Dr. Hering's Preface to 'The Chronic Diseases'

The 1845 American Edition
Translated by Dr. Hempel

(The following article has been kindly furnished by Dr. Hering of Philadelphia, in German. The Editor is responsible for the translation.)

Hahnemann's work on chronic diseases may be considered a continuation of his Organon; the medicines which will follow the present volume may therefore be considered a continuation of his Materia Medica Pura.

As the principles and rules of general therapeutics have been developed in the Organon, so does Hahnemann develop, in the present treatise, the principles and rules which ought to prevail in the treatment of chronic diseases, whose name is "legion."

In the Materia Medica Pura Hahnemann describes to us the symptoms which the general remedies that he tried upon healthy persons, are capable of producing; the present treatise, on the contrary, will be succeeded by an account of those remedies, which Hahnemann specially employed in the treatment of chronic diseases, which he therefore called "anti-psorics".

In the Organon Hahnemann tries to establish the fact that the principles "similia similibus curantur" is the supreme rule is to be followed in the treatment of diseases; whereas in his treatise on chronic diseases, which is based upon the Organon and does not, in the least, modify or alter its teachings, Hahnemann shows that most chronic diseases, originating in a common source and being "related amongst each other, a special class of remedies designated by Hahnemann as anti-psorics," should be used in the treatment of those diseases.

This common source of most chronic diseases, according to Hahnemann is Psora.

The shallow opponents of Homoeopathy, and we never had any Other, pounced upon the theory of the psoric miasm with a view of attacking it with their hollow and unmeaning sarcasms.

Making 'Psora' to be identical with itch, they sneeringly pretended that according to Hahnemann's doctrines the itch was the primitive evil, and that this doctrine was akin to the doctrine of the original sin recognized by the Christian Faith.*

(This above statement of Hering's is accompanied
by the following note from the editor, Dr. Hempel)

*Note of the Editor
I beg pardon of my distinguished and learned friend for annexing a few remarks to this passage. In doing so I merely anticipate what I intend to express more fully on this subject some other occasion.

As it would be absurd for a philosophical Christian to reject the doctrine of original sin, so it is absurd for any one who professes to have a clear perception of Homoeopathy, to reject the doctrine of an hereditary morbific miasm.

Both these doctrines must stand and fall together; and, as truth is one and indivisible, they both hold and illustrate each other. If we admit with Rousseau that every thing which leaves the hand of God, is perfectly holy, then the first created man must have been perfectly pure, and must have appeared in the image and likeness of his maker.

It seems to me absurd to suppose that something perfectly pure can, of itself, by its own free and orderly development, produce things impure and evil. We do not know how far God permitted an "adaptation" to evil to co-exist in the first man together with an adaptation of goodness.

But this we certainly know that evil fruits must be the results of evil forces. In a certain moment man, or God through man, permitted the adaptation to evil to prevail in his nature; and instaneously the forces of evil, be they called the serpent, devil, or otherwise, invaded man's nature, engrafted themselves upon it, and have, up to this moment, perpetuated their existence in it.

This is relatively speaking, a fall, although, this fall, having been the first necessary phasis of human development, it may, in reality, be considered a progress.

Man's destiny consists in reuniting himself again with the Divine Life through the universal expansion of all the facilities of his soul, and the realization of all the celestial harmonics in the germ of which God had depositied in his nature, and towards the construction of which science and art will furnish him the means.

The principle of division or dissolution which man had suffered to be introduced into his spiritual nature, must necessarily have embodied itself in the corresponding principle in the material organism. It is this principle which Hahnemann calls 'Psora'.

In proportion as man's spiritual nature becomes developed and purified, this psoric miasms will be diminished, and will finally be completely removed form the life of humanity. This complete physical regeneration of human nature will necessarily be attended with great changes in all the external relations of man, education, mode of labouring, living, etc., etc.

The principle of division or dissolution existing in the human organism as an established and constituted fact, does not preclude the possibility of this organism being invaded by acute miasms.

The psoric principle marks the general adaptation to evil, recognized and inherently received by the human organism by the forces of evil which I have named subversive forces in my preface.

Those sudden invasions could never have taken place without man having first admitted the psoric principle to be constitutional in his organism.