Schmid’s polar theory-Mosthaff’s antipathic theory-J.O. Muller’s antipathic theory-Koch’s substitutive theory-His imperfect definition of similar-His tendency to substantialize qualities of matter-Widenmann’s theory of stronger and weaker affinities-The phenomena of chemistry not analogous to the vital processes- Gerstel’s derivative theory-Facts against this theory-Schneider’s peripheral theory-Untenableness of views-Trinks’s neutralization theory-Mayrhofer’s blunted receptivity theory-Griesselich’s greater affinity theory-Trousseau’s substitutive theory- Hirschel’s four theories-Wunderlich’s eight theories-Curie’s assisting nature theory- P.P.’s odylic theory- Theory based on direct specific stimulation-Fletcher’s theory of homoeopathic cures-Homoeopathic remedies act antipathically-Correct views of Cl. Muller-Foreshadowing of homoeopathy by John Hunter-A true theory applicable to the explanation of all medicinal cures- Falsity of the view that disease is cured by the stronger overcoming the weaker.
EXPLANATIONS of the curative process founded on the known phenomena of polarity are by no means uncommon in our homoeopathic literature, and among those who have brought their learning and logical powers to bear upon the subject from this most dynamical point of view, we rather marvel to notice that George Schmid (2 Hyg., v., x., xi.) is one of the foremost. The very material notions of that worthy and learned gentleman with respect to the dose would have led us to expect anything rather than that his ideas of the creative process were so purely dynamical; but we see that in homoeopathy as elsewhere extremes meet, and no doubt Dr. Schmid can in his own mind reconcile his grossly material doses with his hyperdynamical conceptions of disease. Dr. Schmid thus formulizes his theory of the curative process:-
“The disease and the medicine selected for its cure according to the principles of Homoeopathy, act like two powers of opposite polarity, or like two dissimilar poles which, when brought to act and react on each other, equalize each other in such a manner as that not only the opposition subsisting between them is removed, but also that they mutually extinguish one another.”
To me this and similar attempts to liken the processes of the human organism, and more especially the curative process effected by means of medicinal agents, to the phenomena of external nature, seem so overstrained and far-fetched that I cannot enter seriously upon a refutation of them. The analogy that can be traced between the curative process and the phenomena of polarity is of the vaguest description, and all the learning that George Schmid brings to bear in defense of his theory can never hide its fundamental defects. (When we come to consider the question of homoeopathic posology we shall find that the laws of polarity have been employed by Dr. Atschul of determine the dose of the remedy or rather to vindicate the infinitesimal doses of our therapeutics, with what success will be hereafter seen). Another view of the subject, which has found an able defender in Mosthaff, in his work On Homoeopathy, (Ueber die Homoeopathie.) is that the cure of the disease according to homoeopathic principles depends on the circumstance that thought the symptoms of disease and remedy be similar there is a difference in the action of both, that is to says, that although the homoeopathic remedy acts on the same organ, it produces in it a precisely opposite state to that caused by the disease; in other words, it acts antipathically, and if this be true the system might be termed specific-antipathic. In support of this proposition the following arguments are adduced:-
1. Substance, it is alleged, whose fundamental action on the organism are essentially different, frequently give rise to similar symptoms.
2. Diseases are not unfrequently cured by medicines which produce similar symptoms, but a fundamental state quite different from that of the disease, e.g., syphilis by mercury.
3. Opposite conditions, such as anemia and plethora, present an array of symptoms in many respects very analogous..
Plausible as these arguments at first sight appear, they will not stand the test of strict investigation, for were we even to admit them with respect to certain cases, these must evidently prove the minority; for nothing is more certain than that from similar symptoms we may infer a similarity of pathological condition, and though some states, fundamentally different, do certainly offer many symptoms in common, yet they differ in the important, the peculiar, the essential, the characteristic symptoms. It is a mere truism to say that disease and Homoeopathic medicine differ in their action, though in no case does this difference amount to opposition, and the difference depends more on the essential difference betwixt the medicinal and morbific agents than the mode in which the organism is acted on. Thus mercury must produce similar affections in the same organs as syphilis to comply with the demands of the homoeopathic law, and accordingly we find that it does similarly affect the mucous membrane, the skin, the glands, the periosteum and the bones, and there is no truth whatsoever in the notion that it produces an opposite condition in these organs or parts. Again, anemia and plethora away present a few symptoms in common, just as pleurisy and scarlet fever present some symptoms in common, but these two latter disease are not more divergent in their essential and characteristic phenomena than are the former. Such being the case, we must refuse to adopt the explanation offered by Mosthaff, which halts throughout and is unsound in its premises.