Barbara Roberts, Homeopath

Organon Reflections- Obstacles to Cure

In homeopathy we look at Samuel Hahnemann’s writings in the Organon as our founding document and the blueprint for what we do as Homeopaths. Here is a controversial opinion in Homeopathy: Some parts of the Organon are 100% valid today, but some things need to be looked at with a modern lens.  Hahnemann was an amazing man and so far ahead of his time, but there were still prejudices and beliefs that today we don’t necessarily need to cling to, and we can still honour all of his important work without following to the letter some things we have grown to understand are not completely right.

Would Hahnemann have changed the organon further if he lived? Absolutely, each edition was an improvement and change on the last, as he continued to experiment, and treat people. We can assess each aphorism on its merits, and then relate this to what we are seeing now.

One example of this is Aphorism 260. This is about obstacles to cure, that in people with chronic diseases, lifestyle factors have a huge part to play. This is completely true. However, Hahnemann in the footnote then names some things that he calls errors in diet and regimen, and I would argue about some of the things he mentions- and perhaps add a few more modern problems.

Here is the whole aphorism for you to read:

§ 260 Sixth Edition

Hence the careful investigation into such obstacles to cure is so much the more necessary in the case of patients affected by chronic diseases, as their diseases are usually aggravated by such noxious influences and other disease-causing errors in the diet and regimen, which often pass unnoticed.1

1 Coffee; fine Chinese and other herb teas; beer prepared with medicinal vegetable substances unsuitable for the patient’s state; so-called fine liquors made with medicinal spices; all kinds of punch; spiced chocolate; odorous waters and perfumes of many kinds; strong-scented flowers in the apartment; tooth powders and essences and perfumed sachets compounded of drugs; highly spiced dishes and sauces; spiced cakes and ices; crude medicinal vegetables for soups; dishes of herbs, roots and stalks of plants possessing medicinal qualities; asparagus with long green tips, hops, and all vegetables possessing medicinal properties, celery, onions; old cheese, and meats that are in a state of decomposition, or that passes medicinal properties (as the flesh and fat of pork, ducks and geese, or veal that is too young and sour viands), ought just as certainly to be kept from patients as they should avoid all excesses in food, and in the use of sugar and salt, as also spirituous drinks, undiluted with water, heated rooms, woollen clothing next the skin, a sedentary life in close apartments, or the frequent indulgence in mere passive exercise (such as riding, driving or swinging), prolonged suckling, taking a long siesta in a recumbent posture in bed, sitting up long at night, uncleanliness, unnatural debauchery, enervation by reading obscene books, reading while lying down, Onanism or imperfect or suppressed intercourse in order to prevent conception, subjects of anger, grief or vexation, a passion for play, over-exertion of the mind or body, especially after meals, dwelling in marshy districts, damp rooms, penurious living, etc. All these things must be as far as possible avoided or removed, in order that the cure may not be obstructed or rendered impossible. Some of my disciples seem needlessly to increase the difficulties of the patient’s dietary by forbidding the use of many more, tolerably indifferent things, which is not to be commended.

Here are a few examples I have issues with (this is not an exhaustive list or this post would be way to long!):

*Reading while lying down. I love to read. I read voraciously of many different types of books, and I read in bed when I wake in the mornings on the weekend, and before I go to sleep at night. I got a hammock for Christmas, and lying in that reading is an amazing way to relax. In the past this has been an indicator for stress when the genres change or I am re-reading instead of reading new material. But reading, whether standing, sitting, lying or upside down is not going to prevent me being healthy. I would argue that this is not an obstacle to cure, but instead perhaps an indicator of mental health. To assess this though we need to establish what normal and healthy is for this particular person, and compare to current reading.

*Woollen clothing next to the skin. For some people with an allergy this may be an issue, but for many people it is an excellent choice for light, warm and natural clothing. I think the NZ Wool Industry would be unhappy with this being called an obstacle to cure!

*Prolonged suckling. How long is “prolonged” it is not clear, but we know now that there are benefits for extended breastfeeding up to and beyond age 2.

*Highly spiced dishes and sauces. There are some conditions where spicy food will aggravate the condition, and some people do not tolerate spices well, but many spices have healing properties and their combination, such as in a curry, can be beneficial.

*Spiritous drinks, undiluted with water. This amuses me- it’s ok to drink spirits, but no shots or liqueurs? Not a comment on the quantity of alcohol, but just the form that it takes. Some of the RTDs these days don’t taste like alcohol so can be deceptive and make people drunk without being aware of how much they have consumed.

So what are the things that we would add today?

*Processed food – the types of “food” we have available today that have little or no nutritional value can definitely be an obstacle to cure. In fact a recent study showed that the more processed food you ate, the more likely you are to die early.

*EMF (electromagnetic frequency) radiation, electrical fields – some people appear to have little problem with this, while others are extremely sensitive. However there is a definite effect on animal life- particularly those smallest, the insects. My daughter last year did her science fair project on plant growth- and it was noticeable that there was more growth in the one place in the house with no wifi and poor cell phone reception- despite this being the coldest room with the least sunlight. If you would like to read more, The Invisible Rainbow is an eye opening book, and you can join the newsletter at

*Smart phones, devices, computers – these all make life easier, you can be connected to anyone instantly- but you can also be contacted all the time, there is less down time, more stress from working 24/7, and that is before we get into the technology addiction, or social media addiction that is increasingly common.

What else strikes you from this list of obstacles that you disagree with? Is there anything you would add to my list of modern day obstacles to cure?

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