Single or Multiple Medicine Prescribing - A Debate
at the Royal London Homoeopathic Hospital on 7 July 1992.
The debate was chaired by Dr Peter Fisher.

'This House believes that the single remedy is the
medicine of experience'

by David Curtin, Francis Treuherz, George Lewith
and June Burger

Edited by Francis Treuherz, RSHom and reproduced by his kind permission

If you prefer to read this debate off-line, you can download a zipped text file here.'

Introduction by Dr Victoria Blackstone

The 1990s are no more a time for complacency in the furtherance of homoeopathy than were the 1790s or the 1890s. Is not the function of the study of history to gain experience and enlightenment for ones survival in the present?

In 1790 Samuel Hahnemann demonstrated his genius and the similia principle in his Cinchona experiment. By the time he died in Paris in 1843 he had firmly established the roots of homoeopathy which we are still nurturing today. Could he have achieved more had he not been so antagonistic to his allopathic peers and the pharmacists of his day? Would George Guess have been banned from medical practice in September 1991 in his home state of North Carolina had not the infighting of his ancestors in the low potency/high potency split of the 1890s, and gradual absorption of low potency homoeopathic prescribing into allopathic medicine brought about the decline of homoeopathy in the USA? Surely there is no place for self-congratulation on either our educational success in homoeopathy in this country, or our position in relation to non-medically qualified practitioners. George Vithoulkas, one of the greatest contributors to the philosophy, practice and teaching of homoeopathy since Kent died in 1916, believes implicitly in the single remedy prescribing of classical homoeopathy. He is not a medically qualified homoeopath.

There is an ever-increasing public interest in, and demand for homoeopathic treatment in the UK today. If we are to serve this public well in the development of homoeopathy into the twenty-first century we must:
- Practice the most effective form of homoeopathy
- Produce positive scientific research incorporating the skills of our non-medically qualified colleagues, as in other branches of medicine
- Not repeat history's mistakes by rejecting in any way, a large and active group of dedicated homoeopaths, just because they happen not to have been trained in allopathic medicine.

With these aims in mind the debate on multiple versus single remedy prescribing took place. At the end of the debate the audience of 60 voted 2 to 1 in favour of the single remedy being the medicine of experience.

I hope this debate will herald the beginning of a new era
of the practice of better and more effective homoeopathy,
and a closer and more congenial alliance with the Society of
Homoeopaths in the furtherance of homoeopathy into
the next century.

The Debate

Dr Peter Fisher:
Ladies and Gentlemen. It is a great pleasure for me to chair this debate, because there is no issue which has been as long running or as divisive within homoeopathy as the one we are debating: the question of multiple versus single remedies, pluralism versus unicism, whatever you like to call it. It has been a long-standing and ferocious debate within homoeopathy. Or rather it hasn't been a debate but a ferocious dispute with no debate. It has been a dialogue of the deaf with both sides insulting each other. But I have never seen the issues properly discussed or brought out, so I think it is an excellent idea of Victoria's to hold this discussion tonight. We are going to have a formal debate first of all David Curtin is going to propose the motion, then George Lewith will oppose it and then Francis Treuherz will second the motion and June Burger will second for the opposition.

Proposing the motion  Dr David Curtin
Opposing the motion   Dr George Lewith
For the motion Mr Francis Treuherz
Opposing the motion   Dr June Burgerby
Summing up: proposing   Dr David Curtin
Summing up: opposing  Dr George Lewith


Dr Peter Fisher:
Well I dare not say anything after all that, except to say that before we move to a vote please bear in mind one thing. What we are asking you to vote on is not your prejudices, we are not interested in what your views were when you came into this room or indeed what your views still are. What you are voting on is the quality of the argument and if the 'wrong' side wins then it is up to the 'right but losing' side to polish up their arguments next time.

Motion carried

The motion is carried. Before we adjourn for drinks I think we should ask Victoria Blackstone to do her Duchess act, like the Duchess of Kent at Wimbledon, and present a bottle of champagne each to the victors!

The Players:


Dr David Curtin, MB, BS, MFHOM
Became interested in homoeopathy while still a medical student and entered full time homoeopathic practice in the private sector after gaining the MFHom in 1978, starting practices in London and Oxford. In 1987 he moved to Devon and now practises in London and Exeter. He has a particular interest in education.

Francis Treuherz, MA, MCH, FSHOM
Practises at the Marylebone Health Centre. He is a graduate of the College of Homoeopathy and studied with George Vithoulkas and Dr Vassilis Ghegas in Greece and with Dr S. P. Dey in Calcutta. He is a Director of the Society of Homoeopaths and edits their journal, The Homoeopath. He is addicted to MacRepertory, the computer software, and collects old books on homoeopathy. He teaches regularly on professional training courses in Britain and Finland. He has published a number of articles, mainly on the history of homoeopathy. His previous career included 10 years teaching social sciences at the University of London, Goldsmiths' College.


Dr George Lewith, MA, MRCP, MRCGP
His first degree was in biochemistry; he subsequently qualified in medicine in 1974. After a number of general medical jobs in London he passed the MRCP examinations in 1977. In 1979, he became a lecturer in general practice in the Department of General Practice in Southampton, gaining the MRCGP. In 1982 he set up, with Dr Julian Kenyon, the Centre for the Study of Complementary Medicine in Southampton. His interest in complementary medicine began in 1977, with a three-month acupuncture course in China, and has subsequently grown to embrace a large number of clinical skills within the complementary medical field. He has written and researched extensively within the field of complementary medicine, his particular interest being the development of clinical trial methodology.

Dr June Burger, MRCS, LRCP, DCM, MFHOM
Was paediatrician at The Royal London Homoeopathic Hospital from 1971 to 1987 in charge of a busy out-patient department and Clinical Assistant to Dr Ralph Twentyman from 1972 to 1974. She was Secretary of The Faculty of Homoeopathy for eight years and then Vice President for a further three years. She remains a trustee of The Homoeopathic Trust. Since retiring from the NHS she has travelled to Germany, Brazil and South Africa to look at the homoeopathic scene in a private capacity. Her retirement is now occupied with private practice in North London where her primary interest is in the health of children and the associated family dynamics.