Theory & Practice


Borland published this piece in The British Homoeopathic Journal. In this h enumerates how to decide the correct symptoms after case taking. How to evaluate symptoms, especially mental symptoms….


It is interesting to look at the history of medicine from the earliest days of which we have any knowledge. This shows that there has been a constant endeavour by the physicians to correlate their practice to the prevailing philosophical beliefs or scientific pronouncements of their days. In the early days the accepted beliefs consisted almost entirely of philosophical speculations. Since the dawn of scientific investigation the accepted beliefs of the day have tended more and more to be tested by the evidence to proved fact. Throughout the centuries the endeavour of the physician has been to adapt his practice to the prevailing dogma of the scientist or philosopher. This has, to a large extent, accounted for the ever changing practice of medicine, and accounts, very largely, for the constant changes which we see taking place in medical practice to-day. One has but to consider how, in the dawn of medicine, medical practice was founded on the philosopher;s dicta about the influence of the liver and spleen on the various disturbances from which the patient suffered to realize how the treatment by the physician endeavoured to follow the teaching of his philosophical mentor. In the middle ages one sees the heroic measures adopted to clear the theoretically poisoned fluids of the body, which again were postulated in theory.

Later one sees the dawn of morbid pathology, and the dawn of operative surgery in the endeavour to eliminate the diseased organ. And later still one sees the discovery of the microbic infection and the steps taken by the physician to correlate his practice to this new discovery. The microbic theory of disease is, of course, still the accepted belief, but one sees less and less stress being placed on the infecting organism and more and more recognition being given to the infected host, with corresponding modifications in treatment. Latterly one has watched the discovery and exploitation of the existence of vitamins and the influence that they exercise in human health, and again one sees medical practice modified to conform to this least discovery. A short time ago the place of vitamins was taken by the ductless glands with their endless internal secretions, and these two influence are still fighting for first place in scientific medicine of to-day. Recently some of the American workers have been advancing the theory that vitamin deficiencies in the patients are due not to the lack of intake of vitamins but to constitutional failure of the patient to b able to utilize such vitamins as are necessary for his well being. Theories are endless as fresh facts are discovered, and practice endeavours to keep up to date. Only by the discovery of the homoeopathic principle was it possible, for the first time, to enunciate a theory of practice which was applicable to any and every disease. This rule of practice was based on accurate observation and has been verified endlessly over the last hundred and fifty years.

It is in no way dependent on the varying beliefs or fashions of the day but it remains constant and governs the treatment undertaken by every homoeopathic physician. Just as through the centuries the physician has endeavoured to make his practice conform to the theory of the day, so the homoeopath tries to make his prescribing conform to the homoeopathic rule. The difficulty for the orthodox throughout the ages has been to make art correspond with theory. The difficulty for the homoeopath is to make his art conform to homoeopathic law. What I should like to examine is how the homoeopath can most easily and most accurately make his practice conform to the homoeopathic principle.

Douglas Borland
Douglas Borland M.D. was a leading British homeopath in the early 1900s. In 1908, he studied with Kent in Chicago, and was known to be one of those from England who brought Kentian homeopathy back to his motherland.
He wrote a number of books: Children's Types, Digestive Drugs, Pneumonias
Douglas Borland died November 29, 1960.