Learning to trust in the Principle

Or why the ‘Principle’ of the homeopathic law does not ever need to descend into allopathic thinking.

  • Pitch plaster recommended by Hahnemann

S. HahnemannAfter speaking of the psoric theory and of the relation between internal and skin diseases, he recommends the use of a plaster under the following conditions :

” Now in order to diminish the morbid projection of the psoric affection upon the smaller and nobler organs, and to procure for this effort of the vital force to keep the internal dyscrasia in abeyance a more extensive surface on which it may expend its virulence, we must apply to the back something that shall at once check the cutaneous transpiration and at the same time be slightly irritant.

“This may be accomplished by means of a plaster composed of six parts of Burgundy pitch to one of turpentine mixed together over a charcoal fire, spread upon soft chamois leather, and applied warm by a uniform close pressure to the skin. It usually happens that a fine rash accompanied by considerable itching is soon produced thereby on the surface of the back.

” If in the course of time the itching should become excessive, the plaster may be removed for a few days but then again applied and continued. When this artificially produced psoric affection of a large extent of skin is in full operation, we shall observe a great diminution in the morbid state of the small, noble organ, and the local disease will thereby be rendered more curable by the internal antipsoric medicine.”

This was sent to Stapf in the letter of August 5, 1830.

He afterwards, in the fifth edition of the ” Organon,” 1833, retracted this advice in the following words : (Dudgeon’s translation of the “Organon,” London, 1893. Preface to 5th Edition.)

” Homoeopathy is a perfectly simple system of medicine, remaining always fixed in its principles as in its practice, which, like the doctrine whereon it is based, if rightly apprehended, will be found to be so exclusive (and only in that way serviceable) that as the doctrine must be accepted in its purity so it must be purely practiced, and all backward straying to the pernicious routine of the old school (whose opposite it is as day to. night) is totally inadmissible, otherwise it ceases to deserve the honorable name of Homoeopathy.

“I am, therefore, sorry that I once gave the advice, savoring of Allopathy, to apply to the back in psoric diseases, a resinous plaster to cause itching, and to employ the finest electrical sparks in paralytic affections.

For as both these appliances have seldom proved of service, and have furnished the mongrel Homoeopathists with an excuse for their Allopathic transgressions, I am grieved I should ever have proposed them, and I hereby solemnly retract them – for this reason also, that, since then, our Homoeopathic system has advanced so near to perfection that they are now no longer required,”


Stapf’s Archiv. (Brit. Jour. of Hom., Vol. XI., p. 34. Stapf’s Archiv fur die hom. Heilkunst, Vol. ix., part 3, p. 72.)

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