Triumph of the Light - Isopathy and The Rise of Transcendental Homeopathy, 1830-1920
"Long before the birth of bacteriotherapy…homeopathic physicians carried out investigation in their own way, and discovered similar medicines, and effected numerous cures…
Hydrophobinum was proved in 1833…50 years before Pasteur…many others followed."
Modern homeopathy dwells in a nebulous and metaphysical realm into which few allopaths would fear to tread. It is precisely this philosophical distinction that places the two medical traditions
in very different medical worlds and speaking languages virtually incomprehensible to each other. The two seem fundamentally incompatible medical systems whose respective and highly sophisticated conceptions of 'disease' and 'cure' are sufficiently at variance to prevent their peaceful co-existence without creating tensions, division and dissent. And woe betide those who try
to cross-breed them. The problem today concerns what can be done to move things forward. How can the best of modern scientific medicine be reconciled with this 'medical Lazarus' so recently brought back from the dead? How can previously closed doors be re-opened for creative dialogue to proceed into a future broad church medicine of the whole person? This article explores the development of modern homeopathic medical conceptuality between 1830 and 1920, and charts the discourse within homeopathy first set in motion in the 1830s with the increasing use of higher potencies and disease products [nosodes]. It also attempts to show that the gradual incorporation into the homeopathic mainstream of disease products, both killed off and supplanted the earlier allopathic version of homeopathy and, by encouraging the use of higher potencies, also emphasised the adoption of a metaphysical medical conceptuality within the movement.
Developed in 1790s Saxony by Dr. Samuel Hahnemann [1755-1843], homeopathy is a medical system that gives drugs to the sick on the basis that they can induce similar symptoms in the healthy [similia similibus]. Seeking through experimentation to radically improve the ineffective medicine of his day, and partly inspired by study of poisonings, he conducted 'provings' of single drugs on healthy volunteers, after 1790, and compiled a brand new materia medica thereby. H. had studied at Leipzig, Vienna and Erlangen, where he graduated in 1779. He attracted great controversy and many students, such that homeopathy spread rapidly throughout Europe, Russia and the Americas. After 1800, and deriving from further experiments, he introduced infinitesimal doses of drugs, devising decimal and centesimal dilution scales, in which one part of the crude drug [such as a plant tincture] was diluted with 9 or 99 parts of dilute spirit and vigorously shaken [succussion].
For insoluble drugs [e.g. Oyster shell, Silica, Lycopodium pollen] trituration with milk-sugar was substituted for shaking in dilute spirit: "he was probably the first to produce suspensoids by
his process of repeated trituration and dilution".
The main features of homeopathy are single drugs and small doses, employed on the basis of similars and case totality rather than named conditions. Then, in 1828, H. announced the miasm.x theory
of Chronic Diseases, which stirred up a great deal of controversy and dissent. His main works were the Organon [1810, but revised 5 times up to 1842], the Chronic Diseases and the Materia Medica Pura , plus numerous essays and scientific papers, and 21 translations into German of key medical texts from Italian, English and French, including William Cullen's pivotal Materia Medica
Dr Frederic Quin [1799-1878]: Homeopathy brought to the UK in 1828, who established a London practice July 1832 at 19 King Street, St James’s, the British Homeopathic Society ,
the London Homeopathic Hospital  and the British Journal of Homeopathy. An Edinburgh graduate and aristocrat, he was physician to the Belgian King Leopold [1790-1865] from 1827-29, to Queen Adelaide [1792-1849] and to the Duchess of Devonshire. Having travelled extensively in Europe he was the only British homeopath who had studied directly with H. [in Coethen, in July 1826, staying until November], including a visit to Moravia treating cholera and then in Paris in 1830. Quin "combined great charm and close aristocratic connections," which meant that homeopathy "got a firm hold of the highest grades of society first of all." Having all the right connections, Quin was a man of tremendous personal charm and integrity, who moved completely with ease in high society and was on friendly terms with everyone who mattered - "among his patients were Dickens, Landseer and Thackeray" - even being in later life a dining partner of the Prince of Wales and future King Edward VII [1841-1910]. Quin’s efforts obviously rendered homeopathy very palatable to the social elite and ruling classes in London and the fashionable resorts, as it also was with royals throughout Europe. He maintained close personal links with H. in his last years [1835-43] in Paris.
While some physicians benignly regarded homeopathy as "an innocent and harmless species of quackery," others denounced it as "medical superstition and pretension," and ridiculed the processes
of trituration and succussion as merely "magical ceremonies and the tricks of conjurors." Quite apart from the vilification heaped upon homeopaths by the mainstream, powerful divisions within the movement soon became apparent [1830s] over some of H.'s more contentious doctrines, especially the use of high dilutions of drugs [30 C, 200 C and higher], and surrounding the miasm theory  that portrayed all chronic disease as deriving from ancient and internalised dyscrasias, stemming originally from syphilis, gonorrhoea and Psora [from suppressed skin eruptions].
In the 1830s, those who favoured such transcendental doctrines [USA], also developed isopathic drugs [nosodes.x/sarcodes.x] derived from diseased tissues, and mechanical contrivances [fluxion machines] for more speedily preparing the higher centesimal potencies, upon which their practice was chiefly based. It is the unfolding of this aspect of homeopathy and its impact, the main focus
of this essay.
The development of homeopathy seems always to have contained a struggle between the nebulous or spiritual and the material. For example, Aphorism 9 of H.’s Organon speaks of the material organism being governed by a "spiritual principle…that rules with unbounded sway." This struggle largely derives from the dual nature - material and spiritual - of medicine in general, but it also derives from the way homeopaths were continually influenced (19th century), by developments taking place in conventional medicine. For example, the Germ Theory emerging in the 1880s with
Koch [1843-1910] and Pasteur [1822-95], which partly paralleled and succeeded the nosode movement in homeopathy. "Burnett’s Bacillinum was prepared from…sputum whereas Koch’s preparation was made from a culture of the bacillus…by 1914 most homeopathic doctors used both Bacillinum.x and Tuberculin," The therapeutics of such preparations varied widely:
"Tuberculinum.x has for years been helpfully given in meningitis, hereditary and inveterate headaches, hectic fever, night sweats, cough with tuberculous expectoration…" The conflict so spawned within the movement, might be depicted as that between darkness and light, between the material and the spiritual. Being generally sceptical of the Germ Theory, homeopaths preferred to believe
in susceptibility as a more credible explanation of the facts about disease. This susceptibility was deemed to "exist in the vital force, and not in the tissues," because if a man was "in perfect health
he would not be susceptible."
As Burnett says, the technique was grounded in 1870s experimentation with disease products: "It must be over 15 years since I first…[used] the viruses of certain diseases against the diseases themselves;" "I beg publicly to thank Dr Skinner, of London, for inducing me, 16 years ago, to administer the virus of a disease therapeutically." As he shows, the use was based upon the idea
of proving: "I took [Tuberculinum] myself in varying doses at various times, the 30, C, CC [= 10M], in the form of pillules."
Homeopaths drew some inspiration and ideas from esoteric sources, religious and metaphysical traditions that all share a vitalist outlook with regard to the organism. For example, Simpson claims homeopathy is reliant upon "a spiritual medicinal power," Homeopaths have generally, interpreted the phenomena of life, disease and cure through essentialist eyes: "the outer world is the world
of results." The corpus of homeopathic theory very much reflects this essentialist view - such concepts as potency energy, similars, resonance, layers, miasms and vital force. Even the concept of constitution in homeopathy has become a rather complex and nebulous construct. Homeopaths have generally been inclined towards vitalist and spiritual ideas, and to reach out to concepts such
as the soul or spirit, an afterlife, reincarnation, pacifism, vegetarianism, Druidism, paganism, etc, which all have a shared belief in spirit in all life forms and in the earth itself. In some respects,
it therefore comes close to Goethe, Steiner, anthroposophy.x, organic gardening and biodynamic agriculture and a belief in innate essences in nature, and the soil. One movement might then be
said to have spawned the revival of the other.
Such views suggest that homeopathy might have been repeatedly influenced by Romantic philosophy in Germany, in the early days, and since then, just as the entire revival of alternative medicine was influenced by those distant cultural grandchildren of those times, hippies and the back-to-nature pacifists and political rebels of the 1960s and 70s, who were inspired to "protest against established society," and who celebrated a "truly do-it-yourself participatory element," that was hostile to the collective power of experts in any field, such as in medicine. Therefore, a very
similar root and branch revolution that hippies were creating for music, sex, art, free expression, racial equality, travel, and looser social morals, the 'alternative health types' wished to visit upon
what they regarded as an arrogant and non-plebeian allopathic medical establishment. Suspicious of science, they both shared a range of underlying beliefs, such as trust in nature, proletarian politics, macrobiotics, and a rejection of plastic and chemicalised food, fertilisers, synthetic drugs and a disposable culture. Such "nonconformist, broadly counter-cultural types," all celebrated "the creative individual," and had a "clear philosophy condemnatory of capitalist and consumerist society." Without exploring the details too much here, it is clear that the parallels are great. They shared rejection of authority, admired the rights of individuals as being transcendent over corporatism - attitudes that were integral to late 1960s hippies, rebels, eco-activism and alternative medicine. The historical location of the alternative medicine revival lies between 1975 and 1980, but is hard to locate more precisely. A range of articles began to appear at that time, some friendly and some hostile; they peaked after 1978-1979.
Such an impulse might also have served to reinforce a basically pantheistic spiritual outlook that is as equally suspicious of scientific rationalism as was Romance. Upon this point, it is likely that
for H., as for Queen Victoria, "all the intellectual and artistic developments of his age flowed by him unnoticed." He may well have been as indifferent to the philosophical developments of his
day as he was to its political upheavals, for "we possess no definite references in his writings to a close intellectual connection with any of the contemporary German poets or intellectual giants.
Not a word is mentioned of Goethe or Schiller." In a letter to von Villers, H. mentions the "enormous effort [required]…to understand even [Kant’s] ‘Critique of Pure Reason’, as so many
German-born scientists cannot fathom or understand Kant, let alone translate him…I only value Plato when he is quite comprehensible." This at least shows he struggled in his attempts to study philosophy.
Being something of "an eclectic," it is therefore doubtful that H. wholeheartedly embraced any philosophical system of his day, all of which "offered him little satisfaction." It is known that from
his schooldays he had followed Descartes, Spinoza and Leibniz, and then "proceeded to vitalism and to the Naturalism of Schelling and Hegel. He advanced beyond this into spiritualism, and
for a time lost his way in occultism…he was a strong opponent of materialism…he rejected materialism…as an outlook on life and as a fundament of his new theory." Yet, homeopathy bears unmistakeably essentialist and spiritual hallmarks, such as "the conception of dynamisation, in potentising, in giving medicines to smell, and in the long intervals between the individual small doses…the purely spiritual [the dynamic] came more and more into the foreground…[and] his outspoken tendency towards Mesmerism." Even though H. criticised the philosophers after Kant in
that "they wrote even more mystically than Kant," though some took the view that the Naturphilosophie "of Hegel and Schelling…actually afforded help to the rising of homeopathy," how this should be so is not explored and hard evidence for this influence currently remains elusive.
"..metaphysical, mystical, and supernatural speculations, which idle and self-sufficient visionaries have devised;" "..now the influence of the stars, now that of evil spirits and witchcraft.."
In an especially contemptuous blast, H. even questions how "old astrology was to explain what puzzled modern natural philosophy." And, "..we were fooled by the natural philosophers their whole conception - so unintelligible, so hollow and unmeaning, that no clear sense could be drawn from it." We can therefore see in the man and in the movement he spawned the conflicting influences of Enlightenment-inspired science and experiment on one side, and medieval metaphysics on the other. Homeopathy as a movement is undoubtedly imprinted with both influences and
to an almost equal degree - signalling considerable ambivalence within H. himself. Arguably, this reflects something of the schizoid nature of intellectual life in Germany at that time.
It seems that in the 1780s and 1790s, H. was not only living through a time of medical uncertainty, but also one of general 'intellectual directionlessness', which pervaded the heart and soul of Germany at that time: "This faith in the powers of reason and science was by no means universally held, even in the mid-eighteenth century in western Europe, the first formidable attack upon it, uncompromising, violent and fraught with lasting consequences, came from Germany." At this time there emerged a great divide between Enlightenment and Romantic philosophers and in its origins and general tone, homeopathy seems imbued with strong elements of both movements, while being neither entirely one nor the other. It accurately mirrors the underlying ambivalence and uncertainty, and the 'cultural schizophrenia' of his fellow countrymen in the latter half of the 18th century.
"For Schelling and other German philosophers, inspired by Kantian idealism, evolved in their minds that Naturphilosophie, which exerted so potent an influence upon scientific work in Germany between 1810 and 1840. These thinkers prepared another grand systematization, not simply of medicine but of other natural sciences as a whole. Ultimate reality was found in the universal Mind,
and all natural phenomena were fitted into this metaphysical pattern;" The keen feeling of cultural and intellectual inferiority to France, and the emergence of "an idealistic synthesis which appealed
to the romantic mood of the German people," meant that "for nearly a generation, German physicians remained philosophically aloof from the achievements of the French School," and deeply ambivalent regarding rationalism in all its then emerging forms.
A very good measure of the attitude among homeopaths can be gained by considering their view of isopathy, higher potencies, nosodes and the miasm theory, because these topics have tended
to clearly demarcate those of a more spiritual disposition from the materialists, and therefore also reveals the "intraprofessional tensions over what constitutes proper homeopathic practice."
Isopathy, or "the cure of diseases by their own morbid products or the supposed exciting causes, are, far from being a novelty, on the contrary of very ancient date."
Dudgeon [1820-1904] is in no doubt that "the honour of having introduced isopathic heresies into the homeopathic school…[falls upon] our transatlantic friend Dr. Constantine Hering," who, according to Dudgeon, simply raked isopathy "up from the dust and rubbish of antiquity…much encouraged by Gross and systematised by Lux." Yet, other homeopaths took a far more generous view: "the indispensable curative service of the products of disease…safely administered in sickness." "for the past five years I have regularly used the bacillus virus as part of my daily practice…
with great satisfaction;"
"I think very highly of Koch's remedy…I use it in high potency…" In particular, it was claimed, nosodes could be used to neutralise old internalised illness states [dyscrasias] or remove invisible 'taints' that prevent ordinary remedies from working: "the nosode has removed the miasmatic block,". Then "the remedy will work again after the block is removed with a nosode,". This much at least is the empirical observation of those who use them in clinical practice: nosodes were not so well proven as "well-known polychrests…but have been so successful;" their use "depends more on clinical experience…[which has] accumulated for many years and has been checked by the experience of so many practitioners that it is considered trustworthy."
Yet, Dudgeon denounces isopathists outright as "homeopathic heretics distinguished for the eccentricity of their aberrations." By not exactly mincing his words on such people, which reveals his abhorrence for that type of person, this exposes him as a 'non-believer' in miasms, who poured nothing but scorn on the entire theory. Leading British homeopaths, Robert Dudgeon and Richard Hughes [1836-1902], "were ‘pathological prescribers’, their ideas contrasting with those of Frederic Quin," who mostly used the 30c potency, like H. The low-potency pathological approach dominated early British homeopathy, c.1830-1870. As a Hughesian homeopath, a 3x man, Dudgeon also poured scorn on any potency above 6x. Dudgeon’s colourful and emotive language arguably show that he was almost an allopath, unable to conceive of anything beyond the rather rigid ideas at the core of homeopathy - single drug, similars, and small doses, provings. One of H.'s star pupils [C. von Boenninghausen] had little patience for low-potency types like Dudgeon, called them "amphibians…neither homeopaths nor allopaths…giving low dilutions in frequent repetition." Such a quote echoes H. himself when he said: "the converted are only hybrids, amphibians." Such tensions between the "genuine homeopaths and the pretenders," were soon to grow. Detesting signatures, woolly or vaguely spiritual concepts, Dudgeon's protestations reveal a desire to cling doggedly on to a tidy image of homeopathy of the weaker allopathic type. Threatened by the challenge to his beliefs that the high potencies and nosodes represented, most of all he simply did not want them to hold any truth. The key to the whole matter probably rested in some undisclosed claim to professional credibility and prestige that such ‘amphibians’ had conceived for themselves as respected practitioners to blend in within medicine as a whole, and their equal desire to influence its future direction. For such low-dosage, eclectic homeopaths as Hughes and Dudgeon, the ‘dangerous’ views of high potency homeopaths "were hopelessly unscientific, metaphysical, and a recipe for the permanent closure of doors to professional credibility." Thus, their ‘real problem’ was tied in with prestige and a desire to tie their version of homeopathy more firmly to the allopathic mainstream. They knew that transcendental methods and ideas would seriously compromise such a cosy arrangement.
C. Hering (1800-1880)
Portraying Dr Hering [1800-1880] as "the original suggester of the heresy," isopathy is, he contends, "stretching the principles of homeopathy too far. It is "a mere clumsy attempt to revive the doctrine of signatures under a most irrational and repulsive form." He depicts so much of it as "ineffable trash”. While isopathy does indeed stretch the principles of homeopathy, but at its core,
there sits an empirical database of some real cures. Attempts to lightly dismiss the doctrine do not comprise robust or measured intellectual invalidations, but more acts of disbelief and prejudice. Some prominent and respected homeopaths, such as Boenninghausen, repeatedly testified to the power of these high potencies: "the great curative power…of high potencies…since I almost exclusively employ these," "the efficiency of high potencies…[is] beyond all doubt;" "since 1844…I have used high potencies almost exclusively." He mostly used the 200 and lower M potencies. Undoubtedly, Dudgeon and others closed their eyes to these claims and just wished they would go away.
Dudgeon also mixes isopathy up with much absurd material from antiquity, telling us that "Galen says that the brains of a camel are a cure for epilepsy," and that "the organs of foxes, wolves, dogs, sheep and swine are arbitrarily selected for supplying the remedial agent." This seems like a pretty desperate attempt to smear isopathy with any dirt he can find, including ancient and discredited, half-baked material on ‘signatures’, claiming that much of it is "the offspring of a prurient imagination or a most perverted pathological creed." Yet, by seeking to denounce and demonise isopathists as extreme deviants within homeopathy, a sect within a sect, and opponents of true homeopathy -enemies within- he calls for them to be expelled from the mother church and all ties severed.
He condemns them as having no proven therapeutic value and of being an embarrassment that invites nothing but ridicule on homeopathy as a whole, and which threatens his undeclared desire to
see homeopathy pulled closer to the allopathic mainstream.
Even when he claims that the use of isopathic remedies "has never extended beyond a few whimsical and fantastic individuals," which is not actually true, this exposes his attempts to deviantise isopathists, without successfully discrediting them at the intellectual level. It is an act of disbelief, that attempts to socially exclude, stigmatise and expel them from within the movement as unwanted heretics. This is also apparent when he refers to what he calls the "extravagances of the isopathists," their only extravagance being their use of nosodes and the higher potencies, accepted in the light of the miasm theory.
This point is made abundantly clear when he says "the isopathic heresy, with its innumerable divergences and extravagances, has brought no small amount of ridicule upon homeopathy, and has been eagerly seized on by some of our opponents as a proper mark for their wit and satire. Being unable to expel them by sound intellectual invalidation based upon actual homeopathic principles culled from the Organon, for example, the last resort is to have them deviantised as just 'too weird'. Dudgeon always answers his own rhetorical question, "can we admit the truth of the isopathic principle
as a rule of cure?", with a resounding 'no'.
He also accuses isopathy of being saddled with logical inconsistencies, and tries to show that many nosodes have no rational basis because they are not real remedies: "to give the morbid products
of non-contagious diseases and the morbid matters excreted by some contagious diseases, which do not, however, contain the contagious principle of the disease…these matters are not capable of producing the disease in healthy individuals." He then elaborates this theme further, claiming: "the infecting principle of measles is contained in the blood…the matter of ophthalmia neonatorum contains undoubtedly a contagious principle…therefore, it is with respect to these and similar matters only that the isopathic principle can be applied, for they alone are capable of inducing in the healthy the disease to which they owe their origin." This was a dangerous strategy is open to criticism, because it is a deviation from the mainstream homeopathic principles.
By implying that only toxic, infectious or contagious materials can yield nosodes [remedies], this clearly denotes an abandonment of the usual homeopathic essentialism in his thinking, a bacterial thread almost, bearing in mind it was written some 40 years before the true Germ Theory itself had appeared in the modern form. Though many nosodes were not proven, yet their empirical use as useful adjuncts and intercurrent remedies, conferred upon them some credibility and validity, to reinforce their regular use by growing numbers of respected homeopaths. To transcendental homeopaths, nosodes like Carcinosin and Tuberculinum, for example, are valid remedies, not because they contain any poison, virus or contagious matter of a chemical nature, as Dudgeon demands, but because they are imbued with the ‘secret essence’ of cancer and Tb, being made from diseased tissue. Similarly with remedies like Sol, Luna or X-ray, because the lactose has been exposed to
and captured the essence of sunshine, moonlight or X-rays: "imponderabilia.x [like] electricity and the X-ray are both capable of potentisation;" "A drachm vial filled with absolute alcohol was exposed to a Crook's tube in operation for half an hour, and then brought up to the 6th centesimal potency;" "Lyssin = Hydrophobinum; saliva of a rabid dog…introduced and proved by Hering in 1833, fifty years before the experiments of Pasteur with the serum;"
"Electricitas…the potencies were prepared from milk sugar which has been saturated with the current." The point is that diseased tissue contains the ‘essence’ of that disease, its fundamental but invisible disease-creating force.
This is an essentialist point of view inherent to homeopathy, and has nothing to do with any alleged ‘contagious principle’ of Dudgeon. The use of nosodes was not based upon ‘belief’, supposition
or superstition, even though Dudgeon suggests that "these isopathic preparations seem to accommodate themselves remarkably to the pathological views of those who administer them," which seems an astonishing claim for a homeopath to make. Their use was always supported by and grounded in clinical experience.
What he also seems to be saying, when viewed at the deeper level, is that since no symptoms can theoretically derive from non-contagious material, therefore no cures can devolve from them either. In other words, all provings [and implicitly, all cures] must involve the use of 'toxic' [symptom-producing] material. In this sense, he denies any natural sympathy that might pertain between a drug and its effects, which is today seen as essential, innate, or spiritual, and which Dudgeon insists must be solely actual, physical, chemically detectable and pathogenic. Like Simpson saying that "no poison in the billionth or decillionth…would in the least degree affect a man or harm a fly." Such reads like the outright demolition of a core homeopathic principle and its replacement with a very material and literal reading of a fundamentally allopathic principle. He therefore also denies any mere phenomenological resonance that might adhere between a remedy and its symptoms:
"the artificial illness that proving initiates…alters inner states which are apprehended initially through changed sensations, images, feelings, dreams and the production of outer symptoms,"
A more modern example, "In February 1998 we initiated a proving of positronium made at the particle accelerator…ethanol in a vial was exposed to the radiation of decaying positronium - approximately 1.000.000,000 annihilation events being captured over a 24 hour period. This was run up to the 30th …[which] was the proving potency." In contrast to Dudgeon's claims, such matters prove that symptoms can be induced by higher potencies. He implicitly seems to deny the spiritual [essentialist] aspect inherent to the homeopathy of H. himself: "the homeopath…evokes
by triturations, succussion, etc, his ‘spiritual’ powers, principles, or influences, out of material bodies, as house-salt, charcoal, oyster shells, etc." Dudgeon ignores H.'s basic finding that many otherwise medicinally inert substances can be converted into remedies by potentisation.
Following, in his creation of homeopathy, the maxim of "everything that can hurt is something that can heal," though H. was mindful of the nature of poisonings, for the same reason Shakespeare once observed: "in the infant rind of this small flower, poison hath residence and medicine power," and although it is self-evident that "drugs, in crude form…[do] have the power to make even well people sick," yet this line of argument ignores the more subtle dimension of sickness, and those "agents, material or immaterial, which modify disease." For example, what really in modern parlance,
is a dream proving or a 10M potency? Or, what is the vital force? Because such nebulosities cannot be expressed in the familiar materialist language of modern science, they seem somewhat ineffable, in the last analysis, being taken on trust, as "idealised entities,"; so the idea of contagion becomes in truth a complex subject - "he caught the disease and catches the cure."
We do not see "disease itself any more than we see life, mind or thought." Conveniently sidestepping such deeper, and genuinely substantial issues, Dudgeon merely denounces nosodes on reflex
as unproven, and therefore as illegitimate, additions to the materia medica, which, as an argument, is a curate’s egg - only good in parts. Lord knows what he would have made of modern remedies like Berlin Wall.x, Luna.x or Venus! Can such remedies be presumed to contain any ‘infecting principle’ as his view demands? Presumably not. More enlightened homeopaths realised what Dudgeon
had blinded himself to: "the homeopath does not consider it essential that its bacilli be seen in the atom of diseased material which he prepares for medicinal use." As a modern master practitioner
also puts it: "the material of the nosodes is much more than the micro-organisms involved."
A Luminous and Pivotal Example
When Dudgeon states that "there cannot theoretically be a more appropriate stimulant than the very agent capable of producing the same state, given in regulated doses," then this could be the nosode, or it could be the most similar drug [similimum], depending upon the case in hand. Dudgeon is right in saying that the basis of Similia involves "the curative process in admitting the possibility of cure by an agent capable of producing the same disease." He therefore does admit some uses for nosodes. For example, "I find a good many cases of measles which apparently
but he insists that "isopathic agents should, in my opinion, be strictly limited to really infectious morbid products." His views on contagion seem peculiar to modern ears - "contagion by means
of clothes…and often by the mere emanations from the patient." The entire concept of contagion is philosophically both more ancient and more complex and more subtle than Dudgeon pretends.
Right down to the time of Sydenham [1624-89], it was always rooted in a form of ‘spiritual invasion’ [Pagel/Temkin]. It is probably his deceivingly literal and allopathic interpretation of homeopathy, which blinded Dudgeon to these deeper subtleties.
Having difficulty in his attempts to find any valid intellectual means to denounce transcendentalism, and being unable to state why he would impose limits upon the use of remedies or miasms,
his condemnations lack focus and failed to attract any followers; he failed to supply a coherent rationale to justify his prejudices. He clutches desperately at rules and certainties that turn out to
be only 'castles made of smoke'. Dudgeon only permits entry into the realm of 'the real' and 'the approved', those provings and cures obtained by using contagious or toxic material. This would logically invoke a corollary that only material doses can induce symptoms in the healthy and that only material and sub-material doses can elicit cures: "the dynamic potentised drug is the chief
factor in both proving and healing;"
As a 3x, one can see where he is fixated, but since the 1850s homeopathy has moved forward a great deal. The reality of the high potencies [higher than 6x] is not just the reality of cures obtained with fantastically high potencies [30 C to CM], but also includes the reality of symptoms being induced in people with high potencies, - "the dynamic potentised drug is the chief factor in both
proving and healing" - not to mention more recent things like dream provings.
When Close [1860-1929] mildly suggests that "the whole scale of potencies from the lowest to the highest is open to the homeopathic physician," such would seem an outrageously heretical suggestion to the likes of Dudgeon, who is impatient to dismiss any spiritual link between remedy and patient and most unwilling to adopt higher potencies, purely on the basis of disbelief and trepidation. He clearly felt that this would disastrously lead homeopathy over some disreputable Niagara Falls straight into some airy-fairy 'anything goes' policy, much to the delight and furious applause of allopaths everywhere.
It is clear, that there exists a real province within homeopathy that embraces the nebulous, but it is a province lying entirely beyond the conceptual grasp of someone like Dudgeon; a realm he dare
not enter lest "the wheel be broken at the well." Yet, another desire to negotiate and retain a prestigious relationship with orthodoxy, spawned a polarisation of the movement into those who were attracted by the nebulous in homeopathy and those others who were repelled by nebulosities. Yet, in terms both of ideas and technique, this polarity already existed even in the Organon and, as we shall see, even in H. himself. It certainly existed in German homeopathy, with its many rebels and dissenters from the official doctrine.
For all the reasons thus far explored, Dudgeon is clearly a quite luminous and pivotal example of an articulate but conservative homeopathic "old guard", who at best could only grasp H.'s teachings
in a crudely allopathic fashion; an 'old guard' who controlled UK homeopathy at that time and were manifestly sceptical of high potencies and nosodes, and very resistant to change.
Like Hughes, Dudgeon wished to root homeopathy solely within the framework of an allopathic patter, in terms of familiar and more trusted concepts like 'diseases' and 'remedies'. Much later, in the 1890s, homeopathy in the UK then took a sharp turn towards American transcendentalism. This inspired an expansion of homeopathy both at the theoretical and practical levels, to embrace the full reality of miasms, higher potencies, spiritual ideas about remedies, and, more recently, dream provings, essences, mentality and disposition as the dominant factors or 'core concepts' and more miasms, not only the original three, but also tubercular and cancer miasms, as new offshoots of Psora. Homeopathy today has expanded when compared to the rather narrow, rigid, and limited view of early H.ian homeopathy. Yet, both lineages in modern homeopathy can be traced back to H., not just the more conservative or allopathic version preferred by Dudgeon. It has expanded beyond all rules and limits, which any 'insiders' have sought to impose upon it, so great has been its growth.
According to Dudgeon, the whole isopathic "affair finds but little favour in H.'s eyes," and therefore, by implication, it is safe to condemn it both as un-homeopathic and as nonsense! He depicts
it as a medical darkness, a crooked path to be avoided. Yet, Dudgeon is wrong. As usual, H. was not disapproving, as Dudgeon claims, he was ambivalent. He saw some uses for nosodes and miasms, but also some problems. Likewise with the higher potencies. He went so far with these concepts and methods, but only so far; he stopped short of some of the others in embracing them. He did not fully embrace isopathy; he partially embraced it. His was a mixed response. The 'highs vs. lows struggle' dominated not only American and British homeopathy in the last quarter of the 19th century;
it was a widespread division much before that. Having seeds in the Organon; it is inherent to early homeopathy in Germany, and indeed had roots in H. himself.
This radical new isopathic and transcendental homeopathic conception, or ‘agent of change’, which originated about the time of the publication of Chronic Diseases in 1828, soon spawned a new movement within homeopathy, a dangerous and frightening sub-sect [to people like Dudgeon], gathering to its cause a motley but energetic crew of rebels, dissenters and freethinkers. It immediately gained support from those who indulged a taste for the higher potencies, like Korsakoff [1788-1853], Boenninghausen [1785-1864], Stapf [1788-1860], and Griesselich [1804-48],. Such pioneers were then followed up by Hering, Allen [1830-1909], Skinner [1825-1906], Berridge [1844-1920], Burnett [1840-1901], Clarke [1853-1931], Kent [1849-1916], and Weir [1879-1971].
This transcendental 'virus' spread insidiously throughout American homeopathy, with its strongly metaphysical inclinations, and then began to infect small groups in British homeopathy by about 1870. "Kent [placed great]…emphasis upon mental symptoms and the use of high potencies. They first appeared [in Britain] when Dr Octavia Lewin presented a paper…in 1903…Dudgeon, who
was present at the meeting, raged against the whole idea." The cases were treated with 1M, 81M and CM potencies and "Dr Clarke congratulated Lewin on the courage she had manifested in
treating them with single doses.," At the meeting Dr. Dudgeon, clearly outraged, "spoke out against the use of high dilutions and quoted…’quod fieri potest per pauca, non debet fieri per pauca’…
if we can get by with few dilutions, we ought not to employ many." In fact, to correct Leary, the Kentian influence had twice visited Britain before, via Drs Skinner and Berridge in 1870s in Liverpool, and via Gibson Miller in 1880s in Glasgow. In any case, Dudgeon was ejected from the meeting.
Dudgeon and Close On Disease and Cure
When we come to compare Dudgeon  to Close , for example, then the differences between them become very pronounced and we can measure what progress had been made.
After 1900, we behold an expansive and unstoppable movement of transcendentalism, shamelessly declaring the power of high potencies and the use of nosodes in even the most serious conditions, and sweeping all before it. While for most of the 19th century, conservative British homeopaths prescribed remedies "in low potency, usually 1x or 3x, but mother tinctures were used regularly,"
yet "by 1910 there was a complete change from the prescription of 90% material doses to 70% or more of high potencies." Therefore, Dudgeon was wrong when he claimed isopathy to be neither "consistent with theoretic probability," nor "borne out by experience." His claim that there were "no arguments having the slightest claim to validity brought forward in its support," and no facts
to substantiate it, seems like a very blinkered view. In fact, by the 1870s an abundance of evidence was in existence to underpin this burgeoning movement, and a significant rationale was supplied
by H.'s acute and chronic miasms.
On a theoretical level, the use of high potencies and nosodes certainly acts to confirm and underscore the essentialist ideas of transcendental homeopathy and therefore became important emblems
of its sense of identity, which are strongly preferred to the materialist, bacterial and physiological constructs of allopathy. Homeopathy has always had to struggle to demarcate and police its own borders, and to retain a distinctive sense of medical and philosophical identity that separates it from the politically dominant and more powerful allopathic medicine. Even though the movement
was now in decline, and entering what was to be a seventy year period of stagnation, nevertheless, it was henceforth to be ‘pure homeopathy’ or nothing.
When Dudgeon also complains that "the disgusting character of many of the preparations introduced into our materia medica by the isopathists has been particularly held up to public condemnation by our adversaries," such a view seems only relevant to those stuck in the past and terrified of progress. They were only ‘disgusting’ in their origin, before potentisation had rendered them as safe
as baby’s milk. Indeed, it ethically behoves any physician to explore any means of curative treatment: "the homeopaths…have not hesitated to explore filth, decay, and disease for morbific products or nosodes. Diseased material from animals and plants, and the poisonous secretions of reptiles, fishes, and insects, are found to be indispensably curative in desperate or obscure diseases."
Dudgeon can again be seen evading his real problems concerning the prestige and social standing of homeopaths. As Dr Burnett himself once bitterly put it: "the social value of [surgery = general practioner] is a baronetcy. The social value of [homeopathic remedies] is slander and contempt."
Compared to Dudgeon's view, Close states that "the gross, tangible, lesions and products in which disease ultimates are not the primary object of the homeopathic prescription." Close goes right
to the heart of the matter in stating that it is not symptoms that need correction, but function. "Function creates the organs…function reveals the condition of the organs," and he further reveals
that "the totality of the functional symptoms of the patient is the disease." This somewhat flies in the face of the Hughes/Dudgeon claim that disease is a localised affair, a material affair that must
be treated with material doses - tinctures, 1x and 3x. But, seizing his quarry firmly, Close deepens the real focus of homeopathy not upon the tissues, but into "the realm of pure dynamics;" what he
calls the "sphere of homeopathy is limited primarily to the functional changes from which the phenomena of disease arise."
Manifestly, after 1880 or so, homeopathy had become increasingly concerned with 'essence' or the deeper and invisible 'genotype' of disease, rather than with phenotype [the visible]; with causes rather than with effects. Such a shift clearly reflects the transcendental focus and essentialist nature of this later form of homeopathy - a far subtler and more sophisticated system than its crudely allopathic predecessor, so beloved of the 'amphibians'. When Close speaks of "the morbid vital processes," and that any pathological changes and "physical effects of mechanical causes, are not primarily within the domain of Similia, and therefore are not the object of homeopathic treatment," he means to emphasise to all homeopaths that true homeopathy aims not to directly remove Dudgeon’s external 'phenotype' of disease, in the tissues, but to remove its root cause, its internal 'genotype' - the fount from which all symptoms spring. "In faithful treatment, it is sought to accomplish an end far more subtle than the mechanical removal of bacilli…" Symptoms were not seen by homeopaths as the disease, but as the results, the end-products, of deeper dynamic disease processes: "tissue changes…are but the results of disease;" "a cure is not a cure unless it destroys the internal or dynamic cause of disease."
When Close states that the "real cure…takes place solely in the functional and dynamical sphere," we can see that his emphasis has shifted away from any visible pathology resident in the organs, tissues and cells, to the underlying vital and dynamic processes that underpin and derange the cells and tissues. It has moved away from the physical body per se to the vital force, the mind and spirit, disposition, modalities and peculiar symptoms of the patient; from the visible realm of germ and cell, to the hidden, archetypal and miasmic realm; from effects to causes; from matter to spirit [essence]; from phenotype to genotype. The focus has shifted to those dynamic forces that lie behind and direct tissue processes and tissue changes.
Even in the perception of remedies and diseases, the whole focus and emphasis has subtly shifted from the gross and physical to the mental, emotional, and dispositional factors of the proving, of the remedy and of the patient [disease]. This becomes even more clearly visible in the work of modern figures like Sankaran, Scholten, Vithoulkas, Eizayaga and Candegabe. The "homoeopathic gaze,"
no longer falls so much upon the 'disease', the symptoms or the condition, but much more upon the mentality and disposition, constitution, layers, essence, which distinguish the remedy or case in its uniqueness. Uniqueness and individuality being the true realm of Similia: "homeopathy considers the single patient as indivisible and unique," recognising "health as a dynamic equilibrium,"
of invisible forces ultimately under the control of the vital force. Previous talk of conditions and diseases, henceforth becomes muted by that in favour of the highly individualised nature of cases and patients and the mental symptoms of the case and the remedy - what Vithoulkas and Sankaran would call the 'essence states', and what Eizayaga calls the ‘genotype.’
Close validates this view by tracing it back to its true source when he maintains that "H. introduces us into the realm of dynamics, the science…of motion. In medicine dynamical commonly refers to functional as opposed to organic disease." Power, Close insists, does not reside in the body, in the tissues or the cells themselves, it "resides at the centre;" disease "is the suffering of the dynamis." Close devotes considerable energy to clearly defining disease; an effort which repays close study. For example, he says that "homeopathy does not treat disease; it treats patients."
Disease, he claims, is "an abnormal vital process;" "a dynamic aberration of our spirit-like life;" "a perverted vital action;" it is "not a thing, but only the condition of a thing;" that in the last analysis disease is "primarily only an altered state of life and mind." This is akin to Kent's likening of cure to a qualitative re-tuning of a piano, and is all a very far cry from using remedies in material doses
[1x or 3x] for named conditions.
Close lays bare its deeper nature when he says disease is "primarily a morbid disturbance or disorderly action of the vital powers and functions," or "purely a dynamical disturbance of the vital principle." Furthermore, he logically pronounces that because "disease is always primarily a morbid dynamical or functional disturbance of the vital principle," so in turn it is clear that "functional or dynamic change always precedes tissue changes," and that cure has been established only "when every perceptible sign of suffering of the dynamis has been removed." For Close, it is precisely upon such reasons and definitions that "the entire edifice of therapeutic medication governed by the law of Similia," has been conceived and constructed. All these insightful statements elaborated by Close might be said to derive from Kent, but, as he insists, they also flow naturally from H.'s own sentiments in the Organon: "let it be granted now..that no disease..is caused by any material substance, but that every one is only and always a peculiar, virtual, dynamic derangement of the health."
Close very emphatically places his bets not upon a condition or disease label, or in Dudgeon’s beloved cells and tissues, or material doses of drugs, but firmly in the invisible sphere of causes - the vital force and the potentised drug. When he says, "the tumor is not the disease, but only the 'end product' of the disease," he means to show that disease is a process of change within the organism, directed, not by itself, not under its own power in the cells, but by the power of a deranged vital force that impinges upon and coordinates the cellular processes. Such is certainly a view of disease
as a "dynamic derangement of the life force," more as derangement of process, rather than derangement of structure. The remedy for these sickness processes is equally dynamic and nebulous
-the potentised drug- which gives rise to the comment by Kent: "lower potency…less fine and less interior than the higher," meaning the higher the potency, the deeper it penetrates into the hidden realm of disease causes.
For Close, then, ipso facto, homeopathy sees as its mission to un-derange the vital force, which is precisely what he claims its remedies do. All of this is expressed in words that Kent would also have chosen. Close, one might say, treads perfectly within the ‘verbal footprints’ of Kent himself, who in turn we might say follows closely Allen, Hering and Boenninghausen. They all speak with one voice, even though their voices span ten decades.
"That which we call disease, is but a change in the Vital Force expressed by the totality of the symptoms."
"We do not take disease through our bodies but through the Vital Force."
"The liver is not the cause of itself. It is under the control of the Vital Force, and it is what the Vital Force makes it."
"The Vital Force dominates, rules and co-ordinates the human body."
"The Vital Force holds all in harmony, keeps everything in order when in health."
"Man cannot be made sick or be cured except by some substance as ethereal in quality as the Vital Force."
Suppression of disease by palliating its symptoms, is another practice strongly condemned by the transcendentalists and upon which much ink has been spilled. Always regarded drug-induced changes in cases as fundamentally uncurative acts: any "removal of the tangible products of disease…does not cure the disease, but does the patient a positive injury." As Close then adds,
"the suppressed case always goes bad," to which Kent adds: "all prescriptions that change the image of a case cause suppression." The construction and strengthening of these ideological positions, soon became hardened into massive therapeutic barriers standing between homeopathy and allopathy. Clearly, once this later, more sophisticated, spiritualised, and transcendental form of homeopathy had reached maturity, and transformed the entire movement, after 1920 or so, there could be no going back; a great gulf had indeed deepened and widened between the two systems that was now too wide to bridge; no reconciliation was henceforth possible. When Kent said "truth looks as black as smoke and false philosophy as bright as the sun," he meant that the physical, physiological and bacteriological realms, which wholly dominate modern allopathy, do not and can never be viewed by homeopaths as the true realm of disease cause: such is viewed as a false and uncurative medical philosophy that actually extends disease and harms patients.
It is regarded as both a corrupt and a corrupting medical creed, opposing the one light and only truth, the truly curative medical system, the realm of true causes and cure - pure H.ian homeopathy,
a higher and transcendental homeopathy. It was precisely when homeopathy reached such a metaphysical Niagara Falls that Dudgeon had prophesied and so sorely lamented. Such was his personal nightmare vision. Dudgeon did not really accept that "all substances in nature, even those regarded as inert, possess the power of acting on the vital dynamism, because all contain a spiritual principle…every atom of matter has a soul," because he knew such views smacked of a form of spirituality unacceptable to the allopathic establishment, whose patronage he sought to retain at all cost.
Although H. himself experimented continuously with the question of potency and kept an open mind about the whole issue, yet he also wished to discourage and place limits on the free experimentation of others. Though he knew very well that Boenninghausen [1785-1864] , Korsakoff, Jenichen [1787-1849] and others, had developed and were freely indulging an enthusiasm for using the higher potencies, yet he stuck to his assertion that 30 C was high enough for any homeopath. "With the demand for higher and higher dilutions, the attacks of opponents grew…the year 1825 showed the most violent attacks."  But "there existed a small body of overzealous students, anxious to outstep the Master in potentising….they produced a 60th, 90th, a 200th and finally even a 1500th potency. Amongst these enthusiasts the principal part was played by Dr Gross of Jüterbogk, Dr Schréter of Lemberg and General Korsakoff in Russia. They became the real founders of the theory of high potencies, which later on found an industrious and zealous protagonist in Stapf."
How anxious H. was at that time to set a limit to the over-enthusiasm of his students, is best shown by the following letter to Dr Schréter [1803-64], of Lemberg, of the 12 Sept 1829: "I do not approve of your potentising medicines higher than to XII and XXII - there must be a limit to the matter, it cannot go on indefinitely. But by definitely deciding that homoeopathic medicines should be diluted and potentised up to X (= 30c) a homogeneous process arises in the cures of all homoeopaths and if they describe a cure, we are able to work after them in the same degree, since they are operating with the same tools as we are. Then our enemies cannot reproach us with all having nothing definite, no fixed standard."
H. despatched a similar reply to the Russian, General Korsakoff, who wished to potentise unmedicated globules by mixing them with one or several granules soaked in the medicine. The General
had gone so far as to say that he had succeeded in transmitting all the properties of Sulphur to 13,500 unmedicated lactose granules from one single globule of Sulphur 30. H. himself felt, in 1829,
an urgent necessity of a limit in potentisation. He had settled "upon the strange idea of setting up a kind of standard dose for all curative remedies used in homoeopathy. This was to be the 30th centesimal," but all these efforts H. made to place strict limits upon the question of potency were doomed to fail, because the movement had now moved beyond his control. He had already exceeded this limit in 1825, when he recommended Thuja for gonorrhoea; in the 60th potency. This trait has not gone unnoticed by others: "I have been fascinated to discover the amount of experimentation
and ad hoc solutions to which H. resorted..[and] to see how often he broke his own rules, as do all creative people." By trying to impose such limits, it might be said he was trying to bale out a sinking ship, or, like Dudgeon, he was fighting a losing battle. Such 'limits' as he wished to impose will always be inapplicable. Homeopathy has repeatedly proved itself to grow with an uncontainable force that refuses to be tied down by anybody's constrictions, preconceptions or limits.
The origin of the transcendental form of homeopathy can be traced back to people like Korsakoff, Hering and Boenninghausen, who all preferred to use the higher potencies [200 C and higher] and
the nosodes, and who favoured the miasm theory in spite of pushing H. himself beyond the limits of his approval. Doubtless, the "high potencies have produced a division, especially among German homeopaths…a war in our own camp." They strongly favoured the nebulous, subtle and metaphysical in H.'s teachings. This also includes Gross [1794-1847], Stapf and Griesselich. Trinks [1800-68] was one of the few who opposed the miasm theory and the higher potencies. "Gross was attacked by H. himself because of his leanings towards isopathy." Isopathy, he taught, "is only an extension and perfection of homeopathy." There was "great strife and dissension within German homeopathy from the beginning of the 1830s onwards." This much is also acknowledged by H. himself in a letter to Dr Franz [1768-1835] dated 12 Feb 1834: "here there are eternal dissensions among the local homeopaths." This again reveals the tensions amongst H.’s immediate students in Germany, mostly about potency, miasms, from which arguably sprang the tensions rending the rest of the movement as a whole: "the doctrinal split in homeopathy first made itself felt in Germany in 1822…".
Of H.’s closest associates, Dr Gross, who was "distinguished by a marked propensity for novelty-hunting, seems to have become at once deeply enamoured of the isopathic theory."
Dr Rau, however, "regrets the introduction of this heresy into homeopathy, because he fears…our materia medica will soon be polluted with the most disgusting articles."
Dr Moritz Mueller [1784-1849] "attempted to incorporate isopathy with homeopathy." There seems little doubt that at the deeper, metaphysical level, these homeopaths had been repeatedly influenced by German Romanticism and a thorough belief in essences, making them instinctively opposed to scientific rationalism and materialism, either overtly and by choice, or through subtle inclination. Either way, they were clearly more predisposed towards the subtle and transcendental aspects of homeopathy. Such transcendental views found expression in various other ways, such as when Cooper referred to "in plant-remedies a force..a power in all respects similar to a germinating power in the human body," "..a force which, if applied.. to disease, will arrest its progress and even cause its dispersal."
With a certain inevitability, the high-low split soon spilled over into American homeopathy and came to bear the same hallmarks as that in Germany and England. "During the 1860s the homeopathic profession began to fragment over the desire of some practitioners to modify H.’s practices and to rejoin their allopathic colleagues." The remaining high potency ‘fanatics’ were termed ‘H.ians’ and their "extravagant claims had always been an embarrassment to the… eclectics." The H.ians also criticised the homeopathic colleges for wasting "too much time on anatomy, physiology, surgery… while neglecting the study of materia medica." They considered themselves as the only "legitimate voices of pure homeopathy, proclaiming most homeopaths as mongrels." Though a minority in the USA and in England until around 1900, they increasingly came to dominate the movement thereafter.
Similar worrying divisions had broken out in UK homeopathy in the 1870s and for much the same reasons. By 1870 "Drysdale was admitting that H.’s more extreme views had been ‘a perpetual source of embarrassment to nearly all of us." These so-called ‘extreme views’ merely consisted in the use of higher potencies and case totality to select the remedy, rather than the pathological, Hughesian approach of matching remedies to ‘conditions’. In 1881,"Drs Skinner, Berridge, Lippe, Swan and Bayard attempted to propagate high dilutionist doctrines through a journal called
“The Organon." This led to considerable friction and acrimony within the movement, but worse was to come. "The antagonism between the two homeopathic camps began to assume the qualities
of earlier exchanges between the regular and new schools. Though The Organon had been short-lived as a journal, the views it espoused did not disappear. On the contrary, they gained in support. The struggle was symbolised by the exchanges between Hughes and Clarke." And it was Dr John Henry Clarke who "favoured the high dilutions." Clarke’s ideas "were very far from those of Hughes…[because] he used the 30th and 200th potency." It is therefore hardly surprising that Kent referred to Hughes as "that skunk I shall fight to the end of my days."
Even while Hughes "staunchly defended low dose pathological prescribing," the storm clouds were gathering. After his death "in a Dublin street" in 1902, the movement increasingly danced to
the high potency tune of Dr Clarke, and "by the end of the first world war the views of people like Clarke were in the ascendancy." To this was added the influence of J.T. Kent and "a teaching scholarship which enabled British doctors to go to study with Dr Kent in Chicago." A brand of American homeopathy with a "Swedenborgian philosophy, a fervent, religious and metaphysical reinterpretation of H. appeared, the psoric doctrine was reactivated, vitalism re-emphasised, the importance of psychological and ‘spiritual’ symptoms in remedy selection, and the use of the very high potencies advocated." The reverberations it visited upon the conservative bastions of UK homeopathy placed it firmly at the upper end of the Richter scale. There is absolutely no doubt that the ‘highs’ "were attracted by the spiritual and metaphysical element in H.’s work," and owing to "the dramatic decline of homeopathy after the turn of the century, high dilutionist views increasingly predominated." Such changes permanently demolished all previous friction within the movement eradicating also any possibility of reconciliation with allopaths as feebly envisaged by Dudgeon and Hughes, whose pathological prescribing was thereby consigned to the history books as an allopathic version of homeopathy utterly vanquished by transcendental developments.
In England and America, the "purists railed against the corruption of H.ian doctrine by half-homeopaths…[leading] to an institutional split, with the formation by the fundamentalists of the IHA in 1880, and the appearance of high-dilutionist medical schools, such as those formed in Chicago in 1892 and 1895." Once again, there was no mood for reconciliation between two strongly polarised camps. "In 1880…the AIH split, as the purists left to form their own IHA," and as before, the purists "held to H.’s faith in extreme dilutions of drugs."
In attempting to find reasons for the changes we have described, one might decide, for example, that some transition towards a modern dominance by individual mental, dispositional and lifestyle factors in disease has occurred across the entire healthcare board since 1900, and that the general decline in infectious disease since 1900 has enhanced this shift. During the same period an increasing presence and sophistication of psychological medicine has occurred, a presence virtually unknown in 1900. These factors undoubtedly play a part in this picture. Homeopathy has also developed massively during its resurgence in the last three decades. Coming back from oblivion, it has become highly sophisticated in its own right as a separate medical tradition. Far from being abandoned,
its distinctive views and core beliefs, have been deepened and broadened through attracting many talented minds that it lacked in the 1900-1978 "dismal period".
Homeopathy being completely abandoned and ‘left for dead’ in that time period, meant that it could develop its own ideas in relative isolation, unmolested by allopathic and scientific attacks, bestowing upon it an important time for introspection, during which its theoretical ideas could be worked up into a coherent core philosophy. Also at a time of its own decline [1900-1978], and when homeopathy and allopathy superficially reached what Nicholls termed "therapeutic convergence," homeopathy was inspired by a real incentive to develop its own distinctive ideas and methods, and to reinforce a sense of medical identity separate from allopathy: a real sense of therapeutic "otherness." Arguably, such a goal was achieved more efficiently in isolation. Materialist science denounces homeopathy as nonsense; stated at its starkest, it simply defies the known laws of physics and chemistry and therefore "the infinitesimal dose is an outrage to human reason." This fact has not been ignored, but has actually been incorporated into homeopathy as a core element of its self-identity as a ‘deviant medical sect’. Its ideas were formulated in the 1820s, debated throughout the nineteenth century, placed in the deep freeze after about 1900, only to re-emerge c.1978. It is a philosophical throw-back still very reluctant to question the words of the Master, deeply adherent to its origins and cohesive about its core beliefs. As Guttentag observed in 1940: "the actual status of homeopathic knowledge is to a considerable extent far below contemporary medical standards." Though less true today, however, and this has improved considerably in the last three decades, it is still true that "eighty nine years of isolation have left very distinct marks of anachronism and rigidity." However, on another level, this can be seen as a firm reaction against the efforts of people like Hughes and Dudgeon to present an allopathised version of homeopathy. By distancing itself from such an attempt as a 'failed experiment' of the past, post-1900 homeopathy has henceforth resolved to 'go it alone' as a distinctive medical system in its own right.
Dudgeon’s desire to establish a dogmatic breed of low-potency homeopathy echoes a similar impulse we saw in H., when he sought to restrict the high potency rebels in the 1830s and insist they follow the rules of homeopathy he had laid down in the Organon. That he himself continued experimenting up to his death in Paris, might well be seen as rank hypocrisy on his part. Alternatively, such events expose the warring impulses at work in the man and the movement he had spawned. Experiment twinned with dogma both equally dominate the history of the entire subject. Like science itself, the movement is impelled first by pioneering creative work, making experimental discoveries, then by a phase of "making concepts rigid…creating an ossified system of symbols no longer flexible," such as the conceptual straitjacket of the Organon, which might more realistically portray "H.'s…advice in the Organon…[as] a counsel of perfection and not something he invariably did." Everywhere we look, we behold his incredible ambivalence.
Progress was then made in a zig-zag fashion by repeated acts of rebellion against the "ossified system" by such leading freethinkers as Boenninghausen, Hering and Clarke, who were addicted to free creative work: new experiments. Such a continual war of impulses alternating between the competitive claims of orthodoxy and heresy, is also integral to intellectual traditions more generally. Rather than comprising a Kuhnian alternation of ‘normal science’ and ‘revolutionary science,’ or some ‘paradigm shift,’ such oscillations might be more accurately portrayed in a Popperian sense, representing the repeated construction of new hypotheses, inductively inspired by empirical investigations, followed by their demolition, or revision, in the light of ongoing empirical investigations and the flow
of new data. Progress today proceeds by much the same route, where again we see theory and method intertwined in homeopathy, in the retention of those metaphysical elements of theory that have received confirmation through clinical practice. Yet no minority medical system can survive in a vacuum and must negotiate some relationship with the mainstream. It is this force that Hughes and Dudgeon were minded to emphasise above all others.
Arguably, the main reason for the shift to transcendental methods is that the higher potencies simply proved more powerful and more efficient clinical weapons, soon coming to be regarded as superior drugs that bring faster results in shifting cases and curing disease. This seems the most likely factor behind their incorporation into the main core of homeopathic technique soon after 1900. The inclusion of nosodes rested solely upon an empirical database, by proving themselves to be useful tools in clinical practice that could unblock ‘stuck’ cases and allow conventional remedies to work smoothly again. Though useful work can be done with 1x and 3x, what is the point in plodding along with such ‘blunt tools’ when you could be using 30c or 200c for all cases and getting much speedier cures? This much at least was known to respected figures like Boenninghausen in the 1830s who consistently used the 200c potency for all conditions. Such improved techniques were not lost on the American homeopaths who were keen to develop them even further, and who had no qualms over adding nosodes to such an approach, which for safety have to be used in high potency anyway.
Regarding the question of any inferred influence from Romantic philosophies and a telling attachment to essentialist and spiritual views, then there is no doubt that homeopathy sits very comfortably with forms of transcendentalism, because many anti-rational and unscientific concepts dwell at its core. Such views are known to be traceable to German Romance 1780-1830 and these should not be seen so much as transplanted views worn deliberately as emblems of sectarian deviance, or to encourage deliberate acts of rebellion against rationalism, but are better seen as concepts and elements integral to the subject, parts of its world, its peculiar medical dimension and mind-set - seeds it carried since the formation of homeopathy in the same epoch. While homeopaths are susceptible to
and naturally predisposed towards romantic views, yet to prove that actual homeopaths have been directly influenced by romantic philosophers would require much further research to add to the clutch of known examples.
H.'s intellectual ambivalence is very easy to demonstrate. For example, though he was a lifelong Freemason and an active member of a Masonic lodge in every town wherever he lived, and which was a subject to which he was "inwardly greatly attracted," and Haehl claims he was always "a good Mason," yet he condemned subjects like astrology, "the influence of the stars," which he lumps together with "evil spirits and witchcraft;" he roundly condemns any antiquated medical patter about "constellations of the stars, in an influence emanating from the heavenly bodies." He was also disparaging about the doctrine of signatures. In his Materia Medica Pura we read under Chelidonium: 'The ancients imagined that the yellow colour of the juice of this plant was an indication (signature) of its utility in bilious diseases..the importance of human health does not admit of any such uncertain directions for the employment of medicines. It would be criminal frivolity to rest contented with such guesswork at the bedside of the sick.' Hence we behold his fundamental ambivalence.
Burnett and Clarke were influenced by Swedenborg, Paracelsus and William Blake and others; most New England "followers of the New Jerusalem Church were homeopaths almost to a man."
The James family including Henry [1843-1916] and William [1842-1910] were Swedenborgians and in Massachusetts and East Coast "among its adherents [were] most of the social, intellectual
and business elite." Many modern British homeopaths were trained by the Arch-Druid Thomas Maughan in the 1960s and 70s. There seems little doubt that to Maughan homeopathy was regarded
as an essential element of their training as Druids, just as much as Druidism was regarded as essential to their training as homeopaths. One of his prominent students of the 1970s was Martin Miles, who practices homeopathy in London. The following quotes from Miles, illustrate the use of a 'spiritual paradigm' which has been thoroughly blended with some basic homeopathic ideas: '..
the physical vehicle is the temple of an indwelling spirit, this outward cloak being an exact reflection of the being who inhabits it.'
He goes on: "the spirit's descent upon the cross of matter usually amounts to being plunged into the overwhelming darkness of the earthly life." And Kent was equally emphatic: "You cannot divorce medicine and theology. Man exists all the way down from his innermost spiritual to his outermost natural;" "a man who cannot believe in God cannot become a homoeopath." Kentianism, then, was "metaphysical, dogmatic, puritanical and millennial…[and] so far as Kentians were concerned, the faithless were responsible for the corruption and decline of the movement." Both Cooper’s ‘arborivital medicine’, and Bach’s ‘Flower Essences’ contain decidedly pagan [nature spirits] overtones. Clearly then, with core elements of homeopathy being decidedly romantic in tone and spirit
-anti-rational, millennial and nouminous- then H. might, at the very least, be said to have imbibed deeply on the romantic spirit [zeitgeist] of the 1780s and 90s, if not acquiring much of its concrete 'intellectual property'.
Considering that pre-1650 approx., contagion as a concept was always regarded as a spiritual invasion of the soul with the evil spirit [archeus] of the disease, not as 'germ particles', we must consider what the upshot of this whole matter might be. Only after Sydenham did the idea of germ particles really begin to be taken seriously, even though it remained merely an unconfirmed medical idea until the advent of powerful microscopes and Koch's experiments in the 1880s. Yet, there was still massive resistance to the germ theory even after 1900.
Regarding vaccination, "many physicians thought it a very illogical procedure," and a number of epidemics "were traced to inoculation." Added to this, no-one knew "how or why vaccination worked." Throughout the 19th century, both in Europe and in north America, vaccines were "denounced as unholy…useless and dangerous," and efforts were made "to prohibit compulsory vaccination," with the situation becoming "quite serious between 1870 and 1900." Even though some physicians saw the need for quarantines measures, for example, social taboos often seemed
to "prohibit notification and isolation procedures," regarding infectious diseases like Cholera, Yellow Fever and Typhus.
There are different ways to interpret all this. The irony of the situation ideologically [in terms of the flow of medical theory and ideas] is that at the very time when allopathy was deeply spellbound by a very materialist doctrine [germ theory], and has been ever since, the very same idea chimed a very different homeopathic bell, and seemed to push homeopathy in a completely different direction - towards even more metaphysical and nebulous ideas and techniques [miasms, isopathy and high potencies]. Arguably, this difference in direction must have derived mostly from the massive differences in the nature of their medical conceptuality, rather than differences in technique.
For example, we might say that the homeopathic use of bacteria.x and nosodes paralleled a similar discovery in allopathy. Or even that homeopathic tinkerings with nosodes and diseased tissues [from 1830 onwards] though heard about and condemned in allopathic circles, nevertheless inspired similar experiments in the 1880s by allopaths. Either way, a collision of ideas occurred, a deep engagement of medical minds occurred in both traditions regarding vaccines and nosodes [germs], leading to material ideas/methods in allopathy [the germ theory of Koch and Pasteur and increased use of vaccines], while in homeopathy it led to nosodes, high potencies and more nebulous interpretations. Therefore, it seems that the reactions to 'germs' and disease products within these two systems of medicine form two very divergent paths - one leading to vaccinations and bacteriotherapy via serums and antibodies [i.e. modern immunology], and the other leading to nosodes and the higher potencies as standard tools and approaches. The interpretations each made of 'germs' could not be more different.
The use of nosodes primarily on the pragmatic level rendered the drugs harmless [safe to use], and also encouraged the use of higher potencies, and a move away from Dudgeon's 'infective principle'. Nosodes were always used in high potency [30, 200 and 10M most commonly]. It also reinforced the idea of disease being caused not by the "morbific particles" on the material level, but by some 'subtle essence' carried by the germ and transferred through potentisation to the nosode. Hence, Kent's dictum of 'the higher the deeper' and the concept that the 'disease essence' [= miasm] can only be truly neutralised by the highly potentised drug [= what van Helmont called the 'drug archeus']. We then see a broad and very strong parallel between the metaphysical views of van Helmont and transcendental homeopathy concerning a triad of spirits - vital force, drug essence and disease archeus. To which we might add that therapeutic resonance [sympathy] between these three spheres operates as 'similia similibus curentur' as well as 'similia similibus causam' - diseases being both cured and caused by similars. "There is not one law for contagion and another one for proving.
They are both one;" "the quality of contagion is similar in nature to the cure." Such a notion then places H.'s system absolutely in a line with the previous vitalist systems of Paracelsus [1493-1541], van Helmont [1577-1644] and Stahl [1660-1734].
One might then say that homeopaths' perception of and reactions to the same idea [germs] were completely opposite to allopaths; one being essentially materialistic in nature and the other being fundamentally essentialist, and much inclined towards spiritual and metaphysical views. It is as if the germ idea only served to reinforce the latent materialism of allopathy as much as it reinforced
the incipient spiritualism of homeopathy. Arguably, this entire episode very nicely illustrates the fundamentally materialist nature of allopathy and the increasingly essentialist nature of homeopathy after the deaths of Hughes  and Dudgeon , who comprised the main elements of the 'old guard' pathological breed of nineteenth century UK homeopathic prescribing. It shows how
very similar observations in the world were viewed and interpreted and then used very differently by minds of a very different stamp.
Thomas Sydenham (1624-1689)
Even more remarkably, this whole episode underscores the division, still visible in homeopathy, of an essentially spiritual view of contagionism reminiscent of that held by Fracastoro, Paracelsus
and van Helmont, on the one hand, as opposed to the [mis?] conception of physical, microscopic and morbific particles [infective viruses; germs] first made by Sydenham and Boyle, and later systematised into official dogma of orthodox medicine after Koch and Pasteur. Ironically, both views were spawned by Paracelsus, it being the chemical side of Paracelsus that was embraced by allopaths, while a succession of vitalists espoused his more metaphysical medical ramblings.
The impact made by "the isopathic heresy," upon the ideological fabric of homeopathy was exactly as Dudgeon had predicted - it deepened division and pushed it further away from allopathy.
By encouraging belief in the miasm theory [disease as stemming from an internalised imprint of the disease archeus upon the vital force], and the increased use of higher potencies, these developments pushed homeopathy into increasingly nebulous and metaphysical territory.
In conclusion, it seems that Dudgeon was fully justified in the trepidation with which he instinctively greeted isopathy. What he wanted to cling to was not in fact sustainable - an allopathic version of homeopathy. Certainly Dudgeon's 'wheel was broken at the well' and the development of transcendental homeopathy also smashed 'the cross of matter', of scientific materialism. Homeopathy is fully justified in declaring that the high potencies and nosodes do indeed validate spiritual paradigms and vitalist medical views. Undoubtedly, many modern homeopaths point to nosodes and high potencies as providing ample confirmation of the metaphysical remarks made by H., Kent and van Helmont regarding the inherent genotype of matter [potency energy], of disease [disease archeus or miasm] and of living things [vital force]. They seem justified, therefore, in claiming that the corpus of homeopathic expertise of the last century and a half fully validates such concepts as potency energy, vital force and disease cause as a spiritual essence [miasm] that temporarily invades and 'poisons' the spirit of the person, inducing symptoms. While transcendentalists interpreted the germ idea as spiritual contagion by essence, the allopaths interpreted it as physical contagion by microbes. In all the above senses, therefore, there has certainly been a 'triumph of the light', vitalism having triumphed over materialism in homeopathy. Returning to ther question we posed at the start, we can see that the two great systems of medicine stand just about as far apart today as ever, both in their methods and philosophies, but most importantly also in their perception of disease cause and cure. It is hard to see how these very divergent medical paradigms can ever be brought closer or their differences reconciled.