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About Samuel Hahnemann


Samuel Hahnemann declared that, in his view, more people died of their medical treatment than their diseases.

It is not surprising that Samuel Hahnemann was frustrated and despairing at his inability to provide effective and humane medical treatment, at the start of his medical practice.

Medical practice at that time was based on purging the disease from the body. The medical text books urged repeated, copious venesections "until the patient faints", and this even for such conditions as whooping cough or pregnancy. Alternatively, dozens of blood sucking leeches were used. Purgation was also used, including emetics, laxatives and enemas. Also used were massive doses of poisonous remedies. Hahnemann came to believe that more people died of their treatment rather than their disease.

At the time of the publication of the Organon, Hahnemann had long since disassociated himself from the "pretentious fantasies" of the orthodox medical practice of his day. This he held to be quackery, without any theoretical basis, and to be cruel and barbaric without any humanity or compassion, and also in must cases to be positively harmful. He disapproved of the mustard baths, the tartar emetics, hut irons and enemas, oatmeal possets, and above all the massive venesection and blood leeching.

Goethe himself succumbed after suffering a haemorrhage and being subsequently drained of another two pounds of blood. Muliere said "I have enough trouble coping with my illness without having to cope with medicine". One Monarch complained on his death bed "I'm dying with the help of too many doctors".

It is quite obvious that measures such as these would decrease the body's ability to heal itself of illness, and indeed the measures taken would add to the problems that the body was dealing with.

In the opening paragraphs of the Organon, Hahnemann counteracts the philosophy and practice of the day, by stating in the first paragraph "the Physician's highest calling, his only calling, is to make sick people healthy - to heal ".

In the second paragraph he wrote: "the highest ideal of therapy is to restore health rapidly, gently, permanently; to remove and destroy the whole disease in the shortest, surest, least harmful way, according to clearly comprehensible principles". In this statement, he encompasses the whole philosophy of Homoeopathy, while pointing out the harmful effects of the medical treatment of that time. For example, when talking about the least harmful way to restoring health, he clearly means not to include harmful and toxic treatments. Also, by talking about clearly comprehensible principles he is not talking about folk law but science.

Hahnemann clearly stated that he sought a rational, scientific basis for cure, one which was easily understood and with well defined principles. He believed the competent Physician should have

  1. a knowledge of the disease,
  2. a knowledge of the powers of individual medicine,
  3. know which remedy to select, and
  4. know the correct dose

Perhaps this would seem to state the obvious, but faced with the haphazard approach to medicine by his contemporaries, he needed to draw up simple, logical truths.