HOMOEOPATHY INTRODUCTORY LECTURES
YOU will find work here far more interesting if you start with some idea of what remedies we use, and why, and how we use them.
Most of out remedies are entirely unknown to the ordinary doctor.
We all go through the same schools take the same examinations and become “qualified in medicine”‘ and then those of us who come across Homoeopathy learn to use a new power.
All the rest is absolutely the same for all doctors, viz. pathology, diagnosis, anatomy, chemistry, etc. But we homoeopaths “specialize in drugs”.
Homoeopaths are alone among doctors in HAVING A LAW by which to choose their medicines.
In the Compton Burnett lecture the other day, you were told the Law : “Let Likes be treated by Likes.”
Old School, for diarrhoea, prescribes an astringent, or perhaps something to paralyse the action of the bowels. For diarrhoea WE prescribe the most like purgative – and, provided that there is not some deep, old-standing condition, with perhaps change, or even destruction of tissue (chronic colitis – tuberculosis) behind it, we cure almost with the first dose; provided, always, that our purgative is the most like this case of diarrhoea.
For instance, the CHINA (Cinchona) DIARRHOEA is generally painless; and flood, undigested, is passed in the stools. During the children’s work here, during the War, one remembers a summer- diarrhoea epidemic, where most of the case needed, and cured up promptly with CHINA.
The COLOCYNTH DIARRHOEA (i.e. the diarrhoea caused and cured by Colocynth) is not painless. It doubles up its victim in agonies of pain, and makes him press hard into the abdomen for relief. A few years ago one of the missionaries was so doubled up on a chair in the out-patient department. I was asked to help her, and Colocynth DID.
Colocynth is of the cucumber family. I remember we used to grow custard marrows (of the same family), and one lot had a very bitter taste, and those who ate them had this Colocynth cramping diarrhoea, and were very sorry for themselves.
That dreadful poison, corrosive sublimate, out MERCURIUS COR., again, has diarrhoea in which the evacuations are chiefly slime and flood. Here the agony is the fearful straining to pass the stools, not even relieved by stool-the “never-get-done sensation” as it is called. The more the straining, and the more the blood, the more certainly is Mercurius cor. indicated. And Mercurius cor is almost a specific for DYSENTERY. Some of the missionaries trained here have told us of wonderful work during epidemics of dysentery in hot climates, with Mercurius cor.
So, first get this into your heads, WHAT A DRUG CAN CAUSE, THAT IT CAN CURE. And, if you want to know what a drug can cure, you have only to find out what it can cause.
“Always, drugs are sick-making, and sick-curing, and the sickness is the same.”
The angry giant in the fairy story annihilated his poor little guest, because he blew hot and cold with the same mouth. He was breathing on his chilly fingers. “What was that for? ” -” To warm them.” And then he blew on his porridge! ” Why that?” “Please, sir, to cool it.” And that was too much for the intelligence of that big bully-and others since.!
Ask an Old School doctor, ” Why are you giving ipecacuanha wine to this child?” ” To make it vomit.” ” Then why on earth do you give it to this woman, in misery from the vomiting of pregnancy?” ” Why, to stop her vomiting.” That is just a familiar instance of ” What a drug causes, it can cure.”
Dr. Compton Burnett, a great prescriber, used to say that, if he were marooned on a lonely island without any medicines he would soon have all he wanted for work on that island. He found observe the effects of bites and stings; he would note the symptoms to poisonous plants. He would prepare these “sick makers” according to Hahnemann’s safe method, would test them on himself, and give them to any healthy persons who would help him to ” prove ” them. He would carefully record the exact symptoms they produced, and then use them with confidence to cure persons whose sickness presented the same symptom-picture. He would probably do even better work there than with his beloved chest, because the Almighty seems to have provided remedies where they are needed; and every time produce the medicines to heal its own peculiar sickness.
Even in our country we see this; where each season brings forth the plant remedies that best suit its conditions : and Dulcamara riots over the hedges when both days are succeeded by chilly evenings, and where ailments occur form chills when hot, or from a wetting when hot. I well remember one of Kent’s scholars, newly home form Chicago, and Casualty Officer here. There was a case of diarrhoea in a child, ill for a couple of days. ” Let’s see,” he mused, “What was the weather that day? Oh, yes! it turned suddenly cold and wet”- and the successful prescription was Dulcamara.
The ordinary doctor, marooned on a lonely island, without his purgatives, his emetics, his tonics, his diarrhoea-mixture, his sleeping stuffs, his aspirin – would be hopelessly lost. His knowledge of “medicine” learnt in the schools would be useless, because in his curriculum the Law of Healing had had no place. Not so the homoeopath; he would soon master the situation.
All great poisons are great remedies. The old Latin proverb has it. ” The grater the Poison, the greater the Remedy.” Only, you need Hahnemann’s Low of Similars to know how to apply it. This, only, bridges the chasm that separates knowledge of the action of drugs, from knowledge of how to apply them. Without this Law, all is empiricism; conjecture; the testing of supposed or likely remedies, on the sick, and discarding them, one by one, when they, too often, fail. The Old School studies the action of drugs; and studies, and tabulates, the symptoms of disease (diagnosis), and – that is the end of it, from the scientific point of view. It is only Homoeopathy that solves the puzzle, how to apply the one for the relief of the other.
It is true that centuries of experience of cures, perhaps accidental at the start, have been handed down by natives, savages-herbalists; and in this way curative substances have been found.
It was the discovery that natives of Peru cured their ague by drinking of the bitter waters of a pool into which a Cinchona tree had fallen, that gave us the invaluable, but much abused Quinine. You have heard how Hahnemann “proved” Quinine on himself, and how he produced thereby ague-symptoms, and so made its use not only practical (for some cases), but also scientific; conforming, as it does, to the Law of Similars. But Quinine will not cure all cases of ague; though it will, again and again, suppress most cases. I remember an ague-case, at the end of the War, much treated with Quinine, and constantly recurring. This was the story: “If tired, gets attacks, which intermit, and last for days. Gets very hot, then sweats profusely. Sour taste. Headaches : Head splits with exertion – as singing. Walks about. If out, wants to be in; if in, wants to be out; if doing something, wants to be doing something else. At times, nervous alone. Hates fuss. Feels the cold lately.
All typical Arsenic symptoms, and after a dose of Arsenicum, the next day the report was : “Slept soundly, and wanted to get up after six hours sleep-for the first time for months. Homoeopathically prepared Arsenic (our arsenicum alb.) promptly cured that malaria, where Quinine had failed. Why? Because the symptoms, and especially the mental symptoms, were those of Arsenicum, and not those of Quinine. And Arsenicum DID cure; because there has been no recurrence in all these years.
LACHESIS is a medicine that you will see prescribed here. It is a very rapid and very venomous poison-that of the Lance-headed viper-the Surukuku snake of South America. Clarke says, “It is to the genius of Constantine Hering the world owes this remedy. The doctor was botanizing and geologizing on the Amazon. He was alone with the natives, except for his wife. He had heard so much about this snake, that he offered a big reward for a live specimen. At last one was brought in a bamboo box. the natives fled. Hering stunned it as the box was opened, and holding its head in a forked stick, pressed its venom out on sugar of milk. The effect of handing it, and preparing the lower attenuations, was to throw him into a fever with delirium and mania. At last he slept. On waking, his first question was, `What did I do and say?’ His wife remembered well enough! – and the symptoms were recorded; and that was the first proving of Lachesis. This snake grows seven feet upwards, and its fangs are nearly an inch long.” Hering’s Lachesis has saved many lives. Years later another doctor, who was also to become a great homoeopathic prescriber-Carroll Dunham-desperately ill with blood-poisoning-was cured with Lachesis 12 : t.d.s for five days. So young Dunham went off to study Homoeopathy under Boenninghausen, a friend and disciple of Hahnemann. And Dunham, in his turn, taught the use of high potencies to NASH. Some of you will get Nash’s Leaders, later on, as prizes. It is a delightful book; perhaps the very best to put into the hands of beginners, to teach them to think homoeopathically.
Another such remedy for desperate and rapid sickness is Rattle-snake poison-CROTALUS HORRIDUS. Blueness is a feature of Lachesis, yellowness and jaundice of Crot.. Rattle-snake poison gives you a beautiful picture of black-water fever, for which it may almost be said to be specific. I have seen black- water fever once, in one of my brothers, an R.E. officer, who had been doing delimitation work in Africa with some French officers. It was on the banks of the Gambia that he must have become infected. On the Gambia, we claimed ten miles on each side of the river, while the French had the hinterland. The natives used to come, he told us, entreating that their villages might be British. Well, he had been home some time before the blow fell: ill and not ill-that is to say, the least chill gave him malaria, for which he took, and had been taking, large doses of Quinine. I shall never forget the suddenness, or the deadly rapidity of the illness. He was rather irritable one evening-most unusual with him!-and next morning he sent for his father. ” I have got black-water fever.” He was bleeding everywhere; urine black and almost solid; stools black; and he began, in a few hours, the deadly black vomit of bad cases, with its peculiar, indescribable noise in retching. He was yellow; in a few hours his chest was pale green, and he could not lift his head from the pillow. A grandson of Hahnemann lived near by, and we sent to him for some Crot. in the middle of the next night. He was an old man, and merely sent it. I have that little bottle now. Well, after a very few doses of Crot., alternated by the doctor in attendance, with Phosphorus (a somewhat like remedy in the production of haemorrhages) he got rapidly well. Some weeks later, he had a huge abscess in the palm of his right hand-its position probably determined by the pressure of a golf club; this was opened, and again a few doses of Crot. helped to make him quickly well.
Crot. and Lachesis are perhaps our greatest remedies for blood-poisoning. And snake venoms, acting with great rapidity, are indispensable for disease of like intensity and rapidity.
Another deadly reptile poison we use is that of the spider, LATRODECTUS MACTANS. In whatever part of the body a person is bitten by this horrible spider, the results is the most agonizing heart pain. This pain extends down the left arm, which becomes numb and pulseless, Here you see a perfect picture of angina pectoris: and one has seen its magic work in angina pectoris more than once.
And here, another point. Poisons, used as such, or as remedies, affect primarily certain definite organs and tissues. They may especially affect heart, liver, spleen, lungs, blood, skin; and always by “sick-making”, or “sick-curing”. Because that, only, which can make sick has power to cure. That is why Homoeopathy is scientific. It KNOWS beforehand. It is most truly on the post.
But besides reptile and animal poisons-such as the poisons of diseases, which homoeopaths have been using for the last hundred years, prepared always according to the SAFE methods of Hahnemann (you shall hear about that later) we have hundreds of plant poisons; and these can be deadly enough, till tamed by Hahnemann. Power is always dangerous, but can be safely and delicately employed, if we know how. A steam hammer can pulp your finger, or daintily crack a nut. Electricity can rend trees, fire houses, burn and blast and destroy; but it will boil your kettle, toast your bread, and give you the music of all the capitals of Europe on your wireless. The greater the power, the greater its possibilities-for evil, or for good.
These tiny globules of sugar of milk, at which the unlearned have scoffed for a century, contain the venom of one of the most deadly of reptiles, in healing from-potentized and safe.
Among plant poisons, you have been told how BELLADONNA poisoning gives the most perfect picture of scarlet fever; and scarlet fever has been treated by homoeopaths ever since Hahnemann’s day with a minimal mortality, and, moreover, with an absence of the complications and sequelae that are apt to attend scarlet fever when not treated by “similars”. I remember when a student, listening to a lecture on scarlet fever from the Dean of out School of Medicine, She made me think, ” What a terrible disease! I would not care to have that!” She described its frequent bequest-kidney disease-for life. She told how it was often followed by rheumatic fever, perhaps damaging the heart for life; or by middle-ear disease, perhaps necessitating a mastoid operation; by different disease of bone, with their operations; by-I forget the rest! – but it did not sound too cheerful. Well, Dr.Edwin Neatby, the Father of your Missionary School of Medicine, once assured me that, working as a homoeopath through severe epidemics of scarlet fever, years ago when he had a very large general practice, and before all the cases were interned in fever hospitals and locked inexorably away from the mercies of Homoeopathy, he could not remember a case of scarlet fever that did not clear up under Belladonna, and without any of the complications and sequelae.
But Belladonna can do more that abort, or cure; it can prevent. Hahnemann was on this the start of his discoveries, when, in a houseful of scarlet fever, one child only escaped, a child he was treating with Belladonna. Belladonna is so like the real thing, that it can, if administered where there is risk of infection, raise the body’s resting powers, after the manner of the real thing, and so forestall it.
It is a tragedy that these acute fevers have passed, practically, out of out hands. It is on these that Homoeopathy can most easily demonstrate its powers. WE WANT A FEVER HOSPITAL. By the way, speaking of Belladonna….. a man narrowly escaped hanging a few years ago for the death of several persons who had eaten a rabbit pie made by him. Luckily it was pointed out that rabbits can eat Belladonna with impunity perhaps they have too little brain for Belladonna to affect! – and that the poison got into the pie via the rabbit, and not the man, who was innocent.
The great action of Belladonna is on the brain : it is one of the violently deliriant drugs. Babies with undeveloped brains are said to tolerate larger does than grown-ups. One learns these things in Old School text-books. The ordinary doctor’s idea is, ” How much can I give without danger?” – the homoeopath’s idea is, ” How little can I give to get the result I want?” Ours is safer! I remember, when we were students, we were told by our lecturer that the dose given in the text-books for Santonin (for worms) had more than once caused death. He advised us to cut it down!
You will love your remedies, when you come to know and trust them. The Romance of Homoeopathy is positively fascinating.
Another plant poison that we use, infrequently, but in his in its place, to save life, is Ailanthus. Ailanthus glandulosa. “Tree of Heaven”, is a large and beautiful tree. I remember two of them, in our garden at Wyvenhoe, when we were children, Years ago the child of a homoeopathic doctor was taken frightfully ill; it looked like a case of malignant scarlet fever, the skin livid, with purple patches; extreme prostration, and torpor. The father was in despair, thinking his child must die, when it solved the question by vomiting Ailanthus berries. And ever since, Homoeopaths have used Ailanthus to cure these very desperate cases of scarlet fever.
Mineral poisons, again, are among our very important remedies : Arsenic, for instance.
A couple of years ago, in hospital, a man was seen, deeply jaundiced, unconscious, bringing up mouthfuls of dark blood; convulsed, from time to time; dying. It was a puzzle-case. Jaundice? Yes! – but vomiting of blood, and convulsions, do not fit in! a homoeopath goes for the symptoms; and the symptoms were undoubtedly those of Phosphorus, or Arsenic, and it was evidently a case of poisoning. He died in a few hours, and the Coroner was informed, and a pathologist of renown came to remove organs for examination, surprised that we should have spotted the poison, ” Yes, it was Arsenic or Phosphorus; he thought more likely the former, as more common.” And so it turned out.
One cannot imagine a more brutal way of murdering a fellow- creature than by Arsenic; whether slowly, or by one fatal dose, as in this case.
Arsenic causes the most perfect picture of ptomaine poisoning, and is, therefore, practically specific for that condition – with its agonies of vomiting and purging; its restlessness, its most profound anxiety and prostration.
One has seen several such cases. In one, a woman, staggering down the out-patient stairs, with her husband’s help, looking more dead than alive. She had been ” vomiting and purging ” all night, and ever since. ” No! she could not come into hospital; she had a baby at home and small children.” So the only thing to do was to cover her up on a couch, give her Arsenicum in high potency, and send the husband away for a couple of hours, while one saw what Arsenicum could do for her. Looking in, after half an hour, ” Could she have a cup of tea?” ” Why, yes!” ( The magic was working!) Another hour, she was found sitting by the couch, up, and ready to go home.
Another such case : the police `phoned through to one of our doctors, ” A patient of yours is very ill in the cloak-room of Victoria station; she wishes you informed.” As he could not go, I went, to find her, a pail beside her, propped against the shoulder of the senior cloak-room a attendant; a case of diarrhoea with constant retching and vomiting. She was shivering’ cold; collapsed. They were awfully good to her there. It seems she had come up from the country that afternoon for shopping, and some food that she had eaten had poisoned her. There was a fight with the ambulance people, who “could only take her to Charing Cross where they took their patients”. They gave in, after telephoning for permission to take her to our hospital instead. There was a fight with the buffet people for a little brandy, for which she begged, since “it was past 5 p.m.” – but she promptly vomited it-so that was merely lost time. I sat by her, while she vomited, in the ambulance; hurried her into bed, with hot bottles, hurried some Arsenicum alb. 1M into her, then waited while she grew warm and quiet. She only vomited once after she got into the hospital, but that was before the Arsenicum. Next morning, she was found dressing to go home-herself again, and very grateful. Well might Hahnemann say, ” God’s good gift, Homoeopathy!” One of our doctors was converted to homoeopathic potencies by a like experience with ptomaine poisoning and Arsenicum, when in America. That was evidence enough for him!.
So you need, for desperate sickness, desperate remedies : but the symptoms must correspond. One remedy will not do for another. And you know exactly what every poison can do curatively, by finding out exactly the fiendish things it can do poisonously.
That is why lay homoeopaths often do great work. That is why we train you Missionaries in order that, far from professional help, you may yet be able to obey Our Lord’s command, which was not only ” Go ye into all the world, and preach the good news to every creature,” but, also, ” HEAL THE SICK.” Of course, the healer should have full medical training; it is most important that he should be able to recognize its possibilities; but it is even more important that he should recognize the remedy. As Browning puts it :