ten volumes. Another homeopath, T.P. Allen, compiled 'Encyclopaedia of Pure Materia Medica' in eleven volumes. Participants have used no objective tests to compare the results, only compilation of subjective feelings.
The slogan 'Similia Similibus Curentur' became primarily important as the battle cry of homeopathy for public consumption. Every successful doctrine has to have a simple leading axiom.
Vitalism is the theoretical basis of homeopathy. The 'Princeps Regulator' described by G.E. Stahl in 1707 was accepted by Hahnemann as the 'Vis Vitalis', the hypothetical life principle. In his book 'Organon', #12, Hahnemann said it in these words: "It is only the pathologically untuned vital force that causes diseases."
The Vital Force was one of the brainchildren of Stahl. The other was the theory of 'Phlogiston.' Fire was explained on the basis of a hypothetical substance called Phlogiston, a spirit of combustion, an essential part of all combustible matter that was released in the process of burning. Fire and its accompanying heat was a substance detached from burning matter, although no one could explain why, if this were the case, metals weighed more after burning than before.
It was Lavoisier who, by careful and precise weighing of substances, had exploded once and for all the myth of Phlogiston in 1774 in his book 'Reflexions Sur le Phlogistique.' Lavoisier proved that Phlogiston of Stahl was only a fiction of his imagination, more hindering than helping in explanation of various chemical reactions.
During Hahnemann's time it was also assumed that chemical compounds made by living bodies differ from inorganic compounds in that a special Vis Vitalis, the Vital Force, was needed for their making. It was found later that organic compounds could be artificially created. The first from the important artificial synthesis was that of Urea in 1828 by Wohler. Later not only simple compounds produced by living organisms were artificially made as Acetic Acid in 1845 by Kolb, Ethyl Alcohol in 1854, Oxalic Acid in 1867, but also complicated compounds such as Glucose and Fructose in 1890, Adrenaline in 1905, Polypeptides and later Vitamins, Hormones and even Digestive Enzymes.
No special Vis Vitalis has been found or measured by instruments nor is necessary for the above named processes. The Phlogiston theory is forgotten, but the Vis Vitalis still lives in homeopathy.
THE SMALL DOSES
Small doses are non-specific and non-existent in dilutions over Avogadro's Number - over the decimal 24th or centesimal 12th dilutions.
The idea of diluting substances was acceptable in the era of heroic doses causing side effects. Hahnemann's allergy to quinine only enforced this view on him.
There is paradox in a substance increasing medicinal power as its quantity decreases - even to the point of being physically absent from the solution. Hahnemann believed that the process of dilution and succussion or trituration actually released a 'spirit-like' healing power that is particularly adapted to work on the equally spirit-like Vital Force in people.
POTENTIZATION - DYNAMIZATION
It is not the dilution, which matters, but most importantly the dynamization considered to be the potentization of medicines, the 'Power of the oriental genie liberated from its incarceration in the bottle.'
It is dynamization - potentization, a process of serial dilutions with each step of dilution accompanied by a vigorous shaking, or succussion, which creates the mysterious part of homeopathy. Hahnemann said in 'Organon'. #11: "What is dynamic influence, dynamic force? ... A magnet powerfully attracts a piece of iron or steel ... The invisible force of the magnet does not need any mechanical (material) means ... it attracts the iron or steel needle by its own pure, nonmaterial, invisible, spirit-like force. We have here a dynamic phenomenon ... The action of medicines upon living people must be judged in a similar way ... through a dynamic, spirit-like effect (transmitted through sensitive living tissue) upon the spirit-like principle that governs life."
And again in 'Organon', #269: "In the same way there is no denying that there is within an iron bar or a steel rod a slumbering trace of magnetic force ... But this is only a latent force ... not until we have dynamized a steel rod, rubbing it strongly ... does it become a true, active, powerful magnet ... the more it has been rubbed, the more strongly this happens ... Similarly by the trituration of a medicinal substance and the succussion of its solution (dynamization, potentization) the medicinal forces lying hidden in it are developed and uncovered more and more, and the material is itself spiritualized ....".
Answering the question how to release the hidden healing force from inside the drug, how to achieve its potentization or how to dynamize the medicine, Hahnemann recalled Rumford's experiments.
Benjamin Rumford (1753-1814) is considered to be the inventor of mechanical heat theory. He knew the transformation of labor into heat by speculating that heat is nothing else but movements of the smallest particles. By swift movements, that is, by friction of two metallic plates in a closed room, Rumford achieved an increase in temperature inside that room.
From this phenomenon Hahnemann deducted that metal contains untapped reserves of heat energy in latent, bound, undeveloped state. Hahnemann stated: "...latent heat, even in metals that feel cold, is manifested when they are rubbed ..." Hahnemann used this partial discovery of physics - that the rubbing together of two metallic objects brings out heat - to support his theory of dynamization.
Potentization - dynamization is also the weakest point of homeopathy. In the 19th century it was still hoped science would confirm some healing force in the homeopathically prepared medicines. This has not happened, and at present the importance of homeopathically dynamized medicines has been quietly replaced by the principle 'Similia Similibus Curentur'. The description of the dynamization - potentization process is for the initiated, revealed in courses and schools for homeopaths. For the lay public it is the Law of Similar which is being presented as homeopathy.
Any discussion on homeopathy should start with the question: "What is the effective principle in homeopathically diluted medicines and how do you scientifically measure it?" There is no serious answer to it, which could be accepted by the scientific community.
Practicing homeopaths soon realized that the homeopathic doctrine is almost unworkable in practice. There simply are not enough of hours in a working day to deal with all the symptoms the patient gives, and hopefully will not change at the next consultation. To find the corresponding similar complex of symptoms is a Herculean task.
Therefore complex remedies came into existence to make it easier for practitioners of homeopathy to deal with the patients. This trend started right at the beginning of homeopathy as a doctrine, even during Hahnemann's life. His outburst against the 'Half-homeopaths' is an example of how even then his theory worked against practicality.
Constitutional prescribing has taken complex remedies even further. Based on typology of humans it has made the prescribing of homeopathic drugs easier. It was J.T.Kent who suggested prescribing on the basis of characteristics, which do not change.
This is comparable to classifying people from the shape of their skulls - Phrenology - or the four basic types from ancient Greek medicine, the sanguinic, choleric, melancholic and phlegmatic.
If a patient presents him or herself to a homeopath who judges him or her to be a Sulfur type, it is easier to prescribe the corresponding drug than to go into minute exploration and matching of all symptoms.
Nosodes are used by homeopaths even if this modality has nothing in common with Hahnemann's doctrine. Homeopathically prepared remedies called nosodes come from four main sources:
The inventor of Bowel nosodes, Dr.Edward Bach (1880 - 1936), developed also 'Flower remedies.' He claimed that the scent of different flowers evokes its unique set of emotional experiences such as fear, shock and similar. Using the homeopathic technique of diluting and potentizing - dynamizing, he prescribed a certain flower remedy if the flower's presumed emotional response corresponded to that of the patient.
- From the actual product of a disease, such as pus.
- From the diseased tissue itself, such as cancerous growth.
- From the pathogenic organism, such as bacilli in the sputum.
- So called 'Bowel nosodes' from stool cultures.
Nosodes come under various names. 'Morbilinum' derived from a measles infection; 'Influenzinum' is given if the patient feels that he or she has not fully recovered from an episode of Influenza; 'Medorrhinum' from gonorrheal discharge; 'Syphilinum' or 'Lueticum' from syphilitic discharge; 'Carcinosinum' from cancerous tissue; 'Psorinum' are scabies vesicles; 'Tuberculinum' originates from tuberculosis affected tissue, to name a few.
This is not homeopathy at all. Hahnemann had written in 'Organon', #56: "There are those who would like to introduce a third kind of therapy, called ISOPATHY, treating a disease with the identical miasm that produced it ... To try to cure in this way, with exactly identical disease agent (per idem), runs counter to all common sense and therefore to all experience."
In the end we are left with the following summary:
PRACTICE OF HOMEOPATHY
SYMPTOMS PATIENT IN CHARGE
NO FURTHER TESTS PERFORMED TO VERIFY SYMPTOMS
SIMILIA SIMILIBUS AXIOM FOR THE PUBLIC
THEORY OF HOMEOPATHY
18TH CENTURY IDEAS - NEVER CONFIRMED BY SCIENCE SMALL DOSES NON SPECIFIC - NON EXISTING OVER C12 AND D24 DYNAMIZATION - POTENTIZATION IMAGINARY FORCES NEVER MEASURED BY ANYONE
NOT HOMEOPATHIC PRACTICE ANY MORE
Back to Hahnemann's Homeopathy
Please click on the hyperlinked reference numbers to return to your place in the text.
 Hahnemann, S; 'Organon of Medicine', J.P.Tarcher Inc, Los Angeles, 1982, pp.22-23
 i.e. by shaking the bottle. Hahnemann replaced the Rumford's friction of two metallic plates in a closed room, by shaking the homeopathically diluted material in a closed space, in the bottle.
 Hahnemann, S; 'The Chronic Diseases', B.Jain Publishers, New Delhi, 1990, p.91.
Page last modified 4th March 2002