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Samuel Hahnemann

Founder of Classical Homeopathy

Samuel Hahnemann

Samuel Hahnemann, one of the very few physicians memorialized in the capital of the United States – German physician, chemist, linguist fluent in many languages, teacher and gifted thinker – was so disenchanted with standard medical practices of the day like the use of large doses of crude medicines, purgatives and emetics, bloodletting, and inhumane treatment of the mentally ill that he left medical practice, feeling that he didn’t have anything to offer his patients. Having a large family to support, he took to earning his living translating medical texts.  His curiosity was piqued by a reference in a medical textbook about the use of China (Peruvian bark Cinchona or quinine) as a cure for malaria. Intrigued to know why China worked to cure malaria and ever the scientist/investigator, he took doses of the China himself. He began to exhibit symptoms of malaria. Then, he stopped taking the China and the symptoms went away. He deduced that the ancient principle of “likes cure likes” actually worked – the China which created symptoms of malarial illness in a healthy person cured the same symptoms in someone who was ill with malarial symptoms. Hahnemann went on to experiment with other substances to discover their “illness producing” and thereby – like cures like – their curative properties.  He and his followers did provings (scientific experiments on humans to discover the illness producing/curative properties of substances) of a hundred or so substances.  Gradually, through continued careful experimentation and an uncompromising search for the truth, Hahnemann put together the system of Homeopathic Medicine. Homeopathy is built upon the ancient principle from Hippocrates that “like cures like” as well as the idea of stimulating a healing response by a single drug (homeopathic remedy) in the absolute minimum dose necessary to evoke such a response (also an ancient principle since Paracelsus).

Hahnemann experimented and meticulously recorded his findings through his forties and into his fifties despite unrelenting opposition by orthodox or regular or, as Hahnemann termed them, allopathic practitioners.  At age 55, in 1810, he published the first edition (of six) of The Organon of the Art of Healing  (later called The Organon of the Medical Art) which describes the system of Homeopathic Medicine (Oxford Am. Dictionary: “Organon” n. an instrument of thought, esp. a means of reasoning or a system of logic.)  He wrote many other texts and treatises and continued treating people, experimenting, teaching and developing his art until his death at age 88.