Skip to content

Prescribing Complexes The Highest Ideal of Cure Post 1

by Daniel on June 27th, 2011

IN MY FIRST COLUMN we started to explore some aspects of the central tradition of homeopathy, the approach often referred to as “classical” homeopathy. We looked at two fundamental principles which derive from The Organon, the use of the single dose and the use of the single medicine. We found that Hahnemann’s understanding of the concept of the single dose changed in the last three editions of The Organon, and that he moved from advocating long intervals between dry doses (i.e., pillules) to advocating more frequent doses using the “plussing” method, whereby the potency of each dose is raised by one, and pillules are diluted in liquid.

But since the Sixth Edition of The Organon was not known until well into the twentieth century, the technique of plussing was passed over, and never became part of the mainstream. The Kentian approach, which was based on the fourth edition of The Organon, became standard. The use of the LM potencies suffered a fate similar to that of plussing, but that’s another story.

We also reviewed the origins of the principle of the single medicine, and the prohibition on the use of more than one medicine at a time in Aphorism 272 of the Sixth Edition. We found that Hahnemann disobeyed his own commandment and often prescribed two medicines at a time in his later years. However, although he revised the parts of The Organon relating to the single dose, he kept the prohibition on the use of more than one medicine at a time right into the Sixth Edition.

Hahnemann’s hatred of “polypharmacy” was one of the most fundamental defining characteristics of his thinking. His rejection of the common practices of his time, in which apothecaries mixed together cocktails of many different herbs, lies at the very origins of homeopathy. And yet the use of combinations of homeopathic medicines, and the prescription of several medicines at one time, crept back into homeopathy itself and refuses to go away.

One important point of clarification we need to make before proceeding any further is that there are really two issues here, not one. There is a great difference between taking the case and choosing two medicines for an individual patient, based on the totality of symptoms (let us call this dual prescribing) on the one hand, and prescribing a medicine into which a number of single homeopathic medicines have been combined and mixed together by a manufacturer (use of complexes) on the other. In my first column I presented some arguments against dual prescribing, but it is possible to present credible arguments in its favor. Now I want to consider the use of complexes, and here there are fewer convincing defenses.

Some Arguments for Prescribing Complexes

So what are the arguments in favor of using complexes? In point of fact, these are difficult to come by. Many practitioners have used complexes, but few of the homeopathic masters have had any time for them. The homeopathic literature is almost entirely dominated by “unicists.” It is suggestive that nearly all those who have attained the deepest understanding of homeopathy have found themselves drawn down this path.

On July 7, 1992, a formal debate took place at the Royal London Homoeopathic Hospital on the motion: “This house believes that the single remedy is the medicine of experience.” The debate is an interesting source for understanding some of the important issues, and a transcript was published in the British Homeopathic Journal (RLH, 1993). If we bear in mind the distinction made above, it is evident that most participants were contrasting the use of simplexes as opposed to complexes, and dual prescribing was not really considered, although this is nowhere made explicit.

From → Health

Comments are closed.