Disease Nosology Part III
The previous section dealt with the various distinctions within the category of self-limiting and acute disease in Hahneman’s system. Since the number of constant (tonic) diseases in nature was limited, Hahneman’s attention came to fall on the more numerous disease states that were variable in nature and could only be identified by means of the symptom picture (totality of characteristic symptoms). This led to his discovery of homeopathy and became the main focus of the first and next three editions of the Organon.
However, by 1816 Hahnemann began to sense that something more was going on, despite the brilliant successes of homeopathic treatment. His followers argued that what was needed was more provings, more remedies, but for Hahnemann the problem was a qualitative, not a quantitative one, a lack of understanding, not of provings. This led him to a lengthy search the spanned some 12 years, and to the seminal discovery of the chronic miasms, but also, to the distinction within the category of chronic disease, between the chronic miasms (tonic) and the chronic diseases (pathic).
The problem, as Hahneman explained in all candor in his Chronic Diseases, was that homeopathic prescribing had worked very well, and had even given the appearance of good health in patients, but a shock, stress or other incident then brought about a relapse of the previous condition (all quotes from the Decker translation):
…the re-appearance of one or more of the sufferings which seemed already conquered, often aggravated by some quite new occurrents, which, if not more serious than those formerly dispatched homeopathically, were often just as onerous and now more obstinate.
Still such a favorable pause would never be of long duration, and the return and repeated returns of the maladies in the end left even the best selected homeopathic remedies then known, and given in the most appropriate doses, the less effective the oftener they were repeated. They served at last hardly even as weak palliatives. But usually, after repeated attempts to conquer the disease which appeared in a form always somewhat modified, residual maladies appeared, which the homeopathic medicines hitherto proved, though not few, had to leave uneradicated, yea, often undiminished. Thus there followed more and more complaints ever more troublesome, and as time proceeded, more serious, and this even with blameless regimen and punctual observance of directions on the part of the patient. The chronic sickness could be but little delayed in its progress by the homeopathic physician while worsening from year to year despite all efforts.
40. This was, and remained, a quicker or slower process in such treatments of all non-venereal, severe chronic diseases, even when these were treated in exact accordance with the teachings of the homeopathic art as hitherto known. Their beginning was promising, the continuation less favorable, the outcome hopeless.
This was not due to a lack of remedies, even then!
43. Whence then this less favorable, this unfavorable, result of the continued treatment of the non-venereal chronic diseases even by Homeopathy? What was missing in the thousands of failed endeavors to cure the remaining diseases of protracted nature so that lasting recovery might proceed therefrom?
44 Perhaps by the still too small number of homeopathic remedial implements so far proven as to their pure actions!
45 Students of Homeopathy have hitherto thus consoled themselves [and still do today!]; but this excuse, or so-called consolation, never satisfied the founder of Homeopathy.
Hahnemann quickly realised that the problem lay in a hidden constant disease (“arch malady”) that could not be detected by the presenting symptoms of the patient. Where he and his students had been treating the chronic diseases as if they were stand alone, idiopathic diseases, he discovered that they were but fragments of a deeper disease, a chronic miasm.
49. …and that consequently he would first have to come to know as far as possible the whole extent of all the occurrents and symptoms belonging to the unknown arch malady before he might hope to discover one or more medicines homeopathically capable of covering the whole of the fundamental malady by means of its peculiar symptoms, by which means he would then be in a position to curatively conquer and extinguish the sickness in its whole extent, consequently also its single members – that is, all its disease fragments appearing as so many various disease cases.
50. But that the arch malady sought for must also be of a miasmatic, chronic nature clearly showed itself to me from this circumstance, that after flourishing and evolving to a certain height, it is never lifted by dint of a robust constitution, or overcome by the most wholesome diet and regimen, nor does it quench itself. Rather it is evermore aggravated, from year to year, by transition into other more serious symptoms, right up to the end of life, like every chronic, miasmatic disease, e.g., the venereal bubo which has not been cured from within by mercury, its specific remedy, but has passed over into venereal disease that likewise never quenches itself, but increases from year to year (despite the best regimen and most robust bodily constitution), evolving new and worse symptoms, again right up to the end of life.
What now emerged was that under the various chronic diseases, which seemed to be idiopathic diseases (that is, self-contained), there existed more fundamental, primary chronic maladies of a constant nature (Wesen), called chronic miasms (tonic diseases). These could be cured in their early stage easily by a specific, and if not so cured or if suppressed by allopathic treatment, they would give rise to all manner of other (pathic) diseases.
13.2 … The Chronic Diseases, which spring from miasms …
14.1… the chronic diseases arising from miasms directly …
57.1 All chronic diseases of mankind … must therefore all have for their origin and foundation static chronic miasms…
49.1 The continually repeated fact that the nonvenereal chronic diseases, after being time and again removed homeopathically in the best way by the remedies fully proved up to the present time, always returned in a more or less varied form and with new symptoms, or reappeared annually with an increase of complaints, first disclosed to me:
that the homeopathic physician in such a chronic (non-venereal) case, yea, in all cases of (non-venereal) chronic disease, is not only dealing with the disease appearance before his eyes, and should not view and treat it as if it were an idiopathic disease, to be speedily and permanently expunged and cured homeopathically (which empirical results refuted) but that he was always dealing with some separate part of a more deep-seated original malady, whose great extent is shown in the new occurrents emerging from time to time;
that the homeopathic physician may not hope to permanently cure single disease cases of this kind under the presupposition, hitherto entertained, that they were idiopathic, self-contained diseases which would never again sprout forth with other, new, troublesome symptoms;
and that consequently he would first have to come to know as far as possible the whole extent of all the occurrents and symptoms belonging to the unknown arch malady before he might hope to discover one or more medicines homeopathically capable of covering the whole of the fundamental malady by means of its peculiar symptoms, by which means he would then be in a position to curatively conquer and extinguish the sickness in its whole extent, consequently also its single members – that is, all its disease fragments appearing as so many various disease cases.
53.1 Gradually I learned of more helpful means against this arch malady engendering so many sufferings, that is against that which may be called by the general name of Psora (the inner itch disease with or without its skin eruption). It then dawned on me, due to the subsequent aid afforded by using these medicines in similar chronic diseases for which the patient was unable to identify such an infection, that also these cases, in which the patient recalled no infection of this kind, nevertheless had to have stemmed from a Psora contracted perhaps already in the cradle, or communicated in some other unrecallable fashion; and this often found corroboration upon more careful inquiry with the parents or aged relatives.
54.1 Exacting observation of the aid afforded by the antipsoric means added in the first of these eleven years taught me evermore how frequently the moderate, as well as the more severe and the most severe, chronic diseases were of this origin.
58.1 In Europe and also on other continents so far as is known, according to all investigations, only three chronic miasms are found, whose diseases emerge as local symptoms, and from which most, if not all, the chronic diseases originate; namely, first, SYPHILIS, which I have also called the venereal chancre disease; then SYCOSIS, or the fig-wart disease; and finally the chronic disease which lies at the foundation of the eruption of itch, the PSORA, which shall be spoken of first as the most important of them all.
183.1 …then the slumbering psora awakes and shows itself, by the heightened and augmented symptoms following below, in its transition to the formation of severe maladies; one or another of the nameless (psoric) chronic diseases breaks out …
243.1 Now if, as experience teaches, not even the fresh itch-disease – the easiest of all to cure, i.e., the internal, freshly arisen psora together with the external, fresh eruption – can be thoroughly cured by external expulsives accompanied with the internal use of large quantities of sulphur powder, it may easily be realized, that psora, after it has been deprived of its eruption and has become internal and inveterate, having gradually developed secondary maladies and thus having changed into chronic diseases of various kinds, for the same reason can be just as little cured by a quantity of sulphur powders, or by a number of baths in sulphurous mineral waters, or on the other hand by simultaneously drinking the same or a similar water; in a word, it can never be cured by a superabundance and frequent repetition of this medicine, although it is of itself antipsoric.
All chronic miasms can be inherited:
§284.1.a]3 Since Psora is usually communicated through the milk of the wet nurse to most nursing infants if they do not already possess Psora by inheritance from the mother, they are then at the same time protected anti-psorically in the indicated manner by means of the medicinal milk of the wet nurse.
Glossary Contribution 7
Chronic miasm: a constant (tonic) disease that is protracted in nature, infectious in form and can also be inherited rather than acquired through infection. It may be in latent form and activated by one or more of numerous shocks or triggers occasioned by life. Chronic miasms give rise over time in a given person to the variable (pathic) chronic diseases. Each chronic miasm has a specific medicine, made from the specific infectious disease Wesen, such as Psorinum for psora, Tuberculinum for tuberculsosi, etc. which is a form of homotonic prescribing.
Chronic diseases: secondary, variable nature (pathic) diseases that are protracted and arise over time from the interaction of a given chronic miasm with the Dynamis of an individual. These must be treated based on the symptom image for each such disease, that is, homeopathically. Removal of the chronic diseases does not destroy or cure the underlying chronic miasm that gave rise to such diseases; this requires the specific medicine for the chronic miasm.
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Rudi Verspoor is Dean and Chair Department of Philosophy Hahnemann College for Heilkunst, Ottawa. He served as the Director of the British Institute of Homeopathy Canada from 1993 to early 2001 and helped to found and is still active in the National United Professional Association of Trained Homeopaths (NUPATH) and the Canadian/International Heilkunst Association (C/IHA).
Part of his time is spent advising the Canadian government on health-care policy and in working for greater acceptance of and access to homeopathy. His publications include:
Homeopathy Renewed, A Sequential Approach to the Treatment of Chronic Illness (with Patty Smith);
A Time for Healing; Homeopathy Re-examined: Beyond the Classical Paradigm (with Steven Decker);
The Dynamic Legacy: Hahnemann from Homeopathy to Heilkunst (with Steven Decker).
Visit his website at http://www.heilkunst.com/