How Hahnemann Arrived At ‘Theory Of Miasms And Chronic Diseases’- An Analysis Of Master’s Logic
For the last few weeks I was once again into an in-depth re-learning of ‘Chronic Diseases’. While carefully going through the initial paragraphs of that great text (Para 1 to 7), I was trying to follow the exact thought process of Dr. Samuel Hahnemann through which he finally arrived at his theory of ‘chronic diseases and miasms’.
Imagine the desperation and hopelessness Hahnemann experienced over the disappointing outcome of chronic diseases treated on the basis of his original theory of ‘similia similibus curentur’. Listen these words: “their beginning was promising, the continuation less favorable, and the outcome hopeless.”
Hahnemann confesses: “homeopathy failed to bring a real cure in the above-mentioned diseases, and to gain an insight more nearly correct and, if possible, quite correct, into the true nature of the thousands of chronic diseases which still remain uncured, despite the incontestable truth of the Homoeopathic Law of Cure, this very serious task has occupied me since the years 1816 and 1817, night and day”.
I was really wondering about the dedication of our master living totally “occupied” with the “very serious task” of gaining “an insight more nearly correct and, if possible, quite correct, into the true nature of the thousands of chronic diseases which still remain uncured”. That too, the whole “years of 1816 and 1817, night and day”.
Have you ever thought about the mental state of our master when he observed that patients “treated with such medicines as homeopathically best covered and temporarily removed the then apparent moderate symptoms” failed to make a permanent cure? His disillusionment to notice that the treatment on the basis of therapeutic law of ‘similia similibus curentur’ only “produced a kind of healthy condition, especially with young, vigorous persons, such as would appear as real health to every observer who did not examine accurately; and this state often lasted for many years.”?
Hahnemann also had to witness the bitter truth that “the re-appearance of one or more of the ailments which seemed to have been already overcome; and this new condition was often aggravated by some quite new concomitants, which if not more threatening than the former ones which had been removed homeopathically were often just as troublesome and now more obstinate.”
Hahnemann says: “when such a relapse would take place the homeopathic physician would give the remedy most fitting among the medicines then known, as if directed against a new disease, and this would again be attended by a pretty good success, which for the time would again bring the patient into a better state. In the former case, however, in which merely the troubles which seemed to have been removed were renewed, the remedy which had been serviceable the first time would prove less useful, and when repeated again it would help still less. Then perhaps, even under the operation of the homeopathic remedy which seemed best adapted, and even where the mode of living had been quite correct new symptoms of disease would be added which could be removed only inadequately and imperfectly; yea, these new symptoms were at times not at all improved, especially when some of the obstacles above mentioned hindered the recovery.”
Imagine how much desperate the master would have felt to observe the following situation:
“The return and repeated returns of the complaints in the end left even the best selected homoeopathic remedies then known, and given in the most appropriate doses, the less effective the oftener they were repeated. They served at last hardly even as weak palliatives. But usually, after repeated attempts to conquer the disease which appeared in a form always somewhat changed, residual complaints appeared which the homoeopathic medicines hitherto proved, though not few, had to leave un-eradicated, yea, often undiminished. Thus there ever followed varying complaints ever more troublesome, and, as time proceeded, more threatening, and this even while the mode of living was correct and with a punctual observance of directions. The chronic disease could, despite all efforts, be but little delayed in its progress by the homeopathic physician and grew worse from year to year.”
“It was a continually repeated fact that the non-venereal chronic diseases, after being time and again removed homeopathically by the remedies fully proved up to the present time, always returned in a more or less varied form and with new symptoms, or reappeared annually with an increase of complaints.”
“This was, and remained, the quicker or slower process in such treatments in all non-venereal, severe chronic diseases, even when these were treated in exact accordance with the homoeopathic, art as hitherto known.”
Hahnemann sums up the issue in these questions:
1. “Whence then this less favorable, this unfavorable, result of the continued treatment of the non-venereal chronic diseases even by homeopathy?”
2. “What was the reason of the thousands of unsuccessful endeavors to heal the other diseases of a chronic nature so that lasting health might result?”
3. “Why then, cannot this vital force, efficiently affected through Homoeopathic medicine, produce any true and lasting recovery in these chronic maladies even with the aid of the homeopathic remedies which best cover their present symptoms; while this same force which is created for the restoration of our organism is nevertheless so indefatigably and successfully active in completing the recovery even in severe acute diseases?
4. What is there to prevent this?”
“The answer to this question, which is so natural, inevitably led me to the discovery of the nature of these chronic diseases.”
We know, this inquiry led Hahnemann into the formulation of what we now learn as “Theory of Miasms and Chronic Diseases”. He arrived at this answer utilizing the scientific knowledge available to him at that time.
Homeopathic medicines selected on the basis of ‘similia similibus curentur’ were “indefatigably and successfully active in completing the recovery even in severe acute diseases” and troublesome “venereal” diseases such as syphilis and gonorrhoea . But such a tratment plan was not effective in curing “chronic diseases of non-venereal” orgin. WHY? This was the question that hahnemann wanted to answer.
We can now witness Hahnemann logically analyzing this issue before him in the following statements:
“Homoeopathic physician with such a chronic (non-venereal) case, yea in all cases of (non-venereal) chronic disease, has not only to combat the disease presented before his eyes, and must not view and treat it as if it were a well-defined disease, to be speedily and permanently destroyed and healed by ordinary homoeopathic remedies but that he has always to encounter only some separate fragment of a more deep-seated original disease.”.
Here the master introduces the new concept of “separate fragments of a more deep-seated original disease.”. He says the homeopathic physician should not “combat only the disease presented before his eyes”, and must not “view and treat it as if it were a well-defined disease”.
At this point, we will have to go back to Hahnemann’s Organon-Aphorism7. He says:
“Now, as in a disease, from which no manifest exciting or maintaining cause (causa occasionalis) has to be removed, we can perceive nothing but the morbid symptoms, it must (regard being had to the possibility of a miasm, and attention paid to the accessory circumstances) be the symptoms alone by which the disease demands and points to the remedy suited to relieve it – and, moreover, the totality of these its symptoms, of this outwardly reflected picture of the internal essence of the disease, that is, of the affection of the vital force, must be the principal, or the sole means, whereby the disease can make known what remedy it requires – the only thing that can determine the choice of the most appropriate remedy -and thus, in a word, the totality2 of the symptoms must be the principal, indeed the only thing the physician has to take note of in every case of disease and to remove by means of his art, in order that it shall be cured and transformed into health.”
We can see that In ORGANON itself, even while saying “the totality of these its symptoms, of this outwardly reflected picture of the internal essence of the disease must be the principal, indeed the only thing the physician has to take note of in every case of disease and to remove by means of his art”, Hahnemann had explicitly indicated about “exciting or maintaining cause has to be removed”, “regard being had to the possibility of a miasm”, and “attention paid to the accessory circumstances”.
That means, according to Hahnemann, “causative factors”, “miasms or infectious toxins”, and “accessory circumstances” also should be considered along with “totality of symptoms” in deciding a treatment plan for a patient.
It is clear that the apparent failure of chronic diseases with homeopathic treatment on the basis of “similia similibus curentur” was due to the neglect shown by the profession (including the master) towards “causative factors”, “miasms or infectious toxins”, and “accessory circumstances”.
“The great extent of this is shown in the new symptoms appearing from time to time; so that the homeopathic physician must not hope to permanently heal the separate manifestations of this kind in the presumption, hitherto entertained, that they are well-defined, separately existing diseases which can be healed permanently and completely.”
While saying “homeopathic physician must not hope to permanently heal the separate manifestations of this kind”, he is a bit deviating from his original theory that the “totality of the symptoms must be the principal, indeed the only thing the physician has to take note of in every case of disease and to remove by means of his art”, asserting the importance of “causative factors”, “miasms or infectious toxins”, and “accessory circumstances”.
Obviously, theory of ‘miasms and chronic diseases” is an expansion and re-invention of what he earlier said in aphorism 7, and got ignored by the profession for along period.
He recognizes here that there existed a “presumption, hitherto entertained”, that all those diseases which were so far treated on “totality of symptoms” were “well-defined, separately existing diseases which can be healed permanently and completely”, which led to the failures so far happened.
LISTEN WHAT MASTER SAYS AT THIS POINT:
“He, therefore, must first find out as far as possible the whole extent of all the accidents and symptoms belonging, to the unknown Primitive malady before he can hope to discover one or more medicines which may homeopathically cover the whole of the original disease by means of its peculiar symptoms. By this method he may then be able victoriously to heal and wipe out the malady in its whole extent, consequently also its separate members; that is, all the fragments of a disease appearing in so many various forms.”
Before finding the “totality of symptoms”, the physician “must first find out as far as possible the whole extent of all the accidents and symptoms belonging, to the unknown Primitive malady”.
At this point, Hahnemann proposes the idea that this unknown “primitive malady” must be of “miasmatic” origin.
“But that the original malady sought for must be also of a miasmatic, chronic nature clearly appeared to me from this circumstance, that after it has once advanced and developed to a certain degree it can never be removed by the strength of any robust constitution, it can never be overcome by the most wholesome diet and order of life, nor will it die out of itself. But it is evermore aggravated, from year to year, through a transition into other and more serious symptoms, even till the end of man’s life, like every other chronic, miasmatic sickness; e. g., the venereal bubo which has not been healed from within by mercury, its specific remedy, but has passed over into venereal disease. This latter, also never passes away of itself, but, even with the most correct mode of life and with the most robust bodily constitution, increases every year and unfolds evermore into new and worse symptoms, and this, also, to the end of man’s life”.
“Not unfrequently phthisis passes over into insanity; dried-up ulcers into dropsy or apoplexy; intermittent fever into asthma; affections of the abdomen into pains in the joints or paralysis; pains in the limbs into haemorrhage, etc., and it was not difficult to discover that the later must also have their foundation in the original malady and can only be a part of a far greater whole”.
See, how hahnemann systematically arrives at the concept of “miasm of psora” as the “primitive malady” underlying the chronic diseases.