Creating Waves of Awareness
Story of Homeopathy
Dr. M. A. Usmani
Homeopathy stands among the ‘alternative treatments’. Ayurveda in India and Chinese medicine are among the most ancient and traditional systems of medicine. The Unani medicine is Greeco-Arab medicine, which is practiced in Indo-Pak Subcontinent. The folklore medicines are different according to countries and the parts of the world. But all these are based mainly on herbal, animal and culinary substances: as condiments and food additives.
Homeopathy is not among the ancient and traditional medicine. Its source is also very vast: everything under the sun can be utilized as medicine, including the sun and the moon rays. In spite of having such a vast and infinite armamentarium of therapeutic agents, homeopathy is notoriously famous, these days, for curing patients without medicines. You may thousands of time aver that the packets you administer contain medicines; the world does not accept your claim.
Reasons of this denial and abject distrust are myriads.
Homeopathy happened to Hahnemann, born of his cynicism about the method and application of medicines in his days. He envisioned a queer mode of nature tackling the diseases, and formulated a natural law in a singular way; and called it as ‘The law of Cure’, viz. Similia similibus curentur. This proved to be an immutable law of therapeutics, provable anywhere and anytime.
This law is the cause of the birth of Homeopathy, and also the cause of its disrepute. This brought tons of disgrace and opprobrium for the followers. It dwarfed the colossuses. Many a great M.D. doctors who got converted to homeopathy became lesser gods in no time. This law made its followers totally oblivious of the progress of medicine around them. It made them oblivious of the essential branches of medicine, viz. advancements in anatomy, physiology, pathology, histology, etc. Doctors felt that they no longer needed these subjects. Their whole activity was reduced and limited to taking cases in minutiae and sedulously comparing those with the details in the materia medicas. They no more heeded the stupendous advancements that were taking place in the sciences of medicines around them. They simply needed not! What a tragedy!! A sort of self Immolation!!!
But no! They did not remain idle. That was not in the grain of their personalities. They constructed great materia medicas, brought out voluminous and grandiose repertories. Hering created a grand materia medica, in 10 volumes, with the name of Guiding Symptoms. His able disciple Calvin Knerr constructed a great ‘source repertory’ which has no parallel to this day. William Gentry created Concordant Repertory, in 6 great volumes. Dr. Clarke and Allen did herculean job in collating voluminous material, constructing materia medicas by sieving the day registers of the provers. All the great works by the great homeopaths cannot be quoted here.
Since homeopathy remained distracted and estranged from the advancements of knowledge in the sciences of medicine and gigantic changes in the diagnostic technology, it has been wallowing in deceitful ignorance. But the ignorant psyche is a fertile ground for growing many incongruous growths obnoxious to healthy thinking and balanced mind.
Unlimited dilutions of homeopathic medicines, much beyond Avogadro’s limitations, landed homeopathy on strange shores and in turbulent waters. This fact became reason for a dangerous leap of homeopathy into the spiritual realm. When its dose became imponderable it assumed the garb of spirituality. So the mystics and religious figures of the time were sucked in. The first fatal incident being the Swedenborgianism, with all the varied denominations of its factions. Swedenborg was a very influential mystic of that age whose overwhelming influence stupefied many a great mind of homeopathy, and tainted their sane, scientific and logical outlook into an intoxicated one for good. From the status of science homeopathy fell into the muddy waters of spiritualism. This usurped the large chunk of the profession: Dr. Charles J. Hemple, Garth Wilkinson, inter alia, were the great devotees; even Hering, Boenninghausen and Boericke and many others from their contemporaries fell prey to this infatuation. On the other hand, legions of Swedenborgians trespassed into homeopathy, and registered themselves as homeopaths. This completed the process of spiritualization of its therapeutics. Culmination of this process came to fruition in the colossus of James Tyler Kent, who affixed the seal of swedenborgianism. Thus these two streams: viz. homeopaths, converting to Swedenborgianism, and an army of Swedenborgian mystics entering homeopathy, irrigated the fallow fields of homeopathy: Dr. James Tyler Kent being the most important casualty.
This spiritualization of homeopathy estranged and divided the rank and file of homeopathic fraternity. All the rigorous minds who believed in facts of science distanced themselves from the believers of high potencies, higher than Avogadro’s numbers. Many great names are there who confined themselves to 3 to 6th. or, at most to 12th. potency. Dr. Clarke wrote his famous Prescriber, in which he mostly confined himself to 3rd. potency. But the veracity of the efficacy of higher and the highest potencies is practically established. Hence, with this Kentianism remained in currency.
Kent, with his Swedenborgian seeping, changed and metamorphosed the whole scenario. He re-casted the whole material, theologized the homeopathic philosophy, inculcating theism and concepts of soul- spirit as part and parcel of homeopathic therapeutic. Ralph Twentyman says: “Kentianism is not thinkable without Swedenborgian soil in which it grew to maturity, not have it seemed able to grow or develop further since it largely lost contact with this nutrient and sustaining environment”. [cf. Peter Fraser’s article ‘Influence of Emmanuel Swedenborg on Homeopathic Thinking’]. Kent re-casted the drab records of the provings of the Materia Medica. He tried to enliven every medicine by giving it a shape and character of human personality. For this magic work he had to strain his muscles and mind. The entire conventional text of the Mateia Medica was rewritten in a new philological diction—now known as Kentianism. Everything belonging to a patient was spiritualized and ‘mentalized’, what belonged to the gross matter was stripped away or diluted. The swedenborgian idea was: “if one can truly grasp the mind of the patient, one has the entire case.” Nothing can be more nonsensical than this sweeping dictum, in the context of modern pathology. This is an abject denial of Pathology. And the therapeutic without pathology is unthinkable and untenable.
It was Kent’s endeavor to make every homeopathic drug—or remedy, a perfect psychological personality, and deal with it as such. A remedy discussed by Farrington or Hering cannot be compared with Kent’s. Kent chiseled out such beautiful personalities, that one is left wondering of his masterly craftsmanship—but mostly of mental and psychological, from the chaotic mass of provings, recorded in the first Materia medicas. But all this was hatched by this great genius, simply by sitting in the armed chair and with rapt concentration gazing the distant horizon and building systems.
When I was introduced to homeopathy, some 50 years ago, the first book that came to my hands was Kent’s Lectures on Materia Medica. I could not swallow the language of the book. It seemed to me not in the least a scientific language. I thought that homeopathy was not a science. My idea about a medical science got unsavorily compromised. Margaret Tyler was a bit more intense at dexterously painting personalities. Farrington’s Materia Medica satisfied me as written in down-to-the-earth scientific language.
Hahnemann himself was originally a scientific mind, a matter-of-fact medical doctor. At the time of birth of homeopathy he was surrounded by his colleagues who were all medical doctors and scientific minds. There was no spirituality around anywhere—as far as their knowledge and activity in medicine were concerned. There was no spiritual and religious discourse ever. There were no such issues around. Substances of medicines, plants and herbs were discussed, debated and tried for knowing their nascent effects. His immediate disciples wrote therapeutic books and guides based on their rich practical experience. This newfangled therapeutic changed many a mode of practicing medicine. Doctors now no more needed to diagnose the diseases that their patients were suffering from. The emphasis had now entirely shifted from the diagnosis of the disease to the diagnosis of the remedy. Symptoms lost their relationship to pathology of the viscera or tissues of the body; instead their relevance or exact similarity was sought with the recorded symptoms of the ‘provings’ of various drugs in the homeopathic Materia Medicas. Such was the radical outlook at that time. Nobody has ever searched a medicine without first knowing the disease; it seemed to be a logical travesty—a classical fallacy of putting the cart before the horse. This is why, in two centuries, homeopathy could not discover a single medicine for any particular, single disease. It may strike its head against the walls of the sick-room for a case of Phosphorus—a well-proven medicine with many a striking guiding symptom, for many anxious days, night and morning, but not giving Phosphorus only because the prescriber found that the child was represented as a brave child. A patient may have many physical characteristic symptoms of Phosphorus (or any other remedy), but he should first be a timid soul to be a candidate for Phosphorus. He got the opportunity of witnessing that the child starts crying if her mother librates her hand from the grasp of the child. After re-testifying the symptoms he gave Phosphorus. Behind the nonchalant veneer of bravado the child showed to be timid or chickenhearted. So this proved to be Newton’s apple for the prescriber. Full patho-physiological case could not lead the prescriber, for many days, to such a fully proven remedy as PHOSPHORUS, which is well-nigh a POLYCHREST!!! Physical symptoms are nothing for the followers of Swedenborg through Kent. This is why homeopathy can never EVER discover a medicine for a particular malady. Research factor will remain zero in homeopathy.
Burnett discovered scores of medicines to address the pathology of his cases. This is why the great, Burnett had to go to Hohenheim and Rademacher for organ remedies, and search other avenues for tackling pathology of his patients. Homeopathy will survive only if it is based on pathology. Therapeutic is the science of treating pathology. My Book is dedicated to the genius of Great Burnett; and it is a tribute to his realization that pathology is basic to therapeutics. He is verily the second Hahnemann, and no less innovator and original. Like a true explorer he is never shy of discovering new vistas to benefit mankind within the bounds of homeopathy. Creativity and innovation of finding new and specific uses of remedies, old and new, is the stamp of originality affixed on him by God. He discovered and added multitude of new remedies, and discovered new uses of myriad old remedies and made their use customary. Ceanothus Amercana (for Splenomegaly), Bellis-p (a vulnerary as Arnica), Cupressus Law. (for Vaccinosis, along with Thuja), Urtica Urens and Natrum Mur. 6 (for arthritis, and gout), Carduus Mar. (for hepatitis, especially the left lobe of the liver). He invented Bacillinum, along with many other nosodes, and gave a special niche to pathologic nosodes. It is the mark of his erudition and being fully conversant with the total sciences of medicine that he mentioned ‘hemorrhoids’ under the chapter of diseases of the Veins; and discussed varicosis and other veinous ailments in this chapter. Routinely at least three chapters are used for three modes of vein’s diseases: Rectum for hemorrhoids, Extremities for Varicose veins, and Male Genitalia for Vaicocele. Had he written a repertory, he would have created a separate chapter on the diseases of veins.
Burnett always talks in mundane terms, down to the earth practical language. He never talks in high-flown language. Europe has its daily doses of mystifying lectures, Swedenborgian and otherwise. These learned lectures have made homeopathy incomprehensible for the laity or the man in the street. My friend Dr. Eddy Thielens, of Belgium, once remarked that because of these abstruse and mystical lectures, the common man of Europe has started thinking homeopathy as flippancy.
In the homeopathic world major medical sciences of anatomy, physiology, pathology, pathologic physiology and all other branches started to be discredited; and fell into disuse as no more relevant. Homeopaths have become static as far as medical sciences are concerned. So much so that one can imagine a homeopath, from among the old disciples of Hahnemann, were to wake up and get out of his grave, he would find that his classical friends, after the laps of two long centuries, are checking their patients the same way as he used to do 2 centuries ago: sans all the checking gadgets, and diagnostic devices. They will be found busy laboriously comparing symptoms of the patients with the entries of the ubiquitous materia medica—totally being oblivious what the disease their patients might be suffering from, because it was not supposed to be their business. After patting their backs as faithful homeopaths, he would say: “Bravo, you have been doing great work by not doing any work for the last two solid centuries, except reading and re-reading, interpreting and re-interpreting the mantra of the Organon, as if homeopathy were not a science of therapeutics, but a single man’s therapeutic.“ After this he would show his wish to go out and visit the modern world of medicine which has now huge complexes and establishments, fitted with the installations of huge diagnostic machines as X-rays, ECG, EEG, Ultrsound, and Electro-Magnetic imaging and scanning machines etc., etc.; and great laboratories where laborious and long experiments are being done to determine the exact pathology and the extent to which a particular patient is suffering from, or can suffer from, during the coming years. Aghast with wonder and awe he would feel bewildered by all this, and would suffer a rigorous shiver running along his spine and shivering like the leaf of aspen, he would beseech the Almighty for His mercy to immediately call him back to the solace of his celestial abode!!
Homeopathy to prove as an effective alternative medicine should stop bickering about theology, theological concepts, pseudo-psychological terminology and ‘soul-spirit’ hotchpotch. It should assume the status of downright science, a frank scientific therapeutics, that it really is, and will become more so after shedding unnecessary prejudices. This was done by the close disciples of Hahnemann, before the intoxication with the theological concepts took them. Among them was the illustrious Dr. Jhar, who gave us a therapeutic book: Forty Years Practice, a masterpiece to be weighed in Gold. It is a very successful Vade Macume, and down to the earth a mundane book. There are many more homeopathic therapeutic books from the time of Hahnemann to this day, where every disease is taken as a physio-pathological disorder and treated as such with the homeopathic medicines, without searching or postulating any mental or spiritual complex as the psychological basis of it. Some 90% practice can be tackled with and on the basis and lines of this immortal book; and for the remaining 10% on the conventional lines of chronic practice, without theology.
I once announced in the press that if some homeopathic publisher brought out a beautiful and compact edition of Dr. Jhar’s book, I would buy 1/3 quantity for distributing free of cost, to the profession. A publisher contacted me and told me that he had already brought out such an edition; and sent me a copy of the book for my perusal. Seeing the book, I approved it. But he advised me not to buy such a large quantity at once. He advised to buy some 40 to 50 books. Now it is the third year, and still some 17 books are lying with me undistributed. People here are least keen to read books, alas!
At the end I would like to say that there should be a revival of homeopathic therapeutics. Its illicit marriage with the Swedenborgianism and other mystico-theological concepts should come to an end. Science and medicine has no congruity with religion and faith. They belong to two different universes. Let’s wash homeopathy of all esoteric and metaphysical overtones, and establish it on the solid foundation of pathology.
Search first the scope of remedies on the basis of pathology of the patient, then from among these remedies, chose the one that is most like the personal and characteristic symptoms of the patient, including the mentals—this subject has amply been discussed in my book: Homeopathy of Tomorrow.