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                       OF MEDICINES IN HOMEOPATHY.

Written by Dr William.E.Thomas MD



Hahnemann was a vitalist and believed that the cause of a disease is the untuning of the vital force which manifests itself on the outside of the body by many various symptoms. He approached therapy following the Law of Similars.


This is what Hahnemann said in his book Materia Medica Pura in a chapter called ‘Spirit of Homeopathic Healing’:  “The diseases are only dynamic disharmonies of our existence and nature, therefore it is impossible for people to destroy them in any other way than through forces and powers, which also have the ability to bring forward dynamic changes of the human existence; that is the diseases will be really and dynamically cured through medicines.”  [1]


In Hahnemann’s view medicines directly affect the nerves, that is, that part of the body which is in the closest contact with the soul. By diluting medicines their coarse effect (‘grobmaterielle Wirkung’) is removed on other organs except the nervous system. After the medicament has been freed of coarse and useless matter (‘durch diese Befreiung von der groben und hindernden Materie’) what is left is a medicament weaker in material substance but dynamically more effective.


But how can such small doses of medicine show their strength? How to achieve their potentization, how to release the hidden healing force from inside the drugs, how to dynamize them? Hahnemann explains in Organon §11: “What is dynamic influence, dynamic force? We see that earth causes the moon to revolve around it … by some invisible mysterious force and that the moon in its turn produces in the ocean at regular intervals alternating tides of ebb and flow … A magnet powerfully attracts a piece of iron or steel near it in a similar way; …The invisible force of the magnet does not need any mechanical (material) means, such as a hook or lever; it attracts the iron or a steel needle by its own pure, nonmaterial, invisible, spirit-like force. We have here a dynamic phenomenon. …In a similar way a child who has smallpox or measles will transmit them to a healthy child by approaching him, even without touching him. This contamination takes place invisibly (dynamically) at a distance, with no more transmission of any material particle from one to the other than from the magnet to the steel needle. A specific, spirit-like influence communicates smallpox or measles to the child nearby, just as the magnet communicates magnetic force to the needle.” [2] [3]


Hahnemann is quite specific in Organon, §269: “This remarkable transformation of the properties of natural bodies through the mechanical action of trituration and succussion on their particles (while these particles are diffused in an inert dry or liquid substance) develops the latent dynamic powers previously imperceptible and as it were lying hidden asleep in them. These powers electively affect the vital principle of animal life. This process is called dynamization or potentization (development of medicinal power), and it creates what we call dynamizations or potencies of different degrees.” 


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 labour 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: “…latent heat, even in metals that feel cold, is manifested when they are rubbed …” [4] Hahnemann used this partial discovery of physics – that the rubbing together of two metallic objects brings out heat – to support his theory of dynamization.


Hahnemann performed dynamization, or potentization, of medicines by a precise numbers of shakings – succussions – in given time sequences, or by an exact number of mixing – triturations – of a pure, diluted medicinal substance that was free from all coarse materials. Such high dilution was than potentized – dynamized – by repeated shakings. For treatment Hahnemann used as a rule high potencies which he achieved by diluting thirty times and than by dynamizing with exact number of shakings.


Hahnemann came to these results:


                    I.     =    1 millionth part        =      C3      =      D6

                    II.    =    1 billionth part         =      C6      =      D12

                    III.   =    1 sextillionth part     =      C18    =      D36

                    IV.   =    1 decillionth part     =      C30    =      D60



The “spirit-like” power of medicines (‘fast geistige Kraft der Arzneien’) cannot be discovered and neither can the cause of the disease itself. We may learn about both from their symptoms only. Hahnemann understood the disease and remedy as pure dynamic states. In the state of untuning, disharmony, of the spirit-like vital force in man, which is the disease, homeopathic remedy evokes a new, artificial sickness. The original disease is replaced by a new sickness (‘Arzneiliche Krankheitsaffektion’), which either extinguishes itself, or is overpowered by the original vital force. The result is a state of health again.


Hahnemann firmly believed in the effect of the dynamically potentized homeopathic medicines. The technical way of preparing homeopathic remedies has been described by Hahnemann himself. The technique of preparing homeopathic medicines was improved later. Nowadays machines are used by pharmaceutical manufacturers. This was made possible because the theory of “spirit-like” powers of homeopathic drugs has been abandoned. It has not been replaced by any other theory and present homeopaths quote “positive personal experiences … subjectively persuasive.” In most cases homeopathic remedies nowadays do not exceed in dilutions the Avogadro number.


In order to avoid the strong effect of medicines used internally, Hahnemann introduced as well as dilutions and powders a form of sugar globules – Streukuegelchen – where the homeopathic substance was 1:300 parts. Such a globule was meant only to be put on the tongue. Hahnemann’s belief in the spirit-like power of dynamized medicines led him to allow patients only to smell the homeopathic remedies. He believed for example that Drosera can cure after two shakings in the decillionth solution (X. = C30 = D60), whereas from the same (D60) dilution after twenty or more shakings, one drop taken in a teaspoon could bring a person into mortal danger.


Homeopathy does not search for the reasons of vital force disharmony, that is, for the causes of diseases. It is sufficient to find a homeopathic medicament by comparing the similarity of symptoms. Hahnemann maintained that diseases are not and could not be caused by mechanical or chemical changes of the material body substance. In Organon §25, Hahnemann stated: “… physicians of the old school…a number of diseases that they … recognize only according to the categories of orthodox pathology, they fancy that they see in them an imaginary disease substance or some hypothetical inner abnormality. They always see something, but never know what it is; the obtain results that no human but only a god could decipher in such a muddle of forces converging on an unknown object, results from which there is nothing to be learned, nothing to be gained. Fifty years of this sort of experimentation are like fifty years spent looking into a kaleidoscope fitted with multicolored unknown things endlessly revolving upon themselves; in the end one has seen thousands of shapes perpetually changing, without accounting for any of them.


Hahnemann’s medical doctrine claimed good results in acute benign illnesses and from chronic diseases in the category of psychosomatic disorders. There are doctors who give homeopathy credit for psychotherapeutic effects. Others identify homeopathic therapy with placebo effect. At the time when the main therapeutic method was bloodletting, then called in jest “Broussai’s vampirism”, the harmless medicinal treatment of homeopaths with a certain dose of psychotherapy could have shown success compared with other therapeutic systems.


The homeopathic system of therapy had to deal with chronic diseases as well. Hahnemann’s work ‘Chronic Diseases, their Nature and Homeopathic Treatment’ [5] was published in 1828, and shall be referred to later. There are only a few comments to be made on homeopathic treatment of chronic diseases. The method was a disappointment, and was discredited even more by the unique view of its founder on the causes and nature of chronic illnesses as described by Hahnemann in his book.


In 1926, when professor of History of Medicine Paul Diepgen published his book ‘Hahnemann und die Homoeopathie’ (Freiburg 1926), he could cite just one case of a patient treated by Hahnemann himself. Nowadays there is at our disposal a study by Dr.Heinz Heine from 1963, ‘Hahnemanns Krankenjournale Nr.2, 3.’ [6]  The volumes consist of accurate transcripts of Hahnemann’s notes from his medical records from 1801 until 1803 of patients under his treatment. There are very few chronic cases treated by Hahnemann himself.























[1] Hahnemann, S.: ‘Reine Arzneimittellehre.Dresden 1811, Vol.2, p.5: ‘Geist der homoeopathischen Heillehre’.

[2] Hahnemann, S.: ‘Organon of Medicine.’  J.P. Tarcher, Inc., Los Angeles, 1982.

[3] Hahnemann, S.: ‘Organon of Medicine.’  B. Jain Publ., New Delhi, 1984.

[4] Hahnemann, S.: ‘The Chronic Diseases.’ B. Jain Publ., New Delhi 1990, p.91.

[5] Hahnemann, S.: ‘Die Chronische Krankheiten, Ihre Eigentuemliche Natur und Homoepathische Heilung.’ Dresden 1828.

[6] Heine, H.: ‘Hahnemann’s Krankenjournale Nr.2 und 3; Nr.4.’ Hippokrates Verlag Stuttgart 1963 [Nr.4 in 1968]

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