The aim of medicine is to make for comfort and increase the span of life. Hahnemann contributed notably to this end when he brought into the light nature’s own way of healing, from within. In doing so he evolved a new and unique method of dealing with symptoms and at the same time showed that success with the abnormal depends upon fully realising what is normal. Just as the lights and shadows of the mind colour every form and kind of action, so they foreshadow those oncoming storm crises which we call sickness, by changes of mood and disposition.
It is nature’s first signal call for help, and often varies but little from sickness to sickness in the individual, thereby affording a sure point of departure for the study of particular illnesses whose salient features are to be found in a minute examination of their latest developments. All symptoms are reactions, be they general or particular. The mental ones are the most illuminating as well as interacting fully with all the others, hence they deserve the highest rank. General sense reactions to heat, cold, light, noise, touch, posture, motion, etc., are all distinctly related to the comfort of the patient, hence also of great value. Subjective sensations are ideographic expressions, useful for interpretation by the examiner and may have any value whatsoever.
Their true worth is best ascertained by their purity and definiteness, as fully expressed by the patient who invariably gives them a mental slant not otherwise obtainable. This has value in so far as it leads away from the machine methods of the schools. Every symptom picture shows three phases, constitutional, general conformation and the peculiarities. The basic factors with the rules of procedure are the constants, while the symptoms are the variables. All three must be well met before the similimum can be seen. The gist of the case may be featured in any one part thereof. Often it is the common factor of the assembled peculiarities, again it may come down through the anamnesis, hereditary predilection, etc.
Late in February a child of two years developed severe chills at 11 a.m. on every alternate day. His face became very blue, soon intense heat followed, then a slight moisture. One dose of Natrium muriaticum MM was given at the close of the cycle. There never was another chill and he has flourished as never before.
The profuse leucorrhoea a of a young woman suddenly ceased; a left sided salpingitis with local swelling, high fever, restlessness and severe prostration quickly followed. Each paroxysm of pain gradually rose to a certain pitch then suddenly ceased. A dose of Pulsatilla MM restored the discharge over night and a steady and complete recovery followed.
A woman in the seventies with chronic nephritis was operated for a right sided strangulated hernia. In two weeks she developed subacute pneumonia with gastritis. The stomach pains always went to the side upon which she happened to turn. Two doses of Pulsatilla MM quickly stopped all distress and she expectorated much muco-pus, tasting of ether. In a week the gastric pain recurred but another dose of the same remedy completed the cure.
A devotee of Bacchus and Venus with endarteritis of the aorta and broken compensation was suddenly seized with an agonising twisting pain in the left calf along with complete anaesthesia below that point. A swelling in the popliteal space appeared and he rolled about in great pain, tried hot baths and all sorts of applications without relief. A few doses of Nux vomica soon put him to sleep and in two days he was back to his former state.
These case histories emphasize the necessity of discovering the essential peculiarities which crop out from time to time in every sickness. In cases of long standing they are usually deeply rooted and should be used with care, lest we stir up an aggravation that cannot be easily handled. If structural changes have not gone too far and there is an abundance of vitality, we may venture with some confidence into the storm crisis which is almost sure to follow the administration of one of these diggers among remedies. Such cases bring us face to face with the old question of palliation and the use of sedatives; where it goes without saying that the genuine relief obtained will be in strict proportion to our knowledge of materia medica, for the ultimate effects of pain killers are never happy.
A woman well in the seventies had a dangerous abscess of the gallbladder followed in four months by apoplexy and left sided paralysis; then came recurring cerebral congestions with violent head pains which caused her to scream out, pull her hair and roll the eyeballs from side to side. There was some paralysis of deglutition and a heavy dry coat on the tongue. Several doses of Cuprum metallicum MM given at long intervals made her very comfortable, cleared the tongue, removed the throat paralysis and restored the appetite, but did not affect the vascular degeneration.
Suppression and metastasis turn disease movement toward more vital organs engendering many evils. The laity cannot visualise the damage done by the use of salves, plasters, liniments and the host of soothing drugs so well calculated to relieve distress while they throw the vital forces into disorder, make disease more intractable and lower the patient’s vitality. Let it not be thought that specialists, apprentice surgeons and dope shooters are the only ones guilty of disordering nature’s processes; for chasing symptoms about without grasping their actual import and connection is a most insidious and subtle form of suppression, entailing endless confusion, often making cure an impossibility.
This is the particular weakness of some deluded homeopaths. The curative remedy removes the latest symptoms first, then reaches further and further back until reaction to it has eliminated everything to which it is in the least similar in action. As the morbid symptoms grow less and less a calm finally follows whereupon very old symptoms reappear transiently or the picture alters its character radically, demanding a new analysis. This is a critical time for both patient and prescriber; a mistake here may ruin everything.
Aside from their acute dangers serums are palliatives as well as causing defective elimination; they lower reactive power and force the vital powers into more sluggish channels where response is much slower. This is fully shown by the presence of retention changes in the Ms and the increased susceptibility to disease which follows. Injecting heterogeneous matter into the blood stream violates the laws of nature and is full of danger; being certainly a step down procedure.
Life expresses itself through harmonious interaction and expenditure of vital energy. If its regular movement be disturbed health is soon impaired and disease appears. Prompt restoration demands the contacting of a similar acting force such as is best carried by potentised substances which are, after all, but new vehicles for particular detached forces. The dissipation of their power by sunlight is highly suggestive proof of this. Potentization seemingly does not change inherent vibratory activity as much as might be supposed. Did it in fact do so, the manifest power of the nosodes would soon lose all resemblance to that of its parent substance and become a nullity, which we know is not the case, by any means.
That mere dilution or attenuation hardly alters the specific effect or vibration rate at all, is proven by the fact that vaccination not infrequently reproduces true smallpox, while potencies of Variolinum develop spurious variolous symptoms of high potential value. No procedure that violates the protective bathers which nature has thrown about the blood can possibly be anything but a bad palliative at best, and should not be called curative, however expedient it maybe. Actual cures are only made by again harmonising discordant vibration by means of the application of similarly acting forces. We thus come to think of the human body as a generator and storehouse of convertible energy capable of being shifted into needed channels when properly and sympathetically handled, which means that the forces used must primarily act in consonance with those to which they are applied, if we wish to restore normal action again.
Should the case be taken correctly, the similar remedy found, an accurate diagnosis made and whatever else is needful be done, it will all avail but little, if we do not know how to control reaction. The test of our ability is to know how long to await its appearance, to recognise it when it comes, to correctly evaluate its course and finally realise when it really ceases. These are the essentials.
Peculiarities of drug action are carried forward, amplified and intensified by potentization while their crudities are gradually eliminated; hence physiological action has value in so far as it is definite only. The burnings of Arsenicum and the cramps of Colocynthes already appear in poisonings and extend as a characteristic action through the highest potencies. Of itself this would not absolutely separate them from their companions, but as the ascent through the potencies is made notable modifiers and concomitants appear which clearly distinguish them from their associates. In this respect drugs act just like diseases. They cannot do otherwise, for no applied force can call forth what is not already potentially present in the human economy.
Every disease picture appeals to as well as leaves something to the imagination. Were it otherwise we could not cure. Disordered life forces soon exteriorise themselves as manifest disease pictures which we at once try to fill out by searching out all of its ramifications in order to form an unified concept thereof, which will be harmonious and be a speaking likeness, as it were, of some medicinal counterpart. The correction of a disordered symptom complex is important and often difficult. For this preliminary work Nux vomica has very generally been used, largely because of the American drugging habit; but sometimes other remedies are clearly called for and must be given.
A case in point: A lifelong hard drinker of 63 recently came to me with mitral incompetence and broken compensation. He did badly under several remedies including an allopathic prescription of large doses of digitalis with hypodermics of morphia two or three times a day. There was mounting ascites, dropsy of the legs, Cheyne-Stokes breathing and increasing insomnia, not always due to the dyspnoea. We all know the picture, which usually ends in repeated tappings and final exitus. The peculiar sleeplessness kept me looking for a remedy to match the combined contingency and which would perhaps hold, the heart a while longer. Sleeplessness in heart affections was finally found under Crataegus.
The prescription was thirty drops of mother tincture in half a glass of water; one teaspoonful every three hours. The effect was unbelievable. In two days the patient’s blue cyanosed face became red; the very dry, red tongue again became moist; he began to lie down a little and the immensely hypertrophied and dilated heart grew progressively less; in short, a marvellous improvement set in, until one day a left sided supra-orbital neuralgia appeared. Now I knew the symptoms had been set in order. A single dose of Spigelia MM has seemed to establish valvular competency and only slightly irregular heart action remains. For obvious reasons, this case does not point to a complete solution of the treatment of even one type of cardiac disease, but it does show what the right application of the carefully selected homeopathic remedy may do in a very dangerous situation. In an acute endocarditis following suppressed tonsillitis, with almost the same diagnostic picture, but accompanied by excessive restlessness of the arms and air hunger, Tarantula cured radically. It seems to me that valvular heart affections are more amenable to correct prescribing than has been generally supposed, but the utmost care to place the diagnostic and individualistic symptoms in their proper perspective, must be exercised, if success is to crown our efforts.
The problems which daily confront us are in no wise less vital if we take into account the ultimation of disease, for every acute affection properly treated tends to bring to the surface those deeper lying dyscrasias which we carry about but too faithfully for our own well being. If we wish to eradicate these, much depends upon when and how we begin operations. Homoeopathy has proven its high value in the growing years beyond all cavil. Dietetics and sanitation are the only measures which have come even within hailing distance of it here. When thinking over these things one is likely to become impatient at the narrow mindedness which has so long passed for real scientific attainment. Science is not the thing or mode which we learn, but the relativity with which we understand facts. This interdependence is not new in homeopathy, even, if almost bizarre in the senior branch of the profession.
One more thought. Our regular brethren may possibly take up and even extend the usefulness of the homeopathic method in a number of ways, but the purposeful manipulation of inherent vital powers is a step far beyond their grasp. For us it is almost natural.
PARKERSBURG, W VA.