In a nutshell…Organopathy

This article was first published on Clever Homeopathy


Organopathy is a form of treatment where unlike in classical homeopathic case-taking the locality of the symptoms expressed and their relation to a specific organ determine the remedy to be described [1].



This approach originated from folk medical practice and was initially coined by Paracelsus (1493-1541) and his dictum of “similar must be compared to similar” [6]. The idea underlying this was that an illness would be cured by a herbal medicine that had similar characteristics [3] expressed in its signature. Signature, as a doctrine, described the structure and characteristics of plants and their resemblance to organs or organs systems [9]. To Paracelsus this meant, that a disturbance in the organs of the body could be matched by a herbal remedy that had characteristics similar to the disease symptoms expressed in the organ or organ system of the patient [8], and as such could be curative to that particular illness.

The Paracelsian similarity though is different to that underlying Hahnemannian principles. To Hahnemann (1755-1843) the dictum of “like cures like” was based on the symptomatology expressed in the patient that was met with a curative remedy selected because it expressed similar symptoms if administered to a healthy person [3].

In his time then, Rademacher (1772-1850) took up the older definition of similarity and continued to develop this approach by identifying the source of an illness to potentially be a diseased organ [4]. As such he viewed healing of an ailing organ or organ system, as treating the origin of the illness expressed by the individual as a whole [7]. Burnett (1840-1901) first combined the views of Paracelsus and Rademacher with the homeopathic teachings and thereby forged this organopathic treatment approach [5].

Burnett made use of the lower homeopathic potencies and of mother tinctures, and in particular developed the use of nosodes, applied according to miasmatic considerations, especially in the treatment of cancer [5]. Burnett took a pathological viewpoint and believed that not just the holistic symptomatology could express the ill state of a patient, but that a precise expression of the disease pathology was also needed to identify the appropriate remedy, the simillimum [2]. Therefore, the locality of a disease, the so called specificity of seat [2], became a principal indicator for prescribing; a view point vehemently opposed by the principles of classical homeopathy [4].

According to Hahnemann though, even an impairment of health expressed in an organ, is best treated taking into account the holistic plane of the individual [10], while according to Burnett this is best corrected by removing the ill making influence that potentially is found in the organ or organ system [4]. As such organopathy relates more to an allopathic form of prescribing that is focused more on a clinical diagnosis than on a holistic individualized case taking [11]. Organopathy differs to homeopathy and is therefore an adjuvant approach complementing the tools available to the homeopathic practitioner.

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[1] Witt, P. (2007) Organotropie : Was versteht man in der Homoeopathie unter Organotropie? [online] last accessed 13.03.10 at URL

[2] Blair, J. (2009) Organopathy – a relevant approach? The Homeopath Vol.28, No.3, pp.92-99.

[3] Monk-Schenk, M. (2002) Organ Remedies; Our Gift from Paracelsus and Rademacher, with Special Focus on the Liver and Spleen The Homeopath No.87, pp.14-19.

[4] Wholehealthnow (2008) Specificity of Seat – James Compton Burnett and the Generalization of Locality [online] last accessed 13.02.10 at URL

[5] Morrell, P. (1995) From Cooper Club to Flower essences: A Portrait of British Homeopathy 1870-1930 [online] last accessed 13.03.10 at URL

[6] Clarke, J.H. (1999) Hahnemann and Paracelsus [online] last accessed 13.03.10 at URL

[7] Dudgeon, R.E. (2000) Similarities between Hahnemann and Paracelsus [online] last accessed 13.03.10 at URL

[8] Whitney, J. (1996) The Legacy of Rademacher The Homoeopath No.61, pp.540-542.

[9] Rafeeque, M. (unknown) Doctrine of Signature in Homeopathy [online] last accessed 15.03.10 at URL

[10] Ledermann, E. (unknown) The homeopathic treatment of common liver and gall-bladder disorders [online] last accessed 13.03.10 at URL

[11] (2010) Klassische Homoeopathie [online] last accessed 13.03.10 at URL

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