Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Samuel Hahnemann, the Father of Homeopathic Medicine

Erected by the American Institute of Homeopathy, this statue of the father of homeopathy, Samuel Hahnemann, sits on the eastern side of Scott Circle. Hahnemann was born in Meissen, Saxony, Germany, in 1755. He studied medicine in Leipzig, Germany, and Vienna, Austria.

Dr. Hahnemann was a visionary who was ahead of his time in the field of preventative health and human maintenance. He advocated behaviors for health and vitality that, at the time, were considered of no value. Among his advice to his patients and to his colleagues in the medical community: fresh air, bed rest, proper diet, sunshine, and proper hygiene. Hahnemann was also an advocate for the humane treatment of the insane and he discovered a test for detecting arsenic.

Hahnemann spent the bulk of his life vigorously researching, practicing and teaching homeopathy--the treatment of disease with small or diluted doses of natural substances that, in a healthy person, would produce symptoms of disease--until his death in 1843 in Paris. He lived to be 88.

Charles Samuel Niehaus sculpted this statue in 1910. The monument features a vibrant mosaic above the seated figure of Dr. Hahnemann. Beneath his statue are the words Similia Similibus Curentur: Likes are cured by likes. (To see a larger picture, click on the images.)

Photo copyright: D.C. Confidential, 2/08


Bobbie said...

Such a beautifully designed monument. What is inside the shell behind him? Is is tile or paint or? In any case it is very bright and colorful and looks like stained glass.

Fénix - Bostonscapes said...

Earlier today, I was exchanging comments with a non CDPB photo blogger. We were discussing format options and length of captions (for his new blog) and I said something like "keep in mind that most people tend to scan text, which makes for hilarious comments" and he said "that is so funny! I'm amazed at some of the comments, especially when 'they' ask a question that has already been answered in the post, lol."


I'm sure that if/when Bobbie reads this comment she'll crack up too!

Love Dr. Hahnemann's monument.

(Re: sometimes wishing that the trees weren't there, you bet! :))

d.c. confidential said...

Bobbie: It's a mosaic. Stunning isn't it?

Fenix: That's funny about comments! After I read Bobbie's comment, I went back and scanned my text because I was certain I'd mentioned it was a mosaic. I scanned my own writing so quickly, I missed my comment about the mosaic in the last paragraph! So, even in my own writing, I forget what I've written! How sad is that? And I do the same all the time on other people's blogs, too. Ugh.

Oh well. No harm, no foul, right?

Dusty Lens said...

A man way ahead of his time. I really believe we medicate so much to the extent that we're making ourselves more sick.

Dana Ullman said...

Below is an excerpt from my new book, "The Homeopathic Revolution: Why Famous People and Cultural Heroes Choose Homeopathy" (published October 2007 by North Atlantic Books; distributed by Random House). This book has stories about the use and/or advocacy for homeopathy from 11 U.S. Presidents, 7 popes, Charles Darwin, JD Rockefeller, and numerous literary greats, sport superstars, and world-class musicians, artists, and celebrities.

How could I not also include information about its founder, Dr. Samuel Hahnemann:

Being an incredibly avid experimenter, Samuel Hahnemann did not come easily or quickly to his conclusions about the exceptionally small doses he and his colleagues found effective. In fact, he first wrote about homeopathy in 1796, and for the next thirty years (!) he primarily used doses that are today considered low potencies. Further, in 1829, a homeopathic physician wrote him about his successes in using potencies that were diluted 1:10 more than 200 times, and Hahnemann expressed skepticism for such actions until he himself found that these higher potencies were surprisingly effective (Bradford, 1895, 455–456).

Ultimately, Hahnemann authored three major books on homeopathy, including six editions of his seminal work Organon of the Medical Art, continually updating and refining this science and art.
Christoph Wilhelm Hufeland, MD (1762–1836), Germany’s most well-known and respected physician of his day, was as famous as Goethe and Schiller in the early nineteenth century. As the editor of the leading medical journal in Germany, Journal of Practical Medicine, Hufeland published some of Hahnemann’s writings and held him in extremely high regard: “I have discovered in him an amplitude of knowledge, clearness of mind, and a spirit of tolerance, which last is the more worthy of notice in him.”

Hahnemann was described as “one of our most distinguished, intelligent and original physicians” (Everest, 1842, 186).
Even though Robert Koch first discovered the cholera bacteria in 1883, as early as 1831 Hahnemann ascribed the cause of the cholera epidemics raging at that time to “an enormously increased brood of those excessively minute, invisible, living creatures so inimical to human life, of which the contagious matter of the cholera most probably consists” (Hahnemann, 1831).

Nicholas Von Hoffman, a columnist for the Washington Post, wrote: “Although this German physician never visited the U.S., for 70 years or more his ideas tore up and divided American medicine. No other single individual caused the settled and comfortable structures of this profession the trouble Hahnemann did, and even now many of the questions he raised have not been answered” (Von Hoffman, 1971).

Many of homeopathy’s most severe critics have actually had kind words for Samuel Hahnemann. Morris Fishbein, executive director of the American Medical Association, wrote: “The influence of Hahnemann was, on the whole, certainly for the good. He emphasized the individualization of the patient in the handling of disease … and he demonstrated the value of testing the actual virtues of a drug by trial” (Fishbein, 1925, 37).

Despite Hahnemann’s significant contributions to medicine, pharmacy, chemistry, psychiatry, and public health, he remained a humble man. “I do not ask during my lifetime any recognition of the beneficent truth, which I, without any thought of myself, offer. What I have done, I did from higher motives for the world. Non inutilis vixi (I have not lived in vain)” (Neng, 1930).

On the Hahnemann monument in Washington, DC, are those Latin words. Indeed, Dr. Samuel Hahnemann did not live in vain.

D.C. Confidential said...

DL: I couldn't agree with you more! I worked for a pharmaceutical company for a brief period (i.e. less than a year) and the lengths they go to to push pills is astonishing! Americans six times take more prescription drugs than Europeans. We are way, way overmedicated and we're going to pay dearly for it one day.

Dana: Thank you for that excerpt from your book! What an interesting topic. I notice from your blogger profile that you're in accounting in Afghanistan. How does your day job factor into this book you wrote?

steveodom said...

I had no idea that Hahnemann had a statue in DC. I'll have to check it out!

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The Artful Eye said...

What a beautiful monument and the colorful mosaic. Very informative. I love learning new things.

Thank you for this post.

D.C. Confidential said...

AE: I had no idea either! I use to live in this particular area of the city and I walked or drove past this monument on a daily basis for nearly two years and never stopped to look at it until a couple of weeks ago! There are fun little treasures like this all over the city. I have one I'm posting in a few days that's really tucked away unless you're paying attention as you walk by. Stay tuned...

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