What is homeopathy?
Homeopathy is a system of natural health care that has been in worldwide use for over 200 years. Homeopathy treats each person as a unique individual with the aim of stimulating their own healing ability. A homeopath selects the most appropriate medicine based on the individual’s specific symptoms and personal level of health.
How homeopathy works?
Homeopathic treatment works with your body’s own healing powers to bring about health and well-being. When homeopath consults patient, he extracts the unique and detailed history of each patient, and seek to find the specific substance from the plant, mineral, animal, or chemical kingdom that would cause the similar syndrome of symptoms that the patient is experiencing. It is not surprising that large numbers of homeopaths throughout the world today use sophisticated expert system software to help them individualize medicinal substances to their patients.
Is homeopathy effective?
You are treated as an individual, not as a collection of disease labels. Homeopathy treats all your symptoms at all levels of your being – spiritual, emotional, mental and physical and finds the ‘like cures like’ match for them. For over 200 years, hundreds of thousands of homeopaths throughout the world have carefully cataloged and now computerized the idiosyncratic physical, emotional, and mental symptoms that thousands of substances have caused in healthy people.
Are Homeopathy medicines safe?
Homeopathy medicines are absolutely safe. This is because homeopathic medicines are made from a very small amount of the active ingredient. Two hundred years of extensive practice, research and trials have proved the safety of this gentle system of medicine for both people and animals. Unlike some conventional drugs, homeopathic medicines are non-addictive and have no dangerous side-effects. Homeopathy is safe to use for babies, children and pregnant or breastfeeding women, who are under the supervision of a homeopathic doctor.
Naturopathy and homeopathy
Many people think that homeopathy and naturopathy are one and the same thing. Naturopathy is a ‘broad spectrum’ descriptor in which practitioner is more likely to prescribe multiple treatment approaches like supplements, herbs, and dietary adjustments. Conversely, homeopathy is a single system of medicine in which practitioners focus totally on the application of homeopathic medicines. They are also very different in terms of diagnostic methods and treatments.
Homeopathy medicine and conventional medicine
Conventional medicine is a system in which medical doctors and other healthcare professionals such as nurses, pharmacists, and therapists treat symptoms and diseases using drugs, radiation, or surgery. It is also called allopathic medicine, biomedicine, mainstream medicine, orthodox medicine, and Western medicine. Research shows that conventional medicines can affect the organs of the human body if continued in long run. While on the other hand, homeopathic medicines are safer and more convenient for the long run.
Global use of Homeopathy
It is recognized by the World Health Organization as the second largest therapeutic system in use in the world. While it is most popular in India and South America, over thirty million people in Europe, and millions of others around the world, also benefit from this treatment.
The Use Of Homoeopathy In Australia
77% of Australians use natural medicines at least once a year. (Retail Pharmacy,July 2002)
- 31% of Australians regularly visit a complementary medicine practitioner (Aust J of Pharmacy, 83, June 2002, 516-517)
- 86% of Australians think natural medicines have a role to play in healthcare. (Retail Pharmacy, July 2002)
- Australians spend twice as much on complementary medicines as they do on drugs. (Current Therapeutics, July 2000, 76-79)
- 40% of Australians would prefer to see a complementary medicine practitioner before seeing a doctor. (Current Therapeutics, July 2000, 76-79)
- 90% of Australian doctors get asked about natural medicines by their patients. (Australian Family Physician, June 2000, 29, 6, 602-606)
- 46% of Australian doctors have taken some form of training in natural medicine. (Australian Family Physician, June 2000, 29, 6, 602-606)
- A study by MacLennan in 1996 found that 4.4% of his sample had used homoeopathic medicines in the past year, and 1.2% had visited a Homoeopath i.e. an estimated 240,000 homoeopathic consultations in 1996 [MacLennan AH, Wilson DH, Taylor AW. Prevalence and cost of alternative medicine in Australia. Lancet, 1996, 347: 569-573].
·Based on the 2004 registration figures of the Australian Register of Homoeopaths (AROH), and making the conservative assumption that each AROH-registered practitioners has on average 10 consultations per week, an estimate of over 300,000 homoeopathic consulations were made by registered Homoeopaths in 2004 i.e. an estimated 25% increase since 1996 (using MacLennan’s estimates for 1996)
The Use Of Homoeopathy Internationally
- There are 5 homoeopathic hospitals in Great Britain run by the British National Health Service, and 2 private Homoeopathic hospitals.
- The World Health Organisation (WHO) have called for closer incorporation of Homoeopathy into “western medical systems” (WHO Bulletin, 1999, 77, 2, 160-165
- Homoeopathy is one of the world’s most frequently used complementary therapies (Rheumatic Diseases Clinics of North America, 2000, February, 26, 1, 117-123)
- The users of Homoeopathy have a higher level of satisfaction with their treatment than those using orthodox medical treatment. (British Homoeopathic Journal, October 1989, 78, 219-229)
- British consumers of homoeopathic products find that Homoeopathic over-thecounter (OTC) products are extremely effective in the majority of cases (Newsletter of The Royal London Homoeopathic Hospital NHS Trust, January 1997, 90-94)
- The European Parliament has called for Homoeopathy to be integrated into medical practice. (Archives of Internal Medicine, 159, 17, September 27, 1999)
- The French Medical Association has called for Homoeopathy to be included in all medical degree training. (Archives of Internal Medicine, 159, 17, September 27, 1999)
- 42% of British doctors refer their patients for homoeopathic t reatment. In the UK, Homoeopathy is the only form of natural medicine supported by the National Health Service (Natural Medicine Society News, June 1992)
- 66% of UK pharmacies sell homoeopathic medicines.(The Pharmaceutical Journal, October 16, 1999, 263, 644-646)
- 45% of Netherlands doctors use Homoeopathy (Family Practice, 1990, September, 7, 3, 227-232)
- 47% of Dutch doctors use Homoeopathy (Medical Journal of Australia, 2000, 172, 105-109)
- 65 to 80% of the world’s population (about 3 billion people) rely on traditional (alternative) medicine as their primary form of health care. (WHO) HOMOEOPATHY WORLDWIDE – FACTS & FIGURES Australian Homoeopathic Association – Version 4th February 2008
- 20% of Scottish doctors have been trained in the use of Homoeopathy (J AltAndCompl Med, 2001, 7, Suppl 1, S103-9)
- Homoeopathy is the most frequently used natural medicine in Italy and the typical user as in other western countries is well educated, 35-44 and female (European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, 2002, April, 58 (1), 61-4)
- In Italy, 16,000 pharmacies stock homoeopathic medicines and the Homoeopathy market in Italy generates a turnover of 129 million Euros. (Financial Times, May 3, 2002)
- Japanese doctors have set up the Japanese Physicians Society for Homoeopathy to train doctors in Homoeopathy (Simile, Oct 2002, 7-8)
- In Switzerland, in the 10 years to 2002, interest in Homoeopathy has risen by 300% and Homoeopathy is rebatable by most health insurance providers (Swiss Radio International, May 2, 2002)
- 39% of Belgium paediatricians are in favour of Homoeopathy (Homoeopathy,2002, 91, 262)
Famous Celebrities and Homeopathy
“Homeopathy …. cures a larger percentage of cases than any other method of treatment and is beyond doubt safer and more economical and most complete medical science.” – Mahatama Gandhi
“Cindy Crawford told Oprah viewers that she uses homeopathy to treat bee stings, mosquito bites and bruises. “I also turn to homeopathic remedies for the treatment of indigestion, travel sickness, insomnia and hay fever just to name a few. Homeopathy offers a safe, natural alternative that causes no side effects or drug interactions.” – Cindy Crawford
“From Entertainment Weekly (21 February, 2003) Say hello to Arnica, Catherine Zeta-Jones’ best friend from the set of musical Chicago. The pal isn’t a she. It’s a homeopathic herbal remedy, and the two got to know each other intimately during the hamstring-hampering shoot. ‘The pain wasn’t there when I was doing it (applying Arnica). I had that sticky stuff glued to me for months. Brings out the bruising, darling.” – Catherine Zeta-Jones
“I can’t manage without homeopathy. In fact, I never go anywhere without homeopathic remedies. I often make use of them.” – Paul McCartney
“As quoted from Vogue (May 1985), Tina Turner looks about thirty-six, and her skin is flawless. She does not deprive herself. She sips wine at dinner, does not diet, and does not take vitamins. If she’s feeling particularly stressed, she consults a homeopathic doctor.” – Tina Turner
“John D. Rockefeller lived to the ripe old age of 98 and was known to have his homeopath often travel with him. He said that homeopathy is a progressive and aggressive step in medicine..” – John D. Rockefeller
“The introduction of homeopathy forced the old school doctor to stir around and learn something of a rational nature about his business. You may honestly feel grateful that homeopathy survived the attempts of the allopaths to destroy it.” – Mark Twain
“It is not as if our homeopathic brothers are asleep; far from it, they are awake – many of them at any rate – to the importance of the scientific study of disease.” – Sir William Osler, The Father of Modern Medicine
“I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to be a doctor. The doctors I knew as a very young child must have helped to plant the desire in me, when I was as young as five or six. One homeopathic physician, Dr. Justice Gage Wright, was a great model.” – C. Everett koop, M.D.
“If I was not an actress, I would be a homeopathic doctor.” – Lindsay Wagner
“Homeopathy is the safest and most reliable approach to ailments and has withstood the assaults of established medical practice for over 100 years.” – Yehudi Menuhin
“There have been two great revelations in my life. The first was bebop, the second was homeopathy.” – Dizzy Gillespie
“Homeopathic remedies can be effective in both major and minor ailments during pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum period. Sometimes homeopathy can help prevent problems and complications in ways that conventional medicine cannot match.” – Judy Norsigian and Jane Pincus
“I use nothing but homeopathic remedies, for my girls as well.” – Mariel Heningway
“Homeopathy is wholly capable of satisfying the therapeutic demands of this age better than any other system or school of medicine.” – Charles Frederick Menninger, M.D.
“An enormous mass of experience, both of homeopathic doctors and their patients, is invoked in favor of the efficacy of these remedies and doses.” – William James
“In his most famous play Faust , he says, To like things like, whatever one may ail; There is certain help.” (This refers directly to the homeopathic “law of similars”) – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
“As quoted from The Brothers Karamazo, Homeopathic doses are perhaps the strongest.” – Feodor Dostoevsky
“Homeopathy for me are effective natural remedies that have no side effects.” – Dr. Robert Mendelsohn, M.D.
Other famous people who have been known to consult homeopaths: Charles Dickens, W.B. Yeats, William Thackeray, Benjamin Disraeli, Pope Pius X, Louisa May Alcott, Susan B. Anthony, William Lloyd Garrison, Daniel Webster, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, William Seward, Jackson Pollock, W.C. Fields, and former American Presidents James Garfield and William McKinley.
History of Homeopathy
Samuel Hahnemann, Founder of Homeopathy
The history of Homeopathy begins with its founder, Samuel Hahnemann. He was born in Meissen, Germany in 1755, the second child of a famous porcelain painter. A thin, delicate and highly intelligent child, Samuel did not enjoy robust health during childhood. He showed an early interest and capacity for the study of languages as well as the study of botany. His upper middle class family life was shattered by the outbreak of the Seven Years War (1756-1763) which caused the collapse of the famous porcelain trade in Meissen and forced young Samuel to interrupt his early education and take menial jobs to support his family. His early teachers noticed his great intellectual capacity and taught him despite his family’s inability to pay for his studies. He entered the Prince’s School in 1771, after his father pleaded with Frederick, Archduke of Saxony for his son’s admission.
He excelled at his studies and later entered the University of Leipzig in 1775 to Study medicine. He maintained a meager existence at the university by teaching German and English and by translating Greek and English texts into German. He was a loner, and preferred to acquire his knowledge from medical texts rather than attending lectures. Disappointed by the lack of intellectual stimulation and the lack of practical clinical experience at Leipzig, Hahnemann left for Vienna in 1776. Vienna, the capital of the Hapsburg Empire was a center of the arts, music, and learning and it was during this time that Mozart gave several public recitals. There Hahnemann worked under Dr. Quarin, senior physician of the Brothers of Mercy Hospital in Leopoldstadt, a suburb of Vienna. Dr. Quarin was the personal physician to Empress Maria Theresa, ruler of the Hapsburg Empire and young Hahnemann was allowed to accompany the senior doctor in attending his rich and famous patients. Hahnemann was later introduced to the wealthy Baron Samuel von Brukenthal who gave Hahnemann a two year appointment as his librarian. During this period he enriched his study of chemistry and botany and furthered his already extensive knowledge of literature and foreign languages. He left his benefactor to complete his medical studies at the University of Erlangen in Bavaria. In 1779, at the age of twenty-four, Hahnemann was awarded the degree of Doctor of Medicine.
Hahnemann established his first practice in 1780 in the mining town of Hettstedt. It lasted all of nine months before he moved on to the town of Dessau. During this period the seeds of his philosophical rebellion were planted. The current therapies of bloodletting, purging, puking and the administration of heroic doses of harsh drugs were barbaric and inhumane to Hahnemann. He was more interested in the study of the newly emerging science of chemistry and in writing articles for medical journals. In 1782, while in Dessau he married the pharmacist’s stepdaughter, Johanna Henrietta Leopoldine Kuchler, who would remain his constant companion for the next 48 years. During the years 1782 to 1805 Hahnemann moved his family no less than twenty times, sometimes spending only months in a town before moving to the next. This was a highly unusual and dangerous undertaking considering the risk to his family from thieves who preyed upon travelers in those days. His wife bore him nine children and he barely managed to feed them by the intermittent practice of medicine, translating medical texts, and for one year managing an insane asylum. During this time he also wrote some original articles on chemistry, the distillation of liquor, diet, hygiene, children’s health, and critiques of current modes of therapy. He maintained a small medical practice and for a period was the Medical Officer of Health for the city of Dresden where he supervised physicians, midwives, and surgeons.
Hahnemann Conceives the Homeopathic Method
It was not until 1789 when translating, “A Treatise of Materia Medica” by Dr. William Cullen, that Hahnemann first conceived of his homeopathic method. He decided to experiment on himself with one of the drugs mentioned in that work, Cinchona or Peruvian bark (from which quinine is derived). He noticed that when a healthy person took doses of this drug it produced many symptoms which the drug was intended to cure in a sick person. His footnotes to his translation indicate that this was the beginning of his articulation of what would become one of the greatest and most controversial healing methods ever known. From the very beginning of this new practice Hahnemann was dogged by two phenomena that would follow him the rest of his life – his increasing fame as a physician who was able to achieve remarkable cures and the ire of envious physicians and pharmacists since Hahnemann maintained that a physician must not only dispense his own medicines but prepare them as well .
The official birth date of homeopathy is 1796 since this is the year that Hahnemann published an article in the Journal of Practical Medicine, in which he delineated three methods of healing:
- Preventive treatment – the removal of the causes of illness,
- Palliative treatment by the principle of contraria contraris, that is healing by opposites, and
- The preferred method – similia similibus – the treatment of likes with likes, namely the prescribing of medicines that cause similar symptoms in healthy individuals.
The Term “Homeopathy”
Hahnemann coined the term homoeopathy, from the Greek words homois meaning similar and pathos meaning disease. The word homoeopathic first appeared in print in an article he published in 1807. One of Hahnemann’s longest stays in a city was his move to Torgau where he lived for seven years between 1804 and 1811. It was during this period that Hahnemann finished the first edition of his most important work, The Organon of Rational Medicine. Published in 1810, it is Hahnemann’s quintessential work, a complete exposition of his new healing method and to this day forms the foundation of homeopathy.
The Core Principle of Homeopathy
The principle of similia similibus, first set forth in his essay of 1796 was now expanded to similia similibus curentur, — let likes be treated by likes — the core principle of homeopathy. His major work was not well received, the reception was lukewarm at best and some of his physician peers considered Hahnemann a quack. By 1811, the Napoleonic war had reached Torgau and the city was heavily fortified with large numbers of French troops camped outside the town.
In 1811, Hahnemann moved his family to Leipzig. This was the fourth time Hahnemann lived in Leipzig. First as a grocery assistant when he worked as a young man to support his family, then as a poor university student, and then for a brief time as a struggling physician in 1789.
Hahnemann Tries To Teach Homeopathy
Despite the apathetic reception his Organon had received, he attempted to teach homeopathy through his newly formed Institute for the Postgraduate Study of Homeopathy. Not one person responded to his advertisement. A year later, in 1812, he began teaching homeopathy at the University of Leipzig, but only after he defended an 86 page thesis to the medical faculty there.
Hahnemann’s First Success—Typhus
The year 1812 also saw the bloodshed and destruction of the Napoleonic war come to Leipzig. As Napoleon was driven from Germany , the conflict entered Leipzig and its surrounds bringing with it refugees, starvation, and no less than 80,000 dead and another 80,000 wounded. Hahnemann and other physicians were pressed into service trying to help the many who suffered not only from the battle but also from an outbreak of typhus. Armed with the twenty-six homeopathic medicines he had proven in Torgau, Hahnemann achieved remarkable results in treating typhus. He would later report in an article published in 1814, that of the 180 typhus patients he treated only 2 had died.
Hahnemann Establishes a Prover’s Union
With the defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo in 1815, Germany and for that matter Europe returned to an era of prosperity and Hahnemann and his family flourished. He had a full-time lucrative practice and taught at the university. He was surrounded by a small group of zealous students whom he often welcomed at his home. About this time he established a Prover’s Union, a group of followers who would systematically take small doses of remedies for extended periods of time and record in minute detail their reactions. By this method, the materia medica of a remedy, namely, the symptoms that a substance would cause and therefore cure, was recorded.
Early Success Leads to Challenges
Between the years 1811 and 1821 Hahnemann published his Materia Medica Pura, in six parts, based mostly on these experiments. The years 1812 to 1818 saw relative peace for Hahnemann in Leipzig. However, by 1819 a group of envious Leipzig physicians and angry Leipzig pharmacists filed a court action against Hahnemann to prevent him from dispensing his own medicines. Despite Hahnemann’s growing reputation and successful treatment of royalty and famous people such as Johann Goethe, Hahnemann lost the case. Although he subsequently won in the Appeals Court of Dresden, Hahnemann closed his practice, resigned his position at the university and left Leipzig for the city of Kothen in 1821.
Hahnemann Relocates to Continue His Work
Shortly after his arrival in Kothen, Hahnemann, through his political and social connections, procured permission from Duke Ferdinand to practice homeopathy with total immunity. There he purchased a large, comfortable house and settled in for a 14 -year period of relative calm. Hahnemann had made a decision to keep a low profile and resisted the temptation to engage the medical establishment by his ferocious attacks in the press. By 1822, Hahnemann was named the official Court Physician to the Duke. With the help of his wife and daughters, Hahnemann maintained a full practice, six days a week. He also spent many hours corresponding with the growing number of physicians and patients recently converted to homeopathy.
During these years he resumed work on his last and greatest work, Chronic Diseases, Their Peculiar Nature and Their Homeopathic Treatment. First published in Dresden, in 1828, it ultimately ran to five volumes by 1839 and totaled in excess of 1600 pages. This work set forth another deep insight, that not only could patients be cured of acute conditions but that their patterns of acute conditions over the years allow for a classification of chronic tendencies toward types of disease. These chronic tendencies Hahnemann called miasms, the patient’s inherited predisposition toward certain types of illness. By knowing the miasmatic type a homeopathic physician could now treat preventively and this tendency could be mitigated so that the next generation’s health could be improved. Hahnemann had intuited the basis for treating genetic disorders.
In 1829 Hahnemann celebrated his 50th anniversary of the awarding of his medical degree and over four hundred physicians from Europe attended this gala celebration. The relative calm that Hahnemann knew in Kothen was to be shattered, however, by the death of his beloved wife in 1830. Hahnemann, now 75 years of age, grief stricken and ever more lonely and isolated in Kothen, suffered a nervous fever which confined him to bed for a time.
Success With Cholera, Practices Challenged Again
In 1831, the Asiatic cholera epidemic, which had begun in India, had now spread to Europe. Hahnemann, receiving a detailed description of the symptoms from his grand nephew practicing in St. Petersburg, was able to predict which remedies would be useful in its cure. The Hahnemanian protocol for treating cholera, which included cleanliness, ventilation, and disinfection, resulted in a drastic reduction in mortality. Records at the time indicate that under homeopathic treatment mortality was between 2 and 20 percent while conventional treatment carried a mortality of over 50 percent.
Hahnemann’s articles about the treatment of cholera drew sharp criticism from the establishment and were banned in Kothen by Duke Heinrich, successor to his brother, the late Duke Ferdinand, Hahnemann’s sponsor. By 1832 Hahnemann was banned again from practicing homeopathy. That same year, Hahnemann’s daughter Frederika was found brutally murdered in the garden of her home in Stotteritz.
First Homeopathic Hospital
January 22, 1833 saw what should have been the crowning achievement in Hahnemann’s medical career – the opening of the first homeopathic hospital at Leipzig. However, over its brief ten-year history, the hospital struggled financially and was lead by a series of directors who were either half-hearted homeopaths who mixed allopathic and homeopathic methods, or who were outright impostors whose sole purpose was to see the enterprise fail. Hahnemann himself tried administering the hospital but it proved too much for a man nearly eighty to do from a city too distant from Leipzig. It was finally closed in October, 1842.
Hahnemann Moves To Paris
The final chapter in Hahnemann’s long and full life began with the appearance in Kothen, in 1834, of Mademoiselle Marie Melanie d’Hervilly of Paris. She visited the now famous Hahnemann ostensibly for the treatment of depression. She stayed in Kothen for several months during which time her relationship with the aged physician grew. Suddenly and without warning the two announced their plans to marry on January 18, 1835. Hahnemann’s daughters and closest friends and colleagues were shocked. Melanie was about thirty years old, often wore men’s clothes and was an outspoken advocate for a women’s right to enter any professional field. She enjoyed social life, traveling in circles of power and influence and had an affinity for older men.
New Success at 80
On June 7, 1835, the eighty -year old Hahnemann and his new wife began the fourteen day coach trip to Paris. He would never again return to Germany. Hahnemann who had previously agreed to retire his medical practice and to draft a will leaving all of his estate to his surviving daughters, changed his will with Melanie as beneficiary and shortly after his arrival in Paris, opened a practice. It seems that Melanie had made previous arrangements not only for a place to stay but also for Hahnemann’s license to practice in Paris.
By the late 1830’s Hahnemann had become the most famous physician in Europe . In the morning, long lines of carriages, many bearing royal coats of arms would line up outside of Hahnemann’s palatial house in Paris, often waiting as much as three hours for their visit. Melanie would assist Hahnemann in his case-taking, a process that could take as long as one and a half hours. Most of the paying patients would be seen by four in the afternoon, after which Melanie, under Hahnemann’s supervision would herself treat the hundred or so poor patients who had by now gathered outside the gates. Poor patients were treated for free and Hahnemann charged his paying patients only if a cure was achieved. After having dinner at six p.m., Hahnemann, accompanied by Melanie or by one of his students would travel by carriage and see his bedridden patients at their homes.
Every Monday evening between 8 and 10:30 p.m. local and visiting homeopathic physicians would gather at the Hahnemann house to discuss homeopathic topics. Other evenings were reserved for trips to the opera, the theater, or one of the many social functions of Parisian high society. In correspondence to friends and colleagues, Hahnemann described his life in Paris as one of the happiest times in his life. He thrived on the rich and full professional and social life of cosmopolitan Paris. He was elected Honorary President for Life of the Gallic Homeopathic Society and even his hometown of Meissen, Germany awarded him the “Freedom of the City” declaring him to be an honorary citizen of Meissen.
The End of Hahnemann’s Full Life
Several days after celebrating his eighty-eighth birthday, Hahnemann developed a case of bronchitis. Hahnemann sensing that the end might be near, requested of Melanie that the inscription on his grave should read: Non inutilis vixi (I have not lived in vain). Samuel Hahnemann died peacefully in his bed on the morning of July 2, 1843. Strangely, Melanie had denied one of Hahnemann’s daughters and her oldest son access to Hahnemann several days before his death. Stranger still was the way Melanie handled the funeral arrangements. She requested and received permission to keep Hahnemann’s body for up to 14 days after his death; she gave no public notice of his death or of the funeral arrangements; she sent out no invitations for the funeral. Samuel Hahnemann was buried in a public grave on July 11, 1843.
Hahnemann’s Influences in England
Long before Hahnemann’s death, however, homeopathy had already begun to spread to two very influential countries – England and the United States. Queen Adelaide, wife of King William IV of England, and niece to Duke Ernst of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha is credited with bringing homeopathy to England. It was Duke Ernst who had brought Hahnemann to Georgenthal in 1792 as a physician in charge of the asylum there. In 1835, Queen Adelaide summoned Dr. Johann Ernst Stapf, one of Hahnemann’s most trusted students to Windsor Castle for treatment. When Queen Adelaide’s nephew, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha came to England to marry Queen Victoria in 1840, he renewed the Royal patronage of homeopathy. The first British physician to bring homeopathy to England was probably Dr. Frederick Harvey Foster Quin. He met Hahnemann in Kothen, in 1826 and studied with him in Paris in the 1830’s. Dr. Quin traveled extensively in Europe and for a time had a homeopathic practice in Naples. He was later appointed physician to Queen Victoria’s favorite uncle, Leopold. In 1832 he set up practice in London and treated the likes of Dickens, Lanseer and Thackeray. Quin established the British Homeopathic Society in 1844 and founded the London Homeopathic Hospital in 1849.
Homeopathy Comes to the United States
Homeopathy came to America via Dr. Hans Burch Gram. Dr. Gram was a student of Dr. Lund, a Danish student of Hahnemann. Gram opened the first homeopathic practice in America, in New York City, in 1825.
Gram subsequently taught Dr. John Gray who is credited with teaching directly or indirectly physicians in Indiana, Illinois, Canada, Connecticut and Massachusetts.
In 1833, Dr. Constantine Hering arrived from Germany. As a student he was asked to write a thesis disproving homeopathy and in the process was converted to its practice. He traveled to Surinam as a botanist but later began a homeopathic practice amongst the native people. By the time he arrived in the United States in 1833, he had already conducted provings on snake venoms and was to become the fledgling movement’s charismatic leader. Hering founded the first homeopathic medical school in the United States, in 1835, The North American Academy of the Homeopathic Healing Art (known as the Allentown Academy), which produced the first wave of American educated homeopathic physicians.
Another branch of American homeopathy began with the large number of German immigrants to settle in Pennsylvania in the 1820’s. Dr. Stapf had sent some homeopathic books and medicines to Dr. William Wesselhaft in Pennsylvania. Wesselhaft together with another German physician, Dr. Henry Detwiller, formed the first homeopathic study group in the 1820’s.
First National Medical Organization
By 1844 the American Institute of Homeopathy was founded by homeopathic physicians from New York, Philadelphia, and Boston. The first national medical organization in the United states, it was established to promote standardization of the practice and teaching of homeopathy. Partly in response to the A.I.H., the regular physicians founded the American Medical Association in 1847. The A.M.A. charter contained specific language against movements such as homeopathy and its members were forbidden to consult with homeopathic physicians. The Allentown Academy was dissolved in 1841 and was replaced by The Homeopathic Medical College of Pennsylvania in 1848 with Hering as one of its founders. By this time there 12 homeopathic medical colleges in the United States.
Homeopathic Medical College Established in 1848
Dr. I. Tilsdale Talbot founded the New England Female Medical College of Massachusetts in 1848.This homeopathic institution later merged with Boston University, which continued to teach homeopathic medicine well into the twentieth century.
Homeopath Verdi Appointed to Bureau of Health
1860 saw the first Republican administration in Washington, D.C. and its first homeopathic nomination. Dr. Tullio Verdi, an 1856 graduate of The Homeopathic Medical College of Pennsylvania, was appointed to the Bureau of Health. He was the personal physician to Abraham Lincoln’s Secretary of State, William Seward.
Seward was wounded during the assassination of President Lincoln and when the White House physician conferred with Dr. Verdi about Seward, the Washington medical establishment censured the White House physician.
In 1867, Hering withdrew from The Homeopathic Medical College of Pennsylvania because he maintained that the teaching of pathology should be included in the curriculum. That year, he founded Hahnemann Medical College of Philadelphia, which later merged with the Homeopathic Medical College of Pennsylvania. By 1959, Hahnemann Medical College cancelled its one remaining elective course in homeopathy.
The Golden Age of Homeopathy
The industrial revolution in the United States in the later half of the nineteenth century brought mechanization to the production of homeopathic medicines. Several homeopathic pharmacies were established which could now rely on new technology to produce the infinitesimal dilutions previously manufactured by hand. Many domestic kits were sold by the pharmacies and comprised the only medical care available to pioneers joining the westward expansion of the United States. In 1876, the American Institute of Homeopathy held its first international congress. Attended by several hundred physicians from around the world, it provided a platform for the discussion of contentious topics such as the importance of pathology and physical diagnosis in homeopathy, the use of low versus high potency remedies, and the mixing of allopathic and homeopathic methods of treatment. In response to the growing internal strife, a group of homeopathic purists formed the International Hahnemannian Association in 1880. This period in American homeopathy was its golden age. There were literally thousands of homeopathic books and journals. English translations of Hahnemann’s writings were now available. There were no less than 22 homeopathic medical schools and countless homeopathic hospitals and clinics throughout the United States. Estimates are that by the turn of the century there were about 15,000 homeopathic physicians in the U.S., 2500 of whom were members of the AIH, with another 150 purists who were members of the IHA.
With the death of Constantine Hering in 1880, American homeopathy was without strong leadership. Into that power vacuum strode Dr. James Tyler Kent. Kent was a graduate of an eclectic medical school in Cincinnati. He was converted to homeopathy after his first wife was cured by a homeopath. By 1844, his star had risen and Kent was a prominent teacher at several homeopathic colleges. He influenced several students from England who would become famous in their own right, and in 1900 published with the help of his students the first edition of his Repertory of the Homeopathic Materia Medica, a classic still in use today. A repertory is a compendium of mental, psychological, and physical symptoms categorized by body part or system. Each of the entries or rubrics contain an alphabetical listing of the remedies known to have caused or cured that symptom. The remedies are also arranged by intensity, namely how strongly they are associated with each symptom. Kent’s repertory was neither the first nor the last repertory written but was an exceptionally useful and complete one. Kent also published Lectures on Homeopathic Materia Medica, Lesser Writings, and Lectures on Homeopathic Philosophy. The enduring nature of his work was, for American homeopaths, perhaps due to the fact that he was American, that he was a purist, and that he urged his students, like Hahnemann, to consider the entire person when treating their patients.
Women Play a Prominent Role in American Homeopathy
Women figured prominently in the history of American homeopathy. By 1900, it is estimated that 12% of homeopathic physicians were women. The Cleveland Homeopathic College was one of the first coeducational medical institutions in the country. Women auxiliaries raised large amounts of money to open many of the homeopathic hospitals and it was women, in their role of family caretaker, who were the lay prescribers introducing homeopathy to many communities. Some members of the women’s suffrage movement were either homeopathic physicians or their patients. Dr. Susan Edson, a graduate of the Cleveland Homeopathic College, was personal physician to President Garfield.
Homeopathy Is Challenged, Again
Homeopathy by this time had already begun to change. This was partly due to in-fighting amongst homeopaths themselves. Many considered only pathology and physical diagnosis important and would use only the lowest potencies. Others would use only the highest dilutions and considered the mental and general symptoms most important. The changes were also due to the strides being made in what is now known as “scientific medicine”. The sciences of cellular and molecular biology, as well as physiology began to replace the rudimentary knowledge of Hahnemann’s time. Though still suppressive from the homeopathic viewpoint, conventional drugs became more effective at removing or modulating symptoms. The conventional physician did not need to know their patients as unique individuals as the homeopaths did, and could therefore earn more money in less time. Second and third generation American homeopaths lacked the fervor of their predecessors and were more easily swayed into mixing methods.
In 1910, the Flexner Report, a government study of the quality of American medical education, resulted in the closing of many schools, some of them homeopathic. The testing and licensing of physicians, a job which previously fell to each state medical society, was taken over by state governments toward the end of the 1890s. Increasingly the conventional or allopathic model became the model of mainstream American medicine and society. At the time of Kent’s death in 1916, the curriculum at many American homeopathic colleges was already becoming decidedly allopathic. Gone was the appreciation for homeopathic philosophy and method to be replaced by homeopathic medicines prescribed in an allopathic way. The remedy selection was no longer based on an intimate knowledge of the patient but on his or her physical diagnosis alone. By the 1930s all homeopathic medical schools had dropped “homeopathic” from their names as did all of the homeopathic hospitals. While homeopathic therapeutics were still used in some hospitals by the few remaining homeopathic attending physicians, by the 1950s virtually all homeopathic inpatient care had ceased.
Homeopathic Remedies Attain Legal Protection
Homeopathy was quickly fading from the American scene, however, two events kept it alive at least in terms of government regulation. Royal Copeland, M.D., an 1889 Michigan graduate of a homeopathic college became dean of New York Homeopathic Medical College in 1908. He subsequently became Health Commissioner for New York City in 1918. As a U.S. senator from New York since 1926, he sponsored the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1938. This bill created the F.D.A. and gave long-standing legal status to homeopathic medicines, which were now to be regulated by the newly created agency. This relationship persists to this day, much to the consternation of the allopathic medical establishment.
Secondly, during the federal hearings in the 1960s for Medicare legislation, the A.I.H. lead an effort spearheaded by Worth Post Baker, M.D. to include the medicines listed in the Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia as drugs reimbursed under Medicare.
Purists Keep Homeopathy Alive
Homeopathy was kept alive during the 1940s, 50s, and 60s by the few aged purists members of the A.I.H. and the I.H.A. whose members had dwindled down to less than one hundred. Continuing medical education for those few new homeopathic physicians was accomplished by the American Foundation for Homeopathy. Julia M. Green, M.D., an 1898 graduate of Boston University Medical School, founded the A.F.H. in 1922. The A.F.H. and later the National Center for Homeopathy administered a yearly six week summer course for physicians which continues today. Experienced physicians who to this day can trace their lineage to Kent, exposed new physicians to the homeopathic teaching.
A Revival of Homeopathy
By the 1960s homeopathy was virtually dead and medical historians predicted the complete demise of this “medical heresy” by 1980. What experts didn’t count on nor could ever have imagined was the worldwide shift in consciousness and interest in other cultures which the late 1960s brought to the world. By the 1970s American homeopathy was well into its revival, thanks, in part to the efforts of the late Maesimund Panos, M.D. More physicians came to the summer course and Dr. Panos assisted the cross-pollination of homeopathy worldwide. The new homeopaths began to travel to countries like Argentina, Greece, Belgium, and Switzerland to study with homeopaths, who like the few die-hards in America, had kept the practice of pure homeopathy alive. By 1996, the two hundredth anniversary of Hahnemann’s discovery of homeopathy, awareness of this unique healing method had reached “critical mass” in America. More books and articles are now being written than at any time since the turn of the century. Professional courses and conferences are springing up throughout the United States. The use of computerized repertorization programs and the internet have made homeopathy more accessible if not easier for new physicians to master. Sales of homeopathic medicines have increased by 30% per year in the United States since 1990.
The Future of Homeopathy
In the new millennium, homeopathy is once again the best known, safest, and most effective holistic healing art in the western world. However, the future of homeopathy is unclear. Disillusionment with the impersonal, high tech, crisis care allopathic model of medicine is growing rapidly. Yet our interest in and dependency on technology is likely to continue. Future scientific advances may finally bring the long sought after explanation of how homeopathy works but it may also yield a more effective, albeit impersonal and suppressive conventional, medicine which may herald yet another period of homeopathic decline. Whatever the outcome, future homeopaths are likely to be guided by a favorite motto of Hahnemann from his early school days – AUDE SAPERE, DARE TO KNOW.
(from Dr. Masiello’s published article: Homeopathy, in The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Body-Mind Disciplines, Nancy Allison, ed., Rosen Publishing Group, 1999)