Homeopathic understanding and management of ‘chronic disease’ is based on the concept of ‘miasms’. Hahnemann has provided detailed explanations regarding three types of ‘miasms’ such as ‘psora’, ‘syphills’ and ‘sycosis’. Theory of ‘miasms’ and chronic diseases were developed during later part of Hahnemann’s life, when he learned from his clinical experience that medicines selected on the basis of similarity of symptoms as he advocated earlier offered only temporary relief to the most patients.
According to his theory of ‘chronic diseases’, ‘psora’, the ‘miasm’ of suppressed ‘itch’, is the underlying primary cause of all chronic diseases other than those of ‘venereal’ origin. ‘Psora’ is said to be the greatest obstruction to cure. Other two miasms, ‘syphilis’ and ‘sycosis’ are considered to be miasms of venereal diseases, ‘syphilis’ and ‘gonorrhoea’ respectively. Hahnemann considered ‘psora’ to be the most important and universal ‘miasm’. According to his theory, unless this ‘miasm’ or ‘disease poison’ is eradicated with appropriate ‘anti-psoric’ drugs, permanent and lasting cure cannot be attained.
The primary forms of expression of ‘psora’ is considered to be the itching eruptions on skin, that of ‘syphilis’ un-healing tissue destructions like malignant ulcers, and that of ‘sycosis’ warts and condylomata.
Symptoms of primary ‘psora’ include the different types of itches and eruptions that appear on the skin. Hahnemann considered the ‘miasm of psora’ to be inherited through generations of human kind.
Now, let us try to analyze the concept of miasms and chronic diseases in the light of scientific understanding of molecular biology, ‘similia similibus curentur’ and ‘potentization’.
Do or die
Homeopathy began as a radical response to the rather barbaric medical practices of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Hahnemann fervently believed that the methods of medicine used by his contemporaries were far too extreme to result in real benefit to patients. He expressed an urgent need to find a better way before more innocent people were vomited, purged, leeched and lanced, drained of their bodily fluids in a vain attempt at purification and rescuing poor souls from impending death. Hahnemann’s reaction was to develop homeopathy, thus introducing a gentler, more rational form of medicine that was effective in saving people from both minor and mortal illnesses, and the after-effects of “old school” medicine.
What was the miasm of homeopathy at its inception? Extrapolating on some of the modern views of miasms held by Rajan Sankaran and others, we would like to suggest that homeopathy at this time was in a syphilitic state: a revolutionary and desperate departure from conventional medical thinking, meant to bring about a drastic change in medical practices before it was too late. This is the state of the syphilitic medicines, such as Aurum and Mercurius, in which people must do or die, performing drastic acts in order to avert the utter destruction of themselves and those around them or to atone for their failure to do so. Syphilis is an extremely destructive disease, especially in its later stages. Homeopathy was one of the few therapies that could actually treat syphilis at the time without resorting to the crude and poisonous use of mercurial compounds by the “old school.” Hahnemann railed against such treatments, much as a revolutionary would seditiously rant against his government. Like a revolutionary, he was decried and exiled from the medical bastion of Leipzig.
As homeopathy found converts and adherents among Hahnemann’s students and contemporaries, and success with patients, the movement spread beyond its native Germany to other countries in Europe, including France and Great Britain. It then travelled even farther, to the Americas, and even as far as India, by the time of Hahnemann’s death. This was the tubercular phase of homeopathy.
The tubercular miasm denotes discontent with present circumstances, the desire and hope for change, and the desire to travel to a better place, to greener pastures. Medicines such as Tuberculinum, Silicea and Phosphorus are among the many in this group. There is a “run for your life” feeling in tubercular medicines, particularly in Tuberculinum and Bacillinum, the nosodes. In the Phosphorous compounds there is also a strong tendency to sympathy for others and a desire to love and be loved. In its tubercular phase, homeopathy went places and reached out in sympathy to the suffering millions in the world.
By the early twentieth century, though, homeopathy’s heyday had passed and it began to decline and nearly disappear as “scientific medicine,” drug-based, and still, at times barbaric (such as is often the case with chemotherapy), became the standard. Homeopathic medical schools, clinics and hospitals closed their doors. Homeopaths were unable to obtain medical licenses and were refused membership in medical societies. Homeopathy went virtually underground, kept alive by a handful of dedicated practitioners who could not bear to let it die and a lay movement of those few among the public who knew its true value. Homeopathy had entered its sycotic phase, no longer growing, hiding its face from public view, treated with scorn by mainstream medicine due to its perceived inability to compete with scientific and technological medicine such as wonder drugs, imaging techniques, and more advanced forms of surgery.
In this sycotic state, characterized by the “fixed ideas” of sycosis, represented by medicines such as Thuja, Natrum sulphuricum and the gonorrheal nosode, Medorrhinum, homeopathy was largely stagnant. With no real growth in philosopy or practice or in numbers of practitioners, homeopathy was simply trying to survive. During this period, a feeling of weakness prevailed with little hope for change in the future. Medical doctors came to view homeopathy as an archaic medical heresy, placebo at best and hoax at worst, with no basis in science or reality. Homeopaths labored in obscurity, their only reward, the inner satisfaction of providing real benefit to their patients.
And now …
What, then, is the miasm of today’s homeopathy? We believe it is psora: the itch that needs to be scratched, with the hope that the irritation will go away eventually if you keep at it long enough with enough determination.
According to Sankaran, the psoric miasm is all about struggle against annoying, not usually life-threatening illnesses with the hope of eventually conquering them. It is about struggling against poverty, disease, and discrimination to prevail over the opposing forces and emerge from scorn, self-confidently able to deal with whatever comes. Psora is considered a more superficial, healthy state than the other miasms. There is a sense of bringing the eruption to the surface so that it can become completely healed.
The medicines considered most purely psoric are Psorinum and Sulphur. Psorinum patients valiantly try to overcome conditions of poverty, filth and disease, but are sometimes overwhelmed by them. Kent describes this state brilliantly: “Sadness, hopelessness; he sees no light breaking through the clouds above his head… His business is prosperous, yet he feels as if he were going to the poor house …”
The other side of psora is Sulphur—egotistic, yet lazy and indifferent. In the classic description, Kent says … “the ragged philosopher, … the scholar, the inventor, works day and night in threadbare clothes and battered hat; the more he goes on in this state the more he is disappointed because the world does not consider him the greatest man on earth …” And, as Rajan Sankaran describes: he is very optimistic and self-confident, thinks he is great, he can do anything, yet is “scorned, suppressed, put down, and criticized.”
What is the disease of modern homeopathy? It lies somewhere in the lessons of Psorinum and Sulphur, between poverty consciousness and lack of ambition, between despair and egotism. There is, to some extent and rightfully so, a feeling of lack in the homeopathic community. A sense that if only we had more money, acceptance, practitioners, hospitals, or research, then homeopathy could truly take its rightful place among the acceptable, even mainstream, healing arts. There is also a sense of philosophical egotism. Many homeopaths believe that our type of medicine is superior to any other … if only others would wake up and see what is so obvious to those of us who believe in homeopathy.
Castro explains how Hahnemann, founder of homeopathy, arrived at his theory of miasms: “In the early years of his practice Hahnemann was puzzled to find that some patients failed to respond to their constitutional remedies and some patients who did improve relapsed after only a short time. … after much painstaking study [he]found a common factor in the presence of certain diseases in the personal or family history of such patients. He realized these diseases must constitute blocks to health [miasms]which stopped the indicated constitutional remedy from working. …
“Hahnemann defined three basic miasms which he believed to be the underlying causes of chronic disease, each of which predisposes a person to a particular range of health problems … Psora, which he associated with suppressed skin diseases and leprosy; Sycosis, associated with suppressed gonorrhea; and Syphilis, associated with suppressed syphilis.”
Homeopaths have since added many more miasms, including the tubercular and cancer miasms. Certain groups of homeopathic medicines are said to be effective in removing certain miasms.
Reference- Dynamic Medicine – The miasm of modern homeopathy in the United States
Judyth Reichenberg-Ullman, ND, DHANP, and Robert
Research on View on Miasms from Modern Prospective- A Retrospective study.
Let us study in detail the work done on miasms by 4 eminent scholars.
Hahnemann’s Theory of Psora in the Light of Modern Science.
Hahnemann observed that the non-venereal chronic diseases originate from a diseased condition or disposition to disease transferring from generation to generation for thousands of years. He named the diseased condition as Psora behaving as the fostering soil for almost all possible disease. According to Hahnemann Psora developed from suppression of itch disease by external application in ancient times. Hahnemann considered the peculiar cutaneous eruption was the outward manifestation of internal itch disease, the Psora. Therefore, any external treatment to remove the skin manifestation is detrimental to the patient and should be avoided. Some eminent dermatologist’s perspicacious observation reveals that suppression of some kinds of skin diseases result in virulent internal disorder. It is again justified by another instance that under proper homoeopathic treatment of a chronic disease having history of suppressed skin manifestation in the past, the old eruption definitely reappear satisfying Dr. Hering’s law of cure. Health is the result of the dynamic equilibrium among the disease agent, human host and the environment. Human host possessing hereditary factors have an immense role in the production of large number of diseases. Thus to bring cure to any disease especially chronic disease, one should focus one’s attention towards the patient [host]to find out the fundamental cause without ignoring the disease agents and the environmental factors acting as exciting or maintaining cause. Hahnemann’s ‘Theory of Chronic Disease’ serves as a pioneer to the key of ideal cure of innumerable chronic diseases. Until and unless, Miasm [the fundamental cause of all natural diseases]is done away with by dint of antimiasmatic treatment, the permanent cure of chronic disease is not possible.
In the homoeopathic world “miasm” has raised a lot of controversy. Some stalwarts look upon it as a mere fantasy of Hahnemann and find no practical value of it in homoeopathic treatment. But others regard the theory of chronic miasm as the key to the achievement of homoeopathy in curing chronic disease. Treating natural diseases during thirty years by the homoeopathic method of treatment, Hahnemann perceived, the chronic diseases could not be perfectly cured by the simple similar medicines selected on the present symptoms associated with dietetic and hygienic measures and not even by vigorous, robust constitution. With passage of time the disease grew worse in addition to other more serious symptoms until the organism is fully destroyed. After thorough research to find out the cause behind the failure of similar remedies to cure the chronic diseases, Hahnemann noticed ,–though the medicine prescribed, could subside the chronic disease for the time-being, yet the disease came back in a rather varied form with new symptoms. This led him to the conclusion that the presenting symptoms of a chronic disease represent merely the tip of a floating ice-berg. Hence, the original disease being deepseated, the whole history of chronic disease associated with accessory circumstances should be taken into consideration. Hahnemann also observed interestingly, the origin of most of the non-venereal chronic diseases lying in a peculiar type of skin eruption, frequently suppressed by a faulty practice. In spite of corroboration on his observation by some of the physicians of his time, most of them failed to accept any relation persisting between skin diseases and other diseases. However, Hahnemann considered, the peculiar cutaneous eruption sometimes only of a few vesicles accompanied by intolerable voluptuous tickling itching was the outward manifestation of internal itch disease, the psora.
Controversy on Hahnemann’s theory of chronic disease
Publication of Hahnemann’s book on chronic disease in 1828 brings forth a violent stir in the whole medical world. Very few books in the history of medicine produced so much controversy among the physicians. Even Barron Erust George Brunnow to whom Hahnemann had dedicated his work, was antagonistic to the view of Hahnemann regarding chronic diseases . Hufeland [contemporary to Hahnemann]quoted, “At last the physician discovers that there is underlying, a hidden scabies or syphilis”. In 1838, the Central Congress of homoeopath in Frankfurt passed a resolution condemning the doctrine.
On the other hand many homoeopaths recognized the theory of chronic diseases as the most important discovery of Hahnemann. Stapf highly appreciated the book on chronic diseases as for its surprising explanations on the nature and treatment of chronic illness and emphasized to follow the doctrine strictly . Boenninghausen and Hering, the staunch supporter of ‘Psora theory’ took it granted heartily.
After Hahnemann’s expiry a number of homoeopathic stalwarts like Clarke , Stuart Close , Robert , Kent , O. Lesser , Von Grauvogl and others averred ‘the doctrine of Psora is irrevocable’ . But a considerable number of homoeopathic physicians like Hering and Hughes are against Hahnemann’s view regarding undue generalization in tracing all diseases to one primary disease-process.
Opinion of modern researchers: To keep pace with the progress of modern science various scientists carried on researches to unmask the mystery of ‘Psora’. Stuart Close identified psoric miasm and Koch’s tubercle bacilli were to be synonymous . Mackenzie has made an interesting attempt to substitute ‘focal infection’ for Psora, implying thereby the identification of the psoric miasms with strepto-staphylo and other pyogenic micro-organism. During researches in the Immunity School at University College Hospital, Dr. Edward Bach found that ‘chronic intestinal organism lower general resistance, consequently local bacterial infections are almost certain to occur’ . This ultimately makes a person susceptible to various diseases. He concluded that poisoning from certain organisms in the intestinal tract was the cause of chronic diseases and that on the removal of theses toxins the so-called chronic complaints disappear. Thus in his opinion, Psora and intestinal toxaemia were identical. Dr. Wheeler and Dr. Dishington also supported to Dr. Bach . In 1926 Bach published his book ‘Chronic Disease—A Working Hypothesis’, written in collaboration with Dr. C.E.Wheeler of London, who had assisted him in his researches at London Homoeopathic Hospital. Dr. Paterson of Glasgow, the well-known bacteriologist and homoeopath conducted a research work on bowel flora in the same line of Dr. Bach and demonstrated that the non-lactose fermenting organisms of the bowel are related to disease on the one hand, to the homoeopathic remedies on the other. His careful research revealed the same truth as Dr. Bach observed i.e. the patient’s clinical condition and susceptibility depend on the change of his bowel flora. He declared, “In the treatment of chronic disease, it is near impossible to get successful results without a full knowledge of Hahnemannian doctrine of miasms.” K. C. Chandran tried to analyze the concept of Miasms and Chronic disease in the light of scientific understanding of molecular biology . Among others who have attempted to explain Hahnemann’s theory of chronic disease, Bodman , Clignett , Eardley , Gordon Ross , Ross, Twentyman , Zissu, Ian Watson , Vithoulkas are worth-mentioning.
Dermatosis due to internal diseases
Numerous type of skin diseases are discussed, though the aetiology of most of them remains obscure. Genetic predisposition or morbid susceptibility for skin diseases plays an important role in its development like acne vulgaris, atopic dermatitis, psoriasis alopecia, vitiligo and many other conditions. Hahnemann concluded that Psora being manifested primarily as disease, any skin manifestation should not be taken into consideration with the skin only. This truth is focused in the light of modern science. In fact, skin as a mirror of health of a person, reflecting numerous internal disorders upon it. The manifestation of same type of skin disease may differ according to age and diathetic tendencies. A number of genetic and developmental abnormalities have both neurological and cutaneous manifestations most probably due to the common origin of the nervous system and the epidermis from the ectoderm. The skin is affected by malnutrition, whether caused by insufficiency, excessive demands, dietetic imbalance or mal absorption. It is also affected by endocrine and metabolic disturbances, including disordered activities of the pituitary, thyroid and para-thyroids, pancreas, suprarenal and gonads. Pruritus may occur in liver diseases, with or without jaundice, particularly in billiary cirrhosis. Chronic renal disease with uraemia may cause general pruritus and a light brown diffuse pigmentation of the skin. Diabetes mellitus may be associated with infection include boils, carbuncles, ulcers, gangrene, tinea of the feet and the groin and infectious eczematous dermatitis. Asthma may alternate with attacks of Urticaria or may co-exist with it.
Therefore modern medical science unveils Hahnemann’s idea that no external application but internal medicine essentially requires to cure skin manifestation due to internal diseases.
Hahnemann’s theory is again justified by another instance that under proper homoeopathic treatment of a chronic disease having history of suppressed skin manifestation in the past, the old eruption definitely reappear satisfying Herring’s law of cure. This incidence comes to be every day phenomenon found in any homoeopathic clinic, hospital or health centre. The distinguished homoeopathic physicians mentioned their own cases in their books. If we go through the case records from the respective books, we can see that in a considerable number of cases, the Hering’s Law of Cure can be verified. For quick references a few interesting cases are shown here in a nut shell.
Carrol Dunham, in the book, ‘Science of Therapeutics’, recorded a case of deafness caused by suppressed Psora. Dunham treated a seventeen year old young man for his hearing trouble which started when he was four years of age. Past history revealed that at the age of three he suffered from eczema of thick, whitish scabs, hard, almost horny, covering the whole scalp. The eruption was suppressed by external application. From that time the child faced the problem of hearing. Dunham prescribed not for direct deafness. He selected homoeopathic medicine Mezerium on the basis of skin eruption which remained in the past. The deafness was completely cured.
Nash noted an interesting case in his book ‘Leaders in Homoeopathic Therapeutics’. Dr. Nash treated a lady suffering from Gastritis. She became skeleton-like. Nash found after much questioning that about fifteen years ago’ she had eczema on the nape and occiput. The eczema was suppressed by the application ointment. Dr.Nash prescribed Sulphur 200th. Her stomach trouble completely removed but the eruption reappeared.
Dr. Nash mentioned another case. He treated a case of very severe gastralgia caused by suppression of eczema on the hands. Dr. Nash prescribed Arsenicum because the pain came on at midnight, lasting until 3 A.M. during which time the patient had to walk the floor in agony, and there was great burning in stomach. She had but one slight attack after taking Arsenicum but old suppressed eczema came back.
Hahnemann considered Psora as a disease or disposition to disease transmitted from generation to generation for thousands of years. Health is the result of the dynamic equilibrium among the disease agent, human host and the environment. The latest conception about the causation of disease reveals clearly that disease is due to the effect of ‘multiple factors’ those are directly or indirectly related to the agent, host and environment, viz., biological, nutrient, chemical, physical, mechanical, psycho-social, cultural, hereditary factors etc. According to recent opinion, the hereditary factors among these are the most predominant or fundamental cause as Hahnemann had indicated.
Hahnemann’s theory of Psora was very simple as it was based on practical observations. Hahnemann standing on the basement of his power of his perfect observation and foresight, perceived the close connection lying between skin and rest of the body. What Hahnemann emphasized in his Psora theory that the serious complication might develop from suppression of skin disease is no longer denied by modern science. It’s not the only efficacy of Psora theory, but it serves as a pioneer to the key of ideal cure of innumerable non venereal chronic diseases. In treatment of chronic diseases, to achieve success by means of homoeopathic method, there is need of proper ‘Anti Miasmatic’ treatment. Hahnemann opines that the fundamental cause of all natural diseases is the Miasm. Until and unless, Miasm is done away with by dint of Anti Miasmatic treatment, the permanent cure of chronic disease is a far cry. According to Hahnemann’s ‘Psora Theory’, Psora is the mother of almost all chronic diseases. Consequently in some of the stages of treatment of any type of chronic disease, it is necessary to bring Psora under control. Anti Psoric remedies are selected according to the general principles of homoeopathy. It is administered one dose at a time, the effect of which as a rule allowed passing away completely before being repeated. Over hasty repetition of anti-psoric remedies is to be avoided as much as the employment of too large doses. Dr. J. H. Allen, the author of ‘The Chronic Miasms Psora and Pseudo-Psora’, concluded, “we cannot select the most similar remedy possible unless we understand the phenomenon of the acting and basic miasms; for the true similar is always based upon the basic miasm, whether we be conscious or unconscious of the fact.”
Therefore Hahnemann’s ‘Theory of Chronic Disease’ should be perceived and it must be implemented in practical field so that a physician may achieve his mission i.e. “to restore the sick to health to cure.”
Reference- Ghosh AK (2015) Hahnemann’s Theory of Psora in the Light of Modern Science. Altern Integr Med 4:189. doi:10.4172/2327-5162.1000189
Miasms and modern pathology
One of the greatest barriers limiting dialogue between orthodox and homeopathic medicine is the homeopathic classification of chronic diseases, miasms. Hector Montfort-Cabello’s bold attempt, in this issue of Homeopathy, to marry miasmic theory to modern pathology and genetics is to be welcomed as opening debate. The concept of miasms appears alien and anachronistic to contemporary western medicine. It was based on Hahnemann’s observations and influenced by the limited pathological knowledge of his time. Hahnemann rejected medical ideologies such as Boerhaave’s eclecticism and Brown’s stimulus theories, opting instead for a disease explanation matching the simplicity of the similimum theory. He classified diseases as ‘specific’ miasms of epidemic disease requiring ‘disease-specific’ remedies, while ‘all the other innumerable diseases exhibit such a difference in their phenomena that we may safely assert that they arise from a combination of several dissimilar causes (varying in number and differing in nature and intensity)’ needed different treatments. Later, in ‘The Chronic Diseases’ he asserted ‘the only real fundamental causes’ of almost all chronic diseases are three miasms, the major (causing 7/8 of diseases) of which is psora, which affects the skin then penetrating inside the body and causing major damage to vital organs; a theory echoing that of his contemporaries Autenreith and Wenzel. Many speculate he based this on the multiform evolution of the then prevalent infection, scabies, although Hahnemann himself references leprosy as a connection. Despite being seemingly wrong according to subsequent scientific knowledge, exteriorisation of much pathology eg pruritus in renal or liver failure or immune disorders is indubitably a correct assumption even today.
Thus it has been suggested that the term miasm is outdated and misleading, and that applying old classifications to mechanisms (often still imperfectly understood) of chronic diseases may be neither useful nor correct. We know disease results from external influences eg pathogens or radiation acting on genotypic variation in humans with different predispositions, exacerbated by lifestyle and environmental factors. We recognise molecular, cellular and systemic mechanisms by which diseases can be ‘explained’ and/ or classified, albeit arbitrarily, to facilitate transmission of knowledge on progress, prognosis and treatment options between physicians. Such explanations and classifications utilise immune responses and physiological responses in various body systems at different levels—genetic expression/suppression, cell receptor activation/down-regulation and tissue atrophy/proliferation—which become manifest as functional disease or pathology with tissue loss or replacement. Recent theories give new emphasis to complexity of biological systems: for example asthma and many other chronic diseases may be treated as ‘stuck’, semi-stable, states of organisms’ complex networks, in other words as pathological dynamic attractors.
Hahnemann did not know of such modern biochemistry and pathology, his uni-causal view of one disease is therefore dated: disease arises in some circumstances and in some individuals in response to different stimuli in different patterns and timescales. But Hahnemann’s acute observation on the importance of skin manifestations are still of great importance in a world slow to relinquish Cartesian duality, despite mounting evidence of psychoneuro-immunology where the skin is the ultimate externalisation of internal disorder and manifestation of autonomic and cytokine disturbance.
Many homeopaths still feel miasm theory empirically observable and useful in prescribing, others prescribe with no reference to it. However, according to some homeopathic observations, matching observed psoric disease traits with remedies (principally Sulphur) initiates recovery in so many disorders that this phenomenon is not to be dismissed lightly. As bioscientific medicines gain acceptance by efficacy studies accelerated when their mechanism of action is understood, so might homeopathy gain acceptance by a kind of ‘similimum principle’ paradigm if a pathological or biochemical basis substantiates the ideas of miasms.
We may debate Montfort-Cabello’s suggestions: if semantically psora, sycosis and syphilis invite ridicule from biomedicine, do terms such as ‘‘dys molecular reactional mode’’ convey a more valid meaning? Are asthma, epilepsy and high blood pressure definable as ‘a defect in molecular repair’? And are many ‘psoric diseases’ caused by a defect of protein, cell or tissue repair or rather general homeostatic derangement? Can stroke be considered predominantly a process of necrosis and repair, or is it truly resulting from metabolic (dyslipidemia) or haemodynamic (hypertension) malfunction? Most of these diseases are highly multifactorial, so the narrow limitations and errors of the psora concept at inception may not be easily overcome by widening to singular new concepts like necrosis and apoptosis. Have miasms only persisted due to the academic and scientific isolation of homeopathy? Or would they not have been completely discarded if untrue or unhelpful? The miasm/modern science debate is fundamental to homeopathic theory and should provoke further debate from the wide church that is modern homeopathy. Montford-Cabello may make unsubstantiated statements regarding lack of ATP synthesis from mutated DNA as the origin of sycosis, but he has challenged us: do miasms exist? Are they inheritable? Most of all, are they useful?
Reference- Homeopathy (2004) 93, 65–66 r 2004 The Faculty of Homeopathy doi:10.1016/j.homp.2004.02.010, available online at www.sciencedirect.com
The Development of Miasmatic Theory, from Hahnemann to the Present Day
One of Hahnemann’s last contributions to homeopathy was his theory of the origins of Chronic Disease, documented in his book The Chronic Diseases. A summation of many years of work, it was his attempt to understand the roots of disease and to find homeopathic solutions to this situation. After many years of revelation after formulating the Law of Similars and the development of provings as a key part of the methodology of homeopathic science, Hahnemann still struggled with many cases that seemingly would not respond to “well-indicated” remedies. This led him to seek a deeper understanding of why more lasting cures were not being obtained. The conclusions he drew from this study led him to consider that there were three chronic disease states that were the cause of the underlying disease manifestations. These are Psora, Sycosis and Syphilis. Hahnemann’s attention however was much more focused on Psora, which he attributed 7/8ths of all diseases to. This focus tended to obscure the relevance of the venereal disease miasms, further compounded by the fact that Hahnemann never used the nosodes Medorrhinum or Syphilinum, a key factor in really understanding the full spectrum of the miasms. For the latter two miasms, his concerns were much more focused on the immediate disease implications of these diseases, more than the inherited vulnerabilities that resulted.
Since Hahnemann’s time, miasmatic thinking has developed considerably, with much more information given to the two main venereal miasms mentioned and to the inclusion of two more miasms, Tuberculinic and Carcinogenic, and more recently a few more miasmatic categorizations, mostly with a specific nosode identified for each. During this evolution in thinking, from the original ideas of Hahnemann that the roots of disease can be connected to a specific infectious moment in the patient’s life, his original theory has been developed to include a much broader analysis of miasmatic thinking, especially including the hereditary influence of the original infectious disease state and to understanding miasmatic states as a “gestalt” or pattern of disease symptoms, mental states, characteristics and predispositions, and also to susceptibilities to certain conditions. In other words what has been developed is a whole pattern of expressed mental and physical phenomena and also a recognition of potential states or susceptibilities to such states based on inherited dispositions.
This movement away from the specific infectious origin of the miasm to seeing them as fundamental classifications of both disease possibilities and broader social/cultural dynamics has been the most important development in our understanding of miasms. Also, the clinical knowledge of the relevance of nosodes of various miasms has maintained the importance of understanding miasms in prescribing, in spite of ongoing debate as to the relevance of miasmatic theory. The fact that the major nosodes in homeopathy – Psorinum, Medorrhinum, Syphilinum, Tuberculinum and Carcinosin are used so much in our prescribing, especially in children, only gives more weight to the need to understand what Hahnemann had begun to explore and that needs to be taken further.
However, an even more challenging concept in Hahnemann’s own thinking is explored by Dimitrialis on p. 24 of his book. Here he states that Hahnemann traces psora back through biblical time, suggesting that its original expression as leprosy was modified over hundreds of years due to hygiene, diet and general modes of living, so the expressions of psoric disease were seen only as a mild itch. However, Hahnemann concludes that the internal psora has not changed in any fundamental way, and that now the more mild itch is able to be more easily suppressed, “allowing easier development of a legion of secondary symptoms both cutaneous and otherwise.” (Dimitrialis p. 25) In this way, the latent conditions are activated by the suppression of the primary cutaneous expression. By implication, he is saying that an unadulterated expression of psora, especially in the form of leprosy is better for the overall health of a person and society as it cannot so easily be suppressed, leading to more serious expressions of diseases seen as secondary symptoms of psora, which include, according to Hahnemann, 7/8ths of all diseases known to man.
This conclusion, it needs to be said, is highly speculative on Hahnemann’s part. As Dimitrialis points out, Hahnemann could not know whether 7/8ths of all disease stem from psora and Hahnemann himself changed his position on whether psora was the cause of ALL or MOST non-venereal disease. Furthermore, the conclusion that modification of leprosy through diet, hygiene and mode of life throughout hundreds of years only allowed psora to be more easily suppressed, leading to more serious secondary disease has to be questioned. Perhaps, over the many hundreds of years the original more “acute” expressions of psora on the skin evolved into being a mere itch and that it did indicate that the internal psora was also being tamed. Therefore, suppression of the primary itch expressions would not lead to the level of suppression that Hahnemann thought. One other point to consider here is the influence of the other two miasms, syphilis and sycosis. Hahnemann addresses them in light of their infectious miasmatic origin, with their clear acute and chronic symptom picture. He doesn’t make the connection between them and psora and that perhaps the spread of these diseases and the inherited susceptibilities subsequent to this may have overshadowed the impact of psora and diseases that originate with it. In other words, perhaps the other two miasms deserved more attention in Hahnemann’s time and all the disease he attributes to psora could equally be laid at the feet of syphilis and sycosis, not to mention tuberculosis.
Although Hahnemann did not state that scabies was the only cause of the psoric miasm and that many other skin eruptions with different bacterial, parasitical or viral origin could also be involved, the fact is that he chose scabies to make the first nosode from and which has become the “archetypal” nosode of the psoric miasm. Furthermore, the current theories of the time as to the state of scabies being so formidable a disease can only have influenced Hahnemann in his attempt to find some universal principle in seeking the underlying roots of illness. Hahnemann also equated leprosy with being a primary form of psora and observed how when the eruptions were virulent on the skin, the internal suffering was much less. While this is an example of the “psoric” philosophy of the movement from the external to the internal, it is questionable whether leprosy can be classified as psoric. It has its own bacteriologic origin, it’s own nosode and its own symptom expression. It also has it’s own broader “gestalt” of mental and physical dynamics and therefore perhaps deserves it’s own miasmatic classification, as some homeopaths have done. However, within the broadest classification of psora, one could argue that it represents a purely unadulterated psora, free from any constraints of suppression.
Two other important points regarding miasmatic contagion and psora are discussed by Dimitrialis (p. 27) when he discusses Hahnemann’s amazing description of the infectious mechanism of a miasm, how in the instant of infection, the whole person is infected and nothing can be done to reverse it. This observation has been confirmed by modern science in understanding the incubation periods of disease after initial infection. The second point, which has always been controversial, is Hahnemann’s contention that the disposition to being infected with psora, “the itch” is almost universal, “No other chronic miasma infects more generally, more surely, more easily and more absolutely that the miasma of itch…it is the most contagious of all”. The controversy is amplified as Hahnemann stated that he was one of the few people who were not infected with the psoric miasm, his acute exacerbations being true acute diseases as apposed to acute expressions of a chronic miasmatic disease.
The description of the infectious mechanism of a miasmatic disease also reveals the dispute between the idea of a miasm as an infection and that it is also a “dynamic” influence, a “vital disturbance” of the whole organism. It is of course, both, which Hahnemann made clear, but here the fact of their being an actual contagious principle does not take away from the common understanding that all diseases are primarily disturbances of the vital force.
One can therefore understand how some confusion has ensued from this, especially in regard to the fact that Psorinum, the remedy made from a scabies nosode is the traditional nosode for psora. Also, as Dimitrialis points out, milk crust is now known not to be an infectious disease and therefore cannot be a cause for the spread of the psoric miasm. Dimitrialis states that Hahnemann describes the “itch” eruptions of psora as being 1. an itching vesicular eruption which compels the patient to rub violently enough to open up the vesicles and infect the surroundings, and 2. the peculiar bitter-sweet itching which began with a voluptuous itch compelling the patient to rub and resulting in a long continued burning sensation. (Hahnemann, Chronic Diseases, Vol 1, pp. 38-39). From this description, generalized skin eruptions such as eczema, psoriasis, milk crust etc cannot be included, leaving such skin eruptions such as tinnea, herpes etc. From this analysis, Dimitrialis concludes that Hahnemann’s attribution of the “universal” ubiquitous nature attributed to the psora miasm is not accurate. This is important as it forces us to question some of the underlying presumptions about psora and the subsequent generalizations made about it’s universal nature, being “the soil of all disease”.
The Development of Miasmatic Theory, from Hahnemann to the Present Day
By Richard Pitt Sat, Mar 01, 2008
The Psycho-Energetic Analysis of Miasms
Viruses and bacteria are certainly the material instruments of infection, but Hahnemann strived to understand the deeper nature of infection, its energetic dimension and the causes that generate the disease. Apart from their direct connection to microorganisms, for Hahnemann the miasms are invisible infective entities of energetic origin that penetrate the organism and affect the life force in such a way that it produces the symptoms of a specific disease. One of the more significant contemporary researchers, Dr Richard Gerber, holds the same opinion. In his book Vibrational Medicine, he speaks of miasms as “…energetic tendencies which predispose an individual toward manifesting particular illnesses. Most miasms are either inherited or acquired during the course of an individual’s lifetime.” Furthermore,“although, for example, miasms may be acquired as a result of an infectious agent, the infection itself is not the miasm. Even though disease-causing organism may be eradicated by antibiotic therapy, subtle traces of the infectious agent may persist at an unseen level. These disease-associated energy traces are incorporated into the individual’s biomagnetic field and higher subtle bodies. The miasms reside there until their latent toxic potential is released into the molecular/cellular level of the body, where disruptive changes or illness may manifest. Miasms weaken the natural body defenses in particular areas, creating a tendency toward manifesting different types of illness at a later time.”Gerber says that miasms “…create energetic/psychological influences which predispose the individual to various types of illnesses. Because they can be transmitted from generation to generation, miasms represent an energetic pathway by which events of a parent can be transmitted to their offspring. Miasms provide an interesting interpretation of the statement – the sins of the father are inherited by the son.”
Hahnemann noticed that miasms were passed on from one generation to another if they weren’t treated, or treated fully. A miasm carrier can have diseases typical of a certain miasm; however a miasm is not an illness because of its latent character. We could say that a miasm is a kind of energetic infection inherent in a family, either in a latent or an active way. Even if a miasm carrier lives in a disciplined way and avoids potential diseases typical for that particular miasm, if he or she does not dissolve it, the miasm will manifest itself in the next generation. Sometimes miasms skip a generation and manifest in the next one; it is therefore possible to inherit them from grandparents. According to my observations, miasms are passed on to the descendants during the prenatal period – from conception to birth and mainly by automatism. They replicate in the energetic body of the fetus as energetic infections. That’s why it is impossible to avoid the latent presence of a miasm in case one of the parents is the carrier. It depends on our lifestyle whether or not the miasm will manifest as an illness, a psychological disorder of simply a sort of invisible obstruction to the realization of our goals. Regardless, it is necessary to dissolve a miasm if we want to free ourselves and our descendants of its influence.
The process of miasm dissolution usually begins with a diagnosis, or with establishing which miasm is in question based on the sum of the symptoms. The next step is facing the miasm by establishing its position in the energy body. Even though a miasm creates numerous psychosomatic symptoms that could lead to the conclusion it is positioned in the lower layers of the energy body, or on the physical body, it cannot be centered in such a way. A miasm‘s “head” is in the seventh layer of the aura and it can be experienced as a mass circling around the physical body at the distance of one meter, sometimes looking like a ring-shaped form that surrounds a person. While facing the mass, we recognize all types of influences and dissolve them one by one. Very often we may be surprised by the contents coming from the miasmic form (even when it comes to advanced practitioners of spiritual techniques). Nevertheless, we dissolve all negative emotions, beliefs, standpoints, interdictions and orders, and transform the toxic connections with family members from who we inherited them. The parts of the personality that were lost, rejected or forgotten at the moment a miasm replicated in our energy body can then be returned.
Dissolving a miasmic form and returning the lost identity brings our energy body back into the original, healthy state. On one hand, such a healthy state seems pretty usual and simple because we become who we used to be, or better, who we have always been, just in a significantly deeper and more stable way. On the other hand, the return to the state of health brings back our lost charisma and enables us to transform ourselves and our own life in the way we want. Non-miasmic person is also on the right path to freeing herself from the inner weaknesses that have burdened humankind for a long time. Such weaknesses are usually defined as problematic inner structures existing in a latent form in every human being, which only surface when the person happens to be in a position of power. Excessive materialism, promiscuous sex, superiority or inferiority complexes, addictions, emotional coldness, spiritual ignorance or mental dullness (human stupidity) are the basic weaknesses of this kind. Miasms are definitely one of the key obstructions on human path to wholeness and spiritual self-awareness, but even more towards self-realization, to the actualization of our primary potential, which was lost in trying to adjust to the unfavorable conditions of life on this planet since the time it entered the cycle of imbalance.
When dissolving a miasm, it is good to stick to the order established by Hahnemann – to work first on the sycotic, then the syphilitic and then the psoric. Even if treating other miasms, one should first do these three and then continue with the others. However, dissolving all seven miasms is usually not possible in a planned manner, by willingly inducing miasms to manifest. Every miasm carries a huge lesson and one needs to be ready for it. It is thus necessary to maintain the balance between the will and surrender, and work on miasms within the context of unrealized life goals. If it turns out that the realization of a certain goal is blocked by a miasm and the person is ready for such work, then the dissolving of the miasm presents a natural intervention. Seen in the context of karmic cleansing, dissolving miasms very often presents the crown of karmic release and creates the healthiest possible foundation for creative self-realization. It also frees one’s descendants from unpleasant and heavy lessons and creates far more space for their creative realization. It returns us to the original form of existence, sometimes called heavenly, where just existing brings great pleasure and fulfillment.
Reference– Richard Gerber, M.D. Vibrational Medicine, BEAR & COMPANY PUBLISHING, New Mexico, 1988, chapter seven, paragraph four – The Problem of Miasms: Our Energetic Tendencies towards Illness , p. 259