The Bryonia patient wants to be let alone – is very irritable, is worse for any movement. Has a white tongue–is dry and thirsty. Cough is dry and painful. The pleura is apt to be involved with stitching pain, relieved by pressure, worse by movement – even respiration – therefore he lies on the affected side. The phosphorus pneumonia especially attacks the right base. The patient is unable to lie on the left side. He is very thirsty; wants company – sympathy; there is bright blood in the sputum, or possibly the prune-juice expectoration.
The Mercurius picture, in pneumonia, is very different and distinctive. Here you have profuse offensive sweat, offensive mouth, filthy, tooth-notched tongue, with much saliva of horrible taste. Here Mercurius will quickly cure.
And yet, though homoeopathy knows no specific for diseases, there are certain substances which in poisonous doses and in provings, reproduce so nearly described disease conditions as to be practically specific for most cases of those diseases.
Crot. horridus (rattle-snake poison), which produces bleeding from every organ and orifice of the body – even the pores of the skin, and which affects gravely liver and kidneys, etc., is our great remedy for black-water fever.
Latrodectus mactans, a spider poison, whose bite occasions symptoms not to be distinguished from those of angina pectoris, proves astonishingly curative, in infrequent doses, for that condition. We have recently seen several such cases.
Corrosive sublimate poisoning, as said, simulates dysentery; and in infinitesimal doses cures rapidly most cases of dysentery.
Ptomaine poisoning, which simulates arsenical poisoning in its agony of vomiting and purging, its deadly anxiety and restlessness and collapse, is promptly cured by Arsenicum, in potency. Belladonna simulates scarlet fever; and Belladonna given for scarlet fever ensures a minimal mortality, and freedom from sequelae.
Camphor, whose symptoms resemble those of the early stage of cholera, has proved astonishingly and rapidly curative in that disease; while in the later stages – with severe cramps, Cuprum – or in collapse with severe vomiting, purging, and profuse cold sweat, Veratrum, have demonstrated to the world, in the epidemics of 1830-1 and 1854, the dramatic curative powers of remedies homoeopathically indicated.
Dr. Macloughlin, Inspector to the Board of Health, wrote in 1854, to one of the doctors at our hospital, which has been cleared for the cholera patients, “You are aware that I went to your hospital prepossessed against homoeopathic system, that you had in me, in your camp, an enemy rather than a friend…That there may be no misapprehension about the case I saw at your hospital, I will add that all I saw were true cases of cholera, in the various stages of the disease; and that I saw several cases which did well under your treatment which I have no hesitation in saying would have sunk under any other. In conclusion I must repeat to you what I have already told you, and what I have told everyone with whom I have conversed, that though an allopath by principle, education and practice, yet was it the will of Providence to afflict me with cholera, and deprive me of the power of prescribing for myself, I would rather be in the hands of a homoeopathic than an allopathic adviser. You are at full liberty to make what use you please of this letter.” It found its way finally into the Parliamentary Blue Book.
In those cholera days of terror, homoeopathy practically reversed the mortality. For where, under the treatment of the day two-thirds of the patients died, under homoeopathic treatment two-thirds recovered, while in many places homoeopathic results were almost incredibly dramatic, so much so that in Austria they caused the laws against homoeopathy to be repealed.
All these are the more coarse instances of homoeopathy, easy for anyone who wishes to make the attempt.
For the comparison of the finer symptoms, and for more difficult cases, special symptom-registers – or repertories – have been compiled; and from these, with a little practice, it is possible to work out the equation between the symptom-complex in drug and disease.
PRACTICAL RESULTS In conclusion let me say that the foregoing may sound to you plausible-or the reverse. But as practical medical men your feeling must be, “Does it work?”
In order to show you that it does work, I will take a few of the simplest cases, exemplifying homoeopathy in some of its phases.
I am not going to weary you with details, but merely relate salient points.
An officer invalided home with Trench Fever. He had been ill for a year.
Now Hahnemann lays it down that the mental, the peculiar, and the characteristic symptoms of the patient himself, apart from his malady, are to be especially considered in regard to the choice of the remedy.
This man had frightful irritability of temper. His fever started always at 9 a.m. He had the usual pain, restlessness and jerking of extremities; these worse at night. One remedy only, Chamomilla, has just this symptom-complex; and a single dose of Chamomilla in high potency quickly cured him, and sent him back to the line. Here you notice.
The like remedy.
The single drug.
The infrequent dose.
The small dose.
Non-interference with vital reaction.
A mother of small children, with acute food-poisoning had been vomiting and purging all night, and was supported down to our out-patient department by her husband, at 2.30 p.m., cold, collapsed, anxious – almost “done”.
Her symptoms were typically those of arsenic, and Arsenicum, in high potency, sent her home, a couple of hours later, warm and smiling; and again well.
You see here the rapid homoeopathic action is very acute sickness. The more acute the sickness, the quicker and the more complete the curative reaction.
I was asked one night, at midnight, to see a man who had champagne and oysters for dinner, and who was doubled up with colicky abdominal pain. There were beads of sweat on his forehead. His only relief was by pressing his hands deeply into his abdomen. He could only answer in a whisper. He felt so ill that the thought there was no chance of work next day. Giving him a dose of Colocynth, in potency, I timed him, and in three minutes he gave a sigh, and stretched out his legs and said, “I’m better.” And he went to business next day. Here the remedy had to be Colocynth, not Arsenicum because Colocynth is the only remedy with abdominal pains relieved by doubling up and pressure.
At 10.30 p.m. one night I was called to a man suffering from urticaria – anaphylactic–after anti-tetanus serum. He was almost beside himself with fear and anxiety: very restless, couldn’t keep still; certain he was going to die. Thirsty, felt hot, great fear of being alone. Very apprehensive. Everything had to be done at once. Rheumatic pains intolerable, said they were driving him crazy.
Hahnemann says: “Whenever Aconite is chosen homoeopathically, you must observe the moral symptoms, and be careful that it closely resembles them: the anguish of mind and body, the restlessness, the disquiet not to be allayed.”
Here Aconite, in the 30th potency gave almost instant relief, and in fifteen minutes the patient was quite himself again. This was one of the most dramatic things I have ever seen.
I was once urgently called to see a patient acutely ill with rheumatic fever, who was the despair of all who came in contact with him. Nurse after nurse had to go, and the doctor in attendance was his wit’s end. A dose of Chamomilla brought almost instant peace; the temperature promptly dropped, and the patient got well.
One might multiply such cases indefinitely; and remember, they are common, not to any one prescriber but to homoeopathy.
In these days of advancing science, when the foolishness of homoeopathy is proving wisdom, and the amazing prescience of Hahnemann is obtaining every day new confirmation, what is there to prevent the most sceptical form, at least, experimenting with the power that has come to us?
Those who test homoeopathy and make the experiment do not escape. Over and over again doctors have studied homoeopathy, or have been commissioned to look into it, in order to expose it – only to become its most enthusiastic adherents and exponents.
I suppose not one of us has approached homoeopathy otherwise than with doubt and mistrust, but facts have been too strong for scepticism.
Sir Thomas Horder, the other day, spoke of “the present pause in therapeutic advance. He felt it would be broken by brilliant advance – in the near future…The things essential to advance were toil, some humility, and imagination. From what part of the scientific horizon the light would come, it was not possible to say; the sky must be scanned in every quarter. Perhaps some promising direction had been overlooked…would the lamp again be lighted by that strange and inexplicable flash of genius, the genius that scouted all science, because it was itself the mother of science…”
May I suggest that the genius may be Hahnemann, and this is the promising direction that has been inexplicably overlooked? Hahnemann antedated science; and his prophetic eye discerned “the dawn that was to brighten into the most brilliant day of medical art”.
It was 107 years ago that Hahnemann wrote: “I rejoice at the benefit homoeopathy has already conferred on humanity, and look forward with intense pleasure to the not distant time when, though I shall no longer be here below, a future generation of mankind will do justice to this gift of gracious God, and will thankfully avail themselves of the blessed means. He has provided for the alleviation of their bodily and mental suffering”.