“With the newest evolution of homœopathic practice, we can produce a unique and innovative service for our fellow man. With trust, openness and good intentions on our side, we as a profession can grow and take forward the most beautiful and gentle method of healing, without overlooking the roots that our forefathers established. This synergistic integration of generations— both old and new—will be the legacy that lives on.”
Homœopathic medicine is a medical art that is based upon fundamental principles that have been used effectively in healing for hundreds of years. As time has progressed, the evolution of homœopathic medicine has expanded significantly with each generation of practitioner. As a second-generation homœopath, I was introduced to homœopathy when I was a child. I benefitted from watching my father and several of his contemporaries in close quarters, and heard many enlightening stories and anecdotes about their teachers and seniors. It has been fascinating to watch the evolution of homœopathy across generations in addition to visualizing where the practice is going and what the future is likely to be. I have attempted here to give a structure to this evolution and have described it through its stages of development – invention, intensification, innovation and integration. These stages of homœopathic development loosely parallel the stages of development in other arts and sciences, as well as the stages of development in the periodic table. For example, the first, second and third row have to do with conception and development, the fourth row as solidification, the fifth row with invention and, finally, the sixth row with attaining full maturity, independence and leadership. This article aims to travel through the journey of homœopathic existence and examine each of the four generations along with the respective contributors of its time.
Let us begin with the generation of Invention, the era when the grounding foundations of homœopathic practice were established. Samuel Hahnemann was the founder of homœopathy. He postulated a healing principle: “That which can produce a set of symptoms in a healthy individual can treat a sick individual who is manifesting a similar set of symptoms — the Law of Similars”. This principle, like cures like, became the foundation for an approach to medicine to which he gave the name ‘homœopathy’. Hahnemann also laid down the fundamental principles of potency, case taking, and case management.
The next contributor in the Invention era was Constantine Hering (1800-1880). Hering was known as the Father of American Homœopathy. He carried out 104 provings upon himself (among them were lachesis, psorinum, and glonoine) and wrote the 10-volume Guiding Symptoms.
Clemens von Boenninghausen also made outstanding contributions to the advancement of homœopathy in this generation. He further developed the generalities theme; he postulated that what is true for the part is true for the whole. Boenninghausen classified the characteristic symptoms into seven categories: Quis (Personality of the Patient), Quid (Peculiarity of Complaints), Ubi (Seat of Disease), Quibus Auxilus (Concomitant Symptoms), Cur (Causations), Quamado (Modalities of Time), and Quando (Modalities of Circumstances).
This next generation of Intensification was essential to the growth of homœopathic medicine. In this era, many of the root foundations of homœopathy were strengthened, especially in the field of provings, miasms, materia medica, and repertory. James Tyler Kent was one of the most pivotal practitioners to carry this era and the practice of homœopathy forward. He intensified the studies of homœopathic philosophies, materia medica, repertory, case taking, and follow-ups, in addition to adding his famous twelve observations. He was the first practitioner who began with drug personification in homœopathy. Kent postulated that all medicines operate on the will and understanding, affecting man in his ability to think or to will, and ultimately upon the tissues, functions and sensations.
Cyrus Maxwell Boger built upon the contributions of Boenninghausen. He tried to merge together the ideas of Kent and the generalities of Boenninghausen. Boger was a great German scholar who worked on Boenninghausen’s theory of generalities and formed what he called the Generals – Pathological generals (for example; chronicity, inflammation, paralysis, cramps, and ailments from vaccination). His condensed materia medica, called Boger’s Synoptic Key, is one of the major references of materia medica and repertories produced by a homœopath of this generation. A host of homœopaths later took a leaf out of his book and practiced. For example, Phatak’s Repertory is formed on the basis of Boger’s Synoptic Key.
Aldolph von Lippe was called the Prince of Prescribers. His famous case of cured impotency was called the greatest cure in homœopathy by one and all. From probing the patient’s past history, he found that the patient had diphtheria many years previously, when the glands were affected from left to right. His prescription of Lac- caninum, 45M, was the remedy that cured the patient. Furthermore, his book called Red Line Keynotes is a masterpiece on materia medica.
John Henry Clarke is known for his book Dictionary of Practical Materia Medica. This was one of finest books written on toxicological and practical data in materia medica. The cases in his books are mostly from Burnett, another famous practitioner from London, who formed his own method of practice called Ladder of Remedies. Burnett is also known for his famous prescriptions of the remedies Urtica urens, Variolinum, and Bacillinum as treatment for tuberculosis.
ML Tyler’s Drug Pictures is one of the finest materia medica books on drug pictures, giving true justice to the practice that she had. Contributions by Margery Blackie and Elizabeth Hubbard were also of the highest quality, as they had composed illustrious literature on repertorization.
Barthel and Klunker were the first two homœopaths who worked on the synthetic repertory. They collected many repertory sources from renowned authors such as Kent, Clarke, Smith, Boenninghausen, and Hering, and combined them to make one reliable and consolidated repertory.
- Sankaran was the first homœopath who brought the concept of repertorization and the repertory to India. Before his time, all homœopathic practice was based on materia medica. He contributed many provings to the field, such as the proving of Adamus (diamond) and bowel nosodes. In addition to this, he presented many papers on the theory of antidoting. He demonstrated through various double-blind studies that tea and coffee did not interfere with homœopathic treatment.
Jugal Kishore contributed to possibly the most imaginative method of all—Card Repertories. He was the first homœopath to evolve from reliance upon the traditional book repertory to the card repertory. This repertory was utilized by placing each individual rubric on a separate card. Every card had separate holes in it for each remedy and, as he took the case, he would pick the card that matched the case. At the end of the case, he had many cards; if the cards aligned with one single remedy hole, he chose this remedy. This method was highly creative and inventive, and was practiced by Dr. Sankaran as well.
TF Allen was one of the leading contributors of the Intensification era. He developed Allen’s Keynotes, a compilation of keynotes from Hering’s Guiding Symptoms. Both Allen and Hering clinically confirmed these keynotes through their practices and many provings. After Allen’s work, a whole generation of homœopaths practiced based strictly on keynotes. Even today, many homœopaths in India prescribe remedies based solely on keynotes.
Proceso Sanchez Ortega was the first person to work extensively on miasms, and wrote a book called Notes on Miasms. This literature was much ahead of its time.
Pablo Paschero and Eugene Candegeb were two homœopaths who gave tremendous importance to mental symptoms and the psychosomatic aspect of patients. They prescribed solely on mental symptoms, to great results.
- Schmidt worked extensively on the works of JT Kent. He is remembered for advancing Kent’s legacy. In this generation, Schmidt was one of the strongest forces in France. He was one of the first homœopaths to prescribe a fifty millesimal potency. He had written three books that were critical to the development of homœopathic practice in this era: The Art of Interrogation, The Art of Case Taking, and Defective Illness.
The Intensification era concluded with George Vithoulkas. He is world-renowned, one of the most respected homœopaths in present time. He progressed the ideas of repertorization, drug pictures by Kent, and the Organon. He had a strong foundation in traditional classical homœopathy, and used the materia medica, rubrics, and symptoms. He is considered to be of the Intensification era as he developed the materia medica viva, 10 volumes of literature. Vithoulkas is known for being a brilliant teacher who is widely praised for his in-depth knowledge of homœopathic medicine and practice, and for inspiring the resurgence of homœopathy in the 20th century. Overall, Vithoulkas has successfully bridged the gap between the eras of Intensification and Innovation by introducing the idea of essence and developing the levels of health.
The third era in the journey of homœopathic evolution is that of Innovation. This generation bred some of the most creative and inventive homœopaths in history. Let us begin with Jurgen Becker, who connected the world of homœopathy with the world of symbolism and mythology. He worked extensively on an artistic technique of conducting provings of various remedies. He was one of the first to step out of traditional materia medica and repertory into a kind of right-brain thinking – he explored the connection between the remedies and mythology, music, literature, fairy tales, world events, history, source of the remedies, and traditional use of the substance. In the well-known fable of Little Red Riding Hood, he saw the theme of tuberculinum. Although Red Riding Hood always walked the narrow path from her mother’s house to another, she was tempted by desire for change and adventure and stepped away from the traditional path. Similarly, he explored the idea of synchronicity between ideas of the homœopathic remedy and the source itself; for example, when he looked at Adamus (diamond), he thought not only of the symptoms in the remedy, but also at the use of the diamond in history, its physical characteristics, and the way the diamond is formed. The use of diamond in various mythological stories was also of importance to him, and of importance to the remedy picture. Finally, Becker explored the ideas of provings done in group settings in addition to connecting dreams to symbolism, thus opening up several possibilities of studying remedies and patients.