THERE is a german saying to his effect: “A clever physician will cure a cold in a fortnight; it will get well of itself in fourteen days.” The proverb does no venture to say how long a cold will go on under the ministrations of a physician who is not clever, or to what length it will run when under amateur treatment. I cannot answer for what may happen in Germany, but I have known colds run on to portentious length under amateur or non-skillful medical guidance in this country.
And even physicians of repute some times experience no small difficulty in getting rid of a severe catarrh in their own persons. But his proverb was no doubt invented before Hahnemann and his system saw he light. Armed with his therapeutic weapons and a sound judgment, the physician of to-day can bid even colds defiance, and can shorten their fortnight’s right of duration by many days.
The value of a therapeutic system and the proficiency of a physician are shown most of all in little things. a system which can only be applied in formidable illness, such as cholera and scarlet fever, is of only limited use in-
-practical life, and a doctor who can only apply it in grave illnesses, and ca do nothing in the presence of a cold in the head or an eruption on the face, will find himself a helpless creature in nine-tenths of the cases he is consulted about. Nor is it of much use for him to pooh-pooh all illnesses that do not happen to be attended with danger to life, as some doctors are wont to do,-unless, indeed, they happen to be themselves the patients. Little illnesses deserve just as much attention as the great ones: for though they may not threaten life itself, they do often destroy all its pleasure; and they are much more common than the others.
The doctor who affects to despise the minor ills is generally (whether he knows it or not) merely covering his own want of skill and want of knowledge. He does not know what to do with the patient, and so tries to persuade him that the disorder is, as Mr. Toots would say,”of no consequence”- in fact, is quite beneath the range of his great studies, and therefore cannot be worth the notice of any learned mind. But the patient, who is perpetually worried with it, is not so easy to persuade at his toothache, or his headache, o his eruption, or his cold in the head is early nothing, if he can only bring his mind to think so.
He only concludes that it is no use taking his complaint to the members of the high and mighty faculty, and betakes himself to old dames’ remedies, or quack nostrums whose obliging proprietors promise in their advertisements attention to the most trivial details.
But Homoeopathy has bought a vast change into medicine in regard to its general applicability. It can be adapted to any disorder, no matte how grave or how apparently trivial. It is like he steam-hammer, which can crack a nutshell without injuring the nut, or tap a watch-case without breaking it, just as easily as it can weld and shape masses of iron presenting a resisting power of many tons.
There are few sensations more pleasant than to awake in the morning and find one’s self free from a cold, when the night before one had gone to bed sneezing and shivering, and had abandoned one’s self to a fortnights misery. Thanks to homeopathy and its discoverer, this miracle is performed every day. There is no medicine that will cure every cold differ widely in their characters. But he homeopathic Materia Medica is so rich that it has a medicine for every one’s cold, though it depends on the skill and judgment of the prescriber o find the right one.
Before discussing the homeopathic remedies for cold, and pointing out their leading characteristics and indications, I will speak of the general measures which are resorted to, and often with success.
Nearly every one has his own treatment for his own cold. One will keep himself a prisoner in his house until it is better. Another, as soon as he finds he has taken cold, will take a ten- mile walk a full-speed, and when he comes in go straight to bed, piling on the blankets in order to keep up the effect. A third, before retiring, will mix himself a stiff glass of today, and by the time it is finished will at any rate have forgotten his cold, if he has no cured it. The “night-cap treatment,” I am reminded by a friend, is sometimes very successful.
Night caps are seldom worn nowadays; and if one who is not accustomed to them puts one on when he has a cold (or, which comes to the same thing, wraps his head up warmly when he goes o bed), he will often get rid of it by this means. another efficacious remedy is the time honoured forum of hot onion gruel. The more efficient part of the gruel. The more efficient part of the gruel is the onion which it contains, and which it contains, and which we shall see presently (under its botanical name cepa or Allium cepa), is strikingly homoeopathic to colds. The idea of these remedies and to them may be added the hot bath and the Turkish bath) is to restore bodily heat, and by perspiration to relieve the internal congestion which has resulted from chilling of the surface and driving the blood inwards.
And not infrequently these measures are quite successful. there is another means of curing colds, and that is what may be called the salt treatment. Later on I shall have occasion to refer to the value of salt as a homoeopathic remedy for colds under the name it has always borne in Homoeopathy, Natrum muriaticum. The ordinary salt treatment for cold consists in eating highly salted food, such as herrings, or visiting salt- mines and salt-baths like those at Droitwich in England, and Ems, Obersalzbrunnen, and Gleichenberg in Germany.
The effects of these salt-springs may be obtained without visiting the locality, by drinking the waters mixed in equal proportions with hot skim-milk or whey. ems water drunk in this way will often assist the resolution of a cold.
Sulphur-springs, as those of the Eaux-bonnes of the Pyrennes, are valuable for chronic colds of a certain kind. But the same patients who benefit by them would not benefit by the salt-springs and the constitutional peculiarities of the patient must be considered before the decision is come o about which place to vision.
These extreme measures will, of course, not be though of for ordinary colds; but only where they have become chronic and the general health so depraved hat ordinary measures are unequal to the task of bringing about the needed constitutional changes.
For constitutions can be changed. It is not enough for a doctor to be able to “understand” his patient’s constitution-he must be able to able to sometimes. We often see this effect produced by natural causes. After severe fevers a patient liable to certain forms of illness, such as chest disorder, becomes entirely free from them. It is quite common to hear the remark that “So-and-so has been quiet different, and very much better than he used to be, ever since he had the measles,” or some other fever. But the change is not always for the better, by any means.
The same fever which will cure a constitutional tendency to disease in one patient, will set up a new one in another.
Following on the lines of Nature, it is possible for us, without setting up a disease, to change the constitutional habit of a patient by a course of treatment;and it is in cases where this desired, that it is often advantageous to make use of natural mineral springs.
But this is by no means always a necessity. In the appropriate homeopathic remedy we have an agent as powerful for this purpose as the mineral waters where they issue from their fountains.
In the matter of foods, it is found that all greasy kinds act injuriously in catarrhal conditions, and should, therefore, be avoided; whilst salt foods, a s salt herrings, are good.