Dr Samuel Hahnemann is one of the epochal
figures in the history of the practice of medicine. In his time medicine
was in a state of chaos. His sensitive conscience made him think that
his treatment of sick had often done more harm than good. He refused
to speculate about the essential nature of facts but appealed to experience,
experiment and observe.
He is a perfect ‘experimenter’.
He experimented with all the drugs on himself and on other human beings
and gave importance to the subjective symptoms in a disease. He is first
one to emphasize on symptom similarity between the drug picture and
the disease picture. He made a great contribution to the Hippocratic
concept of disease and derived a law “Similia Similibus Curentur”.
His work gave rise to a new science and
art of therapeutics which is constructed on the basis of facts of observation
and experience i.e. Homoeopathy. This new system of treatment introduced
by him proved to be revolutionary and received wide acceptance throughout
The very experiment with the cinchona
bark made a historical change in the world of medicine. Since then Hahnemannian
existence came to the limelight. Over a period of fifty years, he experimented
with 99 drugs and recorded his observations of their actions on the
human body. This record is found in his Fragmenta De Viribus Medicamentorum
Positivis, Materia Medica Pura and Chronic Disease.
According to Stuart Close, Hahnemann has
been called a ‘Vitalist’ inferring to the prominence given
to the doctrine of life and vital principle. He said the material organism
without the vital force is capable of no sensation, function or self-preservation.
Recent studies agree with this concept as the observation goes that
many of the fundamental functions of the cell cannot be explained in
biochemical terms. According to Berzelius, the organic compounds were
produced under the influence of a vital force and they could not be
Hahnemann, a great ‘Philosopher’
influenced by the inductive logic of Lord Bacon, titled his philosophy
as Organon, an instrument of thought, which he explained in 6 editions.
Hahnemann’s choice of the word “Organon” clearly shows
the source of his inspiration, which is the basis and science of every
modern science. Science is verified or verifiable knowledge produced
by conception of perfects and induction of deducts. The extensive study
on the subject by exact observation, correct interpretations, rational
explanation and scientific construction made various changes in each
Hahnemann as a ‘chemist’ prepared
the drugs by himself and imparted the knowledge of potentization, minimum
dose, drug dynamisation, study of remedy reaction and second prescription
in his philosophy.
Hahnemann, in his time itself highlighted
the study of pathology. Hahnemann was so far ahead of his time but his
teaching could not be fully understood until science in its slower advance
had elucidated and corroborated the facts upon which he based it.
Another contribution of Hahnemann to the
Homoeopathic world is ‘theory of chronic disease’. The credit
of arranging the unsystematic disease classification is given to Hahnemann
in his time. He classified the diseases into four fundamental classes
i.e. occupational or drug diseases, psora, sycosis and syphilis. But
he used the term miasm, which lead to the confusion. He is one who stressed
on the presence of microorganisms as the cause of infectious diseases,
which was confirmed then by the modern bacteriological science. He was
the first to perceive and teach the parasitical nature of infections
or contagious diseases. The recent researches in the field of immunotherapy,
vaccinotherapy, allergy etc showed similarity with that of homoeopathic
system of treatment.
There are no two human beings entirely
the same in health and diseases. So to understand the man a detailed
case taking plays an important role. This was highlighted by Hahnemann
and gave clear-cut instruction on the case taking devoting 22 paragraphs
in his organon of medicine and appealed to have an unprejudiced mind
for the physician.
The present antigen – antibody reaction
that is taking place in the body was explained by Hahnemann in his observation
that every artificial morbific agent acts upon the vitality to cause
certain alteration in the health, for which the vital force rises itself
to develop the exact opposite condition of health.
Hahnemann also been called to be the ‘Dietitian’
who give his view on the diet and hygiene in the cure of diseases. He
explains this in his Organon of medicine in aphorism 259 to 263.
The homoeopathic principles stand pre-eminent,
unchangeable in spite of all changes in the therapeutic fashion. No
doubt lot is contributed to it by the modern science and claimed to
be their work. But Hahnemann was the one who acknowledge the facts in
regards to the health, disease and their prevention, the vital principle
and life and its derangement, the diet, hygiene and sanitation, mental
illness and constitution etc, which is presently divided as different
branches of science as physiology, pathology, social and preventive
medicine, psychiatry, nutrition, pharmacy etc.
Various observations of Hahnemann made
in early 19th century are getting scientific footings in the late 20th
century due to the spectacular discoveries made in the various fields
of micro science. A man contributed so much to the science much before
the expansion of science by its invention cannot be said lived his life