Facts about Hering’s Law

Have we ever gone through a question that where in literature does Dr. Constantine Hering mentioned his corollary ‘The Hering’s Law”?

 In homoeopathy Hering’s law is widely recognized as the second law of cure, the first law of cure being Similia Similibus Curantur , still we few knows about its origin, where Dr. Hering first mention this in literature….

While going through literature and articles on this I have been able to gather some really interesting facts about Hering’s Law.

Hering had the merit of formulating for the first time the law of the direction of symptoms, that is:
From above downwards.
From within outwards.
From a more important organ to a less important one.
In the reverse order of their coming.

Actually Hering didn’t create this principle of cure, wrongly attributed and wrongly termed a law.Kent talks about it first in his lectures and Roberts & Close also includes it later in their discussion of homeopathic philosophy.


1. Hahnemann – 1811
With the first publication of his Materia Medica Pura in 1811, Hahnemann inaugurated a new arrangement of the symptoms: from above downwards, from inside outwards, but also from the parts to the generals

2. Hahnemann – 1828
In 1828, Hahnemann published his first observations and theories on chronic diseases
During the treatment of chronic diseases of non-venereal origin with antipsoric remedies, the last symptoms are always the first to disappear, “but the oldest ailments and those which have been most constant and unchanged, among which are the local ailments, are the last to give way.” (page 135)

“If old symptoms return during an antipsoric treatment, it means that the remedy is affecting psora at its roots and will do much for its thorough cure (page 135). If a skin eruption appears during the treatment while all other symptoms have so far improved the end of the treatment is close.”

3. Hahnemann – 1833-43
In paragraphs 161 Organon of Medicine, Hahnemann says ‘ The original symptoms of a chronic disease should be the last to aggravate or become more prominent before disappearing, at the end of treatment when the cure is almost finished’

(These are some of the references from the Hahnemann’s works regarding the direction of cure)

4. Hering – 1845

In 1845, Hering published in the preface of the first American edition of Hahnemann’s Chronic Diseases an extract of an essay which was never published elsewhere, called “Guide to the Progressive Development of Homœopathy”.

In this essay, Hering writes:

“Every homœopathic physician must have observed that the improvement in pain takes place from above downward; and in diseases, from within outward. This is the reason why chronic diseases, if they are thoroughly cured, always terminate in some cutaneous eruption
The thorough cure of a widely ramified chronic disease in the organism is indicated by the most important organs being first relieved; the affection passes off in the order in which the organs had been affected, the more important being relieved first, the less important next, and the skin last. (page 7)

5. Hering – 1865
20 years later. In 1865, he published an article in the first volume of The Hahnemannian Monthly called “Hahnemann’s three rules concerning the rank of symptoms”. Hering states in this article that:

“Hahnemann states, in his treatise on Chronic Diseases, American translation p.171: Symptoms recently developed are the first to yield. Older symptoms disappear last. Here we have one of Hahnemann’s general observations, which like all of them, is of endless value, a plain, practical rule and of immense importance.

It is very clear here that Hering makes no mention of a law but rather of a rule, that the symptoms ought to disappear in the reverse order of their appearance during the homeopathic treatment of patients with chronic disease of psoric origin

6. Hering – 1875
In 1875, Hering published the first volume of Analytical Therapeutics of the Mind in which he stated that “only such patients remain well and are really cured, who have been rid of their symptoms in the reverse order of their development”. (Page 24) The three other propositions are now not mentioned at all.

The origin of the term “Hering’s law”
Where does the term “Hering’s law” come from as it seems never to have been mentioned in the literature during Hering’s time? In 1911, Kent, almost arbitrarily, calls the original observations of Hahnemann “Hering’s law”. The earliest mention found in the homeopathic literature dates from 1911, in an article published by Kent in the first volume of the Transactions of the Society of Homœopathicians called “Correspondence of Organs, and the Direction of Cure”. Kent writes:
There is scarcely anything of this law in the literature of homœopathy, except the observation of symptoms going from above to the extremities, eruptions appearing on the skin and discharges from the mucus membranes as internal symptoms disappear.

It is reasonable to assume that Kent was the one that officialized the term “Hering’s law” and so inadvertently popularized the concept of law of direction of cure &
by using the name of Hering created false and misleading historical assumptions.

According to this law, all diseases to be curable must proceed from outside inwards, from below upwards and from less important to more important organs. But many a/c diseases and a list of c/c diseases such as psychosomatic diseases and others that develop from within outwards (for example cases of arthritis followed by psoriasis), or diseases that develop from above downwards, as in certain cases of polyarthritis, would then be theoretically incurable or they are curable, but represent notable exceptions to Kent’s formulation of a law of direction of cure.

In many cases of c/c diseases the direction of disappearance of symptoms will contradict at least one of the four propositions. The enunciation of a law must be based on impeccable observations. A law, if it is to be called a law, must explain all observable phenomena of direction of cure. It is unacceptable to use limited or even selected clinical phenomena to confirm a supposed law.

These are actually Hahnemann’s observations, his experience what he gathered during his practice regarding direction of disappearance of signs and symptoms in patient, further explained by Hering and wrongly termed by Kent as a Hering law of cure.

So at present it seems appropriate to refer to these observations as the rules of the direction of cure which enables the Hahnemannian artist not only to cure the most obstinate chronic diseases, but also to make a certain prognosis when following a case.

2 Comments to "Facts about Hering’s Law"

  1. Dr. Saunil Malvania says:

    Thank you for putting up this information. It has clarified some historical belief. I appreciate the thorough study of the topic and systematic presentation.
    One can understand this logic of direction of cure by looking at the virtue of our Vital principle. One of its quality is to preserve health, it can only be achieved by pushing the disease process from more important organs to less important ones….

  2. Dr Tajinder kaur says:

    Beautifully explained.. This is something new I learnt.

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