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Hahnemann - Homeopathy

Like many forms of alternative medicine, homeopathy evolved from its founder's disillusionment with current medicine practices. In homeopathy's case, the founder was a German medical doctor named Christian Friedrich Samuel Hahnemann.

Hahnemann was born on April 10, 1755, in Meissen, a small town in Saxony, Germany. He was a brilliant student who showed considerable ability in science and languages. At the early age of twelve, he had already received great respect for these skills from his schoolmaster. By the time he reached twenty-one, he had mastered several languages, including English, Arabic, Greek, and Latin.

Hahnemann's great influence came directly from his roots. His father advised him never to take anything for granted; instead, he should reflect on everyday facts. So Hahnemann began the practice of spending hours on a subject at a very early age. This habit led to his becoming one of history's great thinkers.

In 1775, Hahnemann entered the University of Leipzic. During this time, he supported himself by translating four books from English to German, but his poverty forced him to leave school shortly before graduation. He attended a few lectures at the University of Erlanger, where he presented himself for an MD degree.
In 1780, a year after graduation, Hahnemann settled in Dessau, where he opened a medical practice. Here, he published his first medical book and began to turn his attention to chemistry.

Hahnemann became a respected chemist at the Hasseler Laboratory in Dessau. While there, he published many chemical books, then was appointed district physician in the region of Gommern. Despite this prestigious position, Hahnemann became embittered with the way physicians practiced their profession. Barbaric doctors performed dentistry and surgery without sedating the patients. They also applied leeches, engaged in bloodletting, did purgative cleansing of the bowels, and prescribed drugs containing high levels of mercury. The latter caused mercury poisoning. Hahnemann was so disgusted with the medical field that one day he closed his office and abandoned his practice.

To support himself, Samuel Hahnemann applied his linguistic talents to translating medical textbooks. While translating William Cullen's Materia Medica from English to German, he came across a passage that dealt with the curative properties of the bark of Cinchoma succirubra, from Peru.
The research claimed that the cinchoma bark, which was chiefly employed to cure fevers, contained powerful, fever-producing properties. The alkaloid quinine, extracted from the bark, also provided a good treatment for malaria. Impressed by this, Hahnemann began to experiment with the cinchona bark. He took two grams of the substance twice a day for several days. To his astonishment, he experienced symptoms similar to those of malaria (intermittent fever and chills). The crude substance had provoked symptoms in him similar to those produced by a parasitic infection. This experiment drove him to begin the proving (a study involving people taking a drug) of other substances. Hahnemann conducted his tests on the healthy, rather than the sick. This would give him a precise picture of the mental, emotional, and physical symptoms of a drug. He observed carefully and noted every detail.
Today, in the Homeopathic Materia Medica, we find a compiled list of therapeutic indication of proven remedies, carefully recorded by Hahnemann and his students.
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