OUR old, brutal materialism seems to be slowly melting away. Even medicine is not escaping the metamorphosis. Early medicine did much groping about until the later Renaissance opened up the doctors minds to the hidden treasures of the past, excited their curiosity turning them into newer paths.
Such a background helps us to understand how the spirit which animated Hahnemann finally led him into researches of which we to-day are the beneficiaries. Whether we shall continue to deserve the legacy must rest with every individual.
Let it not be inferred that a mind capable of bringing to the light of day such an ethereal concept of vital action must necessarily also inaugurate an irresistible reform. The thinking processes of an eminently conservative profession are far too Darwinian for that. We must remember that a concept having the form of finality is moribund from its inception.
In the very year of my graduation, Madame Blavatsky laid down the maxim that “the essence of life is con-substantial with electricity.” We are only now beginning to realize how true this is. She further said that before the end of the nineteenth century new discoveries would upset the dicta of science. It was left to our own Madame Curie to fulfil this prophecy. How well she did it we realize more and more every day.
Truly the destructive power of radium is not limited to malignancies by any means, and by the strongest of inferences we must admit that the development of physics has rung the death knell of crude drugging and brought general medicine face to face with Hahnemanns experiments and their consequences. It only remains to be seen whether general enlightenment or medical progress will force the issue: the axe has been laid at the tree of preconception and of purely materialistic reasoning.
In order to sense the sharpness of his tools the physician must needs have a just comprehension of the physics of life, especially as implied in the philosophy of Hahnemanns Organon. He will then realize that Similia similibus curantur is a phase of the law of action and reaction on a higher plane.
It is an extension into the super-physical where stabilization occurs, as here, through the conversion of energy. In other words, health cannot be regained until harmony in the expenditure of vital energy again prevails. It is now beyond cavil that harmony can only be established through the contact of a synchronously acting or vibrating force. Manifestly this must be made through the nerve channels.
It is perhaps not too much to infer that this vital force must be of a fluidic nature and at present perhaps still super- physical, although we are confessedly on the borderland now. It is also inter-penetrative in that its effects are practically not only local but general. This conception explains how it comes about that amelioration is felt first in the mind and progresses as long as not mental revulsion occurs. The first intimation that the remedial response is beginning to slacken comes from the mind.
The experience of much prescribing often cause one to settle upon the use of only a few drugs or, at the best, into choosing the more promising one from a rather small group. It is loose and easy way that neglects the minority indications. Therefore it is less precise and efficient. It smacks of indolence and lack of mental agility, reminding one that versatility is not acquired any more easily here than elsewhere.
We are daily confronted with atypical cases that make the careful assembling of all of their symptoms very important if we wish to obtain a clear image for which a counterpart is to be sought among our provings. For this purpose we first search the repertory and then compare the actual provings until convinced of their similarity.
At present it is the only feasible method, but it is surprising how few men really know how to go about doing it well. Repeated, however, soon makes for skill, particularly in evaluating symptoms, which is, after all, exceedingly important as well as having considerable value in prognosis. Over-stressing single symptoms, or the wrong one, easily leads to one-sided prescribing, palliation, and ultimate confusion. The whole picture with certain outstanding points is the ideal to be sought if we wish to succeed.
About a score of our drugs show the common ills of life in their pathogenesis. These Hahnemann called polychrests, and if we must have favourites let us learn all we can about these first of all. They include Aconite, Belladonna, Bryonia, Chamomilla, China, Cina, Ferrum phosphoricum, Gelsemium, Hepar, Ignatia, Ipecacuanha, Lachesis, Mercury, Natrum muriaticum, Phosphorus, Pulsatilla, Rhus toxicodendron, Sulphur and the Veratrums. The sick-making properties of these drug resemble those of sick people rather than disease forms. This is a very vital distinction for the homoeopath.
At the most, drug action can simulate types of disease in part only. No human entity can show forth all, or even a majority, of the symptoms appertaining to a single drug or even of single type of disease. The nearest approach to this specificity is perhaps the relation of Mercury to syphilis, and yet Hahnemann, like the rest of us, supplemented its use with other drugs when quick- silver lagged because of the presence of other factors. The latter show themselves as side symptoms, seemingly having no connection with the disease in had; for which reason we view them as the outcroppings of their miasms, which deflect the vital force.
The older homoeopaths ascribed poor results to the presence of an all-pervading miasm which obscured and distorted the real indications. With an enormous increase in available pathogenetic symptoms we do not feel this need so acutely, albeit often to our own disadvantage. Most prescribers gradually enlarge the scope of their remedies quite beyond their seemingly legitimate sphere of action.
This springs from the fact that the simillimum releases reactive power strong enough to re-establish harmony, which in turn is capable of sweeping away almost any morbid condition. The crude similar, however, can remove but a small part of the symptom complex and leaves behind a distorted image of the sickness, much harder to treat. The best that can be said for partial prescribing is that it sometimes removes the super- imposed load which blocks an effectual reaction.
Such an impediment originates in the presence of some miasm, pernicious drugging or suppression. Hahnemann inveighed strongly against excessive depletion and pernicious polypharmacy; we, however, are faced by the still more dangerous procedure of serumization and ray treatments. The first always holds the menace of sensitization and vasomotor effects, while the latter drives back upon the vital force every eliminative function. A more dangerous procedure is hard to imagine.
All in all it may be said that the utter therapeutic confusion of dominant medicine is only too apparent to one who thinks clearly. It is becoming increasingly evident that auto-antidotalism, as serumization in the old school and isopathy in our own, has captured a large part of the therapeutic field. In either form it is incapable of doing more than removing a present incubus, leaving the basic disease untouched. It therefore falls short of being the simillimum, hence of doing the most good possible.
A word in conclusion. Jahr was ideally correct in stating that proper repertory analysis as well as the pathogenetic picture should point out the same remedy independently of each other; but practically most of us use the former to amplify, clarify and complement the latter.
For us the proving text is too rigid and lacking in flexibility without the addition of some imagination, always a dangerous recourse, because resemblances are not equally evident to us. For this reason we need the check and counter- check of clinical evidence in order that our remedies may be properly delimited. This can be best accomplished by a system of coapting symptoms and their related remedies as is nowadays down with card indices, although these are confessedly now in their formative stage.
The procedure itself yields an entirely new point of view, and one fully consonant with Hahnemanns conception of the deduction to be drawn from the clinical picture. The method steps down the enormous rubrics of generalities and adds new ones composed of the most diverse elements present in the clinical picture, thereby forming the combination most likely to contain the particular minutiae so decisive for the homoeopathic remedy.
In parting, I have a word to leave with you. Hold fast to the law, learn its implications and thereby cure others. It is only way it can actually be accomplished. Are we as prescribers and healers ready to take what should be the leading part in reformation of therapeutics?.
BY DR. EDMUND CARLETON.
A YOUNG man went through great excitement, hardships, privations and exposure in the Virginia Campaign of 1864. He came down with typhoid fever, was tremendously dosed with quinine, carried north, and his case pronounced discouraging by physicians in consultation, who willingly allowed themselves to be superseded by a despised homoeopathist.
Faithful to the law of cure, the new school physician began his work by giving Pulsatilla, which was similar to may of the symptoms present and antidotal to quinine. Improvement was soon manifest, but the whole case had been reached. Scanty urine presently became an urgent symptom, almost amounting to complete suppression. The remaining symptoms have not come to my knowledge.
Apis was given. A deluge followed. In the midst of the deluge two dense, black stones, each kidney- shaped and so large as to cause difficulty in passing through the urethra, plunged into the receiver, one right after the other. Had the soil and grit taken into the stomach during months of drinking bad water made a report in the form just detailed-a stone from each kidney? The pathologist will answer in the negative, perhaps. He may think he knows. I do not know.
I do know that the virus of a bee, following Pulsatilla, not only restored the virus of a bee, following Pulsatilla, not only restored the urinary function, but brought the stones form the kidneys to the bladder and thence expelled them. Was the attending physician prescribing for gravel, for stone in the kidney, for stone in the bladder? None of this per se. He prescribed for all the symptoms he could find in the case. It turned out that a part of the case was stone. By virtue of similarity with Apis, the whole case, including stone, was cured.
One brisk September morning I was summoned in haste to see Mr.—, who thought he was having gall stone colic. He had been the subject of nephritis, but not under my observation of late. Other physicians had led him to believe that my diagnosis and requirements were unnecessarily rigid. We were having a few days of quite cool weather.
I found him in great agony, but bearing up under it with the fortitude of a heroic family. He was bathed in cold sweat; head, back and extremities cold. Pain felt mid-day between umbilicus and right anterior spine; then transferred to right lumbar region; thence downward and forward to bladder and right testes, with desire to urinate; then shifted to stomach, with nausea; continuous hard pain, emphasized with additional, very sharp, paroxysmal pain, coming and going quickly. Palpation revealed nothing more of importance. He was lying upon his back with thighs and legs flexed.
Patient was put to be with hot blankets and bottles. He did not receive opium or anything else to deaden pain. It is scarcely necessary to tell my Hahnemannian reader that immediately I dissolved in water a few pellets of Belladonna, two hundredth centesimal potency, and gave a teaspoonful every five minutes. After the fourth dose he felt a trifle better.
The intervals between doses were lengthened to ten minutes and then to fifteen as he steadily improved, and so on. I left him to see a very sick man. Upon my return the medicine was stopped, there being no further need of any. All discharges during the next twenty-four hours were submitted to examination by a pathologist, who found abundant grit in the urine. A prescription for the whole case was then made.
This is a familiar picture. Belladonna has never failed to relieve quickly for me, in similar case, even when the concretions were so large that they distended the ureters. The similar medicine is as much superior to the benumbing drug as light is to darkness.
The attacks are not only made shorter and less violent by the similar, but the subjects of all the trouble are advanced toward, not kept back from, complete cure. Even though a skiagraph reveals stone in the kidney which must be removed by operation, the same sort of prescribing is needed before, at and after operation-not only to make that speedily successful, but to prevent recurrence of the malady.