Nevertheless there are cases which make an exception to the rule, but which not every beginner should risk finding out.*
(* Still there has been of late much abuse of this immediate repetition of doses of the same medicine, because young Homoeopaths thought it more convenient to repeat, without examination, a medicine which in the beginning had been found to be homoeopathically suitable, and which had therefore in the beginning proved serviceable, and even to repeat it frequently without examination, so as to heal more quickly.
We may declare it once, that the practice of late, which has even been recommended in public journals of giving the patient several doses of the same medicine to take with him, so that he may take them himself at certain intervals, without considering whether this repetition may affect him injuriously, seems to show a negligent empiricism, and to be unworthy of a homoeopathic physician, who should not allow a new dose of a medicine to be taken or given without convincing himself in every case beforehand as to its usefulness.)
The only allowable exception for an immediate repetition of the same medicine is when the dose of a well-selected and in every way suitable and beneficial remedy has made some beginning toward an improvement, but its action ceases too quickly, its power is too soon exhausted, and the cure does not proceed any further. This is rare in chronic diseases, but in acute diseases and in chronic diseases that rise into an acute state it is frequently the case. It is only then, as a practiced observer may recognize – when the peculiar symptoms of the disease to be treated, after fourteen, ten, seven, and even fewer days, visibly cease to diminish, so that the improvement manifestly has come to a stop, without any disturbance of the mind and without the appearance of any new troublesome symptoms, so that the former medicine would still be perfectly homoeopathically suitable, only then, if say, is it useful, and probably necessary to give a dose of the same medicine of a similarly small amount, but most safely in a different degree of dynamic potency.* When the remedy is thus modified, the vital force of the patient will allow itself more easily to be further affected by the same medicine, so as to effect by it everything that may be expected of this medicine and in this ailment.
To adduce an example: a freshly arisen eruption of itch belongs to those diseases which might soonest permit the repetition of the dose (sulphur), and which does permit it the more frequently, the sooner after the infection the itch is received for treatment, as it then approaches the nature of an acute disorder, and demands its remedies in more frequent doses than when it has been standing on the skin for some time. But this repetition should be permitted only when the preceding dose has largely exhausted its action (after six, eight or ten days), and the dose should be just as small as the preceding one, and be given in a different potency. Nevertheless it is in such a case often serviceable, in answer to a slight change of symptoms, to interpose between the doses of pure sulphur, a small dose of Hepar sulphuris calcareum. This also should be given in various potencies, if several doses should be needed from time to time. Often also, according to circumstances, a dose of Nux vomica (x) or one of mercury (x)** may be used between.
(* If it, has first been given in the 30th potency it will now be given in perhaps the 18th, and if a repetition should, be again found serviceable and necessary, it might afterwards be given in the 24th. and later perhaps also in the 12th and 6th, etc., if, the chronic disease should have taken on itself an acute character. A dose of medicine may also have been suddenly counteracted and annihilated by a grave error in the regimen of the patient, when perhaps a dose of the former serviceable medicine might again be given with the modification mentioned above.)
(In cases where the physician is certain as to the homoeopathic specific to be used, the first attenuated dose may also be dissolved in about four ounces of water by stirring it, and one-third may be drunk at once, and the second and third portions on the following days; but it should each time be again stirred so as to increase the potency and thus to change it. Thereby the remedy seeing to take a deeper hold on the organism and hasten the restoration in patients who are vigorous and not too sensitive.)
(** That the itch-patient during such a treatment must avoid every external application, however harmless it may appear, e.g., the washing with black soap, is not necessary to emphasize.)
If I except sulphur, Hepar sulphuris and in some cases Sepia, the other antipsoric remedies can seldom be usefully given in immediately repeated doses. Indeed it is hardly ever needed in chronic
diseases, as we have a goodly supply of antipsoric remedies at our disposal, so that as soon as one well selected remedy has completed its action, and a change of symptoms, i.e., a change in the total image of the disease, appears, another antipsoric remedy homoeopathically appropriate to the altered case may be chosen to greater advantage and with a more sure prospect of hastening the cure, than if we take the risk of prescribing the former medicine which now is no longer altogether adequate. Nevertheless in very tedious and complex cases, which are mostly such as have been mismanaged by allopathic treatment, it is nearly always necessary to give again from time to time during the treatment, a dose of Sulphur or of Hepar (according to the symptoms), even to the patients who have been before dosed with large allopathic doses of Sulphur and with sulphur-baths; but then only after a previous dose of Mercury (x).
Where, as is usually the case in chronic diseases, various antipsoric remedies are necessary, the more frequent sudden change of them is a sign that the physician has selected neither the one nor the other in an appropriately homoeopathic manner, and had not properly investigated the leading symptoms of the case before prescribing a new remedy. This is a frequent fault into which the homoeopathic physician falls in urgent cases of chronic diseases, but oftener still in acute diseases from overhaste, especially when the patient is a person very dear to his heart. I cannot too urgently warn against this fault.
Then the patient naturally falls into such an irritated state that, as we say, no medicine acts, or shows its effect,* yea, so that the power of response in the patient is in danger of flaring up and expiring at the least further dose of medicine. In such a case no further benefit can be had through medicine, but there may be in use a calming mesmeric stroke made from the crown of the head (on which both the extended hands should rest for about a minute) slowly down over the body, passing over the throat, shoulders, arms, hands, knees and legs down over the feet and toes. This may be repeated if necessary.
A dose of homoeopathic medicine may also be moderated and softened by allowing the patient to smell a small pellet moistened with the selected remedy in a high potency, and placed in a vial the mouth of which is held to the nostril of the patient, who draws in only a momentary little whiff of it. By such an inhalation the powers of any potentized medicine may be communicated to the patient in any degree of strength. One or more such medicated pellets, and even those of a larger size may be in the smelling-bottle, and by allowing the patient to take longer or stronger whiffs, the dose may be increased a hundred fold as compared with the smallest first mentioned. The period of action of the power of a potentized medicine taken in by such inhalation and spread over so large a surface (as that of the nostrils and of the lungs) last as long as that of a small massive dose taken through the mouth and the fauces.
(* That a homoeopathically potentized dose of medicine should ever fail of having an effect in a treatment conducted with care, I think impossible; I have never experienced it.)
(Even persons born without the sense of smell or who have lost it through disease, may expect equally efficient help from drawing in the imperceptible vapor (proceeding from the medicine and contained in the vial) through one nostril or the other, as those do who are gifted with the sense of smell. From this it follows that the nerves possessing merely the sense of touch receive the salutary impression and communicate it unfailingly to the whole nervous system.)
Such medicated pellets kept in a stoppered vial retain their medicinal power quite undiminished, even if the vial be opened a number of times in many years for the purpose of inhalation; i.e., if the vial be preserved from sunshine and heat. This method of allowing the patient to be acted upon by smelling the potentized medicine has great advantages in the manifold mishaps which often obstruct and interrupt the treatment of chronic diseases. The antidote to remove these mishaps as quickly as possible the patient may also best receive in greater or less strength through inhalation, which acts most quickly on the nerves and so also affords the most prompt assistance, by which also the continuation of the treatment of the chronic disease is least delayed. When the mishap has thus been obviated most speedily, the antipsoric medicine before taken frequently continues its interrupted action for some time. But the dose of the inhaled medicine must be so apportioned to the morbid interruption that its effect just suffices to extinguish the disadvantage arising from the mishap, without going any deeper or being able to continue its operation any further.