“The physician’s high and only mission is to restore the sick to health, to cure, as it is termed.”
Born in Meissen, Saxony, April 10, 1755. Hahnemann grew up during an era of tremendous upheaval and rebirth in Europe which was centered in Germany with the “Enlightenment” movement, which encouraged freedom of thought and opinion. He was born into a poor family and was taught early by his father never to learn passively but to question everything. Hahnemann later developed his thirst for knowledge into a profoundly deep–reaching gift. He virtually read all medical books previously published, in nine languages.
Hahnemann became a Medical Doctor in 1791 and practiced conventional medicine for nine years until he discovered, quite by accident, that by ingesting repeated doses of Chinchona bark (to test Cullens theory on the effectiveness of China in treating Malaria) he would develop the symptoms of malaria, which the bark was used to treat. Thus the first homeopathic proving, and the discovery of the first law of homeopathy: Similia similibus curentur, or “like cures like”. Hahnemann named this newfound therapy “Homeo” (similar) “Pathy” (suffering). He began conducting provings with many of the medicines used in allopathy but his methods were met with disbelief and ridicule by his contemporaries.
Although his patients were experiencing profound cures which solidly verified his theories, Hahnemann was marked as an outcast because his method of single and minimum dosage was threatening the financial foundation of the powerful apothecaries. Hahnemann focused on reducing the dose to the point where there were no side effects but he was unsatisfied because this step further rendered the dose insufficient in strength to act. He experimented with a new method whereby after each dilution he would shake the substance vigorously. This he called “succussion” thus developing the energetic aspect of homeopathy. It is unknown how Hahnemann reasoned this (still scientifically unexplainable) method of “potentization”.
In 1810, Hahnemann published the first of six editions of “The Organon” which clearly defined his homeopathic philosophy. In the same year, 80,000 men were killed when Napoleon attacked Liepzig. Hahnemann’s homeopathic treatment of the survivors, and also of the victims of the great typhus epidemic that followed the siege, was highly successful and further spread his, and homeopathy’s, reputation. Hahnemann taught at the Liepzig University where his lectures would often shift into sharp tongued diatribes against the dangerous practices of conventional medicine, thus nicknamed “Raging Hurricane” by his students. By 1821, Hahnemann had proven sixty–six remedies and published his Materia Medica Pura in six volumes. In 1831, Cholera swept through Central Europe. Hahnemann published papers on the homeopathic treatment of the disease and instigated the first widespread usage of homeopathy which had a 96% cure rate as compared to allopathy’s 41% rate.
In 1834, Hahnemann met the avant–garde Parisian, Mademoiselle Marie Melanie d’Hervilly. They were married (his second marriage, her first) within six months, and settled in Paris. In spite of the fact he was more than twice her age, they remained very intimate, she was working by his side in his active practice until July 2, 1843 when Hahnemann died, in Paris, at the age of 88. This picture was painted by Melanie when Hahnemann was 83.
(Photo: The original painting is hanging at the Bosch Institute in Stuttgart)
Constantine Hering (1800-1880)
Constantine Hering“With every breath I take I cherish the memory of my fatherland. Never have I forgotten it, for a moment. No one knows what he loses when he leaves the land of his birth, a stranger in a strange land: I bore it all for sake of homeopathy. This, now, is the country of my children.”
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)
James Tyler Kent (1849–1916)
“You cannot divorce Medicine and Theology. Man exists all the way down, from his innermost Spiritual to his outermost Natural.”
Kent may have equaled or even surpassed the genius of Hahnemann by delivering a highly accessible and profoundly refined form of homeopathy to the 20th century.
Little is known about Kent’s personal life as he was a very private man. Kent practiced conventional medicine in St. Louis where he first discovered, then converted to, homeopathy through the successful homeopathic treatment of his seriously ailing wife by Dr. Richard Phelan (a graduate of Hahnemann College). In 1888 Kent was invited to become a consulting Physician at a new “All homeopathic” hospital in Philadelphia, there he founded his legendary Post–Graduate School. Kent was an avid Swedenborgian and proponent of high potencies (200–c and up), often prescribing the CM and MM potencies and inspiring the “Kentians” with his belief that the homeopath must treat not only the patients physical body, but also the mental/emotional and spiritual elements simultaneously which required using the higher potencies. Kent’s famous Repertory was more systematic and readable than its precursors and is still the popular choice today. Kent developed “Pictures” of constitutional types of patients, i.e.: Sulphur as “The ragged philosopher” etc. Later, his pupil, Margaret Tyler, developed this idea further in her book, Homeopathic Drug Pictures, and more recently Mr. Geroge Vithoulkas has developed his own profoundly insightful “Essence pictures” along similar lines. The influence and popularity of Kent’s interpretation of homeopathic philosophy has steadily increased around the world since his death.