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The Homoeopathic Compenidum
by David Little

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Hering, Idem and Homoeopathy
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© David Little 1996-2007, all rights reserved.
Table of Contents
Part 1: The Origin of the Nosodes
Part 2: The Chronic Intercurrents
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Part 1: The Origin of the Nosodes


De Medicina Futura

"It is the duty of all of us to go farther in the theory and practice of Homoeopathy than Hahnemann has done. We ought to seek the truth which is before us and forsake the errors of the past."

Constantine Hering (1800-1880)

Hering and Nosodes

The advent of Hahnemann's theory of the miasms caused great interest in the chronic diseases and their anti-miasmatic remedies. It was during this period that the Hofrath introduced the methods of of acute and chronic intercurrent remedies. During chronic treatment he interpolated acute intercurrents when needed to remove a crisis and then he followed up with complementary chronic treatment. Sometimes he would interpolate a a dose of a chronic intercurrent during anti miasmic treatment. For example, when Hahnemann was using Sulphur he would sometime interpolate a dose of Hepar Sulph as an chronic intercurrent if the Sulphur no longer seemed to hold as well. The chronic intercurrent remedy is useful in the treatment of miasms, suppressions and obstacles to the cure.

One of the direct consequences of the publication of The Chronic Diseases (1828) was the development of the use of miasmic organisms as potentized homoeopathic remedies for the treatment and prevention of disease. It seems that shortly after Hahnemann published his chronic disease theory, Hering performed the first proving of Psorinum on himself. It was Hering's idea to use miasmic agents as potentized remedies. The Greek word "Noso" is a prefix which is added to give the idea of a disease indicating its morbid root. This term is also connected with the Latin word "noxa", the root of the term noxious or damaged. This implies the use of potentially dangerous noxious materials as a basis for  potentized remedies. That is why Hering called these remedies "nosodes". As you can see by their very nature these remedies must be used correctly.

Hering is responsible for greatly expanding the materia medica of Homoeopathy and adding seven new categories of potentized remedies*. At the same time, he was one of the true defenders of the four cardinal rules of Homoeopathy, similars cure similars, the single remedy, the minimal dose and the potentized remedy. Hering's seven uses of idem in Homoeopathy includes:

1. The use of poisons taken from insects, snakes, and other venomous creature (Animal poisons).

2. The use of remedies made from miasmas (Nosodes).

3. The introduction of potentized miasmas and morbid secretions taken directly from the patient's body (Auto-nosodes).

4. .The use of homologous organs, tissue and secretions (Sarcodes).

5. The use of potentized miasmic products nosodes for the prevention of infectious diseases (Nosode Homoeoprophylaxis)

6. The use of chemical and nutritional elements innate to the human organism (Chemical and elemental relationships)

7. The use of potentized genus groups as curative and preventative remedies for individuals, groups, and habitats. Hering suggests potentized seed of weeds or dangerous plants to eradicate and destroy those plants and potentized insects or animals to remove and prevent infestations of dangerous species (Isodes).

*Lectures on the Theory & Practice of Homoeopathy, R.E. Dudgeon, B.Jain Publishers (P) Ltd, Lecture VI, Isopathy, pages 141-175

Hering continued to experiment with nosodes of acute and chronic miasms and invited others to conduct provings. He recommended the use of potentized watery excrements of cholera, the black vomit of yellow fever, the desquamated skin of malignant scarlet fever, to bind bags of milk sugar in contact with skin of typhus patients, the use of leucorrheal matter, etc. He introduced the use of psorine (Psorinum) gleet-matter (Medorrhinum), pthisine (Tuberculinum) and syphiline (Syphilinum). Many ancient isopathic remedies were introduced into the Homoeopathic Materia Medica by dedicated homoeopaths of the 19th century. Constantine Hering, W. Gross, Wilhelm Lux , Father Collet, Swan and Burnett immediately come to mind.

Hering was the first to propose that the nosodes could be used for the prevention of infectious diseases (homoeoprophylaxis). This research was further confirmed by the work of Baron von Boenninghausen who used Variolinum for the prevention of small pox. Hering also opined that various disease vectors could be removed by the use of idem in potency. He suggested that potentized weed seeds could be used for weed control and that potentized insects could help remove infestations. At the same time, he called on his colleagues to prove the nosodes of the chronic miasms so that their therapeutic picture could be integrated into the materia medica. Hering shared his information by letter with Hahnemann and sent a sample of Psorinum which the Old Master proved on three individuals. This research into the acute and chronic miasms, and their nosodes, expanded slowly but surely under Hering's guidance.

Hahnemann's Views

Shortly after the publication of The Chronic Diseases, Hahnemann reviewed the use of the miasms as homoeopathic remedies. He was quick to point out that what Hering was suggesting was not the same old isopathic method because the material used is potentized by the homoeopathic technique and given in minimal dose. This changes an ordinary isopathic substance into a homoeopathic remedy IF used properly.

Vide aphorism 56 of the 4th Organon (1829).

"One could in reality admit a fourth manner of using medicine against disease, i.e. to say the Isopathic method, to treat a disease by the same miasm which has caused the disease. But supposing even that the thing were possible, and it would certainly be a valuable discovery, as the miasm is administered to the disease only after having modified it up to a certain point by the preparation to which it is submitted, the cure will take place in such a case only opposing the 'Simillimum simillimo'."

It is the transformation of the medicinal substances by potentization that opens the Homoeopathic Materia Medica to the remedies used in the ancient isopathic tradition. Dr. Swan, who proved Medorrhimun, was once asked if it was legitimate to use nosodes against diseases when they were not proven homoeopathically. His answer to this question was that "since the symptoms of the infectious miasms have been observed in so many individuals they represent a natural proving". The syndromes they cause are similar to the conditions they remove even if the person does not have the exact same disease. (What a rather interesting point!) In this way a remedy like Morbillinum (measles nosode) has cured meningitis, erthyematous lupus, conjunctivitis, and spontaneous abortion when chosen by the characteristic signs and symptoms. All of these conditions are similar to the complications caused by measles miasm in the populace.

In the light of Hahnemann's logic the use of the miasmic material without potentization was crude isopathy whereas their use in potencies is within the realm of Homoeopathy. Vide The Chronic Diseases, the chapter called "The Medicines".

"Thus potentized and modified also, the itch substance (psorin) when taken is no more an idem (the same) with the crude original itch substance, but only a simillimum (thing most similar). For between IDEM and SIMILLIMUM there is no intermediate for any one that can think; or in other words between idem and simile only simillimum can be intermediate, Isopathic and aquale are equivocal expressions, which if they should signify anything reliable can only signify simillimum because they are not idem."

The major difference between isode and a homoeopathic nosode is that a homoeopathic remedy is proven on the healthy so its symptom picture and therapeutic range is greatly expanded. The idem prescription can only be used for the same condition it causes or its prevention. Isopathy without the principle of the potentized remedy is an extremely dangerous method. Once an isopathic substance is dynamized it becomes a pure homoeopathic potence. Therefore, it must be applied by the cardinal principles of Homoeopathy if it is going to be used correctly.

Hering's Testimony

Hering wrote much on these subjects and we should research his original works for a deeper understanding. He had complete faith in the principles of Homoeopathy and wanted to apply them to new regions. Of his tireless experiments Hering once said:

"It is the duty of all of us to go farther in the theory and practice of Homoeopathy than Hahnemann has done. We ought to seek the truth which is before us and forsake the errors of the past."

Hering gathered a tremendous amount of first hand experience in proving nosodes and applying idem remedies to acute and chronic diseases in the field. Hering introduced all these new remedies yet he clearly pointed out their limitations when used by idem. All these isopathic preparations cannot be regarded as absolute specifics, but only as chronic intermediate remedies, which serve to stir up the diseases, and render the reaction to the subsequently administered homoeopathic remedy more permanent.

IN 1836 Hering stated that:


This was after 7 years of rigorous clinical trials. He gave a perfect example of the proper use of idem in a case of suppressed syphilis which would not respond to anti syphilitic remedies like Mercury so he used Syphiline (his preparation of syphilinium) as an intercurrent. This brought out the cutaneous eruption and chancre which was then perfectly cured by Mercury followed by Lachesis. He had many similar cases. Without constitutional treatment it is impossible to perform the perfect cure.



These observations have been confirmed by generations of Classical Homoeopaths. The pseudo homoeopaths remove the nosodes, allergens, drugs and imponderabilia (magnet fields, electricity, etc.) from the Homoeopathic Materia Medica and try to create their own healing systems. These individuals often leave behind the maxim of the single remedy and minimal dose and pay little attention to the individual constitution and the symptoms. This leads one away from the permanent cure because it looks outward at the medicinal substance rather than inward at the individual constitution and the vital force.

Hahnemann's Concerns 

From this time on Hahnemann became more cautious and conservative in his comments on the use of idem in potency. In the 6th Organon (note to aph. 56) he points out the isopathic work of Lux, and his close associate Gross, but makes no mention of Hering. He reminds the reader that once an idem is potentized it is a similar not identical remedy and then speaks positively of the small pox inoculation with cow pox as an example of prophylaxis by similar not same. Hahnemann supported Jenner's small pox vaccinations because he felt they had reduced the number of infections. It was Wolf, Hering and Boenninghausen who first wrote about the negative affects of vaccinations. Hering and Boenninghausen later used nosodes for the prevention of infectious miasms. Hahnemann then goes on to say:

"But wanting to cure human disease (e.g. the itch diathesis or maladies therefrom) with an identical human disease matter (e.g. with a psoricum taken from the itch diathesis) is going too far. Nothing results from it but calamity and aggravation of the disease."

Hahnemann was a Master Homoeopath who could not reduce the entire case history to any one-sided aetiological symptom. Hering continued to slowly expand his study of epidemiology, conduct provings and collect clinical confirmations on the intercurrents and preventative remedies. Nevertheless, Hering was always very clear about the limited yet important role that potentized idem plays in homoeopathic methodology.

The half homoeopaths use intercurrent remedies (which cannot cure by themselves in idem) in long mechanical schedules by allopathic concepts of aetiology and antidotal medicine. This always runs the danger of suppression, over medication and the disruption of the constitutional picture. As Hering said, none of these isopathic remedies are curative in themselves, and should only be used as intercurrents to remove obstacles which block the complete action of the constitutional remedies! This is the way to integrate the use of idem within the law of similars and Classical Homoeopathy. This tradition is 160 years old!

Hahnemann taught that the totality of the symptoms includes all the data related to the physical constitution, temperament, aetiology, miasms, suppression, iatrogenesis and the signs (observations), befallments (accidents, idiopathic conditions, coincidence) and symptoms as well as the investigation of the obstacles to the cure. This complete case history must be investigated in the order of its development (the timeline) so that its fundamental causes and symptom layers are understood. Hahnemann first recorded the phenomena associated with the reversal of symptoms in 1828. Hering codified and expanded Hahnemann's observations and Kent called them Hering's laws.

Obstructions to the Cure

Since the Old Master's time careful investigation of causation, the reversal of symptoms and removal of obstructions to the cure has been a center of classical case management. Sometimes constitutional treatment needs to be complemented by the administration of an intercurrent remedy to treat miasmic obstructions and suppressions so that blockages to the cure are removed. When such knowledge is combined with Hahnemann's advanced liquid delivery system and the methods of adjusting the dose, aggravations can be kept at a minimum and the cure rendered gentle, rapid and permanent.

The proper use of the idem intercurrent, IF AND WHEN NECESSARY, is a method of traditional Homoeopathy when the maxim of the single remedy and the minimal dose is respected. The use of a nosode, drug or vaccine in potency is Homoeopathy when integrated into proper constitutional case management. The same may be said of the use of nosodes and homoeopathic remedies as prophylaxis for the prevention of disease. All of this is an integral part of Classical Homoeopathy from its earliest days. It is up to this generation of homoeopaths to bring it up to date and put it into practice in the proper manner.

In review, what we have been discussing is part of Homoeopathy's treasury of therapeutics when the cardinal principles are the guiding light. If one separates the intercurrent remedies from traditional Homoeopathy, and uses them only by idem, one cannot perform a complete cure. If one overuses idem it will disrupt the natural symptom pattern rendering the case more difficult to treat constitutionally. Allopathic thinking combined with potentized remedies can only produce a half homoeopathic-half allopathic system. If we want to understand how to use nosodes correctly we must understand Hering's complete strategy and posology methods and integrate them into contemporary homoeopathic practice. This will be the subject of part two.

Next: Part 2: The Chronic Intercurrents
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