Antidotes Prophylactics Diet Regimen


(1798) he wrote an essay on Antidotes to some powerful vegetable Substances, (Lesser writings, p.374) where he attempts a classification of antidotes. He says, namely, that there are at least four kinds of antidotes….


Antidotes common to both schools- Antidotes peculiar to allopathy-Such antidotes rejected by homoeopathy-Hahnemann’s early investigations relative to antidotes-His chemical and dynamical antidotes-Different kinds of antidotes used by Hahnemann-Variety of antidotes for different effects of belladonna-Hahnemann-Variety of antidotes for different effects of belladonna-Hahnemann’s antidotes did not always bear a homoeopathic relation to the antidoted substance-Another dose of the same medicine its antidote, according to some-Rationale of the action of antidotes-Medicinal prophylactics-Antiquity of prophylactics-Charms-Amulets-Abracadabra-Benzoar-stones-Images of gods-Crucifixes-Image of saints-Medals-Rosaries-Vaccination- Inoculation of small-pox-Inoculation of measles-Mason Good’s prophylactic for hydrophobia-Hahnemann’s discovery of the prophylactic powers of belladonna in scarlet fever-Allopathic testimony to this prophylactics of cholera-Preservative power of copper, testified to by Roth and Burq-Prophylactics proposed for measles-Hering’s proposed prophylactics-Croserio’s prophylactic for gonorrhoea-Cronin’s inoculation of the Aleppo-pustule- Winter’s prophylaxis of adults-Gastier’s prophylaxis of infants- Fearon’s prophylaxis of the foetus-His observations on the diagnosis of obscure disease-Importance of prophylaxis- Probability of the discovery of prophylactics for diseases of fixed character-The prophylaxis of children-Diet and regimen- Homoeopathic dietetics misrepresented-Hahnemann’s ridicule of scientific dietists-His case showing the dangers of a too sparing diet-His case showing the need of stimulants in those used to them-He deprecates great changes in the diet-His diet in scarlet fever-His diet in acute diseases-His diet in chronic diseases- His latest dietetic rules-Articles of diet relatively not absolutely wholesome or the reverse-Wonderful digestibility of a reputed indigestible article by a very delicate stomach-Works on homoeopathic dietetics- Object of dietetic restrictions- Occasional necessity of condiments-Impossibility of depriving patients of tea-Tea in England versus tobacco in Germany- Stimulants-Conclusion-Recapitulation of chief subjects treated of-Hahnemann’s system not perfect-What still remains to be done- What is to be avoided.


ONE of the features wherein homoeopathy differs very markedly from the old system of medicine is the search for and administration of antidotes to the medicines that have been administered, but whose effects have been too violent.

I do not, of course, mean to say that in allopathy the employment of antidotes is not a feature of all system, but the occasions for the administration of antidotes, and the mode of their employment, as well as the manner in which they were to be ascertained, differ toto coelo from he practice pursued under the homoeopathic system. The great occasion the allopathist recognizes for the administration of an antidote is when a patient has swallowed or otherwise received into his system a poisonous dose of some medicinal substance. Thus he consults chemistry for the purpose of discovering some agent capable of neutralizing chemically such poisons as acids, caustic alkalies, Arsenic, metallic poisons, etc., and he very properly gives the antidote insufficient quantity to effect this chemical neutralization; under similar circumstances a homoeopathist must equally resort to the same mode of treating cases of poisoning-such antidotes, then, are common to both schools.

But there is another kind of antidotal treatment adopted by allopathist which is altogether disclaimed and unused by the homoeopathist, and that is the plan so frequently adopted of giving along with a powerfully acting drug something calculated to modify the violence of its action, or to obviate some disagreeable symptoms apt to follow its use. Thus the allopathist will put into his prescription, besides some powerful purgative medicine, an opiate or a carminative to prevent hypercatharsis or griping; or he will follow up a blue pill at night by a black drought in the morning, in order to get rid of the effects of the mercury on the system; or, after giving a course of mercury so as to bring the body entirely under the physiological action of that metal, he will subject his patient to a course of iodine, to neutralize the remaining mercury in the system.

Such an employment of antidotes is not admissible and not required in homoeopathy. We do not give our medicines in such powerful doses as to render it necessary to administer at the same time a corrective, as the allopathist terms his antidote; nor do we ever intentionally saturate the system so thoroughly with a drug as to render it requisite to give its chemical antidote for the purpose of effecting its neutralization. yet the choice and administration of antidotes form an important item in the treatment of disease homoeopathically, in the opinion of Hahnemann and of many of his disciples.

Hahnemann early distinguished himself by his attention to the subject of chemical antidotes to poisonous substances. In his work on arsenical poisonous, published in 1786, he devotes a considerable space to an inquiry as to the best antidotes to be used in such cases, (Ueber die Arsenikvergift., Aphorism 175) and it is curious to remark that the antidotes he then recommended are precisely the same as those that have been lately advised by our best toxicologist, (See Tailor on Poisons, p.333) after an experience through many years of the failure of all the vaunted antidotes of arsenic.

In Hahnemann’s elaborate work On syphilis, published in 1789, he dwells at some length on the necessity of antidoting the effects of mercury, when it has been used in excess for the cure of syphilis, and recommends for this purpose the administration of hepar sulphuris, which he believed was the chemical antidote of mercury and of many other metallic poisons. It is curious that in later years (Mat, Medorrhinum, I. p. 355) he recommends this same hepar sulphuris as one of the dynamic antidotes for the inconveniences produced by small doses of mercury unhomoeopathically administered.

In his first homoeopathic essay, On a New Principle, etc., (Lesser Writings, p. 295.) Hahnemann points out the antidotes to many of the powerful medicinal substances whose effects are there registered, and a few years later (1798) he wrote an essay on Antidotes to some powerful vegetable Substances, (Lesser writings, p.374) where he attempts a classification of antidotes. He says, namely, that there are at least four kinds of antidotes, by means of which the hurtful substance may be-A. Removed, and that, 1, by evacuation, as vomiting, purging, excising the poisonous bite; 2, by enveloping, as giving suet where pieces of glass have been swallowed; or, B. Altered, and that, 1, chemically, as hepar sulphuris for corrosive sublimate; 2, dynamically (i.e. their potential influence of he living fibre removed), as coffee for opium. He goes on to relate several cases of the successful administration of antidotes in cases of poisoning; some of these antidotes were dynamical, others chemical.

In the Organon Hahnemann alludes indeed to the necessity for administering antidotes, but he nowhere gives us any rule for ascertaining the antidotes for medicines.

In Aphorism clxvii, to be sure, he tells us that if we have selected for a case of disease an unsuitable remedy, which has done no good to the disease, but, on the contrary, developed a number of its own symptoms, we are to take a fresh survey of the case, adding to the original symptoms to the disease these new medicinal symptoms, and select our next remedy or antidote from the whole morbid picture thus formed.

According to this passage and several others scattered throughout his writings, we find that the similarity of the symptoms present with those of some other drug were to constitute the antidotal character of the latter. And this we might lay down as the rule for the selection of an antidote-as Dr. Trinks (Handbuch, Einleitung, ixvii) says, “the antidotarial influence of medicines on one another depends solely upon the homoeopathic principle’- were it not that we find Hahnemann recommending as antidotes certain substances whose homoeopathic relationship to the medicine they are to antidote is not very clear, and certain others which are antipathic to the medicine.

Thus we find that he recommends camphor as the antidote to an immense number of medicines, to all of which it an assuredly not be said to have a Homoeopathic relationship; and sweet spirits of nitre, the pathogenetic action of which is almost entirely unknown, is said to be the best antidote for the too violent effects of natrum muriaticum. Again, we sometimes find him advising a Homoeopathic antidote to one set of symptoms caused by a medicine, and antipathic one to another set, and for another set some substance that does not appear to have either a Homoeopathic or antipathic relation to the symptoms; thus, to give an example, he says (R.A.M.L., i.14.) opium relieves, in an allopathic and palliative manner, the paralytic symptoms and abdominal pains caused by belladonna, and in small doses it will probably remove the sleepiness it occasions.

The comatose state, the mania, and the furious delirium of belladonna are removed by hyoscyamus; but the intoxications is only cured by wine. Lachrymose humour, chilliness, and headache, caused by belladonna, are cured by pulsatilla. When a quantity of belladonna has been swallowed, we should make the patient drink large quantities of strong coffee, which removes antipathically the insensibility and tetanic convulsions; and we should like wise promote vomiting. The erysipelatous swellings caused by belladonna are soon removed by hepar sulphuris. Camphor acts as an antidote to some of the morbid symptoms of belladonna. Thus it is evident that although in some instances Hahnemann was guided in the selection of an antidote by the symptoms of the medicine actually present, in others he did not follow this rule, but was led by something else, probably experiment and observation, to give substances as antidotes, the homoeopathicity of which to the symptoms sought to be remove could not be proved. This is especially the case with camphor,, sweet spirits of nitre, and mesmerism, which the recommends (Organon, Aphorism ccxiii., none, and Chr. Kr., i.159) for cases where the life of the patient has been endangered by the too rapid administration of many different homoeopathic medicines.

The necessity for the administration of an antidotes in consequence of the two violent effects of an infinitesimal dose is, I apprehend, very rare. Some timid practitioners do occasionally talk about the advantage of Homoeopathic antidotes; but most homoeopathic writers, who have touched on the subject, de facto deny the occasion for their employment when they, as I have in former lectures shown, naively assert that a fresh dose of the same medicine is its best antidote. The rationale of the administration of camphor, sweet spirits of nitre, wine, etc., in case of he over-action of a drug, seems to be treat thereby a stronger by transient and different effect is produced upon the nerves, whereby the feebler impression of the medicine previously given is effected, and the new action being evanescent, the nervous system is speedily restored to its former equilibrium- a dynamic neutralization, so to speak, is effected.

The next subject I have to bring before you is one peculiar to Homoeopathy, to wit the employment of medicinal agents to prevent disease. Such medicines are termed prophylactics.

From the very earliest periods of the history of medicine until the most recent times, the search for absolute preventives of disease and for preservative against poisoning has always occupied a large share of the attention of those who occupied themselves with the medical art.

It would be tedious and unprofitable to enumerate all the varieties of preservatives that have been vaunted in one age, to be despised and neglected in the next, but, for the curiosity of the thing, and to show you the attention this subject excited, I may merely allude to a few of them.

The amulets that used to she so much sought after and so highly valued in remove times, and which are still esteemed by the Orientals, are the most ancient form of prophylactics. Some of these amulets cannot fail to excite our ridicule at their absurd character. Thus, a dried toad worn next to the skin was held to be a preservative from the plague; the wearing of a red thread was deemed capable of warding off nasal hemorrhages and cramps; a portion of a human skull powdered was a febrifuge of great power. Coral worn by infants was supposed to preserve them from all these disease apt to accompany teething. Many of the precious gems were supposed to preserve their wearers from the effects of poisons, and some of them were said to betray the presence of poison, by changing colour.

The diamond and amethyst were reputed as preservative against drunkenness. The word reputed as preservatives against drunkenness., the word Abracadabra written on as many lines a sit contains letters, cutting off the last letter from each successive line, so that the word thus written represented and inverted triangle, was held by Serenus Sammonicus to be a preservative from fever if suspended from the neck by means of a linen thread. The febrifuge virtues of this charm Franck von Franckenau seriously attempted to refute, in a special treatise in one volume quarto. (Franck v. Franckenau, de Abracadabra; heidelberg, 1679.)

Every one has heard of the supposed virtues of the bezoar-stones, concretions found in the stomachs of certain herbivorous animals, which were, and still are in some countries, firmly believed to be preservatives and antidotes against all manner of diseases and poisons. So lately as 1808 the Shah of Persia thought he could not send a more acceptable present to Bonaparte than a few of these precious bezoar-stones, which that great man, however, did not appreciate at their oriental value, for, it is said, he contemptuously threw them all into the fire.

Serapion (De Dimpl., 398) recommends the gem hyacinth as an excellent amulet to protect the body during thunder-storms. The ancients made much use of the lapis lazuli as an amulet, and schroder held it to be an admirable charm for driving away frights from children.

I might multiply instances of these and similar absurdities, but the above are sufficient to show the prevalence of an idea that preservatives against diseases and other calamities were to be discovered and the universality of this notion seems to foreshadow the actual discovery of such agents.

In heathen ages the symbols or images of one or other of the gods were worn as amulets. When Christianity became triumphant, the representation of its Founder on the cross, and passages from Scripture, were used as charms to ward off the attacks of disease and the devil; and even at the present day the Roman Catholic Church arrogates for herself a monopoly in the manufacture of amulets and charms, in the shape of crucifixes, imagines of saints, medals, and rosaries.

In recent times attempts have been made, with more or less success, to discover prophylactics. one of the most noted and successful of these is the introduction of vaccination by Jenner, in 1798, as the prophylactic of smallpox, which it is to a marvellous extends. It was preceded by a somewhat similar means, to wit, the inoculation of small-pox itself, where by a milder disease was usually produced than when it attacked the patient in the natural way, and the preservation from a second attack of smallpox was equally certain. This bears a resemblance to the plan adopted by Dr. Home of Edinburgh, in 1770, (Principal. med., lib. ii.12.) for anticipating measles by inducing a mild attack of the disease by inoculation with the blood of a measly child.

Another instance of prophylaxis occurs to me as proceeding from the allopathic school, viz., Dr. Mason Good’s suggestion for the prevention of hydrophobia in those who had been bitten by a rabid dog. He states, (Study of Medorrhinum, iii) as a matter of common belief, that dogs which have had the distemper never become rabid, and he proposes that any one who has the misfortune to be bitten by a rabid dog should be inoculated with the morbid discharge from, a distempered dog’s nose. I know not if this recommendation has ever been carried into effect, it has certainly the character of plausibility to recommended it. Beyond vaccination, however, the allopathic school of the present day doe so concern itself much with medicinal prophylactics, though a great deal of attention has been paid, and that particularly in our own time, to hygienic prophylactics; but this is not the kind of prophylactics I am engaged in considering at this time, though I am very far from undervaluing its importance, or from ignoring the great advances that have recently been made in this direction.

The search for medicinal prophylactics is, I may say, almost exclusively limited to homoeopathists, indeed, the vast majority of allopathists will not hesitate to avow that they have no medicinal prophylactics. The a priori discovery of such prophylactics is scarcely possible to the allopathist; but the same rule that guides the homoeopathists to the selection of a remedy, should also lead him to the discovery of a prophylactics.

The first and most celebrated of the prophylactics discovered by Hahnemann, as the preventive of scarlet fever, belladonna, and the mode of its discovery is interesting, and bears some resemblance to that of the protective power of vaccinia against small-pox by Jenner. Hahnemann’s discovery differs from Jenner’s in this: that a priori reasoning had more to do with the former, whereas the latter was almost entirely a deduction a posteriori from observed facts. The following is the history of the discovery of the prophylactic virtues of belladonna by Hahnemann (Vide Lesser Writings, p. 434 et seq.) The scarlet- fever invaded a family of four children; three of them took it, but the fourth, who was generally the first of the family to take any epidemic disease, escaped it. This child had been taking belladonna for some times previously for an affection of the finger-joints., Now, Hahnemann’s knowledge of the pathogenetic action of belladonna had caught him that this virulent vegetable poison threw the healthy organism into a state bearing a marked resemblance to the early stage of scarlet-fever, and he had, in accordance with his therapeutic rule, employed it with most encouraging success for that stage. Being very anxious to preserve the numerous members of a family from the scarlet-fever, which had already seized on three of their number, he set himself to think whether or no it were possible to discover a prophylactic and thus he reasoned:- “A remedy that is capable

of chewing a disease at its onset must be its best preventive, ” belladonna was the remedy that he had found capable of curing scarlet fever in its early stage-the case of accidental preservation from scarlet-fever in a child who had been taking belladonna for an articular disease occurred to his memory, and from these slight data he rightly inferred that belladonna from these delight data he rightly inferred that belladonna was the prophylactic of scarlatina. He accordingly administered his new- found preservative to the five remaining children of the family in which the disease had broken out virulently, and to his satisfaction he found that they were all completely protected from the disease, though constantly exposed to the admonitions proceeding from the affected children.

In my introductory lecture, I showed you the strange plan adopted by hahnemann for getting his prophylactic tested by his medical brethren; but it is of more importance to consider in. this place the testimony of other sin favour of the preservative powers of belladonna in scarlet-fever. I shall bring forward as witness only such as cannot be suspected of having a bias in favour of Homoeopathy, namely, partisans of the allopathic school.

Bloch (Rust’s Mag., xvii.39) gave belladonna to 270 children during the prevalence of a very malignant form of the epidemic, and he remarked that when it was continued for two or twelve days the children were completely protected from the disease. Cramer (Ibid., xxv. pt.3.) gave it to ninety children, none of whom were attacked. Gelnecki (Hufeland’s journal 1825, 11, 7) gave it to ninety-four children, seventy-six of them escaped the disease. Hufeland (Ibid., xlii, 2 lxi 5) himself certifies on various occasions to the efficacy of this prophylactic, and in 1826 he wrote a special treatise on the subject, (On the Prophylactic power of Belladonna in scarlet-fever. Berlin, 1826.) where in he collected all the evidence that had been published up to that time in favour of the prophylactic virtue of belladonna in scarlet fever. Wolf (Horn’s Archiv, 1822, pt. 6 490.) gave it to 120 children, eighty-one of these remained free from infection for a quarter of a year; those affected had the disease very slightly, only four of them died, and then only during the period of desquamation from dropsy Ibrelisle, (Bull. de la Soc. d’Emat., Ap., 1823, p. 201) brelisle,. Metz, saw twelve children preserved from scarlet-fever by belladonna, whereas 206 children among whom they lived were attacked by the disease.

Velsen (Horn’s Archive, 1827, pt.2, 200) gave belladonna to 247 children, thirteen only of whom contracted the disease. Berndt (Bem ub Scharlachf., 1827) gave belladonna to 122 children, eighty two of these were exempt from the disease, eleven got it up to the third day of using the prophylactic, nine got it between the sixth and eighth days, five got it later, and fifteen got it after leaving of the use of the prophylactic. Schenk (Hufeland’s Journal, xliii.St.2) gave belladonna, which he obtained from Hahnemann himself during a very fatal epidemic, to 525 persons, 522 escaped the disease. The three who were attacked had only taken the preventive four times. Behr (Ibid., Ivii. St.2, p.3.) gave it to forty-seven persons, forty-one of these escaped the disease, and only six were attacked and that very slightly. Zeuch, (physician to a foundling hospital in the Tyrol, relates that out of eighty-four children in the establishment twenty-three were attacked by scarlet fever; he gave belladonna to the remaining sixty-one and only one of these got the disease. In another children’s establishment where he was physician, he gave the prophylactic to seventy, and only three of these were attacked.

R.E. Dudgeon
Robert Ellis Dudgeon 1820 – 1904 Licentiate of the Royal College of Surgeons in Edinburgh in 1839, Robert Ellis Dudgeon studied in Paris and Vienna before graduating as a doctor. Robert Ellis Dudgeon then became the editor of the British Journal of Homeopathy and he held this post for forty years.
Robert Ellis Dudgeon practiced at the London Homeopathic Hospital and specialised in Optics.
Robert Ellis Dudgeon wrote Pathogenetic Cyclopaedia 1839, Cure of Pannus by Innoculation, London and Edinburgh Journal of Medical Science 1844, Hahnemann’s Organon, 1849, Lectures on the Theory & Practice of Homeopathy, 1853, Homeopathic Treatment and Prevention of Asiatic Cholera 1847, Hahnemann’s Therapeutic Hints 1847, On Subaqueous Vision, Philosophical Magazine, 1871, The Influence of Homeopathy on General Medical Practice Since the Death of Hahnemann 1874, Repertory of the Homeopathic Materia Medica, 2 vols 1878-81, The Human Eye Its Optical Construction, 1878, Hahnemann’s Materia Medica Pura, 1880, The Sphygmograph, 1882, Materia Medica: Physiological and Applied 1884, Hahnemann the Founder of Scientific Therapeutics 1882, Hahnemann’s Organon 1893 5th Edition, Prolongation of Life 1900, Hahnemann’s Lesser Writing.