Von Grauvogl’s book contains many other precious gems of practical experience which might be included in this volume, but as they have no direct bearing on the subject of the Constitutions I prefer to let the record of the latter stand out in their clearness unmixed with other topics. Without having encountered many cases as clearly defined as those of Grauvogl and Bojanus, I can say that very few days of practice pass over me without my making some use of the doctrine of Constitutions as here laid down.
According to Grauvogl the human race can he divided into two sections-the born analysers, and the born both; and if he is only one should make himself the other, whichever he is IT seems to me that the School of Kent have reached the limits of possibility in analysis in the tracking down and matching of individual symptoms. This has been made possible mainly through the monumental work of Dr. Kent himself in his great Repertory. But the no less important synthetic work of putting the items of drug symptoms together and finding the connecting thread which runs through them and binds them into an organic whole must not be neglected. Hahnemann himself saw the necessity of this, and the outcome of his research in this direction was his work on ” The Chronic Diseases.”
Von Grauvogl followed Hahnemann’s lead, but struck out an original line of his own. It is one of the grand traits of Homoeopathy that it fetters no man’s mind. Like Hahnemann himself Grauvogl was an expert chemist and could follow the chemical changes taking place in the blood and tissues. This led him to find new threads and new methods of finding the generalities amidst the particulars. It is not too much to say that his discovery has been more fruitful of results from the prescribers’ point of view than any of the others.
Since the day of Hahnemann and Grauvogl the bulk of the Materia Medica has increased enormously and the prescribers’ field of choice has increased in proportion. Hence the added necessity of making all possible use of such general indications as are available. As a matter of fact every practitioner does this more or less instinctively, keeping of course, the Materia Medica and Repertory at hand for confirmation of the indications when needed.
That there are various avenues by which the same remedy may be found by different men and different systems is a saving clause in medical practice. But by whatever avenue a medicine is reached, it will act in its own may regardless of the man who prescribes it. The remedies themselves care nothing for systems and theories – they do their own work when brought in contact with it, whether they are given by a Hahnemann, a Schussler, a Rademacher, or a Grauvogl.
In my own practice I invariably put to my own patients the same questions that Grauvogl did, and this at once sorts them into sections and narrows the choice of remedies. I also follow the Paracelsic maxim and find, if I can, the beginning. If I learn that a patient has never been the same since an attack of influenza either of recent or ancient date, I am fairly certain that a course of the Tuberculinum of Koch will be required, If, again, there is a history of vaccination, “successful” or otherwise, in the case, Thuja, Vaccininum and Variolinum are at once visible in the field. So that there are many other constitutional indications to be found independently of those supplied by Grauvogl. These every practitioner will be able to find for himself.
That the names of diseases are mere abstractions Hahnemann and Grauvogl were constantly insisting. In this they again followed Paracelsus’ lead. According to him diseases or morbid states should be called by the names of their remedies. As the Homoeopath says “this is a Lycopodium case, and that other a Sulphur case,” Paracelsus writes : ” If we say this disease is a disease of Pulegium, this one of Melissa, that one of Sabina, then we have a certain cure from the name. A natural and true physician says that this is a Morbus Terebinthinus, that is a Morbus Helleborinus, etc.’ not that this is Rheuma, Coryza, Catarrh. These latter names do not proceed form curative knowledge; for similars must be compared with similars in names; from this comparison proceed the cures.”
The “Pocket-Book” of von Boenninghausen is the most successful work we have in the way of repertorising the generalities of the Materia Medica, and its author has laid Homoeopathy under an obligation no less great than that of Grauvogl. It is all in the direction of unifying the great mass of individual symptoms. A further great aid to simplicity in prescribing is that advocated by Dr. Lippe and his friends. Out of the characteristic symptoms of the remedies they marked out those which they named “Key-Note symptom,” Indeed, some symptoms or conditions of symptoms are so characteristic of certain remedies that when one of them appears in a patient it is almost certain that other symptoms of that remedy will be found in the patient too.
Paracelsus wrote : “That which is perceptible to the senses may be seen by everybody who is not a physician; but a physician should be able to see things that not everybody can see. There are natural physicians and there are artificially made physicians. The former see things which the latter cannot see, but the others dispute the existence of such things because they cannot see them. They see the exterior of things, but the true physicians see the interior. The inner man is the substantial reality; while the outer one is only an apparition; and therefore the true physician sees the real man and the quack sees only an illusion.”
Said J.C.Burnett : “I don’t look where you look; I let my imagination play about a case.” It was by such “looking” and such play of his imagination that Burnett was enabled to see a nexus between the ringworm parasite and the bacillus of tuberculosis, and which further led him to cure many cases of ringworm with Bacillinum or Tuberculinum, which in his day was not to be found in Bacillinum or Tuberculinum, which in his day was not to be found in Materia Medica or Repertory.
William Blake, who was no physician, but who was a Seer, wrote : “My business is not to argue and compare; my business is to create.” And again : “I must create a system for myself, or else be the slave of some other man’s.” “Non sir alterius qui suus esse potest”-“Let him who has power to be his own not be the property of any other man”- is Paracelsus’ way of saying the same thing. It is the glory of Homoeopathy that it permits everyone to follow his own genius in perfect freedom without fettering him to any man’s dictum or authority, be it Hippocrates’, Hahnemann’s, Grauvogl’s Burnett’s, or Kent’s. In the last resort every physician must and does create his own system from his own experience, and from such experiences of others as he is able to digest and make his own.
Other men’s works provide the nutriment required by the beginner for forming his own mental organism before it can be hatched out of his own experiences. Those who can put their experiences into such shape that others can appropriate their teaching and make it live again, are the greatest benefactors to medical science and art.
It has been my aim in compiling this volume to put the work of one of the chief of these benefactors into such apprehensible shape that all may partake of the feast he has provided and make so much of it as their own genius can absorb a living part of themselves.