Doctors in Hahnemann's time (1800s) used to cut veins to remove "bad blood" and whip insane people to get them back to their senses. Hahnemann criticized such practices severely, while offering a gentler system and more humane means of handling insane people.
Today in 2021, homoeopaths still practice as Hahnemann did - asking questions, repertorizing etc. (we may do it using a computer or HRep), or using new theories. Our best and most useful remedies still remain Sepia, Nat-mur and Mercury etc., and we cannot prescribe these any more confidently or effectively than Hahnemann, Boger, Allen, Lippe, Nash or Kent.
Meanwhile, doctors of modern medicine have moved far ahead in their treatments of every known human disease condition - tuberculosis, meningitis, diabetes, hypertension, schizophrenia, epilepsy, major depression, leprosy, malaria, asthma, pneumonia. They save lives daily and confidently, whether it is a heart attack, anaphylactic reaction, or a Hodgkin's Lymphoma. An eye surgeon dissolves a cataract in the eye using a precisely directed laser beam. This is Modern Medicine.
Every homoeopath has seen miraculous results in his own practice - even lay homoeopaths get brilliant results. The magical effect of potencies is not understood / known to Modern Medicine. Homoeopathic physicians have for two centuries now known the nature of remedies like Nat-mur with its deep disappointment, Silica's receding stool, the use of Ledum in punctured wounds, or the wandering loquacity of Lachesis. All these are known primarily only to homoeopaths. Despite this, homoeopathy as a System of Medicine has steadily been pushed to the sidelines, most evident in the current pandemic. We are not the front-line workers in the Covid-19 pandemic. What is the reason?
Some homoeopaths believe that homoeopathy is not so effective any more because of our current lifestyle, the prevalent use of vaccines, antibiotics, and a host of other reasons including an unhealthy mindset in modern day man (and woman). Others subscribe strongly to a conspiracy theory - it is the modern pharmaceutical industry which is suppressing Homoeopathy. There are many other theories. But just to address these two, let us think:
In homoeopathic journals, we still publish cases of pneumonia cured with homoeopathy, whereas doctors of Modern Medicine consider it routine. Their journals would not even accept such cases, unless there was something truly remarkable. Half-educated doctors in small primary health care clinics cure pneumonias using antibiotics and also treat tuberculosis and leprosy.
I believe the real reason why we have fallen behind is that we have not attached our wagon to the engine of Science. As science progresses, modern medicine immediately incorporates as much of the new information and technology available, and is thus able to act more decisively. The homoeopath ignores this new information, or has not learned how to use it. We still continue as before, while criticizing modern medicine at every possible opportunity. We even blame them for our failures. Indeed, among some homoeopaths, it is a fashion to criticize anything that Modern Medicine offers.
Hahnemann's main complaint with the Medicine of his time was that there were too many theories, and very little action based on real evidence. Today, the situation is almost reversed. While Modern Medicine focuses on Evidence-Based treatment, Homoeopaths have numerous theories. When the whole world, including Presidents of Countries, were strongly supporting HCQS as an effective treatment for Covid-19, doctors of Modern Medicine waited for the evidence, and finally rejected it. On the other hand, we had some homoeopaths spraying sepia 200 on buildings as a preventive against the coronavirus. If we are criticized by Modern Medicine, we need to ask if we have earned the criticism. Further, we should understand that often it is not the doctors, but scientists who criticise us. A large number of allopathic doctors take homoeopathy simply because of our results.
It is time we started connecting Homoeopathy to modern discoveries. I am merely identifying the problem, not offering solutions. However, I would like to give some examples of what we have not done since Hahnemann's days - and need to do, going forward. I hope this starts a dialogue or thought process in Institutions of Homoeopathy.
A diagnosis of Klebsiella pneumonia should lead us to think of a different group of remedies than one of Pneumococcal pneumonia. Right now it does not. In breast cancer, a HER2 positive tumour has a very different prognosis from one that is negative. It should also be a part of individualizing the case. Right now, it is meaningless to a homoeopath. If the MRI shows an infarct in the cingulate gyrus, we should be able to use that information - in conjunction with symptoms and signs that the patient presents. The ECG in a digitalis poisoning is very different from a hyperkalemia case, where potassium levels are too high, or Strophanthus, a heart poison.
Imagine if we could look at an ECG or a blood test, immediately think of strophanthus - and then confirm the remedy with a few questions - the keynotes of strophanthus from the materia medica. That would be amazing progress for Homoeopathy. It is a long way away, because we have done nothing along these lines for generations. Let us not pride ourselves on excluding all such information, and going only by symptoms and signs.
The old masters were very much in touch with technology of their times. Nash talks about different remedies for pneumonia of the left upper lobe, right lower lobe etc. These were diagnosed back then using stethoscopes and manual percussion. Today, we can be much more precise - using PET-CT scans, using endoscopes, ultrasound, radioisotope tracers, tumour markers, and hormonal assays. We can test for sexually transmitted disease rather than rely on patient's histories. A simple BT/CT (bleeding/clotting time) would show us if "small wounds bleed much". However, we seem to be almost stuck in Hahnemann's era, ignoring every medical advance since his time. We use computers to work out cases faster, but that's about it. We cannot prescribe Sulphur any better than Kent or Hahnemann did. Indeed, if anything, we treat fewer serious cases now than the masters did - because modern medicine offers greater certainty. Kent probably treated more cases of tuberculosis, renal failure, asthma or epilepsy exclusively with homoeopathy than any modern day homoeopath does.
We do not have tests to objectively support our prescription. In more than two centuries after Hahnemann, we have not developed the tools needed. As Homoeopathy can act very early, in a preventive manner, we need technology that can pick up and confirm even finer changes - e.g. the sweat in selenium / merc / silica... or a coating on the tongue. Needless to say, patients come to us with advanced pathology - and here it is imperative that we have ways to objectively test / check / confirm our prescription. The question to ask first is not whether it is possible / impossible, but whether it is desirable.
This situation of disconnect with modern science and technology needs to be corrected if Homoeopathy is to be recognized and accepted as a powerful system of Medicine. However, more important than being recognized by someone else, we would be able to treat all disease conditions more confidently, and with certainty, if we use the latest scientific discoveries/ inventions.