But it is rather with the EXTENSION of Hahnemann’s Chronic Disease that we are concerned to-day.
His dicta in regard to the Venereal Diseases are now amply confirmed. They are no longer a stumbling-block. His PSORA theory (so long a rock of offence to his most loyal followers) still needs working out, but will doubtless obtain elucidation or confirmation in the end: because his most questionable statements and palpable absurdities have an uncomfortable way of turning out correct, after having been laughed out of court for the best part of a century.
Some day someone among the pathologists will demonstrate his perspicacity in regard to Psora also, by proving that the acarus is the intermediate host of some micro-organism responsible for one or more chronic diseases of manifold manifestations. For he gives numerous instances, from many writers, of itch, cured by outward applications, having been followed by chest troubles- asthma-epilepsy-gastric ulcer-dropsy-albuminuria-even eye troubles and cataract.
Itch, he averse, is at the same time, and especially an internal disease.”
In support of which statement I would like to say that it is possible to cure itch by internal treatment. I remember a case.
The boy had it badly. I did not want to sulphur him, because I had recently seen a much sulphured boy, whose whole body was repulsive and horrible with a pustular mix-up of itch and sulphur poisoning. As Dr. Clarke suggests Oil of Lavender as an application, I gave the boy Psorinum c.m., and ordered oil of lavender to be rubbed in-for the sake of the people he might otherwise infect.
Then the Dispensary said,”Oil of Lavender was terribly expensive-did I know?” So boy got nothing but the Psorinum, and when he again appeared was found to have cured himself-stimulated thereto, I presume, by Psorinum.
Mr. Evans, our energetic skin specialist at the Royal Free, used to get to work with a needle, and produce an acarus from a burrow, for our amusement. If only somebody would capture a few of these charming insects, and make cultures, and demonstrate the micro-organism-which we doubtless already possess, potentized, in Hahnemann’s preparation.
But Hahnemann is not frightfully definite in regard to the aetiology of his Psora, which he seems to have associated with leprosy-taenia capitis-crusta lactea-herpes, &c., these all being “vicarious symptoms of an internal disease affecting the whole organism.” He challenges any reasonable physician to assert that these are mere cutaneous diseases which may be removed from the skin by external applications, because the organism is not affected by them.
Again, it may be noticed that his ant-psoric remedies are not ONE, as in the case of Syphilis, or the TWO that he designates to combat gonorrhoea; but a couple of dozen at least. There is nothing clear-cut when it comes to psora, except his conviction that chronic non-venereal diseases are also dependent on parasitic micro-organisms.
He talks about “that immense host of chronic affections which originate in the most fearful, the most common, and the most inveterate of all chronic miasms-Psora. And one cannot doubt that, were Hahnemann alive to-day, his chronic, parasitic, non- venereal disease, Psora, would long ago have sorted itself out into not one, but a dozen such.
Hahnemann stood only on the threshold of the homoeopathy of disease to cure disease, with his Psorinum: (though, in the Organon he discusses at length Nature’s way of curing diseases by “like” diseases).
And ever since Hahnemann’s day homoeopaths have followed on with preparations of disease products for the cure-or prevention- of disease.
For Hahnemann there were acute as well as chronic parasitic diseases caused by micro-organisms.
In both cases, he tells us that infection takes place in a moment. The distinction between the acute and chronic being that the ACUTE semi-vital organisms, after having affected the vital powers at the moment of infection, each in its peculiar manner, and after having spread through the system like a parasitic growth, establishing each its own peculiar fever, and establishing upon the skin an eruption capable of communicating the disease, have the peculiar nature of becoming extinct in the body.
But we know that many of these acute infectious fevers, after having run their course, and having been, apparently, overcome and cast out by the unwilling host, may yet leave sequelae in their train: and from one’s experience one is led to suspect that at least many of them are capable of entering into the changed, latent state, and persisting as some of the unrecognized chronic, parasitic, microbic disease with which one must reckon, if the best work is to be done.
What about nephritis and scarlet fever? Why do we not test the effects of Scarlatinum on our patients with nephritis?- especially those who have had scarlet fever at some time.
What about the illnesses of persons who have had smallpox- even forty or fifty years previously-which are astonishingly amenable to infrequent doses of Variolinum. One remembers a very neurotic patient in one of the wards, everybody’s despair, who was found to have once had smallpox, and who returned to comparative normality after Variolinum was administered.