I was introduced to the healing arts by Dr Manning Strahl (1910–1974), who was a master of the manual arts, Chinese acupuncture, Mesmerism and Homœopathy. He was of German ancestry and born in the USA. As a young man he joined the army and he did two tours in China, the first in 1928 and the second in 1936. He travelled throughout the country where he met Taoist practitioners and Buddhist monks. When World War II broke out he was forced to leave China by the invading Japanese army. After returning to the USA he served in Europe with General Patton at the Battle of the Bulge. After the war Dr Strahl decided to study natural healing in southern California where he learned the Chiropractic and Osteopathic systems.
Dr Strahl was a student of the famous Indian yogi, Paramahansa Yogananda, who lived in the USA from 1925 until his passing in 1952. He was also a close friend of Aldous Huxley and other luminaries in the consciousness movement during the 1950s and 1960s. Dr Strahl was an engaged and open-minded person who was a student of healing his entire career. I met Dr Strahl when I was a young man and the great teacher took me under his wing as his last student.
I was originally taught the American tradition of Classical Homœopathy and was familiar with the writing of luminaries like James Kent, T. F. Allen, H. C. Allen, J. H. Allen, S. Close and C. M. Boger et al. I had heard of the Founder, Samuel Hahnemann, and the Organon but mostly through references in the works of other homœopaths. The first time I read the Organon it was the Boericke 6th Edition. I immediately resonated with the statements about likes cure likes, the single remedy, the minimal dose and the potentized medicine. The passages on the vital force were inspiring and immediately useful for clinical observation. Nevertheless, much of the text was too deep for my limited knowledge and the posology sections were very hard for me to understand.
It was my practice to administer a single dose in a random number of dry pills and wait and watch until there was a clear relapse of symptoms. In the 6th Organon Hahnemann spoke of using the medicinal solution, divided doses and repeating the remedy at suitable intervals to speed the cure when necessary. This was all new to me and most of the material just flew right over my head. I decided to put the Organon aside for the time being and started to read everything I could about Hahnemann, Boenninghausen and Hering and other first generation homœopaths. In their works I found many references to the Organon, which were very insightful. This made me want to read the entire work again.
The next time I took up the Organon, I discovered that there were six editions that spanned the years 1810 to 1842–43. Each of these serial publications built on the preceding work as Hahnemann developed his new healing art over a period of 33 years. When I reread the Organon I began to see that the paragraphs were presenting a sophisticated system that I did not truly understand. Kent viewed remedial powers as a “simple substance” that had quality but no quantity so the size of the dose and the delivery system of the remedy did not matter. Hahnemann, however, viewed remedial powers as quantum energies in which the nature of the delivery system (pills, oral solution and olfaction), the potency (degrees of dilution and succussions) and the amounts (number of pills, drops, teaspoons and amount of vapor) were all important. Such issues troubled me day and night. Nevertheless, I could not find one single homœopath that knew of these novel methods let alone practiced them. Why were we giving indiscriminate amounts of dry pills when Hahnemann wrote passage after passage on numerous posology factors and their effects on case management?
The Organon is not written in an A to Z fashion like a modern textbook. It is the last of the medical classics and is written in the form of 291 aphorisms. Each aphorism builds on the understanding of the previous maxims as Hahnemann develops the cardinal themes. The key points are introduced in a specific order and then reintroduced on a deeper level as the themes unfold. One needs to contemplate the meaning of each aphorism before proceeding to the next passage. It became obvious to me that this was not a user manual that one read once and then put it away. One has to study the maxims and then put them into practice stage by stage to gather experience in the methods. It is in the clinic that the Organon comes to life when one applies the principles and praxis carefully. I knew I had to try but I did not know where to start.
Around this time I decided to carry my education into the field and I left on a trip around the world. I had heard that there were a number of experienced homœopaths in India and I wanted to see firsthand how they practiced in Third World conditions. While in India I decided to read the Organon for a third time. I came across a copy of The Organon of Medicine 5th & 6th Editions, which is based on Dudgeon’s translation of the 5th edition and Boericke’s translation of the 6th edition. After comparing the passages of the 5th and 6th editions I finally got a grasp of the differences between the administration of the centesimal and the 50 millesimal potencies. This work also possesses some important aphorisms taken from the first, second, third and fourth editions of the Organon. I was flabbergasted by my lack of understanding and a “fever-like state” came over me where I could not eat, sleep or wake without thinking about the subject.
To my great surprise I found that the way I was taught to practice was not in the 5th Organon either! I finally came to realize that the Homœopathy I was practicing was most similar to the 3rd and 4th Organoninstead of the 5th and 6th editions. Why was I practicing the Homœopathy of the 1820s when Hahnemann lived through the 1830s and into the 1840s and published two more editions of the Organon? Why were the techniques that Hahnemann used in his last ten years virtually unknown? I decided it was time for me to get to the root of the matter so I began a new series of clinical experiments.
My plan was to run a trial of the methods of the 4th, 5th and 6th editions of the Organon and compare the results over a longer period of time. This meant I would compare the use of the centesimal potency in a dry dose as suggested in the first edition of The Chronic Diseases (1828) and the 4th Organon (1829) with the results of using the medicinal solution of the 5th Organon(1833) and the split doses of the preface of the 1837 edition of The Chronic Diseases. This trial was spread out over a period of around one year when I was treating hundreds of patients. At the same time, I began to investigate the mysterious 50 millesimal potencies of the 6th Organon (c. 1842–43).
The pharmaceutical manufacture of the centesimal potency is based on a dilution ratio of 1/100. The 50 millesimal potencies (0/1 to 0/30) are based on a dilution ratio of 1/50,000. I decided that I would have to make my own potency of Sulphur by following the instructions found in aphorism 270 of the sixth edition. It didn’t take long before I had a chance to use my new LM potency of Sulphur. During a village campaign I contracted scabies when examining patients in the rural community. The site of the primary infection was in the web between my thumb and index finger on my right hand. Could I treat one of the grossest forms of psora under these difficult conditions rapidly and gently?
I decided I should take my homemade Sulphur 0/1 in a single test dose. The reaction to this dose was so striking that I did not repeat the remedy. I was pleasantly surprised when the entire eruption healed within a period of three days. I had used the C potency in the dry dose with some success but I had never seen such an ugly lesion heal so fast. Since that time I have found it relatively easy to cure scabies even in households of doubtful hygiene. Many times I have cleared entire families with internal remedies quickly and effectively without reinfection. Although I have come into contact with scabies many times I have never caught the itch mite again.
To begin an extensive clinical trial of the LM potency I would need at least a collection of the most well proven medicines. I began to search for a source of the remedies and could only find odd potencies such as the 0/6, 0/14, 0/21, etc. From what I had read in the 6th Organon this approach made little sense as Hahnemann spoke of starting with the lowest degrees and moving upward potency by potency. All the pharmacists and doctors I spoke to did not seem to know very much about the 50 millesimal potencies. They did not have the most important potencies, which are the 0/1, 0/2, 0/3, etc. To make my own LM remedies by hand would take years so I began to search for a pharmacy where I could get a full set of serial potencies from 0/1 to 0/30.
Finally, a doctor in New Delhi told me that there were very experienced homœopaths using the 50 millesimal potencies in Calcutta, West Bengal. I decided that it was time for me to visit the far eastern parts of India, meet LM prescribers, and try to get a complete remedy kit. On arriving in Calcutta I was told that Hahnemann Pharmacy made LM potencies. This pharmacy has a reputation for quality so I immediately took a taxi to the address. I was pleased to see that I could get around 100 of the most important remedies from them in 0/1, etc. This was a very busy firm with a long queue for making orders. When I got to the front of the line I was told it would take several weeks to fill my order. I would have to return on the agreed date and then I would receive my new potencies. I told him that I lived on the far western border of the county and I would have to travel thousands of kilometers back and forth to Calcutta but I quickly found out there were no exceptions to the rules.
On the allotted day I returned to the Hahnemann Pharmacy to find that they had lost my order. They said I could reorder but it would take weeks. I began to protest the situation when an older, very distinguished looking doctor approached and said “Do not worry; I know where you can get excellent LM potencies without all these botherations”. He told me to go and meet Dr Harimohan Choudhury, who had many years of experience using the 6th Organon methods. As I made my way through the crowded streets of the City of Joy, I wondered what it would be like to practice Homœopathy in such an environment. I finally found the right building and walked up the stairs through the hot, humid atmosphere into the crowded office of Dr Choudhury. He had over thirty years of experience with the LM potency and was surrounded a group of young doctors and a room full of patients.
The senior homœopath greeted me in polite Bengali Indian-English and immediately started to ask my opinion about some of the cases around him. He was already trying to put me to work. I thought to myself, “This gentleman wastes no time”. Dr Choudhury had a habit of asking brain-testing questions and he expected one to come up with good answers. He was a natural teacher with a bright beginner’s mind even in his old age. I told him I needed to get a kit of the LM remedies and was overwhelmed when I realized he had hundreds of medicines in all the potencies from 0/1 to 0/30.
Dr Choudhury immediately had his assistants begin to make up a complete kit of remedies while I was engaged in the present clinical realities. For example, a case of cardiac collapse was presented which suited the symptoms of Arnica and then it was on to the next patient. There was no time for a homœopath to relax under these conditions where volume practice is normal. Countless thousands in Calcutta depend on the work of homœopaths in their offices across the city. This desire for homœopathic treatment spans from the poorest to the richest persons in the region. I would visit Dr Choudhury throughout the early 1980s and enjoyed every minute I spent with him.
Now that I possessed a full kit of LM potencies I began the test the differences in the actions of the C and LM potency in the clinic. At the same time, I collected all the historical information I could find on how Hahnemann practiced Homœopathy in his last ten years. I started reading various editions of the Organon as well as The Chronic Diseasesand Lesser Writings and concentrated on collecting case histories, letters and eyewitness accounts. I collected the microfiches of Hahnemann’s Paris casebooks so I could assess the manner in which the Founder applied both the C and LM potency in his last years. On this basis, I began a new set of trials that was to span many years. As I reviewed all the material I came to realize that modern-day Homœopathy was only utilizing a small portion of the original homœopathic paradigm introduced by Hahnemann.
The term “classical Homœopathy” is commonly used to describe the traditional methods of healing with homœopathic remedies. The term, Homœopathy, means to cure diseases with remedies that produce similar symptoms. The definition of the word “classical” refers to a well known standard with a recognized style or form or a set of procedures that follow an accepted pattern. Classical also refers to the period when a tradition of excellence was established such as ancient Greece or Rome. The term, “classic” is a closely related word which means something made of or belonging to the highest quality or a practice that is reputed to be the best. It also means something that is neat and elegant, especially a traditional style that will last irrespective of fashion and fads. Non-classical or non-traditional refers to a system that is contemporary and has no roots in time-tested methods recognized for their excellence.
Keeping in mind these definitions it would become apparent that the term “classical Homœopathy” should refer to the philosophy and praxis founded on the “classics” of the homœopathic healing art. These begin with the Organon of the Healing Arts, The Chronic Diseases, and the Lesser Writingsof Samuel Hahnemann. The term, classical, also refers to the medical renaissance carried out by the first generation of homœopaths. This was the time of Samuel Hahnemann, Baron von Boenninghausen, Constantine Hering and G. H. G. Jahr. It was these individuals who developed the philosophy, recorded the first provings, wrote the first materia medicas and constructed the first repertories. These teachings were expanded and passed on by generations of practitioners up until modern times. All the methodologies found in these works certainly qualify as being “classical” in the true sense of the word.
Through my study of Hahnemann’s public writings, personal letters, eyewitness accounts and clinical casebooks, I have been able to document the methods used by the Founder on his patients. This includes a wide spectrum of medicinal applications such as the use of acute remedies, acute intercurrents, acute genus epidemicus remedies, chronic Gestalt remedies, chronic intercurrents, chronic anti-miasmatic genus remedies, and prophylactic medicines. Hahnemann’s clinical praxis included the use of a single remedy given over longer periods; the alternation of two remedies; tandem remedies where one remedy is placed before another; intercurrents where one remedy is interpolated with another; trios in which three remedies are rotated; and a sequence of remedies spread out over time. This opens the applications of remedies far beyond what some consider “classical Homœopathy”.
The Homœopathic Compendium is a set of six books that cover all the important aspects of the practice of Homœopathy. This work is an attempt to fill the lacunas found in our present day understanding of the life and works of Samuel Hahnemann and to bring the material up to date for the 21st century. Throughout these writings I use the history of Homœopathy as a medium to develop a deeper understanding of clinical practice. The goal of my project is to provide a modern textbook that offers all the fundamentals of Homœopathy in one place.
The Homœopathic Compendiumcomprises three sets of companion volumes each linked by a common theme. Volume I — History and Philosophy and Volume II — Repertory and Case Management form an extensive commentary on the Organon and clarify all the cardinal principles of Homœopathy and how they are applied in a clinical environment.
Volume III — Psora and Anti-Psoric Treatment, and Volume IV — Chronic Miasms and Cancer review degenerative diseases and chronic miasms. They present a comprehensive discourse on The Chronic Diseases with the emphasis on modernizing the material without losing its classical basis.
Volume V — Constitution, Temperament and Maps of Consciousness explores constitution and psychology in homœopathic practice. Volume VI — Materia Medica of Psyche and Soma, integrates this information into portraits that emphasize the Gestalt of the remedy.