|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
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
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.
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
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.
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!
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
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.