Archive for January, 2010

Homeopathic Etymology

January 26th, 2010

Apart from Chemistry and Botany, Dr Hahnemann was also interested in the scientific study of different languages, which really helped him while translating various works. At the age of 22, he mastered different languages like Greek, Latin, English, Italian, Hebrew, Arabic, Syriac, Spanish and German.

Now the literature of homeopathy is fully translated into English, hence the medium of instruction in homeopathic curriculum is English. However, we should know certain terms used in the original literature by the master and his disciples. It is said that by translating a word, the original meaning may slightly deviate, or the exact expression may change slightly. But the great Hahnemann and some of his followers could translate the words without any errors.

It is always good to know the original words and the source of origin. It also strengthens the historical backing.

Many friends in Ayurveda are facing difficulty because of lack of proper knowledge in Sanskrit. Our literature is fully translated in to English by the stalwarts. Otherwise we would have to study German in the first year of our curriculum. Of course, learning a language is a wonderful experience, above all, it is a part of international integration.

Here are some words used in the literature of Homeopathy:

Latin words

Aude sapare: Dare to be wise.

Cito toto edjento: It was the motto of Asclepiades, which means: speedily safely and agreeably.

Materia pecans: Material cause of the diseases.

Materia medica: Medical material

Novum organum scientiarum: It is the work of Lord Bacon (written in 1620). It means new organ of logical works.

Reine arzneimittellehre: Materia medica pura

Insuratio magma: It is the work of Bacon. It means great instauration.

Fragmenta de veribus medicamentorum positivus:  published by Dr Hahnemann in 1805. It means fragmentary observations relative to the positive powers of medicines.

Similia similibus curantur: It means like cures like (let like be treated by like)

Prima causa morbi: Primary cause of the disease.

Psora: It means itch (also used in Greek)

Repertorium (0r repertire) The word repertory is originated from this word. It means an inventory, a table or a compendium where the information is so arranged that is easy to find.

Rubrica: The word rubric is taken from Rubrica. It means heading, a guiding rule.

Tolle causm: Remove the cause.

Non  inutilis vixi: Not lived in vain. It is the inscription on Hahnemann’s grave.

Vis medicatrix naturae: The healing power of nature.

Organum: Organ or tool.

Greek words

Organon: It was Aristotle who used this word for the first time. It means instrument of work, a method of scientific investigation.

Homoeos: It means similar.

Pathos: It means suffering.

Miasma: It means heavy vaporous exhalations, noxious influences, polluted material, putrid vegetable matter etc.

Psora agria: It is the Greek word for psora.

Psora: Means itch (also used in Latin)

German words

Beruf: This word was used by Hahnemann in the first aphorism of organon. It means mission.

Organon der Rationelien Heilkunde: It was the title given to the first edition of Organon. It means Organon of rational art of healing.

Reine arzneimittellehre: It means pure medicinal teachings. It is the German title for Materia medica pura.

Die chronischen karnleit: Chronic diseases.

Medicamens au globule: It means medicine of the globules. It was the name given to 50 millesimal potency.

Medicamens a la goultte: It means medicines of the drop. It was the name given to Centesimal potency.

Heikunde der erfahrung: Medicine of experience published in 1805.  It is considered as the forerunner of Organon.

Mongrel sects: Means cross breed dogs. This word was used by Hahnemann to criticize those homeopaths who use palliation to avoid looking for the correct remedy(foot note to 149).

Hebrew word

Psorat: It means a groove or fault. Psora is originated from this word.


The above given are a few words related with Homoeopathy. I will be glad to get a few more additions or corrections from the readers.

Dr Muhammed Rafeeque BHMS
Family Homoeopathic Clinic
Kerala, India.

rafi Homoeopathy