Homeopathy, as commonly practiced, was first established by Samuel Hahnemann in the late 1820’s. These were watershed years for our healing art as they represent the beginning of the most productive years of Hahnemann’s career. The year 1828 brought the publication the 1st edition of The Chronic Diseases, Their Peculiar Nature and Their Homeopathic Cure. This masterpiece was quickly followed by the publication of the 4th edition of the Organon (1829) which further elucidated homeopathic philosophy, case taking and methodology.
In the 1st edition of Chronic Diseases, and its companion volume, the 4th edition of the Organon, Hahnemann taught the administration of a single unit dose of one or two poppy seed sized pellets placed dry on the tongue. The single dose was then followed by a period of observation of the client to assess the remedy’s action. Vide Aphorism 242 of the 4th edition of the Organon.
The Single Unit Dose
“As long, therefore, as the progressive improvement continues from the medicine administered, so long we can take for granted that the duration of the action of the helpful medicine, in this case at least, continues, and hence all repetition of any dose of medicine is forbidden.”
The same point is also stressed in Aphorism 245.
“Even one dose of the same medicine which has up to now proved beneficial, if repeated before the improvement has begun to stand still in every direction, will, like an untimely interference, only aggravate the state….”
The wait and watch method
These aphorisms introduced the “wait and watch philosophy” which is a manifestation of the principles of minimal intervention and the minimal dose. If the client is improving after the administration of the first dose of a remedy, all repetitions of the dose are completely counter indicated. It is only when there is a clear relapse of the symptoms that a second dose of a remedy may be contemplated. This injunction was introduced to prevent disruption of the natural healing process by the premature repetition of the homeopathic remedy.
Hahnemann observed that premature repetition of homeopathic pellets often caused a relapse of the disorder as well as accessory symptoms of the remedy. This mixture of natural and remedial symptoms confuses the picture and slows down the curative process. This is why classical homeopaths are very conservative about the repetition of the remedy before there is a definite relapse of the symptoms. This demands great patience as, even during slow progressive improvement, the client must experience a relapse of symptoms before a remedy can be repeated.