Samuel Hahnemann lived between April 10, 1755, and July 2, 1843; he was born in Saxony and died while in Paris (Twentyman 1975). Hahnemann was a scholar who studied his medical degree at Leipzig and later completed it in Vienna at Erlangen in 1779; Leipzig did not have the complete course of the program during the time. Hahnemann drew his inspiration in medicine from Von Quaritz- a private physician to the emperor. Following his qualifications, he tried practicing his skills in three different towns without success; he secured a job as an official physician at Gommern and later worked at the lunatic asylum at Georgenthel where he introduced the non-restrained treatment of the mentally-ill patients. In his early years of practicing medicine, Hahnemann wrote that “medical practice was uncertain and many patients would have done better without his interference” (Kelly 1964: 582). The essay examines Hahnemann’s contributions to the field of medicine; why his contribution was important, and how his contemporaries viewed his contribution.
CONTRIBUTION IN THE FIELD OF MEDICINE
Hahnemann translated the findings of William Cullen in an article Materia Medica, in German and scrutinized Cullen’s theories concerning the efficiency of Peruvian bark as a treatment for fever (Kelly 1964). Hahnemann performed several experiments on himself to test the efficiency of the Peruvian bark; he also used other important medicines and noted that “small doses of medicine produced the symptoms of the disease the medicine was supposed to cure” (Kelly 1964: 582; Ingalls 1958). He tested his theory on the mental-ill patients at Georgenthel. The findings inspired Hahnemann to develop a doctrine of similars in the Medical Journal of Hufeland in 1796. Again, in 1806, Hahnemann wrote Practice of Medicine Founded on Experience, that was later expanded in five editions as the Organon. Hahnemann is considered to be the founder of homeopathy as a method of treatment.
According to Kiefer (2016), homeopathy is a medical system that holds that a human body can heal itself when small amounts of minerals or plants are introduced into the body to stimulate the process of healing. The theory behind the healing process is that “like cures like”; in Hahnemann’s view, the symptoms or diseases can be treated by drugs that had the ability to produce similar symptoms to the body. Hahnemann believed that the action of such drugs was intensified if administered in smaller doses. For instance, a snake bite could be treated by administering small amounts of the same kind of snake poison that was inflicted into the body. Allergies are treated with red onions because they have the ability to make people water their eyes (Kiefer 2016).
During the period of 1828 to 1830, Hahnemann wrote four volumes of Chronic Diseases, A Society of Homeopathic Physicians was established at Leipzig which led to the establishment of the first homeopathic hospital in 1833 (Kelly 1964). Also, there was an establishment of A Journal of Homeopathy. Any form of opposition did not affect the spread of homeopathy. For instance, during 1834, “a Society of Homeopathic Physicians” was established in America, which was followed by a “Homeopathic Library in Philadelphia” (Kelly 1964: 583). Also, in 1836, the first printing of the Organon occurred in America.
Why His Contribution Was Important
Hahnemann’s system of treatment came at a time when there was a chaos of decaying traditional treatment methods, and primitive natural science that was still mechanistic where the role of the physician was to look at the outer natural phenomena without affecting it. Hahnemann believed that the role of a physician is not to be an observer, but a healer (Twentyman 1975). He held that the role of a physician was not to discover the type of ailments or their causes but to observe the symptoms of the disease since they represented the actual illness in its totality. If the symptoms of the illness are treated, the disease that is causing the symptoms will have been treated. Hahnemann established a new perception towards the disease.
Hippocrates and Sydenham had felt that the chaos of the symptoms of illness could be ordered by understanding the ideas or purpose of nature’s healing efforts. Again, Brownian ideas were based on “hyper and hypo nervous irritability” (Twentyman 1975: 142). However, Hahnemann’s concept was that such chaos of symptoms could be understood together with the idea of a remedy. The treatment happens in the outer nature and since the symptoms are the manifestations of the disease when they are treated, the disease will be cured because the two exist as one. The establishment of a new monumental medicine was possible during the time Hahnemann was practicing medicine because the traditional and ancient medicine of Hippocrates had died (Twentyman 1975). Hahnemann’s contribution led to the new era of scientific consciousness in the field of medicine. For example, Hahnemann realized that the type of medicine that he had been taught contributed to the destruction of “the vital energies that could heal the body and the mind in a gentle and permanent manner” (Chrisman n.d: 2). Therefore, he came up with a new approach to homeopathy which did not require opening up the body fluids during the process of treatment as envisioned by “bleed and purge” methodology.
How his contemporaries viewed is contributions
Hahnemann’s model of medicine was opposed by the Brownians who divided patients into two groups; first was the sthenic and second asthénie patients (Kelly 1964). The sthenic patients were those which were subjected to homeopathy (treated through the likes) while the asthenie patients were treated through allopathy (treated through the opposites). Hahnemann’s opposers (allopaths) became relevant when Prince Schwarzenberg died while undergoing treatment using homeopathy model. The necropsy held that the Prince’s life ...