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Samual Hahnemann,The Founder Of Homoeopathy

Updated on August 15, 2018

House in which Hahnemann born


Birth Of Master

A great number of people are well aware of Homoeopathy, the wonderful science of healing,but very few of them knows about the founder of this system of medicine -Dr.Samuel Christian Fredrick Hahnemann.Those who know him as an inventor of homoeopathy will be surprised to know that he was also a great scientist, chemist,nature lover botanist, linguist and a translator.
Hahnemann was born on 10th of April 1755, in a small but beautiful town meissen, the capital of misnia, in the state of saxony-Germany.The town, with nearly four thousand inhabitants, many of them were expert artist, chemist and painters, was considered as an important town, for it contained a factory for the newly discovered and wonderful "china glass" or porcelain.This factory was in the ruins of an ancient Albrecht castle.His father Christian Gottfried Hahnemann was a designer-painter in this porcelain factory.Upon the outskirt of the village and not far from this old Albrecht castle, stood a three storied high house known as Eck Haus, which was bought by painter father for the sum of 437 thalers and where the family set up.It was in this very much house, on the ground floor, in a corner room, wife of the painter Hahnemann, Johanna Christiana gave birth to Samuel Hahnemann, the founder of homoeopathy.

St.Afra School (recent)


School Life

Although Hahnemann did not spend early days going to school, it did not stop him from getting his education.He got his early education at home from his parent who taught him to read and write.They provided a sort of moral training to Hahnemann.His father taught him to live and to act without any pretence or show.At the age of 13, Hahnemann was admitted to school.He took his primary education at the grammar school in meissen and then joined prince school of st.Afra in same town.He showed a lot of interest in mathematics and botany.He had great flair for languages also.He was asked by his teacher to teach his fellow students Greek and Latin.Soon by his intelligence he worked his way in to the hearts of all his teachers.Inspite of special preferences given to him by his teachers his fellow pupils also loved Hahnemann.Master muller, his teacher in ancient languages and German composition, also a rector of the meissen private school had a great influence upon his subsequent studies.Hahnemann's father did not wish him to study at all so repeatedly took him from public school for a whole year.His teacher prevented him by not accepting any pay for his schooling.On leaving school he wrote a dissertation(thesis) in latin on "wonderful construction of human hand."

Higher Studies and Medical Studies

It was at Easter, 1775,that with his patrimony(money given by his father) of twenty thalers and letters from his teachers to the professors at the University of Leipzig, he sat out for that city where his aid and secured for him the position of the family physician and librarian to the Baron Von Bruckenthal, who was Governer of siebenberg and who lived in the city of Hermannstadt.It was during this period as a librarian he acquired extensive and diverse knowledge of numismatic(study or collection of currency),ancient literature and occult science,of which he afterwards proved himself to be a master.He also learnt different languages.When he left Hermannstadt at the age of twenty two years,he was master of Greek,Latin,Heebrew,Italian,Syriac,Arabic,Spanish,German and some smattering of Chaldaic.
In the spring of 1779, he bade good bye to his good friend the Baron,his library and left for the University of Erlangen in Franconia from where Hahnemann completed his medical studies,got the medical degree of M.D.The subject of his thesis was, `A consideration of the aetiology and therapeutics of spasmodic affections '

Medical Practice

After Hahnemann had obtained his medical degree his first thoght was for the hills of his beloved saxony.He located in the little town of Hettstadt and settled down to practice there, but as there was no field for practice,he remained there for nine months and left for Dessau.Here he first turned his attention to chemistry, but at the end of the year he was appointed a district physician in Gommern, which was a small town and he was the first physician who had ever been there.He was accustomed to take long geological walks, visited mines nearby, learned about practicle mining and smelting.He became a regular visitor at the laboratory of the apothecary(pharmacist) Haseler and gained the deeper knowledge of practical pharmacy and chemistry.Here he met Haseler's step daughter Johanna Leopaldine Henriette Kuchler, to whom Hahnemann married in year 1781.Hahnemann remained at Gommern for two years and nine months.During this period,dissatisfied with mode of treatment, he did not make any effort to increase his medical practice but prefered to devote himself to his translation and studies.His translations, medical essays earned him lots of fame at that time.His eldest of eleven children,Henritta was born at Gommern.


Homoeopathy Born

It was in the year 1790, while translating cullen's materia medica, he came across the chapter on peruvian bark(cinchona).Cullen has ascribed the usefulness of peruvian bark in treating malaria(ague) to its bitter and astringent properties.Hahnemann wrote a bold footnote in his translation, disputing cullen's explanation.Hahnemann asserted that the efficacy of peruvian bark must be for other factors since there existed other substances and mixture of substances which were more bitter and more astringent then peruvian bark yet they were not effective in treating malaria.This induced him to undertake an experiment(proving) with peruvian bark on himself.He took repeated doses of peruvian bark untill his body responded to its toxic dose with fever, chill and other symptoms similar to malaria.Hahnemann came to conclusion that reason the substance was beneficial because it caused the symptom similar to those of the disease it was treating.Thus, cinchona bark was to Hahnemann,what the falling apple was to Newton and the swinging lamp was to Galileo.This was the seed from which the giant tree HOMOEOPATHY grew.Over the years he carried out further proving of wide varieties of some 100 substances, plants, minerals and animal products on himself, his family, friends and colleagues.The observation was similar to those he had gained from peruvian bark trial.He now had several children, with whole family living in a single room.With sickness of children and struggling economical condition, he had a real difficult time.He had lost faith in medicine.Yet always he had in the mind the determination to continue his experiment.In 1792 he took charge of an asylum in georgenthal in the thuringian forest.He mainly took up this job so that he could carry out investigations to test his discovery.Hahnemann was one of the earliest if not very first advocate for treatment of insane by mildness instead of corporeal punishment.He then moves successively through various German towns including Gottingen, Brunswick,Wolfenbuttle,Altona,Hamburg,molln and thence to Konigslutter where he remained untill 1799.The life at Konigslutter is memorable because while living there in the year1796 he presented the results of his drug proving in a treatise "Essay on new principle for ascertaining the curative powers of drugs and some examination of previous principles."It was published in his friend Hufeland's journal which was the most important journal of that time.The generalisation of these observations was like this-the medicines had produced certain effects on healthy human beings in the form of certain signs and symptoms, if these signs and symptoms are seen in a diseased person and if that medicine is given on a principle of similar, it would bring about a cure on the principle of Homoeopathy, i.e."similia similibus curantur" .We can say drug should be selected along the lines of similarity between effects produced(in healthy person while proving) and complaints to be treated(in diseased person).Thus, year 1796 became the birth year of Homoeopathy.

The Struggle and Hahnemann The Linguist

During the last year of stay at Konigslutter an epidemic of scarlet fever occured and Hahnemann put his new found knowledge to the proof.He not only cured many cases of scarlet fever by wonder drug belladonna but also prevented many cases by giving belladonna as a prophylactic.By rising fame of Hahnemann and his discovery,the jealous physicians of Konigslutter incited the apothecaries(pharmacists) that Hahnemann was interfering their privilege by dispensing his own medicine.Hahnemann was prohibited from dispensing his own medicines.Finally, the apothecaries and physicians of the Konigslutter drove him from that town in 1799.He packed all his goods and his family in to a large wagon and with heavy heart left the town where life had begun to present some sunshine.On the way to Hamburg, the wagon in which they were travelling overturned, the driver thrown off his seat, his infant son Ernst so injured that he died shortly afterwards,a leg of his daughter broken, Hahnemann himself was injured and his property was damaged by falling in to a stream.After much difficult time they reached Hamburg, but finding little to do there they move to Altona and then to Mollen.But longing for his fatherland drew him once more to Saxony, at Eilenburg.But superintendent physician ordered him not to stay here.From here he went to Macheran and thence to Dessau, where in 1803 he published a monograph on the effects of coffee, which he considered as the source of many chronic diseases.During his stay at Torgau(where he lived from1805 to 1811) in the year 1805 a summary of Hahnemann's experiences with drugs personally tested up to that time was published as "Fragmenta de viribus medicamentorum positivis in sano corpore observatis"(Notes on the positive powers of drugs observed in the healthy body).It contained 27 remedies.In 1806 Hahnemann published his "Medicine of Experience", which could be called a forerunner to the "organon of the medicine" and contained ordered summary of his teaching based on definite rules.It was in year 1810 the most important work in Hahnemann's life was published-"organon der rationellen Heilkunde"(organon of rational art of healing), which is now called Organon.It is the fundamental of Homoeopathy where principle of similia similibus is explained in depth.It is here also that term Homoeopathy coined by Hahnemann from Greek (homoeo=similar;pathy=disease) was used for the first time.Total five edition of organon was published by Hahnemann till the year 1833.During a stay at Leipzig between 1811 and 1821,Hahnemann published six volumes of "Materia Medica Pura" ,based on homoeopathic proving and organised according to systemic structure from head to foot.Hahnemann also introduced method of drug potentization,which is the process by which the latent powers of a drug can be liberated, and the dose of the drug remain low but its efficacy is increased.Hahnemann then moved to Kothen and became a successful medical practitioner of homoeopathy.

Typhus Outbreak and 50 Years of Medical Degree

Year 1812 saw the bloodshed and destruction of the Napoleon war came to Leipzig.Many physicians were called in to service for helping not only the battle sufferers but also for typhus outbreak sufferers.Armed with twenty-six homoeopathic medicines Hahnemann achieved remarkable success in treating typhus.Total of 180 patients of typhus he treated, only two had died.
In 1829 Hahnemann celebrated his 50th anniversary of the awarding of his medical degree and over four hundred physicians from Europe attended this gala celebration.

Observations during his practice here led him to publish another gem "chronic diseases" in five volumes.In 1830 Hahnemann's wife died.At that time patient from all over Europe were coming to Kothen to be treated by Hahnnemann.Hahnemann with the help of homoeopathy checked and saved many deaths when cholera invaded Germany in 1831.Hahnemann recognized(a premonition of later bacteriological discoveries) the agency of "most minute animals of a lower order."


Last Years With Melanie In Paris

In the later part of the year 1834 Mille Melanie d'Harvilly Gohier, adopted daughter of a French minister having heard of Hahnemann's skill as a physician, came to Kothen in order to get benefit by it.They became interested mutually, and she was impressed with vast treasure of Hahnemann's mind and he was pleased with her attainments that he asked her to share her life with him.On 28th January 1835 they were married in Kothen.He was then 80 years old, and she was 35.She often wore man's clothes and was an outspoken advocate for a woman's right to enter any professional field.
On June 7,1835 they both began the fourteen-day coach journey to Paris.Hahnemann would never again return to Germany.Hahnemann, who had earlier agreed to retire his medical practice and to draft a will leaving all of his estate to his surviving daughters,changed his will with Melanie as beneficiary and shortly after his arrival in Paris, opened a practice.By the late 30's Hahnemann had become the most famous physician in Europe.In the morning long lines of carriages, many bearing royal coats of arm would line up outside of Hahnemann's house, often waiting as much as long as one and half hour for their visit.Melanie would assist Hahnemann in his case-taking.Poor patients were treated for free and Hahnemann was charging his paying patient only if a cure was achieved.In evening Hahnemann accompanied by Melanie or by one of the student would go to see his bed ridden patients at their homes in the carriage.On a particular day and time local and visiting homoeopath would gather at Hahnemann's house to discuss homoeopathic topics.Certain evenings were reserved for trip to opera, the theatre, social functions of Parisian high society.Hahnemann described his life in paris as one of the happiest times in his life.
After having a long and successful career as a true medical practitioner Hahnemann at the age of 88,fell ill with bronchitis and died on July 2nd 1843 in Paris.For nine days his wife kept the body and on 11th July,body was buried in cemetery at Montmarte hill.Funeral was attended by bereaved widow, Hahnemann's daughter madame Liebe and her son, and a young doctor named Lethiere.These were the only mourners.His body was buried in a grave where already two bodies(of Gohier-a french leader and her foster father Le-Thiere) were buried.Hahnemann's remains later was exhumed and reburied at the famous Pere Lachaise cemetery on 24th May 1898 ,in presence of 35 persons.Dr.Suss, Hahnemann's grandson also attended reburial and he was the only eye witness to both the burial.Inscribed on tomb was "NON INUTILIS VIXI" means "not lived in vain." How truly!!!

Pere Lachaise Cemetery


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