I NOW come to the last and most important means we possess of counteracting diseases of the heart, or, for that matter, diseases of any kind-I mean the powers of medicines. The popular belief in the power of drugs to cure sick people is ineradicable; and all the efforts of a sceptical Medical Faculty to prove that drugs cannot “cure,” and that all the Faculty can do is to “treat” patients, has had no other effect than to cause the lay mind to look to those who have something more encouraging to offer. The popular belief is well founded: the scepticism of th Faculty is the result of a one-sided education which has had the effect of closing its mental vision to all the possibilities that are not dreamed of in the philosophy of the schools.
That drugs will cure has been proved over and over again by millions of experiences, some accidental, some under the guidance of science. The point to be remembered is that drugs do not cure diseases, but patients. I am sometimes asked “Is there any cure for cancer?” To which I reply “There is no drug which will cure everybody’s cancer; but many cases of cancer have been cured by one or more drugs. Every patient must be treated according to the characteristic features of his particular case, and it is just here that the science and art of medicine come in.”
The reason why nearly all the new “cures” that are introduced into old school practice vanish from the old school armamentarium after a very brief career, is not that they are of no curative value, but because those who introduce them regard them as “specifics” for certain “diseases” and have no idea of defining the precise indications for their use. By some lucky chance the first series of patients on whom they try the drug happen to present the proper indications for its use-their cases are in homoeopathic relationship to it, in short,-and they are cured. The allopath knows nothing about this and proceeds to give the same drug to a number of other patients who have the disease called by the same name as that the first patients had, but not presenting the same characteristic indications, and the drug fails to do good. Henceforth it is thrown aside as “unreliable” or “useless,” until some despised homoeopathist takes it up and “proves” it, thus finding out what are its characteristic symptoms. Thenceforth it takes its place in the homoeopathic Materia Medica as a valued and trusted implement of the art and science of Healing.
What is curative action? Disease, according to the Hahnemannic conception (and I have not yet found a better), is a dynamic or spirit-like change in the left principle of the organism or of any particular organ or tissue.
When the animating principle is in any way hurt, nutrition is not properly carried on. The microscopic elements of the tissues do not undergo their proper transformations, and the whole organ or the whole body is enfeebled. Unless some new agency is brought to bear on the suffering organism, the tendency is for the disease-action to progress from bad to worse. It is here that the specific medication of Hahnemann steps in, and by neutralising the dynamic change in the life-principle, brings back proper nutrition. Then the feeling of well-being and strength comes back. The amount of repair possible depends in each case on the degree to which the degenerative change has gone in the first instance. Where the tissue elements have been destroyed they cannot be restored; but no one can tell in any case how many elements of undeveloped tissue may lie dormant in a damaged organ, ready to be called into life by proper remedial measures, so that it is always the right course to pursue to aim at cure.