The preferred method of treatment by Hahnemann

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A quantitative analysis of the prescriptions of Krankenjournal DF5 (1837-1842)

Auteur: Caroline van Asten

The complete analysis 'A quantitative analysis of the prescriptions of Krankenjournal DF5 (1837-1842)' is available as a PDF file.

Summary 'A quantitative analysis of the prescriptions of Krankenjournal DF5 (1837-1842)'

Several publications of Hahnemann describe experiments with respect to the administration of remedies. Hahnemann experimented a lot in the administration of remedies, including prescribing multiple remedies and dissolving and/or smelling (olfaction). Contemporary homeopaths also vary in administration and methods, which they all base on the same theory of Hahnemann and his followers who elaborated Hahnemann's theory according to their own discretion. This different way of treating patients and administration of remedies can cause confusion for both patients and clinicians. This leads to the question of which method of treatment Hahnemann preferred himself in the last five years of his career. An additional question is whether we can infer which of the experiments, which he performed and published during his life, he actually carried out during his latest treatments.

Literature review of the most important publications of Hahnemann (Organon, 6th edition and Chronic Diseases) and quantitative data analysis of 1133 prescriptions, collected in Krankenjournal DF5, during the period from 1837 to 1842, show that Hahnemann treated his patients with one remedy at a time and that he administered them diluted.

Introduction

Hahnemann experimented with the administration of remedies, including dissolving them before use and smelling of remedies, in order to make the treatment more effective and/or milder (with minimal risk of an initial aggravation). (Hahnemann, Organon 6th edition and Hahnemann, Chronic Diseases). Contemporary homeopaths vary with the different methods of treatment and administration of remedies. They rely on publications of Hahnemann and his followers who have elaborated the theory of Hahnemann at their discretion. The question that arises therefore is how Hahnemann himself primarily treated his patients in the last phase of his practice. An additional question is whether any of the experiments he performed and published during his lifetime were continued by his followers.

The aim of this study is to analyze how Hahnemann himself performed the homeopathic treatments for his patients in the last phase of his practice. Here, this research focuses on the prescription of single or multiple remedies per prescription and the administration of the remedy (dissolving, smell, dry1, etc.). An additional goal is to shed light on to the variety of homeopathic treatment methods, although all based on Hahnemann, but often different in execution.

This has led to the following research question: “Which treatment method was mostly used by Hahnemann during the last five years of his career?”.

This research question is answered on the basis of both a literature study and a quantitative analysis of Hahnemann's prescriptions over the last five years of his life, collected in Krankenjournal DF5 (1837-1842). The following data are used for this study: administration (smell / inhale, dissolving, dry, or a combination thereof) and amount of remedies prescribed. Out of all the collected data (1164), 1133 data were useful and 31 useless (not readable, not a prescription but a consideration, etc.)

Results

1. The prescription of one or more remedies

Literature and recent research on the use of one or multiple remedies per prescription (Van Asten, 2016) shows that Hahnemann has experimented with administering one or multiple remedies, but that he finally preferred the prescription of one remedy. He then waited for the effect of the remedy on the health condition of the patient before proceeding to repeat the treatment, or prescribing another potentcy or a different, more appropriate, remedy.

Hahnemann, as evidenced by the data analysis, in particular, used one remedy per prescription (table 1.1). Table 1.1 shows that in 1099 prescriptions (97,0%) from Krankenjournal DF5 one remedy is prescribed. In only 34 (3,0%) prescriptions Hahnemann has used multiple remedies.

Tabel 1.1 Number of prescribed remedies (n=1133)
Number of prescribed remedies (n=1133) Number Percentage
Single remedy 1099 97,0%
Multiple remedies 34 3,0%

Out of the 34 times that multiple remedies are prescribed it is clear from table 1.2 that Hahnemann overall (32 times out of 34) prescribed only two remedies simultaneously.

Tabel 1.2 Number of remedies at prescription of multiple remedies (n = 34)
Number Frequency
2 remedies 32
3 remedies 2
< 3 remedies 0

2. Toedieningsvorm van het geneesmiddel

The literature review suggests that, with regard to the dosage form of the remedy, Hahnemann has always been looking for the mildest form possible, considering that he wanted to minimize in particular the initial aggravation. In addition, Hahnemann had the conviction that once the remedy was administered dry, there was only a small part of the body (tip of the tongue) that came into contact with the remedy. For this reason he dissolved the remedy in water or alcohol. For each new intake the dissolved remedy should be shaken again (dynamized), but it is not described whether the solution should be shaken 8, 10 or 12 times (Organon, §248).

The analyzed prescriptions show that Hahnemann applied the remedies in various forms. Table 2.1 shows the overview and relationship between the different administration forms. It also shows the clear preference for dissolving (85,0%) the remedy in a single administration.

Tabel 2.1 Overview of administration (n=1133)
Administration Number Percentage
Dissolve 965 85,3%
Smell 68 6,0%
Dry 45 3,9%
Smell and dissolve 22 1,9%
Inhale 21 1,9%
Smell and dissolve 6 0,53%
Inhale and dissolve 2 0,17%
Smell and dry 1 0,08%
Smell and dry 1 0,08%

Conclusion and recommendations

The results from literature review and data analysis show that Hahnemann in the last five years of his life prescribed (in 97,0%) one single remedy at the time. Hahnemann evaluated the effect of the remedy before prescribing another remedy. The most used administration form is dissolving the remedy (85,3%).

In only 34 cases of the prescriptions (3,0%) did Hahnemann work with multiple remedies. In 10 cases he let the patient smell one remedy and then administered the other remedy dissolved. It included in particular two different remedies. Hahnemann almost never prescribed more than two remedies when using multiple remedies. This combination of administration, mostly smell and dissolve, are unconfirmed in the literature. Hahnemann has probably conducted more experiments with types of administration in the last few years, but did not publish these. This study has not examined how many patients in Krankenjournal D5 were actually cured. To perform such a study, first the term “cure” must be defined.

Despite the fact that Hahnemann treated his patients with one remedy at a time, and many homeopaths perform in the same way, patients were treated with the other homeopathic method which prescribes multiple remedies. Further research must be done into the long-term cases of both methods and compare them with each other on the effect of treatment.

Further studies can be done to assess the manner of dissolving and revitalizing (dynamizing) the remedy, as Hahnemann has described in the Organon, since an unambiguous statement is missing.

It is striking that many homeopaths administer the remedy in a dry form, even though Hahnemann preferred the dissolved form, as shown in literature and the data analysis. After Hahnemann, other homeopaths, Kent in particular, experimented with various remedies, and treated a great many patients through administering the remedy in a dry form with good results. It would be interesting to find out what Kent’s motivations and experiences were when using the dry form of the remedy, even though he knew the preferred, dissolving, administration of Hahnemann2.

The current study used a quantitative analysis of the final prescriptions of Hahnemann, but did not include the considerations during treatment and treatment outcome. The final recommendation from this study is to do qualitative research into the treatment method from Krankenjournal DF5, so that considerations during, and results of the treatment method, can be clarified.

Literature

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  • 1. “Dry” in this study means: the melting of globule under the tongue - in which it should be noted that once the globules affect the saliva, the stored molecules release and spread into the mouth.
  • 2. “The administration of the remedy”, Kent’s New Remedies, clinical cases, lesser writings, aphorisms and precepts.

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