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Dr Samuel Hahnemann

In short, he was the founder of Homeopathy.
In 1810 he published the first of six editions of The Organon, the theory and practice of homeopathy. This remains today the most important manual for the serious homeopath. Many have tried to say that parts are no longer valid. This usually means they wish to compromise the possibility of cure. Much of what Hahnemann wrote demands deep study and may require several months or years of meditation before its full purport is understood. So if quick means are desired, parts of the Organon are discarded.

Later Hahnemann observed that not everyone was cured and so he turned his energies to understand why certain groups were helped and others not. He devoted himself to study for eight years and was able to discover the deep root of humanity’s suffering and the application necessary to overcome it. The fruits of his work can be found in Chronic Diseases, Their Peculiar Nature and Their Homeopathic Cure.
He lived a long and fruitful life, born in 1755 in Meissen, Germany and ending his life in Paris in 1843.

The Organon

In The Organon of Medicine Hahnemann expounds fully his system of medical treatment, including the fundamental principles on which it is based as well as clear directions and advice on every aspect of practice. The first edition came out in 1810, and it appeared in a further five editions, each incorporating minor changes or adaptations as his study and experience progressed. The sixth edition was not published until many years after his death. It remains the cornerstone of homeopathic study and practice.

The Vital Force

The Vital Force is an internal force which exists in a person and takes care of all the processes of life. Its operation is in the direction of preserving life; it functions automatically and with absolute supremacy. In health it takes hold of all vital operations of the person in a unique way, keeping all the processes of life and the material being in harmony and order. It is due to its order of function that it retains the blood in the vessels, the iron in the spleen, the electricity in the nerves and the air in the lungs. In the diseased person the vital operation works in the direction of cure, but without successful results, because its function is mistuned.

When things are kept in order they are kept separated, everything in its place; but when things are confused the result will be disorder which disturbs the harmonic flow of life. This disturbance is the first phenomenon of disease. As a result of this we may see eruptions on the skin or a nose bleed. This is disorder. Disorder is the expression of disease. Death is the extreme point of this disorder. Order is the expression of health. The vital force is responsible for expressing the state of health of a person through signs and symptoms.

Adapted from 24 Chapters in Homeopathy by J. Reves

Law of Similars

The full scope of the Law of Similars was first understood by Samuel Hahnemann although others before him had had some idea of its potential.
What Hahnemann found was that the medicine given to a healthy person produced symptoms both of the mind and body. These symptoms he recorded. A patient suffering naturally has his case recorded, including symptoms of mind and body. Hahnemann found that the best medicine was always the one that had produced symptoms most similar to the patient’s case.
It is possible to find similarity between one symptom and another, between one group of symptoms and another, but the true cure can only occur when the similarity is found between the totality of the symptoms of the medicine and the totality of the symptoms of the patient. Homeopathy is the treatment of the totality not the treatment of separate parts.

Chronic Disease

The understanding of Chronic Disease demands the study of the history of the patient as well as the presenting picture. There are diseases of short duration, usually accompanied by fever. These are termed acute diseases. Chronic disease lasts the whole life of the patient and gradually increases over the years. Only through the study of the patient’s life of suffering and maybe also his family history, is it possible to understand his chronic disease in its entirety.

Chronic disease is a result of suppressing an earlier impression. Hahnemann termed these earlier impressions Psora, Syphilis and Sycosis. There is both a physical and, perhaps more importantly, psychical and spiritual aspect to the understanding of these impressions called miasms. They represent the life of the person who is now suffering from them. A pure life will manifest as a pure person, a distorted life will manifest as a distorted person, out of tune with his environment.

Dr Hahnemann studied humanity to understand the development of disease over the last thousands of years. He wrote his findings in Chronic Diseases.


The majority of remedies are prescribed in a potentised state produced by a standardised process of trituration, serial dilution and succussion known as ‘potentisation’. Potentisation increases the potential therapeutic action of remedies. A remedy is homeopathic only by virtue of its ability to produce similar symptoms in the healthy to that of the patient it is prescribed for.

Taken from ECCH Constitution p2 section 2.8

The Simillimum

Homeopathy is based upon the principles of similars, totality of symptoms and the correct selection of medicine, potency and dose.

Homeopaths strive to find the remedy which has in proving been shown to match the totality of the patients symptoms. They must also have an understanding of what is the correct potency to provoke a curative response. Too weak and nothing will happen, too strong and a lot of the person’s energy will be wasted.

The homeopath works on the person’s case, they only give a medicine when they are certain it is correct and they know the potency at which it should be prescribed. At this point the medicine only appears to be the most similar. It is only when the prescription has been made and the remedy has been seen to act curatively can it truly be called the simillimum.

Many medicines can be similar, but there is only one simillimum, the most similar medicine, at any one time.

"Comparison, individualization, and difference in the nature of things most similar, are points that must be considered. The substitution of one remedy for another cannot be thought of or entertained in homeopathy."

Dr J T Kent: Lecture XXX

Materia Medica

This is a reference book containing background information about the remedies and their preparation as well as listing all the symptoms each one produces. The remedies come from many sources: mineral, vegetable and animal as well as the products of diseased humans and animals. The Materia Medica can either be arranged chronologically, listing the symptoms in the order in which they manifested during the proving, or in sections according to the part affected, e.g. Mind, Back, Sleep. There are many editions of Materia Medica available, compiled over the years by different homeopaths.

Totality of symptoms

The homeopath has various tools by which he is able to assimilate all the extensive and varied information from a consultation with a patient, and produce a cohesive whole: the totality. From this he can assess what is fundamentally disordered in that patient, choose symptoms that reflect this whole picture, and, using a repertory and relevant Materia Medica, find the remedy that is most similar.

See article: What is Holistic treatment? by Suzan Dean

The Repertory

The Repertory is an alphabetical index of thousands of symptoms produced in the provings of medicines, listing all the medicines that produce each symptom. It is an invaluable tool for the practitioner, enabling him to find the correct remedy from the vast amount of information available in the provings. After selecting several symptoms that represent the whole case, the most similar remedies can be found by cross-referencing (repertorisation). From these few the most similar can be chosen by comparing the Materia Medica of each. Although several repertories have been produced, Kent’s Repertory remains the standard one used by most practitioners, and has latterly been adapted for use on a computer.


This is the name given to the system of testing medicines used in Homeopathy as laid down clearly by Hahnemann. Unlike conventional drug trials, homeopathic medicines are tested on healthy people, called provers. It is organised in such a way as to prevent any prejudice in those taking part. Usually they do not know what substance is being proved. After taking the medicine, the provers note down carefully, in detail and in chronological order all the changes they experience in themselves and in their lives. Afterwards, the manager collects all these reports and compiles a list of the symptoms of the alterations in health, with all the different conditions, relating to all the different parts of the body as well as to the mind. This is then incorporated into the books of Materia Medica, as an essential tool for the practitioner.

Hering’s Law

Homeopathy is based on fundamental principles. One of these is Hering’s Law. This states that true cure takes place from within to without (i.e. from more vital internal organs to the skin), from above to below, and that symptoms disappear in the reverse order of their appearance. In this way the progress of cure and the prognosis can be understood. This law was laid down by Constantine Hering, a nineteenth century German doctor who, having set out to disprove Homeopathy, became convinced of its efficacy when his infected hand was saved from amputation as a result of homeopathic treatment.

See article: An Introduction to Hering’s Law of Cure by Karen Gorman

William Leaf

We chose this name for our organisation in honour of William Leaf (1791–1873) an English merchant and philanthropist, who, having been a patient and intimate friend of Hahnemann, made great efforts to establish and promote homeopathy in England.

"He was one of the most wealthy merchants of the city of London. After having suffered from a chronic disease for some considerable time, his friend Arles-Dufour drew his attention to homeopathy. He then went to Paris to consult Hahnemann, who completely cured him. Out of gratitude he adopted the cause of the new science with all the circumspection and vigorous activity typical of an English merchant. There was at that time only one pupil of Hahnemann in England. From him he demanded that he should make the teachings of his master better known by the publication of popular writings. However, when he failed, Leaf induced, through his friend Arles-Dufour, Dr Curie of Paris to come to London (1835). Homeopathy became better known in England through popular writings and scientific works which Curie compiled in English, and which were published with the help of Leaf. Leaf instituted in Dr. Curie’s house a small hospital in which the doctor gave clinical demonstrations to allopathic colleagues. Soon the great rush of patients rendered it necessary to found a larger hospital, and thus under the guidance of Leaf and with the help of other friends of homeopathy the Hahnemann hospital in Bloomsbury Square was founded. This institution, which was equal to all the demands made upon it, has trained some of the best English homeopaths. Unfortunately is shared the same fate as the Leipsic Hospital, entirely through the discord of the homeopathic doctors who were attached to it, and it came to an end.

In addition to the London hospital Leaf also organised a dispensary for the poor of the district near his country house, where Dr Curie treated numerous patients every Sunday. William Leaf died at his country seat near London on the 3rd July, 1873, aged 83 years."

Samuel Hahnemann: His Life and Work’ by Richard Haehl. Volume 2, Page 507.

Dr James Tyler Kent

James Tyler Kent (1849-1916) was the most influential homeopath after Hahnemann. He began his medical career as a conventional practitioner. In 1877 his wife fell seriously ill, and after the failure of all other types of medical treatment, she was successfully cured by Homeopathy. From then on Kent became a keen student of Hahnemann’s works and soon adopted his teachings. He became widely known as a practitioner and teacher of Homeopathy, but it is as a writer that he has exerted a lasting influence. In his Lectures on Homeopathic Philosophy, he presents the homeopathic view of life and sickness in simple clear language, each lecture explaining and amplifying one of the fundamental principles from Hahnemann’s Organon of Medicine. He also produced a Repertory, an essential tool used by homeopaths throughout the world.

Dr Stuart Close

Dr. Close was born in 1860 and came to study homeopathy after the death of his father in 1879. His mother remarried a homoeopathic physician who turned Close's interests from law to medicine. His stepfather helped him study the Organon and he attended medical school in California for two years and finished his studies at the New York Homeopathic College in 1885. Setting up practice in Brooklyn, Dr. Close founded the Brooklyn Homoeopathic Union which devoted itself to the study of pure Hahnemannian homeopathy. He taught homeopathic philosophy at New York Homeopathic Medical College and his lectures formed the basis for his masterpiece on homeopathic philosophy, The Genius of Homeopathy. His homeopathic library was reputed to be the one of the best in the country. He died in 1929 after a full and productive career in homeopathy.

Joseph Reves

Joseph Reves is a homeopath in Haifa, Israel. He studied alternative medicine in Munich and then specialized in homeopathy. He worked in Germany and England before going back to Israel. Today he runs a practice and school for homeopathy. He has taught abroad in England, Norway, Italy and the USA.

He has written two books, 24 Chapters in Homeopathy and Explanation to The Organon, as part of a new edition. Together with colleagues, he developed a computer program for repertorisation. From this work he published a corrected version of Kent’s Repertory with the addition of Materia Medica.

He has the ability to take Hahnemann and Kent’s teachings and make them relevant in today’s society. His seminars have inspired many homeopaths and students of homeopathy.


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