Treatment of Alcoholism

In the choice of remedies for the homeopathic treatment of alcoholism, note the intellectual and moral symptoms presented by the patient and produced by the drug proved upon the healthy subject….

A Few drunkards can be cured by means of moral instruction, care in diet and hygiene, but, in the far larger number, the tendency to inebriety is the result of a species of morbid impulse which is well-night irresistible. This is admitted by Dr. Monin, who, in his work on Alcoholism, says that the desire for drink is a kind of mental perversion beyond the rational resources of morals and medicine. This representative of allopathic medicine declares that, generally, both ethics and medicine are unable to cure drunkenness.

Hitherto homoeopathic medicine has proved itself quite as unable to cure drunkenness, because, with rare exceptions, homoeopathic physicians, not knowing how to utilize the wealth of their materia medica, have failed to follow these two precepts of their master, Hahnemann:

1st. In the choice of remedies, note the intellectual and moral symptoms presented by the patient and produced by the drug proved upon the healthy subject.

2nd. In chronic diseases, give in one dose the remedy selected, then let it act for weeks and months.

Having followed, on these two points, the precepts of Hahnemann, I have been able to cure inebriates of their vice in one-half of my cases, when the vice was not hereditary, and that by causing to be administered to them, without their knowledge, in their food or their drink, the remedy selected for each of them. Further on I shall give the differential indications of fourteen remedies which clinical experience has proved to be efficacious against inebriety, and which may assist other means in curing men of this vice.

I earnestly advise those physicians who have taste and aptitude for this branch of therapeutics to endeavor to complete, by their own experiments, my clinical studies of this subject. They may be able to discover what I have failed to grasp, and, in that way, extend the field of this new therapeutics. As for the physicians who have neither taste nor aptitude for it, let them let it alone, lest they should compromise it by their lack of success. Natura repugnante, omnia vana, says Hippocrates, very justly.

Physicians have hitherto practiced only a species of veterinary medicine applied to man, since they have treated in him only somatic or bodily symptoms, and seldom, or at least not daily, psychical symptoms.

from 1854 until 1874 I practiced, like other physicians, this species of veterinary medicine on man. But, since 1871, results, at first rare, then more and more numerous, observed among my patients, have demonstrated to me that it is possible to practice on man a really human medicine, by curing him not only of his diseases, but also of his passions and failings. My conviction on this point has grown little by little, at the same time as my experimental knowledge in the treatment of psychical symptoms. When I had so far progressed as to be able, as I thought, to apply this psychical treatment, I was not satisfied to give the benefit of my knowledge to a few persons among my paying clientele, who were being treated for divers ailments, but determined to give the poor the benefit of this treatment, and, to that end, opened on February 6th, 1886, a free dispensary for psychical treatment, which has been continued since then every Tuesday morning. From twelve to thirty-six persons are to be seen their families this moralizing treatment, as yet unknown to academies and scientific societies!

There are, in all, six means of moral and intellectual culture, three of which are immaterial-religion, education, instruction-and three are material-medication, diet, climate. In another work, as yet unpublished, I have examined how one can use these six means of moral culture, sometimes simultaneously, sometimes alternately, sometimes alone. Here I shall speak only of those remedies whose properties have been studied experimentally, according to the homoeopathic law. In this matter I have been preceded by Hahnemann, Hering, Count de Bonneval (of Bordeaux), Canon de Cesoles (of Nice), Bourgeois (of Roubaix), Charles Dulac (of Paris), and Valiaux. If, on this topic, I have been able to gather more data than most of them, it is because, I have come last, endeavoring to complete the work they have begun, and because I was the first to establish a dispensary for psychical treatment -an unfailing source of instruction. During the first thirty-four months of the establishment of this dispensary I gave 2,155 consultations-I, 43I for drunkards and 725 for libertines and persons suffering from jealousy, envy, irascibility, avarice, laziness, etc., etc.

Unless they be inconsistent, homoeopathic physicians must conform their practice to the teachings of Hahnemann (Organon, aphorisms 210-230) and treat both somatic and psychical symptoms, and the psychical symptoms alone when they exist alone, as the manifestation of a talent morbid condition or of the individual disposition.

The knowledge of psychical effects may even aid legal medicine, as the following fact demonstrates: In 1865, while I was in Munster attending Boenninghausen’s clinic, he said to me one day: While on a trip in my official capacity as Regierungsrath, I met in a hotel certain magistrates who were about to begin an inquest concerning the alleged poisoning, by means of arsenic, of a husband by his wife. ‘If you will tell me the moral and intellectual symptoms felt by that man just before his death, I shall probably be able to tell you whether arsenic was the poison used and whether any of it will be found in the stomach of the deceased. Did he, before dying, manifest frightful despair or great serenity ‘ ‘Very great despair,’ replied the magistrates. ‘Then,’ said I, ‘he was poisoned by arsenic in so large a dose that some of it will be found in the digestive tract. This drug produces a terrible despair through its primary effect, and perfect serenity through its secondary effect, when the organism is able to react against the primary effect.’ There was arsenic found, at the autopsy, in the viscera of that man. In the neighborhood of Munster, adds Boenninghausen, a woman poisoned sixteen persons with arsenical omelets. If the allopathic physicians had known the psychical effects of that substance, they would have discovered the poisoning before that woman had caused the death of so many persons.

In applying treatment to passions, I do nothing new. Hahnemann did it before me, and I am only following his scientific method and the tradition of psychical treatment, which can be traced into the night of ages, for at all times and everywhere men have used drugs to re-establish the very unstable equilibrium of their moral and intellectual state.

Diodorus Siculus, the historian, speaks of a drug used by the Egyptians which they called The antidote to anger and sorrow. This drug contained datura stramonium, which according to homoeopathic physicians, alleviates anger and sorrow.

In the Odyssey, IV. 220, Homer says, Forthwith, Helen throws into the wine which Telemachus was drinking the drug which drives away sorrow, dissipates anger and causes all ills to be forgotten.

Hippocrates prescribed mandragora against sadness leading to suicide.

According to Aulius Gellius and Valerius maximus, the Athenian orators, envious of true glory, took, following the example of Carneades, and to strengthen their brain, a dose of hellebore before speaking. Now, according to homoeopathic teaching, this remedy develops the memory and the faculty for improvisation.

Among the plants surrounding an old chateau, those that belong to the war-like epochs of the Middle Ages are excitants, tonics, etc.; the rest, plants of the Renaissance period, are aphrodisiacs and depuratives. Thus men are seen having recourse, according to epochs, to divers drugs to assist their favorite passion.

According to a proverb of the Chinese, who have been using that beverage for centuries: Tea makes the soul placid and calm, and the sight clear and piercing.

Wine was employed by the ancients, as it is by the moderns, as a psychical remedy.

Wine rejoices the heart of man, says the Bible.

Wine, writes Galen, manifestly dissipates all species of sorrow and discouragement, for every day we take wine to that end.

In the second book De Legibus, Plato recommends wine as a preventive of the peevishness of old age, wine which scatters pain and moroseness, wine which softens the hardness of the soul and makes it easier to fashion, like unto fire, which softens iron.

Wine makes one eloquent, says Aristotle, and it has been used for that purpose by writers (e.g., J.P. Richter, Maimbourg), by composers (e.g., Handel) and by many orators.

Is there a drinker, says Horace, whom wine has not made eloquent, or an unfortunate whom wine has not freed from his sorrows

Foecund in calices, quem non fecere Disertum

Contracta quem non in Paupertate solutum

-Lib. I. Ep. V.

Almost immediately after the ingestion of a moderate quantity of wine, man appears animated, his eyes glitter, he is disposed to be gay, benevolent, demonstratively affectionate. He discovers with candor and without dissimulation his habits, his disposition; whence the adage: In vino veritas. Hence, wine is considered as a sort of sociable drink, which can set in unison hearts and minds at a banquet or other festivity.

All shrewd people, from the sly peasant to the diplomat, know how to make use of the psychical properties of wine to dissipate momentarily the defects in disposition which may clash with their personal interests. Mark, for instance, at some fair, a peasant buying a milk cow! In order to find out exactly the quality and quantity of milk given by this cow, he will endeavor to modify to his own advantage the disposition of the seller. The latter may be a deceiver, a liar, a thief, or merely exorbitant in his price. The buyer, in order to temporarily dissipate these failings, which are prejudicial to his interests, drags the seller to the public house, treats, drags the seller to the public house, treats him to a few glasses of wine, and, little by little, this beverage induces the seller to tell all he did not mean to tell, to do what he did not mean to do. In such a case, wine may sometimes develop good natural impulses.

While, in order to accomplish his purpose, the peasant in the pot-house makes use of the common local wine, the diplomat, in his sumptuous dining-room, offers choice wines, foamy champagne. Diplomat and peasant alike, however, subject their guests to a sort of psychical treatment, and that quite unconsciously, just as Moliere’s Mr. Jourdan wrote prose without knowing it.

According to the size of the dose, wine produces divers, nay opposite, effects. In small doses, it cheers, it revives all the faculties of the soul, it rests and comforts the wearied mind as well as the tired body; but used in excess, it gives a false courage, makes one indiscreet, quarrelsome, aggressive, angry, and leads to a low tone of intellect and morals and to suicide.

Drunkenness transforms an active, laborious, neat man into an apathetic, lazy, unclean, filthy-fellow. It provokes impulses to libertinism, jealousy, anger, hatred, suicide and homicide under hallucinations.

The thirty-five kinds of alcoholic drinks consumed by the different nations of the world produce very different psychical effects.

For instance, beer leads to dullness of mind as well as heaviness of body, to a departure from elevated and delicate sentiments to groveling desires.

Cider and pear-cider produce nearly the same effects as beer.

Absinth, even in small doses, makes one essentially ill- natured and quarrelsome.

Brandy makes the drinker angry and aggressive.

Anisette (Kummel) in small doses clears the brain.

Cherry-brandy (Kirschwasser) acts like anisette.

Ebriety manifests itself by psychical symptoms which are as varied as the alcoholic drinks which produce them. For instance, alcoholic drinks which produced from potatoes and grain (owing to the presence of a variable amount of amyl alcohol, otherwise fuel oil.- Translator) produces a comatose ebriety, while alcohol made from wine (pure ethylic alcohol.-Tr.) produces a merry, noisy or angry ebriety.

In order to convince the reader that the use of the psychical treatment is as general as it is unconscious, who although ignorant of the name and existence of the psychical treatment, show us that it is daily practices by millions of men. Two of these professors will describe, the one as a social, the other as an intellectual drink, the infusion of tea-leaves, which numbers from five to six hundred millions of consumers.

The action of tea, writes Prof. Marvaud, of the Val de Grace, manifests itself by an agreeable stimulation, accompanied by a feeling of comfort. The individual feels happy at being alive, the faculties of the mind blossom forth, and a mild and pleasant quietude takes possession of our being. Everything seems smiling here below; we love our hosts or our guests better; we readily forgive the shortcomings of our fellows and as readily forget our own faults. We remain silent and lose the consciousness of our misfortunes and annoyances, past and present.

Tea, writes Prof. Moleschott, of Turin, increases the power to note impressions received. It disposes one to pensive meditation; and, notwithstanding an increased rapidity in the movement of ideas, the attention is more easily concentrated upon a determinate object. One experiences a feeling of comfort and gayety. The creative activity of the brain maintains itself within the limits imposed to the attention, instead of wandering in pursuit of ideas foreign to the subject-matter under conversation, to go to the root of questions under discussion; and the calm gayety which tea-produces usually leads them to satisfactory results.

Tea, says Dr. Monin, gives wings to the minds, and to the intellect finish and airiness of inspiration.

But these pleasant moral or intellectual effects are primary effects, lasting a few hours at most, and they are followed by the secondary effects of tea, which are baneful and persistent. Dr. Dulac was, therefore, quite right when he wrote to me: Through its secondary effect, tea makes one indifferent; and, in the course of time, selfish; tea makes one lonesome and dissatisfied (ennuie), and gradually leads to melancholia. International pride and melancholia are notoriously characteristic of the two nations of Europe and Asian who consume the greatest amount of tea.

Dr. Monin also considers tea as one of the causes of melancholia, and Fothergill attributes to it the constantly increasing nervousness of the youth.

The name of ‘intellectual drink,’ which has been given to coffee, indicates clearly its cephalic and exhilarating action,’ writes Prof. Fonssagrives, of Montpelier. There is no one who has not noted upon himself, and with sensual satisfaction, the effects which this drink produces. The brain is gently. simulated, it escapes, in a degree, the heavy realities of life and the yoke of weariness. The senses become keener and work with more precision; the imagination is more lively, work is easier, the combinations of the mind crowd upon each other; less solid, perhaps, they are more rapid, clearer; the memory is unusually active, ideas flow with unwanted ease. The mind throws off disagreeable thoughts, becomes freer and more lively, while, at the same time, a feeling of benevolence spreads over the entire being.

There is, of course, a coffee inebriety which is more distinguished and less dangerous than that produced by alcohol, but which, to a certain extent, also demands the warnings and watch-care of hygiene. Men who labor intellectually are oftener than others the victims of this amiable vice, and if they give themselves up to it thoroughly they fall into a state of nervous erethism and emaciation. When Mme. de Sevigne said, Coffee makes me stupid, she alluded less to the present influence of coffee than to the state of cerebral inertia which follows its action. I know people whose brain works slowly and with difficulty as long as the spur of coffee is wanting; I know others who cannot forego this beverage without suffering from sick headache. From that point of view, it is an evil, as are all servitudes.

Another question, akin to this and which also pertains to the hygiene of literary people, would be to determine exactly the sum and nature of the assistance which coffee lends to thought. there is a cerebral excitement, undeniably, but all the faculties are not stimulated in the same degree, hence there is a little incoherence in the intellectual combinations emitted under the pressure of coffee. From personal experience, I should say that they have more rapidity than solidity; they are more numerous, but less profound. The thought is less free; it is mastered with difficulty; the judgment and the will are weakened; and as for me, I long ago gave up this inconvenient stimulation when I am to speak in public. Let poets continue to sip the beverage dear to them (Delisle), but let philosophers and scientific men abstain from it; they will be better off for it.

The use of wine, tea, coffee and other psychical remedies, to render the intellectual faculties more active and developed, is really child’s play by the side of what homoeopathic treatment can accomplish in that respect. Those who use the drugs I have mentioned above utilize only their primary effects, which last but a few hours and are followed by an intellectual depression equal to the artificially produced excitement. Homoeopathic physicians, on the contrary, utilize the secondary effects of their remedies, which, especially when they are administered in very high dilutions, may last weeks, months, years, and sometimes indefinitely. This fact is demonstrated by the following.


A young lady, 20 years of age, had so little gift for spoken or written improvisation that, before writing a letter, she was compelled to make one or two sketches or copies of it. Unbeknown to her, I gave her Pulsatilla 200, indicated by the totality of the symptoms. A few weeks later I heard that she was writing her letters without preliminary outlines or copies. And this effect of the remedy has now lasted two or three years and may continue indefinitely. Compare this result with the action of wine or coffee, which, in speakers, develops the faculty for improvisation during three, four, five or six hours only.

By reproducing in this connection my manuscript chapters upon these novel questions, I could more completely set forth the numerous psychical effects of the thirty-four principal kinds of alcoholic beverages upon their six hundred millions of consumers, of tea upon its five hundred millions of consumers, of tobacco upon its two hundred millions of consumers, of coffee upon its one hundred millions of consumers, of betel upon one hundred millions of opium upon one hundred millions of Hindus, of opium upon one hundred millions of Asiatics, of hashish upon several millions of Egyptians and Asiatics, of mate upon fifteen millions of South Americans, of coca upon fifteen millions of South Americans, of arsenic upon thousands of people in Austria and in the United States of America, of the musk-toad-stool upon the Laplanders, of the falezlez upon the negroes; but I think it has been sufficient to note, even incompletely, a few of the psychical effects of wine, tea and coffee to show that men, always and everywhere, have felt the urgent need of having recourse themselves to psychical remedies, since hitherto the physicians have not satisfied this want and have been content, I repeat it, to practice a species of veterinary medicine upon man, treating only his somatic or bodily symptoms.

At the present time the Persians, after a rather severe novitiate, use a drug which seems to procure for them the pleasures of the passion which they prefer. The Egyptians, without a preliminary novitiate, make use of another drug, which seems to procure for them also, in some cases at least, the pleasure, of their favorite passion. These facts were reported long ago in French and German medicinal journals.

The use of these divers psychical drugs is so frequent, the drugs themselves are so numerous, that one could apply the German proverb, The trees prevent your seeing the forest, to those superficial observes who do not see that this psychical treatment is as widely as it is unconsciously used. The soldiers of the Argentine Republic, who prefer tobacco and mate to food, call these two substances, in their incorrect but picturesque language, Los vicios de entretenimiento (vices for entertainment). Might not the same name be applied to the numerous psychical remedies in use among all nations


CERTAIN men, who merely reason and refuse either to observe or experiment, reproach us with violating the freedom of our patients will when we administer psychical remedies to them. But these are the very men who, by absorbing the eleven psychical substances mentioned above, frequently, if not habitually, weaken their judgment, their freedom, their will, and even their morality, since some of these substances (alcoholics, coffee, mate, coca, arsenic, etc.) are aphrodisiacs. We, on the contrary, by means of psychical treatment moderate passionate impulses, develop reason, the sense of duty, the will to accomplish it, and consequently the freedom which every man has, in varying degrees, to resist personal or hereditary tendencies to evil.

After having noted above the dangers and counter-indications of alcohol, Mr. de Parville forgot to make known its advantages and indications. These were set forth by Dr. Bayes at the Homoeopathic Medical Congress held in Manchester, September 9th, 1875. I will now proceed to condense and complete Dr. Bayes’ observations.

The muscular beats of the normal heart represent one-fifth of the total muscular expenditure of the body. Those beats are accelerated by labor, by walking, by ingestion of alcohol.

Let a man at rest, seated or lying down, with, say, sixty heart-beats per minute, drink a glass of strong wine or of brandy, and from fifteen to thirty minutes later the number of his heart-beats will increase to eighty, ninety or a hundred per minute.

Jean Pierre Gallavardin
Jean Pierre Gallavardin (1825 – 1898) was a French orthodox physician who converted to homeopathy to gain international renown. Gallavardin was a Physician at the Homeopathic Hospital in Lyons.
Gallavardin set up a homeopathic Dispensary for the cure of alcoholics, often working in conjunction with priests, and he wrote several books on this subject.
Jean Pierre Gallavardin wrote Psychism and Homeopathy, The Homoeopathic Treatment of Alcoholism, How to Cure Alcoholism the Non-toxic Homoeopathic Way, Repertory of Psychic Medicines with Materia Medica, Plastic Medicine, and articles for The British Journal of Homeopathy, On Phosphoric Paralysis, and he collated the statistics on pneumonia and other cases for the United States Journal of Homeopathy, and he contributed widely to homeopathic publications.