Homeopathy Papers

Homeopathy Misapplied

Last modified on January 18th, 2018

Katja Schuett
Written by Katja Schuett

Homeopath Katja Schütt discusses the principles of homeopathy and how they are sometimes misapplied. She makes it clear that it is a strict discipline that must be adhered to for success.

When we have to do with an art whose end is the saving of human life, any neglect to make ourselves thoroughly masters of it, becomes a crime.”

–  Samuel Hahnemann

“Harmed by homeopathy” was the subject heading of an email I recently received from an understandably very concerned person, whose ailments aggravated tremendously after self-prescribing a remedy bought from an online supplement company. “Tubercular Miasm Drops”, a combination of fifteen remedies in high potency, 10 drops to be taken thrice a day, which she stopped after the third day because of horrible proving symptoms mimicking a tubercular infection and requiring hospitalization.

Human nature being imperfect, most practitioners will probably have seen aggravations, be they similar or dissimilar, with all their implications, or just because homeopathy was applied when not indicated. Being oversensitive to potentized remedies and having made a lot of provings by myself, I certainly knew what a nightmarish experience proving symptoms can be and could deeply resonate with the agony of this patient. However, being deeply imbued with the spirit of homeopathy I couldn’t let the matter rest with the suffering being  assigned to homeopathy per se.

Homeopathy is a healing science and art, established by the German physician Samuel Hahnemann. The name is derived from the Greek words for ‘similar suffering’ refering to ‘similia similibus curentur‘  or  “like cures like”.  Homeopathy has stood the test of time, resting upon the unshakeable laws and principles, whose correct application has given uncountable patients their life back and cured diseases presumed to be incurable by orthodox medicine. However, the success of homeopathic treatment depends on the correct application of its principles, and failing to resort to them prevents a rapid, gentle and permanent cure and discredits homeopathy, unjustifiably.

Misapplication is defined as the application of something in a way that is incorrect or wrong. The misapplications homeopathy can largely be assigned to fall into the following two categories:

  1. The use of homeopathy when not being indicated.
  2. The application of dynamized remedies without resorting to the laws and principles of homeopathy.

 

  1. Using homeopathy when not being indicated

When first seeing a patient the practitioner has to decide whether the ailments fall within the scope of homeopathy. Stuart Close clearly defined the true and only sphere of homoeopathy as the sphere of vital dynamics:

Its field is the field of disordered vital phenomena and functional changes in the individual patient, irrespective of the name of the disease, or of its cause. Its object is the restoration of order and harmony in vital functioning in the individual patient“. [1]

The sphere of Similia in medicine is thus limited to those morbid functional conditions and processes which result primarily from the dynamic action upon the living organism of morbific agents inimical to life“.[2]

Further elaborating on this subject, and with reference to Dake, Stuart Close lists the following criteria to be considered before resorting to homeopathy [3]:

  • Homeopathy relates primarily to no affection of health where the exciting cause of disease is constantly present and operative.
  • It relates primarily to no affections of health which will, of themselves, cease after the removal of the exciting cause by physical, chemical or hygienic measures.
  • It relates primarily to no affections of health occasioned by the injury or destruction of tissues which are incapable of restoration.
  • It relates primarily to no affections of health where the vital reactive power of the organism to medicines is exhausted, obstructed or prevented.
  • It relates to no affection of health, the symptomatic likeness of which may not be perceptibly produced in the healthy organism by medical means, nor to affections in which such symptoms are not perceptible.
  • The homeopathic law relates to no agents intended to affect the organism chemically.
  • It relates to none applied for mechanical effect simply.
  • It relates to none required in the development or support of the organism when in health.
  • It relates to none employed directly to remove or destroy the parasites which infest or prey upon the human body.

Hahnemann himself distinguished between true chronic diseases which arise from chronic miasms; iatrogen diseases, which are artificially produced by allopathic treatment; and pseudo-chronic diseases which are inappropriately named chronic and caused by noxious influences, and which disappear by themselves under an improved mode of living and proper regimen. These pseudo-chronic diseases resulting from “false practices” are caused by maintaining or contributory causes such as bad living circumstances, unhygienic and unsanitary influences, dietetic errors, detrimental mental conditions, excesses of all kind, prolonged deprivation of things necessary to life, lack of exercise or fresh air, physical or mental overexertion etc. Hahnemann also mentioned that grief and displeasure account for the most frequent aggravation of existing ailments and the development of chronic diseases based on latent psora. The causes of grief, annoyance, displeasure etc. have to be addressed, otherwise Hahnemann recommends to abstain from homeopathic treatment. Hahnemann already recognized the important role of psychotherapeutic measures, and although psychotherapy as a therapeutic method wasn’t yet established in his time, he disregarded the methods and attitude of treating the mentally ill at that time and gave several recommendations for psychotherapeutic interventions in the Organon.  So it stands to reason, that the homeopathic prescriber endeavors to remove any causes of the disease and obstacles to cure before applying the homeopathic remedy. Failing to do this, the homeopathic remedy can do nothing or will be limited in its action. Hahnemann wrote about the physician: “He is likewise a preserver of health if he knows the things that derange health and cause disease, and how to remove them from persons in health.” [4]

 

  1. The negligence of laws and principles of homeopathy

Imitate me, but imitate me correctly and meticulously”. Samuel Hahnemann

A fundamental law in medical therapy prescribes the manners of its exercise and implicates that adherence is prerequisite for the success of therapy. Hahnemann described the laws and principles of homeopathy comprehensively in his writings, and the Organon of the Healing Art in particular. .He opined:

In the permanent cure of diseases by medicines in living organisms nature seems never to act otherwise than in accordance with these here manifest laws, and then indeed she acts, if we may use the expression, with mathematical certainty. There is no case of dynamic disease in the world (excepting the death struggle, old age, if it can be considered a disease, and the destruction or some indispensable viscus or member), whose symptoms can be met with in great similarity among the positive effects of a medicine, which will not be rapidly and permanently cured by this medicine“.[10]

Law of similars

The Law of Similars  or  “like cures like”  is the sine qua non, for the curative power of homeopathy is based on symptom similarity. This holds that the remedy that produces certain symptoms in healthy people will cure the ill when suffering from a similar symptom totality. The mistuned vital force can be freed from the natural disease by the dynamized, homeopathic remedy which creates a similar, somewhat stronger and self-limited artificial disease. As two similar diseases cannot exist simultaneously, the stronger artificial disease replaces and annihilates the natural disease.

Single Remedy

The totality of symptoms can only indicate one remedy at a given time to be most similar. Provings haven’t been made with mixtures either; it is impossible to know how compounds may hinder and alter each other’s actions.

Minimum Dose

The most appropriate dose is the smallest possible that produces the least possible excitation of the vital force and is yet sufficient to stimulate the vital force towards balance. Hence, the homeopathic simillimum is the correctly chosen remedy given in the correct potency and dose. Stuart Close writes: “The curative dose, like the remedy, must be similar in quantity and quality to the dose of the morbific agent which caused the disease“.[5]

Individualization

No two individuals are alike, so the remedies they need might be different, even when suffering from the same disease. Homeopathic remedies are prescribed based on the totality of characteristic symptoms of the individual, that is, those that characterize the individual expression of disease, not pathognomonic symptoms. Thus, in search of the homeopathic remedy the patient’s strange, rare, peculiar, uncommon and characteristics signs and symptoms are to be especially and almost solely kept in view and must correspond to those of the remedy.

Treatment of the whole person

Homeopathy treats the individual with the disease and not diseased parts or single symptoms as it is always the whole person who is ill. As all parts of the organism are so intimately connected together to form an indivisible whole, there cannot be local diseases that affect a single organ or part of the body without the co-operation of the whole organism. Thus, it is not useful to apply medicines on local affections. When the homeopathic simillimum is given internally the external manifestations of the malady will disappear salutarily by reason of its homeopathicity.

Totality of symptoms

Hahnemann defined symptoms as the outwardly reflected picture of the inner essence of the disease and the sole means whereby the disease can make the required remedy known. As it is always the whole person who is ill and individualization necessary for treatment, determining the totality of characteristic symptoms constitutes the only conceivable diagnosis of the disease and is at the same time, the foundation for prescription. Thus, a prescription made on indication – this remedy for that disease in a certain dose and potency – as usually recommended in books for laymen or written on the instruction leaflet for remedies sold over the counter must neccessarily be a wild shot in the dark.

Doctrine of the vital force

The vital force is the invisible, dynamic energy that animates all living beings. It is this spirit-like force that governs life and maintains all the bodily sensations and functions in equilibrium in the state of health. When a person falls ill, it is this dynamic vital force, everywhere present in the organism, which is primarily deranged by the dynamic influence of an agent inimical to life. Thus, health and disease are merely two different states of the vital force. A truly curative method has to act upon this dynamic vital force. Hahnemann encouraged his patients to strengthen the vital force by healthy food, pure fresh air and water, exercise etc. In modern times this dynamic vital force finds its equivalent in the biomagnetic field whose energy penetrates the whole organism and higher bodies.

Dynamized remedies

Diseases being only dynamic derangements of  the vital force it follows, that they can only be removed by means of remedies which are capable of acting in the sphere of dynamics. Potentization or dynamization is a process by which the latent medicinal properties of a substance are extracted from their crude form for curative purposes. Upon experimentation Hahnemann had found that the process of potentization not only revealed the medicinal powers of otherwise inert substances, but that the power of remedies increases with increasing potentization steps (trituration or attenuation and succussion). However, potentized remedies are not homeopathic due to their form of preparation; homeopathicity is only given when applied according to the law of similars.

Provings

To apply homeopathic remedies according to the law of similars their medicinal actions must be reliably known through the process of drug provings. For this, dynamized drugs are applied on healthy subjects of different ages and sexes. Mental, emotional and physical symptoms appear during drug provings and are recorded in the homeopathic materia medica. Symptoms listed in the materia medica in result of provings demonstrate that the often cited argument of homeopathy having no potential side effects lacks any basis.

Theory of the Chronic Diseases

Hahnemann noticed that acute diseases could be cured rapidly, but that some diseases tended to come back and that amelioration for chronically ill patients wasn’t lasting.   After twelve years of investigating this phenomenon he established his theory of the chronic diseases, stating that these are caused by the dynamic contagion of a chronic miasm. He originally named psora, sycosis and syphilis. These miasms constitute inherited and acquired patterns with particular characteristics and disease propensities. Their cure requires anti-miasmatic treatment with properly indicated remedies.

Rules for the direction of cure

Hering’s rule for the direction of cure states, that all cure proceeds from above downwards, from within outwards, from a more important organ to a less important one, and that symptoms vanish in the reverse order of their appearance. True cure means to restore the sick to health and includes the normalization of all vital processes and increased resistance against all sick making forces. Cure following Hering‘s rule indicates that the correct remedy is working towards cure. This can never be reached through the suppression of symptoms or mere local removal of pathology.

 

Don’t sail under false colors

The Law of Similars never fails. But to cure diseases we must follow the rules and principles of homeopathy in prescribing and case management. To take a mixture of remedies at random dose cannot be said to be a homeopathic prescription. Many remedies sold over the counter or recommendations given in laymen books, however, suggest a medical therapeutic method that is easy to apply. Yet, to master the healing art and science of homeopathy requires knowledge and conscientiousness practice and experience. Hahnemann wrote:

This laborious, sometimes very laborious, search for and selection of the homeopathic remedy most suitable in every respect to each morbid state, is an operation which, notwithstanding all the admirable books for facilitating it, still demands the study of the original sources themselves, and at the same time a great amount of circumspection and serious deliberation, which have their best rewards in the consciousness of having faithfully discharged our duty“.[6]

The true follower of Hahnemann adheres to the laws and principles of homeopathy and doesn’t pretend to be what he is not. Hahnemann called a certain type of practitioners, who employ medicines in form and appearance homeopathic without adhering to the prescribing rules, yet blames homeopathy and quickly resorts to allopathic means to make up for the inefficiency, the “new mongrel sect“. [7] To them Hahnemann had the following to say:

That some misguided physicians who would wish to be considered homeopathists, engraft some, to them more familiar, allopathic malpractices upon their nominally homeopathic treatment, is owing to ignorance of the doctrine, laziness, contempt for suffering humanity, and ridiculous conceit; and, besides showing unpardonable negligence in searching for the best homeopathic specific for each case of disease, has often a base love of gain and other sordid motives for its spring – and for its result? That they cannot cure all important and serious diseases (which pure and careful homeopathy can), and that they send many of their patients to that place whence no one returns, whilst the friends console themselves with the reflection that everything (including every hurtful allopathic process!) has been done for the departed.”[8]

Hahnemann was quite strict when it came to the application of his established rules and principles because the successful treatment and welfare of the patient depends on this.  He did not want to have anything to do with those who deviated from his track and called them traitors. To follow in his footsteps means always to strive to perfect the knowledge of the homeopathic philosophy and its application to be able to meet any patient whose ailments fall under the scope of homeopathy, and to tap the full potential of this marvelous healing art and science. Those, who do, know:

Homeopathy is a perfectly simple system of medicine, remaining always fixed in its principles as in its practice, which, like the doctrine whereon it is based, if rightly apprehended will be found to be complete (and therefore serviceable). What is clearly pure in doctrine and practice should be self-evident, and all backward sliding to the pernicious routinism of the old school that is as much its antithesis as night is to day, should cease to vaunt itself with the honorable name of homeopathy.“ [9]

 

References

Samuel Hahnemann, Organon der Heilkunst, 6.Auflage, Barthel & Barthel Verlag, Nendeln, 1999

Stuart Close, The Genius of Homoeopathy, Lectures and Essays on Homoeopathic Philosophy, B. Jain Publishers, New Delhi, India, 2003

Footnotes

Stuart Close, The Genius of Homoeopathy, Lectures and Essays on Homoeopathic Philosophy, B. Jain Publishers, New Delhi, India, 2003

[1] p.39

[2] p.42

[3] p.42,44

[5] p.208

Samuel Hahnemann, Organon der Heilkunst, 6.Auflage, Barthel & Barthel Verlag, Nendeln, 1999

[4] Paragraph 4

[6] Paragraph 148

[7] Paragraph 148

[8] Samuel Hahnemann,  Organon, Vorwort zur fünften Auflage

[9] Samuel Hahnemann,  Organon, Vorwort zur sechsten Auflage

[10] Samuel Hahnemann, Materia Medica Pura, Vol. 1, Hahnemann Publishing Society, 1880 p.17

About the author

Katja Schuett

Katja Schuett

Katja Schutt, Msc, HP, DHM, PGHom, DVetHom, has studied homeopathy with several schools, amongst which David Little’s advanced course stands out as it offers a really deep insight into homeopathic philosophy and materia medica (simillimum.com). Her current focus lies in working with animals and studying history, the old masters, and research.

4 Comments

  • Excellent article. Having expressed the importance of adhering to the principles established by Hahnemann, how do we deal with so many teachers of homeopathy ignoring these principles?

    • If there was no effective homeopathy, it would not last for so many years. The problem is that homeopathy becomes effective in the hands who can use it. But this skill does not fall from the sky. It can be acquired only by many hundreds of hours of study and practice under the guidance of experienced specialists. It is impossible to become a homeopath after listening to a two-hundred and twenty-hour course, for three hundred hours, and for five hundred hours too. Only when homeopathy is recognized by the same medical specialty as, say, pediatrics, ophthalmology or roentgenology, with the introduction of mandatory courses of many months of specialization and examinations, as is customary for all specialties, one can hope that the average level of practicing homeopathy will rise sharply and interest in it from ordinary doctors will increase significantly. Until the homeopath can be called after the superficial course there is nothing to expect a breakthrough. It is like graduating college by buying homework on homework doer all the time. Often such courses are taught by “homeopaths” who do not know and do not understand even the fundamentals of the homeopathic method, and consider that homeopathy is different from allopathy only by drugs.

  • The Principles of homeopathy were written for a reason, to underlie exactly what homeopathy is and how it should be practiced. Once one has read all editions of The Organon, this can be interpreted as one wishes, but only by adhering to all the basic tenets, and practicing within these confines. Anything else can be called anything else, but it is not homeopathy; simply an improvised version, which loosely relates. I agree with this sentence Katja and totally agree : ‘Misapplication is defined as the application of something in a way that is incorrect or wrong.’

  • The misapplication of homeopathy is one of its greatest enemies. It causes people who believe they have received homeopathic care to proclaim that it did not work for them, failing to realize that they did not receive competent care in the first place. Perhaps the greatest source of misapplied homeopathy in the U.S. are practitioners who think they can use homeopathic remedies as if they were no different than allopathic pharmaceuticals. They discover homeopathy, look no further than the indication on the label, and give it to their patients for that indication. And as with all allopaths, they practice symptom-oriented polypharmacy, mixing and matching remedies, drugs, herbs, and supplements without regard for whether the overall health of the patient is improving or declining. This becomes a thorny issue especially when it comes to innovative trends in homeopathy. The question is whether a new trend is an effective method of healing or does it represent a fatal disregard for important principles? The answer must hinge on the actual outcome. Is the patient getting better in the true sense of what that means or is it just an illusion, like the illusion created by allopathic symptomatic whac-a-mole. Thank you, Katja, for reminding us of our guiding principles.

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