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JAMES TYLER KENT (1849-1916)

 

BIRTH AND EARLY LIFE

Dr. James Tyler Kent was born in Woodhull, New York, on 31 March 1849. After completing two undergraduate degrees by the age of 21, Kent undertook two postgraduate courses at the Eclectic Medical Institute of Cincinnati, Ohio. At 26 years of age he set up practice as an eclectic physician in St Louis, Missouri and soon became a distinguished member of the Eclectic National Medical Association.

 

CONVERSION TO HOMOEOPATHY

In 1878, Kent’s second wife, Lucy, became ill. In spite of Lucy’s symptoms of "nervous weakness, insomnia, and anaemia" being treated by both orthodox and eclectic physicians, her condition continued to deteriorate and she was bedridden for months. Under ridicule and opposition from Kent, the homoeopathic physician, Dr Richard Phelan was called in to see Lucy. Following his prescription, she made a dramatic recovery. As a result, Kent elected to study with Phelan and changed his allegiance from eclecticism to homoeopathy. He considered homoeopathy to be the only therapy that was guided by laws and principles and the only one to address the fundamental cause of illness.

 

GROWTH WITH HOMOEOPATHY

He then became a student of Hahnemann's Organon and other works of the new school, that resulted in his complete conversion to homoeopathy, his resignation from the Eclectic Medical Association in 1879 and his appointment to the chair of Anatomy in the Homoeopathic Medical College of Missouri, which he held from 1881 until 1883, was appointed professor of Materia Medica at the Homoeopathic Medical College of St Louis, Missouri, from 1883 until 1888, became professor of Materia Medica and Dean of the Post-Graduates’ School of Homœopathy at the Hahnemann Medical College (Philadelphia) and occupied the chair of professor of Materia Medica at the Hering Medical College and Hospital, Chicago. During this period, Kent’s second wife died. Thus for more than thirty five years Dr. Kent had been a conspicuous figure in medical circles and for more than twenty-five years in teaching and practice under the law of Similia; and he is looked upon as one of the ablest teachers and exponents of the homoeopathic school in America. Among the various professional associations of which he was a member, the more prominent of them, were the ‘Illinois State Homoeopathic Medical Society’, the ‘American Institute of Homoeopathy’ and the ‘International Hahnemannian Association’, besides which he held a honorary corresponding membership in the ‘British Homoeopathic Medical Society’. Both Lectures on Homoeopathic Philosophy and Lectures on Homoeopathic Materia Medica were compiled by Kent’s students from notes they had taken during class lectures. In 1916, his students insisted he take a holiday. Kent agreed, deciding he would write a "proper" book. Not long after commencing his vacation, his catarrhal bronchitis developed into Bright’s disease (glomerulonephritis) and he died 2 weeks later, on 6 June 1916 at Stevensville, Montana.

 

EVOLUTION TO A HIGH POTENCY HOMOEOPATH

One day a child was brought in his clinic in emergency and it appeared that the child could not live long. It was an infant and while it lay in the arms of its mother, a thin yellow fecal stool ran all over his carpet. The odor was like that of Podophyllum stool. Dr. Kent thought to test Podophyllum 30 prepared by him for that case. Next morning he was surprised to learn from the grandmother of the child that he was doing well. Kent realized the power of potentized medicines and he thought of using more and more highly potentized remedies in his practice. He became famous as a high potency homoeopath, since most of the homoeopaths before him were using low potencies. He advocated the use of 30, 200, 1M, 10M, 50M, CM and MM potencies made on centesimal scale. Kent introduced the doctrine of ‘Series in Degrees’ in the treatment of Chronic Diseases Kent's famous Repertory was more systematic and readable than its precursors and is still the popular choice today. Kent developed "pictures" of constitutional types of patients, i.e.: Sulphur as "the ragged philosopher" etc. The influence and popularity of Kent's interpretation of homeopathic philosophy has steadily increased around the world since his death.

 

CONTRIBUTIONS

Repertory of the Homoeopathic Materia Medica (1897) - Initially compiled by him for his own use. Other homoeopaths began asking for their own copies. Revised by his widow Clara (and others) up to 1961. Forms the basis of many of the more recent repertories.

What the Doctor Needs to Know in Order to Make a Successful Prescription (1900)

Lectures on Homoeopathic Philosophy (1900)

Lectures on Homoeopathic Materia Medica (1904). Drawn from his lectures on remedies from Hering’s Guiding Symptoms of our Materia Medica.

New Remedies, Clinical Cases, Lesser Writings, Aphorisms and Precepts (1926).

High potency prescription (200C and above for chronic cases)

Single remedy prescribing

Emphasis on "Mentals" and "Generals"

"Wait and Watch" methodology from the 4th Edition Organon (the dry dose medicine was not repeated until all improvement from the previous dose had ceased)

Kent discovered that just as there are octaves of musical tones, so there are octaves in the simple substance, through which it is possible to correspond with the various planes of the interior organism of the animal cells. These planes correspond to similar remedy in 30th, 200th, 1M, 10M, 50M, CM, DM and MM potencies. He found that when the action of 30th is completed the patient needs the 200th potency to keep him under the remedial action for a time, but when the action of 200th potency is exhausted, the patient requires 1M potency of the same remedy and so on.

Kent proved drugs like Alumina phos, Alumina silicata, Aurum ars, Aurum iod, Calcarea silicata, etc.

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