The selection of the remedy theoretically simple, practically difficult-Necessity for defining what is similar-The sum total of the symptoms present not the sole indications, even according to Hahnemann-His merit in rejecting pathological speculation as our guide in selecting the remedy- The selection of the remedy a purely empirical, almost mechanical act-The characteristic symptoms to be our guide-The general and undefined symptoms to be neglected-Modern mode of compiling a book of characteristic symptoms-Hahnemann is very vague on the subject of characteristic symptoms-Characteristic features of epidemic diseases- Characteristic symptoms of intermittent fevers- Hahnemann’s denunciation of the usus in morbis-But many of his indications for medicines are derived from that source-Instances of these-Hahnemann’s system was not, after all, a mere mechanical comparison of drug and disease-It was more scientific than he allows it to be-Rau’s vindicating of the scientific character of homoeopathic prescription-he defends Hahnemann’s minuteness-But condemns a mere mechanical comparison of symptoms- Necessity for a profounder knowledge of the action of medicines on particular spheres of the organism than we can obtain in the Materia Medica-Cases in point-Hartmann shows that the homoeopathist attends to the exciting causes of disease-M. Muller defends homoeopathy from the charge of being mere symptomatic treatment-Schron shows that the collective symptoms cannot be the sole indication-We must distinguish between idiopathic and sympathetic-Kurtz-Wolf-Roth-Schmid tries to define similar-Watzke says the characteristic symptoms must guide us-Mosthaff says similarity is not the sole point to attend to-Peterson refers to the great number of unimportant symptoms in the Materia Medica, and proposes a plan for increasing them-Hirschel’s eight sources for obtaining indications-Hering says the characteristic symptoms must be our guide-Boenninghausen considers the character of the symptoms more important than its seat, and the condition of the symptom’s occurrence more important than either-This condition some times his sole guide-Wonderful influence of shaving-Medicine Doctores, D.G., Fid. Def.-Mure talks about characteristics, but practices mechanical reckoning-Griesselich says we must attend to aetiology, semiology, and diagnosis-Trinks enjoins attention to characteristics-What is similar?-Some diseases have no similars in the Materia Medica- What constitutes symptom?-Characteristic symptoms of some medicines act-Treatment of diseases with few symptoms-Medicines to rouse the system when torpid-Medicines to soothe the system when too irritable-Impotence of records of clinical experience-Works to aid us in the selection of the remedy.
THE subject of the present lecture is beset with numerous difficulties, and it is not without many misgivings as to my powers to do it justice that I approach it. The formula for the selection of the appropriate remedy similia similibus curentur, or let likes be treated by likes, is as vague and indefinite as could be wished for any such laconically expressed general rule, nor does it convey any idea whatever to out mind, unless accompanied by its more extended explanation as we find it in the Organon.
To effect a mild, certain, and permanent cure, choose, in every case of disease, a medicine which can itself produce an affection similar to that sought to be cured. Now this, though a little more definite and giving us, as it were, a glimpse, a hint as to what we should do, is very far from instructing us adequately as to how we are to select our remedy for a given case of disease. We have before seen how we are to a certain the affections medicines are capable of producing, viz., by testing them on the healthy individual. Do we then find that the affections produced by medicines on healthy individuals resemble those diseases occurring naturally? for if so, if in the pathogenesy of a medicine we can find, so to say, the reflection of a natural disease, then our object is attained, nothing remains for us to do but to give this medicine in this disease, and a cure is certain to result, if our law be founded in nature and truth.