Monday, 27 April 2015


Aren't we all approached by patients for prophylactic medicines against common epidemics? A prophylaxis is a treatment given or action taken to prevent diseases. While speaking of prophylaxis, it is the practice of vaccination that is immediately recalled. Prophylaxis was practiced by medical men from long time. It was after Edward Jenner started inoculation with cow pox for protection against small pox, that the procedure started being called vaccination. Edward Jenner observed this effect in nature, that a person infected with milder cowpox was afforded protection against the more virulent small pox.  But then we cannot depend on nature alone for prophylaxis; for nature has its own happy go lucky operations.

The aim of prophylaxis is to offer protection against infectious diseases. Today, more and more people are turning to homoeopathy for prophylactic medications. They are disillusioned with the modern vaccination regime. Are we doing homoeoprophylaxis in the right way? Hahnemann has left no gaps in applying the principles of homoeopathy to every possible ailments of mankind. The organon of Medicine, sixth edition has given a complete set of guidelines to treating and preventing epidemic diseases. Examples of application of his methodology can be found in his Lesser Writings. In chronic diseases too, he makes a mention of how anti psoric treatment be altered when the patient is affected with epidemics. His ardent followers too made use of his wise philosophy.


 Epidemic diseases attack several persons at the same time. They have the same cause; as such they present similar signs and symptoms. The epidemics may attack a person once in a lifetime, giving the person life long immunity against that disease. Or there are certain epidemics which recur frequently in the same manner.


In case taking of an epidemic disease, it should be kept in mind to view it as a new disease. The detailed case taking is essential for each break-out of the disease as the picture of the disease might be changed when they appear at different times. Hahnemann stresses on a detailed case taking of cases and not to be prejudiced by the symptom picture of a previous break out. The physician is to examine several cases, in people of different constitutions, so that the picture of the disease is clear and a suitable remedy be selected for it. The picture definitely gets clearer when the physician examines more cases. The remedy should be capable of  repelling the infectious agent and eliminating the signs and symptoms as well.  "...A remedy that is capable of quickly checking a disease at its onset, must be its preventive." When several patients are examined, the significant symptoms can be discerned.  Hahnemann says in his Lesser Writings, that the prophylactic remedy was capable of removing the disease when the first signs of it appears. Moreover, it was effective in the treatment of after sufferings as well. The following are the details, Hahnemann wrote for the prevenion of scarlet fever in the "Cure and Prevention of Scarlet- fever" in 1801.


1. Prophylactic: In his Lesser writings, Hahnemann gives a detailed description of how he administered Belladonna during the outbreak of scarlet fever. He repeated Belladonna every seventy two hours (as the action of the drug does not last for more than 3 days) as a prophylactic. The dose is given as long as the epidemic lasts and four to five weeks thereafter. If the epidemic is violent, it would be advisable to give the second dose twenty four hours after the first, the third dose thirty six hours after the second, the fourth dose forty eight hours after the third. Thereafter, the doses may be taken every seventy two hours.

2. During the Disease : During the earlier stage of the disease, the same medicine could be given.  There is usually a prodromal stage for epidemics during which the infected persons develop slight discomforts, malaise etc. Hahnemann particularly say, " I found also that the same remedy given at the period when the symptoms indicative of the invasion of the disease occurs, stifles the fever in its very birth...". The duration of the disease and the consequences could be diminished if treatment be given at this stage. But if the disease has progressed to an advanced stage the remedy will need to be altered.

3. After Sufferings : In scarlet fever, Hahnemann mentions that Belladonna was sufficient to remove the after sufferings of the disease. However, if the original disease was violent and proper treatment was not given, another remedy may be needed.


Boenninghausen mentions in his Lesser Writings that he used Thuja in 200th potency both as curative and prophylactic for small pox with favourable results.

In "Cure and Prevention of Cholera" Hahnemann says not to use the preventive until the cholera is in the locality itself or in the neighbourhood.

The use of the prophylactic remedy does not disturb the health of children or a healthy person.

In "Chronic Diseases", Hahnemann says that where epidemic diseases arise in a chronic case undergoing antipsoric treatment, the antipsoric treatment will have to be discontinued for the time being and other remedies may be used.

Hahnemann, again in Chronic Diseases mentions that the epidemics if they do not terminate quickly and pass into good health, would require an antipsoric medicine, most likely to be sulphur if  the patient has not used medicines containing sulphur just before.


Those suffering from the disease should be isolated. Every possible measures should be taken to contain the germs from spreading. Hygiene should be maintained. Those not yet sick could keep to their usual food, drinks and exercise. Care must be taken to avoid excess in these. The attending physician too should be careful, lest he himself gets infected or become the source of spreading the contagion.


 In Kent's Lectures, under Tuberculinum, he mentions in the introduction that it would be isopathy to use syphillinum for the cure of syphillis, medorrhinum to treat anything related to gonorrhoea. Again in the same chapter Kent mentions "If tuberculinum bovinum be given in 10M, 50M, and CM potencies, two doses of each potency at long intervals, all children and young people who have inherited tuberculosis may be immuned from their inheritance and their resiliency be restored." But do note that while speaking of tuberculinum in inheritance of pthisis, he does mention "where symptoms agree in addition to that inheritance." Hahnemann has warned in chronic diseases that the nosodes (psorin) be proved enough to recommend it as a safe homoeopathic medicine. It so happens that not all the nosodes have been proved like the other drugs.

The use of nosodes as a prophylactic is an emerging trend. The use of diphtherinum for diphtheria, pertussinum for pertussis etc. Hahnemann has clearly stated that each epidemic disease be treated as a new one and the prophylaxis should be selected accordingly. Thus how can this blanket use of a drug for a diagnosis be justified? There is even a trend of using these nosodes as a prophylactic for childhood epidemic diseases. But when Hahnemann has stated that the prophylactic drug be given when the disease is atleast in the locality or neighbourhood, how can you explain the reason behind this? If you are one to say that why my child be the first case of an epidemic disease, I am at a loss to explain. I, myself need a clarity in the matter.

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