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.

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.