Organon §59

Aggravation of symptoms by antipathic treatments

Important symptoms of persistent diseases have never in this world been treated by such palliative opposites without the contrary occurring, without the return-indeed a manifest aggravation-of the malady after a few hours. For example: 

Coffee for daytime drowsiness

1. For a protracted tendency to daytime drowsiness, the physician prescribed coffee due to its initial rousing action. When it had exhausted its action, the drowsiness increased.

Opium for insomnia 

2. For frequent waking at night, the physician gave opium in the evening, without heeding the other symptoms of the disease. Due to its initial action, opium brought on a stupefying, dull sleep, but the following nights were more sleepless than ever. 

Opium for diarrhea 

3. Chronic diarrheas were opposed by the initial constipative action of the very same opium, without regard for the other signs of disease. After a short retardation of the diarrhea, it became all the worse. 

Opium for various pains 

4. Frequently recurring pains of all sorts were suppressed for a short time with feeling-benumbing opium, then they always came back heightened, often intolerably heightened, or other far worse maladies came in their place. 

Opium for nocturnal cough

5. For nocturnal cough of long standing, the ordinary physician is aware of nothing better than giving opium, whose initial action is to suppress every irritation. The cough falls silent on the first night perhaps, but it returns on subsequent nights all the more aggressively. If it is again and again suppressed by this palliative in highly increased doses, fever and night sweats also come. 

Cantharides for weakness of the bladder 

6. Weakness of the bladder, with consequent retention of urine, was sought to be conquered by means of the antipathic opposite, cantharis tincture, which provokes the urinary tract, forcing an initial voiding of urine. Subsequently, the bladder becomes even less stimulable and less able to contract until paralysis of the bladder is imminent.  

Purgatives and laxative salts for constipation 

7. With purgative medicines and laxative salts which, in strong doses, stimulate frequent intestinal evacuation, one meant to lift the old tendency to constipation, but in the after-action the bowels became still more constipated.

Wine for protracted debilitation 

8. The ordinary physician claims to lift protracted weakness by means of wine. Wine rouses during the initial action, with the vitality sinking all-the-more deeply in the after-action.

Bitters and hot spices for a weak and cold stomach

9. By means of bitter substances and hot spices, the physician tries to strengthen and warm the long-lastingly weak and cold stomach, but in the after-action of these palliatives, which are only exciting in their initial action, the stomach becomes even more inactive.

Warm baths for chilliness and lack of vital heat 

10. Long-persistent lack of vital heat as well as chilliness are supposed to yield to prescribed warm baths, but afterwards patients become all the more languid, colder and chillier.

Cold water for burns 

11. Severely burned parts feel momentary alleviation, of course, upon treatment with cold water, but subsequently, the pain from the burns is incredibly increased. The inflammation spreads all around and climbs to an even higher degree.

Sternutatory means for protracted nasal blockage

12. By sternutatory means (errhines), one tries to lift an old inveterate catarrh, not noticing however, that by means of this opposite, it worsens more and more (in the after-action), the nose only getting more stopped up.

Electricity and galvanism for weak and almost paralyzed limbs 

13. Limbs which were weak, almost paralyzed, for a protracted period of time were rapidly set into more active motion with electricity and galvanism, potences which, in the initial action, strongly stimulate muscle movement; but the consequence (the after action) was the entire deadening of all muscle-stimulability, and complete paralysis.

Bloodletting for congestion of blood 

14. One claimed to take away the protracted rush of blood towards the head and other parts (e.g. heart palpitations) with bloodlettings, but thereupon there always resulted greater blood congestion in these organs, stronger and more frequent heart palpitations, etc.

Valerian for mental and bodily enervation 

15. To treat the enervative torpor of the mental and bodily organs, paired with insensibility, which prevails in many kinds of typhus, practitioners of the common medicinal art are aware of nothing better than large doses of valerian, because this is one of the most robust rousing and mobilizing medications. Out of ignorance, however, they did not know that this is merely the initial action after which, in the after-action (counter-action) the organism lapses, every time and with certainty, into an all the greater stupor and immobility, that is, enervation of the mental and bodily organs, even death. These physicians did not see that precisely those patients given the most valerian (used in this case in antipathic opposition) were, unfailingly, the most likely to die.

Digitalis for a small rapid heartbeat

16. The old school physician 124 is jubilant to have forcibly slowed, for several hours, the small rapid pulse in cachexias with the first dose of digitalis purpurea, which slows the pulse in its initial action. However, the pulse's rapidity soon returns, doubled. Repeated, strengthened doses of digitalis produce less and less reduction of the pulse rate and finally none at all. Rather, the pulse becomes uncountable in the after-action. Sleep, appetite and vitality recede, and a speedy death is inevitable, unless insanity arises. How often, in a word, the disease was strengthened or something even worse was brought about by the after-action of such opposed (antipathic) means, the false theory does not realize, but experience teaches with horror.


124 See Hufeland's pamphlet Die Homцopathie [Homeopathy], p. 20.