And then the small dose – that ancient bugbear – as Hahnemann foresaw, even for his own followers; and for others, a subject for endless witticisms. No need to apologise for the small dose now! Radium, Vitamins, Ferments, ions Colloids, even minerals waters have done that, and have demonstrated, to some extent, the immense potentiality of the infinitely little. Even chemistry teaches that chemical affinity comes into play only on surfaces, which are enormously increased when mass is reduced to impalpable powder. A lump of antimony plunged in chlorine gas shows nothing spectacular; but powder the antimony and throw it into chlorine, and the violence of the reaction will be almost explosive.
By minutes subdivision energy is liberated from inert mass- bulk-weight; from things palpable and manifest to our grosser senses. We are at last beginning to realise the potentialities of the intangible and the imponderable. But the most sensitive thing in the world is the diseased cell or tissue for the remedy of like symptoms, in infinitesimal subdivision. And it is with this that we have to deal.
Science is bearing Hahnemann out in this, and his small doses present no difficulty to modern biology…
Recent research on Enzyme action and the standardisation of such agents as Thyroxin and Pituitrin has emphasised the action of minute quantities of all kinds of agents, from minerals to complex organic substances.
Romies states that Thyroxin influences growth and development of tadpoles in dilutions of l in 5,000,000,000.1
Jokoby shows that Potassium Cyanide activates the fragment urease in a dilution l in 1,000,000.2
Reid Hunt has demonstrated that Acetyl Chlorine in the strength of a milligram in half- a -million gallons of blood causes a distinct fall in the blood pressure.3
Match has shown that the uterus of a virgin guineapig responds to such a dilute concentration of Histamine as could not be demonstrated by the most refined micro-chemical methods.4
Cobra venom has been shown to haemolyse red blood corpuscles in a dilution of 1 in 10,000,000. 5
The addition of 4 parts in 10,000 of copper doubles the rate of toxin production from a culture of diphtheria bacilli. (Lock and Main)6
These are merely random selections exempliflying the action of micro-doses in living cells – bacterial-amphibian – and mammalian.
But why this ultra-refinement in the dosage of homoeopathic remedies? Why, when all medicines is concerned with the maximum dose, should Homoeoapthy leach the minimal dose? and indeed such minimal doses as we shall speak of later, when we come to describe potentisation.
The reason in plain. Medicine, hitherto has been mainly concerned if one may so put it with doing violence to the organism. It has been directed to cause sweating-vomiting- purging, or sometimes to paralyse the action of the bowels. It has been used a deaden pain – to induce a drugged sleep – to modify the action of the heart- to depress fever – to excite appetite. In all these cases, the dose must be material. We are doing something subversive to the patient, or to his parts. Therefore the dose must be a poisonous but not a lethal one. It is for this reason that the dosage of official medicine is apt to be the largest one dare give, to ensure a desired effect.
But when a remedy is used, in exactly the opposite manner- croton oil for diarrhoea- apomorphia to control vomiting- opium for the coma of cerebral haemorrhage – lead for constipation – rattle-snake poison to control bleeding – and so on, it is only common senses to give it in the smallest dose that will evoke the desired reaction. Anything more than this will, pro tem. increase suffering- even where the ultimate result is good. And this is why in the first instance, experience compelled Hahnemann to reduce his doses.
Observe Homoeopathy never wants to do anything to a patient: only to stimulate his own reactive powers, and so cause him to cure himself. For Hahnemann, disease was merely the rebellion Vital Force against noxious agents, inimical to life : and he taught the cure can only come from the stimulated reaction of Vital Force against disease.
Again, Hahnemann tells us that the smallest possible dose of a homoeopathic medicine will operate chiefly upon the diseased parts of the body, which have become extremely susceptible of a stimulus so similar “to their own disease.”
This increased sensitiveness of disease parts is stressed by Bier also who talks of the “extraordinarily sensitive disease threshold”?; and who quotes Hufeland, “There is a reagent which is more delicate than the most delicate chemical reagent, and that is the reagent within the living organism.”
As a crude instance of this increased sensitiveness in disease, Bier states that “it requires 250,000 times as much formic acid to produce symptoms in the healthy than in the gouty.”
Hahnemann, when applying to hypersensitive diseased tissues the one stimulus to which they were most sensitive, viz. the drug of like symptoms – that is to say, the drug that was proved to irritate those particular tissues – was forced again and again to reduce his doses.
It is by provings that we discover, in each case, exactly what organs or tissues are affected by different poisons: and when we apply these, as stimulus to parts (not only especially sensitive to those particular drugs, but also rendered hypersensitive by disease) the necessity for reducing the dose is manifest.