Homeopathy Papers

Questions Patients Ask–11

Elaine Lewis
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Elaine Lewis answers patients’ questions about homeopathy and natural healing.

More questions….


Elaine, why is Samuel Hahnemann and the Organon seen as absolute authority?

The first thing that comes to mind is, if not him then who?  What will we have in homeopathic circles if everybody’s unconsidered opinion gets equal weight? (“We decided we have no textbooks anymore because one person’s opinion is just as good as the next!”)

I mean yes, he created homeopathy, and we should be grateful, but why does the way we practice have to have been approved by him?

Why should people make the mistakes of “brash beginners” as he called them, when he’s already made the mistakes and learned from them and passed the knowledge on to us so that we don’t do dumb things, like start chronic cases off with high potencies and unnecessary repetitions?  I so often see homeopaths damaging the reputation of our profession by making mistakes they never would have made if they had read the Organon, as Hahnemann clearly says not to do certain things that everyone seems comfortable in doing, like allowing an aggravation in a chronic case.

If combinations work for example, and many say they do, then why does it matter what the Organon says? Combinations are big in Germany, the country Hahnemann came from. If they can’t work, because in provings only one remedy is used, how can we explain that?  Why can’t different remedies work together to address an illness?

Leaving aside the scientific method, namely that in any experiment there can be only one independent variable, let’s say you’ve got a combination remedy for arthritis pain–Rhus tox, Bryonia, Calc-carb, Kali carb, Lac caninum, etc. and the combo remedy aggravates.  Which remedy in the combo aggravated? All of them? Or was it only Kali carb?  But the whole combo now has to be stopped because of the aggravation.  Maybe Rhus tox by itself would have worked! 

This combination remedy is only of value to the person who has no homeopath but wants to try “something” for his arthritis, so he goes to the health food store and finds a bottle labeled “Arthritis Pain”.  It’s not of any value to the homeopath at all, unless the homeopath is so clueless, he can’t tell the difference between Bryonia, Rhus tox and Kali carb!

Furthermore, the Organon contradicts itself!


It is a flawed document.

Which aphorism is wrong?

Hahnemann, despite spending much of his life researching homeopathy, could not try all the ways of using homeopathy that people have since then or may in the future. Also, wasn’t the idea that remedies match up to certain personalities something Kent came up with?

No, it’s actually in The Organon; for example, Aph. 211: “This is so important that the psychic condition of the patient is often the decisive factor in choosing a homeopathic remedy because it is a particularly characteristic symptom and one that can least of all remain hidden from the carefully observant physician.”

Hahnemann was influenced by the politics and flaws of medicine of his time in his rejection of combinations.

It seems to me that your main objection with Hahnemann revolves around combination remedies, is that true? Combinations are for the general public, people who don’t know how to select a remedy, and yet they have a cold or sore throat and want help.  What are they to do?  But if you were to come to me for treatment of a cold and I said, “Take Nat-mur, Arsenicum, Rhus tox, Spongia, Rumex, Phosphorus, Allium cepa, Euphrasia, Mercury, Nux vomica and Pulsatilla all at once, 30C, three times a day, and tell me how you feel tomorrow.”…  How much of an idiot would I have to be to do that?  “Forgive me but I don’t know how to take a case and I don’t know how to find your remedy, plus I’m in a hurry; so….  I’m hoping one of these will work.  Good luck.”  How far would our profession have to degenerate to get to this point?

This limited mind-set of seeing him as a final authority is like saying we can’t accept evolution because it’s not in the Bible or Quran.

The Bible, for one, is filled with glaring inaccuracies (like the sea creatures being created last in the Creation Story, when we all know that all life began in the sea).  But The Organon?  You should try actually reading it.  Read Kunzli’s translation, it’s really easy, there are no run-on sentences, and it’s cheap.


Well I just used combination remedies as an example. There might be other ways of using homeopathy that no one is aware of yet. My point was simply that we should remain open minded and not be held back by the past, (which I see so many people doing, in all fields) It’s important to learn from the wisdom of people, but I think we shouldn’t be limited by what they had to say. Fear of change prevents progress.

First, before you decide you’re against Hahnemann as an authority in this field, wouldn’t it be good to know exactly what it was you were against?  I asked you which aphorism was wrong. I asked you which parts of the Organon contradicted the other parts….

Why do you need one central authority? Why not just do experiments and see what works and what doesn’t? The disagreement in homeopathy I actually see as a good thing, as it shows people are thinking outside the box and trying new stuff, what if that leads to a more effective way to use remedies?

Have you ever heard the expression that it’s a waste of time to reinvent the wheel over and over again?  You don’t even know what you don’t approve of, all you have is an opinion about combination remedies, that’s all I’ve heard so far.

Wouldn’t taking the combo remedy in an increased water dilution help the aggravation? If it does, why would it matter which one is responsible?

Actually, I have true story to relate to you.  A patient contacted me because an “alternative medicine doctor”–whatever that is–gave her a combination remedy for IBS.  In my opinion, it was the wrong combination as it appeared to be for muscle spasms.  She took it for 2 days. She didn’t stop it when she started to get worse.  Anyway, get this: she proved EVERY REMEDY in the combo!!!!  I’m not kidding!  I mean, proving one remedy is bad enough, right?  But proving 5 to 10 remedies at once?  And of course we tried “zapping” in the 12th cup–and it made her worse!  Maybe because a month had gone by before she contacted me.  So then we tried increasing the potency to roughly 20C, and she got worse again!  This patient is absolutely suicidal as you can well imagine, because her health is ruined!  She’s in constant pain, diarrhea, sweating, muscle spasms; and this combo had some very low potencies in it, inconsistent potencies too: 6X’s, 4X’s, 3X’s…  I don’t think people know what they’re doing; there’s no justification for this, no science or experimentation that says this is OK, this will work with no problem, everyone will be fine….  No, it’s just done because someone thought of it!

If combination remedies are only used by amateurs, why are they used by homeopaths in Germany, France, Britain, and so on?

They must be idiots!  Tell me one homeopath who uses them so I can email that person and find out why he can’t distinguish a thirstless Pulsatilla from a thirsty Phosphorus!  And here’s another problem with combination remedies, when the potency wears out, you can’t buy the next potency!  

Of all the articles I’ve read, there are many patients who state that combinations helped their chronic disease when many single remedies failed!

I can’t answer you.  Maybe the single remedies were the wrong remedy or wrong potency or wrong dosing instructions.  I’m not saying they can’t work, I’ve already acknowledged that they’re a necessary part of homeopathy if you’re going to market to the public.  But is this the level of knowledge you want your homeopath to have?  “I’m not very good, and I’m also too busy to take your case; so, here, take all of these remedies, one of them is bound to work; see ya!  And don’t forget to pay on your way out!”

Well it’s not a matter of “I’ll just take a bunch of stuff and maybe something will work”.  The idea is that some remedies are complementary, and may work together. One example is Silicea and Thuja, which are always listed as complementary in all the remedy relationship records I’ve seen.  If certain remedies do indeed increase each other’s healing power, it’s perfectly reasonable to combine them, if needed.

I’ve seen these combination remedies, and they don’t contain remedies that complement each other, they contain the common remedies for a diagnosis–like sore throat, or cough.

How can we even know if remedies are compatible or complementary?

It doesn’t matter!  Let’s say you know a remedy’s complement, it doesn’t mean it’s needed in that particular complaint!  Take “ailments from fatty rich food” for example.  The main remedy is Pulsatilla.  Silica is the complement of Pulsatilla.  Does Silica have any place in a “diarrhea from fatty, rich food” case, just because it’s Pulsatilla’s complement?  And, in fact, the combination remedy for this would probably be called, “Diarrhea”, and would include such remedies as Arsenicum, Veratrum, China, Nux vomica, Podophyllum…and then what?  Do all the complements of these remedies have to be added in too?  And what if a remedy has more than one complement?  Which one do you pick?  Or would you pick all of them?  Do you see how untenable this is? 

About the author

Elaine Lewis

Elaine Lewis

Elaine Lewis, D.Hom., C.Hom. Elaine is a passionate homeopath, helping people offline as well as online. Contact her at LEWRA@aol.com Elaine is a graduate of Robin Murphy's Hahnemann Academy of North America and author of many articles on homeopathy including her monthly feature in the Hpathy ezine, "The Quiz". Visit her website at: http://elainelewis.hpathy.com/ and TheSilhouettes.org

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