Category Archives: Historical

Preface by Dr Donald MACFARLAN

Keynotes Of The Homoeopathic Materia Medica
by Dr. Adolph VON LIPPE

by Dr Donald MACFARLAN

Docteur Donald MACFARLAN

The I.H.M. will offer a comment on some of the statements presented here at a later date and compare them with Hahnemanns medical thinking for defined clarity.   

  One of the distinguishing features of homoeopathy is that the cure is accomplished by administering a medicine, the characteristic symptoms of which correspond with the characteristic symptoms of the patient. Within its distinctive sphere it is quite unfailing and immutable. Homeopathic medicines, following the analogy of nature, are all specific – definite agent with a definite purpose with power only for the fulfillment of its attainable object. Quite apart, however, from this viewpoint treatment is traditional theory and traditional practice which may be truly termed anti-pathic in application. The modus operandi may best be exemplified by example – a patient has pain, its opposite, opium is given. The malady is not cured, but stifled by stupor, only to awake with renewed violence with the wearing away of the effect of the drug and demanding augmented dosage for fugacious assuagement at each successive return. Homoeopathy, on the other hand, chooses a remedy capable of producing the same pain. It is directed solely to the part affected in minimal dose. From this action a cure results, for two similar diseases cannot exist in the same body at the same time.

          The effects of medicine can only be ascertained by provings on the healthy human and the symptoms which these medicines have produced constitute the bulk of the Homoepathic Materia Medica. In order to effectively cure, it is first necessary to ascertain the characteristic symptoms of the patient, as Hahnemann teaches in the “Organon,” and next, to find the medicine which corresponds in the characteristics with those of the patient, which is done by means of the Homeopathic Materia Medica.

          Characteristics symptoms show the peculiarities and differences of medicines, and have been ascertained by repeated verifications of symptoms obtained by provings on the healthy and cures on the sick. In one case the locality may be characteristic, as, for instance, under the apis mellifica, the right ovary, and under lachesis, the left ovary; in any case the sort of pain may be characterized as the burning-stinging pain of apis mellifica, or the burning-like-coal-of-fire pain under arsenicum album, or a gnawing pain under ruta. In another instance the conditions may be characteristic, as the ameliorations by heat under arsenicum, and the amelioration by cold under iodine and vice-versa; or conditionally the time of day, as under nux vomica, in the morning, lycopodium 4 P. M., arsenicum from 11 P. M. till 2 A. M., or in another instance the concomitant symptoms as cough with stitches in the small of the back (or rectum) under nitric acid, or cough with paleness of the face under cina. In some instances the mental symptoms may be characteristic, as convulsive and maniacal deliriousness with biting rage under belladonna, extreme mental excitability in association with pronounced sleeplessness under coffea cruda, or aggravated mental apathy with comatose states under arnica. Again the cause may be quite characteristic, as the effects from getting wet while in a perspiration, which comes under the pathogenesy of the rhus toxicodendron.

          From a casual observance of these views it will be at once seen that the fundamental doctrine in homoeopathic theraputics is the doctrine of individualization. Man becomes affected primarily in his internals, and by this is solely meant his affectional and intellectual spheres of consciousness, which in point of face, make up the man himself, for it is the will and understanding which form the real individual. Sickness it its essence is a derangement proceeding from the innermost which spreads towards the outermost and it is a realization of this fact which has made homeopathy a distinct science of theraputic law. Consequently the homoeopathic physician views pathological tissues as results or ultimates and tries to perceive how the entire man has been changed from first to last, from mind to external tissue. Each person qualifies illness, as it were, by his or her distinctive personality and that coined aberration, as it were, has its simillimum in the pathogenesy of some homoeopathic medicine. From this it will be seen how a sickened individual is congnate to a sick-making substance – a thoroughly proven drug of our Materia Medica. The sickened one stamps his or her individuality upon a case of sickness, making it quite different from every other case, whilst the latter also behaves in a similar manner, for while it affects man in health through and through – from the mind to the hair and nails – it has a strange and peculiar way of doing it, quite different from any other drug in the entire materia medica. What is it but the inner nature of the drug, almost resembling the will and understanding of man, that has made it quite a distinct entity?

          As regards potency, it may be stated that the suitable dynamization is best arrived at by practical experience. There is really no law of potency in one sense. Nevertheless all causes are in the simple substance which exists only in degrees of fineness, for a quantity can barely be predicated of it and as the innermost of the patient has similarly the series in degrees, the remedy to correspond to this must also be administered in potencies of various grades or degrees.

          The requisites for homeopathic prescribing are: (1) The law of cure, (2) The single remedy, (3) The minimum dose. All of these items must enter into every correct prescription. It is interesting also to recall that the order in which the above requirements are enumerated are exactly that followed in their development. Hahnemann developed, to its most marked extent, the law of similars. His experiments to obtain the pathogeneses or sick-making powers of drugs naturally led him to apply them singly in diseases, that he might approach as closely as possible the correct correspondence. Finally the adoption and recommendation of the minimum dose was the result of the oft-verified observation, that in order to avoid exacerbation and, at the same time, to expedite cure in a direct, rapid and permanent manner the drug must be adminstered in the smallest possible amount, duly commensurate with its power of exciting similar symptoms in the healthy. In this connection, the drug, if properly chosen, exhibits the power of exerting a correspondingly strong reaction of the vital forces in the direction of health. Such a system of theraputics, embracing, as it does, the most careful individualization of the case at hand, as to its origin in hygenic, psychic or medicinal (abuse of drugs) causes, cannot be any other than the broadest, most truly scientific, and all-inclusive system of healing known to the health seeker of the future.

          For valuable considerations given me in the compilation of this little work I wish to thank Dr. Wm. H Yaeger and Dr. Wm B. Griggs for proof-reading and suggestions germane to the form of presentation of the notes themselves and to Dr. E. P. Anshutz and John A. Borneman, Ph. D., for valuable suggestions. To my friend, Dr. G. Harlan Wells, I wish to extend many thanks for his kindness in publishing many of these characteristics in our state organ The Hahnemannian Monthly.

Donald Macfarlan.
1805 Chestnut St.

Q: What do you think were the reasons for the decline of homeopathy in America and all over the rest of the world over the last 100 years?

comments by Andre Saine.

A.S.: I have followed the evolution of homeopathy very carefully and I can tell you when the “downward” movement started specifically in America. We can date its beginning in 1845 with Julius Hempel’s first translation of Hahnemann’s works. His mistranslation and interpretations of Hahnemann’s texts, as well as his general teachings, led to confusion and he was responsible for introducing into homeopathy a more reductionist and allopathic way of thinking.

That was where it started, but that movement was not very strong until 1870, when Carroll Dunham made his famous speech before the American Institute of Homœopathy called “Liberty of Medical Opinion and Action: a Vital Necessity and a Great Responsibility.” In fact this speech provided license to the pseudo-homeopaths to practice their eclecticism.

Four years later in 1874, the word homeopathy was stricken off as a requirement for membership in the American Institute of Homœopathy. Dunham’s original motive was perhaps noble but later shown to be naïve. He said, “let them practice as they judge best, and in the long term they will be convinced that pure homœopathy is the only way to practice.” Lippe in answer to Dunham’s speech asked whether the homeopaths should be governed by principles or by opinion like the allopaths. He said because similia similibus curantur is a law, we do not have the freedom to practice contrarily to the law if we call ourselves homeopaths.

What eventually happened was that the pseudo-homeopaths had greater freedom to call homeopathy what they practiced, taught and wrote about. As predicted by Lippe it weakened the societies and the colleges. The survival of pure homeopathy was in danger. The decline continued further. Take for example in 1885 when T. F. Allen, then President of the American Institute of Homœopathy and Dean of a New York Homeopathic Medical College, said that there had been no proof of the power of infinitesimal, it was but dogma. Now the majority of members of the American Institute of Homœopathy who were pseudo-homeopaths were just one step short of joining the “regulars”: the allopaths.

In the societies and the colleges, the fundamental principles of homeopathy were not even taught. The quality of education in the colleges in North America went way down. It was now but a question of time for the decline and disappearance of its institutions. Homeopathy had become very popular in North America during its early years due to its amazing successes obtained by the “old guard” during the epidemics—epidemics of diphtheria, scarlet fever, cholera, malaria, yellow fever—especially yellow fever; the death rate for that was 55% when allopathic treatment was used, but less than 5% in cases with homeopathic treatment; and it was the same for cholera. It is here with the “old guard” that homeopathy obtained its golden letters. So homeopathy became very popular, with the public as well as with the politicians. For a physician, it was often better to be known to be practicing homeopathy than allopathy.

In 1880’s there were about fifteen different homeopathic colleges with more being founded as the demand for homeopathic doctors rose. But very few physicians were trained in pure homeopathy and able to practice it properly. So most of them practiced “mixed” homeopathy with allopathy. So when we hear that at the turn of the century, there were 15,000 homeopaths in the United States, this simply is not true; there were probably less than two hundred trying to practice pure homeopathy. The rest were “mixers” or physicians who had degrees from homeopathic colleges, but did not attempt to practice pure homeopathy. Such a degree did not mean that you had been trained in homeopathy. Just to give you an example: Nash, whom we all admire for his “Leaders” said that when he attended the Western College of Homeopathic Medicine in Cleveland during the 1860’s, not only had he never read the Organon, but he had never heard of its existence.

By 1880 there were about 6000 homeopathic practitioners in America, of which 4800 were graduates from homeopathic colleges. Do you know how many copies of the Organon had been sold by that time since the first American edition of the Organon had been published in 1836? About 600 copies had been sold—total! Moreover, quite a large number of these Organons had been bought by laymen, because physicians like Lippe had their patients read the Organon. So you could say that less than ten percent of the graduates of homeopathic medical schools owned a copy of the Organon! Many of them had never even heard of it. The real problem, of course, was one of education.

You see, homeopathy becomes an extremely difficult science to learn and practice successfully when rigor in teaching it is missing. During a meeting on homeopathic education, I was once sitting at a table with about twelve other physicians, most of them had also specialized in various fields. As far as I remember there were two psychiatrists, one neurologist, one cardiologist, two internists and one radiologist—they all had done long years of study in difficult and demanding fields, but all of them said that their attempt to learn homeopathy had definitely been the most difficult. Yet none of them had gone through a training that would have taught them homeopathy like they had for learning their specialty, from A to Z.

For their homeopathic training they all had to collect bits and pieces, here and there. And that has always been the problem—the lack of good quality education in homeopathy. And why? Because we do not have people who have mastered the subject enough to teach it well. There was no lack of institutions in America, but how could one expect to receive adequate education if none of the teachers themselves had mastered their discipline? We have to start somewhere. Otherwise we are dealing with a vicious cycle, a downward spiral. This has always been the problem in the history of homeopathy.

Few people mastered the subject sufficiently to teach it so that the graduates would be able to apply the principles of homeopathy successfully. At the same time, impostors such as Hempel took up chairs of instruction, so that the blind was leading the blind. Today, it is not too different. History is only repeating itself.

Adolph Lippe 1812 – 1888


Adolph Lippe 1812 – 1888 was a singular homeopath and one of the first graduates of homeopathy in America. Lippe taught alongside Constantine Hering at the Hahnemann Medical College in Philadelphia and wrote several very influential books which are still standard textbooks today for modern homeopaths. Lippe also translated many important homeopathic texts, thus enriching American homeopathy.

Adolph Lippe taught Thomas Lindsley Bradford and many others.

Lippe was a founding member of the International Hahnemannian Association and he was a colleague of James Tyler Kent, Henry Newell Guernsey, Carroll Dunham and many other famous homeopaths.

Lippe was a fastidious prescriber, often spending hours on a case to get the correct remedy, and he was an advocate high potencies and a staunch defender of Hahnemann’s principles of practicing homeopathy.

Timothy Field Allen compiled the Encyclopedia of Pure Materia Medica over the course of 10 years. It is a comprehensive record of all the provings of homeopathic medicines recorded up to that point…. Constantine Hering, Carroll Dunham, Adolph Lippe, and Richard Hughes all contributed to this monumental work…

Adolph Lippe edited the Organon Journal with Thomas Skinner, Samuel Swan and Edward William Berridge in 1878- 1881.

Adolph Graf zur Lippe-Weissenfield was born May 11, 1812 near Goerlitz, in Prussia, and died on January 23, 1888 in Pennsylvania. Dr. Lippe was educated in Berlin and came to the United States in 1838. He first settled in Reading (Berks County), PA and set up practice.

Lippe was the son of Count Ludwig and Countess Augusta zur Lippe, scions of an old and illustrious family, whose estate lay near the town of Goerlitz, Prussia. Here Lippe was born on May 11, 1812.

His parents tried to persuade him to study law, but he had made up his mind to become a homeopathic physician. He received his medical education in Berlin and shortly after his graduation in 1837, he sailed for America and matriculated in the Allentown Academy, the only homeopathic college then in existence.

To further his knowledge, in the fall of 1838 Lippe registered in the first and only homeopathic medical college in the world, the North American Academy of the Homeopathic Healing Art in Allentown, Pennsylvania, also known as the Allentown Academy.

On August 28, 1841 Lippe passed his final examination in front of Drs. Wesselhoeft, Henry Detweiller, Freytag and Romig and graduated with a Doctorate in Homeopathic Medicine. Lippe said that “the possession of an Allentown diploma is an honor to its holder, as it was only obtained by worthy applicants. Many who tried to pass were rejected as incapable.” The Allentown Academy closed soon after this and Lippe was their last graduate.

After this rigorous training, Lippe moved from Reading to Pottsville, PA in 1841 where he practiced with success and growing ability until 1844 when called to a larger field in Carlisle, PA.

J. C Guernsey, the son of H. N. Guernsey, wrote in his rendering of the history of homeopathy in Pennsylvania that “by Dr. Lippe’s labors in Carlisle and the neighboring counties where homeopathy was unknown, he opened a large field for our school.”

Throughout this time, Dr. Lippe made a name for himself with his treatment of various epidemics common in the Cumberland Valley. Then in 1850 Lippe moved permanently to Philadelphia and took two gentlemen from Carlisle with him to pursue the study of homeopathy.

Dr. Lippe held the position of Chair of Materia Medica at the Homeopathic Medical College of Pennsylvania from 1864-1869. He helped launch several of the best homeopathic journals ever to be published, including the Organon, the Hahnemannian Monthly, and the Homeopathic Physician. His unswerving commitment to pure homeopathy was unparalleled, even in his day!

Considered by many to be one of the most clinically successful homeopathic physicians in our great legacy, Dr. Lippe’s multitudinous publications provide a blueprint for homeopathic practice. From his suggestions on how to study Materia Medica to his exposition of Hahnemannian homeopathy, Dr. Lippe gives us incontrovertible evidence of a highly successful homeopathic method.

Emigrating to the United States in 1839 he presented himself to the sole school of the homeopathic practice in this country – the old Allentown Academy of the Homoeopathic Healing Art. After assiduous application he was granted his diploma from Dr. Constantine Hering, as President of the institution, on July 27, 1841.

Removing to Pottsville, Dr. von Lippe practiced with success and growing ability until called to a larger field, at Carlisle. Here the prevalent epidemics of the Cumberland Valley gave him a new distinction, by means of which he was, six years later, induced to settle in Philadelphia. Here he speedily attained a marked distinction in the most fashionable practice of his day.

Aside, however, from his strictly professional labors, Dr. von Lippe had been a regular contributor to homeopathic literature and an active correspondent with his confreres in foreign parts, and more especially with David Wilson in London and Rocco Rubini in Naples.

The correspondence, now turned yellow with the lapse of years, is both interesting and instructive and quite fully attests the warm friendship of many admirers. Rocco Rubini‘s original pamphlet in Italian, introducing the Cactus Grandiflorus, is particularly valuable.

Dr. von Lippe filled the Chair of Materia Medica in the Homoeopathic College of Pennsylvania from 1863 to 1868 and with distinguished success. He also translated valuable Italian, German, and French Homoeopathic essays and treatises, that are now standard.

He augmented and improved the homeopathic meteria medica, and by his clinical reports has shown how this may be rendered practically available and utilized in the application of homoeopathic knowledge and principles.

Adopting homoeopathy after careful examination, when qualified to institute and conduct it; believing it to be progressive rather than stagnant, and having devoted the best years of a prosperous life to establishing its claims in this country, he absolutely rejected all claims and solicitations that would have recalled him to Germany.

Adolph wrote Key to the Materia Medica Or, Comparative Pharmacodynamic, Keynotes of the Homoeopathic Materia Medica, Text Book of Materia Medica, Key notes & red line symptoms of the materia medica, Valedictory Address Delivered at the Eighteenth Annual Commencement of the … , Who is a Homoeopathician?: A Lecture Delivered Before the Hahnemannian … , Cholera; Its Treatment by Homoeopathy, Cholera: Lecture Delivered at the Homœopathic Medical College of Pennsylvania, What is Homœopathy: A Lecture, the preface to Samuel Hahnemann‘s The Genius of the Homœopathic Healing Art: Preface to the Second Volume of … , The Healing Art. A Higher Medical Education. A Reply to Prof. William Pepper … , A Reply to Prof. William Pepper’s Insult to the Homoeopathic School of … .

Constantine Lippe 1840-1885 was Adolph’s son and he was also a homeopath. He died as a result of wounds received during the American Civil War, when he suffered a shattered fracture of his tibia and refused amputation. Constantine graduated alongside notable homeopaths such as Ernest Albert Farrington, Thomas Lindsley Bradford, Edward William Berridge and Walter James, all of which contributed in major ways to the profession.

In June of 1876, Dr. Adolph Lippe gave a dinner party at which were assembled Dr. Edward Bayard, Dr. Henry N. Guernsey, Dr. Constantine Lippe, Dr. Samuel Swan, two or three others whose names it is impossible now to recall, and the writer …

Constantine Lippe wrote Repertory to the More Characteristic Symptoms of the Materia Medica.

Secret vaccine trials in the 1930s

Thousands of children in Irish care homes at centre of ‘baby graves scandal’ were used in secret vaccine trials in the 1930s

  • Scientists secretly gave 2,051 children and babies diphtheria vaccine
  • They were used as guinea pigs for drugs giant Burroughs Wellcome in 1930s
  • Academic Michael Dwyer uncovered shock truth in old medical records
  • He found no evidence of consent, nor of how many died or were affected
  • Comes as Irish PM intervenes from U.S. over scandal of mass baby grave
  • Hundreds of babies are believed to have been buried at former baby home
  • Enda Kenny says he’s ordered his officials to examine ‘if there are others’

By Harriet Arkell and Neil Michael

Scientists secretly vaccinated more than 2,000 children in religious-run homes in suspected illegal drug trials, it emerged today.

Old medical records show that 2,051 children and babies in Irish care homes were given a one-shot diphtheria vaccine for international drugs giant Burroughs Wellcome between 1930 and 1936.

There is no evidence that consent was ever sought, nor any records of how many may have died or suffered debilitating side-effects as a result.

The scandal was revealed as Irish premier, Enda Kenny, ordered ministers to see whether there are more mass baby graves after the discovery that 800 infants may be buried in a septic tank outside a former mother and baby home in Tuam, Co. Galway.

Children at Sean Ross Abbey in Tipperary are thought to have been used in secret drug trials in the 1930s

Children at Sean Ross Abbey in Tipperary are thought to have been used in secret drug trials in the 1930s


Children's homes are under the spotlight since it emerged that 796 babies may be buried at the former mother and baby home at Tuam, Co. Galway - Enda Kenny has ordered officials to see if other mass graves exist

Children’s homes are under the spotlight since it emerged that 796 babies may be buried at the former mother and baby home at Tuam, Co. Galway – Enda Kenny has ordered officials to see if other mass graves exist

The Irish premier has ordered his officials to examine the possibility that there may be other mass graves, too

The Irish premier has ordered his officials to examine the possibility that there may be other mass graves, too

 The Taioseach intervened from the United States yesterday to say that he had ordered his officials to ‘see what the scale is, what’s involved here, and whether this is isolated or if there are others around the country that need to be looked at.’

Michael Dwyer, of Cork University’s School of History, found the child vaccination data by trawling through tens of thousands of medical journal articles and archive files.

He discovered that the trials were carried out before the vaccine was made available for commercial use in the UK.

Homes where children were secretly tested included Bessborough, in Co. Cork and Sean Ross Abbey in Roscrea, Co. Tipperary, both of which are at the centre of the mass baby graves scandal.

Other institutions where children may also have been vaccinated include Cork orphanages St Joseph’s Industrial School for Boys, run by the Presentation Brothers, and St Finbarr’s Industrial School for Girls, run by the Sisters of the Good Shepherd.

In Dublin, it is believed that children for the trials came from St Vincent’s Industrial School, Goldenbridge, St Joseph’s School for Deaf Boys, Cabra, and St Saviours’s Dominican Orphanage.

But Mr Dwyer said: ‘What I have found is just the tip of a very large and submerged iceberg.

‘The fact that no record of these trials can be found in the files relating to the Department of Local Government and Public Health, the Municipal Health Reports relating to Cork and Dublin, or the Wellcome Archives in London, suggests that vaccine trials would not have been acceptable to government, municipal authorities, or the general public.

‘However, the fact that reports of these trials were published in the most prestigious medical journals suggests that this type of human experimentation was largely accepted by medical practitioners and facilitated by authorities in charge of children’s residential institutions.’

Horror: The scandal of the babies in the mass grave was discovered by local historian, Catherine Corless

Horror: The scandal of the babies in the mass grave was discovered by local historian, Catherine Corless

Innocence: Academic Michael Dwyer found out about the secret drugs trials by going through old medical records - children from the Sean Ross Abbey home in Tipperary, pictured, are thought to have been involved

Innocence: Academic Michael Dwyer found out about the secret drugs trials by going through old medical records – children from the Sean Ross Abbey home in Tipperary, pictured, are thought to have been involved

A spokesman for GSK – formerly Wellcome – said: ‘The activities that have been described to us date back over 70 years and, if true, are clearly very distressing.

‘We would need further details to investigate what actually took place, but the practices outlined certainly don’t reflect how modern clinical trials are carried out. We conduct our trials to the same high scientific and ethical standards, no matter where in the world they are run.’

A spokeswoman for the Sisters of Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, the order that ran Bessborough and Sean Ross Abbey, said that like GSK, they would also welcome an independent inquiry.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin called on the Irish government to add vaccine trials into the investigative remit of any inquiry into the mother and baby homes.

He said: ‘We need to start with an independent investigation into the mother and baby homes which would be followed by a wider separate investigation into the vaccine testing.’

Historian Catherine Corless, whose discovery of the suspected mass baby grave at Tuam was revealed by the Mail earlier this week, said her study of death records for the St Mary’s home run by Catholic Bon Secours nuns from 1925-1961 pointed to the existence of the mass grave.

Children's homes in Ireland were often the only place where a woman pregnant out of wedlock could go

Children’s homes in Ireland were often the only place where a woman pregnant out of wedlock could go


Children were looked after by nuns and often adopted abroad - now it seems they were used in drugs trials, too

Children were looked after by nuns and often adopted abroad – now it seems they were used in drugs trials, too

The Irish PM interrupted a trade visit to San Francisco to order an inquiry in the Tuam home and others, saying that Dublin must decide what is the ‘best thing to do in the interest of dealing with yet another element of our country’s past.’

St Mary’s was one of several such ‘mother and baby’ homes for ‘fallen women’ who had become pregnant outside marriage in early 20th century Ireland.

Another such institution was the Sean Ross Abbey in Tipperary, was where Philomena Lee gave up her son for adoption in the 1950s. Her story was made into the Oscar-nominated film ‘Philomena’ last year.

The ‘mother and baby’ homes accommodated women who were ostracised from their own families and had nowhere else to turn.

Under conservative Catholic teaching of the time, children born outside of marriage were not baptised and were therefore denied a Catholic burial on consecrated ground.



UNHAM, CARROLL, M. D., President of the American Institute of Homœopathy and of the World’s Homœopathic Convention of 1876. [Republished from “Transactions of the American Institute of Homœopathy ” -1877.]

          No event in the history of homœopathy in this country has awakened so profound an impression or awakened such universal regret as the death of this eminent and estimable physician. Justly regarded by his colleagues, not in America only but in Europe also, as one of the most able, accomplished and zealous expositors of the Hahnemannian reform in medicine, and possessing in a remarkable degree the confidence of the entire homœopathic profession, his loss is universally felt as a public bereavement.

          To the American Institute of Homœopathy, of which he was the honored and efficient president during the last year of his life and during the most eventful year of its existence, his loss is well nigh irreparable. Ever prompt, conscientious and thorough in the performance of every duty, he was the one man who could always be depended on when others failed, and whose example of systematic industry was an invaluable incentive to all. He not only assisted largely and efficiently in the work of the society, but did much by way of encouraging others, especially the younger members, to maintain and increase the value and interest of its transactions. Too modest to assume the leadership which by general consent was conceded to him, he did not shrink from accepting its duties and responsibilities. The extraordinary energy, tact and judgment that he displayed in organizing and successfully carrying through the great homœopathic convention of last year, its comprehensive plan and judicious settlement of details, and the dignity, courtesy and perfect impartiality that marked his conduct in the presidential office, elicited the spontaneous and universal tribute of admiration.

          The hopes that all indulged of still more and greater benefits to the cause of homœopathy in the future from a long continuance of his wisely directed efforts, were suddenly dispelled by the news of his decease on the 18th of February last (1877) at his residence in Irvington-on-the-Hudson, in the forty-ninth year of his age.

          It is an additional cause of regret that this sad event was in some degree due to the physical exhaustion consequent upon his successive and protracted exertions in connection with the world’s convention.

          Dr. Dunham was born in New York in 1828. His father, Mr. Edward W. Dunham, was a substantial and prosperous merchant of the old school, of strictest integrity, exact and methodical in his business transactions. A friend of learning and himself a man of culture, he gave his son the advantages of a complete education. During the cholera epidemic of 1834 Carroll, then six years old, had the misfortune to lose his mother, and was himself very near falling a victim to the prevailing sickness. Soon after this the family removed to Brooklyn, and at a proper age he was sent to an excellent boarding school. At fifteen he matriculated at Columbia College, from which he was graduated, with honor in 1847. Even as a school boy he was of a quiet, studious disposition, more given to reading than play, especially of the rough and noisy sort. This tendency of his mind became still more marked during his college course, but his reserve had in it no touch of moodiness, for he was naturally and always of a peculiarly cheerful and friendly disposition.

          After leaving college, in accordance with his father’s preference and his own tastes, he began the study of medicine, placing himself as a pupil under the direction of Dr. Whittaker, an old school physician of much repute as a trainer of medical students. Having been relieved of a trying illness by homœopathic treatment, he determined to investigate the claims of the new school, and did so during the whole course of studies, becoming in the end a firm adherent of its principles and practice. In this decision he was confirmed by his father, who had also from observation and personal experience of its advantages been fully converted to homœopathy.

          Young Dunham, however, did not on this account in the least relax his diligent study of the doctrines and practice of the dominant school, but attended with the assiduity characteristic of him the course of instruction afforded by the New York College of Physicians and Surgeons and by the various clinics to which he had access.

          Soon after receiving his degree of doctor of medicine, in 1850, he went to Europe, partly for the purpose of general medical and scientific improvement, but especially with the design of studying in the land of its birth the methods and results of the homœopathic practice as compared with those of the best allopathic treatment.

          In pursuance of this double plan he visited Dublin, where he served a term in the lying-in hospital, Paris, Vienna and other centers of medical science. He seized every opportunity of observing, with a discrimination beyond his years, the different kinds of treatment in hospitals and private practice. Proceeding to Munster, the residence of Dr. Von Bœnninghausen, he became an assiduous pupil of that distinguished practitioner, daily attending at his office and making careful and elaborate notes of the cases that he saw, their treatment and the results.

          Having thus profitably spent a year in the diligent prosecution of his mission, he returned home fully persuaded of the truth of the great therapeutic principle propounded by Hahnemann, and an ardent disciple and admirer of that master. During the period of his absence he had not only satisfied himself of the substantial verity of the fundamental dogmas of homœopathy, but had acquired already a considerable knowledge of its materia medica, a department for which he seems to have had a particular aptitude and in which, as we all know, he has for years been considered an authority. His familiarity with the effects of drug action upon the human system was something marvelous to those who have given the most attention to that difficult branch of medical science.

          Immediately after his return from abroad Dr. Dunham commenced in Brooklyn the practice of the profession for which he had made such protracted and conscientious preparation, and in which he subsequently became such a shining light. Unlike the majority of young physicians, the pecuniary rewards of practice were not necessary to his support, while the uncertain state of his health, never very robust and subject to occasional lapses, might to a less enthusiastic or to a less conscientious person have seemed a sufficient reason for declining the labors and responsibilities of this arduous vocation, but inspired by noble and humane motives and stirred by a generous enthusiasm he did not feel at liberty, nor had he any desire, to rest satisfied with the theoretical and abstract knowledge he had gained, but sought to make it practical for the benefit of the sick and suffering, and to enlarge and extend the beneficent reform in the value of which he held the most implicit faith.

          After practicing four or five years in Brooklyn with good success, notwithstanding some interruptions from sickness -in one instance extending over several months- it was deemed necessary for sanitary reasons to take a vacation. He again went to Europe, and a second time spent several weeks in Munster, renewing his studies with Bœnninghausen and passing the greater part of every day with him. The winter was passed in Italy, where he acquired the Italian language and reviewed his studies in anatomy.

          Oil his return to Brooklyn he showed a tendency to disease of the throat, and consequently removed to Newburg on the Hudson, where for a time he enjoyed better health and soon attracted to him a numerous body of intelligent and devoted adherents.

          But again the exigencies of his varying health compelled a change after a six years’ occupancy of that attractive field. He visited the West Indies and other foreign parts in search of health or relief. Finally he became a resident of the beautiful and picturesque village of Irvington-on-the-Hudson, where he continued to reside until his death. He passed much time, however, in New York, both before and after his removal to Irvington, keeping an office there and attending to professional calls as his health and strength allowed.

          His last voyage to Europe, on which he was accompanied by his whole family and which was undertaken in the fall of 1874, seemed to many of his friends so hopeless of benefit that they scarcely dared to anticipate his return. He seemed to have doubts of his own recovery, as previous to his departure he resigned from all positions of trust or responsibility, and arranged his affairs with reference to an indefinite sojourn abroad. Happily, however, the result of this absence of about one year was so much more favorable to his health than was expected that he came back at the end of that time greatly improved in strength and spirits, and apparently able to resume with renewed activity his former occupations.

          Some time before his last enforced departure, as early, indeed, as 1871, at a meeting of the American Institute of Homœopathy, Dr. Dunham announced a proposal for holding an international congress of the disciples of Hahnemann on the occasion of our American centennial jubilee in 1876. The idea was received with enthusiasm and a committee was appointed, of which, of course, he was chief, to make the preparatory arrangements and secure, if possible, the co-operation of homœopathists in other countries. The history of that unprecedented gathering will be a lasting and glorious memorial of the zeal, foresight and self-sacrificing devotion of its originator. None but those most intimately associated with him in the work can justly estimate the amount of labor and anxiety it cost him, and none will be more ready than they to ascribe the entire credit of its success to his masterly management. Even when obliged to seek abroad, with small encouragement, for the health he could not long retain at home, he did not lose sight of this grand and favorite project, but used every opportunity during his stay in Europe to enlist the sympathies of foreign physicians in its behalf.

          So general and hearty have been the manifestations of sorrow and of tender and affectionate regard for the memory of our friend, at home and abroad, and so well understood among us were the admirable qualities of his head and heart that an extended eulogy is scarcely necessary. It is the less so in this connection because the institute will, doubtless, at this its first session since the deplored event, desire to express by some appropriate and united action its estimate of his superior merit and its grateful sense of the obligations resting upon the whole homœopathic fraternity for his very important and valuable labors.

          It is a subject of congratulation for those who are, to come after us, and especially to the rising generation of physicians, that they will have an opportunity to profit by his writings, and to study to their benefit the lessons of his pure and useful life. Friendly hands, it is announced, are already gathering the most important of his widely scattered contributions to medical literature into a permanent volume, to be supplemented, it is said, with a comprehensive memoir.

          Dr. Dunham was a facile and agreeable writer, clear in his statements and felicitous in expression ; his writings were chiefly contributions to the medical journals of his own school ; and comprise some of the most lucid and convincing expositions extant of the doctrines and practice of homœopathy. From 1860 he was for three years editor of the “American Homœopathic Review.”

          In 1865 he accepted the professorship of materia medica in the New York Homœopathic Medical College, a position that he filled for several years with great success. During the latter part of his incumbency he was also dean of the college, which by his administration was completely reorganized and established upon a permanent and prosperous basis.

          As one of the original incorporators of the New York State Homœopathic Asylum for the Insane, he labored earnestly for the foundation of that, the first institution of the kind in the world. At different times his services were invoked in various official positions of responsibility in the numerous societies and institutions that were so fortunate as to enjoy his co-operation, in all of which, small as well as great, it was a matter of conscience with him to perform the duties faithfully. Whatever was to be done he did at once ; he was never unprepared, nor ever late. And yet, while so ready and apt himself, he was always lenient and even helpful towards his tardy or inefficient associates, not unfrequently supplementing their defects in the most quiet and unobtrusive way. While president of the New York County Homœopathic Medical Society he always went to the meetings with some scientific papers -“papers concealed about his person”- ready to be brought forth in the case of the failure of any appointed essayist.

          With a large and well balanced mind, a clear and discriminating judgment, a great store of learning gathered from books and observation, with definite views on most questions of human interest, he combined a wonderful simplicity and purity of character and an amiable and cheerful disposition. While his public discourses were models of clear and concise argumentation, the richness and sprightliness of his ordinary conversation made him the charm of the social and domestic circle.


Adolph Lippe

The history of Homoeopathy will only be complete if proper and honest assessment is made and imbibed, of the glorious past of our fore-bearers, whose dedication and contribution have enriched our science. There are innumerable stories and numberless life histories of our forbearers, which are of extreme value to us in the present day. Dr. Adolph Von Lippes life deserves special mention because he was a staunch and uncompromising bearer of the torch of strict Hahnemannian Homoeopathy.

Birth: Lippe was born on 11th of May, 1812 in Goerlitz
Family: Lippe was a young member of a very aristocratic old and illustrious family of Goerlitz of Prussia. Count Ludwig was his father and Countess Augusta zur Lippe was his mother. His fathers estate was situated near Georlitz town.
Education: His parents wanted him to study law, but Lippe was very much impressed by the new method of the healing art and made up his mind to become a homoeopathic physician.

After his school study he went to Berlin for his medical education and graduated in 1837.

Then, Lippe decided to go to America to study Homoeopathy. During that time the only existing homoeopathic college was Allentown Academy of Hering. Lippe took admission and studied for four years in this college and completed his homoeopathic education. Lippe was very fortunate to receive his diploma on 27th July 1841 from the hand of Dr. Constantine Hering, the founder of Allentown Academy.

Homoeopathic Practice: Lippe started his practice as a homoeopathic physician in Pottville, P.A. though he practised here for a very short time. From Pottsville he moved to Carlisle where he distinguished himself by successful cure of the sick people in an epidemic prevailing in the Cumberland valley.

Finally he moved to Philadelphia where he established himself and practised till the last day of his life.

Lippe was a steadfast, loyal devotee of Hahnemannian homoeopathy. Throughout his life he followed Hahnemanns instructions in letter and in spirit. He was an ardent supporter of Hahnemanns Organon of Medicine and to him Organon was the last word in the science and art of healing. Lippe considered Homoeopathy as the only and sole means of cure for both acute and chronic diseases. He said that other systems of medicines were palliative and harmful.

Although Lippe was the author of few books, the number of his contributions to Homoeopathic literature remains unexcelled. Many of his papers were elucidations of homoeopathic philosophy, many to the methods and rules of correct homoeopathic practice. Many of Lippes papers enlighten us about the finer points of the Material Medica and enhance our ability to prescribe correctly. Lippe published a series of writings named Fatal Errors in the American Homoeopathic Observer, in which he vigorously opposed and criticized the vitiation of Homoeopathy; he considered this to be the cause of gradual downfall of the system. Dr. Adolph von Lippe is one of the few master guides who endeavored to perfect themselves in the art of prescribing according to the law of similars, for, probably this remarkable man was one of the most accomplished prescribers in the history of Homoeopathy. His style was clear and forceful, his arguments logical. Among the important contribution of Dr. Lippe in Homoeopathy should be considered his reports of “Clinical Cases.”

Lippe possessed a deep knowledge of Materia Medica. He was a keen observer and with uncanny accuracy he used to pick up the essential indications of the case, frequently making use of symptoms which seem trivial or having no evident connections with the patients ailment. He was a master in the art of presenting, the essential indications and unlike other writers, always told why he gave the remedy that cured the case.

Today we are often unsuccessful in our practice because of many reasons, the most common being an improper understanding of rules and time for repetition of the dose. Dr. Lippe was a master in this field and a devoted believer and practitioner of single remedy and single dose.

About Lippe, Dr. Harvey Farrington wrote- “Dr. Lippe once made a statement that I thought the most audacious that I had ever heard. He said that if he could visit a case of Diphtheria the first time before anybody had a chance to spoil it, he would generally cure the case with one remedy and often with one dose.”

His literary Contributions:

Adolph Lippe was co-editor of Homoeopathic News from 1854 to 1855 and of Hahnemannian monthly from 1865 to 1868.

1854– Key to the Materia Medica of Comparative Pharmacodynamics (This is the first and only number of a series which were to contain a characteristic Materia Medica).

1865– Who is a Homoeopathician? (A lecture delivered before the Hahnemannian Institute and published by order of the same).
1865– Cactus Grandiflorus (Translated from the original, with preface and notes of Dr. Russell.)
1866– Valedictory Address delivered at the 18th Annual Commencement of the Homoeopathic Medical College of Pennsylvania.
1866– Text book of Materia Medica.
1870– Liberty of Medical Opinion and Action (Read before the Central New York Homoeopathic Medical Society).
1876– Diphtheria (Printed by the American Institute of Homoeopathy for use at World Homoeopathic Convention, Philadelphia).
1877– A reply to professor William is Peppers Insult to Homoeopathic School of Medicine in his Opening Address delivered at the University of Pennsylvania.
1878– The Genius of the Homoeopathic Healing Art. (Preface to the second volume of Materia Medica Pura by S. Hahnemann. Translated by Adolph Von Lippe.)
1885– Cholera: Its Treatment by Homoeopathy.
1886– What is Homoeopathy? A lecture delivered on 10th May 1886 before the Womens Homoeopathic Association of Pennsylvania at the Medical Surgical and Maternal Hospital, North 20th Street and Susquehanna Avenue.

Demise: After a long successful practice and exemplary service to Homoeopathy for 46 years. Lippe died on 24th of January 1888 in Philadelphia.








…The smallness of the doses of the nitrate, and more especially of the phosphate of ammonia, which cause the tentacles of immersed leaves to be inflected, is perhaps the most remarkable fact recorded in this volume. When we see that much less than the millionth* of a grain of the phosphate, absorbed by a gland of one of the exterior tentacles, causes it to bend, it may be thought that the effects of the solution on the glands of the disc have been overlooked; namely, the transmission of a motor impulse from them to the exterior tentacles. No doubt the movements of the latter are thus aided; but the aid thus rendered must be insignificant; for we know that a drop containing as much as the 1/3840 of a grain placed on the disc is only just able to cause the outer tentacles of a highly sensitive leaf to bend. It is cer-

* It is scarcely possible to realise what a million means. The best illustration which I have met with is that given by Mr. Croll, who says, “Take a narrow strip of paper 83 ft. 4 in. in length, and stretch it along the wall of a large hall; then mark off at one end the tenth of an inch. This tenth will represent a hundred, and the entire strip a million.

[page] 170

tainly a most surprising fact that the 1/19760000 of a grain, or in round numbers the one-twenty-millionth of a grain (.0000033 mg.), of the phosphate should affect any plant, or indeed any animal; and as this salt contains 35.33 per cent. of water of crystallisation, the efficient elements are reduced to 1/30555126 of a grain, or in round numbers to one-thirty-millionth of a grain (.00000216 mg.). The solution, moreover, in these experiments was diluted in the proportion of one part of the salt to 2,187,500 of water, or one grain to 5000 oz. The reader will perhaps best realise this degree of dilution by remembering that 5000 oz. would more than fill a 31-gallon cask; and that to this large body of water one grain of the salt was added; only half a drachm, or thirty minims, of the solution being poured over a leaf. Yet this amount sufficed to cause the inflection of almost every tentacle, and often of the blade of the leaf.

I am well aware that this statement will at first appear incredible to almost everyone. Drosera is far from rivalling the power of the spectroscope, but it can detect, as shown by the movements of its leaves, a very much smaller quantity of the phosphate of ammonia than the most skilful chemist can of any substance.* My results were for a long time incredible

* When my first observations were made on the nitrate of ammonia, fourteen years ago, the powers of the spectroscope had not been discovered; and I felt all the greater interest in the then unrivalled powers of Drosera. Now the spectroscope has altogether beaten Drosera; for according to Bunsen and Kirchhoff probably less than one 1/200000000 of a grain of sodium can be thus detected (see Balfour Stewart, ‘Treatise on Heat,’ 2nd edit. 1871, p. 228). With respect to ordinary chemical tests, I gather from Dr. Alfred Taylor’s work on ‘Poisons’ that about 1/4000 of a grain of arsenic, 1/4400 of a grain of prussic acid, 1/1400 of iodine, and 1/2000 of tartarised antimony, can be detected; but the power of detection depends much on the solutions under trial not being extremely weak.

[page] 171

even to myself, and I anxiously sought for every source of error. The salt was in some cases weighed for me by a chemist in an excellent balance; and fresh water was measured many times with care. The observations were repeated during several years. Two of my sons, who were as incredulous as myself, compared several lots of leaves simultaneously immersed in the weaker solutions and in water, and declared that there could be no doubt about the difference in their appearance. I hope that some one may hereafter be induced to repeat my experiments; in this case he should select young and vigorous leaves, with the glands surrounded by abundant secretion. The leaves should be carefully cut off and laid gently in watch-glasses, and a measured quantity of the solution and of water poured over each. The water used must be as absolutely pure as it can be made. It is to be especially observed that the experiments with the weaker solutions ought to be tried after several days of very warm weather. Those with the weakest solutions should be made on plants which have been kept for a considerable time in a warm greenhouse, or cool hothouse; but this is by no means necessary for trials with solutions of moderate strength.

I beg the reader to observe that the sensitiveness or irritability of the tentacles was ascertained by three different methods-indirectly by drops placed on the disc, directly by drops applied to the glands of the outer tentacles, and by the immersion of whole leaves; and it was found by these three methods that the nitrate was more powerful than the carbonate, and the phosphate much more powerful than the nitrate; this result being intelligible from the difference in the amount of nitrogen in the first two salts, and from the presence of phosphorus in the third. It may aid the

[page] 172

reader’s faith to turn to the experiments with a solution of one grain of the phosphate to 1000 oz. of water, and he will there find decisive evidence that the one-four-millionth of a grain is sufficient to cause the inflection of a single tentacle. There is, therefore, nothing very improbable in the fifth of this weight, or the one-twenty-millionth of a grain, acting on the tentacle of a highly sensitive leaf. Again, two of the leaves in the solution of one grain to 3000 oz., and three of the leaves in the solution of one grain to 5000 oz., were affected, not only far more than the leaves tried at the same time in water, but incomparably more than any five leaves which can be picked out of the 173 observed by me at different times in water.

There is nothing remarkable in the mere fact of the one-twenty-millionth of a grain of the phosphate, dissolved in above two-million times its weight of water, being absorbed by a gland. All physiologists admit that the roots of plants absorb the salts of ammonia brought to them by the rain; and fourteen gallons of rain-water contain* a grain of ammonia, therefore only a little more than twice as much as in the weakest solution employed by me. The fact which appears truly wonderful is, that the one-twenty-millionth of a grain of the phosphate of ammonia (including less than the one-thirty-millionth of efficient matter), when absorbed by a gland, should induce some change in it, which leads to a motor impulse being transmitted down the whole length of the tentacle, causing the basal part to bend, often through an angle of above 180 degrees.

Astonishing as is this result, there is no sound reason

* Miller’s ‘Elements of Chemistry,’ part ii. p. 107, 3rd edit. 1864.

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why we should reject it as incredible. Prof. Donders, of Utrecht, informs me that from experiments formerly made by him and Dr. De Ruyter, he inferred that less than the one-millionth of a grain of sulphate of atropine, in an extremely diluted state, if applied directly to the iris of a dog, paralyses the muscles of this organ. But, in fact, every time that we perceive an odour, we have evidence that infinitely smaller particles act on our nerves. When a dog stands a quarter of a mile to leeward of a deer or other animal, and perceives its presence, the odorous particles produce some change in the olfactory nerves; yet these particles must be infinitely smaller* than those of the phosphate of ammonia weighing the one-twenty-millionth of a grain. These nerves then transmit some influence to the brain of the dog, which leads to action on its part. With Drosera, the really marvellous fact is, that a plant without any specialised nervous system should be affected by such minute particles; but we have no grounds for assuming that other tissues could not be rendered as exquisitely susceptible to impressions from without if this were beneficial to the organism, as is the nervous system of the higher animals.

* My son, George Darwin, has calculated for me the diameter of a sphere of phosphate of ammonia (specific gravity 1.678), weighing the one-twenty-millionth of a grain, and finds it to be 1/1644 of an inch. Now, Dr. Klein informs me that the smallest Micrococci, which are distinctly discernible under a power of 800 diameters, are estimated to be from .0002 to .0005 of a millimetre-that is, from 1/50800 to 1/127000 of an inch-in diameter. Therefore, an object between 1/31 and 1/77 of the size of a sphere of the phosphate of ammonia of the above weight can be seen under a high power; and no one supposes that odorous particles, such as those emitted from the deer in the above illustration, could be seen under any power of the microscope.

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by Peter Morrell
Honorary Research Associate in the History of Medicine, Staffordshire University, UK


Kents philosophy was the end of REAL medical homeopathy.


Kent also created the first coherent, persuasive and highly influential philosophy, which has largely gone unchallenged within the movement. It was formulated as a synthesis of Swedenborgian mysticism and the more romantic portions of Hahnemann’s Organon and the Miasm Theory of The Chronic Diseases [see Kent, 1900, Lectures on Homeopathic Philosophy].

However, as quickly became apparent, Kent’s homeopathy was rooted in a rather dogmatic and puritanical attitude, and seems to derive from a pedantically scholastic and uncritical reverence for everything Hahnemann wrote.

“Kentianism, then, was metaphysical, dogmatic, puritanical and millennial. Homoeopaths who failed to achieve results with the high dilutions lacked intellectual skill and rigour, as well as the moral fibre for the arduous task of identifying the simillimum. In short, so far as Kentians were concerned, the faithless were responsible for the corruption and decline of the movement.” [Treuherz, 1983]

It is also deductive and didactic and denies that the facts of the outer world are in any sense superior to, or an arbiter for, theoretical ‘principles’. In that sense it seems stubbornly medieval in its extreme deductivism. It turns its back completely on the empirical approach of scientific rationalism and thus on allopathy.

‘When a man thinks from the microscope, and his neighbor’s opinion, he thinks false-ly. Nothing good can come from this. Evil must take place, and changes, which are the ultimates of his internal thought, will take place in the body’ [Kent, 1926]

‘The microbe is not the cause of disease. We should not be carried away by these idle Allopathic dreams and vain imaginations but should correct the Vital Force'[Kent, 1926]

‘The Bacterium is an innocent feller, and if he carries disease he carries the Simple Substance which causes disease, just as an elephant would.’ [Kent, 1926]

This stubborn determination to studiously ignore the rest of medicine and the ‘ideological push’ of the last 200 years, makes it appear to the modern eye, as reactionary, hard-line and perverse.

“You cannot divorce medicine and theology. Man exists all the way down from his innermost spiritual, to his outermost natural.” [Kent, 1926]

‘Experience has a place in science, but only a confirmatory place. It can only confirm that which has been discovered through principle or law guiding in the proper direction. Experience leads to no discoveries, but when man is fully indoctrinated in principle that which he observes by experience may confirm the things that are consistent with law.’ [Kent, 1900, p.40]

This passage, which is typical of Kent, can only make sense to a follower of pure dogma; Hahnemann, for example, would have totally disagreed by saying that ‘experience’ had taught him all he knew. Science, like homeopathy, is rooted in observations and experiments in the outer world, not in the enforcement of dogmas. Kent seems to place ‘the cart before the horse’ by stressing the philosophy and principles of homeopathy over and above the simple fact that it is primarily a system of therapeutics in which the progress of the patient is always far more important than the religious [or other] beliefs of the practitioner. In every science principles derive from observations, and do not dictate them.

Maybe this ideal of detachment and emotional neutrality even science subtly fails to comply with at times. Science occasionally gainsays the event before it happens and in effect dictates the outcome or ‘spin’ which should be placed upon some experimental data. This may be based upon theoretical considerations, political or financial factors. For example, the allopathic view of most clinical trials of unorthodox medicine, can hardly be described as ‘emotionally neutral’ or detached. Someone watching a horse-race with a million dollars placed on one horse, can hardly be expected to manifest very much emotional detachment and neutrality!

However, as one of the most important homeopaths after Hahnemann, Kent has had a big influence as a theoretician, a practitioner, a writer and as a teacher of homeopathy. His influence has been especially strong on American, Indian and British homeopathy [see Nicholls, 1988, p.186], while the Continentals seem to have been largely untouched by his influence, except in Switzerland and the influence of Dr. Pierre Schmidt. In the case of India, their delight in homeopathy in general and Kentianism specifically might depend to some degree upon their own general interest in philosophical aphorisms and religious matters. Homeopathy supplies them both; Kent supplies them in profusion.

Pierre SCHMIDT (1894-1987)
(Courtesy Dr R. Séror)
Pierre SCHMIDT (1894-1987)

Georges Vithoulkas
Georges Vithoulkas

As a follower of the Christian mystical sect of Immanuel Swedenborg, Kent delivered a blend of Hahnemann’s Organon and miasm theory, spiritual forces and a crude psychology, comprising only will, understanding and intellect [see Aphorisms].Some details of Kent’s ‘psychology’ and his ‘hierarchies’ are discussed by Taylor [1997, pp.5-7], elaborated by Vithoulkas [1980, pp.23-57 and especially pp.46-7 and pp.23-25], and considered by Sharma [1995, pp.39-40].Kent approached his philosophy with typical vigour. He viewed all Hahnemann’s works and especially The Organon with a fundamentalist zeal, seeking to amplify and reinterpret every word of the Master, much like a theology scholar or biblical commentator. His Lectures On Philosophy, for example, form quite literally a rambling Swedenborgian commentary to the first half of Hahnemann’s Organon. To him these were precious and immutable homeopathic truths that it is sacrilege for anyone even to question, let alone ignore, dilute, negotiate or compromise. He even goes as far as saying:

‘A man who cannot believe in God cannot become a homoeopath.'[Kent, 1926, Aphorisms]

It is especially in Kent’s rather arrogant use of language, which hits us when reading his works, which really illustrates this fundamentalism and the precious certainty of his approach to homeopathy. The following quote from many possible ones, clearly demonstrates this:

‘…beware of the opinions of men of science. Hahnemann has given us principles… it is law that governs the world and not matters of opinion or hypotheses. We must begin by having a respect for law, for we have no starting point unless we base our propositions on law.’ [Kent, 1900, p.18]

Kent infers that homeopaths should base their whole approach upon the hard dogmatism of these ideas, which he elevates to the status of certitudes, and not upon the ever-shifting ideas of ‘mere men’. He is claiming a great authority and power behind such ‘immutable principles’, a power which like some divine form, stands ‘above and behind us’ and which we dare not abrogate or dilute for fear of one’s soul’s damnation.

As an attitude, this is so indistinguishable from that of fundamentalist religion, that it is clearly apparent how this form of homeopathy possessed, and generated for itself, so many problems with creative and imaginative people who much prefer to experiment and find truths out for themselves, eg. Samuel Hahnemann. This whole approach denies anyone the privilege or luxury of that kind of freedom. Total and unquestioning devotion to a given creed seems to be the basis of Kentianism, not reason or real-world experiment. As to whether Kent was truly a Hahnemannian homeopath see Henr 1995 and Cassam, 1999.

It is especially when he lapses into the moral sphere of homeopathy that his deep dogmatism reveals itself. When he is speaking purely about homeopathy, which is comparatively rare, he does well, but as soon as he enters human affairs, a certain clearly-recognisable ‘Bible-punching’ tone seems to shines through. As the following quotes clearly demonstrate:

‘It is law that governs the world and not matters of opinion or hypothesis. We must begin by having a respect for law…’ [Kent, 1900, p.18]

‘This means law, it means fixed principles, it means a law as certain as that of gravitation… our principles have never changed, they have always been the same and will remain the same…’ [Kent, 1900, p.28]

‘Had Psora never been established as a miasm upon the human race, the other two chronic diseases would have been impossible and susceptibility to acute diseases would have been impossible…’ [ibid. p.126]

Kent would have no dealings with allopaths nor with low-dilutionists, who were pejoratively portrayed as ‘mongrel, milk-and-water half-homeopaths’. Homeopathy was seen very dogmatically by them as pure classical homeopathy as ‘laid down in tablets of stone by the master’ or nothing. This narrow, simplistic and somewhat inflexible view of homeopathy had split American homeopathy right down the middle, causing a very acrimonious clash of ideologies. It is generally conceded that this bitter wrangling contributed significantly to the precipitous decline of homeopathy in the USA during the first half of this century [Kaufman, Coulter, Rothstein, Gevitz].



The Swedenborgian influence

To Swedenborg, the realms of nature, and particularly the body and mind of man, were theatres of divine activity…A ‘universal analogy’ existed between the various realms of creation. The physical world was symbolical of the spir-itual world and this, in turn, of God. He conceived a resonant system of hierarchies of God, universe and man. He became a theologian and established the ‘Church of the New Jerusalem’ [see Nicholls, 1988, pp.262-5; also Rankin, pp.70, 82, 94-5, 107, 112].

A Supreme Divine purpose reigned throughout creation. The life of the universe, whether physical, mental or spiritual was the activity of Divine Love. The physical universe is given its true place in the economy of creation, the womb of man’s most enduring and real life. Briefly, Swedenborg was heretical to mainstream Christianity, because he espoused that personal liberation could be won easily from an all-loving God and that ‘original sin’ was non-existent.

‘…he dispensed with the idea of original sin’, [Treuherz, 1983, p.48]

As with Paracelsus and ‘later theosophies’, the link with homeopathy is to be found in the vast hierarchies of form and spirit that he conceived as existing between God, mind and matter and penetrating throughout the universe. Kent linked all of this to the process of potentisation, the vital force and the miasms of Hahnemann, seeing them both as philosophies that fully confirm each other and which for him, married together splendidly, into a new organic creation. The following quotes from his Aphorisms more than amply illustrate this point:

‘Radiant substances have degrees within degrees, in series too numerous for the finite mind to grasp.’

‘The lower potency corresponds to a series of outer degrees, less fine and less interior than the higher.’

‘When it has passed to simple substance, the Radiant form of matter, it has infinite degrees. To express the degrees from the Outermost to the Innermost, we might say a grain of Silica is the Outermost; the Innermost is The Creator.’

‘There are degrees of fineness of the Vital Force. We may think of internal man as possessing infinite degrees and of external man as possessing finite degrees.’

‘There are degrees within degrees to infinity.’

‘Low potencies can cure acute diseases because acute diseases act upon the outermost degree of the Simple Substance and the body. In chronic disease the trouble is deeper seated, and the degrees are finer, hence the remedy must be reduced to finer or higher degrees so as to be similar to the degrees of chronic disease.’

Swedenborg composed a ‘theory of correspondences or connections between the visible and invisible worlds’, [Fontana Dictionary of Modern Thought, 1981, p.617]. The James family including Henry and William were Swedenborgians and in Massachusetts and East Coast ‘among its adherents [were] most of the social, intellectual and business elite.’ [Coulter, vol. 3, pp.467-8; see also Winston, 1999, pp.166-7]. At that time, many of the ‘Transcendentalists’, led by Emerson, were very taken with philosophies like Swedenborg’s.

Henry James 1843-1916
Henry James 1843-1916
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)
William Blake (1757-1827)
Self portrait of
William Blake (1757-1827)
sweden03.jpg (5967 octets)
Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772)

Another important adherent was Dr. John James Garth Wilkinson [1812-99] who was a big friend of Henry James senior. Wilkinson had trained at Hahnemann College Philadelphia and published several books on the sect. Indeed, many people were attracted to Swedenborg’s ideas, including the English artist and poet William Blake [see F Treuherz, 1983, The Homeopaths, 4:2, winter 1983, Heklae Lava or the Influence of Swedenborg on Homeopathy, p.36-7 [pp.35-53; see also Barrow, 1985]; re Blake see Ackroyd, 1994:

‘[Blake]… picked up separate ideas, or fragments of knowledge, as he needed them. He was a synthesiser and a systematiser, like so many of his generation, but it was his own synthesis designed to establish his own system of belief… he borrowed notions from Swedenborg or Paracelsus. He was above everything else an artist and not an orthodox thinker’ [Ackroyd, p.90]

‘…Blake has picked up elements of Thomas Taylor’s Neoplatonism as well as Swedenborgian doctrine and some alchemical terminology. Everything upon the earth has a spiritual correspondence, and the world itself is inspired with the breath of divine humanity.’ [Ackroyd, p.116]

‘Blake was very clear about his spiritual ancestors. He told John Flaxman that ‘Paracelsus and Behmen appeared to me’, but their arrival meant he turned away from Swedenborg. ‘Swedenborg’s writings are a recapitulation of all superficial opinions, and an analysis of the more sublime, but no further. Have now another plain fact: any man of mechanical talents may from the writings of Paracelsus or Jacob Behmen, produce ten thousand volumes of equal value with Swedenborg’s.’ It is true that the writings of Paracelsus and Boehme [Behmen] do seem to come from a purer spring of spiritual revelation than those of Swedenborg…’ [Ackroyd, p.147]

‘..many critics have noticed how intimately the ‘Marriage of Heaven and Hell’ is related to Blake’s movement from Swedenborg towards Boehme and Paracelsus…’ [Ackroyd, p.15]

‘…there is no doubt that the ‘Marriage’ represents Blake’s most serious attack upon Swedenborg and Swedenborgians…’ [Ackroyd, p.153]

There are definite links with other forms of American Transcendentalism in the 19th century especially the Romantic literary figures like Thoreau, Hawthorne and Emerson.

Henry David Thoreau (1817-1882)
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1882)

The teachings of Swedenborg are especially reflected in Kent’s ‘Lectures on Homeopathic Philosophy’, where they are shaken up with parts of Hahnemann’s Organon to form an attractive but baffling cocktail of ideas. Before his death, he published three main works: ‘Repertory’, ‘Lecture on Materia Medica’, ‘Lectures On Philosophy’. He also edited the ‘Journal of Homeopathics’ from 1897 to 1903: seven volumes, constituting the lectures which he gave to advanced doctors and personal articles. Kent’s writings on Philosophy and Materia Medica were published in this journal before they came out in book form. After his death a collection of aphorisms, lesser writings and notes and cases was published [1926, ‘Lesser Writings, New Remedies, Aphorisms, etc.’].

Kent seemed to emphasise a rather tenuous link between religion and science and this spilled out into a form of hard, dogmatic, fundamentalist creed. There seemed to be no middle ground, no shade of grey.

Presumably this approach worked well in the USA at that time and held converts of homeopathy together. Over here it tended to make Kentian homeopaths look rather strange and to set homeopathy itself even further apart from mainstream allopathy than before. Once the Kentian creed became the official, legitimised creed of the BHS [c.1910-60] then it seemed that one had to be like that in order to practise any form of homeopathy. This tended to push homeopathy as a subject, even further out on a limb from allopathy than before, and thus no further dialogue between them became possible.

“In practice, Kentian homeopathy was, according to Wheeler, ‘slightly contemptuous of any attempt to make terms with other medical knowledge regarding, as it were, the teaching as something so transcendental that no reasoned explanations are likely to have any validity.”

It is of interest that Dr. Percy Hall-Smith, in 1930, a member of the BHS, said:

“My own conviction is that our teaching is not sufficiently practical, and the approach unduly philosophical, and too far removed from the line of thought of the average doctor… It requires a rather special type of mind and outlook to swallow at the first blush undiluted ‘Kentian principles’. The average mind trained on a more materialistic basis is liable to be repelled by such teaching at the outset. “

Dr Gordon Smith [Faculty]:

“But for high dilution, the man of the 200th potency is nowhere, he is still among the crudities of posology. For we have brethren who are not happy till they get to the 10,000th, and even then they are not quite at home, they deem the 100,000th a good point to start from, and hence upwards to anything you like… I am satisfied in my mind that the 100,000th potency or dilution made according to, and by, the Hahnemannian method has never yet been seen on our planet. And if it should some day make its appearance, someone will have spent much time over its preparation which might have been employed to better purpose.”

Kent’s Obituary appeared in the BHJ 6, 1916, pp. 337, 541. As Kent himself implies, in order to be a good homeopath one must also be a good Swedenborgian first! This idea is relatively easy to illustrate from looking at his writings, which are packed with aphoristic certitudes.


Kent’s Morality

Disease might be seen as an entirely human phenomenon. It probably also reflects the fact that nature ‘in the raw’ is in a state of near-perfect balance and harmony, which contrasts with the many conflicts and disharmonies of the world of human affairs.

We can also argue that perhaps it is the ‘moral uprightness’ of animals which protects them from disease. By ‘moral uprightness’ I mean their purity and the way they stick very strictly to their received pathways in life, never deviating from ingrained habit patterns and conventionalised patterns of accepted behaviour. By contrast, humans seem to lack these ingrained habit patterns and to conduct themselves in various diverse ways driven on according to their own innate willpower. No doubt Kent, and other religious moralists, would tend to regard ‘the way you live your life’ as being very intimately bound up with the quality of such a life [on a spiritual basis] and its relative ‘sickness’ with regard to the possible experience of suffering, symptoms and signs of disorder, imbalance and disease. Such moralists, as we shall see, do regard disease as having a moral dimension, and of very largely deriving from slack morals.

Kent took the view that the basis for this human ‘origin’ of disease is moral. That means that we have disease because we have lost a moral order for our lives, and that it is a direct and inevitable result. Are the two equated at all?

We don’t have to search very hard to find a mass of moral ideas within homeopathy which illustrate how puritanical and moralising homeopaths tend to be. The following quotes from Kent’s Lectures and from his Lesser Writings reveal a very rich seam of such material:

“You cannot divorce medicine and theology. Man exists all the way down from his innermost spiritual to his outermost natural” [Kent, 1926, Lesser Writings, p.641]

“A man who cannot believe in God cannot become a homeopath.” [ibid., p.671]

‘The body became corrupt because man’s interior will became corrupt.’ [ibid., p.681]

‘Man… becomes disposed to sickness by doing evil, through thinking wrong…’ [ibid., p.664]

‘Psora is the evolution of the state of man’s will, the ultimates of sin.’ [ibid., p.654]

‘This outgrowth, which has come upon man from living a life of evil willing, is Psora.’ [ibid., p.654]

‘Thinking, willing and doing are the 3 things in life from which finally proceed the chronic miasms.’ [ibid., p.654]

‘…had Psora never been established as a miasm upon the human race… susceptibility to acute diseases would have been impossible… it is the foundation of all sickness.’ [Kent, 1900, p.126]

‘Psora… is a state of susceptibility to disease from willing evils.’ [ibid., p.135]

‘The human race today walking the face of the earth, is but little better than a moral leper. Such is the state of the human mind at the present day. To put it another way everyone is Psoric.’ [ibid., p.135]

‘Psora… would not exist in a perfectly healthy race.’ [ibid., p.133]

‘As long as man continued to think that which was true and held that which was good to the neighbour, that which was uprightness and justice, so long man remained free from disease, because that was the state in which he was created.’ [ibid., p.134]

‘The internal state of man is prior to that which surrounds him; therefore, the environment is not the cause…’ [ibid., p.136]

‘Diseases correspond to man’s affections, and the diseases upon the human race today are but the outward expression of man’s interiors… man hates his neighbour, he is willing to violate every commandment; such is the state of man today. This state is represented in man’s diseases.’ [ibid., p.136]

‘The Itch is looked upon as a disgraceful affair; so is everything that has a similar correspondence; because the Itch in itself has a correspondence with adultery…’ [ibid., p.137]

‘How long can this thing go on before the human race is swept from the earth with the results of the suppression of Psora?’ [ibid., pp.137-8]

‘Psora is the beginning of all physical sickness… is the underlying cause and is the primitive or primary disorder of the human race.’ [ibid., p.126]

‘…for it goes to the very primitive wrong of the human race, the very first sickness of the human race that is the spiritual sickness… which in turn laid the foundation for other diseases. [ibid., p.126]

It seems pretty clear from these quotes that Kent took a very puritanical and moral line about the origins of disease within the human race and he apparently felt that Psora was equivalent to Original Sin or the Fall of Man. That is the clear implication of the above remarks he made. He got himself into this very strange position very largely from insisting that homeopathy necessarily involves a religious dimension which places a moral duty upon the practitioner, and thus the homeopath has a morally redeeming influence through cure. Thus he viewed the homeopath as a Godly saviour who dispenses spiritual as well as physical cures; and that illness stems from a corrupted state of man, which homeopathy can cure. Kent’s logic is rather like…’all sick men are bad; Socrates is sick, therefore Socrates is bad’. And he also contends:

‘all sickness originates from internal causes; internal causes are spiritual; therefore all sickness has a spiritual basis’

And then from there he equates internal and spiritual causes as the miasms. Thus in his view the miasms are to be viewed as internal spiritual sins, or derivatives of them.

He also avers another line of argument:

‘all disease causes [inner world] are invisible and nebulous; all potentised remedies are of a similar nature; thus potentised substance, and especially the higher potencies, are the only means of curing disease [by reaching into the subtle interior realm of disease causes]’

This also leads to his oft-repeated adage of ‘the higher the deeper’. This probably also forms the basis for his strong advocacy and use of the very highest potencies. In this manner we can analyse and dissect Kent’s brand of homeopathy.

Like the Mediaeval Churchmen, Kent shows a remarkable devotion to deductive logic and an apparent ignorance of induction or of knowledge based upon experiment, data and the evidence of the senses, to which he also remains either oblivious or contemptuous. There are some good parallels between Kent and Thomas Aquinas [1225-74] in that both treat their subject matter with immense reverence as received dogma which cannot even be questioned, and then build upon that base their towers of speculation and philosophy. Both also tend in the direction of rigid dogmatism, excessive preciousness and zealous devotion to ‘truth’ as received dogma, not as freedom of thought or experimentation, towards which both seem utterly opposed.

Kent, like many others seems to regard illness as an unwanted evil, obtained through contamination, which must be ‘cleansed’ out of the system by the healer. In most cultures the healer is thus regarded as an agent of divine assistance, a cleanser, or purifier of souls.

Kent seems to have causally linked together two otherwise distinct and separate observations, which may not be causally connected at all. Is it really true that lack of morals leads to disease? Are the sick to be viewed as bad? And the bad as sick? And what of those who die of cancer, disfigured by arthritis, ravaged by Human BSE, muscular dystrophy or MS? Are we to truly believe they ‘deserved’ those illnesses? And to have reaped what they have sown? Or is this all a nonsense? It is so very hard to say. Perhaps Kent has mistaken ‘moral rectitude’ with health and purity and hence concluded that disease must therefore stem, pretty fundamentally, from an amoral or immoral position. But it is surely quite a different thing to arrive at such a conclusion from sustained observation and contemplation of the natural world, than it is by deciding that is the way things have to be, because some religious dogmas say so.


Henry N. Guernsey, M.D. A case

The following article on clinical cases was originally published in “The Hahnemannian Monthly” Volume 6,   August 1870.

Clinical Experience

By Henry N. Guernsey,M.D.

Case 1.  Mrs. A., of Delware, called on me a few weeks since, complaining of what she termed dyspepsia. Upon asking her to relate her symptoms in the order of their severity as it seemed to her, she replied, that a feeling of emptiness or goneness in her stomach discomforted her more than anything else, but she thought it of no account, as she vomited all her food soon after taking it, and she would naturally feel emptiness and goneness from want of food. I desired her to state merely facts, and I would draw my own conclusions. She replied: “It is a fact that I vomit nearly all my food; I have a painful sensation of emptiness in my stomach all the time; my sleep is broken and does not refresh me, my bowels are very costive, the stools being knotty and very difficult, and they have scarcely been moved for two years without an injection, and I do not think they would be moved now at all without an injection; my urine is cloudy and offensive, and a hard crust settles, that it is difficult to scrape from the vessel; I am very weak and miserable, have spent over two hundred dollars during the past two years for medicine, and despair of becoming any better; but I was compelled by my husband to consult you.”

I always prescribe sepia when a train of symptoms like the above in italics occur in a single case. In this case I gave the patient a few pellets of Sepia 55 m, dry on her tongue, and three packages containing twelve powders each of sac.lac.; one to be taken every night; and enjoined upon her that she should on no account resort to any more injections or other measures for the relief of her bowels, or of other symptoms, and to report to me in forty days. She thought she would not live to see me again if she were to leave off taking injections.

A few days ago she reported that she had not vomited since seeing me, her vowels had become regular very soon, and that she had no need of injections; indeed, she said, she got well so fast her husband was frightened. He was coming to the city that day on business, and he wished her to come and ask particularly what had been the matter, as she had been so sick so long, and now had gotten so well so soon. He did not understand it.

Sepia 55m, a single dose, always produces similar results in similar cases, if plenty of time is allowed the single dose to act. I do not give my experience hastily, nor base it on a single case. I only delineate my path where it has been well trodden; that others may follow it is safety.


Desires Refreshing things-What do you mean?

I present this post  originally posted by Vera Resnick on her blog.

One of the things Vladimir Polony and myself try to do, is explain what we learned when researching the meaning of words in the Therapeutic Pocket Book during translation to English. The meaning of words have change tremendously since the 19th century. Vera did some research on the word erquickendem and gives her finding below. I would also like to add one description that was found in our research, and that was “nervous stimulation”. In itself it means nothing but when combined with other phrases, a rounded comprehension of the meaning can be deciphered. We also refer to each remedy noted in the rubric, and see how the symptom is described, and compare with the other remedies.


A refreshing cuppa char!

A refreshing cuppa char!

Yesterday I was working on a case of a 17-year-old girl who has an eating problem . She does not seem to be anorexic, but has difficulty with eating.

–   She does not get hungry – she gets stomach cramps which is how she knows she must eat. She also gets a “mouth” sensation that she wants something “with a lot of taste”, but when questioned it turned out that some of the foods she likes that fall into this category include pasta with olive oil and mild flavouring, cheese Danish, and similar. Her concept of “a lot of taste” did not mean highly spiced or strongly flavoured.

–   After she has eaten a small amount, she feels both full and disgusted with the food she has eaten.

I mentioned this case to Gary, and he asked “have you considered the rubric for desires refreshing food?”

Remedies for this rubric: Carb-an, Caust, Cocc, M-art, Ph-ac, Phos., Puls., Rheum, Valer.

The word “refreshing” has always put me in mind of watermelon, cucumber salad, chilled fruit juice, or (like the Brit I am), a strong cup of tea. But however much I love a really good shepherd’s pie, I have never considered it “refreshing”. However Gary’s question got me thinking: what does “refreshing” mean? And are the foods and drinks that come under this definition more or less objective – or is it an issue of why the patient requires a food (to refresh himself), rather than the nature of the food itself?

In this particular case I had considered remedies such as Lyc, Calc and Puls – which I had given to the patient on several occasions but which had never quite touched this symptom.

I did some research. The original German word is “erquickendem”, which a German linguist informed me is probably connected to Middle English terminology of “the quick and the dead”. Looking at thesaurus options for the word “refreshing”, I came across words such as “revive”, “restorative”, and I found myself remembering soporific events which people attended lured in by the hallowed words “refreshments will be served”… which often were far from refreshing in the sense I had understood it, unless insipid tea and dry buns fit the description.

I’m also reminded of the way my father would say  sitting back in his chair after eating something substantial that he had really enjoyed, “that was fit to revive the dead…”.

Back to our (refreshing?) onions…
I took two rubrics in this case:
Hunger and Thirst, Desire, Refreshing (306)
Hunger and Thirst, Hunger, Appetite without (274)

screenshot refreshing post

These rubrics led me to Rheum, a remedy I had not considered at all in this case. The Materia Medica Pura includes these symptoms, amongst others, and in general Rheum reads very well for many of the other symptoms in this case.

49. Great appetite, but the food though tasting nice soon becomes repugnant. [Gss.]
50.  Whilst he loathes certain things (such as fat, insipid food), appetite for a variety of things, but he cannot eat much of them, for they immediately become repugnant. [Gss.]
51. The food does not taste right, and soon becomes repugnant, though he has tolerable appetite. [Gss.]
52. Anorexia.
53. Hunger, but no appetite.
54. He feels qualmish (squeamish, loathing and inclined to vomit).

There are two issues that I wanted to highlight in presenting this case:

1. Our understanding of remedies and symptoms are inevitably complicated by nuance of language, by the way the sensations are literally lost in translation, first from the sensation itself into spoken language, and second from one language to others. This applies both in the way our patients report their symptoms, and in the way the symptoms of the provers were reported as presented in the Materia Medica. It emphasizes the need to look at older meanings of words we may think we understand when using the repertory and when reading provings on which the repertory was based. And it also means that we have to use the question “what exactly do you mean by that” frequently in our case-taking.

2. The repertorization is not intended to summarize the case in two rubrics, and in this example, not even to identify all the most important aspects of this case. It is really a tool,  intended to find some essential salient elements that will point a guiding finger towards relevant remedies that we need to look at in the Materia Medica.