Disease and drug study in general

All the diseases known to man have their likeness in the Materia Medica, and the physician must become so conversant with this art that he may perceive this likeness. …

Part of your study should be to bring before the mind, as fully as possible, the diseases that the human race is subject to. This cannot be done to any great extent from Old School books, as they do not treat of psora, syphilis and sycosis in such a way as to bring the image of the disease before the mind., the diagnostic or pathognomonic symptom are brought out for the purpose of distinguishing one disease from the other, but not with the idea of bringing the image of the disease before the mind that it may look like some remedy recorded in the Materia Medica, because that is not the allopathic physician’s way of prescribing.

It is important to go over the great bulk of the psoric symptoms that Hahnemann has given to obtain as perfect an image as possible of the disease psora. If we take the Chronic Diseases and go over them, writing out opposite every symptom that Hahnemann has mentioned as psoric all the remedies that have been found from provings to correspond to these disease symptoms, we shall have before the mind a list of the anti-psoric remedies. It is a good exercise and a good way of preparing for the study of Materia Medica.

Try to master this: Disease must not be looked upon from a few symptoms that the patient may possess but from all the symptoms that the whole human race bring out. It is just as improper to look upon psora from a few symptoms as it is to look upon a remedy from a few symptoms. Just as you see the image of a remedy from all the symptoms, including the peculiar symptoms, so psora must be considered from its characteristics, the features that constitute psora. Remedies are adjusted as to appearance; the appearance of the remedy expressed in symptoms must be adjusted to the appearances of the disease expressed in symptoms.

When you have finished psora, take up sycosis, and spend much time in gathering together all the symptoms that sycotic patients have felt, l all their suffering and all the ultimates. Group them as one, and look upon them as one miasm. Then go to the Materia Medica again and make an anamnesis. Take each symptom and place opposite it all the remedies that have produced that symptom. You can readily see that the remedies that run through most strongly will be anti-sycotic remedies, i.e., the remedies that have the essentials of the disease or the nature of sycotic in them.

In the same way make an anamnesis of syphilis. By these means you will bring before your mind the three chronic disease of the human race and when this is accomplished in a general way you will be prepared to enter upon their treatment. But remember that the symptoms, when it comes to prescribing for a chronic patient, constitute the whole basis of he prescription; we have not other. We may theorize as much as we have mind to, but when it comes to the actual application the symptoms must guide to the remedy. These are, however, a good many different ways of looking at the symptom

s. It is a very easy thing to become confused over the symptoms and fall into error by taking symptoms that are unimportant. Your study in the Materia Medica will illustrate how you must study disease, as the plan of studying the Materia Medica for the purpose of bringing the image of a remedy before the mind is the plan we must adopt in studying a disease. the physician who can only hold in his memory the symptom of a disease or a remedy will never succeed as a homoeopath. He has not taught himself to think, he has only a mass of particulars, and nothing to tie to. There is no order. It is like a mob.

Here I want to read you an note of Hahnemann’s. “Should it, however, be thought sometimes necessary to have names for diseases, in order to render ourselves intelligible in a few words to the ordinary classes when speaking of a patient, let none be made use of but such as are collective. We ought to say, for instance, that a patient has a species of chorea, a species of dropsy, a species of nervous fever, species of ague.” etc. It will lead the mind into heresay if none gets into the custom of speaking from appearances and naming diseases according to the old way. The homoeopathic physician must avoid thinking that way. One who has been in the habit of thinking that way must make a great effort to keep the mind from running in that groove. Of course, it would be folly to talk to an old school physician or to a patient in any other words and we can talk to them so, for the sake of conversing but we must know when we speak in such a way that it is only an appearance.

This now brings us to paragraph 83, which takes up the study and examination of the patient and the qualifications necessary for comprehending the image of a disease. You have probably by this time come to the conclusion that an old school prescriber, and perhaps the majority of such s call themselves homoeopaths at the present time, are perfectly incompetent to examine a patient, and therefore incompetent to examine Homoeopathy, to test it, so as to say whether there is anything in it or not. They have every element of failure and no element of success.

It is impossible to test Homoeopathy without learning how to get the disease image so before the eye that the homoeopathic remedy can be selected. What a natural thing it would be for a allopathic physician to say: “I am going to test Homoeopathy. This patient has a case of vomiting, and I will give Ipecacuanha because it produces vomiting.” So he gives Ipecac, and the patient keeps on vomiting. He has tested Homoeopathy and it is no good! That is the way tests are usually made.

I have had physicians tell me that they have tested Homoeopathy and it failed; but I know that it was not Homoeopathy that failed but the physician who failed. Whenever failure comes it is a failure of the physician and not of the law. This is about the kind of a test that is made today in this enlightened day and age of the world. They have neither the knowledge nor the state of mind to make a test. They do not know what to observe, or how to select a remedy. If we should look up all the remedies that have vomiting we would find a pretty good list, but to make use of that list the mind must be prepared to see which one in it is similar to this individual patient.

The examination of a particular case of disease, with the intent of presenting it in its formal state and individually, only demands on the part of the physician an unprejudiced mind, sound understanding, attention and fidelity in observing and tracing the image of the disease, I will content myself in the present instance with merely explaining the general principles of the cause that is to be pursued, leaving it to the physician to select those which are applicable to each particular case.

The first statement is that the physician must be of unprejudiced mind. Where are you going to find such a person? If that is essential, there is almost nobody that can examine a case for the purpose of finding a remedy for that case. An unprejudiced mind! At the present day there is almost no such thing as unprejudiced mind. Go out among the doctors who profess to practice Homoeopathy and you will find they are full of prejudice. They will at once commence to tell you what they believe; one believes one thing and another another thing; they all have varying kinds of belief.

This does not come from a question of fact, but it comes from what each man has laid down as fact. What each man wants to be so in his view, is so. That establishes in his mind a state of prejudice, and as no two agree there are many different opinions, the majority of which must be false. Go into anything that you have a mind to and you will find man full of prejudice. This state of prejudice exists in the examination of a patient. The physician goes to the patient prejudiced as to his own theories.

He has own ideas as to what constitutes the correct method of examination, and so he does not examine the patient for the purpose of bringing out the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. His prejudices lead him to snap the patient up as soon as he begins to tell his story. He will thumb, him all over, from head to foot, and then tell him what is the matter with him. A prescription that has no earthly relation to the constitutional state of the patient follows, but no examination has really been made.

It might readily and truthfully be said that the true man has no prejudices. It is certain that the true man is one free from prejudices, one who can listen, who can examine evidence and who can meditate. What would we think of a judge who could go into a case with strong prejudice? The law provides that a judge cannot sit in judgment over his brother or over his wife, or over his other relatives.

In a homoeopathic physician an unprejudiced mind can only be attained by learning all the truth and all the doctrines of Homoeopathy. If a physician goes in with prejudice for a certain potency or a certain disease, or a prejudice against certain principles, he is not in a rational state, he is not in freedom with the patient and he goes into the examination in ignorance, and if he cannot free himself from prejudice he cannot prescribe. If a man has arrived at a degree of sound understanding concerning the doctrines of Homoeopathy, concerning the doctrines of potentization, concerning the doctrines that relate to chronic and acute diseases, concerning the Materia Medica, he goes into it with full freedom, with an intention to examine the case in all its length and breadth, and to listen patiently. He listens to the friends of the patient and he observes without prejudice, with wisdom and with judgment. He must go into the case without forming any judgment whatever until all the witness have told their tale and all the evidence is before him. Then he commences to study the whole case. That is doing it without prejudice and for this a sound under-standing is necessary, with a clear knowledge of all things relating to the subject and to all of his duties.

James Tyler Kent
James Tyler Kent (1849–1916) was an American physician. Prior to his involvement with homeopathy, Kent had practiced conventional medicine in St. Louis, Missouri. He discovered and "converted" to homeopathy as a result of his wife's recovery from a serious ailment using homeopathic methods.
In 1881, Kent accepted a position as professor of anatomy at the Homeopathic College of Missouri, an institution with which he remained affiliated until 1888. In 1890, Kent moved to Pennsylvania to take a position as Dean of Professors at the Post-Graduate Homeopathic Medical School of Philadelphia. In 1897 Kent published his magnum opus, Repertory of the Homœopathic Materia Medica. Kent moved to Chicago in 1903, where he taught at Hahnemann Medical College.