“When we have to do with an art whose end is the saving of human life, any neglect to make ourselves thoroughly masters of it, becomes a crime.”
– Samuel Hahnemann
“Harmed by homeopathy” was the subject heading of an email I recently received from an understandably very concerned person, whose ailments aggravated tremendously after self-prescribing a remedy bought from an online supplement company. “Tubercular Miasm Drops”, a combination of fifteen remedies in high potency, 10 drops to be taken thrice a day, which she stopped after the third day because of horrible proving symptoms mimicking a tubercular infection and requiring hospitalization.
Human nature being imperfect, most practitioners will probably have seen aggravations, be they similar or dissimilar, with all their implications, or just because homeopathy was applied when not indicated. Being oversensitive to potentized remedies and having made a lot of provings by myself, I certainly knew what a nightmarish experience proving symptoms can be and could deeply resonate with the agony of this patient. However, being deeply imbued with the spirit of homeopathy I couldn’t let the matter rest with the suffering being assigned to homeopathy per se.
Homeopathy is a healing science and art, established by the German physician Samuel Hahnemann. The name is derived from the Greek words for ‘similar suffering’ refering to ‘similia similibus curentur‘ or “like cures like”. Homeopathy has stood the test of time, resting upon the unshakeable laws and principles, whose correct application has given uncountable patients their life back and cured diseases presumed to be incurable by orthodox medicine. However, the success of homeopathic treatment depends on the correct application of its principles, and failing to resort to them prevents a rapid, gentle and permanent cure and discredits homeopathy, unjustifiably.
Misapplication is defined as the application of something in a way that is incorrect or wrong. The misapplications homeopathy can largely be assigned to fall into the following two categories:
- The use of homeopathy when not being indicated.
- The application of dynamized remedies without resorting to the laws and principles of homeopathy.
- Using homeopathy when not being indicated
When first seeing a patient the practitioner has to decide whether the ailments fall within the scope of homeopathy. Stuart Close clearly defined the true and only sphere of homoeopathy as the sphere of vital dynamics:
“Its field is the field of disordered vital phenomena and functional changes in the individual patient, irrespective of the name of the disease, or of its cause. Its object is the restoration of order and harmony in vital functioning in the individual patient“. 
“The sphere of Similia in medicine is thus limited to those morbid functional conditions and processes which result primarily from the dynamic action upon the living organism of morbific agents inimical to life“.
Further elaborating on this subject, and with reference to Dake, Stuart Close lists the following criteria to be considered before resorting to homeopathy :
- Homeopathy relates primarily to no affection of health where the exciting cause of disease is constantly present and operative.
- It relates primarily to no affections of health which will, of themselves, cease after the removal of the exciting cause by physical, chemical or hygienic measures.
- It relates primarily to no affections of health occasioned by the injury or destruction of tissues which are incapable of restoration.
- It relates primarily to no affections of health where the vital reactive power of the organism to medicines is exhausted, obstructed or prevented.
- It relates to no affection of health, the symptomatic likeness of which may not be perceptibly produced in the healthy organism by medical means, nor to affections in which such symptoms are not perceptible.
- The homeopathic law relates to no agents intended to affect the organism chemically.
- It relates to none applied for mechanical effect simply.
- It relates to none required in the development or support of the organism when in health.
- It relates to none employed directly to remove or destroy the parasites which infest or prey upon the human body.
Hahnemann himself distinguished between true chronic diseases which arise from chronic miasms; iatrogen diseases, which are artificially produced by allopathic treatment; and pseudo-chronic diseases which are inappropriately named chronic and caused by noxious influences, and which disappear by themselves under an improved mode of living and proper regimen. These pseudo-chronic diseases resulting from “false practices” are caused by maintaining or contributory causes such as bad living circumstances, unhygienic and unsanitary influences, dietetic errors, detrimental mental conditions, excesses of all kind, prolonged deprivation of things necessary to life, lack of exercise or fresh air, physical or mental overexertion etc. Hahnemann also mentioned that grief and displeasure account for the most frequent aggravation of existing ailments and the development of chronic diseases based on latent psora. The causes of grief, annoyance, displeasure etc. have to be addressed, otherwise Hahnemann recommends to abstain from homeopathic treatment. Hahnemann already recognized the important role of psychotherapeutic measures, and although psychotherapy as a therapeutic method wasn’t yet established in his time, he disregarded the methods and attitude of treating the mentally ill at that time and gave several recommendations for psychotherapeutic interventions in the Organon. So it stands to reason, that the homeopathic prescriber endeavors to remove any causes of the disease and obstacles to cure before applying the homeopathic remedy. Failing to do this, the homeopathic remedy can do nothing or will be limited in its action. Hahnemann wrote about the physician: “He is likewise a preserver of health if he knows the things that derange health and cause disease, and how to remove them from persons in health.” 
- The negligence of laws and principles of homeopathy
”Imitate me, but imitate me correctly and meticulously”. Samuel Hahnemann
A fundamental law in medical therapy prescribes the manners of its exercise and implicates that adherence is prerequisite for the success of therapy. Hahnemann described the laws and principles of homeopathy comprehensively in his writings, and the Organon of the Healing Art in particular. .He opined:
„In the permanent cure of diseases by medicines in living organisms nature seems never to act otherwise than in accordance with these here manifest laws, and then indeed she acts, if we may use the expression, with mathematical certainty. There is no case of dynamic disease in the world (excepting the death struggle, old age, if it can be considered a disease, and the destruction or some indispensable viscus or member), whose symptoms can be met with in great similarity among the positive effects of a medicine, which will not be rapidly and permanently cured by this medicine“.
Law of similars
The Law of Similars or “like cures like” is the sine qua non, for the curative power of homeopathy is based on symptom similarity. This holds that the remedy that produces certain symptoms in healthy people will cure the ill when suffering from a similar symptom totality. The mistuned vital force can be freed from the natural disease by the dynamized, homeopathic remedy which creates a similar, somewhat stronger and self-limited artificial disease. As two similar diseases cannot exist simultaneously, the stronger artificial disease replaces and annihilates the natural disease.
The totality of symptoms can only indicate one remedy at a given time to be most similar. Provings haven’t been made with mixtures either; it is impossible to know how compounds may hinder and alter each other’s actions.
The most appropriate dose is the smallest possible that produces the least possible excitation of the vital force and is yet sufficient to stimulate the vital force towards balance. Hence, the homeopathic simillimum is the correctly chosen remedy given in the correct potency and dose. Stuart Close writes: “The curative dose, like the remedy, must be similar in quantity and quality to the dose of the morbific agent which caused the disease“.
No two individuals are alike, so the remedies they need might be different, even when suffering from the same disease. Homeopathic remedies are prescribed based on the totality of characteristic symptoms of the individual, that is, those that characterize the individual expression of disease, not pathognomonic symptoms. Thus, in search of the homeopathic remedy the patient’s strange, rare, peculiar, uncommon and characteristics signs and symptoms are to be especially and almost solely kept in view and must correspond to those of the remedy.
Treatment of the whole person
Homeopathy treats the individual with the disease and not diseased parts or single symptoms as it is always the whole person who is ill. As all parts of the organism are so intimately connected together to form an indivisible whole, there cannot be local diseases that affect a single organ or part of the body without the co-operation of the whole organism. Thus, it is not useful to apply medicines on local affections. When the homeopathic simillimum is given internally the external manifestations of the malady will disappear salutarily by reason of its homeopathicity.
Totality of symptoms
Hahnemann defined symptoms as the outwardly reflected picture of the inner essence of the disease and the sole means whereby the disease can make the required remedy known. As it is always the whole person who is ill and individualization necessary for treatment, determining the totality of characteristic symptoms constitutes the only conceivable diagnosis of the disease and is at the same time, the foundation for prescription. Thus, a prescription made on indication – this remedy for that disease in a certain dose and potency – as usually recommended in books for laymen or written on the instruction leaflet for remedies sold over the counter must neccessarily be a wild shot in the dark.