More than 200 years ago Samuel Hahnemann founded the homeopathic system of medicine. In the later years of his life Hahnemann surprised even his closest colleagues with a new theory, the chronic miasms. A master observer and logician, he presented this theory after twelve years of thorough observation, systematic experimentation and analysis. Even so, he feared his contemporaries would not comprehend the theory of the chronic miasms.

Indeed, some of Hahnemann’s closest followers failed to understand the theory of the chronic miasms and their relationship to chronic diseases, and their misconceptions prevail today. Modern homeopaths likewise do not understand the theory of the chronic miasms or consider the miasms to be a valid criteria on which to base prescriptions. Many of Hahnemann’s contemporaries felt it was just the whim of a senile old man at the end of his career. It is not likely that Hahnemann was senile. He was a highly learned scholar and from the time of his youth was proficient in many languages, including English, Italian, French, Greek and Latin. As he was particularly interested in the ancients, he even learned the more difficult languages such as Arabic, Syriac, Chaldaic and Hebrew so he could study original texts in their original language. This proficiency in languages was to provide him the means of a livelihood as a translator and teacher of languages at the time of his life when he left the practice of medicine because of his disillusionment with the medical practices of that time. More important, he became exposed to the medical philosophies and practices of many of the ancient cultures in their original languages, including the sciences of yoga and Ayurveda. It was from this exposure that he was able to gather the knowledge necessary to formulate a new system of medicine, one that would not be harmful but would cooperate with the inherent healing force within; one that would work with the human entity as a whole—physical, energy, senses, mind and spiritual basis. Hahnemann never let up in his persistence in improving the system of homeopathy till the end of his life. Because his discoveries were based on pure observation and personal experience, none of his observances can be simply discarded. His colleagues may not have been able to keep up with Hahnemann’s ideas as they did not have comparable knowledge of the ancient systems of healing.

Hahnemann was a true scientist who repeatedly verified his observations. He did not spend twelve years of close scrutiny and observation of the human disease condition merely to write speculative theory, as he has been accused of doing, but rather to find a definitive universal way to relieve the afflictions of humanity. The theory of the chronic miasms is the greatest legacy he gave to us, and it is this theory that can make homeopathy the system of therapeutics that can solve many of the problems facing the western medical system today. (to be continued)

Dr. Barbara Bova, HOD, Department of Homeopathy