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Organon by Hahnemann, aphorisms 108 - 119
"Provings and Toxicology"

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Organon aphorism §108

There is, therefore, no other possible way in which the peculiar effects of medicines on the health of individuals can be accurately ascertained—there is no sure, no more natural way of accomplishing this object, than to administer the several medicines experimentally, in moderate doses, to HEALTHY persons, in order to ascertain what changes, symptoms and signs of their influence each individually produces on the health of the body and of the mind; that is to say, what disease elements they are able and tend to produce,(91) since, as has been demonstrated (§24-27), all the curative power of medicines lies in this power they possess of changing the state of man's health, and is revealed by observation of the latter.

Organon aphorism §109

I was the first that opened up this path, which I have pursued with a perseverance that could only arise and be kept up by a perfect conviction of the great truth, fraught with such blessings to humanity, that it is only by the homeopathic employment of medicines(92) that the certain cure of human maladies is possible.(93)

Organon aphorism §110

I saw, moreover, that the morbid lesions which previous authors had observed to result from medicinal substances when taken into the stomach of healthy persons, either in large doses given by mistake or in order to produce death in themselves or others, or under other circumstances, accorded very much with my own observations when experimenting with the same substances on myself and other healthy individuals. These authors give details of what occurred as histories of poisoning and as proofs of the pernicious effects of these powerful substances, chiefly in order to warn others from their use; partly also for the sake of exalting their own skill, when, under the use of the remedies they employed to combat these dangerous accidents, health gradually returned ; but partly also, when the persons so affected died under their treatment, in order to seek their own justification in the dangerous character of these substances, which they then termed poisons. None of these observers ever dreamed that the symptoms they recorded merely as proofs of the noxious and poisonous character of these substances were sure revelations of the power of these drugs to extinguish curatively similar symptoms occurring in natural diseases, that these their pathogenetic phenomena were intimations of their homeopathic curative action, and that the only possible way to ascertain their medicinal powers is to observe those changes of health medicines are capable of producing in the healthy organism; for the pure, peculiar powers of medicines available for the cure of disease are to be learned neither by any ingenious A PRIORI speculations, nor by the smell, taste or appearance of the drugs, nor by their chemical analysis, nor yet by the employment of several of them at one time in a mixture (prescription) in diseases ; it was never suspected that these histories of medicinal diseases would one day furnish the first rudiments of the true, pure materia medica, which from the earliest times until now has consisted solely of false conjectures and fictions of the imagination—that is to say, did not exist at all.(94)

Organon aphorism §111

The agreement of my observations on the pure effects of medicines with these older ones—although they were recorded without reference to any therapeutic object—and the very concordance of these accounts with otheis of the same kind by different authors must easily convince us that medicinal substances act in the morbid changes they produce in the healthy human body ACCORDING TO FIXED, ETERNAL LAWS OF NATURE, and by virtue of these are enabled to produce CERTAIN, RELIABLE DISEASE SYMPTOMS EACH ACCORDING TO ITS OWN PECULIAR CHARACTER.

Organon aphorism §112

In those older prescriptions of the often dangerous effects of medicines ingested in excessively large doses we notice certain states that were produced, not at the commencement, but towards the termination of these sad events, and which were of an exactly opposite nature to those that first appeared. These symptoms, the very reverse of the PRIMARY ACTION (§63) or proper action of the medicines on the vital force, are the reaction of the vital force of the organism, its SECONDARY ACTION (§62-67), of which, however, there is seldom or hardly ever the least trace from experiments with moderate doses on healthy bodies, and from small doses none whatever. In the homeopathic curative operation the living organism reacts from these only so much as is requisite to raise the health again to the normal healthy state (§ 67).

Organon aphorism §113

The only exceptions to this are the narcotic medicines. As they, in their primary action, take away sometimes the sensibility and sensation, sometimes the irritability, it frequently happens that in their SECONDARY ACTION, even from moderate experimental doses on healthy bodies, an increased sensibility (and a greater irritability) is observable.

Organon aphorism §114

With the exception of these narcotic substances, in experiments with moderate doses of medicine on healthy bodies, we observe only their primary action, i.e., those symptoms wherewith the medicine deranges the health of the human being and develops in him a morbid state of longer or shorter duration.

Organon aphorism §115

Among these symptoms, there occur in the case of some medicines not a few which are partially, or under certain conditions, directly opposite to other symptoms that have previously or subsequently appeared, but which are not therefore to be regarded as actual SECONDARY ACTION or the mere reaction of the vital force, but which only represent the alternating state of the various paroxysms of the primary action; they are termed ALTERNATING ACTIONS.

Organon aphorism §116

Some symptoms are produced by the medicines more frequently—that is to say, in many individuals, others more rarely or in few persons, some only in very few healthy bodies.

Organon aphorism §117

To the latter category belong the so-called IDIOSYNCRASIES, by which are meant peculiar corporeal constitutions which, although otherwise healthy, possess a disposition to be brought into a more or less morbid state by certain things which SEEM to produce no impression and no change in many other individuals.(95) But this inability to make an impression on every one is only APPARENT. For as two things are required for the production of these as well as all other morbid alterations in the health of man—to wit, the inherent power of the influencing substance, and the capability of the vital force that animates the organism to be influenced by it—the obvious derangements of health in the so-called idiosyncrasies cannot be laid to the account of these peculiar constitutions alone, but they must also be ascribed to these things that produce them, in which must lie the power of making the same impressions on all human bodies, yet in such a manner that but a small number of healthy constitutions have a tendency to allow themselves to be brought into such an obvious morbid condition by them. That these agents do actually make this impression on every healthy body is shown by this, that when employed as remedies they render effectual homeopathic service(96) to ALL sick persons for morbid symptoms similar to those they seem to be only capable of producing in so-called idiosyncratic individuals.

Organon aphorism §118

Every medicine exhibits peculiar actions on the human frame, which are not produced in exactly the same manner by any other medicinal substance of a different kind.(97)

Organon aphorism §119

As certainly as every species of plant differs in its external form, mode of life and growth, in its taste and smell from every other species and genus of plant, as certainly as every mineral and salt differs from all others, in its external as well as its internal physical and chemical properties (which alone should have sufficed to prevent any confounding of one with another), so certainly do they all differ and diverge among themselves in their pathogenetic—consequently also in their therapeutic— effects.(98) Each of these substances produces alterations in the health of human beings in a peculiar, different, yet determinate manner, so as to preclude the possibility of confounding one with another.(99)

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Organon notes and explanatory remarks

--- 108 Organon aphorism ---

[91] Not one single physician, as far as I know, during the previous two thousand five hundred years, thought of this so natural, so absolutely necessary and only genuine mode of testing medicines for their pure and peculiar effects in deranging the health of man, in order to learn what morbid state each medicine is capable of curing, except the great and immortal Albrecht von Haller. He alone, besides myself, saw the necessity of this {VIDE the Preface to the PHARMACOPOEIA HELVET., Basil, 1771, fob, p. 12) : Nempe primum in corpore SANO medela tentanda est, SINE PERE-GRINA ULLA MISCELA; odoreque et sapore ejus exploratis, exigua illius dosis ingerenda et ad omnes, qua? inde contingunt, affec-tiones, quis pulsus, qui calor, qua? respiratio, quaaiam excretiones, attendendum. Inde ad ductum phaenomenorum, in sano obvior-um, transeas ad experimenta in corpore aegroto," etc. But NO ONE, NOT A SINGLE PHYSICIAN, attended to or followed up this invaluable hint.

--- 109 Organon aphorism ---

[92] It is impossible that there can be another true, best method of curing dynamic diseases (I. E., all diseases not strictly surgi-cal) besides homeopathy, just as it is impossible to draw more than one straight line betwixt two given points. He who imagines that there are other modes of curing diseases besides it could not have appreciated homeopathy fundamentally nor practised it with sufficient care, nor could he ever have seen or read cases of properly performed homeopathic cures; nor, on the other hand, could he have discerned the baselessness of all allopathic modes of treating diseases and their bad or even dreadful effects, if, with such lax indifference, he places the only true healing art on an equality with those hurtful methods of treatment, or alleges the latter to be auxiliaries to homeopathy which it could not do without! My true, conscientious followers, the pure homeopathists, with their successful, almost never-failing treatment, might teach these persons better.

[93] The first fruits of these labors, as perfect as they could be at that time, I recorded in the FRAGMENTA DE VIRIBUS MEDICAMEN-TORUM POSITIINS, SIVE IN SANO CORPORE HUMANO OBSERVATIS, pts. i, ii, Lipsias, 8, 1805, ap. J. A. Barth; the more mature fruits in the REINE ARZNEIMITTELLEHRE, I Th., dritte Ausg.; II Th., dritte Ausg., 1833; III Th., zweite Ausg., 1825; IV Th., zw. Ausg., 1825; V Th., zw. Ausg., 1826; VI Th., zw. Ausg., 1827 [English translation, MATERIA MEDICO PURA, vols, i and ii]; and in the second, third, and fourth parts of DIE CHRONISCHEN KRANKHEITEN, 1828, 1830, Dresden bei Arnold [2nd edit., with a fifth part, Diisseldorf bei Schaub, 1835, 1839].

--- 110 Organon aphorism ---

[94] See what I have said on this subject in the "Examination of the Sources of the Ordinary Materia Medica," prefixed to the third part of my REINE ARZNEIMITTELLEHRC [translated in the MATERIA MEDICA PURA, vol. ii].

--- 117 Organon aphorism ---

[95] Some few persons are apt to faint from the smell of roses and to fall into many other morbid, and sometimes dangerous states from partaking of mussels, crabs or the roe of the barbel, from touching the leaves of some kinds of sumach, etc.

[96] Thus the Princess Maria Porphyroghnita restored her brother, the Emperor Alexius, who suffered from faintings, by sprinkling him with rose water in the presence of his aunt Eu-doxia (HIST. BYS. ALEXIAS, lib. xv, p. 503, ed. Posser) ; and Horstius (OPER., iii, p. 59) saw great benefit from rose vinegar in cases of syncope.

--- 118 Organon aphorism ---

[97] This fact was also perceived by the estimable A. v. Haller, who says (Preface to his HIST, STIRP. KELV.) : "Latet immensa virium diversitas in iis ipsis plantis, quarum facies externas du-dum novimus, animas quasi et quodcunque cselestius habent, non-dum perspeximus."

--- 119 Organon aphorism ---

[98] Anyone who has a thorough knowledge of, and can appreciate the remarkable difference of, effects on the health of man of every single substance from those of every other, will readily perceive that among them there can be, in a medical point of view, no equivalent remedies whatever, no SURROGATES. Only those who do NOT know the pure, positive effects of the different medicines can be so foolish as to try to persuade us that one can serve in the stead of the other, and can in the same disease prove just as serviceable as the other. Thus do ignorant children confound the most essentially different things, because they scarcely know their external appearances, far less their real value, their true importance and their very dissimilar inherent properties.

[99] If this be pure truth, as it undoubtedly is, then no physician who would not be regarded as devoid of reason, and who would not act contrary to the dictates of his conscience, the sole arbiter of real worth, can employ in the treatment of diseases any medicinal substance but one with whose real significance he is thoroughly and perfectly conversant, I. E., whose positive action on the health of healthy individuals he has so accurately tested that he knows for certain that it is capable of producing a very similar morbid state, more similar than any other medicine with which he is perfectly acquainted, to that presented by the case of disease he intends to cure by means of it; for, as has been shown above, neither man, nor mighty Nature herself, can effect a perfect, rapid and permanent cure otherwise than with a homeopathic remedy. Henceforth no true physician can abstain from making such experiment, in order to obtain this most necessary and only knowledge of the medicines that are essential to cure, this knowledge which has hitherto been neglected by the physicians in all ages. In all former ages—posterity will scarcely believe it—physicians have hitherto contented themselves with blindly prescribing for diseases medicines whose value was unknown, and which had NEVER BEEN TESTED relative to their highly important, very various, pure dynamic action on the health of man; and, moreover, they mingled several of these unknown medicines that differed so vastly among each other in one formula, and left it to CHANCE to determine what effect should thereby be produced on the patient. This is just as if a madman should force his way into the workshop of an artisan, seize upon HAMDFULS OF VERY DIFFERENT TOOLS, WITH THE USES OF ALL OF WHICH HE IS QUITE UNACQUAINTED, in order, as he imagines, to work at the objects of art he sees around him. I need hardly remark that these would be destroyed, I may say utterly ruined, by his senseless operations.


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