Classical homeopathy and Disease Classification

A research into two methods of homeopathic treatment

Autor: Caroline van Asten
The complete research ‘Klassieke homeopathie en Ziekteclassificatie’ is available as PDF format.


Both classical homeopathy and disease classification1 are based on publications of the founder of homeopathy, Samuel Hahnemann, and especially the Organon (sixth edition). In this research, both methods were analyzed based on literature and practice studies. The research was conducted from September 2015 until May 2016.

The main conclusions are that, due to a difference in interpretation of the work of Hahnemann, both methods deviate from one another in evaluation and treatment (amongst others, one or multiple medicines at the same time with or without intermediate evaluation). Additionally, classical homeopathy can be better supported from the Organon and various other sources than disease classification. For this reason, recommendations also include additional research on the difference in interpretation of the original German and the English translations of Hahnemann’s works, an analysis of long term follow-ups of patients who were treated with both methods (case studies) using predetermined parameters and analyzing the casebooks of Hahnemann during his last years of treating patients.


The aim of this research is to provide insight based on which principles and argumentation is chosen for the treatment using one homeopathic remedy at a time with interim evaluation (classical homeopathy) and for treatment with multiple homeopathic remedies at a time without any form of interim evaluation (disease classification). For this, the following research question was asked:
“Based on which principles and argumentation is the choice for treatment with only one remedy at a time made in classical homeopathy or multiple, various remedies at a same time in disease classification?”


The basic principle in classical homeopathy is the prescription of the most appropriate remedy based on the totality of symptoms shown by the patient during consultation (Organon, §7). The most notable and unexplainable symptoms are to be selected and repertorized for this (Organon, §153, §154). If, during the analysis of the symptoms and repertorisation, for example two remedies are appropriate, they should never be combined. First, a new situation must always be evaluated before a new remedy can be prescribed (Organon, §169). Later, Kent and Vithoulkas, amongst others, further developed this principle and based on responses of patients on the prescribed remedy, a number of remedy reactions have been created.

In this way, the treatment with one remedy can be thoroughly analyzed and it can be seen what the following steps should be. In classical homeopathy, multiple remedies can be prescribed in a sequence (for example in an acute situation); but there will always first be an evaluation of the situation between administering one remedy and administering the other. When prescribing a remedy, it is being evaluated which remedy best suits the patient at that time; here, no distinction is made in the type of medicine (original substance). The heredity predisposition of the patient is included in the totality of the symptoms, because not every hereditary predisposition shows symptoms and should thus be treated separately.

The starting point in disease classification is the treatment of the patient according to classification of diseases and disease tendencies2. In the Organon, Hahnemann describes the classification in acute and chronic diseases, in which he argues that actual chronic diseases arise from miasms (Organon, §72 and §73). This principle is further developed in the method of disease classification whereby it is assumed that the organism can only adequately respond when the blockage from heredity predisposition has been resolved. This can be solved by treating both the acute symptoms and the symptoms that stem from heredity influences with various homeopathic remedies at the same time. Hereby, no evaluation takes place between the administering of one remedy and the administering of the other. The reason is that different diseases must be treated with different remedies. They complete each other, according to classification of diseases. Disease classification hereby also differentiates between plant, mineral and animal substances and nosodes. In this method, the responsive power of the patient is evaluated as well, as it may be decreased due to long-term treatment with allopathic medicine, for example. Evaluation of the treatment as a whole does take place.

During his life as a homeopath, Hahnemann has conducted various experiments, which can be found in correspondences collected by Richard Haehl. For example, we can read that he was working on the use of multiple remedies at once in 1833, and that he wanted to include this in the fifth edition of the Organon. In 1833 and later in 1836 as well, we can read that the results using this method are disappointing and that Hahnemann decides not to include this way of practicing homeopathy in the Organon.


The interpretation and development of the Organon appear to differ, resulting in two different methods. These two methods deviate from one another in terms of treatment and evaluation. Moreover, classical homeopathy receives more support from the literature of Hahnemann (and from other renowned homeopaths (including Kent, Vithoulkas)). As is clear from this research, the difference in interpretation seems to be mainly about the following points:
  • For Hahnemann, is it about the totality of the patient (the diseased) or about the number of diseases a patient may have – do we treat the disease or the diseased with homeopathy?
  • With the ban on alternating remedies, does Hahnemann mean the remedies for acute symptoms or is it only about the anti-psoric remedies (constitutional means)?
  • When evaluating the treatment, the question remains whether the prominent aspect to investigate would be the overall improvement of the patient or do we need to look at the remaining complaints based on disease tendencies?


In order to analyse the difference in interpretation, these questions could be answered by researching the original German text of Hahnemann, considering the fact that classical homeopathy is based on the English translation and disease classification is based on the Dutch translation of the Organon (sixth edition). It is also recommended to conduct further research into the effect of both methods on patients. This could be done by studying case studies of both methods whereby the effect of long-term treatment (at least 2 years) can be analysed. Hereby parameters should be made clear in advance, based upon which can be evaluated. Further research can also be done by studying the casebooks of Hahnemann in the last 10 years of his life to study how he treated his patients (whether he treated patients with multiple remedies at a time, for instance).

  • 1. Beide methoden baseren zich op Hahnemann en de klassieke beginselen van homeopathie. Ewald Stöteler heeft zijn behandelmethode Ziekteclassificatie genoemd en zal ook op deze manier in dit onderzoek vermeld worden.
  • 2. Illnes tendencies – the hereditary predisposition of the patient – miasma; For example, a carcinogenic tendency.