Hahnemann’s happy observation of the action of bark illuminated, as by a flash the crude idea of similia that had tinged ancient and furtively pervaded medieval medicine, as well as opened up a new vista of untold possibilities. This was the real birth of homeopathy, which grew in efficiency as experiment uncovered the pure effects of drugs. The methods and rules thus evolved were formulated in the canons of the Organon, and being distinctly revolutionary were a direct challenge to traditional medicine, which then was and is now clannish and intolerant of apostasy.
The result was that all who were convinced of the truth of Hahnemann’s demonstrations and who dared to say so, soon felt the heavy hand of entrenched privilege in an ostracism and persecution only exceeded by the religious fanaticism’s of the reformation. But human enlightenment was soon to penetrate even the medical profession, hitherto the most hidebound and conservative of all association, but the process was most painful, finally giving birth to homeopathy which perforce became militant, even during the lifetime of its expounder.
The collateral sciences later also did much to undermine the rationalistic basis upon which regular medicine professed to find a point of rest. Not the least of these being the cellular pathology of Virchow, which, while it made a profound and lasting impress upon medicine in general, was also most powerfully felt by the professed followers of Hahnemann, the larger portion of whom were drawn aside into an effort to reconcile its principles with the homeopathic healing art, but those who made the faux pas of bowing the knee to such a materialistic idol were doomed to the bitterest of disenchantment, for by and by science in general and even pathology has ventured more and more into the sphere of dynamics until today we behold its experimenters trying even higher and higher dilutions of Tuberculin in the hope of getting rid of inherent dangers. So near have they come to actual potentization.
That the application of similia, for the purpose of cure, is the art of adjusting certain correlated human reactions is dawning upon the scientific world, and old medicine having partly accepted the principle of its curative value, is trying very hard to find its own way of applying the facts, but the effort has led it into serology, which is really a chemical isopathy therefore false, as Hahnemann clearly points out in his remarks upon Psorinum; for only potentization can enable the vibration rate of any substance to closely approximate that of the disturbed vital force and thus make it homoeopathically curative in the highest sense.
Real cures are never made chemically, nor do the effects of serum look very like the parent disease. It is a strange reasoning that tries to provoke an early crisis by loading into the sick body the very things that it must later so laboriously cast out. Reaction, thus induced, doubtless often brings about recovery, but never really cures. The premises are false and the results can not be other than a strained effort to cast out both poisons, a thing that differs as day and night from the prompt, painless and perfect action of the similimum.
How soon a truly curative reaction may be started is hard to estimate, but the feelings of the patient, his behaviour and appearance combine to show that the similimum acts instantly, although improvement may not become strikingly evident before the fourth day. As every cure is begun by harmonising disordered vital action and as such processes necessarily begin within the central nervous system, it is easy to comprehend how a cure in the best sense is instantaneous and for all practical purposes shows itself to be such.
Hahnemann advises us to know disease in order that we may better grasp what is in need of being cured. While the latter should be evident enough, it is in reality not so plain because we are in the habit of noting only the coarser aspects of sickness. This is especially true for all who still hold somewhat to the older pathology, as well as is strongly exemplified in acute diseases which are more easily discerned than chronic affections; the latter requiring a more minute scrutiny from every standpoint, a circumstance which has naturally led many men into using high and higher potencies.
Crude drug effects resemble acute sickness most markedly, particularly in their forceful character, but as the potency rises its action dips deeper and deeper into the life processes and brings forth symptoms which increasingly simulate chronic disease. This general rule has led to the belief that the former is best treated with low potencies, frequently repeated, while chronic symptoms are better met with the higher preparations at longer intervals, all of which overlooks the fact that the extent and force of the induced reaction is the sole guide in such matters. Incidentally it may be remarked that a violent reaction, unless it be of very brief duration, indicates that the remedy has only irritated the life force and is not capable of curing, hence must be replaced by a more fitting similar.