Blogging the Organon

February 16, 2008

37-38: Hahnemann’s Organon of Medicine

Filed under: Hahnemann,homeopathy,homoeopathy,organon — gimpy @ 5:20 pm

§ 37 Fifth Edition

So, also under ordinary medical treatment, an old chronic disease remains uncured and unaltered if it is treated according to the common allopathic method, that is to say, with medicines that are incapable of producing in healthy individuals a state of health similar to the disease, even though the treatment should last for years and is not of too violent character. This is daily witnessed in practice, it is therefore unnecessary to give any illustrative examples.

§ 37 Sixth Edition

So, also under ordinary medical treatment, an old chronic disease remains uncured and unaltered if it is treated according to the common allopathic method, that is to say, with medicines that are incapable of producing in healthy individuals a state of health similar to the disease, even though the treatment should last for years and is not of too violent character.1 This is daily witnessed in practice, it is therefore unnecessary to give any illustrative examples.

1 But if treated with violent allopathic remedies, other diseases will be formed in its place which are more difficult and dangerous to life.

§ 38

II. Or the new dissimilar disease is the stronger. In this case the disease under which the patient originally labored, being the weaker, will be kept back and suspended by the accession of the stronger one, until the latter shall have run its course or been cured, and then the old one reappears uncured. Two children affected with a kind of epilepsy remained free from epileptic attacks after infection with ringworm (tinea) but as soon as the eruption on the head was gone the epilepsy returned just as before, as Tulpius1 observed. The itch, as Schopf 2 saw, disappeared on the occurrence of the scurvy, but after the cure of the latter it again broke out. So, also the pulmonary phthisis remained stationary when the patient was attacked by a violent typhus, but went on again after the latter had run its course.3 If mania occur in a consumptive patient, the phthisis with all its symptoms is removed by the former; but if that go off, the phthisis returns immediately and proves fatal.4 When measles and smallpox are prevalent at the same time, and both attack the same child, the measles that had already broken out is generally checked by the smallpox that came somewhat later; nor does the measles resume its course until after the cure of the smallpox; but it not infrequently happens that the inoculated smallpox is suspended for four days by the supervention of the measles, as observed by Manget,5 after the desquamation of which the smallpox completes its course. Even when the inoculation of the smallpox had taken effect for six days, and the measles then broke out, the inflammation of the inoculation remained stationary and the smallpox did not ensue until the measles had completed its regular course of seven days.6 In an epidemic of measles, that disease attacked many individuals on the fourth or fifth day after the inoculation of smallpox and prevented the development of the smallpox until it had completed its own course, whereupon the smallpox appeared and proceeded regularly to its termination.7 The true, smooth, erysipelatous-looking scarlatina of Sydenham, with sore throat, was checked on the fourth day by the eruption of cow-pox, which ran its regular course, and not till it was ended did the scarlatina again establish itself; but on another occasion, as both diseases seem to be of equal strength, the cow-pox was suspended on the eighth day by the supervention of the true, smooth scarlatina of Sydenham,8 and the red areola of the former disappeared until the scarlatina was gone, wherein the cow-pox immediately resumed its course, and went on its regular termination.9 The measles suspended the cow-pox; on the eighth day, when the cow-pox had nearly attained its climax, the measles broke out; the cow-pox now remained stationary, and did not resume and complete its course until the desquamation of the measles, had taken place, so that on the sixteenth day it presented the appearance it otherwise would have shown on the tenth day, as Kortum10 observed.

Even after the measles had broken out the cow-pox inoculation took effect, but did not run its course until these measles had disappeared, as Kortum likewise witnessed.11

I myself saw the mumps (angina parotidea) immediately disappear when the cow-pox inoculation had taken effect and had nearly attained its height; it was not until the complete termination of the cow-pox and the disappearance of its red areola that this febrile tumefaction of the parotid and submaxillary glands, that is caused by a peculiar miasm, reappeared and ran its regular course of seven days.

And thus it is with all dissimilar disease; the stronger suspends the weaker (when they do not complicate one another, which is seldom the case with acute disease), but they never cure one another.

1 Obs., lib. I, obs. 8.
2 In Hufeland’s Journal, xv, 2.
3 Chevalier, in Hufeland’s Neuesten Annalen der franzosichen Heikunde, ii, p.192.
4 Mania phthisi superveniens eam cum omnibus suis phaenomenis auffert, verum mox redit phthisis et occidit, abeunte mania. Reil Memorab., fasc. iii, v, p.171.
5 In the Edinb. Med. Comment., pt. i, 1.
6 John Hunter, On the Veneral Disease, p.5.
7 Rainey, in the Edinb. Med. Comment., iii, p.480.
8 Very accurately described by Withering and Plenciz, but differing greatly from the purpura (or Roodvonk), which is often erroneously denominated scarlet fever. It is only of late year that the two, which were originally very different diseases, have come to resemble each other in their symptoms.
9 Jenner, in Medicinische Annalen, August, 1800, p.747.
10 In Hufeland’s Journal der praktischen Arzneikunde, xx, 3, p.50.
11 Loc. cit.

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25 Comments »

  1. So, also under ordinary medical treatment, an old chronic disease remains uncured and unaltered if it is treated according to the common allopathic method, that is to say, with medicines that are incapable of producing in healthy individuals a state of health similar to the disease, even though the treatment should last for years and is not of too violent character.1 This is daily witnessed in practice, it is therefore unnecessary to give any illustrative examples.

    1 But if treated with violent allopathic remedies, other diseases will be formed in its place which are more difficult and dangerous to life.

    Here’s the old canard regularly trotted out by homeopaths concerning conventional medicine. In Hahnemann’s time of blood letting and trepanation there may have been some truth in this but it doesn’t quite stand in modern times. While no one would suggest that there aren’t drugs or treatments that produce horrible side effects, cancer chemotherapy and radiation treatment being the most obvious examples, to suggest patients would be better of not receiving these treatments is clearly false.

    Comment by John R — February 17, 2008 @ 12:23 pm | Reply

  2. § 38 was discussed in the previous thread. Hahnemann provides references for the observations he talks about here but I as I am unable to read these I can’t comment directly. There are some strange this mentioned. In the previous thread it was claimed that people with psychological diseases did not suffer acute illnesses. Here Hahnemann claims that the symptoms of TB are absent in manic patients. I find this very hard to believe but if it is true then there should be plenty of modern documented evidence.

    Comment by John R — February 17, 2008 @ 1:11 pm | Reply

  3. **^^strange things mentioned^^**

    Comment by John R — February 17, 2008 @ 1:12 pm | Reply

  4. “The itch, as Schopf 2 saw, disappeared on the occurrence of the scurvy, but after the cure of the latter it again broke out.”

    What is “the itch” referred to here?

    Comment by nash — February 17, 2008 @ 4:24 pm | Reply

  5. “Psora”?

    Comment by Mojo — February 17, 2008 @ 11:04 pm | Reply

  6. I can never figure if Hahnemann is just making stuff up or if he is repeating conventional knowledge of the 1800s.

    Comment by Bill — February 18, 2008 @ 4:16 am | Reply

  7. I see that you are struggling with this material.

    While it is quite admirable that you are attempting to understand, it is going to be almost impossible without the guidance of an experienced homeopathic teacher for you to be able to grasp the language and intent behind Hahnemann’s writings.

    I maintain that if your intention to participate here was to ridicule homeopathy, you have already done an admirable job!

    If your intention is to really get a deep understanding, then you would be better served to study with a knowledgable teacher who has experience in applying these principles in a 21st century context.

    Comment by rainbow9 — February 18, 2008 @ 12:35 pm | Reply

  8. Verse 37 is another whinge/swipe at non-homeopathic medicine, which in the context of the 21st century is now irrelevant. It may be useful to keep a whinge count as the project progresses.

    Verse 38 makes reference to journals/books that are over 200 years old, so I for one can’t make any useful comment on it.

    Comment by Nash — February 18, 2008 @ 3:20 pm | Reply

  9. While it is quite admirable that you are attempting to understand, it is going to be almost impossible without the guidance of an experienced homeopathic teacher for you to be able to grasp the language and intent behind Hahnemann’s writings.

    Do you think there’s a chance that asking a practising, 21st century homeopath (insofar as that’s not a contradiction in terms) to guide your reading might diminish its usefulness as a historical document? I certainly wouldn’t trust a Christian to guide my reading of the Bible. Those guys interpret it quite differently than what it actually says (and than each other).

    The accepted interpretation (if there is one) is interesting, as is the original document. And so are the differences between them.

    Comment by Andrew — February 18, 2008 @ 5:10 pm | Reply

  10. By all means, carry on.

    It just that when I try to understand something, I prefer to go to the original source (which you have ) AND to scholars who have grappeled with the material for many years. For the Bible, you really have two documents. The Tanakh the correct name of the Hebrew Bible, or what Christins call the Old Testament, which consists of the Torah, the Prophets and the Writings. For an accurate and deep understanding your best teacher would be a Rabbi who has spent years studying in a yeshiva under a master. To understand the New Testament, a deep understanding of the Tanakh is essential.

    Comment by rainbow9 — February 18, 2008 @ 6:28 pm | Reply

  11. I may add that I have taken courses in religious studies on the Bible at University while pursuing an English degree, and studied overviews and interpretations presented by Biblical scholars.

    If I had tried to read the Bible and take it apart verse by verse myself or just the other students, it would have been not as enlightening. I needed the guidance of my professor, the scholarly works, and then my own study, and essay writing on the various topics. Different points of view and interpretations were presented.

    What you are trying to do here is still fruitless, I am afraid.

    Comment by rainbow9 — February 18, 2008 @ 7:07 pm | Reply

  12. I may add that I have taken courses in religious studies at University while pursuing an English degree, and studied overviews and hermeneutics presented by Biblical scholars.

    If I had tried to read the Bible and take it apart verse by verse myself or just the other students, it would have been misleading. I needed the guidance of my professor, the scholarly works, and then my own study and essay writing on the various topics.

    What you are trying to do here is still fruitless, I am afraid.

    Comment by rainbow9 — February 18, 2008 @ 7:10 pm | Reply

  13. Let me try one more time.

    Taking your analogy of the Bible. If one wanted to learn more about it- its historical context, obscure meanings, textual meanings, etc. why would one go to an avowed athiest, whose only interest would be to show you how it is meaningless and useless as your entry into this study?

    Now that may be an interesting route to take- to get the athiest’s point of view at some point- but it must certainly be balanced by studying with scholars whose life work has been to further their and other’s understanding. And then you could move onto the Jewish point of view, the Christian, the Muslim and even the Buddhist. In otherwords, explore with an open mind

    That is all I am saying- if your interest is to further your understanding of homeopathy, this may be a frustrating way to start.

    Comment by rainbow9 — February 18, 2008 @ 8:55 pm | Reply

  14. The Lord of the Rings is fiction. Studying it under a master doesn’t make it true. The same goes for all religous books. God/s don’t exist.

    Comment by nash — February 18, 2008 @ 9:01 pm | Reply

  15. So what exactly is your desire to be hear studying the Organon?

    Comment by rainbow9 — February 18, 2008 @ 9:43 pm | Reply

  16. Good grief, as an English major I must correct the “hear” to “here”!

    Comment by rainbow9 — February 18, 2008 @ 9:43 pm | Reply

  17. Gale, the Organon is supposed to be a scientific book that lays the foundation for a system of medicine, not a religious text. The aim of this blog, as I see it, is to look at Hahnemann’s writing and see how applicable it is in modern times.

    Are you saying that reading the Origin of the Species or the Principia would be a fruitless way of exploring how Darwin or Newton viewed the world, and see how applicable their work is today?

    Comment by John R — February 18, 2008 @ 9:48 pm | Reply

  18. I am only noting that the beginning of this entry seemed to be confusing to people. “What’s an itch? ” What is psora?” And I don’t see any homeopaths participating anymore to assist.

    It is certainly admirable that your interest is so strong in attempting to understand homeopathy, and I will butt out and let the discussion continue.

    Comment by rainbow9 — February 18, 2008 @ 9:55 pm | Reply

  19. Taking your analogy of the Bible. If one wanted to learn more about it- its historical context, obscure meanings, textual meanings, etc. why would one go to an avowed athiest, whose only interest would be to show you how it is meaningless and useless as your entry into this study? Now that may be an interesting route to take- to get the athiest’s point of view at some point- but it must certainly be balanced by studying with scholars whose life work has been to further their and other’s understanding.

    I would find a de-facto atheist to talk to, because they’re about the only people with no vested interest in interpreting it one way or the other. Someone who thinks it is the unerring word of God would be no help at all.

    I think a practicing homeopath would be a bad choice for study of the Organon for the same reason: they have a vested interest in making sure I believe its every word. I’d pick someone with a full understanding of the medical practices and culture contemporary to Hahnemann. They’d be best placed to place the document in its correct historical context. I’d also get a doctor/scientist on board so we have some objective measure of how accurate his work is.

    I wouldn’t by any means exclude a homeopath who wanted to contribute, but I wouldn’t give them any extra sway over anybody else just because they believe the book. If we took that attitude, we’d end up believing everything that was ever written.

    Comment by Andrew Taylor — February 18, 2008 @ 10:10 pm | Reply

  20. Er, I italicised “de-facto” to emphasise it — I don’t italicise all latin phrases. Please don’t think I’m that guy.

    Comment by Andrew Taylor — February 18, 2008 @ 10:12 pm | Reply

  21. rainbow9

    Thousands of years of study of religous texts has not advanced humanity. We advance in spite of it, not because of it.

    Comment by nash — February 18, 2008 @ 10:37 pm | Reply

  22. “Thousands of years of study of religous [sic] texts has not advanced humanity.”

    Do you think studying the Organon is a waste of time then?

    Comment by Mojo — February 19, 2008 @ 12:02 pm | Reply

  23. Depends on what you are studying them for.

    Theological study is a waste of time.

    Anthropological study is useful.

    Comment by Nash — February 19, 2008 @ 2:04 pm | Reply

  24. The Jeohovah’s Witnesses don’t allow Bible study unless there is a trained teacher leading the study. Left to their own devices people might come up with the wrong interpretation.

    For the Organon,as Andrew says

    “I’d pick someone with a full understanding of the medical practices and culture contemporary to Hahnemann. They’d be best placed to place the document in its correct historical context. I’d also get a doctor/scientist on board so we have some objective measure of how accurate his work is.”

    The participation of homeopaths is useful, but given a choice I would rather have a medical historian.

    Comment by bill — February 19, 2008 @ 10:42 pm | Reply

  25. Next set of verses please

    Comment by Nash — February 21, 2008 @ 8:52 am | Reply


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