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DOI: 10.1055/s-0040-1715144

Dr John Henry Clarke (1853–1931)

Pankhuri Misra
1   Homeopathy, Central Council for Research in Homoeopathy, Delhi, Delhi, India
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Dr John Henry Clarke (1853–1931)

Dr John Henry Clarke, born in 1853, was a British orthodox physician, who converted to homoeopathy in 1878,[1] and became one of the most eminent figures in homoeopathy.[2] He completed his M.B.C.M at Edinburgh University in 1875, as a gold medallist and went on to complete his M.D. in 1877.[3] Soon, after completing his graduation at Edinburgh, Dr Clarke visited the homoeopathic dispensary in Hardman Street. At this point of time, he was completely unaware of homoeopathy, but here he was fascinated and conquered by the cures of homoeopathy. He encountered a case in his private practice. A small boy of 5 years visited him with a wart on forehead. The boy got scratch on forehead by a cat 2 years ago, and when the scratch healed, a wart appeared on that site. Dr Clarke consulted homoeopathic authorities and found that the principal drug, Thuja occidentalis is credited for producing warts. He prescribed it and said it ought to cure if there was a truth in homoeopathy. In a few days, improvement began and in 3 weeks, all warts vanished. He concluded that if homoeopathy could give him results, it was the system for him.[4]

Dr Clarke practiced at Bolton Street, Piccadilly in London. He was also a consulting physician to the London Homoeopathic Hospital.[2] He keenly followed the teachings of Dr Compton Burnett. As a successor of Dr Burnett, in May 1885, Dr Clarke started his work as an editor of The Homoeopathic World, but resigned in 1908, to oppose official vaccination for smallpox, which was prevalent in England during that time. Later in 1923, he again joined as an editor.[3] He was the publisher of The British Guardian, and was called upon to give evidence in the Pemberton Billing court case in 1918. He was also a permanent member of Liga Medicorum Homeopathica Internationalis.[1]

Dr Clarke was a student of Edward William Berridge, and later he taught many homoeopaths including Marjorie Blackie. He was highly dismayed with the knowledge of homoeopaths, and criticised them for their inadequate knowledge. Consequently, he trained many lay practitioners. British Homoeopathic Association (BHA) responded well to the criticism, and consequently, Dr Clarke dedicated his book Homoeopathy Explained to the BHA.[1]

British homoeopathy was going through four major trends during his time: Cooper Club, the increased use of nosodes, the influence of James Tyler Kent and the gradual waning of medically qualified practitioners. Dr Clarke was the part of Cooper Club, and along with Thomas Skinner, Robert Thomas Cooper and James Compton Burnett made associations with British homoeopaths for the success of homoeopathy. Dr Clarke taught lay persons such as Noel Puddephatt, Canon Roland Upcher and J Ellis Barker, who became the torchbearers of homoeopathy.[1]

Homoeopathy received very strong opposition in England. At this time, Dr Clarke dared to be wise and stood for it. His intelligent mind believed that the science needed exposition, which can bind it down to scientific principles. His untiring zeal and hard work led to the publication of Clarke's Dictionary of Practical Materia Medica and Clinical Repertory. [1]

Dr Clarke also had interest in poetry, especially the works of William Blake. Later, he wrote two small books for him. This man with great charisma was full of knowledge, energy and capability of teaching, enthusiasm and capacity to tackle opposition.[3] Some of the great works by Dr Clarke are[1]:

  • The Prescriber: How to Practise Homeopathy

  • The Prescriber: A Dictionary of the New Therapeutics

  • A Dictionary of Practical Materia Medica

  • A Clinical Repertory to the Dictionary of Materia Medica

  • Indigestion: Its Causes and Cure

  • Life and Work of James Compton Burnett

  • The Revolution in Medicine: Being the Seventh Hahnemannian Oration Delivered …

  • What Do You Know about Homoeopathy?

  • A Bird's Eye View of Hahnemann's Organon of Medicine

  • Non-surgical Treatment of Diseases of the Glands and Bones

  • Radium as an Internal Remedy

  • Haemorrhoids and Habitual Constipation

  • Cholera, Diarrhœa, and Dysentery: Homœopathic Prevention and Cure

  • Appendicitis from a Homeopathic Physician's Point of View

  • Iodide of Arsenic in Organic Disease of the Heart

  • The Cure of Tumours by Medicines: With Especial Reference to the Cancer Nosodes

  • Catarrh, Colds and Grippe

  • Cold-Catching: Cold-Preventing, Cold-Curing, with a Section on Influenza

  • Rheumatism & Sciatica

  • Therapeutics of the Serpent Poisons

  • A Dictionary of Domestic Medicine

  • Gunpowder as a War Remedy

Dr Clarke, a man of continuous inspiration, passed for heavenly abode on 24 November 1931, after his exceptional dedication to the field of homoeopathy. This prodigious man can never be forgotten: he was a kind of king who just slipped out of lives.[5] Harold Fergie Woods wrote John Henry Clarke's obituary in The Homeopathic World, January 1932: ‘… Anyone who had met Clarke but a few times, even only once, must have been impressed with the feeling of an exceptional human being, a forceful personality, a man apart. He was literally a man apart, as he took his work and his mission so seriously that he gave himself very little time to mix with others. Perhaps, also, there were very few with whom he felt in harmony’.[2]


15. Dezember 2020 (online)

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