||  Home   ||  Site Map   ||  Appointments   ||  Patient Support


The Debate re Divisiveness in Homeopathy

[Backup text in case original website is not available]


[use your browser to go back to last page]

The Debate In Homeopathy

The “Against Divisiveness” letter from respected homeopaths was on a website that now seems to be disabled. These are some of the texts that were on that site. Perhaps they will be available again but in case not this is the record of their attempt to avoid monolithic control of homeopathy by a narrow-minded set of individuals.

A starting point would be: [www.grundlagen-praxis.de/debatte/englisch/preface.htm ]

A key quote from the Introduction below is:

Just for the record, we do not consider this documentation as the end but rather as the starting point of a broad debate relating to the methodology and scientific character of homoeopathy as well as to ways of establishing the validity of homoeopathy. We do not advocate dogmatic thinking. Statements which contradict the Organon are not necessarily false. We greatly regret that time and time again every school attempts to base their founding elements on choice quotes from the Organon. It would be more scientific to ascertain the differences and to found them methodically in each case. What also should be included in this debate are developments of the last 200 years with regard to scientific theory, epistemology and criticism of methodology. The question regarding the objectivity of observation is generally accepted and legitimate and it should give us the incentive to look for means of establishing the validity of homoeopathy. It should not instigate us to take up the cudgels en route to arbitrariness.


International Discussion - Basics of Homoeopathy

Start | Table of contents | Forum | Diskussion auf Deutsch

To Homepage Grundlagen + Praxis

Introduction  [ from www.grundlagen-praxis.de/debatte/englisch/preface.htm ]

Concerning the present situation of homoeopathy

In recent decades we have seen homoeopathy spread on a wide scale - however, at the same time there has also been a considerable increase in "schools", in teachers and in attempts to develop homoeopathy. What is taught and practiced at different schools using the name of "homoeopathy" often does vary greatly with regard to content. Various trends have distanced themselves in different ways from Hahnemann's definitions and standards as they were explained in the Organon. The only thing they seem to have in common is that they all prescribe drugs which they refer to as being "homoeopathic".

There is a lack of orientation amongst many colleagues, if not confusion, when it comes to the right approach to homoeopathy.

One of the main questions is how certainty can be achieved in homoeopathic prescription. That is to say, which methods of attaining knowledge are scientific in homoeopathy and are able to stand the test of critical examination.

Hahnemann's starting point was prompted by his disappointment about the speculative methods of medicine in his time on which he turned his back. How to go about achieving certainty in the treatment of illness was what was at stake to him. In his day and age Hahnemann found a way to attain this certainty of cure by applying the method of pure observation, also referred to as pure empiricism. Of course, here it was a matter of certainty in the epistemological sense and not of certainty in the factual sense. In practice this meant that there was a good chance of setting a healing process in motion.

Achieving certainty in the treatment of disease was Hahnemann's lifelong first and foremost priority and yet, at the same time he had irreconcilable differences about going beyond the obvious, beyond that which was perceivable through our senses.

Disease consists only of perceptible signs and symptoms, known as phenomena and it is not the doctor's task to make statements about anything that lies "deeper" or "behind" the obvious phenomena. This is one of the key statements of the Organon and it goes through Hahnemann's entire works like a red line.

In "Spirit of the Homoeopathic Doctrine of Medicine" he demands: "Appreciable, distinctly appreciable to our senses must that be, which is to be removed in each disease in order to transform it into health, and right clearly must each remedy express what it can positively cure, if medical art shall cease to be a wanton game of hazard with human life, and shall commence to be the sure deliverer from diseases."

Pure observation, i.e. pure empiricism is the prerequisite so that we may set real against real when comparing the patient's symptoms with the drug symptoms, and not end up comparing constructs of the mind. It is only when we are comparing what is real with that which is real that we are standing on firm ground. Then and only then is there a high probability of achieving certainty of cure. It is only then that we may really have confidence in homoeopathy. Observation in its pure sense is a main issue in homoeopathy; it either makes or breaks the whole procedure. As soon as we go and abandon pure observation and start comparing constructs with each other, everything gets fuzzy because then we just do not know whether or not these constructs can be taken for real.

The background of this documentation

Is homoeopathy a defined field of medicine or can anyone teach and practice methods under the name of "homoeopathy" that are quite different from one another?

In December 2000 Julian Winston, editor of the North American journal "Homeopathy Today", published critical comments on modern developments in homoeopathy. Points of discussion were Rajan Sankaran's concept of central delusion, Jan Scholten's theories and/or hypotheses on groups of chemical elements in the periodic table and some new provings of drugs by means of which one sought to discover the "central theme" of a drug using the doctrine of signatures, dream provings and other meditation provings. The doctrine of signatures was criticized as an instrument being used to acquire reliable knowledge about a drug.

In particular empathic thinking and anthropomorphic speculation were criticized, i.e. means as they are applied in the doctrine of signatures. Also exposed to criticism was the attempt to assign human qualities to animals based on the empathic observation of these and to subsequently draw conclusions about the "central themes" of drugs.

As a direct result, 21 internationally well-known colleagues (amongst others Roger Morrison, Rajan Sankaran, Jonathan Shore, Nancy Herrick, Harry van der Zee and Deborah Collins) wrote a letter to the editor entitled "Against Divisiveness", in which they urged Julian Winston to resign from his job as editor ("Perhaps Mr. Winston no longer feels able to represent the homeopathic community?")

André Saine reacted to this with an article entitled "Homeopathy versus Speculative Medicine", which was followed by a lively debate on the principles of homoeopathy in North American homoeopathic journals.

It was then that we heard about this debate from André Saine and felt that the tone and style of the criticism towards Julian Winston was unwarranted.

These important questions should be and need to be addressed by as many participating homoeopaths as possible on an international level.

This gave rise to a "declaration" drawn up on our part which served the purpose of calling the fundamental principles of homoeopathy back to mind.

From April 2002 on into the year 2003 we collected comments and statements from renowned homoeopaths worldwide, we addressed approx. 150 to 200 colleagues from different countries, including the managing committeees of the German Association of Homoeopathic Physicians, the German Hahnemann Association, the editors of the German journals "Zeitschrift für Klassische Homöopathie" and the "Allgemeine Homöopathische Zeitung", the members of the board and each individual president of the LIGA MEDICORUM HOMOEOPATHICA INTERNATIONALIS. We sent all of them documents of the discussion and made a request for comments or asked them alternatively to sign the "declaration". Our objective was to inform colleagues and to provide for the broadest international debate possible. This bilingual debate was published on the web site of "Grundlagen und Praxis" publishers (www.grundlagen-praxis.de). In total we have documented more than 100 statements, comments and articles from the past and present which are now available to you here.

Just for the record, we do not consider this documentation as the end but rather as the starting point of a broad debate relating to the methodology and scientific character of homoeopathy as well as to ways of establishing the validity of homoeopathy. We do not advocate dogmatic thinking. Statements which contradict the Organon are not necessarily false. We greatly regret that time and time again every school attempts to base their founding elements on choice quotes from the Organon. It would be more scientific to ascertain the differences and to found them methodically in each case. What also should be included in this debate are developments of the last 200 years with regard to scientific theory, epistemology and criticism of methodology. The question regarding the objectivity of observation is generally accepted and legitimate and it should give us the incentive to look for means of establishing the validity of homoeopathy. It should not instigate us to take up the cudgels en route to arbitrariness.

The articles read reveal a lot of very rational lines of thoughts and we learned a great deal from them. However, the naiveté of some articles and comments was frightful. Regrettably, we also had to take note of the passive attitude of some staff members of organizations we approached as well as that of the editorial staff of some journals. We hope this publication will set colleagues everywhere thinking independently about the fundamentals of homoeopathy. We are hopeful that our colleagues will be more critical when dealing with new ideas and speculations which often appear promising at the start, but unfortunately often do not lead to anymore certainty of cure in practice, simply because, from an epistemological point of view, they do not suit this purpose.


We would like to express our sincere thanks to everyone who has participated in compiling this extensive documentation and has contributed to its circulation with active help, donations, translations, the granting of unburocratic permission for publications or with their advice - first and foremost we would like to thank the publishing house "Grundlagen und Praxis" for their ever pleasant cooperation, their patience and great amount of technical support, as well as Dr. Shiela Mukerjee-Guzik for her unflagging effort in doing translations free of charge.

We would also like to thank Ute Ahlquist, the editors of the "Allgemeine Homöopathische Zeitung", "Archibel S.A." (Belgium), Dr. Evelyn Asher, Uta Hadwig Bestmann, Dr. Carsten Brandt, Tanja Boehler, Dr. Walter Buschauer, Axel Camici, Sheilagh Creasy, Dr. Nicole Curé, Dr. Friedrich Dellmour, Dr. Henning Droege, Una Doherty, Dr. Heiner Frei, the "Gesellschaft homöopathischer Ärzte in Schleswig-Holstein und den Hansestädten", Svea Große, homoeopathic laboratory Brita Gudjons, Dr. George Guess, Dr. Klaus-Henning Gypser, Antje Hampel, Margarethe Harms, the Karl F. Haug publishing company, Frank Henrich, the editors of "Homoeopathic LINKS", Hermann Holstein, Dr. Alain Horvilleur, Dr. Ralf Jeutter, Dr. Jutta Hübner, Beatrix Klein, Christian Korn, "RADAR-service" Jochen Krahnefeld, Teresa Kramer, Dr. Johanna Laakmann, Dr. Pierre Lenthéric, Carsten Lienemann, Alste Lindner, Dr. Brent Mathieu, Wilhelm Maudrich publishers, Christian Meinhard, Roland Methner, Hedi Meusburger, Dr. Marcos Dias de Moraes, Gabriele Müller, Bernd Müller-Thederan, Dr. Stefan Ortfeld, Barbara Osawa, B.D. Patel, Irene Paulsen, Dr. Christa von der Planitz, Dr. Christine Recker, Thomas Recker, Dr. Klaus Rentrop, Dr. Agnes Riedel, Karin Rohloff, Ilse Rohwer, Dr. André Saine, Angelika Schmid, Dr. Monika Schmidt-Holtz, Dr. Alexandra Schulze-Rohr, Dr. Carsta Schumacher-Lüthge, the "Wolfgang-Schweitzer-Bibliothek" Hamburg, homoeopathic library of the German Association of Homoeopathic Physicians, Dr. Jean-Louis Smout, Dr. Michel de Sonnaville, Neil Tessler, Penelope Vogt, Judith Widderich, Dr. Ulrike Wiese, Julian Winston, Dr. Peter Wright, the editors of the "Zeitschrift für Klassische Homöopathie", Dr. Lucia Zekorn and Gabriele Ziegeler-Botzet.

The Editors

Klaus Habich, Dr.Klaus.Habich@gmx.de

Curt Kösters, Curt.Koesters@hamburg.de

Jochen Rohwer, jochen.rohwer@t-online.de

Translation: Judith Widderich




Many thanks to all who have supported the extensive documentation of the discussion

with energetic help or donations till now:

Ute Ahlquist, Editors „Allgemeine Homöopathische Zeitung“, Dr. Evelyn Asher, Uta Hadwig

Bestmann, Dr. Carsten Brandt, Axel Camici, Sheilagh Creasy, Dr. Friedrich Dellmour, Dr.

Henning Droege, Una Doherty, Gesellschaft homöopathischer Ärzte in Schleswig-Holstein

und den Hansestädten e.V., Svea Große, Grundlagen und Praxis Publishing House, Dr.

George Guess, Antje Hampel, Margarethe Harms, Karl-F. Haug Publishing House, Frank

Henrich, Hermann Holstein, Dr. Alain Horvilleur, Dr. Ralf Jeutter, Editors “Homoeopathic

LINKS”, Dr. Jutta Hübner, Dr. Johanna Laakmann, Carsten Lienemann, Alste Lindner, Dr.

Brent Mathieu, Wilhelm Maudrich Publishing House, Gabriele Müller, Dr. Shiela Mukerjee-

Guzik, Bernd Müller-Thederan, Dr. Stefan Ortfeld, Barbara Osawa, Dr. Klaus Rentrop, Dr.

Agnes Riedel, Karin Rohloff, Dr. André Saine, Angelika Schmid, Dr. Monika Schmidt-Holtz,

Dr. Alexandra Schulze-Rohr, Dr. Carsta Schumacher-Lüthge, Neil Tessler; Penelope Vogt,

“Wolfgang-Schweitzer-Bibliothek Hamburg” - Homoeopathic Library of the “Deutscher

Zentralverein homöopathischer Ärzte e.V, Judith Widderich, Dr. Ulrike Wiese, Julian

Winston, Dr. Peter Wright, Dr. Lucia Zekorn, Gabriele Ziegeler-Botzet


From Julian Winston, editor:

Julian Winston

The editor replies - May 2001


This article first appeared in 'Homeopathy Today' (2001, Vol 21 (5): 23-24), the

newsletter of the National Center for Homeopathy, Alexandria, VA, USA,

(www.homeopathic.org) edited by Julian Winston. It is presented here with kind


Answer to "Against Divisiveness" - letter of the 21 - Homeopathy Today (2001, May)

Julian Winston

The editor replies

Since the springboard for this letter appears to be my editorial in the December issue of

Homeopathy Today, I will attempt to clarify my position. The NCH Articles of Incorporation,

Article 4, state that one of the purposes of the NCH is to "promote the art of healing according

to the natural laws of cure from a strictly homeopathic standpoint," that is, "treatment

according to the Law of Similars, the Single Remedy proven on human beings, and the

Minimum Dose."

The word "homeopathy" describes a system which is based upon giving a remedy that can

cause "similar suffering" in a healthy person.

My view of the homeopathic community around us is based on that defining principle. I

attempt, at all times, to look critically at what we are doing and to ask if what we are seeing

fits the definition.

It does not matter if someone says they are a homeopath. The question is, "is what they are

doing consistent with the principles of homeopathy?" I will not deny that there are many ways

to heal. I have said that over and over again in these pages. But as the magazine of the

National Center for *Homeopathy* I believe that it is of great importance to reiterate the

basics over and over again.

I have never intentionally belittled, demeaned, or "attacked" anyone in these pages. If some

take my remarks as personal, I am truly sorry. I simply wish to look critically at all that which

is called homeopathy and bring the ideas forward for discussion. I am not the only one in the

world-wide homeopathic community who is doing so. My hope is that the discussion can take

place within the pages of Homeopathy Today.

I do not wish to have a mud-slinging match in these pages as has been seen in the last few

issues of the journal Links (published in the Netherlands), after George Vithoulkas spoke

(intemperately, in my view) about some of the same issues I have brought up in my editorial.

I simply suggest that we look critically at the concepts that are "current" these days-- doctrine

of signatures, analysis by kingdoms, anthropomorphic speculation, and all sorts of other

theoretical models-- and hold them up to the unchanging principles. Do they fall within the

model? Or do they fall outside? And, if they DO fall outside, there is nothing wrong with it,

nor does it mean they are not valuable, but it behooves us to question them.

As for the book reviews...

I would gladly welcome reviews of the latest books from anyone who wishes to submit them.

Usually, when I ask someone to review a book I am met with the lament, "Oh I'm so busy, I

don't have time, etc."

A few years ago a reader asked "how come Winston writes so much? Why can't we see other

authors?" The answer then was the same as now. I write because so few others do, and I have

40 pages to fill every month. Some articles do sit in the pile until I feel they are appropriate

(e.g., an essay about flu received at the height of the flu season in February could not see print

Page 2

Julian Winston

The editor replies - May 2001


till May or June--so I shelve it until the following flu season), or until I have enough room to

put them in--based upon the space left by the regular columns (bless those who write them!).

The only thing I ask of any review is that it look at the work critically. That does not mean

trying to find something bad-- just an analysis of the details of the work (e.g., what the author

was attempting to do by writing it, whether the work achieved what it set out to do, etc.).

A few details...

"He states that Jan Scholten's work is not homeopathy because there are no provings--thus

ignoring some dozen provings reported in Scholten's book. "

Yes. There are provings in the book. I am guilty of painting with a broad brush. To imply that

all of his work is not homeopathy was inaccurate. That does not change the fact, however,

that the book also contains much speculative information-- specifically about the nature of

synthetic remedies (combining two, like Lithium and Phosphorus to yield Lithium

phosphoricum-- a remedy that has had no provings).

"He states that there are insufficient cases of Ms. Herrick's remedies to place them in the


I did not say that in the book review. I said that the remedies should not be given more than a

plain type entry until there is sufficient clinical data to give them a higher grade.

"Do provings become valid simply because they are old?"

No. Provings become valid because they can consistently be used to lead to cures based upon

the law of similars.

"Why do numerous plant remedies have their aggravations at the exact hour when the species

opens its flower (Pulsatilla at sunset, etc.). Why are so many of our remedies made from

creeping plants found to have dreams or desire to travel?"

This is an unsupported "doctrine of signatures" argument. Pulsatilla flowers (at least the ones

I have observed) open and close with the sun. When I took a photo of the plant for my slide

show, the flower was fully open at 9:30 in the morning. There is only one climber /creeper in

the repertory which has desire to travel--Curare. Of the other climbers/creepers (Gelsemium,

Cocculus, Clematis, Hedera, Ipomoea, Passiflora, Piper nigrum)--none have desire to travel in

their provings.

"We hope we are wrong in supposing that all of these articles indicate a strong editorial

conviction against and intolerance to hearing new concepts."

I have no problem with hearing new concepts. The history of homeopathy is FILLED with

new concepts. And, if you take a look at the pages of Homeopathy Today, you'll find plenty

of articles and seminar reviews that focus on or refer to such new concepts. It is only when

esoterica is elevated to the level of "ultimate truth" that I begin to have questions.

"It would be a shame to allow this newsletter to devolve into partisanship and divisiveness

which will only wound the community it exists to serve."

It will move in that direction only if people do not take part in the process.

I am always accessible. My e-mail is listed in each issue. That people who know me

(including many of those who signed the letter) cannot take "pen in hand" (as it were) and

communicate directly to me or write, as individuals, to Homeopathy Today disturbs me.

I was deeply dismayed by this letter-- both by the tone and by the fact that a number of those

who signed it live overseas, do not subscribe to Homeopathy Today, have no idea of the

Page 3

Julian Winston

The editor replies - May 2001


general content of the magazine, and apparently signed it based only upon seeing a copy of

the editorial in question.

I believe if something is to be called "homeopathy" then the process should be anchored

firmly in the homeopathic principles. It is as simple as that.




A contributor makes this observation:

There was a link to the full text but it has been rendered inoperative.

Moskowitz, Richard

The Fundamentalist Backlash

HANP-website; AJHM (2002, Summer)

By means of this article Dr. Moskowitz reacts as one of the signers of the letter “Against Divisiveness” to the answer of André Saine titled “Homeopathy versus Speculative Medicine”. He explains which parts of the teachings of Sankaran, Scholten and Mangialavori he values as useful, and that similar developments can be found already since the time of Farrington. He discusses, to which extent these approaches are speculative and how far they correspond to the principles of homeopathy according to Hahnemann. The fact is explained, that these disputes concerning the purity of the doctrine represent a recurring theme in the history of homeopathy since Hahnemann. 

A Reply to Julian Winston’s essay:

Brent Mathieu / Peter Wright

Letters – Winter 2001


The following two letters appeared in 'Simillimum' (Winter 2001, Vol.XIV, No.4, 6-

14)), the Journal of the Homeopathic Academy of Naturopathic Physicians

(www.healthy.net/library/journals/simillimum) edited by Barbara Osawa and Peter

Wright. They are presented here with kind permission.

The following two letters were a reply to André Saine's Article "Homeopathy versus

speculative Medicine":

Brent Mathieu, president of the board of the Homeopathic Academy of Naturopathic Physicians

(HANP), asks whether we should rather try new approaches in homeopathy instead of renouncing

them. The point of question is, if Hahnemann had been unfailing or if he had not only given a

fundament which should be developed further. The inductive way of thinking is not the only way, there

are also other methods. In spite of the reliability of the principles of homeopathy it is also adequate to

doubt her immutability and infallibility.

Peter Wright, also a member of the board of the HANP, contradicts Brent Mathieu and emphasises

the immutability of the fundamental principles of homeopathy. Every innovation developed in

homeopathy must orient by these principles; only a supplement without a change of the fundamentals

is to be permitted. Recent innovations partly don`t base on the principles but ignore them.

Brent Mathieu

A reply to André Saine’s “Homeopathy vs. Speculative Medicine”

Dear editor,

Dr. Saine, in his treatise “Homeopathy versus Speculative Medicine, A Call to Action”

(Simillimum Fall 2001), points out the “responsibility [that] belongs to everyone in a position

of authority.” As president of the board of the Homeopathic Academy of Naturopathic

Physicians, I am compelled to action.

First, I want to commend Dr. Saine on a scholarly presentation of Hahnemann, Lippe, Lee,

and Dunham’s views on the importance of pure sources of Materia Medica in order to

preserve the effectiveness of Homeopathy as a healing art. This history is a valuable

instruction about the principles of Homeopathy, and the roots of past and present differences

among its practitioners. The quotes in the article helped clarify my understanding of the

issues underlying the concerns expressed by the 21 signers of a letter published in

Homeopathy Today (May, 2001), and from individuals in private communications to the

HANP Board.

It has been distressing to witness the participants in this difference of thought polarizing into

“us vs. them” camps. A number of prominent DHANPs and homeopaths have dropped their

subscriptions to Simillimum in protest because of the standards for author guidelines in that

publication, controversy about presentations at the last HANP Case Conference, and the tone

and content of recent issues. Individuals from both sides have used inflammatory and

divisive terms such as “fundamentalism” to describe the positions of advocates of pure

Hahnemannian Homeopathy, and the avant-garde teachings charged as being “false doctrines”

that are “speculative” and “misrepresentations.”

After reading Dr. Saine’s essay, it is apparent much of this divisiveness stems from the

attitudes of Hahnemann and his disciples. Hahnemann is quoted denouncing “false doctrines”

as “treachery and degeneracy” that must be “branded and avoided.” Lippe speaks of

Homeopathy guided by “fundamental and infallible” and “fixed, immutable principles.” Such

words set the historical stage for our present drama. They document Hahnemann’s

intolerance of dissent and departure from the principles he delineated in the Organon, and the

fervor of his disciples in defending his ideas as sacrosanct.

One wonders whether

Hahnemann and Lippe, if they were alive today, would burn the books by Scholten,

Page 2

Brent Mathieu / Peter Wright

Letters – Winter 2001


Vithoulkas, Morrison, and Sankaran on materia medica for their alleged impurity? Or would

they be engaged in scientific inquiry to either verify or negate their hypotheses? Is it our duty

as Hahnemannian homeopaths to “denounce their misrepresentation and false teachings” as

Dr. Saine states, and perhaps censor their articles and boycott their books and seminars, or

rather should we experiment and test what is true and effective in Homeopathy today?

Lippe’s scorn for “the advocates of unlimited liberty” that “pervert Homeopathy into

Eclecticism” stings especially. The Homeopathic Academy of Naturopathic Physicians is the

child of the marriage of Homeopathy and naturopathic medicine that descended historically

from the Eclectic Medicine of the late 1800s. Our diplomates graduate from naturopathic

medical schools where they are trained to integrate Homeopathy with other therapies that

respect and work with the vital force. Some of us, myself included, have a confusion of

identity about whether we are homeopaths or naturopaths, and whether we can be both. To

protect the reputation and purity of Homeopathy, shall we propose that the HANP require

from its DHANPs a pledge of allegiance to pure, Classical Homeopathy, signed in blood?

Dr. Saine questions whether the 21 signers of a letter are “promoting a false doctrine.”

Rather, let us as homeopaths debate the core question of how do we “know” the medicinal

action of homeopathic drugs. In other words, let us ask ourselves as physicians and scientists,

what is reliable and “pure” materia medica? Hahnemann’s assertion is that only materia

medica derived from experimentation on healthy humans is pure, and may be relied upon to

treat the sick. To abbreviate and paraphrase one of Hahnemann’s quotes from Dr. Saine’s

article: “The homeopathic healing art administers no medicine before testing experimentally

their pure effects. Thus alone can the power of medicines on human health be known.” Other

methods are speculative, in Hahnemann’s opinion. Is he correct? Is it ethical for us to

prescribe a relatively unproven remedy based on theory or intuition?

Another question: because of Hahnemann’s great genius, brilliant scientific experimentation

and inductive reasoning, are the principles for healing in the Organon infallible and

immutable, free from error for all time? Or are they a firm foundation and a sure guide for

further inquiry and progress, as in the case of Newtonian physics leading to quantum

mechanics and string theory? How shall we advance and progress our science of healing?

Dr. Saine in his essay admirably outlines one course. Does this mean we must reject and

denounce the premises of Electroacupuncture by Voll, radionics, medical psychics, Jung,

Whitmont, shamans, and Rife as folly and quackery? Or can these aid us to deepen our

understanding of vital force, susceptibility, miasms and the curative action of drugs beyond

Hahnemann’s conclusions?

Dr. Saine quotes Hahnemann’s admission, “...it is certain that the materia medica can and

must be the daughter of experience,” tempered with his warning about it giving way to

“dreamy hypotheses.” Materia medicas such as Lectures on the Homeopathic Materia

Medica, The Soul of Remedies, Materia Medica Viva, and The Desktop Guide to Keynote

Prescribing, are based on their authors’ extensive clinical experience.

Hahnemann is quoted in Dr. Saine’s article as asserting “...it is impossible to divine the

healing powers of medicines according to a chemical hypothesis,” thus discounting the value

of chemistry in homeopathic pharmacodynamics, not to mention quantum physics. Yet in

many published cases as demonstrated by Scholten and Sankaran, successful prescriptions

were made of a combination salt such as Natrum arsenicum based on the indications of its

constituent elements, rather than its recorded provings. How is this not inductive reasoning

similar to that of Hahnemann? Nature, the order of the universe, is a great teacher and

revealer of the essential qualities of substances. Inductive reasoning is one valid way of

knowledge. It is not the only one.

Page 3

Brent Mathieu / Peter Wright

Letters – Winter 2001


Hahnemann indeed provided us a true compass to find our way in healing humanity. Though

the principles of Homeopathy he expounded are not broken and are still reliable, it is

appropriate to question their immutability and infallibility. Our understanding of the

principles of healing, and the reliability of our materia medica and repertories, can be

improved through scientific inquiry and innovation. We must be able to question

Hahnemann’s authority, and go beyond his work in a search for truth, and our mission to heal

the sick.

I thank Dr. Saine for his provocative paper, and join him in the call for reflection and action

on the direction of Homeopathy.

Julian Winston, editor of Homeopathy Today, quoted the poet Rilke in its September 2001

issue: “Community is held together by the power of the grace of great things.” May the grace

and power of Homeopathy bless our community to hold together, even as we disagree.

Tolerance in the search for truth needs to balance the vigilance required to preserve liberty

and science.

Brent Mathieu ND, DHANP

Peter Wright responds:

I appreciate the good intentions in Dr. Mathieu’s letter, and as a fellow HANP board member

I very much appreciate his fine work for the organization. With the permission of Dr. Saine

and Simillimum executive editor Barbara Osawa, I would like to respond in a collegial spirit

to some of the points he has raised.

Dr. Mathieu’s letter is very welcome in continuing the exchange, and I expect that the

concerns he brings up are widely shared. I want to emphasize, as André did in his message,

that there are absolutely no issues of malice, disrespect, or moral judgement involved here.

This is a discussion of principles, not personalities.

We need to talk

The existence of differing views, and the sometimes abrasive tone of the discussion, seems to

concern Dr. Mathieu as much as the issues themselves, and yet the language of his letter risks

heightening the polarization that he deplores. I would suggest that forthright dialogue about

essential issues should not be cause for alarm or distress.

He speaks of book-burning, censorship, boycotts, intolerance, quackery, and blood oaths.

Totalitarian dictators and dogmatic priests claim the authority to burn books and prevent the

dissemination of ideas they condemn. Clinicians, scholars, and scientists selectively

challenge, test, confirm, verify, disprove, criticize, or ignore publications in their fields,

depending on how they rate the merits of the work. As editors, teachers, readers, and

prescribers, we must all make choices, based on our assessment of the value of each offering.

This is not the same as intolerance, censorship, or boycotts. When old ideas which are

antithetical to Homeopathy (as defined by its founder) are promoted as the latest

developments in the art, leaders like Dr. Saine may well feel obliged to speak up.

He wonders, “...rather should we experiment and test what is true and effective in

Homeopathy today?” I can’t resist responding to this question with another question: has

something about disease and healing so fundamentally changed that today’s Homeopathy

must be different from that of previous eras? What was this event, when did the change

occur, and how must Homeopathy therefore change?

He asks, “how do we ‘know’ the medicinal action of homeopathic drugs?” and whether the

Organon’s principles remain verifiably true. Dr. Mathieu seems to be unclear about the

Page 4

Brent Mathieu / Peter Wright

Letters – Winter 2001


meaning and importance of Hahnemann’s inductive logic, relative to “other ways of

knowledge.” The implication is that these principles are simply one man’s ideas, to be tested

and improved in the course of time, along with the ideas of many other theorists and thinkers.

I would respectfully suggest that these concerns show a failure to grasp the true stature of this

man and his work, and the extent to which recorded experience has long since verified his


Inductive logic makes Homeopathy unique

Inductive methods are indeed valued over others in Homeopathy, due to Hahnemann’s

awareness of the long history of false hopes and dead ends in medical approaches which

relied on other sources of knowledge such as deduction and intuition. The very relentlessness

that makes his chastisements sound so harsh also drove him to painstakingly work out an

inductive approach to healing which differs in logical type from any other before or since.

This fundamental distinction is the basis of its superiority over the standard medicine of his

day (and of our own), and the reason that repeated attempts to amend it, lacking the inductive

foundation, have never been acceptable as extensions of his work.

Dr. Mathieu asks whether “...we must reject and denounce the premises of

Electroacupuncture by Voll, radionics, medical psychics, Jung, Whitmont, shamans, and Rife

as folly and quackery?” I think the best response here is to quote Jesus: “By their fruits ye

shall know them.” Many traditions and individuals have touched on certain aspects of the

territory, and of course conventional medicine has accumulated masses of fragmentary data.

Homeopathy, however, offers us something qualitatively unique: a comprehensive map

including a system of principles that illuminates the energetic basis of disease and health, sets

out an effective method of removing illness, provides a way to understand the process, and

applies to every curable case.

200 years after Hahnemann’s discoveries, persistent and skillful application of homeopathic

principles will still lead to genuine cures. If we know and understand the value of this

system, if our work is Homeopathy, we are ethically obliged to rely on the principles, and on

trustworthy information derived from them, rather than on intuition or hypothesis. Judges are

bound to follow the law and the principles of justice, navigators must use the compass and

map, and homeopaths must apply the truths of the


The “advances” and “innovations” in question do not build on the principles, but ignore and

contradict them. Hahnemann was well-acquainted with the medical hypotheses of his day,

which included the doctrine of signatures and the use of compound chemical medicines

chosen for the presumed activity of their constituents. He clearly repudiated both of these

ideas as clinically unreliable and logically inconsistent with the empirical foundations of

Homeopathy. This is not string theory, nor rocket science—it is more like trying to use mud

and thatch to build a new wing onto a structure made of marble and granite.

“...in many published cases as demonstrated by Scholten and Sankaran, successful

prescriptions were made of a combination salt such as Natrum arsenicum based on the

indications of its constituent elements, rather than its recorded provings. How is this not

inductive reasoning similar to that of Hahnemann?” This is an example, rather, of

deduction—attempting to deduce the properties an unknown remedy from those of two others

which have been proven, rather than building step by step on observation, from the ground up,

as required by the inductive method Hahnemann taught. For instance, Calcarea sulphuricum

and Hepar sulph. are both remedies containing sulphur and calcium; we know about their

respective medicinal properties only through provings. “Synthetic prescribing” was unsound

Page 5

Brent Mathieu / Peter Wright

Letters – Winter 2001


when Kent proposed it 100 years ago, and it is still an instance of putting the theoretical cart

before the empirical horse.

“Hahnemann indeed provided us a true compass to find our way in healing humanity.

Though the principles of Homeopathy he expounded are not broken and are still reliable, it is

appropriate to question their immutability and infallibility.” This passage strikes me as

contradictory. Either the principles are reliable and fully proven, or not. How does one see

it—“broke,” or “don’t need fixing”? Does the compass need to be verified again at each use,

or can we count on it tomorrow, as we did yesterday?

The lure of novelty

Why has Homeopathy’s history been so marked by recurring conflicts between strict

Hahnemannians and those who wish to redefine and transform the discipline? I suspect that

there are three major factors which motivate the advocates of transformation: the search for

short cuts, the creative urge, and self-promotion. None of these motivations are evil or

unusual, but each puts “the physician’s high and only mission” at grave risk. Better education

for homeopaths, grounded in the principles and promoting critical thinking and high

standards, is urgently needed to act as a restraining influence on these natural tendencies.

As a culture, we are entranced with newness. We confuse novelty with significance,

knowledge and cleverness with understanding. We expect constant updates and revisions, the

periodic appearance of revolutionary new paradigms replacing all that came before. The

impact of this obsession is at least as problematic for Homeopathy as for other areas of

science, technology, and the arts.

While the data of Homeopathy will continue to be updated and revised, its foundation of

essential principles is deeply rooted in the bedrock of Creation. The law of similars, proving

of medicines, potentization, single remedy, minimum dose, hierarchy of symptoms,

miasmatic basis of disease—there’s very little need to revisit these points. We can count on


André’s article on Aloe, the second part of which appears in this issue, is an excellent

example of a contribution to the data which is fully informed by the principles. Adding to the

edifice of Homeopathy in this manner is far humbler than setting out to renovate the entire

structure or add a fancy new tower, but the quality of the material and the attention to detail

ensure its usefulness and durability.

Necessary distinctions

There is an essential conflict here over the meaning and ownership of a word. The uses of

potentized substances are many and varied, and some people seriously argue that they are all

varieties of something very broad and nebulous called Homeopathy. The truth is that

Hahnemann meant something very specific by the term: a system that he discovered and

developed as a complete, coherent method through the exercise of incredibly rigorous logic

and inspiration. His challenge to the physicians of his own day still stands—to either use and

refine the amazing instrument he named Homeopathy, or to pursue other paths based on other

models of healing, and to call them by other names.

For instance, in the early part of the 20th century, Rudolph Steiner developed a system he

named Anthroposophical Medicine. Practitioners of this method often use potentized

medicines, frequently the same remedies as homeopaths prescribe. They analyze cases and

prescribe medicines (including many we are quite familiar with) in a way that is quite unlike

Homeopathy. There is no controversy I know of between them and homeopaths, however,

because they do not call their work Homeopathy.

Page 6

Brent Mathieu / Peter Wright

Letters – Winter 2001


The ferocity of Hahnemann and his followers, in responding to those who would innovate in

the name of Homeopathy without retaining the rigor of the original work, may often strike us

as harsh. We are too accustomed to a bland, postmodern, neutral discourse of “niceness” and

mutual back-scratching. We may see our community of nonconventional medical

practitioners as being so marginalized that we can’t risk open conflict and strongly expressed

opinions. We may assume that objectivity means “looking at both sides of the question,”

regardless of the issue. We are more comfortable with the idea of closing our eyes and

submerging our differences in a nice smooshy New Age hug.

This kind of tolerance is appropriate for a polite discussion of religion, where verification is

not readily available, or necessary. It is not satisfactory for matters where standards of logic

and proof are applicable, and where real suffering can result from our choices.

Naturopath, homeopath, or both?

The anxiety about confronting our differences is especially characteristic of naturopathic

physicians. We are exposed to many methods and concepts in school. We can’t practice all

of them; we certainly can’t become expert in all of them; logically, we can’t really even

accept all of them together, as they often contradict each other if examined closely. We

maintain a semblance of unity as a profession by overlooking these contradictions, and

individually finding a method (or a combination or synthesis of methods) that we wish to

pursue. If we don’t criticize the work of our peers, they won’t criticize ours, and we can all

share the legal umbrella of our professional affiliation.

We overlook our differences not just for the sake of unity, but because the field of

naturopathy is broad, nebulous, and inclusive from its very inception. The name itself betrays

the nature of the profession as a fusion, a sort of chimera. The vitalistic rhetoric of

naturopathy was largely borrowed from Homeopathy in the first place, and is reflected very

inconsistently in the treatments included in the ND’s array.

The premises of many “natural therapies” are entirely allopathic. Today’s naturopathy, as the

heir to Eclecticism, employs some of the same botanical pharmacy as the 19th century

Eclectics, but little of their rationale for prescribing the herbs. As in conventional medicine,

there are no real Eclectic or naturopathic principles to compare with the principles of

Homeopathy, only tactics for specific diseases—“whatever works,” which is not a principle

at all. One settles for defining clinical success simply as short-term improvement in the

disease diagnosis, without regard to the whole person, the long term, or the consequences of


Wholism, uniformed by a unifying model like Hahnemann’s, usually just means offering

multiple treatments for multiple problems. While naturopathy is multiple and diverse by

nature (appropriate for the successor to Eclecticism), and by definition excludes only what is

“unnatural,” Homeopathy, by contrast, is a well-defined and internally consistent system.

Yes, we can certainly be both naturopaths and homeopaths! We each make choices about

what we want to do for our patients, based on our predilections and preferences, as well as our

clinical experience. We needn’t adopt every practice on the list, or attempt to revive

Eclecticism, to be “real naturopaths.” Choosing to specialize principally or exclusively in

Homeopathy is a perfectly valid option. No one need feel “stung” when homeopaths

distinguish between their art and other approaches within the ND’s scope of practice. All

therapies, natural or otherwise, are not equal.

Page 7

Brent Mathieu / Peter Wright

Letters – Winter 2001


History: learn or repeat

I urge my colleagues to reread and consider well the implications of the history André cites.

Despite the fierce defense of Homeopathy’s integrity by Hahnemann, Lippe, and others, the

neglect of fundamental principles in homeopathic education was the primary factor which

brought Homeopathy to the very brink of oblivion in the US, within several decades of its

introduction here. As extreme as Hahnemann’s attacks on the “half-homeopaths” may now

appear to our tolerant eyes, his concern for the purity of the art proved to be all too well-


The real dynamite in André’s article, perhaps, is his statement that some teachers “have gone

as far as falsifying follow-ups, to demonstrate the cleverness of their prescribing.” This

indicates an alarmingly advanced pathology affecting our community, one which threatens to

seriously undermine the integrity of the essential data base we share. Hygienic treatment is

needed—the sunshine, fresh air, and cleansing effects of close scrutiny and vigorous

discussion. It is time to fearlessly confront fantasy, pretense, self-promotion, wishful

thinking, and falsehood in all forms.

In view of the history, it is appropriate and important to rectify our language, to insist on

calling a spade a spade. There are few boundaries in naturopathy and wholistic healing; one

must rely on personal judgement. Practitioners are free to use symbolism, omens, astrology,

blood types, Voll machines, aura reading, etc., to guide their prescriptions. Natural medicine

offers many options for ways to practice, many areas for creative innovation, many

opportunities to market products, services, and ideas. But let those who part ways with

Hahnemann be honest enough to call their work something else—naturopathy, energy

healing, archetype therapy—any term that doesn’t already have a distinct meaning assigned

to it. I believe that it’s entirely fair to reserve the term Homeopathy for the methods of

Hahnemann and his direct successors, and to maintain the original vision of the HANP as an

organization for NDs practicing Hahnemann’s art.



Further evidence of the divisiveness and fear or reprisals:


Morrison, Roger.

Homeopathy Today (2002, Apr)

Reach for the olive branch

In his short answer to A.Saine’s article „Drawing a Line in the Sand“ R.Morrison rejects especially A.Saine’s critic of Sankaran’s concepts and explains his wish to finalize this debate and coming back to a peaceful community.
A republication of this article on this website was forbidden by Dr. Morrison, with the statement: I do not wish to be included in this devisive debate ". We regret this, because we think that his writings are an important part of this debate, which we find more clearing than divisive. It might have been better, to think about the sense and character of this debate before publishing "Against divisiveness", which is a quite sharp answer to some critical remarks of Julian Winston and the main starting point of this discussion. A copy of this article you can order from any homeopathic library e.g. the Homöopathische Bibliothek Hamburg - Von Melle Park 3 – D-20146 Hamburg"



Jan Scholten

Dogmatism in homeopathy - Spring 2002


This article first appeared in 'Homoeopathic Links' (Spring 2002, Vol.15, p.1), edited

by Corrie Hiwat and Harry van der Zee (www.antenna.nl/homeolinks).

It is presented here with kind permission.

In this article Jan Scholten argues against dogmatism and sticking to authorities

(“Hahnemann said…”) in Homoeopathy. Clinical symptoms were as important

components of the Materia medica as proving symptoms, partly clinical symptoms

could differ extremely from the proving symptoms. He contradicts the statement of

Hahnemann in § 21 of the Organon, that the curative power of remedies could only

be observed by their action on healthy human beings.

Jan Scholten

Dogmatism in homeopathy

In the homeopathic literature and discussion we often encounter strong dogmatic features.

The recent discussions in Homeopathic Links has given many examples. Sometimes it looks

like religious fanaticism. In order to base one’s statement one often finds “Hahnemann has

said….”. Open discussion is made difficult this way. Science has to do with arguments and

facts, not so much with authorities. Following one example of such a viewpoint, we can

make the situation more clear.

Only proving symptoms

It’s often said that the source of our Materia Medica are provings and only provings. We can

find this idea already in § 21 of the Organon (Hahnemann): “Now, as it is undeniable that the

curative principle in medicines is not in itself perceptible, and as in pure experiments with

medicines conducted by the most accurate observers, nothing can be observed that can

constitute them medicines or remedies except that power of causing distinct alterations in the

state of health of the human body, and particularly in that of the healthy individual, and of

exciting in him various definite morbid symptoms; so it follows that when medicines act as

remedies, they can only bring their curative property into play by means of this their power of

altering man's state of health by the production of peculiar symptoms; and that, therefore, we

have only to rely on the morbid phenomena which the medicines produce in the healthy body

as the sole possible revelation of their in - dwelling curative power, in order to learn what

disease - producing power, and at the same time what disease - curing power, each individual

medicine possesses.” Put in more modern language this paragraph looks like: “The curative

power of remedies can only be observed by their action on human beings; therefore that

curative power can only be learned from their action on healthy humans; this means

provings”. It’s clear from this paragraph that Hahnemann means that only provings

symptoms are the source of our Materia Medica. We can conclude from the use of “only” and


This statement of Hahnemann is often repeated in homeopathy. Julian Winston writes: ”All of

Scholten’s work, no matter how interesting and no matter how useful, is not, at this point

homeopathy because we have no provings – only some clinical data”. Heudens repeats this

statement often in her seminars. Vithoulkas seems to promote the same idea: “That means you

don’t prove a substance. If you prove a substance correctly, I have no problem at all”.


What is the practice in homeopathy. This is best illustrated with an example. The example is

taken from the “Essence of Materia Medica” (Vithoulkas). These essences are used by many

Page 2

Jan Scholten

Dogmatism in homeopathy - Spring 2002


homeopaths with great satisfaction and have become a kind of standard of the essence of

remedies. Lycopodium is just taken by chance. When we check which symptoms from this

essence are found in the povings, we find the following results:

Symptoms not found (particularly not in the proving of Hahnemann): coward, inadequate,

responsibility, image, friendly, courage, sexual gratification, one night stand, averse marriage,

superficial sex, competent, premature ejaculation, intelligent, intellectual, priest, lawyer,

teacher, politician, bluff, inferiority, exaggerate, bloating ego, compensate, admiration, prove,

loner, spinster, celibacy, spiritual, obsessed, dictatorial, tyrannical, passive, bolster, lies, fear

dark, fear ghost, fear dog, imbecility, senility, emaciation face, emaciation neck, emaciation

chest, wrinkled face, wrinkles, hair gray, flapping alae nasi, frigidity, nephritis, stomach ulcer,

hemorrhoids, indulgence.

Symptoms found: impotency, stomach pain, bloating abdomen, timid, fear alone,

hypochondriasis, confusion, memory weak, flatulence, desire sweets, desire oyster, empty,


So 52 symptoms cannot be found back in the provings, 13 symptoms are found. This means

that 80% of the symptoms of Vithoulkas’s essence are not found in the provings. This is quite

annoying when homeopathy has to be based on proving. Some of the 52 unfound symptoms

can be found in the repertory of Kent. But they cannot be traced back to provings as Kent has

put a lot of clinical data in his repertory. The conclusion must be that the basic Materia

Medica is far away from the provings. General keynotes can even be in contradiction with the

provings. The word left is more prominent in the proving of Lycopodium of Hahnemann,

whereas the remedy is known as a right sided remedy.

This is of course only one example. But the same procedure can be done for many other

remedies and for many other Materia Medica’s. It’s a common experience that most

homeopaths have pictures in mind quite different from the provings. So most homeopaths

won’t recognize provings read to them. When I read the first page of the proving of

Lycopodium to the audience of the ECCH conference in Trömso, no one of the 400

homeopaths recognized it. The same happened in 2 other seminars. This can be attributed to

the fact that provings are long listings of symptoms. But the fact that no one recognizes it,

means that those listings are far away from the pictures those homeopaths have in mind.

Law of Similars states the efficiency of clinical data

We can also look at the statement of § 21 from a theoretical point of view. The law of similars

says: a remedy can cure what it can produce. A proving shows what a remedy can produce.

Hence provings will show us what a remedy can cure. So proving symptoms and pictures can

be used as a Materia Medica.

But the opposite is just as true: a remedy can produce what it can cure. So cured symptoms

and pictures can tell us the proving picture. This means that clinical information, curative

information is just as valuable for our Materia Medica as provings. This is inherent in the law

of Similars. But the conclusion of § 21 is contradiction with it.

§ 21 in contradiction with Law of Similars

It’s even the case that Hahnemann used clinical information to deduce the Law of Similars.

He used the information of the curative power of China and compared that with his own

proving of China. From the similarity between the two he concluded the Law of Similars.

Hahnemann needed both the information of the curative power of China and the proving

power of China to derive the Law of Similars. It’s one step further to state that the law of

Similars can only be deduced by also using clinical curative powers. Without comparing

Page 3

Jan Scholten

Dogmatism in homeopathy - Spring 2002


proving pictures with cured pictures the Law of Similars cannot be deduced (it would be more

correct to use the concept of induction instead of deduction; deduction is a logical derivation

from laws and axioms: induction is the generalization from a group of events). So the law of

Similars cannot be derived without using clinical data. The ultimate conclusion of this way of

reasoning must be that homeopaths who are adhering to § 21 of the Organon are in

contradiction with the basic law of homeopathy. This is so because § 21 in itself is in

contradiction with the law of Similars.

How then did Hahnemann reach his conclusion of § 21. His assumption was: “The curative

power of remedies can only be observed by their action on human beings”. From this

assumption he deduced the conclusion: “therefore that curative power can only be learned

from their action on healthy humans; this means provings”. In his assumption he speaks about

the action on human beings, but in his conclusion he writes of the action on “healthy” human

beings. So Hahnemann introduces a limitation of the action, first it was on all human beings,

later only on healthy human beings. The limitation is introduced suddenly and without

explanation. It’s not backed up. Hence the deduction is incorrect, the “therefore” isn’t

justified. It’s a mistake in logic. The conclusion must be that the way of reasoning in § 21 is


Of course there had to be something wrong in § 21. The conclusion in it is incorrect as we’ve

seen before. Hence the assumption or deduction of Hahnemann have to be incorrect.

Organon contains contradictions

So § 21 of the Organon contains an illogical derivation and a statement in contradiction with

the basic law of Similars. When the Organon would be just a historical document that

wouldn’t be a big problem. But the Organon is often seen as the basic text of homeopathy. It’s

often taught in homeopathic schools as the basic homeopathic theory. The Organon is often

treated as a bible.

Some examples can make this clear. Thielens writes: “Men who follow law should recognize

Hahnemann’s Organon as the fixed and settled authority, and the opinion of one or many as

of little value”. Stuart Close wrote (Saravan*): “He only is ‘The Master’ to whom the first

great revelation of truth was made and by whom it was first developed and proclaimed”.

Saravan* writes: “The only hero is Hahnemann. Loyalty is to the science and its only

Master.”. From these statements a picture emerges as Homeopathy being a religion and

Hahnemann being it’s prophet. These statements are sectarian, not scientific. A science has no

masters, only promoters and developers.


So Hahnemann is fallible, not a holy person that couldn’t make mistakes, cannot be criticized.

I often encounter situations that I have to defend myself when I criticize Hahnemann. But for

me criticizing doesn’t mean that I don’t admire Hahnemann. I see Hahnemann as the Newton

of medicine. He was the first to give medicine a firm ground and some basic laws whereas

before that there were only scattered facts without theory. The same was the situation with

Newton, he gave physics a firm basis with his laws of mechanics. But even with the enormous

admiration for Newton in physics, no student in physics reads the original works of Newton

anymore. There are far better accounts of the ideas of Newton, with far better ways of

displaying his ideas and mathematics. It would even be an insult to stick to the exact writings

and reasoning of Newton.

Some biologists, talking to a colleague homeopath, were astonished that homeopathy was still

using books of two centuries ago as text books. How is it possible that homeopathy still uses

those books as the Organon? It is as if Homeopathy hasn’t developed since it’s start. The

Page 4

Jan Scholten

Dogmatism in homeopathy - Spring 2002


biologists asked themselves and us how a science didn’t evolve in two centuries still using the

same books. Winston sees the adherence to the Organon as a criterion of “good” homeopathy:

“Vithoulkas did not spend much time discussing philosophy or the Organon in his in-person

lectures”. But how can we adhere to a book like the Organon as our basic text book, when

already in one paragraph there are violations of logic and of the basic law of homeopathy.

That won’t promote a lot of confidence in scientist and the public.

When we like to see homeopathy as a science then we have to hold to scientific principles. In

science persons have no argument value. Facts and ways of reasoning are the basic statements

and arguments. Dogma’s of authorities, whether they are Hahnemann or Kent or whoever,

have no place in science.


Hahnemann S., Organon of medicine, Edition 6B, New Delhi, 1985.

Heudens, seminar notes.

Saravan*, Letters to the editor (p.191), Homoeopathic Links, Volume 13, Number 4, 2000.

Thielens E., Letter to the editor (p.71-72), Homoeopathic Links, Volume 13, Number 2, 2000.

Vithoulkas G., The Essences of Materia Medica, New Delhi, 1991.

Vithoulkas G., A man with a mission, Interview with George Vithoulkas, (p.202-210), Homoeopathic Links,

Volume 12, Number 4, 1999.

Winston J., Homeopathy Today, Editorial, 2000.

* meant is the indian colleague K.S. Srinivasan, whose name was wrong written in Homoeopathic Links [Note

by K.Habich]


One of many pages, showing the deep intellectual commitment of homeopaths to seek grounding for theory and practice:


Lucia Cantar

Why bother with provings? - Dec 2000


This letter first appeared in Homeopathy Today (2000, Vol 20, December: 25), the

newsletter of the National Center for Homeopathy, Alexandria, VA, USA,

(www.homeopathic.org) edited by Julian Winston. It is presented here with kind


Lucia Cantar in her letter to the editor asks, if conclusions from patients back to the

Materia Medica are possible.

" ... is he really saying that there are people walking around who are EXACTLY (not

similar to) Arsenicum sulphuratum flavus?"

Lucia Cantar

Why bother with provings?

Dear editor,

in the October issue Steve Hayes reviewed a seminar with Massimo Mangialavori. Hayes

states that Mangialavori "encouraged the participants to rely more on their own experiences

and to use their patients to study materia medica. If you find yourself with a good case of

Arsenicum sulphuratum flavum, it is better to study your patient who represents the 'real thing'

rather than books on materia medica ... Massimo's wariness of books as a source of

knowledge contrasts sharply with his estimation of experience grounded in inductive

investigation." He further states that Mangialavori is "redescribing the materia medica of

remedies through the results of his inductive experiences with his cured cases."

I don't get it. I thought that what set homeopathy apart as a true science was that homeopaths

rely on provings; that is, a prover proves a substance (remedy), those provings become the

basis for the materia medica, and then that remedy may be given to people with similar

sicknesses. It seems illogical to me that it could also work the other way - is he really saying

that there are people walking around who are EXACTLY (not similar to) Arsenicum

sulphuratum flavus? And so we should study everything about them in order to learn the

materia medica of the remedy Arsenicum sulphuratum flavus? This seems backwards to me

and more like deductive reasoning than Hahnemann's inductive reasoning (provings). If it is

so, why bother with provings at all?

What am I missing? Can you shed any light on this subject?


Lucia Cantar

New York, NY

Answer of the editor:

I think there is a piece being left out. If he has never used a remedy before, how does

Massimo find the remedy in the first place? The answer would be through the study of the

materia medica.

The Materia Medica (as seen in the provings) is undoubtedly incomplete. You cannot expect a

small group of people, when given a substance to prove, to be able to prove every symptom

the remedy is capable of inducing.

Our Materia Medica is made up of provings AND of our observations of patients that have

been given the remedies. Some of our classic "keynotes" (the 4 p.m. aggravation of

Page 2

Lucia Cantar

Why bother with provings? - Dec 2000


Lycopodium, the desire to stick their feet out from under the covers of Sulphur) were seen in

only a few provers. They became "keynotes" after the symptoms were observed to be cured in


When Massimo says, "If you find yourself with a good case of Arsenicum sulphuratum

flavum, it is better to study your patient who represents the 'real thing' rather than books on

materia medica," the first thing to understand is that the remedy was selected by looking in

the books. But since it is such a little used remedy, our information about it (from both the

proving and clinical observations) is not very complete. Finding that the remedy WAS

helpful, one can "backtrack" and try to get a "gestalt" of what this patient was like.

This is exactly what George Vithoulkas did to obtain his "essences." When he says, "Sepia is

like this...." he is making that generalization from having observed hundreds of cases that

responded to Sepia.

In the same way, Catherine Coulter developed her "portraits" by noticing those small details.

It takes many cases where Nat mur is prescribed (based on the symptoms presented) and

found curative before the smaller details are noticed-- that a good number of those patients

has a certain "something" in their smile. And it is that "something" which might clue the

perceptive prescriber into considering one remedy over another.

What Massimo is asking is that we observe our patients. When we see Arsenicum

sulphuratum flavum act curatively in a patient, it is worth noting more about that patient.

Hering suggested that we can grow by "accumulating most careful observations and

contributing them to the general fund of knowledge."

It seems that is what Massimo is asking us to do.





International Discussion - Basics of Homoeopathy

From now on you can take part in the discussion.
With a click on "Forum" you will get to the start.


Start | Introduction | Table of contents | Forum | Diskussion auf Deutsch

To Homepage Grundlagen + Praxis


Sort    chronological order  by Author  by Titel







To think about




Adams, R. A., et al. (142 signers)

Declaration of homoeopathic principles

The Organon (1878, Apr)




Letter to the editor

Simillimum (2001, Winter)



Baur, Jacques

Letter to André Saine

(2001, Jan)



Bridger, Michael

Meditational Provings

Magazin of the Contemporary College of Homeopathy (2000, June)



Bridger, Mike

Up The Swanee To Atlantis

The Homoeopath (1998, Winter)



Buschauer, Walter

Homoeopathy and Homoeopaths




Buschauer, Walter

The authentic interpretation of homoeopathy...




Cantar, Lucia

Why bother with provings?

Homeopathy Today (2000, Dec)



Dellmour, Friedrich


Dokumenta Homeopathica (1998)



Dellmour, Friedrich

The similia principle - its historical and scientific roots




Dimitriadis, George

The Scientificity of Homoeopathy Some Essays on Homœopathy




Dimitriadis, George

Pure Observation

AJHM (2002, Autumn)



Diverse Signers

International declaration

(2003, May)



Fäh, Lukas

Concern about Homeopathy

(2000, Jan)



Fuckert, Kösters, Schreier

Clinical symptoms

(2002, May)



Guess, George

Editorial Preface

AJHM (2002, Summer)



Gypser, Klaus-Henning

Concluding remarks

(2003, Sept)



Habich, K. / C. Kösters / J. Rohwer

Magic or Science?

AHZ (2003, May)



Habich, Klaus

Samuel Hahnemann’s Reply




Hahnemann, Samuel

Essay on a new principle....




Hahnemann, Samuel

Speculative systems of medicine




Hahnemann, Samuel

Examination of the sources...




Hahnemann, Samuel

The medical observer




Hahnemann, Samuel

Spirit of the homoeopathic doctrine of medicine




Hampel, A. / C. Kösters

Annotations to „Why Bothering with provings“





Official Statement

2003, May



Hayes, Steve

Retraining with Massimo Mangialavori

Homeopathy Today (2000, Oct)



Heron, Krista

Answer to André Saine

Simillimum (2002, Spring)



Hershoff, Asa

Healing Plants: The Undiscovered Country

Homeopathy Today (2000, Jan)



Jacobs, Jennifer

Lets Agree to Disagree - with Respect

AJHM (2002, Summer)



Jansen, Jean-Pierre / Barbara Osawa


Simillimum (2002, Spring)



Kaiser, Daniel

Why no one wants to become a homeopath any more

(2002, June)



Knott, A. B.

Clinical experiences

Proceedings ... (1887)



Levine, Jeffrey / Peter Wright


Simillimum (2002, Spring)



Lippe, Adolph

Liberty of Medical Opinion and Action

Hahnemannian Monthly (1870)



Mathieu, Brent / Peter Wright

A reply to André Saine

Simillimum (2001, Winter)



McLaren, D. C.

A Chapter of Reminiscences




Meinhard, Christian

Organon §21 (sixth edition)

(2003, Nov)



More than 40 homoeopaths from all over the world

Short statements




Morrison, Roger et al.

Against Divisiveness (letter of the 21)

Homeopathy Today (2001, May)



Morrison, Roger

On experimentation, signatures, ...

Homeopathy Today (2002, Apr)



Morrison, Roger

A Final Response

AJHM (2002, Summer)



Morrison, Roger / Steven Olsen

The doctrine of signatures, revisited

Homeopathy Today (2002, August)



Morrison, Roger.

Reach for the olive branch

Homeopathy Today (2002, Apr)



Moskowitz, Richard

The Fundamentalist Backlash

HANP-website; AJHM (2002, Summer)



Mukerjee-Guzik, Shiela

Aude Sapere"?"




Mundy, David

The Art and Science of Homeopathy

Simillimum (2002, Fall)



Olsen, Steve

The doctrine of signatures

Homeopathy Today (2000, Dec)



Osawa B. / P. Wright

Guidelines for authors

Simillimum (2000, Winter)



Patel, B.D.

Modern Trends in Homoeopathy

Homoeopathic Links (1998, Summer)



Pitcairn, Richard

Positron and MobilePhone

(2002, June)



Pitcairn, Richard H.





Plate, Uwe

Homoeopathy or fictitious humbug

(2003, Sept)



Reichenberg-Ullman, Judyth

Letter to the editor concerning the guidelines

Simillimum (2001, Summer)



Robinson, Karl

Homeopathy, a phenomenal Medicine

Homeopathy Today (2001, Dec)



Rohrer, Anton

Certainty in finding the right remedy

(2001, Mai)



Saine, André

Pure Homeopathy: Our Legacy ...

(2001, May)



Saine, André

Homeopathy without Hahnemann?

Homeopathy Today (2001, June)



Saine, André

Homeopathy versus Speculative Medicine

Simillimum (2001, Fall)



Saine, André

Drawing a Line in the Sand




Saine, André

Homeopathy Has Nothing to Do with Eclecticism

Simillimum (2002, Summer)



Sankaran, Rajan


AJHM (2002, Summer)



Scholten, Jan

Dogmatism in homeopathy

Homoeopathic Links (2002, Spring)



Shepperd, Joel

Reply to Dr. Moskowitz

Simillimum (2002, Summer)



Shepperd, Joel

A call for common ground

Homeopathy Today (2001, May)



Shepperd, Joel

Two Ways of Seeing

AJHM (2002, Winter)



Srinivasan, K.S.

Letter to the editor

(2002, Summer)



Tessler, Neil

We must find a new way

Simillimum (2003, Fall)



Tessler, Neil

A Question of Balance

Simillimum (2002, Fall)



Tessler, Neil

Divya Chhabra Interview

Simillimum (2002, Winter)



Wichmann, Jörg

Defining a different tradition for homeopathy

Homoeopatic Links (Winter 2001)



Winston, Julian

From the editor

Homeopathy Today (2000, Dec)



Winston, Julian

Cracking open a can of worms...

Homeopathy Today (2002, Aug)



Winston, Julian

The editor replies

Homeopathy Today (2001, May)



Winston, Julian

Book review

Homeopathy Today (2000, Dec)



Winston, Julian

But is it Homeopathy?

Homeopathy Today (2002, Dec)



Wischner, Matthias

Homeopathy can a priori not be aprioristic

(2003, June)



Wright, Peter

Toward Clarity

Simillimum (2002, Spring)



Zirkind, Givon

Reinventing the wheel

Simillimum (2002, Spring)