Ever since the promulgation of the law of Similia, as the only true method of cure, there has been a cleavage more or less wide between the pathological wing of our school, led by men like Hughes and the symptomatologists, the latter taking their cue from Hahnemann’s later and latest utterances.
The distinction between these factions has always lain in the appreciation of the Materia Medica as handed down to us by the master and his successors. Personally Hahnemann, in his later years, denounced the deductions of the pathologists and eclectics, and Lippe in this country followed closely in his footsteps. Hering seemed to occupy a middle ground, his labors towards the enrichment of our available knowledge have been rich in results; his greatest error consisted in the admission of many clinical symptoms and failing to make a clear distinction between pathogenetic and clinical origins. He seems, at times, to have been unduly credulous.
A modality may be, and often is, of necessity clinical, but a clinical symptom should never be admitted as such to the scheme of any remedy. Almost every such symptom is already a deduction from a premise and to continue this process ad infinitum can only lead to the vilest empiricism and greatest uncertainty. It is no argument to say that many symptoms of the Chronic Diseases have been attained from the sick, for a careful reading of that great work will convince any one that no true clinical symptom is contained in its pathogeneses, but that they are confined to the prefaces.
The doubtful ones of the text are very evidently gleaned as provings, during the administration of remedies to the sick; this process all of us have seen and know it to be most reliable, for at such times the vital force is hypersensitive and its oscillations quickly respond to those of a synchronal remedy, producing the finer symptoms not otherwise obtainable. The accurate outlining of curative action is clearly beyond the scope of the finite mind.
Hahnemann despaired of curing extreme varicose conditions, ulcers, veins, etc., but the powers of Vipera, Hamamelis and Fluoric acid were unknown to him. We now cure these things just as certainly as we do many others of more apparent promise; this is one of the crowning glories of homeopathy; the application of these remedies to aneurismal conditions of the cardiac or cerebral regions is not yet demonstrated but constitutes the next step and is clearly foreshadowed in their provings. In the venous sphere the highest potencies, at long intervals, have yielded most brilliant results; in aneurismal dilatation a like precedent is indicated.
The deduction that Hypericum must prove useful in tetanus of a certain type has borne abundant fruit, and now every practitioner of large experience recognises its power. Latterly the bacteriologists tell us that tetanus bacilli cannot live in a highly oxygenated medium; now the volatile oil of Hypericum is a terbene, one of the oxygenated oils. This is cited merely to show what is constantly happening; indicated remedies attain a certain celebrity; presently the pathologist or bacteriologist discovers in part why this is so, and lo! a specific is born. What memories throng my mind at the sound of that conjuring word.
I see the numberless host of syphilitics with dropped teeth and hair, chins running with slaver, their nights rendered hideous by periosteal pains, tottering into mental imbecility, all because Mercury is specific for syphilis; I look again and see jaundiced, sallow, wan faces with potbellies from ague cake or swollen livers, shivering with every cool breath of air or drenched with sweat from the least exertion; they urinate blood or pass lienteric stools so great is their debility, all because Quinine is specific for chills and fever. Take a last look and behold a vast host of sodden stupid faces, note how they walk, as if in dreamland, but always with bowed heads and stooping shoulders; their shifting glances reveal their cunning, lying dispositions, all because Morphine is specific for pain.