The highest ideal of healing is a fast and permanent reconstitution of the health (…)the shortest, most reliable on a way without any disadvantages (Organon of the healing art § 2).
In the end of the 18th century Samuel Hahnemann describes the regulative medical thesis, which was named “homoeopathy” for the first time in this article in 1807.
The effectiveness of the homoeopathic remedies is based upon the control of the body’s own regulative mechanisms. The finding of a remedy is based upon the similarity principle, which says, that a disease can be healed by the remedy which can cause the same symptom in a healthy organism. With the information as of clinical examinations, special diagnosis and a thorough anamnesis collected by a physician, the according potentized remedy and individual therapy scheme can be found for the patient.
The founder of homoeopathy is Dr. Christian Friedrich Samuel Hahnemann. He was born on April 10, 1755 in Meissen in the Principality of Saxon as a son of a master in porcelain design.
Hahnemann had a gift for languages and earned his money for studying and living with translations. He knew Greek, Latin, English, French, Italian, Hebrew and Arabic. By his translation work he got a deep insight into the medical, pharmacological and chemical writings of his time. He added his own critical comments and notes to the translated texts according to his motto:
“Aude sapere – venture to be wise”
He studied medicine in Leipzig. Due to the fact that there was neither a hospital nor a practical education he moved on to Vienna in 1777, where the most beautiful hospital of Europe was. After that he was living in Erlangen and finished his studies in 1779.
He opened up his own practice, but the medical profession disappointed him. During that time the daily work of a physician consisted of radical therapeutic methods. Excessive bloodletting, clysters and other cathartic methods were weakening the patients without big effectiveness.
The drug therapy consisted of a mixing of many pharmaceutical products in heroic dosages. The biggest amount of components which was found in a prescription during this time mentioned was 400. The effectiveness was never proven nor were there any experiences written down. These mixtures with such a lot of components were called galenical mixtures named after Galen. Even if the situation has changed a lot until today, galencial mixtures will still be found.
As with many discoveries coincidence also opened the way to success to Hahnemann. While translating the Materia Medica of Cullen (a well-known Scottish pharmacologist) he got stuck with a thesis of the author that china (the effective component of china bark) heals remittent fever due to its stomachic effectiveness. Since the healing of the Peruvian vice king’s wife in the 17th century, the use of china bark against remittent fever was well-known, once with, once without success.
In 1790 Hahnemann started to prove Cullen’s thesis: during several days he took high dosages of china bark and soon after he felt the symptoms of a remittent fever, identical to the type of fevers which can be healed by china bark. This way the birth of Homoeopathy happened:
In 1796 Hahnemann published his results in Hufelands Journal with the title “Experiment of a new principle to find the healing powers of medical substances” and came to the conclusion, that similar is healed with similar (Similia similibus curentur).
In the organon of the healing art, his main work, Hahnemann explains this principle as follows: “Choose in order to heal gently, rapidly, certainly and permanently, in each case of disease a remedy, which can provoke a similar ailment to what it is supposed to heal!” (Rule of similarity).
Years before the principle of similarity was guessed: in the Indus valley a rational medicine was introduced between 4th and 3th century before Christ. In the book of Ayurveda which contents the knowledge of the old Indian medicine, the principle of similarity was mentioned.
Even the Greek physician Hippokrates (460 – 361 b. Christ) mentions two healing methods: one according to similarities and the other according to contraries. The following sentence is said to be by him: “Vis medicatrix naturae”, which means “healing power of nature”, by which the human nature is meant. After this principle was almost forgotten for 2000 years, it was re-discovered by Paracelsus (1493 – 1541), who dismissed the principle of contraries in favor of the principle of similarities and fiercely defended the latter.
It is Hahnemann’s credit that the principle of similarities was saved from oblivion, but most of all it was proven by his experiments. He was the first to range the provings of remedies so that the specific effectiveness of a remedy on a human being can be concluded and described, that the observed symptoms decide over the therapeutic use. He was the one to finalize a healing system.
Hahnemann is not the founder of homoeopathy, because the homoeopathic principle is a law of nature. His credit is to have opened up and made understood this law of nature to a therapeutic system.
Organon of the healing art
Even during Hahnemann’s life time homoeopathy was known in several European countries. The most known students of Hahnemann were Müller, Bönninghausen, Stapf and Hering.
Hering immigrated to Philadelphia and established there the first homoeopathic teaching institute in the world. Homoeopathy had a big upswing in Northern America. The most remarkable students of this American school are Kent, Allen, Dewey, Nash, Farrington and Clark.
Out of this “classical” homoeopathic school the Swiss school by Pierre Schmidt, Flury, Künzli and Vögeli, the Latin-American schools by Paschero and Ortega and the Indian school (Sankaran) developed.
In direct fellowship of Hahnemann after Jahr and Bönninghausen a French school by Julian, Voisin and Pierre Schmidt developed.
In Germany the “clinical” homoeopathy developed following more the approved indications of our clinical diagnosis (Müller, Stauffer, Stiegele, Mezger, Leeser).
The Vienna school of Mathias Dorcsi aims after a synthesis of these two contrariwise directions. As a specific concern of the Vienna school the intuitive perception of the whole, of the characteristic of the patient and of the homoeopathic remedy must be acknowledged.
The splitting into various directions, the upswing of a economical significant pharmaceutical industry, successes and results in natural science medicine, growing influence of medical organizations as well as financial and educational problems lead to a descent of Homoeopathy down to being meaningless, this served critics of Homoeopathy to appoint the Homoeopathy as being ineffective.
Today the status of Homoeopathy as medical method varies in each country. It is the best approbated in Germany, Austria (in both country there exists an additional term or diploma) and in Great Britain, where with the Royal Homoeopathic Hospital and the Faculty of Homoeopathy the only homoeopathic university and the only academic medical hospital in Europe exist.
The veterinary Homoeopathy has almost as long a tradition as the human one. The first publication goes back to the year 1815 (Donauer), which means only five years after the first edition of the Organon. The really upswing was in 1829 based upon a speech of Hahnemann held in front of the royal economical society. The issue was about homoeopathic healing of domestic animals/livestock and also provings with animals, which Hahnemann wanted to differentiate in regards to their health status.
Numerous veterinary homoeopathic publications by veterinarians, physicians and layperson (Lux, Weber, Sommer a.s.o) followed. The group of homoeopathic working veterinarians rapidly grew and in the periodicals a busy and sincere literary activity developed, which included theoretical questions regarding the homoeopathic material medica as well as articles about homoeopathic pharmacopoeias and disease histories as well as critical arguments. All in all we know about thousand veterinary homoeopathic writings, most of them date back to the previous century.
In 1837 J.C.L. Genzke, a veterinarian from Neustrelitz published a “Homoeopathic Materia Medica for Veterinarians” and shortly after “Manual: The Homoeopathic Veterinarian” consisting of three volumes was also published by F.A. Günther, with the 4th edition in 1844.
In Austria J.A.F. Theodor Träger originating from Prussia operated. For years he was working as homoeopathic veterinarian at the Prussian Army Stud, but then went to Austria. He was offered a job as chief veterinarian of the complete imperial army stud, which was then thwarted by the veterinarian faculty of Vienna.
As another homoeopathic working veterinarian in Austriche-Hungary in the previous century Carl-Ludwig Böhm needs to be mentioned, who also was the most literary.
At the turn of the last century it became quieter amongst veterinary Homoeopathy. There still were veterinarians and laypersons, who used Homoeopathy, journals with articles and reports, books teaching, but the big fight was over.
In Switzerland the Swiss Association for Homoeopathic Physician was offering lectures at the University of Zurich (by Jost Künzli), which was also open to veterinarians. In 1983 the study group for Veterinary Acupuncture and Homoeopathy was established, which since then regularly organizes seminars for veterinarians.
In 1987 the “Working Group for Homoeopathy and Acupuncture (AHA)” was founded in Austria, which then in 1994 became the Austrian Society for Veterinary Homoeopathy (ÖGVH). It is also responsible for the education of students of higher levels and of veterinarians interested in homoeopathy. In 1995 it was decided upon the specialist in veterinary homoeopathy by the delegates’ assembly of the Austrian veterinarians. At the faculty for veterinary homoeopathy at the University of Vienna lectures in manufacturing and potentizing of homoeopathic remedies as well as the principles and clinical homoeopathy are being offered. Additionally there is the association of Students Initiative Homoeopathy (SIH), which offers the opportunities for students of human and veterinary medicine to attend seminars with international known referees.
The demand for integrated healing methods is growing worldwide. Not only the increasing resistance against various antibiotics but also legal regulations for organic agriculture are asking for lasting, regulative therapy concepts. Even with livestock owners the demand for integrated healing methods has enormously increased. In many countries as for example Hungary, Russia, South Africa or Slovakia some veterinary homoeopathic association were established.