Organon of Medicine - Samuel Hahnemann

Aphorism 281 to 290

A useful article about Aphorism 281 to 290.Full details about Aphorism 281 to 290

§ 281 Fifth Edition

Every patient is, especially in his diseased point, capable of being influenced in an incredible degree by medicinal agents corresponding by similarity of action; and there is no person, be he ever so robust, and even though he be affected only with a chronic or so-called local disease, who will not soon experience the desired change in the affected part, if he take the salutary, homoeopathically suited medicine in the smallest conceivable dose, who, in a word, will not thereby be much more altered in his health than a healthy infant of but a day old would be. How insignificant and ridiculous is  mere theoretical  scepticism in opposition to this unerring, infallible experimental proof!

§ 281 Sixth Edition

In order to be convinced of this, the patient is left without any medicine for eight, ten of fifteen days, meanwhile giving him only some powders of sugar of milk. If the few last complaints are due to the medicine simulating the former original disease symptoms, then these complaints will disappear in a few days or hours. If during these days without medicine, while continuing good hygienic regulations nothing more of the original disease is seen, he is probably cured. But if in the later days traces of the former morbid symptoms should show themselves, they are remnants of the original disease not wholly extinguished, which must be treated with renewed higher potencies of the remedy as directed before. If a cure is to follow, the first small doses must likewise be again gradually raised higher, but less and more slowly in patients where considerable irritability is evident than in those of less susceptibility, where the advance to higher dosage may be more rapid. There are patients whose impressionability compared to that of the insusceptible ones is like the ratio as 1000 to 1.

§ 282 Fifth Edition

The smallest possible dose of homoeopathic medicine capable of producing only the very slightest homoeopathic aggravation, will, because it has the power of exciting symptoms bearing the greatest possible resemblance to the original disease (but yet stronger even in the minute dose), attack principally and almost solely the parts in the organism that are already affected, highly irritated, and rendered excessively susceptible to such a similar stimulus, and will alter the vital force that rules in them to a state of very similar artificial disease, somewhat greater in degree than the natural one was; this artificial disease will substitute itself for the natural (the original) disease, so that the living organism now suffers from the artificial medicinal disease alone, which, from its nature and owing to the minuteness of the dose, will soon be extinguished by the vital force that is striving to return to the normal state, and (if the disease were only an acute one) the body is left perfectly free from disease – that is to say, quite well.

§ 282 Sixth Edition

It would be a certain sign that the doses were altogether too large, if during treatment, especially in chronic disease, the first dose should bring forth a so-called homoeopathic aggravation, that is, a marked increase of the original morbid symptoms first discovered and in the same way every repeated dose (§ 247) however modified somewhat by shaking before its administration (i.e., more highly dynamized).1

1 The rule to commence the homoeopathic treatment if chronic diseases with the smallest possible doses and only gradually to augment them is subject to a notable exception in the treatment of the three great miasms while they still effloresce on the skin, i.e., recently erupted itch, the untouched chancre (on the sexual organs, labia, mouth or lips, and so forth), and the figwarts. These not only tolerate, but indeed require, from the very beginning large doses of their specific remedies of ever higher and higher degrees of dynamization daily (possibly also several times daily). If this course be pursued, there is no danger to be feared as is the case in the treatment of diseases hidden within, that the excessive dose while it extinguishes the disease, initiates and by continued usage possible produces a chronic medicinal disease. During external manifestations of these three miasms this is not the case; for from the daily progress of their treatment it can be observed and judged to what degree the large dose withdraws the sensation of the disease from the vital principle day by day; for none of these three can be cured without giving the physician the conviction through their disappearance that there is no longer any further need of these medicines.

Since diseases in general are but dynamic attacks upon the life principle and nothing material – no materia peccans – as their basis (as the old school in its delusion has fabulated for a thousand years and treated the sick accordingly to their ruin) there is also in these cases nothing material to take away, nothing to smear away, to burn or tie or cut away, without making the patient endlessly sicker and more incurable (Chron. Dis. Part 1), than he was before local treatment of these three miasms was instituted. The dynamic, inimical principle exerting its influence upon the vital energy is the essence of these external signs of the inner malignant miasms that can be extinguished solely by the action of a homoeopathic medicine upon the vital principle which affects it in a similar but stronger manner and thus extracts the sensation of internal and external spirit-like (conceptual) disease enemy in such a way that it no longer exists for the life principle (for the organism) and thus releases the patient of his illness and he is cured.

Experience, however, teaches that the itch, plus its external manifestations, as well as the chancre, together with the inner venereal miasm, can and must be cured only by means of specific medicines taken internally. But the figwarts, if they have existed for some time without treatment, have need for their perfect cure, the external application of their specific medicines as well as their internal use at the same time.

§ 283 Fifth Edition

Now, in order to act really in conformity with nature, the true physician will prescribe his well-selected homoeopathic medicine only in exactly as small a dose as will just suffice to over power and annihilate the disease before him – in a dose of such minuteness, that if human fallibility should betray him into administering an inappropriate medicine, the injury, accruing from its nature being unsuited to the disease will be diminished to a mere trifle; moreover the harm done by the smallest possible dose is so slight, that it may be immediately extinguished and repaired by the natural vital powers, and by the speedy administration of a remedy more suitable selected according to similarity of action, and given also in the smallest dose.

§ 283 Sixth Edition

In order to work wholly according to nature, the true healing artist will prescribe the accurately chosen homoeopathic medicine most suitable in all respects in so small a dose on account of this alone. For should he be misled by human weakness to employ an unsuitable medicine, the disadvantage of its wrong relation to the disease would be so small that the patient could through his own vital powers and by means of early opposition (§ 249) of the correctly chosen remedy according to symptom similarly (and this also in the smallest dose) rapidly extinguish and repair it.

§ 284 Fifth Edition

The action of a dose, moreover, dose not diminish in the direct ratio of the quantity of material medicine contained in the dilutions used in homoeopathic practice. Eight drops of the tincture of a medicine to the dose do not produce four times as much effect on the human body as two drops, but only about twice the effect that is produced by two drops to the dose. In like manner, one drop of a mixture of a drop of the tincture with ten drops of some unmedicinal fluid, when taken, will not produce ten times more effect than one drop of mixture ten times more attenuated, but only about (scarcely) twice as strong an effect, and so on, in the same ratio – so that a drop of the lowest dilution must, and really does, display still a very considerable action.1

1 Supposing one drop of a mixture that contains 1/10 of a grain of medicine produces an effect = a; one drop of a more diluted mixture containing 1/100th of a grain of the medicine will only produce an effect = a/2; if it contain 1/10000th of a grain of medicine, about = a/4; if it contain 1/100000000th of a grain of medicine it will produce and effect = a/8; and thus it goes on, the volume of the doses being equal, with every (perhaps more than) quadratic diminution of the quantity of medicine, the action on the human body will be diminished each time to only about one-half. I have very often seen a drop of the decillion-fold dilution of tincture of nux vomica produce pretty nearly just half as much effect as a drop of the quintillion-fold dilution, under the same circumstances and in the same individual.

§ 284 Sixth Edition

Besides the tongue, mouth and stomach, which are most commonly affected by the administration of medicine, the nose and respiratory organs are receptive of the action of medicines in fluid form by means of olfaction and inhalation through the mouth. But the whole remaining skin of the body clothed with epidermis, is adapted to the action of medicinal solutions, especially if the inunction is connected with simultaneous internal administration.1

1 The power of medicines acting upon the infant through the milk of the mother or wet nurse is wonderfully helpful. Every disease in a child yields to the rightly chosen homoeopathic medicines given in moderate doses to the nursing mother and so administered, is more easily and certainly utilized by these new world-citizens than is possible in later years. Since most infants usually have imparted to them psora through the milk of the nurse, if they do not already possess it through heredity from the mother, they may be at the same time protected antipsorically by means of the milk of the nurse rendered medicinally in this manner. But the case of mothers in their (first) pregnancy by means of a mild antipsoric treatment, especially with sulphur dynamizations prepared according to the directions in this edition (§ 270), is indispensable in order to destroy the psora – that producer of most chronic diseases – which is given them hereditarily; destroy it both within themselves and in the foetus, thereby protecting posterity in advance. This is true of pregnant women thus treated; they have given birth to children usually more healthy and stronger, to the astonishment of everybody. A new confirmation of the great truth of the psora theory discovered by me.

§ 285 Fifth Edition

The diminution of the dose essential for homoeopathic use, will also be promoted by diminishing its volume, so that, if, instead of a drop of a medicinal dilution, we take but quite a small part1 of such a drop for a dose, the object of diminishing the effect still further will be very effectually attained; and that this will be the case may be readily conceived for this reason, because with the smaller volume of the dose but few nerves of the living organism can be touched, whereby the power of the medicine is certainly also communicated to the whole organism, but it is a weaker power.

1 For this purpose it is most convenient to employ fine sugar globules of the size of poppy seeds, one of which imbibed with the medicine and put into the dispensing vehicle constitutes a medicinal dose, which contains about the three hundredth part of a drop, for three hundred such small globules will be adequately moistened by one drop of alcohol. The dose is vastly diminished by laying one such globule alone upon the tongue and giving nothing to drink. If it be necessary, in the case of a very sensitive patient, to employ the smallest possible dose and to bring about the most rapid result, one single olfaction merely will suffice (see note to §288).

§ 285 Sixth Edition

In this way, the cure of very old disease may be furthered by the physician applying externally, rubbing it in the back, arms, extremities, the same medicine he gives internally and which showed itself curatively. In doing so, he must avoid parts subject to pain or spasm or skin eruption.1

1 From this fact may be explained those marvellous cures, however infrequent, where chronic deformed patients, whose skin nevertheless was sound and clean, were cured quickly and permanently after a few baths whose medicinal constituents (by, chance) were homoeopathically related. On the other hand, the mineral baths very often brought on increased injury with patients, whose eruptions on the skin were suppressed. After a brief period of well-being, the life principle allowed the inner, uncured malady to appear elsewhere, more important for life and health.

At times, instead, the ocular nerve would become paralyzed and produce amaurosis, sometimes the crystalline lens would become clouded, hearing lost, mania or suffocating asthma would follow or an apoplexy would end the sufferings of the deluded patient.

A fundamental principle of the homoeopathic physician (which distinguishes him from every physician of all older schools) is this, that he never employs for any patient a medicine, whose effects on the healthy human has not previously been carefully proven and thus made known to him (§§ 20,21). To prescribe for the sick on mere conjecture of some possible usefulness for some similar disease or from hearsay “that a remedy has helped in such and such a disease” – such conscienceless venture the philanthropic homoeopathist will leave to the allopath. A genuine physician and practitioner or our art will therefore never send the sick to any of the numerous mineral baths, because almost all are unknown so far as their accurate, positive effects on the healthy human organism is concerned, and when misused, must be counted among the most violent and dangerous drugs. In this way, out of a thousand sent to the most celebrated of these baths by ignorant physicians allopathically uncured and blindly sent there perhaps one or two are cured by chance more often return only apparently cured and the miracle is proclaimed aloud. Hundreds, meanwhile sneak quietly away, more or less worse and the rest remain to prepare themselves for their eternal resting place, a fact that is verified by the presence of numerous well-filled graveyards surrounding the most celebrated of these spas.*

* A true homoeopathic physician, one who never acts without correct fundamental principles, never gambles with the life of the sick entrusted to him as in a lottery where the winner is in the ratio of 1 to 500 or 1000 (blanks here consisting of aggravation or death), will never expose any one of his patients to such danger and send him for good luck to a mineral bath, as is done so frequently by allopaths in order to get rid of the sick in an acceptable manner spoiled by him or others.

§ 286 Fifth Edition

For the same reason the effect of a homoeopathic dose of medicine increases, the greater the quantity of fluid in which it is dissolved when administered to the patient, although the actual amount of medicine it contains remains the same. For in this case, when the medicine is taken, it comes in contact with a much larger surface of sensitive nerves responsive to the medicinal action. Although theorists may imagine there should be a weakening of the action of dose of medicine by its dilution with a large quantity of liquid, experience asserts exactly the opposite, at all events when the medicines are employed homoeopathically.1

1 It is only the most simple of stimulants, wine and alcohol, that have their heating and intoxicating action diminished by dilution with much water.

§ 286 Sixth Edition

The dynamic force of minerals magnets, electricity and galvanism act no less powerfully upon our life principle and they are not less homoeopathic than the properly so-called medicines which neutralize disease by taking them through the mouth, or by rubbing them on the skin or by olfaction. There may be diseases, especially diseases of sensibility and irritability, abnormal sensations, and involuntary muscular movements which may be cured by those means. But the more certain way of applying the last two as well as that of the so-called electromagnetic lies still very much in the dark to make homoeopathic use of them. So far both electricity and Galvanism have been used only for palliation to the great damage of the sick. The positive, pure action of both upon the healthy human body have until the present time been but little tested.

§ 287 Fifth Edition

But in this increase of action by the mixture of the dose of medicine with a larger quantity of liquid (before its ingestion), the result is vastly different whether the mixture of the dose of medicine with a certain quantity of liquid is performed merely superficially and imperfectly, or so uniformly and intimately1 that the smallest portion of the diluting fluid received the same quantity of medicine in proportion as all the rest; for the latter becomes much more medicinally powerful by the diluting mixture than the former. From this every one will be able to judge for himself how to proceed with the regulation of the homoeopathic medicinal doses when he desires to diminish their medicinal action as much as possible, in order to make them suitable for the most sensitive patients.2

1 By the word intimately I mean this: that when, for instance, the drop of a medicinal fluid has been shaken up once with one hundred drops of spirits of wine; that is to say, the phial containing both, held in the hand, has been rapidly moved from above downwards with a single smart jerk of the arm, there certainly ensues a thorough mixture of the whole, but with two, three, ten and more such strokes, this mixture becomes much more intimate; that is to say, the medicinal power becomes much more potentized, and the spirit of this medicine, so to speak, becomes much more unfolded, developed and rendered much more penetrating in its action on the nerves. If, then, the required object we wish to attain with the low dilutions be the diminution of the doses for the purpose of moderating their powers upon the organism, we would do well to give no more than two such succussion-jerks to each of the twenty, thirty, etc., dilution phials, and thus to develop the medicinal power only moderately. It is also advisable, in attenuating the medicine in the state of dry powder by trituration in a porcelain mortar, to keep within certain limits, and, for example, to triturate strongly, for one hour only, one grain of the crude entire medical substance, mixed with the first hundred grains of milk-sugar (to the 1/10000th attenuation) likewise only for one hour, and to make the third attenuation (to 1/1000000) also by one hour of strong trituration of one grain of the previous mixture with one hundred grains of milk-sugar, in order to bring the medicine to such an attenuation that its development of power shall remain moderate. A more exact description of this process will be found in the prefaces to Arsenic and Pulsatilla in the Materia Medica Pura.

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Samuel Hahnemann

Samuel Hahnemann

Samuel Hahnemann