Prof(Dr). E S Rajendran

MD(Hom) PhD

Brief History of Homeopathy


A critical analysis of homeopathy. The works of Dr.E.S. Rajendran has been focused on evaluating the past and redefining the future of homeopathy as a therapeutic system. His findings are based on his literary, clinical and fundamental researches in the field of homeopathy for the last three decades.

Homeopathy is a by-product of the inquiries of the German physician Dr. Christian Friedrich Samuel Hahnemann (1755-1843). 18th century medicine in Europe was in the middle of Galenic theories of contraria contraries curentur and tolle causam (remove the cause). The entire medical system and the practice were revolving around these two cardinal theories inherited from the Roman physician Galen of 2nd century A.D. With primitive knowledge of diseases, the attempts of doctors, to remove the cause of disease were disastrous.

Hahnemann's Objections - II

Dr. Hahnemann objected to this way of medical practice based on assumptions, and it led him to investigate into a different direction. He disagreed with the existing method of prescriptions, which was a combination of mixtures with four ingredients; i.e. basis, adjuvans, corrigans and constituents. It included the basic drug prescribed; adjuvans were meant to add strength to the basic drug, and corrigans were the drugs to correct the side effects of other drugs. These three forming a mixture, put into a solution is called a constituent. The whole system present was unsatisfactory for him.

His Education - III

After completing his M.D. degree from Erlangen University in 1799, he started his medical practice. Since the medical practice was not satisfactory he diverted his attention to the literary field. He became well versed with German, English, Latin, Greek, Italian, Hebrew and Arabic languages. He made many translations during the period from 1780-1790. In 1787 he published ‘Apothecaries lexicon’, containing a detailed exposition of preparation and dispensing of medicines by apothecaries (pharmacists).

Discovery of Therapeutic Law - IV

In 1790 he translated William Cullen’s materia medica from English to German. While translating the work Hahnemann noticed Cullen’s opinion that cinchona bark works on malarial fevers because of its astringent properties and bitterness. It tempted him to take a few drachms of cinchona tincture repeatedly for few days and he developed the signs and symptoms of malaria. With this experience he coined the dictum “Similia Similibus Curentur” that became the fundamental principle of the medical system he discovered and named “Homeopathy”.

After careful observations and experimentations for 6 years, in 1796 he published his first discovery in Hufeland’s journal. The paper was titled ‘An essay on a new principle for ascertaining the curative powers of the drugs and some examinations of the previous principles’.

In the first decade following the discovery of homeopathy, Dr. Hahnemann could bring forth an independent therapeutic system. During this period he practiced as usual with mother tinctures and grain doses. He was a constant experimenter and always dared to charter unorthodox ways.

Drug Proving - Experiments on healthy human beings - VII

He observed that these ultra-dilutions were capable of eliciting changes in the physiological levels of human beings. With this basic knowledge he started a novel way of testing the effect of medicines directly on human beings, which he termed as ‘drug proving’ experiment.

Dr. Hahnemann did the drug provings on him, his family members and members of the drug proving group. The methodology he adopted was very simple: select healthy individuals and prepare them for proving by regulating their food, daily regimen and mental state for a few weeks, then administer the diluted medicinal substance daily 3 times till they start producing signs and symptom in their mind and body. Once the signs and symptoms start appearing he withdrew the drug substance, yet collected the signs and symptoms as long as they appear in the volunteers. This process would have to be repeated several times. Finally the signs and symptoms collected in total are arranged in an anatomically schematic order. This is the basis of the materia medica of homeopathy.

Dilutions of medicinal substances -V

The most important turning point to Hahnemann in 1801 was that he found Belladonna in 1:10000 water dilution was very effective for the cure and prevention of scarlet fever. A few drops from this solution were considered as a dose by him. In fact it was the critical experiment which took Hahnemann, a long way, in his remaining 42 years of life. The publication of this experimental observation in the article ‘The cure and prevention of scarlet fever’ was the signature statement of Dr. Hahnemann similar to the famous statement of Dr. Feynman in 1960, ‘there is plenty of room at the bottom’. Nevertheless it was not called nanotechnology.

Probably Dr Hahnemann started his journey to the bottom with only one experience in 1799 when he encountered a near death situation in a patient whom he treated with grain doses of white hellebore or Veratrum album, which is a highly poisonous substance. Belladonna is a highly poisonous plant that could be the reason Dr. Hahnemann experimented with ultra-dilution of Belladonna ie; 1:10000. (One drop mother tincture of Belladonna was diluted in 10000 drops of water). But still he was far away from the ultimate discovery which necessarily would have placed Dr. Hahnemann in the league of one of the unsolicited geniuses in the field of nanotechnology, which evolved as a science only 200 years after his birth.

Two remarkable things happened in the deductions of Hahnemann during the process of dilution of medicinal substances. At first his intention was to reduce the toxicity of the poisonous substances used as medicine. Secondly he developed a concept of minimum dose. In his experiments with patients he observed that these two ideals were very effective in the treatment and cure of patients.

Discovery of potentization - VI

During the period of 1811-1821 he did proving experiment with a number of drugs and published all the finding in the form of ‘Materia Medica Pura’. Somewhere during the period the real Jackpot discovery of Hahnemann happened, ie; the discovery of DYNAMIZATION or POTENTIZATION. In the present context of Nanotechnology when we look back at the discovery of potentization and the finesse of the process he formulated, we have no option but to appreciate him with the utmost respect we can offer a scientist.Let us examine the process of dynamization. Hitherto we have no clear idea as to how Dr. Hahnemann conceived this concept and the exact time of this discovery. When he experimented with Cinchona in 1790, he got an idea of ‘similia similibus curentur’. Similarly after discovering the dilution process and his experiments with dilutions for proving disease conditions, somewhere an idea might have flashed in his mind to take a drastically different route, leading to the process of dynamization.