Homeopathy Papers

Hahnemann And The Theory Of Miasms

The author writes about Hahnemann’s theory of miasms and the difficulties he had to face when writing his book The Chronic Diseases.

Since the years 1816 and 1817 I have been occupied day and night in efforts to discover the reason why the known Homeopathic remedies did not affect a true cure of the above mentioned chronic diseases; and sought to secure a more accurate, and, if possible, a correct insight into the true nature of these thousands of chronic diseases, which remained uncured despite the uncontrovertible truth of the Homeopathic doctrine.

When behold! the Giver of all good permitted me, after unceasing meditation, indefatigable research, careful observation and the most accurate experiments to solve this sublime problem for the benefit of mankind (1)”

These are Hahnemann’s words in the first part of his last considerable medical work “The Chronic Diseases, their nature and homeopathic treatment” (1st edition, Arnold, Dresden and Leipzig, 1828; 4 volumes, 2nd edition, Schaub, Düsseldorf, 1835 to1839, 5 volumes). And in the footnote he adds:

During these years nought of these efforts was made known to the world not even to my own disciples. This was not owing to the ingratitude which I had frequently experienced, for I heed neither the ingratitude nor yet the persecutions which I encounter in my wearisome though nor joyless life-path.

No, I said nought thereof because it is unwise, yea, even harmful to speak or write of things yet immature. In the year 1827 I first made known the most important features of my discoveries to two of my most worthy disciples, not only for their benefit and that of their patients, but in addition that the whole of this knowledge might not be lost to the world through my death, for having reached my 73rd year it was not improbable that I might be called into eternity before I could complete this book. (2)”

Hahnemann would not have been the keen observer we know him, if he had not noticed in the course of the years with ever increasing clearness, that the structure of his therapeutic system lacked the final coping stone. It is true that his homeopathic system offered, as he himself states, far more certain, more convenient and less harmful remedies than allopathy for acute diseases, for epidemic diseases, sporadic fevers, and venereal diseases.” Nevertheless Hahnemann was not satisfied. He argued: “But the number of the tiresome diseases yet in the wide world was incomparably greater, and in spite of all homeopathic experiments they were still uncured. The treatment of such diseases was “even when carried out strictly in accordance with the theory of the homeopathic science, as hitherto practiced, encouraging in the beginning, less favorable in the continuation and hopeless in the end.“(2)

The starting point for the main ideas of the book was the observation, that certain chronic diseases of venereal origin and otherwise could be alleviated by homeopathic remedies, but not completely cured. Special conditions, such as serious dietary mistakes, cold, wet and stormy weather, temperamental influences, etc., caused the apparently rectified troubles to appear again, frequently with new and stubborn symptoms. New remedies, chosen in the best and most careful way, were again of avail, “but only slightly and imperfectly for a short time, until the next outbreak was brought on by adverse external influences. On the other hand, under favorable, external conditions, such as change of climate and home, careful diet, etc., a remarkable “truce” was observed. Considering all things, however, the chronic malady, was never eradicated, but became worse from year to year, often with the most varied external symptoms.”(2)

At first it was thought that the reason for failure of the homeopathic treatment might be found in the insufficient number of remedies proved and that the prospects would change for the better the more accurately proved medicines the physician had at his disposal. But although this proved to be some consolation for the students, the Master could not rest satisfied with it. Day and night, he was occupied with the question why the ordinary, carefully selected remedies did not produce a lasting cure. At last he came to the conclusion that, in chronic diseases

One has always to deal with a segregated part of a deeper lying original evil, the large extent of which is shown by new symptoms from time to time…. But the original evil sought must also be of a miasmatically chronic nature – as was perfectly evident to me from the fact that, once it had developed to a certain degree of intensity, it could not be eradicated by the mere vigor of a robust constitution. Neither could it be overcome by the healthiest diet and order of life, nor annulled by itself, but in the course of years it grew worse with the addition of other more serious symptoms – right up to the end of life.”(1)

Samuel Hahnemann was above all a cultivated and prepared physician, and a keen observer. In one of his first works entitled “Instructions for surgeons regarding venereal diseases”, published in 1789, he identified already several concepts which he expressed later in the study on chronic diseases. It is important to point out that he had not discovered homeopathy yet when he wrote this essay, nevertheless, his Hippocratic medical formation is evident.

In this large publication that includes 693 paragraphs wit 233 footnotes, Hahnemann identifies the predisposition as a determining factor for the suffering of diseases (§41 and §42). He recognized the correlation between temperament with the severity of the symptoms of the disease (§43 and §98), Natura Morborum Medicatrix (§55 and §71), the sycosis constitution as the most predisposing to suffer from gonorrhea (§111), and he observed that the elimination of discharges and suppurations ameliorated the internal organs (§123). He recognized the great importance of diathesis for the suffering of disease (§198 and §652), and knew already remedies with which he later made provings, like Spon, Con, Dig, Ant-t, and also imponderables like electricity, etc.(§252). He already identified sycotic manifestations (§ 320), discarded the local treatment for chancres and condylomas (§ 353), identified the necessity of non-chemical acting remedies for the cure of the patient (§387 y 388), condemned the great damage done by the use of topically applied remedies in ponderable doses (§390), and disdained local treatment ( §401). He recognized the importance of suppression and of Hering’s law (§392), suggested always to permit the suppurative process to develop before surgical treatment (§405), pointed out the importance of observation and the treatment of chronic diseases (§423). He observed the curative effect of iron in chlorotic anemias (§584), recognized the importance of diet (§585), and the effect of Hepar as an antidote for the ill effects of Mercury (§608), among others.(4)

Some of these concepts were retaken in 1816, in an essay entitled “Essay on the Improper Treatment of the Venereal Disease“(5,6), in which Hahnemann referred to the concept of suppression of external disease manifestations, in this case syphilis, and to the destructive consequences of this procedure. He also mentioned the suppression of some cutaneous ailments (the wool workers’ scabies), which results in the appearance of more profound and severe symptoms. In both cases the internal application of the indicated homeopathic remedy offers the solution and cure for the disease, and the disappearance of the cutaneous manifestations is a sign of cure when proper treatment has been given (7). In this paper, the Master already outlined the knowledge of miasms. But he made his first direct reference to the existence of miasms in a letter to the General Consul of Prussia, Dr. Friedrich Gotthelf Baumgärtner, written on January 10th, 1823. In this he wrote (1,5):

There will always remain some ailments uncured by Homeopathy, the remains of some deep-seated chronic disease. For the perfect healing of a large family of chronic diseases, not even all that I have written on Homeopathy is sufficient.

But incredibly more is effected by it in these old diseases than by the medicines prescribed by the Allopaths. But, in Homeopathic writings as yet published, there is still lacking the great keystone which binds together all that has been thus far published, so that the healing of chronic diseases may be not only expedited, but also brought to the condition of complete recovery.

To discover this still-lacking keystone and thus the means of entirely obliterating the ancient chronic diseases, I have striven night and day, for the last four years, and by thousands of trials and experiences as well as by uninterrupted meditation I have at last attained my object. Of this invaluable discovery, of which the worth to mankind exceeds all else that has ever been discovered by me, and without which all existent Homeopathy remains defective or imperfect, none of my pupils as yet know anything.

It is still wholly my property. Therefore the worst chronic diseases which not only the physicians of the old school, but also the best among the Homeopaths, must leave unhealed, are still in the same condition, since, as said before, the Homeopathic system as till now promulgated by me, however much it can do, has not by a long way reached that perfect healing which has become possible only since this new discovery, the result of unspeakable efforts.”(5)

About the author

Fernando Daro Francois-Flores

Dr. Fernando D. Francois-Flores studied medicine & surgery in the Autonomous Metropolitan University & the Postgraduate School of Homeopati­a de Mexico, A.C. and obtained a homeopathic medical title in the Free Homeopathic School in 2004. Since 1986 he assisted the General Assemblies and Reunions of Homeopati­a de Mexico, A.C. where he served variously as Treasurer, Teaching Director & President.He was National V.P. for Mexico at the Liga Medicorum Homoeopathica Internationalis ( 2001-04)

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