To a Moses or a Luther, to a Washington or a Lincoln,
to a Plato or a Bacon, to a Hippocrates or a Hahnemann, each in his own sphere and period and the world comes and must come for instruction, inspiration and leadership.”
- Stuart Close, MD

 

Samuel Hahnemann was born on April 10 1755 in Meissen, Saxony. At a young age his intelligence was noticed by his teachers. He was perceptive beyond his years and an astute observer. He had an exceptional gift for languages.

He completed his medical studies in 1779 and settled down to his first practice in Leipzig that same year. He quickly became disillusioned with the current treatments common during this time period. He found them to be uncertain and dangerous, in many cases causing injury and death to the patient. He also felt the high costs of such treatments to be unjust and soon turned his back on his own profession. In order to earn a living he translated scientific texts. While translating a treatise written by a famous Scottish doctor named Cullen one of Hahnemann's many strokes of genius occurred. Cullen, in his description of the famous American bark cinchona - the natural source of quinine - described certain effects that this drug had on digestion. Hahnemann made a mental note of this as he had never noticed this reaction among malaria patients he had treated with this drug. Always one to test on himself, he took a healthy dose expecting to feel the nausea described by Cullen. Instead, to his amazement, he was taken with a violent fever exactly like that of malaria. This roused his curiosity even more as Cinchona was known for lowering a malarial fever.

Here the spark of genius was triggered. Now he questioned whether it was possible if a certain drug produced morbid symptoms in a healthy person could it cure a person who was ill with those same symptoms? With his love of the absolute he rediscovered the Law of Similars and described its mechanics in detail. He began testing major drugs common during this time – first on himself and then on volunteers. Meticulously, he recorded all the reactions occurring in healthy people following repeated ingestion of these “poisons”. This work formed the body of work known as the Materia Medica which is still in use today. His next stroke of genius came when he reduced the toxicity by diluting the initial dose to avoid any side effects that the material dose was causing. This is how he discovered his homeopathic remedies. Hahnemann had previously left his own profession because he felt the drugs and procedures at that time were dangerous and the side effects worse than the diseases they were trying to cure. He believed a doctor must cure his patient in the swiftest way possible “without” causing further harm. His homeopathic remedies allowed him to do this. Heilkunst seeks to remove disease and to restore balance. It provides guidelines to differentiate between disease and imbalance.

This allows us to distinguish between simply being ill, or being sick. This is critical as each must be treated within the proper jurisdiction. If we are simply ill we are out of balance. This comes from what is called the sustentive side. This may be caused from lack of sleep, not enough water or not enough Vitamin C and can be rectified by restoring balance through increasing the amount of sleep, water and Vitamin C. To do this we use a natural law called the “law of opposites”. However, disease is a different matter. In this case some external agent or event has affected us. This may be a drug, a toxin, an emotional shock or an accident. Now instead of simply an imbalance our generative power is damaged. This could be compared to being pregnant where no amount of sleep, water or vitamins is able to remove the fact that you are pregnant. Here we need medicine used according to another natural law called the “law of similars” to remove the disease. Dr. Hahnemann’s science of homeopathy is based on this natural law. It means that a medicinal substance capable of producing a set of morbid symptoms in a healthy individual will remove similar symptoms occurring in an individual suffering from illness.