Birds eye view of Hahnemann's Organon of Medicine by John H.Clarke


Last modified on March 28th, 2016




I will now quote a few passages from the Introduction which will show you Hahnemann estimate of certain doctrines and methods which are not by any means extinct to-day, and also his his estimate of the Vis medicatrix nature. In these s in all my quotations from Hahnemann I give his own italics, of which he made liberal use.

“A favorite idea of the ordinary school of medicine until recent (would that I could not say the most recent!) times, was that of morbific matters (and acridities) in diseases, excessively subtle though they might be though to be, which must be expelled from the blood-vessels and lymphatics through the exhalants, skin, urinary apparatus, or salivary glands, through the tracheal and bronchial glands in the form of expectation, from the stomach and bowels be freed from the material causes that produced the disease, and a radical causal; treatment be thus carried out.

“By cutting holes in the diseases body, which were converted into chronic ulcers kept up for years by the introduction of foreign substances (issues, setons) they sought to draw of the materia peccans from the (always only dynamically) diseased body, just as one lets a dirty fluid run out of a barrel through a tap-hole. By means also of perpetual fly-blisters and the application of mezereum they thought to draw away the bad humours and to cleanse the diseased body from all morbific matters-but they only weakened it. so as generally to render if incurable by all these senseless unnatural processes.

“I admit that it was more convenient for the weakness of humanity to assume that in the diseases they were called on to cure there existed some morbific material of what the mind might form a conception (mote particularly as the patients readily lent themselves to such a notion., ) because in that case the practitioner had nothing further to care about then to procure a good supply of remedies for purifying the blood and the humours, exciting diuresis and diaphoresis, promoting expectoration and scouring out the stomach and bowels. Hence in all the works on Materia Medica, from Dioscorides down to the ;latest books on the subject, there is almost nothing said about the special peculiar action of individual medicines; but besides an account o their supposed utility in various nosological records of diseases, it is merely stated whether they are diuretic, diaphoretic, expectorant,. or emmenagogue, and move particularly whether they produce evacuation by the stomach and bowels, upwards or downwards; because all the aspirations of the practitioner have ever been chiefly directed to cause the expulsion of the natural morbific matter, and of sundry (fictitious) acridities, which is was imagined wee the cause of disease” (pp.10, 11).

“But the essential nature of diseases and their cure will not adapt themselves to scanty fantasies , nor to the convenience of medical men; to humour such stupid, baseless hypothesis, diseases will not cease to be (spiritual) dynamic derangements of our spirit- like vital principle in sensations and functions, that is to say, immaterial derangements of our state of health:” (p.11).

:Are, then, the foul, often disgusting, excretions which occur in diseases the actual matter than produces and keeps them up”: Are they not rather always excretory products of the disease itself, that is, of the lie, which is only dynamically deranged and disordered” (p.14).

DERIVATION. Further on Hahnemann exposes the doctrine of “derivation.” which in his day was the favorite excuse for the employment of violent measures.

“But the more modern adherents of the old school do not wish it to be supposed that in their treatment they aim at the expulsion of material morbific substances They allege that their multifarious evacuant processes are a mode of treatment by derivation, wherein they follow the example of Nature, which, in her efforts to assist the diseased organism, resolves fever by perspiration and diuresis, pleurisy by epistaxis, sweat and mucous expectoration-other diseases by vomiting, diarrhoea and bleeding from the anus, articular pains by suppurating ulcers on the legs, cynanche tonsillaris by salivation, & c., or metastases and abscesses which she develops in parts at a distance from the seat of the disease.

“Hence they thought the best thing was to imitate nature by also going to work in the treatment of most diseases in a circuitous manner, like the diseased vital force when left to itself, and thus in an indirect manner, by means of stronger heterogeneous irritant supplied to organs remove from the seat of the disease and totally dissimilar to the affected tissues, they produced evacuations and generally kept them up, in order to draw, as it were, the disease thither.

“This derivation, as it is called, was, and continues to be, one of the principal modes of treatment of the old school of medicine” (pp.16, 17).

On this principle all sorts of severe measure,s such as blood- letting, mercurial salivation, counter-irritants, and cauteries of all kinds were employed. Hahnemann goes on to show that were imitation of nature is not a thing to be aimed at. Nature may be imitated in her method of cure; but not the vain efforts of the organism to rid itself of a disease.

“When the old school practitioners, thoughtlessly imitating the crude, senseless, automatic vital energy, with their counter irritant and derivative methods of treatment, attack innocent parts and organs of the body, either inflicting of them excruciating pains, or, as is most frequently done,compelling them to perform evacuations, whereby strength and fluids are wasted, their object is to direct the morbid vital action in the primarily affected parts away to those artificially attacked, and thus to effect the cure of the natural disease indirectly, by the production of a disease much greater in intensity and f quite a different kind, in the healthy parts of the body, consequently by a circuitons way, at the cost of much loss of strength, and usually of great sufferings to the patient” (p.21).

Here is his summary of the whole matter:-

“No ! that exquisite power innate in the human being, designed to direct in the most perfect manner the operations of life, while it is in health, equally present in all parts f the organism , in the fibres of sensibility as well as in those of irritability, the unwearying spring of all the normal, natural functions of the body, was not created for the purpose of affording itself aid in diseases, not for the purpose of exercising a healing art worthy of imitation. No! the true healing art is that reflective work, the attribute of the higher powers of human intellect, of unfettered judgment, and of reason selecting and determining on principle in order to effect an alteration in the instinctive, irritational and unintelligent, but energetic, automatic vital force, when it has been diverted by disease into abnormal action, and by means of a similar affection developed by a homeopathically-chosen remedy, to excite in it a medicinal disease somewhat greater in degree so that the natural morbid affection can no longer act upon the vital force which thus, freed from the natural disease, has now only the similar, somewhat stronger,r medicinal morbid affection to contend with, against which it now directs its whole energy, and which it soon overpowers, whereby the vital force is liberated and enabled to return to the normal standard of health and to its proper function, ‘the maintenance of the life and health of the organism,’ without living suffered, during the change, any painful or debilitating attacks. Homeopathy teaches us how to effect this” (p.28).



I will now quote some of the paragraphs of the Organon itself, and will begin with the first.

Aphorism 1.

The physician’s high and only mission is to restore the sick of health-to cure, as it is termed.

Aphorism 2.

The highest ideal of a cure is rapid, gentle, and permanent restoration of the health, or removal and annihilation of the disease in its whole extent, in the shortest, most reliable,a nd most harmless way, on easily comprehensible principle.

Aphorism 3.

If the physician clearly perceives what is to be cured in diseases, that is to say, in every individual case of disease (knowledge of disease, indication), if he clearly perceives what is curative in medicines, that is to say, in each individual medicine (knowledge of medicinal powers), and if he knows how to adapt, according to clearly defined principles, what is curative in medicines to what he has discovered to be undoubtedly morbid in the patient,so that recovery must ensue- to adapt it, as well in respect to the suitability of the medicine most appropriate according to its mode of action to the case before him (choice of the remedy, the medicine indicted), as also in respect to the exact mode of preparation and quantity of it required (proper dose) , and the proper period for repeating the dose;-if, finally, he knows the obstacles to recovery in each case, and is aware how to remove them, so that the restoration may be permanent: then he understands how to treat judiciously and rationally, and he is a true practitioners of the healing art.

Aphorism 4.

He is likewise a preserver of health if he knows the things that damage health and cause disease and how to remove them from persons in health.

Aphorism 5.

Useful to the physician in assisting him to cure are the particulars of the most probable exciting cause of the acute disease, as also the most significant points in the whole history of the chronic disease, to enable him to discover its fundamental cause, which is generally due to a chronic miasms. In these investigations, the ascertainable physical constitution of the patient character, his occupation, mode of living and habits, his social and domestic relations, his age, sexual function, & c., are to be taken into consideration.

Aphorism 6.

The unprejudiced observer-well aware of the futility of transcendental speculations which can receive no confirmations from experience-be his powers of penetration ever so great, takes note of nothing in every individual disease except the change sin the health of the body and of the mind (morbid phenomena, accidents, symptoms) which can be perceived externally by means of the senses; that is to say, he notices only the deviations from the former healthy state of the now disease individual, which are felt by the patient himself, remarked by those around him, and observed by the physician. All these perceptible signs represent the disease in its whole extent, that is, together they form the true and only conceivable portrait of the disease.

Aphorism 7.

Now, as in a disease, from which no manifest exciting or maintaining cause (causa occasionalis) has to be removed, we can perceive nothing but the morbid symptoms, it must regard being had to the possibility of a miasm, and attention paid to the accessory circumstances, Aphorism5) be the symptoms alone by which the disease demands and points to the remedy suited to relieve it-and, moreover, the totality of these its symptoms, of this outwardly reflected picture of the internal essence of the disease, that is, of the affection of the vital force, must be the principal,or the sole means whereby the disease can make known what remedy it requires-the only thing that can determine the choice of the most appropriate remedy-and thus, in a word, the totality of the symptoms must be the principal., indeed the only, thing the physician has to take note of in every case of disease, and to remove by means of his art, in order that it shall be cured and transformed into health.


Aphorism 25. Now, however, in all careful trials, pure experiment,t he sole and infallible oracle of the healing art, teaches us that actually that medicine which, in its action on the healthy human body, has demonstrated its power of producing the great number of symptoms similar to those observable in the case of disease under treatment, does also in does of suitable potency and attenuation, rapidly, radically, and permanently remove the totality of the symptoms of the morbid state, that is to say, the whole disease present, and change it into health; and that all medicines cure, without exception, those disease whose symptoms most nearly resemble their own and leave none of them uncured.

Aphorism 26.

This depends on the following homeopathic law of nature which was sometimes, indeed, vaguely surmised but not hitherto fully recognised, and to which is due every real cure that has ever taken place:-

A weaker dynamic affection is permanently extinguished in the living organism by a stronger one if the latter (whilst differing in kind) is very similar to the former in its manifestations.

Aphorism 27.

The curative power-of medicines, therefore, depends on their symptoms, similar to the disease, but superior to it in strength, so that each individual case of disease is most surely,radically, rapidly and permanently annihilated and removed only by a medicine capable of producing in the human system) in the most similar and complete manner the totality of its symptoms, which at the same time are stronger than the disease.


Aphorism 72.

“…The diseases to which man is liable are either rapid morbid processes of the abnormally derange vital force, which have a tendency to finish the course more or less quickly, but always in a moderate time-these are termed acute diseases; or they are diseases of such a character that, with small, often imperceptible beginnings, dynamically derange the living organism each in its own peculiar manner, and cause it to deviate from the healthy condition in such a way that the automatic life energy called vital force, whose office it is to preserve the health, only opposes to them at the commencement and enduring their progress imperfect, unsuitable, useless resistance, but is unable of itself to extinguish them, but most helplessly suffer (them to spread and) itself to be ever more and more abnormally deranged, until at length the organism is destroyed; these are termed chronic disease. They are caused by infection from a chronic miasm.”.

About the author

John Henry Clarke

John Henry Clarke

John Henry Clarke MD (1853 – November 24, 1931 was a prominent English classical homeopath. Dr. Clarke was a busy practitioner. As a physician he not only had his own clinic in Piccadilly, London, but he also was a consultant at the London Homeopathic Hospital and researched into new remedies — nosodes. For many years, he was the editor of The Homeopathic World. He wrote many books, his best known were Dictionary of Practical Materia Medica and Repertory of Materia Medica

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