Hahnemann

Bradford described Hahnemann as,

“Scholar whom scholars honoured and respected
physician whom physicians feared
philogist with whom philogists dreaded to dispute
chemist who taught chemists
philosopher whom neither adversity nor honour had power to change.

Samuel Hahnemann-Life history 1755-1843

Samuel Hahnemann was born on April 10th, 1755 at Meissan in Germany. His full name was Samuel Christian Fredrich Hahnemann. His father’s name was Christian Gottfried Hahnemann and mother’s, Johanna Christiane. Gotfried Hahnemann worked in a porcelain factory, Meissen pottery.

Student days of Hahnemann

He studied in Meissan school. He was very brilliant in his studies and was authorized to teach the rudiments of Greek to the other students of the school. Due to the financial difficulties his father sent him as an apprentice to a grocery store in Leipsic. But Magister Muller the head of the school and the other teachers urged his father to allow his son to return to the school to continue studies free of fees.

After completing school studies, he left for Leipsic for higher studies. By this age he was well versed in Greek, Latin, English, Italian, Hebrew, Syrian, Arabic, Spanish, German, and little bit of Chaldaic languages. So translation and tuition was his main income during this period. During this time he translated John Stedman’s Physiological experiments and Observations, and Nugent’s Hydrophobia, Falkoner’s on mineral waters and warm baths(2 vol).

His Character

His Medical study was in Vienna. One day his hard earned money was stolen by one of his acquaintances. He was in acute financial crisis that time. Hahnemann knew the culprit and never disclosed his name when asked. Hahnemann was of opinion that, Repentance demands forgiveness. After discovery of homoeopathy he was attacked mentally and physically by the physician’s of the old school. About this he wrote, “Physicians are my brethren. I have nothing against them personally.

Hahnemann got master’s degree in medicine(MD) at the age of 24 years from Erlangen University. His thesis was A consideration of the etiology and therapeutics of spasmodic affection. Besides Medicine, he was very interested in languages,botany and chemistry. So he made special studies in botany under Royal physician Dr Schreber. His interest in chemistry brought him into contact with Haesler’s Pharmacy.

Marriage

He married Haesler’s step daughter Henriette Leopoldine Kuechler on 17th November 1782. In 1783 his first child, a daughter, Henriette was born. He began to practice in Hettstedt town. During this time, he accepted the post of Medical Officer in Gommern near Magdeburg. His writings at this time were published in a journal named Kreb’s Medical Observations. Soon he is dissatisfied with the medical profession. His scientific and analytical mind couldn’t tolerate many of the methods in the allopathy that time. Bleeding and leeching were common that days. And there is no fixed law and principles. His indignation and dissatisfaction with the medical practice of his time was best expressed in his own words in his essay Aesculapius in balance (1805).

He understood that the medical practice is doing more harm than good. So he gave up his practice and began to study literatures in medical profession, chemistry, and botany. He was completely absorbed in reading and translation during this period.

He translated the French Chemists book (2 vol) named The wholesale manufacture of chemicals or the science of preparing chemical products in factories. He added numerous footnotes, additional supplements, independent references etc. During the year 1785-1789, he translated more than 2300 printed pages. In 1793, he was mentioned in Crell’s Chemical Annals as The famous analytical chemist. During the period 1790-1792 he wrote 4700 printed pages.

Discovery Of Homoeopathy

In 1790 Hahnemann was translating the famous book A Treatise On Materia Medica in 2 Volumes by William Cullen of Edinburgh University, a renowned authority of his time on the subject. According to him cinchona cures malarial fever due to its tonic effect on stomach. Hahnemann couldn’t accept this theory. to test the truth he started taking 4 drachmas of cinchona bark juice daily. The malarial fever like symptoms appeared in succession within few days. Here Hahnemann sensed the law of cure. He started experiment on himself with various drugs. From continues experiment, he invented the truth that every drugs causes its own peculiar symptoms and conditions in healthy human being and cure can be possible by application of same drugs in similar situations. During 1790 to 1805 he published over 5500 printed pages. In 1796 he published an essay titled an essay on a new principle for ascertaining the curative power of drugs and some examinations of the previous principles. He urged medical profession to observe the nature and its curing methods by numerous examples. The age-old theory was Contraia Contraris Currantur, applying opposites to cure.(eg-Purgatives in constipation,etc). Hahnemann understood that the nature’s law of cure ie; Similia Similibus Currantur(Let like be cured by likes) is superior by constant experiments and observations. He and his followers proved many drugs upon themselves and there by emergence of a new system, Homoeopathy based on natural law of cure. The word Homoeopathy is derived from Homos means same and pathos means diseases. Thus 1796 is considered to be the birth year of Homoeopathy. He called his system Homoeopathy in contrast to the prevailing system which he named Allopathy.

In 1805, Hahnemann published his first book on homoeopathic Materia Medica, in Latin language and titled it Fragmenta De Viribis Medicamentorum Positivis Sive In Sano Corpore Humano Observatis. It had 2 parts. The first part consists of 27 medicines(269 pages) and the second part its index (470 pages).

The same year he published his first book on principles on homoeopathy, Medicine of experience.In 1810 Organon of the Rational Art Of Healing was published.

Opposition to Homoeopathy

New theories are formulated and many drugs were proved. A new medical system born. Even though it was on a toddler stage, the prevailing Medical system feared it. There was continuous attack on Hahnemann. He had to run from city to city. Once on the run his carriage got accident and one of his daughters died. The Apothecaries Guild, an association of pharmacists, filed complaint against Hahnemann for dispensing his own medicine and Govt. banned him doing so on Nov 30th 1820. Hahnemann was fined 20 thalers for violating the law by dispensing his own medicine.

Thirteen physicians of Leipsic published a long essay in a news paper,Leipzeger zeitung against Hahnemann. Some Drs attempted to drive Hahnemann out of Leipsic by physical force. But people of Leipsic and some Drs failed this movement.

But during this time itself, Hahnemann was allowed to give lectures at Leipsic University twice a week on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 2 to 3 P.M. About the attitude of the opponents of homoeopathy at the University, Hartmann wrote;

Perpetual revelry from the students, poisonous look from most of the professors, anxious desire of everybody to avoid more intimate intercourse with us-as if we were infected with some pestilential eruption.  However, it was from Leipsic University, Hahnemann got some dedicated disciples. He was able to form a group of drug provers from them. They bear all the tortures, harassment, punishment, ostracism and other form of penalties and hardships. Hahnemann endured every bit of meanness with grace and determination. In preface to second edition of Organon Of Medicine(1819), he wrote; Physicians are my brethren. I have nothing against them personally.

He said further,  I care nothing for the ingratitude and persecution which have pursued me on my wearisome pilgrimage. The great object I have pursued have prevented my life from being joyless.

In 1882, Hahnemann’s famous classic, chronic diseases, their nature and homoeopathic cure, was published. Hahnemann revised Organon 6 times, but only 5 edition is published during his life time.

In 1830 his wife Johanna Henriette mother of his eleven children died after 48 years of happy married life. She was with him during the period of hardship and she left him when the goddess of fortune turned around him.

In 1834 a charming French lady Marie Melanie De Hervilly came to consult him. She was an artist, rich, and famous. They are attracted by each other and married on 1835. Hahnemann was 80 years then and his wife 35. Melanie took Hahnemann to France. Hahnemann was granted the right to practice Homoeopathy in Paris. In France, Hahnemann received the reward of his years of trials and tribulations, hardships, and hunger, struggles, and starvation.

In his life time, he discovered a new system, formulated its principles and proved many medicines and wrote the Materia medica Pura and saw his books translated in many languages, witnessed homoeopathy spreading far off countries. His life mission accomplished, a mission which no other medical man, or founder of a system of treatment ever achieved. His words of last years come true,

“I am not lived in vain.

In his monument in Paris, the following inscription is written,

Standing between the inorganic
And the organic world
Uniting them for the benefit of sick;
Earning their gratitude,
Looking towards eternity
Samuel Hahnemann,
Benefactor of mankind”