The ideal cure
This is Samuel Hahnemann’s second aphorism from a translation of his 6th Edition of his Organon of Medicine, defining the ideal cure.
For him, the ideal cure had the following characteristics:
- Removes the disease in its whole extent
- Occurs in the shortest possible time
- Unfolds in the least harmful way
- Based on well-understood principles.
Hahnemann strove for a system that was efficient in healing. For him, this efficiency was achieved by directly stimulating the regulatory forces of the body responsible for maintaining health, through the correctly selected homeopathic remedy.
Over his lifetime, Hahnemann constantly adjusted the practice of homeopathy to minimise the possibility of unwanted aggravation during healing. In-fact, it was the strong reactions to raw substances (e.g. a herb) when selected using the homeopathic method, that lead him to experiment with the ultra-dilutions now in use today – providing enough of a stimulus to create a healing response, but not too much as to burden the body.
The goal is permanent restoration of health, freed from the disease in its entirety.
Many homeopaths would argue that sustainability of health comes from a more robust constitution (our makeup comprising inherited qualities modified by environment), able to withstand and adapt to the challenges it faces. Improving the general constitution is a goal of homeopathic treatment.
Some diseases have deeper roots, impacting the constitution. In the last decade of his life, after much observation and experimentation, Hahnemann developed his theory of the chronic diseases, and their treatment, aiming at correcting these fundamental roots of disease.
It is also worth stating that not all disease is curable, and in these cases Homeopathy can be used palliatively – to improve quality of life.
Hahnemann was aiming for a system of medicine safer to that practiced in his day, where all sorts of dangerous treatments were indulged, such as bloodletting. Many of those treatments caused more harm than good.
The low-risk nature of homeopathy is one of the reasons people seek it out.
Well understood principles of cure
Modern conventional healthcare is a relatively new historically speaking; and before then, medicine did not necessarily rest on strong and consistent principles. Healthcare practice of 250+ years ago was often intermingled with superstitious theories without their basis in nature.
Hahnemann believed that a system of medicine needed solid foundations with well understood principles; and for him, the law of similars (treating ‘like with like’), was one such reliable principle.