Brief homeopathic pathogenetic experimentation: a unique educational tool in Brazil

Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2009 Sep;6(3):407-14. doi: 10.1093/ecam/nem128. Epub 2007 Oct 4.


In homeopathy, many difficulties are encountered in understanding theoretical presuppositions because they represent different paradigms from those of hegemonic science. In our medical school, we developed a brief homeopathic pathogenetic experimentation course to be added as curricular content and a didactic method in homeopathic disciplines to add practical experience to the theoretical approach of homeopathic presuppositions. In accordance with the premises laid out by Hahnemann, the father of homeopathy, brief pathogenetic experimentation was offered on a voluntary basis for students who were free of chronic diseases and who had not regularly used medication in the last 3 months. The clinical test, either crossed or sequential (randomized and blind), was used as a study model. Single weekly doses of a homeopathic medicine of 30 cH or placebo were taken by participants during 4 weeks after which crossover of the experimented substances took place for another 4 weeks. Polycrest medicines were used so that symptoms developed by the participants could be compared to those described in Homeopathic Materia Medica. Thirty-three of the 50 students who studied homeopathy as an elective discipline over the last 4 years at the School of Medicine of the University of São Paulo (FMUSP) participated. Participants described symptoms according to specific methodology including many comments with peculiar characteristics and notable idiosyncrasies. All these students endorsed the course because it contributed to their understanding of how dynamized substances produced symptoms in healthy participants as well as the cure of symptoms according to the casual similitude principle. Brief homeopathic pathogenetic experimentation proved to be an effective method to observe the idiosyncratic manifestations of human individuality based on qualitative methodology, thus building a basis of understanding of homeopathy.

Keywords: Homeopathy; homeopathic pathogenetic experimentation; homeopathic pathogenetic trial; medical education; pathogenesis; undergraduate medical education.