But if these aggravated original symptoms appear on subsequent days still of the same strength as at the beginning, or even with an increased severity, it is a sign that the dose of this antipsoric remedy, although properly selected according to homoeopathic principles, was too large, and it is to be apprehended that no cure will be effected by it; because the medicine in so large a dose is able to establish a disease, which in some respects, indeed, is similar to it; with respect to the fact, however, that the medicine in its present intensity unfolds also its other symptoms which annul the similarity, it produces a similar chronic disease instead of the former, and, indeed, a more severe and troublesome one, without thereby extinguishing the old original one.
This will be decided in the first sixteen, eighteen or twenty days of the action of the medicine which has been given in too large a dose, and it must then be checked, either by prescribing its antidote, or, if this is not as yet known, by giving another antipsoric medicine fitting as well as possible, and indeed in a very moderate dose, and if this does not suffice to extinguish this injurious medicinal disease, another still should be given as homoeopathically suitable as possible.*
Now when the stormy assault caused by too large a dose of medicine, although homoeopathically selected, has been assuaged through an antidote or the later use of some other antipsoric remedies, then, later on, the same antipsoric remedy – which had been hurtful only because of its over-large dose – can be used again, and, indeed, as soon as it is homoeopathically indicated, with the greatest success, only in a far smaller dose and in a much more highly potentized attenuation, i.e., in a milder quality.
The physician can, indeed, make no worse mistake than first, to consider as too small the doses which I (forced by experience) have reduced after manifold trials and which are indicated with every antipsoric remedy and secondly, the wrong choice of a remedy, and thirdly, the hastiness which does not allow each dose to act its full time.
(* I have myself experienced this accident, which is very obstructive to a cure and cannot be avoided too carefully. Still ignorant of the strength of its medicinal power, I gave sepia in too large a dose. This trouble was still more manifest when I gave lycopodium and silicea, potentized to the one-billionth degree, giving four to six pellets, though only as large as poppy seeds. Discite moniti.)
The first error I have already spoken of, and would only add that nothing is lost if the dose is given even smaller than I have prescribed. It can hardly be given too small, if only everything ill the diet and the remaining mode of life of the patient which would obstruct or counteract the action of the medicine is avoided. The medicine will still produce all the good effects which can at all be expected from a medicine, if only the antipsoric was homoeopathically, correctly, selected according to the carefully investigated symptoms of the disease, and if the patient does not disturb its effects by his violation of the rules. If ever it should happen that the choice has not been correctly made, the great advantage remains, that the incorrectly selected medicine in this smallest dose may in the manner indicated above be counteracted more easily, whereupon the cure may be continued without delay with a more suitable antipsoric.
As to the second chief error in the cure of chronic diseases (the unhomoeopathic choice of the medicine) the homoeopathic beginner (many, I am sorry to say, remain such beginners their life long) sins chiefly through inexactness, lack of earnestness and through love of ease.
With the great conscientiousness which should be shown in the restoration of a human life endangered by sickness more than in anything else, the Homoeopath, if he would act in a manner worthy of his calling, should investigate first the whole state of the patient, the internal cause as far as it is remembered, and the cause of the continuance of the ailments his mode of life, his quality as to mind, soul and body, together with all his symptoms (see directions in Organon), and then he should carefully find out in the work on Chronic Diseases as well as in the work on Materia Medica Pura a remedy covering in similarity, as far as possible, all the moments, or at least the most striking and peculiar ones, with its own peculiar symptoms; and for this purpose he should not be satisfied with any of the existing repertories, – a carelessness only too frequent; for these books are only intended to give light hints as to one or another remedy that might be selected, but they can never dispense him from making the research at the first fountain heads. He who does not take the trouble of treading this path in all critical and complicated diseases, and, indeed, with all patience and intelligence, but contents himself with the vague hints of the repertories in the choice of a remedy, and who thus quickly dispatches one patient after the other, does not deserve the honorable title of a genuine Homoeopath, but is rather to be called a bungler, who on that account has continually to change his remedies until the patient loses patience; and as his ailments have of course only been aggravated he must leave this aggravator of diseases, whereby the art itself suffers discredit instead of the unworthy disciple of art.
This disgraceful love of ease (in the calling which demands the most conscientious care) often induces such would-be Homoeopaths to give their medicines merely from the (often problematic) statement of their use (ab usu in morbis) which are enumerated in the introductions to the medicines, a method which is altogether faulty and strongly savors of allopathy, as these statements usually only give a few symptoms. They should only serve as a confirmation of a choice made according to the pure actions of the medicines; but never to determine the selection of a remedy which can cure only when used according to the exact similitude of its homoeopathic symptoms. There are, we are sorry to say, even authors who advise following this empiric pathway of error!
The third leading mistake which the homoeopathic physician cannot too carefully nor too steadfastly avoid while treating chronic diseases, is in hastily and thoughtlessly – when a properly moderate dose of a well selected antipsoric medicine has been serviceable for several days, – giving some other medicine in the mistaken supposition that so small a dose could not possibly operate and be of use more than eight or ten days. This notion is sought to be supported by the statement that on some day or other, while allowed to continue its action, the morbid symptoms which were to be eradicated, had shown themselves somewhat from time to time.
But if once a medicine, because it was selected in a correct homoeopathic manner, is acting well and usefully, which is seen by the eighth or tenth day, then an hour or even half a day may come when a moderate homoeopathic aggravation again takes place. The good results will not fail to appear but may, in very tedious ailments, not show themselves in their best light before the twenty-fourth or thirtieth day. The dose will then probably have exhausted its favorable action about the fortieth or fiftieth day, and before that time it would be injudicious, and an obstruction to the progress of the cure, to give any other medicine. Let it not be thought, however, that we should scarcely wait for the time assigned as the probable duration of action to elapse, before giving another antipsoric medicine: that we should hasten to change to a new medicine in order to finish the cure more quickly. Experience contradicts this notion entirely, and teaches on the contrary, that a cure cannot be accomplished more quickly and surely than by allowing the suitable antipsoric to continue its actions so long as the improvement continues, even if this should be several, yea, many* days beyond the assigned, supposed time of its duration, so as to delay as long as practicable the giving of a new medicine.
(* In a case where sepia had showed itself completely homoeopathically antipsoric for a peculiar headache that appeared in repeated attacks, and where the ailment had been diminished both as to intensity and duration, while the pauses between the attacks had also been much lengthened, when the attacks re-appeared I repeated the dose, which then caused the attacks to cease for one hundred days (consequently its action continued that long), when it reappeared to some degree, which necessitated another dose, after which no other attack took place for, now, seven years, while the health was also otherwise perfect.)
Whoever can restrain his impatience as to this point, will reach his object the more surely, and the more certainly. Only when the old symptoms, which had been eradicated or very much diminished by the last and the preceding medicines commence to rise again for a few days, or to be again perceptibly aggravated, then the time has most surely come when a dose of the medicine most homoeopathically fitting should be given. Experience and careful observation alone can decide; and it always has decided in my manifold, exact observations, so as to leave no doubt remaining.