THE word Homoeopathy is frequently used without a very clear understanding of its meaning, especially to-day, when the extreme rancour with which it was treated by its opponents on its opponents have seldom troubled to understand its method or its aim; containing themselves with a hasty judgment upon an imaginary doctrine, they have been too busy with anger and contempt to investigate or comprehend. In the earlier days it was necessary at least for th partisans of Homoeopathy to understand it, so that when this Manual was first compiled it was safe to issue that most of those who used it would into need instruction in its tenets. But to-day there are many who by unbringing or tradition or personal experience are inclined to believe in Homoeopathy as a practical method of treatment but have little or no knowledge of the principles upon which its practice is based. For them and for any enquirers, this chapter may have a value.
In the first place, to clear the ground, let it be said that the practice of Homoeopathy is concerned entirely with he application of drugs of disease. It consist in a principle of drug selection, using the world drug in the midst sense, to include any agent capable by its application, internally or externally, to the body, of modifying the life energies of its tissues. Therefore the whole realm of operative surgery lies outside the kingdom of Homoeopathy, for that concerned with direct removal and adjustment of parts of the body, removing foreign bodies or tumours or diseased tissues directly, or adjusting broken or displaced limbs. The genius of Pasteur and List laid foundations upon which a noble structure of usefulness has been erected. Before the days of asepsis, when the slights wound might prove fatal, it was wise policy to avoid operation whenever possible believes in Homoeopathy have always had a well grounds faith that they can so modify diseased tissues that they can dare without operation various conditions got which to-day the surgeon’s knife is generally invoked, and there fore the earlier homoeopathist rightly preferred medical to surgical treatment whenever possible. But drug treatment for these conditions is slow and it results, for some of them, uncertain. Consequently, now that operative surgery has lost nearly all its terrors, it is generally unwise to refuse the swift method f the knife for may diseases which previously were better under taken by the physician. Therefore, to-day, the believer in Homoeopathy is not in any sense a despiser of surgery. Confident in the powers of drugs chosen by his law, he does not lightly fly to operation; he considers medicinal treatment more fundamentally curative for certain condition for which those who have lost faith in remedies have nothing but surgical methods; but he is well aware of all that surgery can do and has no hesitation in invoking its aid. And, similarly, with regard to all the later discoveries of bacteriology and general medicine and all improved ways of diagnosis the homoeopathist neglects none of these. Not abating a jot of his faith in his own method of using drugs, he nevertheless welcomes gladly and additions to medical science that can prove their value; and although no doubt he is not so eager to rush after every new thing just because it is new, as those who have not this well proved confidence in his present weapons, he is not backward in welcoming every new assistance in his task, which at the best is so arduous.
What then is his method of using drugs and how do homoeopathic therapeutics differs from non-homoeopathic? The answer is best given historically.
More than a hundred years go, Samuel Hahnemann, distinguished through all Germany, and beyond as a physician, a chemist and a linguist, to whom all the resources of his art then available, were familiar, was in such despair over he futility of medical
at treatment that his attempts to assist his patients were of value, or even that they were not sometimes potent to harm when he meat then to heal. In his darkness there were a few shining stars, and one brilliant ray illuminated th treatment of ague by Cinchona Bark, the jesuit’s bark of peru, which, although introduced empirically, had proved itself then as now a powerful agent for the cure of relief of this disorder. Here, in this sphere, was a reasonable certainty; Cinchona bark could be administered in argue with confidence. Hahnemann asked himself naturally how it helped. He distrusted the current explanations of its mode of action, and decided on the true, scientific, course of experiment. Being in perfect health he swallowed a large dose of the the Tincture of channel bark, outthinking that its action on the healthy might help to explain its power over the sick. To his surprise the effect of the dose was to cause of in him, a healthy man, all the symptoms of an attack or ague, even down into minor and relatively unimportant details. In other words, the drug that cured ague could cause symptoms like those of ague; like cured like. He repeated his experiment and with the same result, so that he could feel it to be a engine drug effect and it may be said here that although this effect of Cinchona is not as marked upon everyone as it was upon Hahnemann, and although the truth o Hahnemann experiment has been questioned, nevertheless there is ample unimpeachable evidence from authorities untainted with Homoeopathy, that Cinchona (and Quinine, can in susceptible persons produced phenomena resembling those of ague.
Hahnemann’s experiment must be held to be a successful one. Its effect upon his own mind was immediate; he realized that he had a possible clue to drug action in his hand, and he proceeded to follow it up. Was it or was it not a law that remedies could cure in the sick the conditions whose symptoms the could cause in the healthy? This whose prejudices against Hahnemann are only equalled by their ignorance of his work, have talked as though he erected the whole structure of Homoeopathy on he basis of that one structure of Homoeopathy on the basis of that one experiment. the truth is otherwise. He toiled or six years before the published a hint of his discoveries, than he put foreword his conclusion rather tentatively, and continued his experiments with indefatigable patience and devotion for fourteen years more, e re he felt himself in a position to speak positively. It is hardly possible in scientific history to find a case wherein more care and labour has been devoted to establish a thesis which has been by most persons so summarily disguised. Homoeopathy has been almost universally condemned without investigation, and the confident judgment of its opponents has been founded on little but ignorance and prejudice. The only true scientific attitude towards a new proposition is one of experiment and enquiry.
The vast majority of those who have assumed this attitude towards Homoeopathy have come co believe in it, and those who express their disbelief are nearly always those who know little or nothing of its history or its aim.
Homoeopathy then may be defined as a law to guide the physician in his selection of a remedy. All rugs produce effects, more or less marked, on healthy individuals who taken them these effects make up characteristic symptom-pictures which, experience finds, are similar to the symptom-pictures met with in various cases of various disease. Homoeopathy teaches that the remedy most likely to prove curative or helpful to any case of disease is that remedy which can counterfeit upon the healthy most closely the symptoms which this case do disease presents,. Individual cases of even similar diseases have individual features, because constitutions differ, and the curative remedy should be selected by all the symptoms, taking special note of the individual and unusual ones. Therefore the drug chosen homoeopathically is a drug for a piratical case, and owes its usefulness to its complete suitability. This is the central, cardinal law or Homoeopathy. When a drug is given to the sick which can produce similar symptoms upon the healthy. Homoeopathy is (consciously or unconsciously) being practiced. Now, obviously, this assertion of the homoeopathic law can only be proved or disproved by careful experiment. It matters not that as yet we can give no final explanation why it is a a law. It suffices for practice that is a law, and that remedies can be chosen by it with confidence.
Two Corollaries follow from the central law. First, drugs must be rested upon the healthy that we may construct symptom-pictures for use in dealing with the sick.
This is called proving drugs. It has been (and is ) an immense labour, calling for patience, energy and devotion. Hahnemann nd his few first follows laid magnificent foundations of this work, and eructed a splendid edifice to which the labour of many in many countries has made additions. Much has been done, and though much more can be conceived, Homoeopathy to-day possesses a vast amount of knowledge of he effects of drugs. The second corollary of the always that the remedy chosen by its likeness to the disease is best given in small dose. if dry can produce symptoms of disease on a healthy person (e.g., cause inflammation of the stomach), then obviously if it is given to a patient similarly affected by disease, and therefore more sensitive than a healthy person, there e will be a risk of aggravating the trouble unless a small dose is chose. Even with a small dose a slight aggravation is often seen, but if the appearance of its is taken as a sigh to withhold further doses for a time taken as a sign to withhold further doses for a time, the aggravation usually passes over into a satisfactory curative reaction. It must always be remembered direct antagonist to a disease (in the way conceived by the doctors of old who opposed hot and ‘cold remedies so disease which they called cold or hot)_ but as a stimulant to the power of reaction of he body; once these powers of reaction are set going effectively no further medicines required until signs of a flagging of the process appear. it is a golden rule of homoeopathic prescribing not to give a second dose of a remedy till it is certain that the full effect of the first is exhausted.
The small dose then is obviously desirable; but homoeopathist use not only small doses, but even infinitesimal ones, and and have increased much ridicule by so doing. let it be remembered that a diseased tissue is more sensitive than a healthy tissue, for health presupposes a condition of stable equilibrium, a n it will then be clear that a dose which may have no effect on the healthy may be potent to heal the sick. And as for extreme smallness the century since Hahnemann has taught chemises and physicists at least the powers that lie in quantities immeasurable by the methods of man, so that it is no longer so incredible that even an infinitesimal dose should be able to achieve a marked effete. In any case the scientific path is again that of experiment. Hahnemann did not begin with infinitesimal quantities, but was led by his experience stop by step till be found that not only were the small doses active, but seven sometimes apparently roe active. The experience of Hahnemann has been confirmed by many of his follows. Others again have found more success by using quantities, small indeed, nut not so very mall The question of the dose is probably an individual one like that of the drug, and further knowledge may enable us to choose with certainty not only the drug, but also the dose. At present it is enough to say that it is best experiment with all dilutions (potencies as they are called), and be guided by personal experience. Thee is some consensus of opinion that the more chronic the disease the more a high potency is likely to help, especially when given in infrequent doses. For acute and sub-acute disorders lower potencies are most generally useful. Probably also th more exactly a drug is chosen homoeopathically the more likely are the higher potencies to have a profound effect. But if the drug has only resemblance and not a every close resemblance to the disease, the more will the lower potencies be needed to produce took results. From which it follows that in domestic practice the lower potencies are the more general useful and the high ones should on the whole be left to the expert physician.
Finally, let it be urged one more that the truth flashed of Homoeopathy can only be determined by experiment, and that those who have not made the test should not be allowed to express dogmatic opinions without question, however eminent they may be in other ways. The patch of science lies through experiment, and he who pronounces judgment of a point on science without experiment, when experiment is possible, is to that extent unworthy to be called a scientific man. Of late years, workers in independent fields have done to independent conclusion from which the homeopathies star can draw which encouragement. Readers may be referred to the chapter on Vaccines in this volume for an example. Also the biologists have formulated certain laws, which are universally acted as governing the reaction of protoplasm the substance which is the material basis of life, Activities by timely, and drugs are to be conceived as chemical stimuli,A large stimulus hinders life activity, while the same kind of stimulus in a relatively weak amount encourages like activity. Now when disease is presents it may be truthfully said that the protoplasm of some (often of many) cells in. the body is disordered. Our judgment upon the problem of which cells are affected is a deduction from the symptoms and physical signs which the patient presents. Obviously these are the cells which requires an encouraging stimulus, and th law of stimuli teaches us that could we know of an agent capable in a stung dose of hindering the activate of these cells, that same agent in a smaller dose would give us the encouraging power which we need. But if we administer to the healthy, drugs (stimuli) in if we administer tot he healthY, drugs (stimuli) in measure sufficient to damage the cells o which they are attracted and so produce symptoms, we shall into by the similarity of the symptoms when we find the drug that can affect the same cells as are affected in our per-supposed case of disease, and the dredge administered in a small dose tot he sick man will prove the encouraging stimulus, which his laboring cells require. In other words, we must prove drugs upon the healthy and administer them in small doses for the disease conditions which eye are able to counterfeit, and thus goes a biological investigation noble us to deduce the practice of Homoeopathy, should be encouraged to appease in this faith and extend the number of experimented, who may in their turn become disciples. And those who have been afraid to investigate Homoeopathy through dread of ridicule may taken courage from this evidence that the trend of modern science is towards it, and may be emboldened to make those personal experiments upon which alone can be used base a reasonable conclusion.