“You cannot divorce medicine and theology. Man exists all the way down from his innermost spiritual, to his outermost natural.” J.T. Kent
Much has been written about Francis Treuherz, homeopath, historian and owner of one of the world’s largest collections of homeopathic memorabilia. He has been interviewed many times, and has written various interesting articles and books, taught, lectured and inspired, for many years.
He has been in private practice since 1984, and part time in NHS primary care from 1990-2003. He is a Fellow of the Society of Homeopaths, and former editor of their Journal and board member for over 20 years.
He assisted his friend and colleague David Needleman who founded The Homeopathic Helpline, a popular homeopathic consultation phone line for acute problems, that attracts patients from around the UK. Francis has been a valued trustee of the British Homeopathic Association and the Homeopathic Action Trust.
I recently visited his home, which is a unique combination of a library and museum, full of the most fascinating relics going back to Hahnemann’s time; a homeopath’s and historian’s wonderland!
I felt exquisitely immersed in homeopathic history, as if present, at every period of time. The collection starts the minute one enters the building with books, remedies, photographs all lining the walls, the winding staircase is home to endless shelves of memorabilia, each precious relic in its right place, all meticulously ordered according to date/genre/author.
(I did, later, ask Francis his possible constitutional remedy, clearly, already making several assumptions….!) Below is one of the many precious artefacts in his extraordinary collection.
This item is clearly very special to Francis and he gave me the background to his acquiring it.: “The Hahnemann marble on agate carving is by Franz Woltreck, a sculptor who came from Germany to study with Davide d’Angers in Paris mid C19.”
“I was in Manchester many years ago and went to the antiques market in the Royal Exchange to buy some earrings for my wife and there it was. The seller did not know who it was and sold it for £20. My father was so impressed he gave me his father’s watch chain so I have worn it as a pendant to many events. (And I did also buy some earrings!)”
The purpose of my visiting, was to photograph (often at very odd angles, and with imperfect lighting, apologies!) many of these priceless items, at his request and to get first-hand knowledge on as many of them as possible, ultimately enabling the sharing of them to the world.
In addition, we talked about aspects of his life that may not previously have been covered in great detail, such as his commitment to the Jewish faith and the influence this has had on his work. This sparked an interest in me, as I have witnessed how spirituality/faith has been a driving force for many homeopaths.
Many of Francis’ interviews can be found in his new book ‘My Journey in Homeopathy. Much ado about nothing.’1
Photo of Dr John Henry Clarke from Francis’s collection
We also discussed his most respected homeopath, Dr John Henry Clarke, ironically known to be hugely anti-Semitic, although still commanding great respect from Francis, as a scholar (I have to say, I was overwhelmed here, that Francis set aside something so significant to honour a man who was a brilliant homeopath, despite his hostile views.)
The focus here, lies in touching on (as it is clearly a subject that requires in-depth scrutiny) Francis’s Jewish faith and its possible relationship or association with homeopathy by looking at specific examples in The Old Testament, and the overall influence of religion/spirituality on many of our most famous homeopaths.
Judaism, Francis and Homeopathy
Both Francis and his multi-talented wife, Rachel, who I met, are dedicated to their Jewish faith. I asked Francis how his devotion had affected his practice as I got a strong feeling, he could not separate one from the other.
He simply stated that the underlying tenet of the Jewish faith was to help people and to “love your neighbours as yourself.” He left me feeling that almost by following Judaism, one is embodied with a certain spirituality which is healing on every level, (this could, of course, apply to any faith.)
It is very similar to how we, as homeopaths practice, with respect on every level for our patients, and through the prescription of a remedy, holding within it ‘a spirit like power’ in addition to the medicinal action.
Many of the principles of homeopathy could be seen to closely resemble those of the Torah, which will be discussed in more depth later in the article. (I stress, the views expressed are simply my opinion and the purpose of this article is to explore any similarities and theories, not dictate as fact.)
The meaning of ‘Torah’ is often restricted to signify the first five books of the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament), also called the Law (or the Pentateuch, in Christianity). These are the books traditionally ascribed to Moses, the recipient of the original revelation from God on Mount Sinai.
Jewish, Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Protestant canons all agree on their order: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.2 Our spiritual beliefs, can, in my opinion, effectively, inspire our passion, adding depth and energy to our practice.
Throughout The Organon, there are many references to the spirit; something totally intangible, yet, as we know, immensely powerful:
- 20 (Sixth edition)
‘This spirit-like power to alter man’s state of health (and hence to cure diseases) which lies hidden in the inner nature of medicines can in itself never be discovered by us by a mere effort of reason; it is only by experience of the phenomena it displays when acting on the state of health of man that we can become clearly cognizant of it.’
The photo above depicts a brass bas relief by Davide D’Angers in Paris mid C19. D’Angers was the sculptor of Hahnemann’s tombstone and incidentally, also, like Hahnemann a Freemason. He sought to capture the likeness through sculpture of many of the ‘heroes’ of this time.
A nearly complete collection, originals or copies, is in the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Angers. Among David’s most important works are the pediment of the Panthéon, showing the key liberal figures in France since the 18th century grouped round a figure of La Patrie; the Gutenberg monument at Strasbourg; the monument to General Gobert in the Père-Lachaise Cemetery in Paris; the Philopoemen in the Louvre; and the bust of Goethe, presented by him to the poet in 1831, in the public library at Weimar, Germany. Francis has an original brass on display.
Homeopaths and Religion and Spirituality
To put things into context, and before delving into the Old Testament, let’s look at the influence of religion or spirituality on several well-known homeopaths
James Tyler Kent (1849-1916), was possibly one of the most famous homeopaths whose faith was strongly evident /embedded in his work. He was a Swedenborgian, along with T. F. Allen (1837-1902), the Boerickes and the Tafels – and many others – particularly in America.
Druidism was popular amongst many homeopaths, possibly due to the powerful influence of Thomas Maughan (1901-76) who, similar to Francis, was entrenched in his religion. Many homeopaths were Freemasons, including Hahnemann himself, and much later Dr Edward Bach.
Many of the great names in homoeopathy were practising, if not devout, Christians of one form or another. Examples include Blackie (1890-1981), Rev Upcher (1849-1929), Rev Tyrwhitt (c1890-c1965), Rev Everest (1800-55), Weir (c1876-1970) and Tyler (1857-1943).3
I could go on, the point being that many of us feel strongly supported in our work, by our faith or a certain aspect of spirituality, perhaps an indefinable force? This could therefore, be a unifying factor for us all, regardless of religion.
The Maimonides physician’s prayer is but one of the pictures that I was struck by in Francis’s study. Sadly, the light was very strong, and my reflection can be seen.
I could have just printed the words, or used an online version, however I felt a strong pull to this, possibly shortened version and the fact that it belonged to Francis. No apologies!
The poem is attributed to Maimonides (in Hebrew: Rav or Rabbi Moshe Ben Maimon, or “RaMBaM” — the acronym of his name) a 12th-century Jewish physician in Egypt.
Moses Maimonides (1135/38-1204) was the most important Jewish philosopher of the Middle Ages. The prayer however, is of uncertain ownership and was possibly written by Marcus Herz, a German physician, who was a pupil of Immanuel Kant and physician to Moses Mendelssohn. Whoever it is attributed to, the words remain beautifully reflective of the responsibilities of the physician (homeopath, also included, I feel and anyone who practices medicine in all its forms,) and praises God for creating the earth and human body, and endowing the physician with the tools to heal; the prayer requests that God assist the physician in carrying out his task in a noble, honourable and successful manner. The prayer, to me, is reflective of Francis’s dual role in life, his faith and homeopathy.
The principles of homeopathy reflected in the Old Testament
If we look specifically at the Old Testament, there are several significant events which reflect the homeopathic principles. Francis discusses such similarities in the chapter ‘Much ado about Nothing’ in his latest book ‘My Journey in Homeopathy.1
The Children of Israel at Mara (Exodus 15:23-25)
The first instance narrates the arrival of the Children of Israel at Mara after three days in the Shur Desert without water:
‘…but they could not drink any water there because the water was bitter…and the people complained to Moses. “What shall we drink?” they demanded. When [Moses] cried out to God, He showed him a certain tree. [Moses] threw [a small branch of] it into the water, and the water became drinkable.’
In the words of Rabbi Gamaliel, “He put the polluting agent into the polluted material to perform a miracle within a miracle.’
Human beings heal bitterness by sweetening it, but God heals bitterness with bitterness.
We see here that God through Moses used homeopathic concepts to sweeten the water. How? Moses used a piece of the bitter branch and placed it in the bitter water. The water then became sweet and drinkable! Moses also used a small piece of the bitter branch, and used it only once for its energetic effect on the water.
It was there that [God] taught them a decree and a law, and there He tested them. He said, “If you obey God your Lord and do what is upright in His eyes, carefully heeding all His Commandments and keeping all His decrees, then I will not strike you with any of the sicknesses that I brought on Egypt. I am the God Who heals you. (Ex. 15:23-25)
Elisha’s Water Miracle … (II Kings 2:19-22)
Another example of water desalination is found when Elisha comes to Jericho after the miracles of Elijah ascending to Heaven and the Jordan River splitting open:
…the people of the city said to Elisha, “Behold the city is a good place to live in, as my lord sees, but the water is bad and the land causes people to die. And he said, “Take me to a new jug and put salt therein,” and they took to him…he went out to the source of the water and threw salt there; and he said, “So has the Lord said, ‘I have cured these waters; there will no longer be death and bereavement from there.’ “And the water became cured to this day, according to the word of Elisha that he spoke. (Kings II 2:19-22)
The prophet took a solution of water, put salt in it, and poured it into the salty waters to sweeten it. An excellent example of homeopathy in action!
“Man wounds with a knife and heals with a plaster; The Holy One, blessed be He, heals with the very same thing with which he smites.” Mekhilta d”Rabbi Ishmael1
From the above two references to The Old Testament a number of important points can be raised:
1) The water was healed by the law of similarity, which means that “like cures like.”
2) A small amount (one small branch or a small flask of salt) is enough to purify a large quantity of water.
3) One dosage of the healing agent is sufficient. Repetitive or complex processes are not necessary.
4) The Torah discusses healing immediately after this incident at Mara. In a continuous text the Torah describes the process of healing the water, then it proclaims this process a law, and then it connects this law to the cure of human diseases.
The fact that water composes two-thirds of the human body makes this textual connection very interesting. The water in the human body is divided into cells separated by thin membranes so that there is no physiological or biochemical process in the body, either in health or disease, which does not occur through the medium of water.
5)Despite the fact that Moses learned a new technique of healing (some claim that he was given the secrets of herbal healing), in this passage the Torah emphasises the importance of preventive medicine. Preventive medicine in this context means following God’s ways and Commandments so that “I will not strike you with any of the sicknesses that I brought on Egypt. I am the God Who heals you.”1
Numbers xxi: The law of similars and the origins of the caduceus:
The following passage from Numbers xxi demonstrates energetic healing using the copper snake to cure the snake bites experienced by the people:
- And the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and many people of Israel died.
- Therefore, the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord, and against thee; pray unto the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people.
- And the Lord said unto Moses, make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live.
- And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.
The snake has subsequently become a medical symbol since this time, appearing on ambulances, and many other medical vehicles, medical bracelets, amongst other items; it is the official insignia of the United States Medical Corps, Navy Pharmacy Division, and the Public Health Service.
Left side image below is the Rod of Asclepius while the right-side image is the caduceus
‘There are two symbols that are used to represent medicine as seen above. One is the Caduceus, and the other is the Rod of Asclepius. Caduceus is a symbol with a short staff entwined by two serpents, sometimes surmounted by wings while the Rod of Asclepius is the one with a single snake. Have you ever wondered why is a snake, which is a symbol of destruction used ironically as a symbol of healing?
Well, the answer lies deep sown in history when Moses, around 1400 BC, used the bronze serpent erected on the pole to cure the people who were bitten by snakes. Similarity between both these symbols is the snake. The other reasons why a serpent has been used is the shedding of the skin that indicated longevity and immortality.
The snake’s ability to change from a lethargic stage to one of rapid activity symbolized the power to convalesce from an illness. Charas and Martyn (1673) subjected the viper to innumerable experimental investigations and concluded they were valuable remedies for itch, erysipelas, measles, smallpox, leprosy and were a valuable adjunct to the production of a beautiful skin.
Hence, the snake has been a powerful symbol of healing itself.4 Interesting comment, given that we see this also, from the homeopathic perspective and the ‘like cures like’ principle.
The Golden Calf: Exodus xxxii:
After Moses came down from Mt. Sinai, he saw the people of Israel idolizing a golden calf:
‘And he took the calf which they had made, and burnt it in the fire, and ground it to powder, and strewed it upon the water, and then he took the calf they (the Israelites) had made, burned it in fire, ground it to fine powder, scattered (it) upon the surface of the water, and gave (it to) the children of Israel to drink.’ (Exodus 32:20)
Francis states: ‘Homeopaths use gold, (Aurum) which was not thought to be soluble, ground up into a powder, and then diluted into water, mainly for depression and often depression from financial loss, but there are other pathologies.’1
Mandrakes, Genesis 30:15
There are probably numerous other mentions in the Bible of this unique relationship, not least the reference in Genesis 30:15, to mandrakes (Mandragora,) which were thought to induce fertility and act as an aphrodisiac.
‘But she said to her, ‘Wasn’t it enough that you took away my husband? Will you take my son’s mandrakes too?’ ‘Very well,’ Rachel said, ‘he can sleep with you tonight in return for your son’s mandrakes.’ (Genesis 30:15)
Rachel has requested some of the mandrake plants Leah’s son has found.’ (Genesis 30:14)
Mandrake plants, apparently, were thought to have aphrodisiac qualities and to be an aid to infertility. (Murphy, Mandragora, female: sterility.)
These two infertile sisters were likely interested in the plants for exactly that reason. Leah was able to bear four sons for Jacob, but has now stopped conceiving (Genesis 29:31–35). Rachel has never been able to have a child through her own womb.
Both have obtained children through their servants, as part of a competition between these sisters (Genesis 30:1–13). Any item believed to aid in conception would have been precious to both women. Rachel miraculously went on to conceive after her contact with both her husband and the mandrakes.
So, after delving deeply into the Bible, some interesting similarities between the principles of homeopathy and the Jewish religion, are evident, which could account for Francis’ dedication to both.
I am sure there are parallels which could be drawn in other religions. Spirituality of any discipline can be healing, our vital force ignited and fired up on every level; homeopathy could therefore be seen as a deeply spiritual practice of medicine where the patient, in their essence is treated, mind body and soul, according to strict principles.
Much more was discussed, photographed and critically analysed, with very much more food for thought. To be continued…!
1: Treuherz F. (2022), My Journey in Homeopathy, Much Ado About Nothing, B Jain, India.
2. Torah- sacred text. [on-line] Available at: https://www.britannica.com/topic/Torah.
3: Morrell, P. [online] Homeopathy and Religion. Available at: http://www.homeoint.org/morrell/articles/pm_reli1.htm.
4. M Prakash,M. and Carlton Johnny, J. Things you don’t learn in medical school: Caduceus . [online] Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4439707/.