Tidbits 24–Organo-Phobia (Fear of Reading The Organon!)

hahnemann

Do we really have to read The Organon?

People are making dreadful prescribing mistakes in homeopathy simply because they haven’t read The Organon by Homeopathy’s founder, Samuel Hahnemann, MD.

 hahnemann The Organon of Medicine is basically a how-to book on Homeopathy, our most fundamental text book.

Vamsi (our Career Day Contest winner!) wrote to me asking why I always say to put 2 remedy pellets in a small bottle of water and succuss (pound) the bottle 5 times before each dose?  She ended by saying, “No one in India does that!”  I showed her Aphorism 247 from The Organon and it plainly states:

“It is inadmissible to repeat, even once, exactly the same dose of medicine without modifying it … The vital principle [what Traditional Chinese Medicine calls “chi”] does not accept such identical doses without opposition, i.e. without bringing out other symptoms of the medicine. … Therefore, no progress toward cure but only a real aggravation of the case can result.  But if one slightly modifies the potency of each new dose by dynamizing it to a somewhat higher degree, the sick vital principle allows itself to be altered further by the same medicine without ill effect.”

Whoa!  Vamsi was shocked!  “I never read that before!” she said.  “I wonder why no one is aware of that?”

“Well, I don’t know,” I told her; “except to say that apparently no one has read The Organon!”  

I have heard, “Why should I read The Organon?  My teacher read it!”  Or, “It’s boring!”  

I think there’s some sort of “Organo-Phobia” sweeping across the land: fear of archaic language, fear of anything old-fashioned, fear of run-on sentences.  But with the Kunzli translation, you have nothing to fear!  It’s very easy to read!  Here’s what his translation looks like:

 

“If you’re sure of your prescription, you can go high!”

Have you heard people say that?  I hear it so often, it may be accepted dogma by now!  Is that now the criterion for potency selection–how sure you are?  Nothing to do with the patient’s sensitivity or how recent or chronic or intense the complaint is?  It’s all about you and how you feel?  Interesting!  Who knew?  Actually, none of us should ever be so “sure” of anything!  For one thing, you don’t know what information your patient has withheld from you!  

I have also heard, “If the case is mental, you should go high, if it’s physical, you go low.”  Or, “If the case has a delusion, you go high.”  Here is what The Organon actually says.  (And by the way, words in brackets [ ] are mine, but underlines are Hahnemann’s)

Aphorism 275 and 276, Kunzli translation (It’s easy to read, trust me!):

“…A medicine given in too large a dose though completely homeopathic to the case [the simillimum] … will still harm the patient by its quantity and unnecessarily strong action on the vital force… For this reason, a medicine … does harm when it is given in overdose. In strong doses, the more homeopathic the medicine and the higher the potency, the more harm it does.”

Oh my gosh!  This is the exact opposite to the pronouncement, “If you’re sure of your remedy, you can go high!”  Then he talks about Unnecessary Repetitions (Aph. 276):

“Excessively large doses of an accurately selected homeopathic medicine, especially if frequently repeated, are, as a rule, very destructive.  Not infrequently, they endanger a patient’s life or make his disease almost incurable.”

Yikes!  We’re always saying homeopathy is so safe!  Yes, if prescribed according to The Organon, it is!  But, I have seen many of these desperately ill patients!  They find me because they’ve done a google search for something pertaining to homeopathic aggravations; so, they find “The Aggravation Zapper”  (which is on my website and I HOPE you will incorporate it into your practice) and they say, “I was told to take [remedy] over and over again for 6 months” or, “I took [remedy] for an allergy and then afterwards I felt better, but my homeopath told me to keep taking it and now I’m worse than before!”

The world of homeopathy is filled with these embarrassing and horrifying stories!  I’m guessing that no one is aware of:

 

Aphorism 246:

As long as there is a marked, obviously progressing improvement during treatment, no more medicine of any kind must be given…

What is to not understand here?  If you are strikingly better, STOP DOSING!!!!!!  What I commonly hear about is a typical allopathic dosing schedule–three to five pellets, three times a day for two weeks or a month, etc., and what does The Organon actually say about this?  See Aph. 278 below:

 

Aphorism 278

“Now the question arises [as to] what this ideal degree of smallness is, the degree that is certain and gentle in its remedial effect: how small should the dose of a given correctly chosen homeopathic medicine be to cure a case of disease in the best way?  To solve this problem, to determine for a given medicine used in homeopathic practice what dose would be sufficient and at the same time small enough to effect the gentlest, quickest cure, is not a matter of theoretical conjecture, as one can easily understand. Theorizing and specious sophistry cannot enlighten us on this subject, nor can every possible eventuality be tabulated in advance. Only pure experiment, the meticulous observation of the sensitivity of each patient, and sound experience can determine this in each individual case.”

So what he’s saying is…

 

You can’t have a “theory” about dosing, nor a dosing “protocol”!!!!!

There can be no dogma, no postulate, no dosing “schedule”, as EVERY CASE is different! The only principle that applies to you is “the minimum dose” (only the amount of dosing that’s necessary), because what you’re shooting for is both “remediation” but “gentleness” as well!  Cure, yes; but there is no cure, according to Hahnemann, if it is not done GENTLY!  (Which reminds me of our editor, Alan Schmukler’s, very aptly-named website: www.HealGently.com .  Way ta go, Alan!)  And people ask me, “When should I give the remedy again?” or, “How many times a day for how many days?”, etc. and I always say, “How should I know!  I don’t even know what the first dose is going to do!  What if you get completely better after the first dose?  Why would I give the remedy again, for what reason?  I have to see what the first dose is going to do before I can do or say anything else!  And similarly, what if the first dose makes you worse?  Why would I repeat it?”

 

The idea is to start the case, not to attempt to have the whole thing mapped out in advance or to try to hit a home-run right out of the box!

(Which seems to be what most people are attempting.)  What does Hahnemann say in Aphorism 279 about that?  

“Pure experience absolutely proves that even in a chronic or complicated disease…the dose of the highly potentized homeopathic remedy…can, as a rule, not be made so small that it is not stronger than the natural disease, that it cannot at least partially overcome it, that it cannot at least partially extinguish it in the feelings of the vital principle, that it cannot start the process of cure.”

So the idea is that your job is to “start” the healing process.  Just starting is good enough, helping the patient to feel somewhat improved, partially better–slow and steady is the idea– because that is the GENTLE idea!  He keeps using the word “small”.  This is something most of us are not thinking about.  “Go HIGH!  Go HIGH!” is what we’re always hearing,  and Hahnemann keeps saying, “small”, what is the right amount of “smallness”?

Through EXPERIMENT, and using your EXPERIENCE, find the dose that’s effective but GENTLE.  Now how does this translate into actual practice?  It might be that you dissolve 2 6C pellets into a bottle of water, give a sip, wait 24 hours and ask the patient what he felt. If he says he feels strikingly better, no need to redose unless he starts to relapse!  If he says he felt maybe 10% better, you might conclude you need to give this remedy three times a day with 5 succussions before each dose and tell the patient to keep you posted as to improvement so that you will know when going up to 9C might be necessary, or changing the remedy to something else to vanquish an acute might be necessary, or when to cut back to once or twice a day because of how much improvement has been made.  You are constantly re-evaluating your dosing schedule and potency selection based on the feedback you’re getting from your patient.  No, 6C is most likely not going to cure the whole case, but it’s a place to start that won’t harm the patient.  You learn from starting small what you need to do next.  

I had an allergy client once whose terrible itching wasn’t made better by Wyethia until she got to 1M which is a very high potency!  But because we’re not psychics and can’t possibly know these things in advance, we started at 6C three times a day.  When we saw that the results were not strong enough, we went up to 9C, then 12C, then 30C, then 200C… Ultimately, it wasn’t until we reached 1M that we were satisfied that the allergy was gone.  

 

“But we heard you’re supposed to get an aggravation first, and that it’s a really good sign!”

Gee, that doesn’t seem to be what Hahnemann is saying at all.  Here’s what he says in Aphorism 280 (see how easy reading the Kunzli translation of The Organon is?):

“One continues to give a medicine as long as it continues to benefit the patient and does not give rise to any new troublesome complaints [aggravations] and one gradually increases the dose [for example, raising the number of succussions or the amount of water swallowed, etc.] until the patient, while feeling generally better, begins once again to experience one or more of his old original symptoms to a moderate degree.  If the remedy has been modified each time by succussion (par. 247) and the very moderate doses have been gradually increased, this return of old symptoms indicates that the cure is imminent, and that the vital principle has no more need to be affected by the similar [remedy].”

So what has he said here?  For one thing, if an aggravation occurs, you have to stop dosing! You’re only supposed to persist as long as there are no aggravations, and coming to grips with that fact alone would improve the practice of many a homeopath!   And when the return of old symptoms occurs, there should be, if you’ve been prescribing GENTLY all along, a general feeling of well-being!  This is how you know it’s “return of old symptoms” and not just an acute illness occurring, because you’re feeling so much better on the inside.  Plus, you should probably stop the remedy now because the case is most likely finished–at least that layer of the case, anyway.

 

Do we have to start acute cases with the lowest potencies too?

The minimum dose still applies!  But it just so happens that by the very nature of acutes (being often sudden and intense–and this is where your EXPERIENCE comes in), 6C is often too weak a potency to have any impact on such cases.  I have found that nothing smaller than a 30C makes an impression on acutes, sometimes 200C is more appropriate, less typically 1M and even occasionally 10M in a very severe case, like a bad injury, pneumonia, post-surgery pain and the like.  Still, however, the minimum dose applies: are you going to give a 1M for a cold?  Does that seem appropriate?  Giving a 30C and observing for a few hours to see if anything changes will give you an idea of what to do next.  You have to experiment and use your experience as a guide as Hahnemann said.  It might even be that a very sensitive patient needs only a 6C in a large bottle of water with 2 succussions before each dose, 2 times a day for a cold.  Every case is different, every patient is different.  How do you decide what to do, when to repeat, when to change potencies?  It’s all based on feed-back, you can’t know these things at the start!  Is the patient considerably better?  Stop dosing!  Wait and watch!  Is he getting worse?  Is it an aggravation?  Stop dosing!  Was he better for a while but now relapsing?  Give the remedy more often.  Is increasing the number of repetitions failing to put the case back on track?  Raise the potency.  How much?  Try to stay close to what was working and don’t jump too far ahead all at once.  You can’t assume that because 9C twice a day was working that 200C will work 100 times better, it may conceivably not work at all!  If 9C stops working, plus your bottle up to 12C or buy the 12C.

 

“I heard that all physical cases need low potencies because:

physical’ means ‘shallow’ and low potencies are ‘shallow’!”

Sure, give a 6C to a child with a Belladonna fever if you must and see where you get with that!  If it works, then you did the right thing!  But does EXPERIENCE tell us that 6C will work on a Belladonna fever?  Belladonna fevers tend to be sudden and intense.  What is more appropriate here?   I would start with at least a 30C, and decide about the next dose based on what the first one did.  The only “rules” are “the minimum dose” (which is always relative) and the rapid but gentle cure. Those are the only rules you can’t break!

I know someone’s going to say, “Isn’t there a book I can read that goes into this, gives examples, etc.?”  Good question!!!  One book that’s a must-have is Hahnemann Revisited by Dr. Luc De Schepper–

very easy to read, written in conversational, chatty English, no need to have a phobia about reading Hahnemann Revisited!  Your school, by all rights, should be using this as a text book!  Dr. Luc De Schepper is the author of many books on homeopathy, has made a study of Hahnemann’s cases, is a frequent presenter at conferences, travels to poor countries to offer his services in homeopathy for free, and there’s simply no one better qualified to teach us. 

By all rights, if you’ve taken the trouble to read this article, your practice should completely change tomorrow!  You should be putting your remedies in water, you should be succussing the bottle a few times before each dose, you should be starting your chronic cases with the lowest potencies and repeating or going up as feed-back directs.  You should be stopping and waiting when an aggravation or striking improvement occurs and you should learn how to use “The Aggravation Zapper”

https://hpathy.com/homeopathy-papers/the-aggravation-zapper/ 

because your patients shouldn’t have to suffer with an unrelenting aggravation (plus forcing patients to suffer makes homeopathy look really bad!).  I can hear a lot of you saying, “I threw out a lot of my 6C’s figuring they were useless.”  Yeah, I know, I went through a phase like that too!

Read The Organon, people!  Pretty much everything you’re doing is wrong!

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:
https://elainelewis.hpathy.com/ and TheSilhouettes.org

26 Comments

  • I love this column! Elaine writes in plain language and gets to the point. Everyone should read her Tidbits columns. Her messages in this column will keep students from committing basic errors and remind some practicing homeopaths when they’ve ventured off the track.

  • What amazes me: there may be local or national differences, but it appears to me that homeopaths become increasingly aware of the need for reading – some even of studying – Hahnemann’s 6th edition of his Organon of Medicine or Organon of the Medical Art as Wenda O’Reilly has put it.
    On the other hand, prescriptions of the 4th edition still seem to be widely prevalent – with the implementation of some 5th edition features.

    BUT what about Dr. Hahnemann’s revolution in the 6th ed. of the Organon, when he introduced q-potencies? This, his last and vast improvement in the treatment of patients still is ignored even by most of those modern homeopaths who read (and study?) the Organon and who still promote – almost exclusively – C-potencies and even X-potencies. If you want to get rid of aggravation, if you need to repeat doses more often, if you…: Increasing the number of succussions from 10 to 100 by simultaneously diluting in a ratio 1:50000 instead of 1:100 gave Hahnemann a final boost in treatment. I just give a quote of a footnote in aphorism 270. If it’s getting too long, kindly begin with the very last sentence. 😉 This tells what I mean:
    “In earlier instructions, I specified that a whole drop of a liquid in a
    given potency be added to 100 drops of wine spirit for higher potentization.
    But meticulous experiments have convinced me that this proportion
    of the dilution medium to the medicine being dynamized (100:1) is
    much too narrowly limited to develop the powers of the medicinal substance
    properly and to a high degree, by means of a large number of suceussions,
    unless one uses great force. Whereas if a single globule (100 of
    which weigh a grain) is used instead of a whole drop of liquid, and this
    is dynamized with 100 drops of wine spirit, then the ratio of dilutant to
    medicine becomes 50,000:1, indeed higher than that, because 500 of
    such globules cannot completely absorb 1 drop. In this much higher ratio
    of the dilution medium to the medicine, many succussions of the vial
    filled to two-thirds with wine spirit can bring about a far greater development
    of power.
    With a ratio of the dilution medium to the medicine as low as 100:1,
    very many impacts by means of a powerful machine, as it were, are forced
    in. As a result, medicines arise that, especially in the higher degrees of
    dynamization, almost instantaneously but with stormy — indeed dangerous
    — intensity, impinge on patients (especially delicate ones) without
    bringing about an enduring, gentle counter-action of the life-principle.
    On the other hand, my new method engenders a medicine of the
    highest development of power and the gentlest action which, if well chosen,
    curatively touches all sick points.
    Using these far more perfect [i.e., greatly perfected] dynamized medicinal
    preparations, one can, in acute fevers, repeat the small doses of the
    lowest degrees of dynamization even at short intervals and even with
    medicines of long-lasting action, such as belladonna.
    In chronic diseases, one can best proceed by beginning treatment with
    the lowest degrees of dynamization and, when necessary, continuing to
    the higher degrees which, although they become ever more powerful,
    always act only gently.
    This assertion will not appear improbable if one considers that with
    this method of dynamization [of fifty-millesimal potencies] — which I
    have found after many laborious tests and counter-tests to be the most
    powerful and, at the same time, the mildest in action (i.e., the most perfected)”

      • Siggy, no need to apologize. Regarding LM’s? What I’m seeing is that people are only too well aware of LM’s; but, in typical fashion, are starting cases off with LM30! You see? It doesn’t solve the basic underlying problem. Good work can be done with the C and X scale but not if one hasn’t read The Organon and isn’t aware of Hahnemann’s guidelines and warnings.

  • Great Article Elaine,
    I have heard the same thing from homeopaths that are mostly ‘allopath’ in thinking,and or can’t bother with
    “that Old fashioned Organon text”…….. and find it odd that they can even carry on a practice without the fundamental principles of prescribing set out by Hahnemann in the Organon.

    • Well, Gina, a lot of people nowadays are looking for holistic doctors; so, you can ATTRACT a lot of patients, but, can you keep them, is the question, and can you treat them without harming them is the other question. A number of Naturopaths, veterinarians and MD’s are using homeopathy like drugs; and, in some cases get lucky, and in others are really causing harm and giving homeopathy a bad name.

      • even worse those that have never read the organon and use “COMBINATION” polypharmacy remedy mix. A
        Doulble wammy of crazy prescribers!

  • I love the Organon, especially the 6th ed – read it several times. It’s very clearly written, not at all hard to understand, as some people think. I studied with “Dr Luc” (de Schepper) 20 years ago in NJ and started right out with LMs (LM1 to LM6). I have his huge 573 page $100 book “Hahnemann Revisited” and it is one of the precious books I brought with me when I moved to Italy 5 years ago.

  • So you agree with me that everyone within the sound of my voice should run right out and buy Hahnemann Revisited by Dr. Luc De Schepper as soon as possible and P.S. it’s not $100 anymore, it’s for sale at Amazon for less than $60.00! In India it’s probably even cheaper. Tell me, Bonnie, am I doing Dr. Luc justice? Is there something that you would add?

  • He was a great teacher and taught about LM potencies when nobody else had heard of them. I took his class series in NJ on the mid 1990s and started practicing homeopathy out of my office in my home, combining this with Orthomolecular medicine which I had practiced at the Princeton Brain Bio center with Dr Carl Pfeiffer since 1979.

  • I am one of those who is rather scared to read organon. But wherever I have found translations or commentaries, I have eagerly read them. Kent’s lectures on homeo’ philosophy has always been my crutch. Dr. Luc De Schepper’s book is a wonderful book which has given me lot of confidence and also it is a book I constantly go to. And….Elaine, I love your writings, it is as though someone is holding my hand in my work.

  • Dear Sulfur46, the trick is to have the Kunzli translation; but, if you’ve read Dr. Luc’s book, then you’re probably in better shape than most! Thanks for reading my articles, and don’t forget to try the Quiz too!

  • Dear Elaine madam, you are very right about the Kunzli edition which you had mentioned once when i asked how to learn organon easily. Thanx to Dr. Manish Bhatia who sent me the ebook. And i am a great fan of Dr. Luc’s Hahnemann revisited. I follow it. Homoeopathy is much easier to understand and prescribe following what you have explained. Thank you very much.

  • Nicely placed words Elaine, all is so interestingly described which is the need of the hour, still I differ with you at this point wherein you quote that, “Vamsi (our Career Day Contest winner!) wrote to me asking why I always say to put 2 remedy pellets in a small bottle of water and succuss 5 times before each dose? She ended by saying, “No one in India does that!”. In India, as I know for past 30 years practicing experience Homeopathy is still followed with great faith for Master`s words, it`s different and personal matter who read The “Organon of Medicine” or not, but the words would have been ” Very Few In India does that!”, I have also seen the majority of mal-practices due to lack of knowledge or courage to read organon :-D, or both whatever maybe the cause, but it`s not fair and should be condemned.

  • Love how this article ruffled some feathers in those Psuedo homeopaths practicing and dispensing WITHOUT ever having read Hahnemann’s Organon. You Rock Elaine!!!!!!

  • Thanks Elaine! At the Hahnemann College for Heilkunst we were not permitted to study secondary texts of any kind until the 6th edition of Hahnemann’s original translated version was subsumed as our base of knowledge. Here’s an example of Steven Decker’s interlinear translation of the Organon Der Heilkunst from which we began:

    http://www.heilkunst.com/goethean/Orginterlinear.pdf

    I grew to love this fundamental exploration. Decker once said to our class, you can’t effectively practice Hahnemann’s full system of Heilkunst unless you study it’s rudimentary meanings on an annual basis. For this instruction, I’m very grateful, as no priest or minister can practice his calling without having studied the bible.

  • Great article, Elaine! “Do no harm” and gentleness are such important basic premises, and the idea that homeopathy CAN harm when it is “homeopathy” that does not follow the basic philosophy of homeopathy, seems to be unknown to so many. Sadly the results are turning people off to homeopathy who never got the chance to know real homeopathy! Thanks for spreading the word.

  • can anyone quote an example, after taking only homoeopathy medicines, patients condition has become worst and or any case of death due to homeo medicines? i am very much eager to know, please reply

  • I don’t know about any deaths but there are plenty examples of patients becoming worse after homeopathic remedies. I remember a case we had on our discussion board, patient had been given Arsenicum 1M at least one dose, maybe more, and the wife was writing in because her husband was either aggravating or proving it, the practitioner wouldn’t talk to them on the phone, and she was desperate and said, “I hate to say it, but, I think he’s dying.” So, yes, improper prescribing has real consequences and we have to do this the right way.

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