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Organon of Medicine History & Development

Hpathy Ezine, September, 2009 | Print This Post Print This Post |

Organon of Medicine History & Development

Dr. Hahnemann was able to verify the curative action of Cinchona bark by 1790. For the next six years he proved many drugs upon himself, his friends and family to verify the law of Similia. In 1796, he published his findings in Hufeland’s journal in an article titled ‘An Essay on a New Principle for Ascertaining The Curative Powers of Drugs and Some Examination of Previous Principles’.

When Hahnemann started practicing on the basis of the law of simila, he faced numerous difficulties. With increasing experience, his attitude towards disease, drug-actions, the method of testing their positive effects, the relation between the disease and the drug phenomena, and the mode of application and preparation of drugs began to take a definite shape. He felt the need to synthesize his thoughts and communicate them to other physicians.

Apart from the above mentioned article, he also wrote – Aesculapius in the Balance (1805); Medicine of Experience (1805); On the Value of Speculative System of Medicine (1808); Observations on the Three Current Methods of Treatment (1809). These works paved the way for publishing his magnum opus – Organon of Rational Medical Science, in 1810.

This book is written in aphoristic style (paragraphs with numbering) but there is continuity and logical sequence of thoughts underlying the sections. The book went through 6 editions in all. Five editions were published during the author’s life. The 6th edition was completed by Dr. Hahnmeann in 1842 but he passed away on July 2nd, 1843 before the 6th edition could be published. The last edition was finally published in 1921 due to the efforts of William Boericke.

Dr. Hahnmeann was a born searcher for truth and was always ready to modify his ideas to suit the facts. He had no hesitation in acknowledging his errors if fact and experience went against his principles.

Title of the Book.

The word ‘Organon’ is derived from the Greek word ‘Organum’, which means ‘instrument of knowledge’. The word Organon was first used by the Greek Philosopher Aristotle (384-322 BC) for his treatise on logic. Later, Franics Bacon (1561-1626), the English philosopher and statesman wrote a treatise on logic in Latin titled ‘Novum Organum’, wherein he urged upon his fellow men to follow the inductive method of reasoning. Possibly these works of Aristotle and bacon influenced Hahnmeann to name his book Organon.

In the first edition, Hahnemann named his book ‘Organon of the Rational Medical Science’. From the 2nd edition onwards, the title was changed to ‘Organon of the Healing Art’.

Various Editions of Organon of Medicine

First Edition

Published in 1810
Published from Torgau
Aphorisms – 271
Title – Organon of Rational Medical Science (Organon Der Rationellen Heilkunde)
Translated by C. E. Wheeler, in English, in 1913.

Below the title of the book there was a small couplet from Gallert’s poem –

The Truth We Mortals Need
Us Blest To make And Keep
The All-Wise Slightly Covered Over
But Did Not Bury Deep.

Just above the first aphorism was written ‘Organon of The Healing Art’. The first edition had no table of contents.

Second Edition

Published in 1819
Published from Leipzig
Aphorisms – 315
Title – Organon of The Healing Art (Organon Der Heilkunst)
Translated by Ernest George von Burnnon, in French, in 1824.

In the second edition the title of the book was changed. The Gallert’s poem was also replaced by the phrase ‘Aude Sapere’, which means ‘dare to be wise’.

Third Edition

Published in 1824
Published from Koethen
Aphorisms – 317
Title – Organon of The Healing Art (Organon Der Heilkunst)

No significant change.

Fourth Edition

Published in 1829
Published from Koethen
Aphorisms – 292
Title – Organon of The Healing Art (Organon Der Heilkunst)
Translated by Charles H Deurient, in English, in 1833

The theory of chronic diseases was included in the organon for the first time. In the 9th aphorism of this edition, Hahnmeann stated that the fundamental cause of all chronic diseases are ‘Chronic Miasms’ and in aphorism 72 he stated that chronic diseases are caused by ‘dynamic infection of chronic miasm’. Introduction to Organon proper was introduced in this edition.

Fifth Edition

Published in 1833
Published from Koethen
Aphorisms – 294
Title – Organon of The Healing Art (Organon Der Heilkunst)
Translated by Robert Ellias Dudgeon, in English, in 1849 and agin in 1893. Also translated by C. Wesselehoft.

This edition introduced two new approaches – Doctrine of Vital Force, and Doctrine of Drug Dynamization.

Sixth Edition

Published in 1921
Written in Paris
Aphorisms – 291
Title – Organon of Medicine
Translated by William Boericke, in English, in 1921.

This edition was published after the death of Dr. Hahnemann. In this edition many significant changes took place. The term Vital Force was replaced by Vital Principle and a new scale for potentization, 50 Millesimal scale was introduced in the sixth edition. Apart from these many other changes in the preparation, administration and repetition of drugs took place. Some of these changes were so stark that large number of homeopaths have not been able to accept this edition till date.

The book begins with a preface, table of contents, and introduction. Organon consists of 291 aphorisms in the 6th edition, whereas the fifth edition contained 294 aphorisms. The book can be devided in two parts –

A. The Doctrinal Part (§ 1-71)

B The Practical Part (§ 72 – 291)

The doctrinal part deals with the following concepts –

1. § 1-4: deal with physician’s mission, work, duties and responsibilities. Also the concept of cure is discussed here.

2. § 5 – 18: deal with the knowledge of disease and vital force.

3. § 19 – 27: deal with the knowledge of medicine.

4. § 28 – 69: deals with the knowledge of how to choose and adminsiter a remedy. What are the different methods for this (allopathic, antipathic, homeopathic)? What happens when two dynamic diseases meet in a body? etc.

Section 1 to 70 deal with Hahnmeann’s attitude towards disease, drug-action and the selection and administration of remdeies. The first part basically probes into 3 questions –

  • What is curable in disease?
  • What is curative in medicine?
  • How to apply the knowledge of medicine to the knowledge of disease?

The Practical Part of the book deals with the following concepts:


Manish Bhatia

- CEO, Hpathy Medical Pvt. Ltd. - Homeopathy physician. - Lecturer of Organon & Homeopathic Philosophy. - Founder Director of - Editor, Homeopathy 4 Everyone - Member, Advisory Board, Homeopathic Links - Member, Center for Advanced Studies in Homeopathy - Co-author - Homeopathy and Mental Health Care: Integrative Practice, Principles and Research - Author - Lectures on Organon of Medicine


  1. dr.priyanka kothari

    November 4, 2011

    Sir, you did well. Thanks

  2. arfeen

    July 3, 2012

    i m thank ful to u . your articles are very good & informative. you help me in my studies very much thanks a lot.

  3. amol gawande

    November 6, 2012

    thanxxxxxxxxx sir

  4. ajaypal singh

    July 30, 2013

    Thanks veerae

  5. hitesh

    April 28, 2015

    Thank u sir for sharing …
    Please anybody explain about the meaning of that gallert’s poem – The truth we mortals need

    Us blest to make and keep,
    The All-wise slightly covered over

    But did not bury deep.

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