Samuel Hahnemann ( 1755 - 1843 )
Considered the Father of Homeopathy
Born in Meissen, Saxony, April 10, 1755. Hahnemann grew up during an era of tremendous upheaval and rebirth in Europe which was centered in Germany with the "Enlightenment" movement, which encouraged freedom of thought and opinion. He was born into a poor family and was taught early by his father never to learn passively but to question everything. Hahnemann later developed his thirst for knowledge into a profoundly deep-reaching gift. He virtually read all medical books previously published, in nine languages.
Hahnemann became a Medical Doctor in 1791 and practiced conventional medicine for nine years until he discovered, quite by accident, that by his ingesting repeated doses of Chinchona bark (to test Cullens theory on the effectiveness of China in treating Malaria) he would develop the symptoms of malaria, which the bark was used to treat. Thus the first homeopathic proving, and the discovery of the first law of homeopathy: Similia similibus curentur, or "like cures like". Hahnemann named this newfound therapy "Homeo" (similar) "pathy" (suffering). He began conducting provings with many of the medicines used in allopathy but his methods were met with disbelief and ridicule by his contemporaries.
Although his patients were experiencing profound cures which solidly verified his theories, Hahnemann was marked as an outcast because his method of single and minimum dosage was threatening the financial foundation of the powerful apothecaries. Hahnemann focused on reducing the dose to the point where there were no side effects but he was unsatisfied because this step further rendered the dose insufficient in strength to act. He experimented with a new method whereby after each dilution he would shake the substance vigorously. This he called "succussion" thus developing the energetic aspect of homeopathy. It is unknown how Hahnemann reasoned this (still scientifically unexplainable) method of "potentization".
In 1810, Hahnemann published the first of six editions of The Organon which clearly defined his homeopathic philosophy. In the same year, 80,000 men were killed when Napoleon attacked Liepzig. Hahnemann's homeopathic treatment of the survivors, and also of the victims of the great typhus epidemic that followed the siege, was highly successful and further spread his, and homeopathy's, reputation. Hahnemann taught at the Liepzig University where his lectures would often shift into sharp tongued diatribes against the dangerous practices of conventional medicine, thus nicknamed "Raging Hurricane" by his students. By 1821 Hahnemann had proven sixty-six remedies and published his Materia Medica Pura in six volumes. In 1831, Cholera swept through Central Europe. Hahnemann published papers on the homeopathic treatment of the disease and instigated the first widespread usage of homeopathy which had a 96% cure rate as compared to allopathy's 41% rate.
In 1834 Hahnemann met the avant-garde Parisian, Mademoiselle Marie Melanie d'Hervilly. They were married (his second marriage, her first) within six months, and settled in Paris. In spite of the fact he was more than twice her age, they remained very intimate, she working by his side in his active practice until July 2, 1843 when Hahnemann died, in Paris, at the age of eighty-eight. *
James Tyler Kent
James Tyler Kent was born in Woodhull, New York, in 1849. After completing two undergraduate degrees by the age of 21, Kent undertook two postgraduate courses, without graduating, at the Eclectic Medical Institute of Cincinnati, Ohio. At 26 years of age he set up practice as an eclectic physician in St Louis, Missouri and soon became a distinguished member of the Eclectic National Medical Association. He was a staunch Baptist.
In 1928, Kent’s second wife, Lucy, became ill. (Kent’s first wife, Ellen, had died at 19 years of age, shortly after their marriage.) In spite of Lucy’s symptoms of "nervous weakness, insomnia, and anaemia" being treated by both orthodox and eclectic physicians, her condition continued to deteriorate and she was bedridden for months. Under ridicule and opposition from Kent, the homœopathic physician, Dr Richard Phelan was called in to see Lucy. Following his prescription, she made a dramatic recovery. As a result, Kent elected to study with Phelan and changed his allegiance from eclecticism to homœopathy. He considered homœopathy to be the only therapy that was guided by laws and principles and the only one to address the fundamental cause of illness.
He then became a careful student of Hahnemann's Organon and other works of the new school, with result in his complete conversion to homoeopathy, his resignation from the Eclectic Medical Association in 1879 and his appointment to the chair of Anatomy in the Homoeopathic Medical College of Missouri, which he held from 1881 until 1883, was appointed professor of Materia Medica at the Homœopathic Medical College of St Louis, Missouri, from 1883 until 1888, became professor of Materia Medica and Dean of the Post-Graduates’ School of Homœopathy at the Hahnemann Medical College (Philadelphia) and occupied the chair of professor of Materia Medica at the Hering Medical College and Hospital, Chicago. During this period, Kent’s second wife died.
Thus for more than thirty-five years Dr. Kent had been a conspicuous figure in medical circles, and for more than twenty-five years in teaching and practice under the law of similia; and he is looked upon as one of the ablest teachers and exponents of the homoeoapthic school in America. His contributions to the literature of the profession are known by their strength rather than their length, and include, more prominently, his "Repertory", "Homoeoapthic Philosophy" and "Lectures on Materia Medica". Among the various professional associations of which he was a member, the more prominent of them, were the Illinois State Homoeopathic Medical Society, the American Institute of Homoeopathy and the International Hahnemannian Association, besides which he held a honorary corresponding membership in the British Homoeopathic Medical Society.
Both Lectures on Homœopathic Philosophy and Lectures on Homœopathic Materia Medica were compiled by Kent’s students from notes they had taken during class lectures. In 1916, his students insisted he take a holiday. Kent agreed, deciding he would write a "proper" book. Not long after commencing his vacation, his catarrhal bronchitis developed into Brights disease (glomerulonephritis) and he died 2 weeks later, on June 6, 1916 at Stevensville, Montana.
Kent was an avid Swedenborgian and proponent of high potencies (200-c and up), often prescribing the CM and MM potencies and inspiring the "Kentians" with his belief that the homeopath must treat not only the patients physical body, but also the mental/emotional and spiritual elements simultaneously which required using the higher potencies. Kent's famous Repertory was more systematic and readable than its precursors and is still the popular choice today. Kent developed "pictures" of constitutional types of patients, i.e.: Sulphur as "the ragged philosopher" etc. Later, his pupil, Margaret Tyler, developed this idea further in her book, Homeopathic Drug Pictures, and more recently Mr. Geroge Vithoulkas has developed his own profoundly insightful "essence pictures" along similar lines. The influence and popularity of Kent's interpretation of homeopathic philosophy has steadily increased around the world since his death.**
Similars are Cured by Similars