Medicine's Greatest Unknown Genius
Christian Friedrich Samuel Hahnemann was born on April 10, 1755. He graduated from the University of Erlangen in Bavaria in 1779 with the degree of Doctor of Medicine. He was fluent in German, French, Spanish, English, Latin, Greek and Hebrew. He was an accomplished medical translator and master chemist.
Hahnemann was the first medical reformer to urge the need for improved public hygiene, a sensible diet, regular exercise, fresh air, adequate sleep, decent housing and sewage treatment. At one point he occupied the post of Medical Officer of Health for the city of Dresden, and was a Professor of Medicine at the University of Leipzig in 1812.
It is only through reading Hahnemann’s early essays and his 1810 opus the Organon of Rational Medicine that one discovers that he was decades ahead of Koch and Pasteur in recognizing the role that microbes played in the transmission of disease. Moreover, Hahnemann’s writings on chronic disease reveal that he was the first to explore the possible role of inherited (genetic) disease on successive generations, long before the isolation of RNA or DNA.
He was also the first person to cure mental illness through compassion and understanding in an age when psychiatric patients were routinely physically and mentally abused.
Samuel Hahnemann is mostly acknowledged as the only person to have created and developed a complete system of medicine in the course of his lifetime—homeopathy—a science and art with principles that have stood the test of time for over two centuries.
Homeopathy is also unique for being the first system of Western medicine that is not only holistic (meaning that it treats the whole person, not just standalone symptoms), but also acknowledges and accepts a mind/body connection that predates any conventional medical consideration by at least a century.
Superficial views of homeopathic methodology regularly misconstrue the concept of “like cures like” into something other than the intended principle that a substance that can produce symptoms in a healthy person will cure those same symptoms when a micro-dose of the same substance is given to a sick one. And mere dilution of this substance is not the key to the operation of the remedy; it is serial dilutions with succussion—shaking with impact—at each step that activates the molecular energy of the starting material. This is a rather sophisticated process that requires pristine laboratory conditions and quality control.
The homeopathic view is that the human body expresses symptoms as a signpost of an underlying problem or cause. It does not view symptoms as the enemy—more like “thanks for the heads up!” that allows a homeopath to determine which remedy is best suited to the patient. Years of homeopathic clinical study have shown that symptom suppression can lead to more serious health problems, e.g. the suppression of skin eruptions can result in a patient developing asthma.
The focus of conventional drugs is symptom suppression. There is no intention or expectation of true cure, and that never happens in the case of long-term or chronic illness. Unless the patient is lucky enough to experience spontaneous remission, all they can hope for is symptom management, with the likelihood of ever-increasing doses of medication to achieve the same effect, with a gradual worsening of the disease condition until death. There is also the very real and bothersome issue of negative, unwanted effects (misnamed “side effects”) that range from mild to severe/fatal.
Homeopathic medicines can also have undesirable effects—a worsening of the patient’s symptoms, or the development of symptoms caused by the medicine! This is why professional homeopaths require years of education and training to recognize which is which and know how to avoid or rectify the problem to prevent unnecessary suffering in their patients. Detractors who claim that homeopathic remedies are “just water,” to use a cliché, are all wet.
Samuel Hahnemann’s genius eclipses that of many better-known historical figures, yet he has largely been treated as non-existent in popular medical histories. One can only assume that this bias is purely intentional.
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