The Highest Ideal of a Cure

A discussion on Aphorism 2 from Organon of Medicine about the highest ideal of cure. The perfection of a cure consists, then, first in restoring health, and this is to be done promptly, mildly and permanently, and on fixed easily comprehensible principles….

The subject this morning relates to cure, to what the nature of a cure is. It is stated in the second paragraph of the Organon that

The highest ideal of a cure is rapid, gentle and permanent restoration of the health, or removal and annihilation of the disease in its whole extent, in the shortest, most reliable and most harmless way, on easily comprehensible principles.

If you were to ask a physician, who had not been trained in Homoeopathy, of what a cure consists, his mind would only revolve around the idea of the disappearance of the pathological state; if an eruption on the skin were the given instance, the disappearance of the eruption from the skin under the treatment would be called a cure; if hemorrhoids, the removal of these would be called a cure; if constipation, the opening of the bowels would be called a cure; if some affection of the knee joint, an amputation above the knee would be considered a cure; or if it were an acute disease and the patient did not die, it would be considered a cure of the disease. And that is really the idea of the patient as it is derived from the physician.

The patient will often wonder at the great skill of the physician in removing an eruption from the skin, and will go back again when the graver manifestations, the tissue changes threatening death, have come on as a consequence, and will say to the doctor: “You so wonderfully cured me of my skin disease, why cannot you cure of my liver trouble?” But this very scientific ignorant doctor has made a failure: he has driven what was upon the surface and harmless into the innermost precincts of the economy and the patient is going to die as a result of scientific ignorance.

There are three distinct points involved in this paragraph and these must be brought out. Restoring health, and not the removing of symptoms, is the first point. Restoring health has in view the establishment of order in a sick human being; removing symptoms has to in view a human being; removing the constipation, the haemorrhoids, the white swelling of the knew, the skin disease or any local manifestation or particular sign of disease, or even the removal of a group of symptoms, does not have in view the restoration to health of the whole economy of man. If the removal of symptoms is not followed by a restoration to health, it cannot be called a cure.

We learned in our last study that “the sole duty of the physician is to heal the sick,” and therefore it is not his duty merely to remove the symptoms, to change the aspect of the symptoms, the appearance of the disease image, imagining that he has thereby established order. What a simple-minded creature he must be! What a groveller in much and more he must be, when he can mediate upon doing such things, even a moment!

How different his actions would be if he but considered that every violent change which he produces in the aspect of the disease aggravates the interior nature of the disease aggravates the sickness of the man and brings about an increase of suffering within him. The patient should be able to realize by his feelings and continue to say, that he is being restored to health, whenever a symptom is removed. There should be a corresponding inward improvement whenever an outward symptom has been caused to disappear, and this will be true whenever disease has been displaced by order.

The perfection of a cure consists, then, first in restoring health, and this is to be done promptly, mildly and permanently, which is the second point. The cure must be quick or speedy, it must be gentle, and it must be continuous or permanent. Whenever an outward symptom has been caused to disappear by violence, as by cathartics to remove constipation, it cannot be called mild or permanent, even if it is prompt. Whenever violent drugs are resorted to there is nothing mild in the action or the reaction that must follow.

At the time this second paragraph of the Organon was written psyching was not so mild as at the present day; blood-letting, sweating, etc., were in vogue at the time Hahnemann wrote these lines. Medicine has changed some what in its appearance; physicians are now using sugar-coated pills and contriving to make medicines appear tasteless or tasteful; they are using concentrated alkaloids. But none of these things have been done because of the discovery of any principle; blood-letting and sweating were not abandoned on account of principle, or the old men depreciate their disuse, and often say they hope the time will come when they can again go back to the lancet. But the drugs of today are ten times more powerful than those formerly used, because more concentrated.

The cocaine, sulphonal and numerous other modern concentrated products of the manufacturing chemists are extremely dangerous and their real action and reaction unknown. The chemical discoveries, of petroleum have opened a field of destruction to human intelligence, to the understanding and to the will, because these products are slowly and insidiously violent. When drugs were used that were instantly dangerous and violent the action was manifest, it showed upon the surface, and the common people saw it. But the patient of the present day goes through more dangerous drugging, because it destroys the mind.

The apparent benefits produced by these drugs are never permanent. They may in some cases seem to be permanent, but then it is because upon the economy has been engrafted a new and most insidious disease, more subtle and more tenacious than the manifestation that was upon the externals and it is because of this tenacity that the original symptoms remain away. The disease in its nature, its esse, has not been changed; it is still there, causing the internal destruction of the man, but its manifestations has been changed, and there has been added to this natural disease a drug disease, more serious than the former.

The manner of cure can only be mild if it flows in the stream of natural direction, establishing order and thereby removing disease. The direction of old-fashioned medicine is like pulling a cat up a hill by the tail; whereas, the treatment that is mild, gentle and permanent, flows with the stream, scarcely producing a ripple; it adjusts the internal disorder and the outermost of man returns to order. Everything becomes orderly from the interior. The curative medicine does not act violently upon the economy, but establishes its action in a mild manner; but while the action is mild and gentle, very often that which follows, which is the reaction, is a turmoil, especially when the work of traditional medicine is being undone and former states are being re-established.

The third point is “upon principles that are at once plain and intelligible.” This means law, it means fixed principles; it means a law as certain as that of gravitation; not guess work, empiricism, or roundabout methods, or a cut-and-dried use of drugs as laid down by the last manufacturer. Our principles have never changed, they have always been the same and will remain the same. To become acquainted with these principles and doctrines, with fixed knowledges, with exactitude or method, to become acquainted with medicines that never change their properties, and to become acquainted with their action, is the all-important aim in homoeopathic study. When one has learned these principles, and continues to practice them, they grow brighter and stronger. The use of these fixed principles is the removal of disease, the restoration to health in a mild, prompt and permanent manner.

If one were to ask an allopathic graduate in this class how he could demonstrate that he had cured somebody, the answer could only be such as I have mentioned already, viz., that the patient did not die, or that the manifestations prescribed for had disappeared. If one were to ask a physician trained in homoeopathic principles the same question, one would find that there are means of distinctly demonstrating whey he knows his patient is better. You would naturally expect, if it is the interior of man that is disordered in sickness, and not his tissues primarily, that the interior must first be turned into order and the exterior last.

The first of man in his voluntary and the second of man in his understanding, the last of man is his outermost; from his centre to his circumference, to his organs, his skin, hair, nails, etc. This being true, the cure must proceed from centre to circumference. From centre to circumference is his above downward, from within outwards, from more important to less important organs, from the head to the hands and feet.

Every homoeopathic practitioner who understands the art of healing, knows that symptoms which go off in these directions remain away permanently. Moreover, he knows that symptoms which disappear in the reverse order of their coming are removed permanently. It is thus he knows that the patient did not merely get well in spite of the treatment, but that he was cured by the action of the remedy. If a homoeopathic physician goes to the bedside of a patient and, upon observing the onset of the symptoms and the course of the disease, sees that the symptoms do not follow this order after his remedy, he knows that he has had but little to do with the course of things.

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.