Constantine Hering, MD, the "father" of American homeopathy, was born on January 1, 1800 in the the town of Oschatz within the electorate of Saxony (now in Eastern Germany). He grew up in a religious household. In 1817 he attended the Surgical Academy of Dresden for three years and from 1820 he studied medicine at Leipzig University.
While at Leipzig he was the student-assistant of a Dr Robbi, an antagonist of homoeopathy. Robbi was approached by a local publisher to write a book about the homoeopathic "heresy" but referred the publisher to Hering because of his own lack of time. Hering enthusiastically pursued this task, studying the writings of Hahnemann, repeating provings, and undertaking other practical experiments as part of his research. During this period, Hering received a dissecting wound that became inflamed and infected. He was advised to have his hand amputated but sought homoeopathic treatment and recovered. As a result of the evidence from his own investigations, Hering transferred his allegiance. But instead of writing the negative review, he immediately quit the job and left the University to become one of the most influential proponents of homeopathy of all time. Hering graduated from the University of Liepzig (in 1826). In his doctoral thesis titled, "On the Medicine of the Future", Hering declared himself to be a homoeopath.
In the years of 1827-1833, Hering was sent to Paramaribo, Surinam by his King (of Saxony) where he conducted Zoological and Botanical research for his government. Soon after, the King attempted to prevent Hering from publishing his prolific homeopathic findings, but instead, Hering resigned the post and became the Physician-in-Attendance for the governor of Surinam's capitol, Paramaribo. Hering began focusing his attention on the discovery of new homeopathic remedies, the attenuation's and freshly quilled-data of which he would send, by sea, to Hahnemann in Paris, and to Stapf, his friend and publisher in Germany.
Hering accidentally proved the remedy Lachesis while he was triturating the Bushmasters venom in his home-laboratory in Paramaribo. He was attempting to find an improved substitute for the cowpox inoculation that Jenner was developing in Britain, which Hering felt was extremely dangerous and very heavy-handed for homeopathy. His interest and experience with snake venom led him to surmise that the saliva of a rabid dog, or powdered smallpox scabs, or any other disease products, viruses, or venom's, might be prepared in the new Hahnemannian way to give a fail-safe method of curing disease. In this manner Hering unwittingly became the first in the Isopathic movement (eventually, he also unwittingly paralyzed his right side from further self-testing or "prufung" of higher and higher attenuations of Lachesis). Hering stayed in Paramaribo for six years then emigrated to America and settled in Philadelphia in 1833.
In 1848 he chartered the Hahnemann Medical College of Pennslyvania which is still considered to be one of greatest homeopathic teaching institutions of all time (next to Kents Post Graduate School) and devised the Homoeopathic Domestic Kit. There Hering and his students treated over 50,000 patients a year and trained a total of 3500 homeopaths.
Hering began organizing his voluminous notes into his still popular classic The Guiding Symptoms of Our Materia Medica the year before he died, in 1879, and it was completed by his students and published posthumously in 1891.
Hering was the first to use nitroglycerine in medicine for headaches and heart problems (30 years before its first use in orthodox medicine). It is an irony that he himself suddenly died one evening of a heart attack after returning from a house call to a patient. This was on the 23rd June, 1880.
Constantine Hering is widely known as "The Father of American Homeopathy" and was profoundly revered by his contemporaries. His influence extended across the larger part of the USA for the best part of the 19th century with the result that homoeopathy flourished in that country for about 70 years. The motto he carried throughout his life was, "The force of gentleness is great."
Constantine Hering observed that healing occurs in a consistent pattern. He described this pattern in the form of three basic laws which homeopaths can use to recognize that healing is occurring. This pattern has been recognized by acupuncturists for hundreds of years and is also used by practitioners of herbalism and other healing disciplines.
According to the first of Hering's laws, healing progresses from the deepest part of the organism - the mental and emotional levels and the vital organs - to the external parts, such as skin and extremities.
Hering's second law states that, as healing progresses, symptoms appear and disappear in the reverse of their original chronological order of appearance. Homeopaths have consistently observed that their patients re-experience symptoms from past conditions.
According to Hering's third law, healing progresses from the upper to the lower parts of the body. For instance, a person is considered to be on the mend if the arthritic pain in his neck has decreased although he now has pain in his finger joints.
As the symptoms change in accordance with Hering's Law, it is common for individual symptoms to become worse than they had been before treatment. If healing is truly in progress, the patient feels stronger and generally better in spite of the aggravation. Before long, the symptoms of the aggravation pass, and leave the person healthier on all levels.