THE art of curing the sick-for curing is not a science- is a difficult one. It requires knowledge, common sense, intuition, and many other qualities too numerous to mention. There are homoeopathic doctors who carefully interrogate their patients and then hunt for a drug or drugs corresponding to the symptoms complained of and discovered. But this is by no means enough. Some of the best homoeopathic doctors fail because they consider only the medicinal side of the treatment.
It is scarcely necessary to mention that the causation of every disease should be carefully investigated. A cause, and the cause has to be found if we wish to cure. It is perfectly useless to treat a man for heart disease with orthodox or homoeopathic drugs if the heart disease complained of has been caused by chronic constipation and auto-intoxication, by habitual overstrain in exercise or in sport, by gross over-eating, or insufficient nutrition, by the use of very pungent substances such as pepper and mustard in huge quantities, by the abuse of salt, by obesity- the diaphragm being pressed up by the abdomen and pressing on the heart, etc.
It is a great misfortunate that many excellent homoeopathic doctors neglect to study the commonsense causation of the diseases of their patients. Hahnemann, in many of his writing, admonished his followers that they should never prescribe a medicine until the commonsense causation of the disease had been found, and the necessary corrections had been made in the way of living, in the faultiness of the diet, lack of exercise, or whatever there was to account for the rise of the trouble.
Apart from these commonsense questions it is most important to investigate the factor of inheritance which runs in every family. a good doctor must have the vision to realize that there is a taint in the patient before him, and he has to find out whether the taint is tubercular, syphilitic, nervous instability, brain disorder, inherited rheumatism or arthritis, etc. The late Dr. John Compton Burnett had a wonderful gift for discovering these taints in his patients and he prepared special medicines with which to combat them such as Bacillinum, Syphilinum, and many others.
To give an ordinary example: Syphilitics suffer particularly at night. Therefore, if a patient, young or old, complains of aggravation at night, the experienced doctor should immediately enquire whether there is the possibility of a syphilitic taint which, of course, need not be discoverable by the Wassermann reaction. In any case, if there is pronounced aggravation at night, few doses of Syphilinum in high potency will show whether there is a syphilinum taint which has to be eradicated before a cure can be effected.
Again, if a patient comes to us who is tall, thin, has very blue whites of the eyes, poor chest expansion, beautifully silky eyelashes, fair hair, etc., we must think of a tubercular taint, even if not a single micro-organism of tuberculosis can be discovered in the sputum or anywhere else. It will not do any harm to the patient if he gets a few doses of Bacillinum in high potency. Of course, if an individual where we suspect a tubercular taint, is apt to get a temperature in the evening, red patches on the cheeks, frequent colds and catarrhs, there is additional reason to suspect a tubercular disposition, and no cure can be effected unless this disposition is efficiently dealt with.
Hahnemann said a century ago that homoeopathic medicines should be given in infinitely small quantities, and in single and in very rare doses. That is the ideal of some of the living homoeopaths of the present, but they are a small minority. Treatment of the sick in the way recommended by Hahnemann is extremely difficult now, and is almost impossible. In Hahnemanns time thirty, forty or fifty drugs were used homoeopathically, now the number has risen to more than a thousand. It was easy to select among a small number of drugs one which would meet all the particular characteristics of the patient, it is practically impossible now.
Furthermore, Hahnemann lived in the time of the post coaches when people travelled leisurely at six miles an hour. As they were subjected by the orthodox practitioner to bleeding, vomiting, salivation and other horrible methods, they would patiently wait for months for a reaction to homoeopathic treatment hoping for good results. At least it was painless. now the position is different.
The patient must be relieved promptly, otherwise he will leave for the orthodox doctor. I have seen innumerable failures among the single doses and high potency practitioners, failures due to their trying to do the almost impossible. It is immaterial to the patient whether he is cured by single dose or by 150 doses, by one medicine or by a dozen medicines, but he wishes to be cured, and this is his right.
I have found it a useful procedure in obscure cases, and most cases are obscure, to give the patient a selection of remedies. If he suffers from sleeplessness combined with restlessness, he may need Arsenic or Coffea or Chamomilla. I send him the three remedies and ask him to try each in turn for several nights and concentrate upon the more helpful one. If I had tried one remedy for a month or a week and then a second one for a month or a week without success the patient would probably have left me in disgust, and rightly, for the dope vendor.
The other day I was called to an old lady who complained of pain in the leg. She could not tell me whether the pain was in the bone, in the nerve, or in the flesh, nor could she tell me what aggravated it or what relieved it. In despair I prescribed Bryonia and Rhus tox in alternation as recommended by Hahnemann himself.
They did nothing. One day the daughter told me that he mothers pain was always aggravated by eating and she was afraid to eat. This is a very extraordinary symptom as people do not chew with their legs and their stomachs do not go down to their legs. This symptom is cured only by Kali carbonicum which benefited her greatly in due course.