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The History of Homoeopathy

The homoeopathic system of medicine has developed at the end of eighteenth century by a German medical doctor, Samuel Hahnemann.

During the time of Hahnemann, many brutal ways were used to treat the patients such as leeching, cupping, blood letting and many others. These ways of treatment were so cruel that they could kill the patient as well.

Hahnemann was disgusted and disappointed with these methods of treatment that he gave up his medical profession and started devoting his time to writing and translation works. However he continued to deeply interested in medical theory & in 1790, he hit upon the homoeopathic principle that like could be cured by like. When translating, 'A treatise on the Materia medica' by the Edinburg physician, William Cullen, he read that the dry Cinchona was effective in the treatment of malaria because it was bitter & astringent & had a toning effect on the stomach. Hahnemann was not satisfied by this statement for, if it were true, then all bitter, astringent substances should likewise be effective in the treatment of malaria, & they were not.

Therefore Hahnemann decided to test the bark on himself, meeting his expectations, the symptoms on the fever occurred like could cure like. This was a part of Hippocrates teaching & sprang from the notion that symptoms could be an indication that the body was struggling to overthrow a disease, so it could be helped if the symptoms were encouraged. Thus was formulated the principle of 'Similia similibus curentur' Hahnemann named this new found therapy 'Homoeo' (similar) 'pathy' (suffering).

Subsequently, Hahnemann tested many other drugs to study the symptoms that they produced. He bravely experimented by testing the effects on himself and found many willing volunteers for the same. These experiments were known as proving and the first set of proving was conducted over about six years. As the mass of information required by these proving was assimilated, clear patterns could seen and eventually it was possible to test the substances as curative on patients with remarkable success. Although his patients were experiencing profound cures which solidly verified his theories, Hahnemann was marked as an outcast because of his method of single and minimum dosage was threatening the financial foundation of the powerful apothecaries.

But Hahnemann continued with his experiments despite the opposition and criticism from the old school of medicine. He started experimenting with a new method whereby after each dilution he would the substance rigorously. This he called 'succession' thus developing an energetic aspect of homoeopathy. It is unknown how Hahnemann reasoned this (still scientifically unexplainable) method of 'potentisation'.

In 1820, at the investigation of apothecaries, the government granted an injunction against Hahnemann dispensing his own medicines.

In 1821, Hahnemann took refuge in Cothen where he acted as a court physician to the duke of Anhalt Cothen, a former patient. From this on his many pupils and followers were also subjected to persecution as the medical orthodoxy closed ranks.

In 1835, he went to live in Paris where he had an illustrious practice with rich and poor alike receiving treatment daily in his rooms in the rue de Milan.

In 1810, Hahnemann published the 1st. of the 6 editions of 'The organism of medicine' which clearly defined his homoeopathic philosophy. In that year, after the battle of Leipzig an epidemic of ilypus had spread amongst the defeated cops of Napoleon. Hahnemann successfully treated 180 men out of which only one died. This successful treatment further spread the reputation of Homoeopathy 7 Hahnemann.

By 1821, Hahnemann had proved 60 remedies and published his materia medica in six volumes. In 1831 cholera epidemic swept the central Europe and Hahnemann successfully treated cholera patients. He also published papers on the homoeopathic treatment of the disease and instigated the first wide spread usage of Homoeopathy.

The Father of Homoeopathy
Samuel Christian Friedrich Hahnemann was born in Meissen, Saxony on 10th. April 1755, the son of porcelain painter. His early education was at home where his father taught him never to learn passively but to question everything.

By the age of 12, he was already teaching Greek to other pupils, and at 20 he had mastered eight languages and began to study medicine first at Leipzig and then at Vienna and Erlangen where he qualified in 1779.

In 1782, at the age of 27, Hahnemann married Johanna Henrietta, the daughter of an apothecary. Hahnemann became medical doctor in 1791 and quickly established a reputation as a kind and conscientious physician, who despite his own lack of wealth, often refused to accept fees for his work. Once in practice, Hahnemann became disillusioned with the medical practices of the day. Eventually he ceases to practice and pursued studies in chemistry and earned a living from his linguistic skills.

In 1790, he discovered the principle of 'likes cure likes' and then devoted himself intensively to testing out homoeopathic remedies and after 6 six years, published an article on this principle in a leading medical journal. He later published 'treatise on organon of rational medicine and materia medica'.

He accused the hostility of apothecaries and physicians and at their instigation, in 1820, Government granted an injunction against Hahnemann dispensing his own medicines.

He took refuge in Cothen and acted as the court physician to the Duke of Anhalt Cothen in 1821, where he found many pupils and followers. He published his work on chronic diseases in 1828.

His wife died in 1830 and he married for the second time to French woman, Marie Melanie d Hervily and went to live in Paris. There he had an illustrious practice with rich and poor alike receiving treatment daily in his rooms in the Rue de Milan. He died in 1843 at the age of 88.




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