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Life History of Dr Samuel Hahnemann

Samuel Hahnemann was born on 10th April 1755. His full name is Samuel Christian Friedrich Gottfried Hahnemann. He was born in Meissen town in Germany. His father was a porcelain painter. Hahnemann was an intelligent student at school. He had become the favourite student of his teacher named Magister Muller. Hahnemann’s father was poor and could not afford education for Hahnemann. But due to brilliance of Hahnemann, Magister Muller requested his father to allow Hahnemann to study further free of cost.

Hahnemann was good at learning languages. He was told to teach Greek language to other students at the age of ten years. Hahnemann went to Leipzig for higher studies. He graduated with Masters in Medicine from Erlangen University in 1779. The subject of his thesis was “A consideration of the etiology and therapeutics of spasmodic affection”. He practised conventional medicine for 9 years. He was not satisfied with the conventional system of medicine. So he gave up his medical practise at that time. Hahnemann had learnt Latin, Greek, French, Hebrew, Arabic, German, English, Spanish, Italian till he became 24 years of age. He was able to completely read and write 7 languages at this age. So he started translating texts from one language to other and made a living out of it.

Once while translating a medical text named “A treatise on Materia Medica” by Wiliam Cullen, he came across the statement that cinchona bark cures malaria due to its bitter taste and tonic effect on stomach. Hahnemann was not able to accept this theory. He was taught by his father 1. Never to be a passive listener and 2. Examine everything and hold that which is true. He decided to experiment on himself. He started taking 4 drachms of cinchona juice every day. Within few days he was suffering from symptoms like that from malarial ague. He then proposed that every drug is able to produce some symptoms in healthy individuals and can cure similar symptoms in diseased individual. Dr Hahnemann experimented with several drugs to verify and prove this law of cure. This year is marked as the year of discovery of Homoeopathy. 

Hahnemann experimented for several years and published his work “An essay on new principle for ascertaining the curative powers of the drugs and examinations of previous principles” in 1796. After years of experimentation, he was fully satisfied that “Similia Similibus Curentur” was the therapeutic law of nature. It meant “Let like be cured by likes”. There was a lot of criticism by physicians of allopathic system of medicine whose law was “Contraria Contraris Curantur” which meant the exact opposite. But Hahnemann and his followers continued their work with zest and enthusiasm. Hahnemann was an avid experimenter and a great scientist. Hence 1796 is called as the birth year of Homoeopathy. Homoeopathy is based on this nature’s therapeutic law. ‘Homos’ means ‘same’ and ‘pathos’ means ‘suffering’. 

The first Homoeopathic Materia Medica was published in Latin language by Dr Hahnemann in 1805. He published a book on principles of Homoeopathy in 1810 called as “Organon of Rational Art of Healing”. Hahnemann was the first medical reformer to stress upon the importance of public hygiene, proper sewage treatment, good diet and regular exercise. During his lifetime he witnessed many epidemics and had a good cure rate of around 96% during such epidemics through homoeopathy. Hahnemann also used homoeopathy as a preventive medicine during these epidemics. After his second marriage at the age of 80 with Marie Melanie D’ Hervilly, they shifted to france where he practised homoeopathy till the end of his life. Dr Hahnemann died from bronchitis at the age of 88 in Paris on 2nd July 1843.

It is because of Dr Samuel Hahnemann & the other stalwarts of homoeopathy that such a great science is practised all over the world and many ailing people have been cured or relieved of their ailments in a gentle yet simple manner. I take this opportunity to salute Dr Hahnemann, his disciples and the other stalwarts of homoeopathy who have discovered and put to use homoeopathy inspite of the innumerable difficulties faced by them during those times.

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