Samuel Christian Friederich Hahnemann - Physician and founder of homeopathy. 1755 - 1843
Born in Meissen on 10th April, 1755, Samuel had an excellent early education at the hands of his father (a porcelain painter). He gave his son "lessons in Thinking" based on the writings of Rousseau when he was just five. By age twelve, he was advanced well beyond his peers, and appointed to tutor his younger schoolmates in the Greek language. His schoolmaster offered to pay his fees to allow him to continue his studies, and he went to Leipzig to study.
In Leipzig he met Dr. Von Quaring, who became his mentor, and enabled him to attain the position of physician and Librarian to the Governor of Siedenburgen. He graduated from medical school in 1779 and practised medicine for 10 years.
He became increasingly disillusioned with the medical practices of the day, and began experiments which would lead to the development of homeopathy. He noticed that a medicine administered to a healthy person produced symptoms similar to those of the illness it was intended to cure, based largely on his study of quinine. This led him to develop his law of "similars' (Similia similibus curentur), the guiding principle behind homeopathy.
His published works were quite a challenge to the medical establishment, and had had many critics and supporters. When, in 1796 he published his "Essay on a New Principle...", the medical world was in uproar. Nevertheless, his philosophy attracted many who studied with him, and his notoriety soon turned to fame. In 1810 he published "Organon of the Rational Art of Healing", which further developed the theme of what was becoming known as the "New Medicine".
The establishment of the first homeopathic medical school in the United States led to worldwide evangelism of his beliefs, due to success in treating the many disease epidemics of the time, including scarlet fever, typhoid, cholera and yellow fever.
Samuel continued to practice up until his death in Paris in 1843 of natural causes. There can be little doubt that he had a major impact on the medical world, and his methods, whilst still somewhat controversial, are nevertheless adhered to and practised by many.
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