Constantine Hering was born on January 1,1800, in Oschatz Germany, Hering grew up in a religious household. He later became interested in, and studied, medicine at Leipzig University where his professor, Dr. Robbi, asked him to write a book disproving Hahnemann’s recently published the “Organon of Rational Medicine”. Hering read Hahnemann’s work, and immediately tested the claimed tenets on himself, as research for his anti–homeopathic critique. But instead of writing the negative review, he immediately quit the job and left the University to become one of the most influential proponents of homeopathy of all time. Hering graduated from the University of Liepzig (in 1826), writing his Doctoral Thesis on “De Medicina Futura” (The Medicine of the Future). Much to the chagrin of his professors, he confessed himself, unreservedly, to be a homeopath.
Hering was sent to Paramaribo, Surinam by his King (of Saxony) where he conducted Zoological and Botanical research for his government. Soon after, the King attempted to prevent Hering from publishing his prolific homeopathic findings, but instead, Hering resigned the post and became the Physician–in–Attendance for the governor of Surinam’s capital, Paramaribo. Hering began focusing his attention on the discovery of new homeopathic remedies, the attenuation’s and freshly quilled–data of which he would send, by sea, to Hahnemann in Paris, and to Stapf, his friend and publisher in Germany.
Hering accidentally proved the remedy Lachesis while he was triturating the Bushmasters venom in his home–laboratory in Paramaribo. He was attempting to find an improved substitute for the cowpox inoculation that Jenner was developing in Britain, which Hering felt was extremely dangerous and very heavy–handed for homeopathy. His interest and experience with snake venom led him to surmise that the saliva of a rabid dog, or powdered smallpox scabs, or any other disease products, viruses, or venom’s, might be prepared in the new Hahnemannian way to give a fail–safe method of curing disease. In this manner Hering unwittingly became the first in the Isopathic movement (eventually, he also unwittingly paralyzed his right side from further self–testing or “prufung” of higher and higher attenuations of Lachesis). Hering stayed in Paramaribo for six years then sailed for Philadelphia in 1833. His ship was destroyed in a storm when approaching the mainland of America, but Hering and the crew manned the longboats and made shore at Martha’s Vineyard where Hering settled before finally moving to Philadelphia. In 1848, Hering chartered the Hahnemann Medical College of Pennslyvania which is still considered to be one of greatest homeopathic teaching institutions of all time (next to Kents Post Graduate School). There Hering and his students treated over 50,000 patients a year and trained a total of 3500 homeopaths.
Hering began organizing his voluminous notes into his still popular classic “The Guiding Symptoms of Our Materia Medica” the year before he died, in 1879, and it was completed by his students and published posthumously in 1891. Constantine Hering is widely known as “The Father of American Homeopathy” and was profoundly revered by his contemporaries. For the last forty years of his life, he could be seen striding the avenues of Philadelphia, scribbling down voluminous data into an immense collection of notebooks he kept. If he passed another homeopath on the street Hering would greet him with friendly salutations and then press him for as many new discoveries found in his practice as he would give, the finer points of which Hering would enter into one of the well–worn notebooks. Constantine Hering lived and died by his motto: Die milde Macht ist gross, “The force of gentleness is magnificent”.
(Photo: The original painting is on wood (the white spots are missing flakes of paint), and it is hanging at he National Center for Homeopathy in Philadelphia)