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Why Dr. Hering Resigned from the Homeopathic Medical College

Homeopath Iman Navab tells the story of when Dr. Constantine Hering Resigned from the Homeopathic Medical College of Pennsylvania. It is a lesson in homeopathy and integrity.


Constantine Hering

Constantine Hering

I wish to share with you a very interesting historic event that reveals Dr. Hering’s attempt to keep Pathology part of homeopathy educational curriculum.

Let’s go back in time to review what happened; first, the background of the story, so bare with me. It is a sad reality that from the time that the Homeopathic Medical College of Pennsylvania was purchased in the year 1855, the college had struggled under a load of debt due to many expenses and a high mortgage. In an attempt to save the college from financial hardship, the college’s management board decided to reorganize its structure. Thus in 1864, Dr. Constantine Hering was elected by the college as the chair of Homeopathy and Practice of Medicine; and in 1865, Dr. Adolph Lippe was elected as the President of the college, he held the position of chair of Materia Medica as of the year 1864.

When the college began under the new structure it was decided to publish a medical magazine. Thus in August of 1865, the first issue of the Hahnemannian Monthly magazine was issued under the supervision of Dr. Hering, Dr. Lippe and Dr. Frost, who then appointed a Publication Committee. It is also interesting that a month later at a meeting in September of that year, it was voted to allow ladies to sit in a designated room to listen to lectures for the first time.

In March of 1866, a faculty meeting was held at Dr. Hering’s residence for the purpose of discussing and settling up the college’s financial accounts for the year just ended – 1865. In that meeting at Dr. Hering’s house, the president of the college, Dr. A. Lippe, announced that the treasury earned enough funds to pay all the current bills and liabilities and still have enough for current expenses. Obviously this was great news for the college, considering that they were going through tough financial times in the previous academic years. On a side note, in September of that year Dr. Hering proposed that Dr. F. Boericke be authorized to prepare a standard Homeopathic Pharmacopeia and present a standard methodology for preparing various homeopathic medicines.

One year later, in 1867, we reach the critical period in the history of this college; in a board meeting, the president Dr. Adolph Lippe, said that the Chair of Pathology was unnecessary, that it was contrary to pure Homeopathy, that the homoeopathic physician did not need pathology, but only the power to prescribe according to the methods of Hahnemann from the totality of symptoms. However, Dr. Hering strongly disagreed and said that the study of pathology was very essential to proper medical education of the homeopathic physician. But Dr. Lippe maintained his position on this matter and removed the study of pathology from the college. As a result of this disagreement Dr. Hering withdrew. Efforts by the other members of the faculty were made to encourage Dr. Hering to return, but they were not successful. Consequently the resignation of Dr. Hering from the Homeopathic Medical College of Pennsylvania, took place in spring of 1867.

Dr. Hering received endorsement by large numbers of his fellow homeopaths. He was determined that the doctrines of Hahnemann should not be left harshly exposed to the personal plan of any individual. Subsequently Dr. Hering organized a new institution under the name of the Hahnemann Medical College of Philadelphia.

The two Colleges ran side by side for two years. The majority firmly believed that Dr. Hering was on the right path, and they were hoping for and expecting the time when the two colleges would be reunited as one institution; however that time came even sooner than was anticipated.

Ultimately this important issue was settled among the homeopathy professors once and forever, when they decided that pathology must remain part of homeopathic medical education. This was a success for Dr. Hering, and an important achievement for the science of homeopathy. This of course is not to discount Dr. Lippe’s hard labour and immense service to homeopathy. Indeed Dr. Lippe’s teachings also remain one of the great assets of this medical system. Dr. Lippe said: “Pathology teaches us only such symptoms as must by necessity always be present in a given form of disease, are characteristic of the disease only, but do not include, and of necessity, cannot include the peculiar, extraordinary symptoms of every individual.” In this regard, Dr. James Tyler Kent said: “All pathological changes must be regarded as the results of disease, since all disease is dynamic.”

Dr. Cyrus Maxwell Boger, another pillar of homeopathy, nicely said: “All sicknesses present two classes of manifestations, those by which they are named or symptoms determined by the diagnosis and those peculiar to individuals and cases. In weighing their value for the purpose of deciding upon the choice of a remedy, the diagnostic symptoms take a secondary place.”

In conclusion, we, homeopaths, always have to be very clear on this fact that Dr. Hahnemann never dismissed Pathology; this knowledge does not belong to any specific school, being allopathy or homeopathy. Pathology is an essential language for understanding disease, and knowledge of disease is part of a homeopath’s medical knowledge.

As always God bless Homeopathy!

About the author

Iman Navab

Iman Navab is a certified classical Homeopath and doctor of alternative medicine from Canada. He is the President of the Applied Research in Homeopathy Foundation of Canada ( He is the author of 'Miasma of Cancer', and is a historian of Homeopathy. Iman teaches History and Philosophy of Homeopathy at the Canadian College of Holistic Health. Navab gives lectures and seminars to raise awareness about the rich history of Homeopathy.


  • Bear with me; whilst a spellchecker might miss the actual pathology, it takes a mind’s eye for apparently trivial detail to see the peculiarity.

    • Bill Lachenal, thanks for noticing the typo, yes indeed it is BEAR with me, … haha I guess I forgot to take my remedy! Thanks again for your input.

  • Feeling guity about the bare pedantry – I should have said, good article!

    It’s true that many of the more (pseudo) skeptial bio-scientists refuse even to countenance accepting that the homeopathic approach is valid, let alone superior.

    I don’t see this as reason for homeopaths to reject bio-scientific knowledge out of hand. even though we should be rightly sceptical of scientific methods that miss the point and try to drive out the homeopathic view.

    Scientific investigations have made great strides in hypothesing about the physics & chemistry of life. Analogous to information theoretic & computability problems, it’s highly likely that all this detailed mechanism, together with their complex interactions, becomes increasingly irrelevant to efficiently finding a proper cure in any particular case.

  • The debate,pathology v/s symptomatology is very old, as old as Homeopathy itself. Nash criticizes Farrington about the latter’s precaution in selecting or failure to select Kaliiodide on the basis of totality alone. Farrington advises to consider the hepatization of lungs in addition to the other symptoms of the remedy which could be mistaken for belladonna. But what makes Farrington to think that totality is everything except the hepatization of lungs ? On this point Nash says “Farrington dulls here,like every great men sometimes do”
    J. Compton Burrnet also says “we need every way of finding the (that elusive) remedy, the simple silmili, the simple symptomatic similimum and the farthest reach of all,the pathological similimum.And I hold that we are still within the lines of Homeopathy which is expansive, progressive, science fostering and science fostered”.
    One more thing of importance is to understand that if modern medicine is the biological study of health & diseases, Homeopathy seems to be & must be the Physics of healing (or rather impairment & restoration of health to be precise). The remedies can’t be termed medicines.Their action isn’t biological or physiological,but particle physics. restoration of health is like the restoration of a quantum state after a mild perturbation. Now we are to understand that a similar partial measurement(interaction) can restore a quantum state after the same has been perturbed. Quantum computing thus relies on the same properties of quantum systems that make homeopathy plausible. Existence of decoherence free subspaces (DFS) is essential to both Q computing & homeopathic action. Homeopathy relies on the degree of freedom in the system to achieve the cures which Modern medicine can’t even dream of. But where the degree of freedom has constraints like an amputated limb, a bullet lodged inside and other permanent disabilities, surgical,pathological intervention can remove the constraints & re establish the degree of freedom where homeopathy can come in to play and achieve the cure which conventional medicine can only hope that nature alone can now do the needful. (that should never be mistaken to mean that homeopathy can’t cure disabilities considered incurable from the point of conventional medicine,since homeopathy can improve the degree of freedom in a subsystem by summoning the assistance of other subsystems/organs where such a play is even unthinkable from conventional medicinal pint of view)
    Thus conventional medicine with the pathological/morphological/physiological study of diseases is different & complementary to Homeopathy which is strictly the Physics of healing. A perfect understanding of every valid method of healing and co ordination cum integration of such systems is the need of the times

  • Such a nice fact-ful article I must say. I love history and to know, how wonderful it is to be in that time when these great legends were working together! Thanks for that experience Iman Navab.

    Hates off to Dr Hering, Dr Lippe.

    Before I forget, very nice pic of Dr Hering. Its my desktop background now. 🙂

  • Very interesting story.
    It is nice to know about such legends who have given us so scientific healing art called Homeopathy

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