Disorder First in Vital Force

Some doctors say: “Oh, we will have a remedy for cancer some day,” having in mind only the symptoms of cancer, that is, the symptoms that represent the results of disease and not the symptoms that represent the disease itself. There is a vast difference between these two. These physicians would not talk so if they only knew and would only think in this proper and wholesome fashion, that to cure the patient would be to cure the cancer, and in order to cure the patient it is necessary to go back in his history and get those symptoms that represent the patient in a state of disease and not the tissues in a state of disease results.

In the latter state, the original symptoms of the disease have often disappeared they are, as it were, swallowed up. So it is when the innermost disease have often disappeared; they are, acted and the whole body is full of disease results, such as dropsical conditions or pus sacs. or hip-joint abscesses. The pains make the patient unable to think of his symptoms. Then these physicians come along and prescribe for the resultant states and end in failure. They give Silica for hip-joint disease and Bufo for epilepsy, and so on giving medicines for groups of symptoms.

That is not Homoeopathy. Such men then go off and say:”Oh, I have tried everything,” but they have tried nothing but modern practice. It is a travesty upon Homoeopathy. The expert physician can listen to signs and symptoms before morbid changes have taken place, and if no medicines have ever been administered, if no drugging has been resorted to, no morphine and no other violent and vicious drugs, the image stands out before him in relief; it is perfect, because it has not been meddled with.

It speaks with clearness, and the physician who is intelligent can learn to read it. But the physician who is not capable of seeing that this is different from the group of pathological symptoms that represent the so-called fixed diseases, if he cannot make a distinction between the symptoms that represent the disease per se and the symptoms that represent the result of disease, he will never practice Homoeopathy successfully. If he cannot understand it he had better work at it until he does understand it; he must continue to labour until he can discriminate between the organic symptoms associated with the results of disease and the pure signs given forth by nature.

Every few days I run across a homoeopathic physician who asks: “What remedy are you using in such and such case?” Such a thing has no place in my mind, and I look upon one who speaks in that way as a man untrained in homoeopathics. I truly have lost my patience over such things, for the old gray-heads, who have practiced for years and pretended to practice Homoeopathy, do not hesitate to say that “the best remedy for epilepsy” is so and so.

What nonsense! That is not adjusting the remedy to the state of the patient that existed before he had these structural changes and fixed groups of symptoms, for if you adjust a remedy to the pathological condition you are not adjusting it to the patient, to his very beginning down to the present time. He need to have pathological results, all he needs to have is symptoms. The patient can cure his own morbid anatomy. If you will take away the first state of disorder his economy will be safe. If the results of disease cannot be removed the patient himself will return to health and the morbid anatomy will undergo such changes that it will no affect his state of health. The fibrinous adhesions needs no necessarily go away a state of quiescence comes and remains year after year so long as he remains well.

To think of remedies for cancer is confusion, but to think of remedies for the patient who appears to have cancer is orderly, and you will be astonished to know what wonderful changes will take place in these conditions when remedies that correspond to the conditions before the cancer began are administered. Cancer is the result of disorder, which disorder must be turned in order and must be healed. We dwell upon this, for many a paragraphs bring out this distinction between symptoms and results of disease. The true morbid sensations of a healthy organism are what we must first consider.

It is first assumed that the organism is in a state of health and capable of performing its functions, and then the morbid sensations of this healthy organism are the symptoms that come to the physician as a forerunner of death in parts, and finally death of the whole. The patient tells the physician his sensations, of the numbness of his fingers, of the pricking in his skin, of the pain in his stomach, etc., all the sensations of any part of which he is reminded. The healthy man is not reminded of his parts. He passes his stool without pain in the part. If he has pain or bleeding he is reminded of this part. If he passes his urine without sensation we say it is normal and he is in freedom, but if burning and smarting and tenesmus follow he is reminded of it, and these sensations constitute symptoms.

If the patient is waxy and pallid, has papules and pustules, or swollen and varicose veins with red face, red eyes, etc., these the physician can see and not down. Again there are things that the physician cannot see and that the patient cannot tell, that the mother, sister, husband or wife should relate to the physician at his office. These symptoms constitute what there is knowable of the sickness, that which appears to the mind of the physician upon which he makes up his verdict. When the strong symptoms are all gathered together the physician in studying the case must separate out those things that we observed years ago from those things that are observed today, noting how they have changed and why changed. Sometimes they have been changed by drugs so that the whole nature of the economy is giving out a different group of symptoms.

The physician must learn the changes all along the line, from beginning to end; what symptoms represented this sick man ten years ago, and what symptoms represent him now. Perhaps how he has morbid anatomy, pathological conditions in his lungs, liver and kidneys. The physician who has been for twenty year observing previous and present conditions in this manner, by hearing the symptoms can practically locate the morbid anatomy; he can tell where it will appear, knows when pus is on organs and where, and he can foretell pretty well what is soon to go on in the economy.

I would rather trust to a careful study of the symptoms than most physician’s written diagnosis of phthisis, or organic diseases of the liver or of the heart. The symptoms do not lie. They do not exist from opinions of men who have thumped and pounded over the human body to find out what is going on inside, which is in many instances confusing even to the best diagnosticians. A considerable observation amongst medical men will lead on to discover that the dollar is the chief end of the practice of medicine when practiced in the old way; there is nothing else in it, nothing to admire or cherish.

To become conversant with symptoms, to judge of the sphere and progress of disease by he study of symptomatology, is the requirement necessary for the homoeopath. Of course, bystanders will say to the patient, “That doctor cannot know much he did not give you a physical examination.” After the examination of the symptoms has been made there is no reason why you should not make a physical examination of the patient; but do not let this deprive you of becoming thoroughly educated in studying symptoms, because the real study of sickness is the meditation of his symptoms, and to become wise in symptoms is to become an able prescriber.

Study physical diagnosis to you heart’s content, but weigh carefully what you discover and compare it with the symptoms in order to ascertain what the different symptoms mean. You cannot study the symptoms of man without becoming extremely well acquainted with the nervous system, The anatomy of the nerves and of the brain should be thoroughly known. Not always that you may name the nerve, but that you may know where it is and what its functions are, and this study should be continued throughout all your life.

The physician should be conversant with anatomy and physiology, but by studying the symptomatology he acquires a knowledge of physiology which it is impossible to obtain in any other way; he acquires a knowledge of the functions and operations of arteries, nerves and muscles because they call attention to themselves when in disturbance, and he sees therefore how the symptoms manifest themselves. By studying the symptom in the recorded pathogenesis one may learn much about true pathology. Morbid anatomy furnishes no basis for prescribing, but true pathology is often of the greatest benefit, helping the image of he sickness to shape itself before the mind.

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.