SAMUEL HAHNEMANN and some of his most eminent successors recommended to treat patients with a single drug, and if possible, with a single dose. The way of discovering a single drug which will cover all the symptoms of a patient, is very laborious and very frequently the task is impossible. One of the most eminent successors of Hahnemann, Dr. John Compton Burnett, protested frequently, vigorously and eloquently against Hahnemanns teaching. He was probably the most successful homoeopathic doctor of his time, and he used as many remedies as were required and he did not mind using several remedies almost simultaneously.
I have described a large number of cures of mine in the pages of this journal and in my book New Lives for Old — How to Cure the Incurable. I do not try to cure the patient by a single dose. That could more easily be done in the past when orthodox doctors did not possess those potent drugs with which the patient can be given relief in a few hours or in a few minutes.
In the leisurely days of the eighteenth and early nineteenth century when people travelled at the rate of eight or ten miles an hour, when the average patient was doctored by his physician with copious bleeding,leeching and salivation, if not by use of the actual cautery and other methods which smack of a medieval torture chamber, people were willing to wait weeks for a reaction when treated with the gentle remedies of homoeopathy. I personally find it advisable to help people promptly and do not mind using two or three remedies within a short time. The same was done by my friend and teacher Dr. John H. Clarke who learnt much from Dr. J. C. Burnett.
Those who wish to treat patients thoroughly, whether with a single dose of a single remedy or with frequently repeated doses of various remedies, have most valuable instruments to their hand. Homoeopathy possesses huge volumes in which the symptoms of patients are classified, and the indicated remedies are given. No similar reference books exist in allopathy. Consequently the orthodox doctor takes no notice when a patient tells him; “I have frequent dreams of falling from a height,” which to the homoeopath means that Thuja must be considered.
If the patient complains: “I have such hot feet that I have to put them out of bed, and I have a sinking feeling at 11 in the morning,” the doctor will say: “Put your feet in cold water and take something to eat at 11 oclock.” This advice will not cure the patient, whereas the homoeopath knows at once that in all probability Sulphur is indicated.
When a girl tells an orthodox doctor that she cries easily and cannot digest fat and butter, the doctor will probably tell her to pull herself together and avoid fat and butter. The homoeopath immediately thinks of Pulsatilla which will probably cure not only the symptoms mentioned, but also the girls scanty and painful menstruation, indigestion and many other troubles.
The symptoms of which patients are apt to complain are classified in some huge reference volumes among which Kents Repertory, sold at the price of six guineas, is undoubtedly foremost. Kents Repertory is a volume of more than 1,400 pages, and the information contained in it is divided into chapters headed: “Symptoms of the Mind,” “Symptoms of the Head”, “Symptoms of the Eyes,” etc.
The experienced doctor or layman will rapidly find a number of remedies corresponding to the troubles of the patient. Under many of the symptoms complained of, he may find twenty, thirty or more remedies. In due course he will learn to prescribe quickly, but at the beginning it is very laborious to discover the simillimum or even the remedy near the simillimum. Besides, it takes weeks and months to acquire a full familiarity with Kents Repertory which is the result of twenty years incessant work.
Various doctors who wished to facilitate the search for the right remedy, have produced cards with perforations which help the student and researcher. I have tried eight or ten of these card systems, but, like Dr. Clarke, I found them unsatisfactory, abandoned their use and continued to rely on Kents Repertory and other books, and on my own studies and experiences. The skilled doctor can frequently tell by a glance at a new patient what he needs without opening any reference books.
There is the Nux vomica type, dark, irascible, troubled with indigestion, desirous of strong-tasting foods, condiments, wine, coffee, strong cigars. There is the Pulsatilla type, blonde, blue-eyed, tearful, stoutish. The Mercurius type is thin, affected by the weather like the mercury in the barometer. There is the swarthy Sulphur type with the dirty skin and stooping posture, etc. However, one cannot always make a snapshot prescription when one looks at a new patient or when one has carefully and patiently inquired into all his troubles and symptoms, his history, diet, etc.
I have just received a new and very original method of finding the simillimum. It is called the Repertoriser and consists of a very neat black attached case which would be useful for carrying medicines, and which contains a pad and printed material intended to help the prescriber to find the similimum. It is not as unwieldy as the various card systems which consists of hundreds or thousands of stiff cards.
Moreover, it has the great advantage of giving a really full list of remedies. Many of the card systems are based on a totally inadequate number of drugs or of symptoms. The Repertoriser is based on the 580 drugs contained in Kents Repertory, and it will give ample scope to the student and enable him to use the full armamentarium of the expert. Of course, some considerable time is needed to master the use of any Repertory or of any mechanical device which will help the student to use a Repertory.
The Repertoriser will, no doubt, be welcome to those who are of a studious and mechanical turn of mind, and who are very conscientious and who are bewildered by the masses of information contained in the printed Repertory. Of course when a drug corresponds to the patients symptoms, the prescriber must not prescribe the indicated drug blindly. He should read up that drug in the Materia Medica as a counter check to be certain that it really corresponds to the patients troubles, his physical make-up, etc. The device is obtainable at the price of three guineas from the Homoeopathic Publishing Co., and from all homoeopathic chemists.