VIEWS ON HOMOEOPATHIC TREATMENT.
ABOUT one hundred and fifty years ago Dr. Samuel Hahnemann, a great genius, introduced the art and science of curing the sick by a new method of treatment which he called Homoeopathy. With unceasing industry and high intelligence he created for himself and for his successors, an entirely new materia medica, a new body of medicines which were to be given in infinitesimal doses. He threw overboard the whole body of medical knowledge which previous generations had accumulated, condemning the medical methods of his time, root and Branch.
In Hahnemanns time, bleeding copiously was universal. Popes, Emperors and Kings were bled to death by their doctors. Some of the patients were burned, with white hot irons, others were given the most powerful purgatives, vomitives, etc., and operations were desperately dangerous because anaesthetics and antiseptics were unknown. Medicines, even the most dangerous medicines, were given in maximum quantities, and thousands of patients were either poisoned or had their health ruined by their doctors.
The mania of bleeding, partly by the lancet, partly by means of leeches was universal. The doctor was frequently called the leech. A century ago a new medical journal was founded in London and it was significantly called The Lancet. At the time the lancet was as important as the hypodermic syringe is now.
Hahnemann laid down the principles of the new art and science of healing in a large number of books, pamphlets and articles, especially in his Organon of The Art of Healing for the guidance of his disciples and his successors. In his writings the founder of Homoeopathy insisted that treatment should be given in single and very rare doses of a single medicine administrated at rare intervals such as once a month, or less frequently. His disciples and successors have endeavoured to follow the rules laid down by the founder. There are now many well-known homoeopathic doctors who give only one medicine at a time once a month or so, and in the interval give daily doses of unmedicated sugar pills or powders.
It was quite understandable that Hahnemann attached the greatest importance to the principle of giving only one medicine at a time in infrequent doses. He was anxious to explore the full power of the new medicines he had evolved and condemned all medicinal mixtures. The administration of two or more medicines, more or less simultaneously given, would have interfered with his observation of the results obtained by his new medicines.
Curing patients by the methods laid down by Hahnemann is extremely difficult. Occasionally one can cure a patient with a single dose. I, personally, have done so a number of times. It is as satisfactory to achieve a cure with a single dose or with a few doses of a single medicine, as it is to solve a very difficult crossword puzzle. At the meetings of homoeopathic societies, homoeopaths frequently describe such wonderful results and call such a cure a brilliant cure.
Such a cure may be very satisfactory to the homoeopathic doctor who performs it and who describes it to his colleagues, but to a patient, it is, of curse, quite immaterial whether he has been cured by a single dose or by a large number of doses, by a single medicine or by a large number of medicines. Many of the homoeopathic practitioners who faithfully follow Hahnemanns instructions have brilliant results in a great number of cases. I have discovered this by observing the results obtained by leading homoeopathic practitioners.
Ever since Hahnemanns time, homoeopaths have endeavoured to break away from the strict Hahnemannian rule of the single dose and the single medicine. Some of those who have struck out a new lime have obtained very remarkable successes. One of the most notable homoeopaths of recent times was the late Dr. John Compton Burnett, who produced the most brilliant cures by using twenty, thirty or more remedies, to the horror of his orthodox colleagues who treated him as a quack. Burnett laid down his experience in about thirty small volumes which are invaluable to the homoeopathic practitioner.
When I started using homoeopathic methods in treating the sick, I endeavoured to follow the rules laid down by Hahnemann, but I found that results were disappointing. I then endeavoured to follow the methods of John Compton Burnett, giving whatever remedies seemed to be called for by the patients condition, regardless of Hahnemanns recommendations. I frequent discussed the question involved with distinguished homoeopathic practitioners, especially with my dear friend,the late Dr. J.H. Clarke, who in a long and most successful career had evolved methods of his own.
He employed every potency from the mother tincture, which means from the crude drug, to the highest potency. He had been a great friend of the late Dr. John Compton Burnett and had learned much from the practical wisdom of that great genius. Dr. Clarke did not hesitate to give several medicines in alternation or in ambigation if several medicines seemed to be needed by the patient. He did not hesitate to mix different medicines if mixtures seem called for. He was an extremely successful doctor and was beloved by his patients.
Moreover he went back to the methods of Hahnemann who was what might be called “a nature curer” as well as a homoeopathic practitioner. Hahnemann insisted that a patient should be treated by commonsense methods before drugs were administered. He was a century ahead of his time by giving to his patient a wisely chosen diet, the best sanitary conditions, exercise, fresh air, sunshine, etc., and his great successes were undoubtedly very largely due to his using commonsense and following the dictates of nature.
There are, unfortunately, many eminent and able homoeopathic doctors who concentrate all their abilities upon the selection of the single remedy which they give in frequent and infinitesimal doses. I have had many patients who have come to me after they had been treated without results by such practitioners, who rely on medicines alone although their patients troubles were obviously due to a very faulty diet, chronic constipation, lack of fresh air, lack of exercise and such like things.
From my point of view the interest of the patient is all- important. He goes to the homoeopathic practitioner to obtain no orthodox homoeopathic treatment on lines laid down one hundred and fifty years ago but in order to obtain health. He pays for the advice given and naturally he wishes to have the best advice. Hahnemann lays down the principle similia similibus curentur “Like should be cured by likes”.
There are homoeopathic practitioners who refuse to use Bacillinum, discovered by Compton Burnett, in treating tuberculosis, although Bacillinum has cured countless cases of tuberculosis. The reason they refuse to use Bacillinum is because they say Bacillinum is not the simile of the disease but is the actual disease product of tuberculosis.
On similar theoretical grounds they refuse to employ Carcinosinum when treating cancer, Medorrhinum when treating gonorrhoea, Morbillinum when treating measles, etc. I am afraid that many homoeopathic practitioners are not doing their best for their patients because their intellect has been warped by the study of the principles of Samuel Hahnemann.
To cure a patient with a single remedy is not only extremely difficult but it takes a long time, as the orthodox homoeopathic physician given a patient a dose of, say Sulphur 200 and he waits for a month for results and then, if no results follow, he will study the case once more and he may then give a dose of Graphites 1,000.
If disappointment results from the second prescription he will study the case once more and may give a dose of Thuja 10,000. Meanwhile the patient is under the impression that he is efficiently treated by the physician who gives him unmedicated sugar pills or powders every day. After such a patient has been treated without results for two or three months he gives up and sneers at Homoeopathy and the tasteless sugar pills.
I have found that one can obtain excellent result in practically every case within a week if one gives both low and high potencies more or less simultaneously and gives as many remedies as are called for by the condition of the patient.
If a new patient comes to me who has distinct Sulphur symptoms, distinct Natrum muriaticum symptoms and distinct Nux vomica symptoms, I do not try to select one of the three medicines but I give all three. For instance, I give Sulphur first and last thing, Natrum muriaticum between meals and Nux vomica before meals and I feel certain that the patient will improve before the week is out.
If, in addition, the patient has distinct indications of tuberculosis and of vaccinal poisoning, I should give him a dose of Bacillinum 200 last thing Monday and a dose of Thuja 200 last thing Thursday and watch carefully his reactions to the medicines given.
The method of treating patients with infinitely small doses of medicine at long intervals has had most unfortunate consequences, both to patients and to the homoeopathic practitioners. This method is so difficult that only very few dare practise it and their results are disappointing. The majority of doctors and others who try to follow Hahnemanns methods give up in despair.
This is one of the reasons why the number of homoeopathic doctors is so small. Apart from this, the practice of Homoeopathy depends on the existence of good homoeopathic chemists, and it is quite impossible for homoeopathic chemists to make a living by selling a few dozen pills or powders a day or a week. In the olden days, when low potencies were used and people were told to use low potencies, there were more than one hundred homoeopathic chemists in England alone. Now there are only about a dozen.