April 2010|Vol 7|Issue 4

April 2010 | Volume 7 | Issue 4


A Tribute to the Sage of Munster


Dr. Smita Brahmachari M.D.[Honours],
Dept. of Repertory, National Institute of Homoeopathy,
West Bengal University of Health Sciences,
UPSC Medical Officer, Govt. of NCT, Delhi.

       “No one man except Hahnemann, has left so deep impression upon the literature of Homoeopathy, or has exreted so great influence in favour of the Homoeopathy taught, as Boenninghausen”
    – T.L.Braford.

    In this auspicious month of Hahnemann’s birthday, if the pen could also become fatigue by enlisting the laudable contributions of any second person besides Master Hahnemann, then it is none other than the legendary SAGE OF MUNSTER – Dr. Baron Clemens Maria Franz Von Boenninghausen. This article makes a serious endeavour to focus on contributions of this stalwart towards Homoeopathic Science thereby paying a real tribute to our Master.

    Boenninghausen was born on 12th March 1785 at Heringhaven, an estate in Oberyssel, a province of the Netherlands in one of the oldest families of Westphalia. He was a Baron by inheritance, lawyer by profession, and an agriculturist by natural inclination. He held responsible post in Dutch Civil Services. Because of his keen interest in horticulture he was made Director of the Botanical Gardens of Munster. But in 1827 he was diagnosed of being suffering from Purulent Tuberculosis and was treated with no relief. After having given up all hopes, he wrote a farewell letter in desperation to his friend Dr. A.Weihe, ignorant of the fact that he was a homoeopathic physician. Weihe distressed at the news asked a detailed description of the disease, for which he prescribed Pulsatilla. Boenninghausen was cured within six months. He thereby not only became a staunch believer in Homoeopathy, but also its active missionary till his last breath. From 1830, he was in close touch with Hahnemann through regular correspondence. In 1848, he established Homoeopathic society of Rhineland and Westphalia. To a ripe old age he remained active. On 24th January, 1864 he suffered from a stroke of apoplexy and paralysis of left side and died on 26th January 1864 at 3.45 A.M. at the age of 78 years 10 months 14 days.

    Now let’s discuss his splendid contributions to Homoeopathic literature. His works in order of their appearance are listed below:-
    1. The cure of Cholera and its Preventives – 1831.

    2. Repertory of the Anti – psoric Medicines, with a preface by Hahnemann – 1832.

    3. Summary view of the Chief sphere of operation of the Anti – psoric remedies and of their characteristic peculiarities, as an appendix to their Repertory – 1833.

    4. An attempt at the Homoeopathic Therapy of Intermittent Fever – 1833

    5. Contributions to knowledge of the peculiarities of Homoeopathic Remedies – 1833.

    6. Homoeopathic Diet and a complete image of a disease – 1833.

    7. Homoeopathy, a Manual for the Non – medical public – 1834.

    8. Repertory of the Medicines which are not Anti – psoric – 1835.

    9. Attempt at showing the Relative kinship of Homoeopathic Medicines – 1836.

    10. Therapeutic Manual for the Homoeopathic Physicians, for persons at the Sick bed and in the Study of the Materia Medica Pura – 1846.

    11. Brief Instructions for Non – Physicians as to the prevention and cure of the Cholera – 1849.

    12. The two sides of the Human body and Relationships – 1853.

    13. The Homoeopathic Domestic Physician in Brief Therapeutic Diagnosis – An Attempt – 1853.

    14. The Homoeopathic Treatment of Whooping cough in its various forms – 1860.

    15. The Aphorisms of Hippocrates, with Notes by a Homoeopath – 1863.

    16. Attempt at a Homoeopathic Therapy of Intermittent and Other Fevers, especially for would be homoeopaths.
    Second augmented and revised edition Part – I, The Pyrexia – 1864.

    After the unsuccessful efforts of Dr.Gross, Ruckert and Jahr in compiling a good Alphabetical Repertory, Boenninghausen, the most intimate disciple of Hahnemann made a serious attempt in this direction under the Master Hahnemann’s instruction. His pioneering work Repertory of Antipsoric Medicines published in 1832 was not only successful but it became a progenitor of all later Repertories. It was based on Hahnemann’s original works. This Repertory formed the basis of Jahr’s Repertory, Allentown’s Manual, Lippe’s Repertory and Kent’s Repertory. C.M.Boger’s idea of pathological generals actually came from this book’s Generalities section. He established Repertory as an additional, valuable and indispensable tool.

    He was the 1st to :

    1. Make the 1st General systematic Repertory.

    2. Raised the Repertory from a mere index or dictionary to the pedestal of a system.

    3. Give Evaluation of Remedies in a particular rubric. This gradation is based on frequency and intensity of the symptom in the provers as well as in clinical verification.

    4. Enunciate the Doctrine of Analogy / Grand Generalization.

    5. Develop Relationship of Remedies also called as Concordance. This gave a better understanding of the drug and points of contact with other drugs with regard to specific spheres, locations, modalities, tissues etc. He collected the principal spheres of action of the remedies and then according to the similarities of different remedies in these regions, placed them in different relevant sections of the particular remedy whose relationships have been detailed. This is the basis of his chapter on Relationship or Concordances of remedies as given in BTPB.

    Application of Concordance Chapter :

    · To understand the genius of the remedy – when we are able to compare it with other remedies in different areas of application and also the degree of nearness or contact of these remedies in different spheres. This is indeed a comparative Materia Medica in nutshell.

    · Helps us in selection of remedy for the case more certainly as we are able to compare the remedy in mind with contending remedies.

    · The third and most important use is the sequence of remedies is especially in chronic cases. The next
    remedy or the second prescription is thus indicated with a certainty which no other Repertory or Materia Medica could offer.

    6. See that certain drugs tend to have more and peculiar concomitants than others.

    7. First person to understand the utility of complete symptom as given in the Organon of Medicine in Aphorism 86. He emphasized the need of completing the symptoms in terms of Location, Sensation, Modalities and Concomitants by which individualization becomes easier.

    8. First person to identify in each case a group of symptoms along with and unrelated to main complaint which are quite crucial in individualizing the case and remedy. Hahnemann had stated the importance of the striking, singular, rare and characteristic symptoms which Boenninghausen described as Concomitant symptoms. He cited their importance during the treatment of the intermittent fevers, mentioned that it was indeed very difficult to treat such cases with Homoeopathy. But one understood the value of these concomitant symptoms and paid more attention to the symptoms of the patient during apyrexia than only to the symptoms of paroxysm, one could notice that these accessories, associated or concomitant or secondary symptoms during apyrexia become more important and lead to the correctly indicated remedy. These ought to be considered and even when they are contraindicated to the symptoms of the paroxysm. He is praised by Hahnemann for choice of suitable homoeopathic remedies for various epidemics of fever in footnote section 235 of Organon of Medicine. The work is elaborated in the book ‘An attempt at the Homoeopathic Therapy of Intermittent Fever’ published in 1833

    Boenninghausen was a regular contributor to magazines “Allegemeine homoeopathische Zeitung” and “Neues Archiv fuer homoeopathische Heilkunst”. These articles have been collected in the Book “The Lesser Writings of C.M.F.V.Boenninghausen” after being translated from the original journals while the phraseology has mostly being left intact. The articles are related to 4 major categories.

    i. Philosophy

    ii. Materia Medica

    iii. His own Clinical Observation

    iv. General direction and those for the non physician.

    A few important articles are discussed below
    1. Three Precautionary Rules of Hahnemann, 1844 :

    This article relates to the three warning issued by Hahnemann in treatment of Chronic diseases and the author’s extensive explanations on these warnings: -

    i. To suppose that the doses indicated in every antipsoric after much experience, and compelled by experience, to be very small i.e., smallness of doses,

    ii. The wrong choice of medicine

    iii. The excessive hurry which does not allow every dose to finish its action.

    2. Typhoid Fever and High Potencies:
    Munster, November9, 1853 :

    The author gives a detailed image of typhoid and his experience in the treatment of typhoid fever with high potencies. The symptoms being written in italics [frequent symptoms], small capitals [more frequent symptoms] and Bold [continually recurrent]. Of the remedies used in the treatment Bryonia is most frequently indicated, other remedies coming in the picture were Puls, Rhus tox, Nux v., Kali c., Ars, Bell, Hyos, Mur ac. and Tarax. Where the reaction is defective, Sulphur and Carbo veg was used. He mostly used 200th potency. Few hints from his prescription:-

    · Ars. – Where the pulse is much accelerated in the morning, but slower again in the evening.

    · Tarax. – An indispensable remedy where pains are only in the legs not in the arms.

    · Kali carb – very useful after the fever has been removed as a winding remedy.

    · Sour taste of food points to Nux v. and bitter points to Puls.

    3. Traumatic Ailments and High Potencies :

    This article again relates to the effectiveness of high potencies in traumatic ailments and ends with Dr. Stapf quotation, “that he owes his finest cures to the high potencies!”

    4. Concerning the Relative value of Symptoms and something about Borax:

    In this article the author speaks of Dr. C.Hering suggestions “the proving symptoms appearing last are the most important.” And then adds that the verification of the statement can be done without much difficulty – all that the Homoeopath has to do is to compare the symptoms observed last, with the brief hints given by Hahnemann and correlate them to their own experience in practice, which incidentally are the characteristic symptoms of the remedy. He uses the same technique in the study of Borax and to confirm the peculiar and particular symptoms.

    5. A Contribution to the Judgement concerning the Characteristic value of symptoms:

    In this article Boenninghausen describes the attributes of the “characteristic symptoms” as mentioned by the Master in Aphorism 153 of the Organon of Medicine [5th edition]. He classifies the Characteristic symptom into seven categories.

    1. QUIS [the personality, the individuality of the patient]

    2. QUID [the nature and peculiarity of the disease]

    3. UBI [Seat of the disease]

    4. QUIBUS AUXULIS [Accompanying symptoms]

    5. CUR [Cause of the disease]

    6. QUOMODO [Modification, Agg., and Amel.]

    7. QUANDO [time and circumstances].

    These 7 points contain all the essential aspects required to get a complete image of a disease. The author takes each point individually and gives a detailed and exhaustive explanation.

    6. Concerning Philoposia :

    The article discusses about Philoposia [Greek – mania for drinking]. He proceeds to give few valuable tips for quickest and surest relief from intoxication like

    · When caused by beer – abundant Chinese tea and afterwards either Rhus or Nux.

    · When caused by drinking brandy – drinking salt water and later Puls.

    · Drunken persons with red face, staring eyes and twitching in facial muscles – Opium and Bell. in alteration

    · To induce a sort of repugnance to liquors – 2-3 drops of Opium Q in morning coffee or a few doses of Ignatia.

    · Dietetic remedy is milk which when continued for a length of time continually increases the aversion to spirituous liquors, without injuring the health.

    7. Clinical Observations :

    Boenninghausen states – the more chronic the affection, the longer must be the interval between the administration of the remedy.

    In subjects where the remedies does not seem to act ascertain the cause :

    a. Psora – a dose of Psorinum before giving the remedy corresponding to totality

    b. Want of Susceptibility – Opium especially in plethoric subjects

    c. In weak and emaciated patients with small pulse – Carbo veg

    d. Nervous excitement – Lauroceracus

    e. Successive administration of a large number of homoeopathic remedies, which without curing them have only altered symptoms – a single dose of Psorinum is to be given a few days before the indicated medicines.

    Boenninghausen’s Specifics

    1. Merc sol for bone diseases

    2. Coloc. For Diabetes

    3. Paralysis of tongue – Mez. Etc

    The list of articles to be detailed is quite extensive. Time, pages will fall short to elaborate the works of this legendary figure to Homoeopathic literature and the profession will remain indebted forever for his efforts towards perfection and progress of Homoeopathy by establishing the credentiality before all till his last breath. So rightly on his death the orbituary in Allgemeine Homoeopathische Zeitung wrote:

    “Our Science has lost in him one of its first leaders, our journal one of its best co-laboreres, the society of physicians of the Rhineland and Westphalia its head and its pillar or central society a much honoured member and we personally a faithful friend and loving teacher.”